I’ve fallen in love with a laptop—the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga

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When essay a review, whether of a computer game, a film, a book, or a piece of devices, there is always a certain amount of pressure to be «objective,» to write from some congenial of non-personal, neutral viewpoint divorced from any kind of emotional reaction.

I’ve never subscribed to this view myself. Here at Ars, we don’t try to review every vent ones spleen of hardware that hits the market; our selection of review products is implicitly skewed toward those that we muse over are likely to be good, or if not good, then in some sense significant due to their gain, their positioning within the market, or whatever other factors we deem to be proper. As such, someone reading the laptop reviews at Ars will always see a less skewed representation of the market without being exposed to its full largeness. The same goes for laptop reviews virtually anywhere. 

Specs at a flash: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (2017, 2nd-gen)
Base Best As assessed
Screen 1920×1080 14″ (157 PPI) IPS, 10-point capacitive touchscreen 2560×1440 14″ (210 PPI) OLED, 10-point capacitive touchscreen 1920×1080 14″ (157 PPI) IPS, 10-point capacitive touchscreen
OS Windows 10
CPU Intel 7th start Core i5-7200U Intel 7th generation Core i7-7600U Intel 7th era Core i5-7200U
RAM 8GB 16GB 8GB
GPU Intel HD Graphics 620
SSD 256GB NVMe 1TB NVMe 256GB NVMe
Networking Intel Wireless-AC 8265 802.11ac/a/b/g/n with 2×2 MIMO antennas, Bluetooth 4.1
Havens 2 Thunderbolt 3 USB Type-C; 3 USB 3.1 generation 1, microSD, mini-Ethernet, HDMI
Cameras 720p video
Range 13.1×9.0×0.67″ (333×229×17.1mm/td> 13.1×9.0×0.69″ (333×229×17.4mm) 13.1×9.0×0.67″ (333×229×17.1mm/td>
Weight 3.13 lb (1.42 kg) 2.99 lb (1.36 kg) 3.13 lb (1.42 kg)
Battery 56Wh
Warranty 1 year
Outlay $1,869 $2,854 $1,869

The truth is that for most reviews, especially when we look beyond the up of individual components, subjective considerations are equally, if not more, important than hope ones like benchmark scores or SSD storage space. Consider, for case, the keyboard on a laptop. We all have different preferences for keyboards, both in titles of layout and in terms of feel. On my desktop PC, for example, I have a Das Keyboard with Cherry MX Brown twitches as a trade-off between tactile feel and sound. Other people embrace the clicky Cherry MX Blue switches. Some prefer laptop-style scissor diverts.

Personal preference dominates on this particular detail. And it’s important, exceptionally on a laptop, because a keyboard is often not interchangeable. I would gladly charm a laptop that was objectively «worse» (slower, lower battery being) than one that was objectively «better» (faster, longer battery individual) if the first laptop had a keyboard that was crisp and well laid out and the half a mo had a keyboard that felt spongy with a poor layout. Something ilk 20 percent worse performance, say, may make itself felt some of the sometimes, but a bad keyboard will be frustrating every single time I use the device. Nominative experience matters.

I’m a ThinkPad fanboy until the day I die

All this brings me to the assistant generation Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga. My first ever laptop was a ThinkPad outlying in the IBM days: an A30p. It was a large, high-end, heavy machine that ran hot and didn’t acquire much in the way of battery life (but in those days, what did?). In do a number on of this, it ruined me for other laptops. I fell in love with the TrackPoint, the slight red nipple between the G and H keys, that served as its pointing device. Touchpads are much greater than they used to be, and some these days are even unequivocally good. But for me, they will always be inferior to the IBM and Lenovo TrackPoints.

Extend
Justin Wolfson

I know, though I do not fully understand, that some people come on the TrackPoint awkward to use. There is certainly a modest learning curve as one familiarizes oneself with the receptibility and acceleration curve of the TrackPoint. They’re delicate devices, and ham-fisted irrational force is not rewarded. But once a little time investment has been detected, the TrackPoint stands head and shoulders above any touchpad. The precision and fine master it offers is far beyond any touchpad, making things like precise quotation selection and even image editing comfortable and easy. The use of discrete buttons also means that stock mouse operations, such as drag and drop and right clicking, do not coerce any new conventions or learning.

Give me a laptop with a good keyboard and a awful TrackPoint and I’m probably going to love it, and that’s precisely the case with the X1 Yoga. The ThinkPad tradition is loud and clear with this machine, and it fills me with joy to use it.

TrackPoint, touchpad, and a fingerprint reader and a good if quirky keyboard layout.

Amplify / TrackPoint, touchpad, and a fingerprint reader and a good if quirky keyboard layout.
Justin Wolfson

If you’re bizarre and hate the TrackPoint, the touchpad is good, too. It’s a little smaller than it influence otherwise be, due to the hardware TrackPoint buttons, but it feels good and supports the Unerringness Touchpad spec, so it offers all the Windows 10 gestures. I’d be happy to use it if there wasn’t a TrackPoint.

To boot, the X1 Yoga has a fabulous keyboard. And it’s a keyboard that lets you know it’s a ThinkPad keyboard, correct down to features that I know will annoy people: the Fn and Ctrl indicator are «backwards» (though as has long been the case, you can swap them about in the system firmware), and if you end up pressing too many keys at the same time, the instrument beeps at you in annoyance. The key action is positive and crisp, it’s comfortable, and it’s a keyboard that I can surely put thousands upon thousands of words into.

A highly competent Ultrabook

I advised of I’m biased about the TrackPoint and keyboard, and it’s possible that my love for the TrackPoint and keyboard cause blinded me to the machine’s flaws. But I don’t think the X1 Yoga really has any flaws; a few territories that may have scope for improvement, perhaps, but flaws? Not really. My tense personal biases aside, the X1 Yoga is still a great machine. «X1» closes it’s a premium Ultrabook-type system. It’s about 3 pounds (a hair under for OLED, a speck over for LCD), with 7th generation Intel Core processors (which means dual heart, Kaby Lake designs).

As a ThinkPad it is, of course, available in black, and coloured is always in style, but it’s also available with a gray/silver way out, which my review system used. I think I’d go for black just for the benefit of tradition, but the silver doesn’t look bad.

Even at about 3 pounds, the X1 Yoga crowds in a 14-inch screen. The review unit had a 1920×1080 270 nit screen. I would obtain liked a little more brightness, but it looks decent. I’m intrigued by, but haven’t had a happen to use, the OLED 2560×1440 screen. Although I have concerns about OLED, remarkably around display longevity, the rich colors and high contrast correlations are very appealing. There’s also an LCD option at that higher unshakeability.

Whichever screen option you choose, it’ll be a 10-finger touchscreen with pen backing. In spite of its slim size, the X1 Yoga manages to include a pen garage to neatly treat the stylus when it’s not in use. The pen is powered, and it recharges whenever it’s docked. Combined with the unalterable element of the system’s name—»Yoga» denotes that it has a 360-degree hinge, so the shield can fold all the way back to convert the system into a chunky tablet—and the emerge is a device with a ton of versatility.

The magic hinge, which really doesn't add much weight or size but provides a ton of versatility.

Enlarge / The magic hinge, which in effect doesn’t add much weight or size but provides a ton of versatility.
Justin Wolfson

If I were buying a laptop today, I’d enact touch screen support and a 360-degree hinge must-have advertises. After using Windows 8 and 10 devices for so long, touching the concealment to scroll and tap dialog box buttons has become second nature. A laptop without a hold a candle to screen just feels broken. And the 360-degree hinge is irrational on the plane or in the kitchen.

Honestly, I’m probably never going to fold the shield all the way back for tablet mode. I don’t really care for tablets, so it’s just not that valuable to me. But «tent» mode, where the system is bent into an inverted V, is profound for watching movies on the plane or following recipes in the kitchen. On the plane, it greatly demotes the footprint of the machine—invaluable for watching movies in cattle class where I normally deal myself sitting—and in the kitchen it not only shrinks the footprint, it also flies the keyboard a much less inviting target for accidental spills. The spruce up screen means you can still pause your movie or scroll into done with the instructions as you’re following them. Frankly, all laptops should work this way in 2017.

With the boob tube folded back, the keys recess into the keyboard and become non-functioning, protecting them from damage and ensuring that there are no vagrant key presses when holding the thing like a tablet.

Listing figure by Justin Wolfson

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