There are multiple angles from which to approach the ThinkPad Yoga’s evaluation, so in our conclusion here, we’ll try and break it down for you in context with both the X240 and the previous Yogas separately to help you better digest the results of our testing.
The ThinkPad Yoga is, overall, a successful fusion of the ThinkPad philosophy with the Yoga design. It’s the most durable and business-like (not to mention the heaviest) Yoga to date, and yet simultaneously it’s also the most touch-versatile ThinkPad. It seeks to incorporate the best of both worlds into a package which both camps could appreciate.
The list of positives abounds, with expert construction quality and solidity (thanks in no small part to the Magnesium and Aluminum + Polyphenylene sulfide materials) leading the pack, followed by a clever transformative design (see: the Lift ‘n Lock keyboard innovation, which resolves one of our main complaints about previous Yoga designs and their exposure of the keyboard while folded into Tablet Mode). Speaking of keyboards, the ThinkPad Yoga’s is best-in-class, and in fact, it’s one of our favorite notebook keyboards ever. It also is one of the only devices on the market to include a touch panel which is not fully glossy (call it semi-matte)—something which will surely make many business professionals sit up and take notice. Topping it all off is a manageable weight of just 3.55 pounds and a battery life that exceeds that of the two most recent ThinkPad Ultrabook models we reviewed (the T440s and the X240). For $1,595, it’s a pretty solid package if you’re in the market for a business machine with touch functionality.
What about weaknesses, you ask? Of course, the ThinkPad Yoga can’t escape unscathed, with a fair list of drawbacks, beginning with its lack of integrated Ethernet, DisplayPort, and—to a lesser extent—VGA (it features mini-HDMI only for video output). The rest of its shortfalls are also applicable to its T440s and X240 ThinkPad cousins: display lid wobble when operating with touch in either Laptop or Stand Mode, slight CPU and heavy GPU performance throttling (due to thermal limitations) when under load—and, finally, the same flawed clickpad implementation which we found so difficult to handle on both the T440s and X240. Oh—and while it’s really just a question of aesthetics, that screen bezel is awfully large… but that’s not going to bother everyone. Depending on your intended use, this is a pretty forgivable list of negatives. As usual, it’s a question of priorities.
Okay, so what about those coming from the perspective of either the existing Yoga or ThinkPad line of products? Let’s break it down:
vs. Yoga 2 Pro (and previous Yoga models)
- Screen is less glossy/reflective overall providing fewer obstructions
- More practical screen resolution (1080p)
- Construction overall seems more rigid and more similar to the ThinkPad line; metal hybrid versus plastic
- Superior keyboard (same as X240)
- Lift ‘n Lock design to help protect the keyboard in tablet mode
- Availability of Wacom digitizer
- Inferior screen overall
- Around half a pound heavier
vs. ThinkPad X240
- 1080p screen available (vs. 720p on X240)
- Availability of Wacom digitizer
- Max 16 GB dual-channel RAM (vs. 12 GB single-channel RAM on X240)
- Better perceived build quality overall
- No integrated Ethernet port
In short? Despite its missteps, the ThinkPad Yoga is our favorite Lenovo device we’ve had the pleasure of testing so far this year. For casual consumers, we’d say it’s the best Yoga available, and for business professionals, it’s even superior to the X240 and T440s in nearly every way.