Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga - A short review

Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga

I recently received my brand new Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga. And I decided as reviews are still sparse to come by, to give you a quick overview of the device and what I think personally about it.

Some notes to begin with. The first Thinkpad Yoga I received was in fact, a faulty unit. It wasn't DOA but a whole column of keys just didn't work (2,W,S,X) and the right hinge of the device made a rather unpleasant noise when you tilted the screen. Also, the screen did not lay flat in Tablet Mode. I managed to get a replacement unit from my reseller after some pretty unsatisfying calls to Lenovo. The support guy didn't even know that there was a THINKPAD Yoga and tried to connect me multiple times with their consumer services for IdeaPads. Not exactly professional support I'd say. Also, they told me I had to wait 2-3 weeks for a replacement. They revised their opinion when I stated that paying almost 2000$ for a laptop should at least provide me with a working unit out of the box. Whatever, I got a new one with working keys and a working hinge (yiippiee!).

I got myself the highest specced model:

  • Core i7
  • 8gigs of RAM
  • 256 GB SSD
  • 1920x1080 non-glare screen with Digitizer

Some things about me: I study computer science and am the lead developer of all our mobile application in a little startup. So I need this machine not only to take notes in class, but also to run Android Studio, VMs, other IDEs such as Phpstorm, Eclipse or Visual Studio, as well as graphical tools like Photoshop. This thing is my study-work-programming-media-whatever workhorse and replaces my 2 year old Acer Timeline X, which was a very capable laptop at its time.
And, in advance: I am no native speaker, so excuse myself if I make strange errors. So, lets get started!

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Build Quality

Apart from the issues mentioned before, the build quality seems superb. It comes in a nice matt finish and feels very high quality and solid. The material feels very premium and as it is magnesium as far as I know, it also gets cold when you don't use it. Which I like a lot. No plastic feel at all. The hinges feel very good and are reasonably stiff so that the screen holds in any position you put it in. I also like the little details this ThinkPad has, like the glowing point in the ThinkPad logo on the backside of the screen.

It doesn't bend or flex and makes a very good first impression to me, and it looks better than on the many pictures on the internet.

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Trackpad

The trackpad has a nice texture and a very good feel to it. It is very responsive and I like to work with it a lot. Its a bit confusing in the beginning that the area for the right-click is pretty small in the right lower corner, but I discovered you can configure this accordingly. As soon as you get the hang of it, it is a nonissue.

What I do not like completely is the fact that the Trackpad is clickable. For me, its just a bit too much and wobbly when I click it. It tilts upon clicking and this doesn't feel to good. Also, the trackpad isn't locked like the keyboard is in Tabletmode. It is a minor issue, but I'd rather go for a stiffer solution with less keytravel here.

Screen

The screen is very good as far as I can tell. Good and stable viewing angles, resolution makes it super crisp and the best thing about it surely is the non-glossy display. I adore the fact that they included this and it is my favourite feature so far, because it makes things just so much easier to read in sunlight and while on the go, when you usually are unable to select the perfect spot.

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Keyboard

Its the first time I have a ThinkPad, so I don't exactly know how good or bad keyboards were in earlier and more traditional models. Afaik, ThinkPads have a good keyboard and are generally praised. In comparison to my old Acer TimelineX well.. it is just not a fair comparison. Great keytravel, no wobbling. I was a bit unsure about the lock-mechanism when looking at it in the hands-on videos. I can assure you though, that although the keys do not get locked completely they stay in place enough to make a difference. Great feature, I hope this doesn't break after a year and a half.

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Digitizer

I installed the firmware update from Lenovo as soon as I could to fix the digitizer spot that was broken on all models. It is completely fixed now, and the digitizer does also support pressure sensitivity in Photoshop after installing the right Wacom Drivers. It is pretty precise, better than my old Wacom Tablet I once had and I am really happy with it so far. I'll have to update this section as I haven't used the digitizer in real world that much so far (had no classes).

Speakers

Well, the speakers are quite good. I don't expect much from a laptop as I don't use them often anyways, but I think I'll be pretty happy with them. They are loud enough and also don't squeek around when putting them on max volume. They are just fine.

Battery Life

Can't comment on this yet. I'll have to use it a bit more to get a feel how long it lasts. From my experiences so far, I'd say 5-6 hours is doable. I just unplugged it and Windows tells me I got 6 hours 20 minutes left. We all know though that this measurement is not the most accurate out there. Also, I limited the i7 to 80% when on battery. Don't know if more aggressive settings would allow this to last even longer (like, 7 or even more hours). I'll update this accordingly.

Overall Impression

So far, I am really happy with my purchase. Of course, to be completely sure that this thing relly DOES I need a bit more time to test it properly. Many things one usually finds out while using the device, such as battery lifetime or other limitations. I'll always setup my OneLink Dock at work as soon as I get it, which if it works great, should add further value to this purchase ;)

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TL;DR

Great piece of hardware so far. Go buy it if the specs fit your needs.