Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2nd Gen (20JD004UUS, 2017) Review

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The ultrabook market caters for people who are after a high performance, top quality compact notebook. All the major manufacturers have their products available on this lucrative market, with Lenovo making an addition with their new ThinkPad X1 Yoga. The model we are taking a look at today is the 2nd generation X1 Yoga from the early 2017 – a step above from the ASUS ZenBook we reviewed earlier. The bullet points listing its features is bullet proof – let’s break the list down and see what this ultrabook includes and how it can help you!

Top-Shelf Components for High-End Performance

The best thing in the engine room of this ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2nd Gen is the storage drive. It’s almost the best money can buy, a 512GB M.2 solid-state drive hooked to PCIe/NVMe bus. Such a drive is ridiculously fast – you are able to boot up Windows in a matter of seconds. And after that, you’ll see the notebook responding to your commands much faster than in your previous laptops. What is more, the common problem of SSDs, the small size, doesn’t exist here: half a terabyte is plenty of space if you ask me!

Other components inside are ready to rock as well. You are looking at the low voltage, Kaby Lake based Intel Core i7-7500U in the processor section. This 7th generation CPU unit uses two cores, 2.7GHz clock speed and turbo up to 3.5GHz. Surely, few quad-core i7s beat it in performance, but the dual-core i7-7500U is still everything a power user wants: be it video editor, music composing, programming, the current processor handles it all. The memory department comprises of 8GB LPDDR3 1866MHz RAM. Because it is soldered on board, you will not be able to upgrade the memory which might be a minor disadvantage for those looking for future proofness.

First Impressions Video

Multi-Use, Crystal Clear Monitor

The 2nd generation X1 Yoga enjoys a screen that, frankly, offers everything a power user would want. On the 14″ diagonal, you’ll get a neat 2560×1440 resolution (also called WQHD). It is higher than 1920×1080, the Full HD resolution, that is a common sight in today’s notebooks. Be aware that text and all the other objects on screen will look rather tiny, but this is the desired effect of higher resolutions – it means that more screen estate will be at your disposal. If you want to revert back to lower resolutions, and make things (like text) appear larger on the display, just go to the display settings. The panel type is IPS so colors should look realistic and full, and the screen has anti-reflective glossy coating for working with indoors and outdoors.

Another feature on this display is the 2-in-1 functionality. In the ThinkPad, this is made with the 360 degree hinge on the screen – it does not detach from the keyboard base. The display has a few modes, such as laptop, tent and tablet. Naturally, it supports touch: in tablet mode you don’t need to use the keyboard at all. A pen is also included. All signs point that you can expect crystal clear and sharp image from such a prestigious display.

Sufficient Interfaces to Connect Your Devices

Being a pricier model, the ThinkPad X1 Yoga has got the ports and interfaces section down as well. Especially considering its compact size, the ports you find on the sides are rather impressive. The laptop packs not one but two USB 3.1 Type-C ports, both supporting Thunderbolt 3 standard. They also offer high-speed power delivery for charging devices, although I don’t think the notebook itself can be charged through them. In addition, there are three normal USB 3.1 ports and one full-sized HDMI output, so you can plug plenty of peripherals – including a single extra monitor – at a time.

There is one thing more and more notebooks are “lacking”, particularly these smaller ultrabooks. Know what I’m talking about? Yep, optical drives. This ThinkPad has no space for one, and I don’t think the manufacturer has much desire to include DVD burner anyway, as most programs and necessary software can be downloaded from Internet. Make no mistake about it, you can still use discs with this laptop – you just need to buy an external optical drive (~25 bucks) for that. What you might also find useful is the notebook’s card reader, although bear in mind it’s only good for microSD/XC cards – not the full sized SD format.

Passes Casual Gaming Test, not So Much For Hardcore Players

Not to make only compliments about this laptop, I must say the graphics performance won’t please gamers too much. The reason is easy to guess: the processor-integrated Intel HD 620 graphics chip. It surely is a small and low-voltage unit, perfect for a compact ultrabook, but worse for heavy duty gaming. Some of the Triple A games are a tough nut to crack, for example Doom and Witcher 3 would likely get only 20-30 FPS on minimum settings. However, every cloud has a silver lining, and older titles run easily – as an example, you could max out settings on games like Counter-Strike: Go and Diablo 3, which would still yield acceptable +30-40 frame rates.

Do Not Overlook These Features

The laptop shell material is plastic reinforced with carbon fiber, giving you a durable and neat looking model to work and play with. Indeed, thanks to the material selection, also weights stays light at 3.1 pounds. The height is 0.7 inches, which positively means this laptop is very, very slim!

This 2nd Gen ThinkPad X1 Yoga uses a 4-cell 56Wh Lithium Ion battery for power. As the model is very new, there are no actual user reports yet, thus no battery life information. Take it for what it’s worth, but the manufacturer itself talks about 12 hours battery life. The charger’s input is 120-230 volts so it will work around the globe no problem, at least if you have adapters for the plug connector.

The keyboard has a single-color backlight feature, its color can not be changed. In the middle of the keyboard is the ThinkPad essential, the red pointing stick, which you can use instead of the nearby trackpad if the stick feels more your cup of tea.

SSD kills it - The software performance of this ThinkPad is golden. Mostly, this is due to the fast and quite big solid-state drive. Also the Kaby Lake Core i7 processor has a role in this, and in general, the notebook will respond extremely well no matter what application you are throwing at it. Top display - It can be said with full confidence that on laptop sporting this heavy price tag, the screen must be great. With the 2560x1440 resolution and 2-in-1 functionality you can indeed expect a lot from the display! Two USB Type-C - How many times have you seen one USB Type-C port on a laptop? A few, I guess. But how about two of those in the same unit? Never, I guess again. Well, this ThinkPad has two Type-C ports, letting you use these reversible USB cables to the maximum.

Gaming performance - Ultrabooks are never a good choice for gamers, this ThinkPad is no different. The ingegrated Intel HD 620 chip goes for casual gaming, but if you spend hours and hours in front of graphics-intensive games you'd better choose a true gaming laptop. Not possible to upgrade RAM - The motherboard features integrated memory. Thus, you can not add more. For the majority of users this is no problem, but if you are sure you'd like to add more RAM in the future this is obviously an issue.

The new 2nd generation Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga makes an excellent ultrabook for those who can afford it (for those who can’t, the ZenBook is still a viable option). Quite honestly, it is everything a power user or business traveler would be looking for. The performance is almost second to none, with the half terabyte PCI-e based solid-state drive being the highlight, definitely. In the same vein, the notebook display supports professional-level resolution, flips to tablet mode and works with 10-point multi-touch. If I was to find a disadvantage, it would be in the graphics department, but the integrated graphics is still sufficient unless you really want a gaming laptop. I can recommend the X1 Yoga 2nd Gen if convertible, high quality and high performance ultrabook sounds good to you.

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