Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (2018) review: Seriously good 2-in-1 for serious business

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The Good The third-gen Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga two-in-one has the same premium durable design as past models and gets an extremely bright HDR display option, eighth-gen Intel Core processors, a more secure fingerprint reader and a webcam privacy shutter among other things.

The Bad Battery life, at least on the high-end configuration, is underwhelming. The HDR display isn't ideal out of the box for color-critical work.

The Bottom Line The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga continues to be a top choice for a business-class two-in-one, but all-day battery life will require dialing back on its premium options.

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8.2 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 9
  • Performance 8
  • Battery 8

Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 line is a showcase for the best of what the company offers in business-class laptops while keeping its distinguished ThinkPad design -- a nod to its past while moving toward what's next. The X1 Yoga adds Lenovo's dual 360-degree hinges to the mix, making it not only great as a laptop, but also for giving presentations, marking up documents or collaborating on projects without someone having to awkwardly hover over you.

For the 2018 model, Lenovo adds the option for a WQHD-resolution 14-inch display (2,560x1,440 pixels) with 100 percent Adobe RGB color gamut, brightness up to 500 nits, and pending a future update, support for Dolby Vision HDR. You'll also find 360-degree far-field mics that will allow you to wake the Yoga and talk to Microsoft's Cortana digital assistant. Plus, soon the model will have Amazon Alexa services so you can shop, search and control smart devices anywhere you are with your laptop.

If privacy is a concern, you can shut down the mics entirely, and built into the thin display is a webcam fitted with a physical shutter that slides to block the camera. There's also a new fingerprint reader that stores and processes your print on its own system-on-a-chip (SoC) for better protection of your system and print from hacks or malware. Other security features include self-encrypting SSDs and Intel vPro processors, discrete TPM 2.0 and FIDO authentication.


A small slider lets you instantly block the webcam.

James Martin/CNET

The mix of new tech, privacy and security features and premium build quality all adds up to a particularly pricey package, though. The X1 Yoga starts at $1,500, £1,650 and AU$2,400, and the top-end configuration reviewed here currently goes for $2,465. That's not unreasonable for a premium business system, but Lenovo does offer multiple configuration options so you can still have a top-notch Yoga experience with only what you need.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (Gen 3)

Base As reviewed
Price $1,484 $2,465
Display size/resolution 14-inch 1,920x1,080 touch display 14-inch 2,560x1,440 HDR touch display
PC CPU 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-8250U 1.9GHz Intel Core i7-8650U with vPro
PC Memory 8GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,133MHz 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,133MHz
Graphics 128MB dedicated Intel HD Graphics 620 128MB dedicated Intel UHD Graphics 620
Storage 256GB PCIe NVMe Opal 2.0 SSD 1TB PCIe NVMe Opal 2.0 SSD
Networking 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.1 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.1 with vPro
Operating system Windows 10 Home (64-bit) Windows 10 Pro (64-bit)

Built for life on the road


The 14-inch X1 Yoga weighs only 3.1 pounds (1.4 kg).

Sarah Tew/CNET

Regardless of the configuration, you get the same durable build quality that Lenovo says meets 12 military-grade requirements and goes through more than 200 quality checks. You also get the same great keyboard. It's spill-resistant and has a two-level backlight. It's without a doubt one of the most comfortable keyboards you'll find on a laptop this thin and you likely won't have to adjust to using it. Plus, unlike almost all other two-in-ones, the keys pull into the chassis when you fold the screen back beyond 190 degrees.

With a vestige of past ThinkPads, you'll still find Lenovo's TrackPoint in between the G, H and B keys as well as the left, right and scroll mouse buttons below the space bar. Although many will likely end up using its reliable Windows Precision Touchpad, I find the TrackPoint comes in handy on a cramped plane, train or bus seats.

Keeping with that mix of modern and legacy, the X1 Yoga has two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports, two USB 3.1 (gen 1) ports and a full-size HDMI output. There's a combo headphone/mic jack, too, and a proprietary Ethernet extension connector that will give you native Ethernet with a dongle.


Park and charge the included active pen in the Yoga's body.

Sarah Tew/CNET

A near-hidden panel on the back has microSD card and global LTE-A slots. Also tucked into the body is Lenovo's ThinkPad Pro Pen with 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity. It charges in its garage, getting up to 100 minutes of battery life with just 15 seconds of charging. It's a nice, responsive little pen and its seamless storage in the body makes you wonder why other pen-enabled laptops and tablets can't have something similar, including the company's own Yoga 920.

Bye OLED, hello HDR

We really loved the OLED screen on the past two versions of the X1 Yoga. But, for however great it looked, it was not especially bright, which can certainly be an issue if you're trying to see past reflections outdoors or under bright office lighting. This X1 Yoga comes with the option for a new high-dynamic-range (HDR) display that promises and delivers greater brightness, contrast and color palette. But that doesn't mean it's picture perfect.