I have upgraded my almost 4 years old Lenovo X1 Carbon to the 2016 Lenovo X1 Yoga. Back than I have written my thoughts on the X1 Carbon, and now I’d like to to the same for the X1 Yoga.
I did not called this ‘Lenovo X1 Yoga Review’ because this is not a thorough review, but some of the highlights I wanted to mention. (Note: The same X1 Yoga is available also in with an OLED screen, which I hear is amazing. Unfortunately I couldn’t get that one.)
What is the Lenovo X1 Yoga? it’s a high-end ultra-book. It’s a ThinkPad, which means it’s aimed at professionals and workplaces. It’s 14” which is a rare beast these days. It’s convertible and comes which a stylus. These traits combined puts the X1 Yoga in a unique position, almost its own category.
Things I liked
It feels better. The first difference you’ll notice is obviously in the name - this one doesn’t brag ‘Carbon’. Carbon is supposed to allow it to be strong yet light, but at the same time was not the most pleasant material to feel, and also degraded over time. The X1 Yoga is made from metal (Aluminum?) which makes it feel much better. It smooth and pleasant, and by asking people who had owned it for a while it still looks great over time.
Fingerprint reader is much better. The old one was replaced with a modern one (which you just touch as opposed to swipe like in the older model) that is quick and accurate. It works great with Windows Hello. It feels almost as good as the one on my iPhone. With the X1 Carbon I never used the fingerprint reader. With the X1 Yoga it has become my native login method.
The Trackpad is better. The X1 Carbon had a weird trackpad that featured some kind of semi-press, floating design. I can’t really describe it in words but it was not good. Tapping was not a fluent gesture and you mostly had to press hard in order to register a click.
The trackpad on the X1 Yoga better. It also have very minor travel on tap, but it’s tolerable. Not as good as a Mac’s or Surface Book’s but it’s fine.
Another thing I really like is that two fingers tap for double click now works. On the other hand swipe from left to right while browsing in order to go back stopped working. I don’t think it’s hardware related, probably driver but I went over every single setting in the ‘Synaptics Control Panel’, which has tons of options, but not this one.
Full sized HDMI is welcome addition, where the X1 Carbon only had Mini DP. Still no USB-C on this model though.
USB ports are spread nicely and spaced enough. In the X1 Carbon you had only 2 ports, one of the was too close to the Mini DP port, making it unusable.
When bending the screen to tablet mode, the keyboard keys sink in the holes and lock there, making it impossible to press them (this is on top of disabling the keyboard of course). Keyboard is automatically lighted in dark! The last feature I would add, but it’s cool nonetheless :)
Although I did not get the OLED model, the screen is very nice.
Touch and Stylus:
I know it’s not a popular opinion, but touch screen is a big deal for me. I really did used it alot with the X1 Carbon for everyday productivity work, and I think every laptop should have a touch screen today (looking at you, Apple). A notable difference from the X1 though, is that as the rest of the Yoga line, the X1 Yoga can flex and bend around it’s hinge however you’d like. So the familiar stances of laptop, tablet, tent and watching modes are possible now. It has already proven useful for me in the following situations:
- as a second monitor, without taking desk space for the keyboard, in tent mode.
- when collaborating while standing, in tablet mode.
- In an airplane, narrow coach seat, used it in watch mode which was convenient.
To be honest I don’t know yet how much the new hinge is useful, but as someone how used the touch screnn alot even with the X1 Carbon, I can see myself learning to like this.
The second big addition to the X1 Yoga the active stylus, which I must say exceeded my expectations. It’s responsive and sensitive, and good enough for my brainstorming whiteboard sessions or for quick architectural diagrams. The stylus even has a slot in the laptop’s body which is a huge benefit for me (I wouldn’t have carried it around if it hadn’t).
Things I disliked
The fan is working hard a lot (almost all of the time), and when it does - it is loud. It is the loudest laptop I worked on in a while. It also sometimes bursts into work for less than a second and then shuts. It is an area for improvement.
The X1 Carbon claimed to be the smallest 14” laptop at the time. A 14” screen in a 13” body they said. This was thanks to thin bezels compared to similar models for that time. I don’t know if that still holds, but the bazels are noticeable, surely by today’s standards.
High DPI is still half baked in Windows. This is not really an issue with the laptop, but I am only now experiencing this having upgraded to a high DPI laptop.
Power button located in unfortunate position that made me accidently press it several times.
When it tablet mode, the heat vent is directed towards the bottom, and I already mentioned this fan likes to work, so if you are lying down and resting the ‘tablet’ on your body, you will feel the heat coming out of it.
Fn and Ctrl keys are still switched in my opinion (and every other manufacturer)… It’s opposite from any other laptop meaning Ctrl is not the left most, bottom most key in the corner of the keyboard so it’s not as intuitive to use.
Overall I am happy with this laptop. I do not consider this a revolutionary upgrade but generally more of the same, and I mean it in a good way. Besides the compute power upgrade, the most noticeable difference is what I least expected - the bendable screen and stylus. As I am writing this I learn that there’s a new X1 Carbon model. If you don’t care for the added 130 grams, I would recommend the X1 Yoga instead.