Lenovo has given its ThinkPad X1 Yoga an all-new personality for 2019 and is further differentiating it from the X1 Carbon.
Whether that’s a good thing remains to be seen. And to be fair, the new X1 Yoga is very much a ThinkPad and it carries on the traditional X1 look and feel. But there is one major and noticeable difference between the 4th generation X1 Yoga and its predecessors, and all previous X1-class ThinkPads, including the 7th generation ThinkPad X1 Carbon: It’s built from precision-machined aluminum rather than carbon fiber and magnesium alloy.
The result is a new-look X1 Yoga that comes in an Iron Gray color rather than the traditional ThinkPad black. (This color is also deeper and, I think, better looking than the light gray option that Lenovo has offered on some recent ThinkPads.)
The X1 Yoga also feels different in your hands. Not bad different. Just … different. But the overall effect is very much positive. The new X1 Yoga retains the elegance and professional look and feel of previous models, and of the X1 line more generally.
As for the why of the change, I’m guessing it had to do with squeezing the X1 Yoga’s 14-inch display into an ever smaller and thinner package. And for the first time, Lenovo can claim that the X1 Yoga matches the overall footprint of the X1 Carbon. It is fully 17 percent smaller than its predecessor and 11 percent thinner. In a nice touch, it has retained its legendary quality and passes 12 MIL-STD 810G durability tests.
What it is not, of course, is as thin and light as the new X1 Carbon. That’s not a criticism: The X1 Yoga is a convertible PC with a 360 degree hinge and multiple usage modes, as before, so it’s more versatile than the Carbon and that versatility requires additional thickness and weight. But at just 2.99 pounds, it’s still quite portable as well.
Beyond that, the new X1 Yoga will seem familiar, especially if you’re up on the improvements Lenovo made to the most recent X1 Carbon as well.
The new X1 Yoga ships with quad-core 8th-generation Intel Core processors, 8 or 16 GB of RAM, and up to 1 TB of fast M.2 PCIe-NVMe Opal SSD storage. The display options have expanded, as they did for the X1 Carbon, to include a 500 nit UHD HDR option with Dolby Vision capabilities. There’s Dolby Atmos sound, with two up-firing speakers and two down-firing woofers. A ThinkShutter privacy cover for the 720p webcam. And Connectivity is provided by Intel dual-band 9560 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0.
Expansion remains top-notch, with two USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports, a network extension port (for side docking), a full-sized USB 3.1 port, a full-sized HDMI video-out port, and a combo headphone/mic jack on the left, and a single USB 3.1 port on the right. The right side also contains the included ThinkPad Pen Pro in its own garage, the power button, venting, and a Kensington lock.
The USB-C ports are protected by Lenovo’s anti-fry protection. And the USB-C-based charging provides Rapid Charge functionality, where you can charge the device to 80 percent in one hour. Lenovo claims 18 hours of battery life (Full HD) for video playback.
As with other ThinkPads, the X1 Yoga also provides the excellent ThinkPad scalloped, spill-resistant, and backlit keyboard, the ThinkPad dual-pointing system with TrackPoint and a precision touchpad, and a match-in-sensor Windows Hello-compatible fingerprint reader. Always a delight.
As for pricing, it’s a premium PC: The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga starts at a bit north of $1300 and can quickly hit $2000 or more. The base model provides a Core i5-8265U processor, 8 GB of RAM, 256 GB of SSD storage, and a 380-nit Full HD 14-inch IPS display. I’m testing two versions of the laptop, one with the Full HD display and one with the UHD/HDR Dolby Vision panel.