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

The laptop comes with its own utility for switching among color spaces, which includes Standard (sRGB), PhotoPro (Adobe RGB) and Movie Pro (DCI-P3). The native screen mode really pushes everything (which is common), with a high 3.0 average gamma -- that's good for outdoor viewing, since it pumps up everything in the middle of the tonal range a lot -- but a too-blue white point of 7500K, despite a 6500K target. Peak brightness hits about 510 nits and minimum black about 0.4 (at 100 percent brightness), with contrast across all the profiles roughly 1400:1. Compared to most of its competition, it can look blindingly bright. In direct sun, you'll still find yourself fighting reflections, but the extra brightness does seem to help here.

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Lenovo's Vantage app lets you change color spaces.

Sarah Tew/CNET

That high contrast and brightness range is what will likely make the Dolby Vision content you stream while stuck in a hotel room look better than most competitors' once it's enabled. But it won't look as good as your TV, because the display has no local dimming, which is a key component for HDR to perform its magic. However, with the support for the Dolby Vision decoder, you could connect to an external monitor that does have local dimming, such as one of the new LG Nano IPS displays. Then you might be able to get a better view.

Aside from the HDR, Lenovo also says the display has 100 percent Adobe RGB color gamut. While that's true, if you were hoping this screen would be great for photo editing, it's not -- at least if you're picky about colors. For our evaluation unit, it did encompass the entire Adobe RGB gamut, but it wasn't particularly accurate -- Delta E 2000 values almost all between 4 and 6, gamma closer to 2.3 than 2.2 and a color temperature of 7500K.

That's out of the box, so there's room for improvement with third-party calibration software. But Lenovo's utility doesn't support any user calibration. There's a Custom profile, but that's for changing the target parameters -- white point, color space and gamma -- not ensuring that it hits them. DCI-P3 hits its correct gamma of 2.6, but its white point is similarly about 1000K too cool.

At least it charges fast

Performance on my X1 Yoga was excellent, which isn't much of a surprise given its maxed-out configuration: 1.9GHz Intel Core i7-8650U vPro processor, 16GB of 2,133MHz RAM and a 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD. For day-to-day office chores like email and word processing, though, you'll be fine with the entry-level config running a 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-8250U. If your days usually have you handling more intensive tasks -- anything from working in large databases or spreadsheets to creating multimedia presentations -- or you just want more headroom for the future, go ahead and get the i7.

Battery life, though, is a bit disappointing. Lenovo claims up to 15 hours, but that's for a lower-end configuration with a seventh-gen Core i5 processor. The X1 Yoga I tested ran for 7 hours and 34 minutes on our streaming video test. With power and screen brightness adjustments, you can get more work time out of it, but considering the long battery times we're seeing from other systems, this feels short. The thing that saves it, though, is that the USB-C port can charge the laptop to 80 percent in only an hour -- perfect to recharge on those airport layovers -- or you can run the X1 Yoga off an external battery pack.

Premium business 2-in-1 worth flipping for

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga ($1,445 at Amazon) is definitely a laptop you won't mind getting from your IT department. Regardless of the configuration, you'll have a flexible, durable two-in-one with advanced features for privacy, security and usability that will help you get your work done.

Multimedia Multitasking test 3.0

Apple MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2017)
183
Dell XPS 15 (2017)
197
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (3rd)
291
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (6th)
295
LG Gram 15 (2018)
349
Samsung Notebook 9 (15-inch)
427
HP Spectre x360 (15-inch, 2017)
509

Note:

Shorter bars indicate better performance

Geekbench 4 (Multi-Core)

Apple MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2017)
15973
Dell XPS 15 (2017)
14970
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (3rd)
14301
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (6th)
13198
LG Gram 15 (2018)
11717
Samsung Notebook 9 (15-inch)
8374

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Streaming video playback battery drain test

LG Gram 15 (2018)
838
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (6th)
787
Samsung Notebook 9 (15-inch)
736
Apple MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2017)
643
HP Spectre x360 (15-inch, 2017)
594
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (3rd)
454
Dell XPS 15 (2017)
432

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

System Configurations

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (third) Microsoft Windows Pro (64-bit); 1.9GHz Intel Core i7-8650U; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,133MHz; 128MB dedicated Intel UHD Graphics 620; 1TB SSD
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (sixth) Microsoft Windows Pro (64-bit); 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-8250U; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,133MHz; 128MB dedicated Intel UHD Graphics 620; 512GB SSD
LG Gram 15 (2018) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-8550U; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,133MHz; 128MB dedicated Intel HD Grpahics 620; (2) 512GB SSD
Samsung Notebook 9 (15-inch) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-7500U; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,133MHz; 2GB Nvidia GeForce 940MX; 256GB SSD
Apple MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2017) Apple macOS Sierra 10.12.5; 2.9GHz Intel Core i7-7820HQ; 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 2,133MHz; 4GB Radeon Pro 560/1,536MB Intel HD Graphics 630; 512GB SSD
Dell XPS 15 (2017) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ;16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz; 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050; 512GB SSD
HP Spectre x360 (15-inch, 2017) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-7500U; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz; 2GB Nvidia GeForce 940MX; 512GB SSD

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