Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (Gen 5) review: New CPU options, new features for the premium convertible
The ThinkPad X1 Yoga enters its fifth generation, bringing a couple of small tweaks to the convertible laptop.
Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Yoga got a major overhaul in its fourth generation refresh, including an aluminum chassis, Iron Gray color, IR camera and shutter, quad speakers, and overall smaller build. Now in its fifth generation, Lenovo has made just a few small changes to the convertible X1 Yoga, namely updated processors and Wi-Fi 6 wireless connectivity. I've been using the laptop for about a week to see what it's all about, and ultimately whether or not it's worth (a big chunk of) your money.
Those of you looking for a convertible business laptop might want to check out Black Friday, which is fast approaching. Amazon does stock the X1 Yoga, but be sure you're not paying more than you would at Lenovo, even if it's on sale. Lenovo often has deep discounts on its products no matter the time of year, so you don't want to overspend on something from Amazon that looks like it's a great deal. For reference, we've seen X1 Yoga (Gen 5) models as low as $1,350 at Lenovo. Some Gen 4 models are also available at Amazon, and it remains a great laptop if you're not looking for all the same modern features. If it's deeply discounted, it might just be the better choice over the Gen 5 version.
Bottom line: The fifth-generation ThinkPad X1 Yoga has some flaws — Core i7 performance is underwhelming, RAM is soldered and relatively slow, and the laptop gets expensive fast — but it's undeniably a premium convertible that brings durability, beautiful touch display, generous port selection, and a typing experience that can't be beat.
- Thin, light all-metal convertible design
- Tons of security features
- Generous port selection
- Beautiful 4K touch display with inking
- Comfortable typing
- RAM is soldered (and slow)
- Core i7 performance a bit underwhelming
- Camera isn't great
- Gets expensive fast
ThinkPad X1 Yoga (Gen 5) at a glance
Lenovo supplied Windows Central with a review unit of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga, now in its fifth generation. This exact model has a 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10610U vPro processor (CPU), 16GB of soldered RAM, a 512GB M.2 solid-state drive (SSD) that can be upgraded, and a 14-inch touch display with 4K resolution. This exact model costs about $2,107 after a hefty discount at Lenovo.
More affordable models are available at Lenovo, starting at about $1,440 for a Core i5-10210U CPU, 8GB of RAM, 256GB SSD, and 14-inch FHD low-power touch display. If you'd like to add 4G LTE connectivity, the convenience adds an extra $200 onto the price of the laptop.
Following is a closer look at the exact specs found in the review unit I've been using for the last week.
|OS||Windows 10 Pro|
|Processor||10th Gen Intel|
Core i7-10610U vPro
4 cores, 8 threads
Up to 4.90GHz
|Graphics||Intel UHD Graphics|
|Storage||512GB M.2 PCIe SSD|
Dolby Vision HDR 400
|Active pen||ThinkPad Pen Pro|
|Ports||Two USB-A 3.2|
Two Thunderbolt 3
Four far-field mics
|Wireless||Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201|
802.11ax (2 x 2)
Fibocom 4G LTE (optional)
Kensington lock slot
65W AC adapter
|Dimensions||12 x 8.5 x 0.59 inches|
(323mm x 218mm x 15.2mm)
|Weight||From 2.99 pounds (1.35kg)|
Aluminum and magnesium
ThinkPad X1 Yoga (Gen 5) design and features
After making the switch from carbon fiber to a CNC-machined all-metal (aluminum lid and magnesium chassis) build in the fourth generation, Lenovo hasn't looked back for the fifth generation of the X1 Yoga. The laptop has an undeniably premium feel, with hardly any flex in the bottom or top portions. You'll often invest in a convertible device that seems like it might bend apart when rotating around; that's not an issue here. The dual 360-degree hinges are firm to keep the lid from wobbling around and have smooth action when rotating the display. At just 2.99 pounds (1.35kg), it's easy to carry the laptop around with one hand.
You're not going to get the classic ThinkPad black soft-touch finish here, but for people who hate dealing with oily smudges, it's a benefit. The Iron Gray finish isn't that much of a step away from tradition, and it does a much better job of hiding where your hands have touched. The machined look on the edges is a nice offset, as is the ThinkPad X1 badge in an outside corner of the lid. Rest assured, this laptop has undergone the usual ThinkPad durability tests to ensure it can stand up to use and abuse outside of what you might find in a standard office setting.
Port selection is generous for a business laptop, with dual Thunderbolt 3, dual USB-A 3.2, HDMI 1.4, 3.5mm audio, and an Ethernet extension hookup for Lenovo's proprietary RJ45 dongle. You shouldn't have much trouble connecting all your favorite accessories, especially if you add a powerful Thunderbolt 3 docking station to your repertoire.
Quad speakers make up the audio system, aiming to deliver quality sound no matter how you're using the convertible. Two tweeters live along the front edge of the laptop, between the hinges where the two portions meet. There's an aesthetic speaker grill covering them, angled back to match the design of the laptop. If you're using the laptop in your lap, these speakers remain completely unmuffled. And, if you turn the laptop around to stand mode, you're going to get audio from the bottom-firing woofers as well. Even if the laptop is just sitting on a table, audio is great. It gets loud, it doesn't distort, and there's a bit of bass to boot. Dolby Atmos no doubt helps quite a bit.
To help with important business calls, four 360-degree far-field microphones are built into the top edge of the display lid. Coupled with two dedicated telephony buttons in the F-key row, you should find that the laptop is well cut out for quick chats or longer meetings.
Unfortunately, the front-facing 720p camera is a bit of a letdown. In low-light situations, it seriously struggles, and even in a well-lit room, the picture isn't particularly interesting. At least there's a webcam shutter and an IR camera built-in for facial recognition through Windows Hello. A snappy fingerprint reader is also embedded into the right-hand palm rest on all models if you'd rather not pay extra for the IR camera. If you do opt for the extra camera, you can also get PrivacyAlert, which informs you if someone is attempting to look over your shoulder. A great feature for any aspiring Bond villains out there.
Wireless connectivity has been upgraded to Wi-Fi 6 to help modernize the laptop. There's also the option to add a Fibocom 4G LTE modem, allowing you to stay connected anywhere you go without having to worry about plugging in or finding a Wi-Fi hotspot.
ThinkPad X1 Yoga (Gen 5) keyboard and touchpad
It's hard to say something new about the ThinkPad keyboard at this point. It's still my favorite to type on thanks to deep travel, soft bottoming out, and perfect spacing. If you're coming in from a different laptop, you'll probably find the Fn and Ctrl key change on the bottom left is a bit annoying, but it shouldn't take too long to get used to. The black keys are offset nicely by white lettering, and there's a backlight for working after hours.
In the middle of the keyboard is the iconic red pointing nub, which, combined with the physical mouse buttons below the spacebar, make up the TrackPoint system. The buttons seem a bit more discrete here, but they're just as comfortable as ever. And below it, all is a Precision touchpad with a glass pointing surface. It all comes together in a way that it shouldn't hamper your productivity whatsoever, which is really the main goal of a laptop like this.
ThinkPad X1 Yoga (Gen 5) display and inking
Lenovo offers four different touch display options with the X1 Yoga, ranging from low-power FHD for those who need the best battery life possible, FHD with PrivacyGuard to protect sensitive information, WQHD for a resolution boost without going all out, and 4K UHD with Dolby Vision HDR 400 and far better DCI-P3 color reproduction than other models. The review unit has the top-end 4K display, and it is a beauty.
Testing with a Datacolor SpyderX Pro colorimeter, I got back 99% sRGB, 86% AdobeRGB, and 91% DCI-P3 color reproduction. Those are good enough specs for anyone who's going to be working with photos or other color-sensitive endeavors. Contrast is excellent, and the added HDR is excellent for watching movies with the laptop in stand or tent mode.
All display options have an anti-reflective layer to cut down on glare without the full matte look. Combined with a tested 532 nits brightness (falling down to as lows as 13 nits for night viewing), you shouldn't have a problem working with this laptop where you please. The only thing I wish we could get for this laptop is a change to a boxier aspect ratio. Even a move to 16:10 would cut a lot of the chin and top bezel out, giving the laptop a more modern appearance and giving the user more screen real estate to work with.
Built into the side of the laptop, just next to the embedded power button, is a ThinkPad Pen Pro. When docked, it remains charged, and you know exactly where it is, and when undocked, you get 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity and two customizable buttons for shortcuts. It's styled more after a pencil than a thick marker (or like the Surface Pen), but it's still comfortable for jotting down notes or sketching out graphs and diagrams.
With the laptop converted into tablet mode, it feels natural to pull out the pen and start inking. Artists and creators will probably want something a bit more advanced, but for the average person, it's a great addition that expands the laptop's versatility.
ThinkPad X1 Yoga (Gen 5) performance and battery
The X1 Yoga review unit I received is rather decked out, with a 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10610U vPro CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a blazing 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD. RAM is soldered and unfortunately, is rather slow with LPDDR3-2133MHz specs. The Core i7 CPU also wasn't particularly impressive compared to a lot of other Intel CPUs we've recently tested. And with AMD breathing down Intel's neck, it's even more evident. Too bad, the X1 Yoga doesn't have Ryzen options.
The laptop still handled everything I threw its way, including heavy web browsing, word processing, messaging, email, and photo editing. But as you'll see in the following benchmarks, raw performance is closer to that of a Core i5.
Geekbench 5.0 (CPU) (Higher is better)
|Device||CPU||Single core||Multi core|
|Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (Gen 5)||i7-10610U||1,194||4,008|
|Lenovo ThinkPad T14s (AMD)||Ryzen 7 4750U||1,135||5,782|
|Lenovo ThinkPad T14s (Intel)||i5-10310U||1,143||3,734|
|Acer Swift 3 (Intel)||i7-1065G7||1,302||3,891|
|Acer Swift 3 (AMD)||Ryzen 7 4700U||1,131||4,860|
|Acer Spin 3 (SP314-54N)||i5-1035G1||1,185||3,524|
|HP ENVY x360||Ryzen 5 4500U||1,100||4,564|
|Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14||Ryzen 5 4500U||1,087||4,570|
|Surface Laptop 3 15||Ryzen 5 3580U||769||2,720|
|Lenovo ThinkPad L13 Yoga||i5-10210U||1,069||3,754|
|Lenovo Yoga C640||i3-10110U||1,015||2,111|
|Lenovo Yoga C740 14||i5-10210U||1,094||3,767|
|Samsung Galaxy Book Flex||i7-1065G7||1,317||4,780|
|Dell XPS 13 (9300)||i7-1065G7||1,284||4,848|
|Surface Laptop 3 15||i7-1065G7||1,336||4,893|
|HP Elite Dragonfly||i7-8665U||1,125||2,942|
|Surface Laptop 3 13.5||i5-1035G7||1,177||4,413|
|HP Spectre x360 13||i7-1065G7||1,006||3,402|
Underwhelming results here from the Core i7 CPU, at least for multi-core score. I also ran Geekbench 5's OpenCL to test the integrated Intel UHD Graphics. It scored a 5,943.
|Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (Gen 5)||4,170|
|Lenovo ThinkPad T14s (AMD)||4,659|
|Lenovo ThinkPad T14s (Intel)||4,214|
|Acer Swift 3 (Intel)||4,135|
|Acer Swift 3 (AMD)||4,861|
|Acer Spin 3 (SP314-54N)||3,674|
|HP ENVY x360||4,755|
|Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14||4,759|
|Surface Laptop 3 15 (AMD)||4,006|
|Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 14||3,202|
|Surface Book 3 15||4,393|
|Lenovo ThinkPad L13 Yoga||4,899|
|Lenovo Yoga C640||4,008|
|Lenovo Yoga C740||4,941|
|Samsung Galaxy Book Flex||3,924|
|Dell XPS 13 (9300)||4,524|
|Surface Laptop 3 15 (Intel)||4,604|
|Dell XPS 13 2-in-1||4,554|
|HP Spectre x360 13||4,261|
|HP Elite Dragonfly||3,716|
|LG gram 17||4,157|
PCMark 10 does a good job of testing how well a laptop's components work together to perform a series of everyday productivity tasks. Core i7 and 16GB of RAM should no doubt score better, though slow LPDDR3 RAM no doubt contributes.
Cinebench (R20) (Higher is better)
|Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (Gen 5)||i7-10610U||1,319 to 1,364|
|Lenovo ThinkPad T14s||Ryzen 7 4750U||3,064 to 3,070|
|Lenovo ThinkPad T14s||Core i5-10310U||1,273 to 1,402|
|Acer Swift 3 (Intel)||Core i7-1065G7||1,229 to 1,236|
|Acer Swift 3 (AMD)||Ryzen 7 4700U||2,391 to 2,428|
|Acer Spin 3 (SP314-54N)||Core i5-1035G1||1,329 to 1,479|
|HP ENVY x360||Ryzen 5 4500U||2,053 to 2,100|
|Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14||Ryzen 5 4500U||2,388 to 2,397|
|Lenovo ThinkPad L13 Yoga||Core i5-10210U||1,137 to 1,442|
|Lenovo Yoga C640||Core i3-10110U||924 to 929|
|Lenovo Yoga C740 15||Core i7-10510U||1,415 to 1,613|
|Lenovo Yoga C740 14||Core i5-10210U||1,450 to 1,535|
|LG gram 17||Core i7-1065G7||1,079 to 1,199|
|Acer Swift 5 (SF514-54T)||Core i7-1065G7||1,361 to 1,400|
|Lenovo ThinkPad P53||Xeon E-2276M||2,686 to 2,701|
Running the Cinebench R20 test multiple times in a row can be a good indicator of whether or not the CPU is going to suffer from thermal throttling. No issues here, but look at the difference in score between the Ryzen 7 4750U available in the ThinkPad T14s.
CrystalDiskMark (Higher is better)
|Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (Gen 5)||3,567.26 MB/s||2,984.70 MB/s|
|Lenovo ThinkPad T14s (AMD)||2,885.92 MB/s||2,717.17 MB/s|
|Lenovo ThinkPad T14s (Intel)||3,527.77 MB/s||2,982.44 MB/s|
|Acer Swift 3 (Intel)||1,641.39 MB/s||1,033.82 MB/s|
|Acer Swift 3 (AMD)||2,161.99 MB/s||1,214.84 MB/s|
|Acer Spin 3 (SP314-54N)||1,630 MB/s||885 MB/s|
|HP ENVY x360||1,530 MB/s||864 MB/s|
|Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14||2,199.10 MB/s||1,017.07 MB/s|
|Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 14||3,405 MB/s||1,512 MB/s|
|Lenovo ThinkPad L13 Yoga||3,188.82 MB/s||1,685.61 MB/s|
|Lenovo Yoga C640||1,906.78 MB/s||970.69 MB/s|
|Samsung Galaxy Book Flex||3,376 MB/s||2,983 MB/s|
|Dell XPS 13 (9300)||3,000 MB/s||1,217 MB/s|
|HP Spectre x360 (Optane)||2,092 MB/s||515 MB/s|
|Dell XPS 13 2-in-1||2,400 MB/s||1,228 MB/s|
|HP Elite Dragonfly (Optane)||2,124 MB/s||548 MB/s|
|Lenovo Yoga C740||3,408 MB/s||2,982 MB/s|
|LG gram 17 (2020)||3,477 MB/s||2,900 MB/s|
The Samsung M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD is a killer and comes in up to a 1TB size. It is user upgradeable, so you can go with smaller storage to save money at checkout.
The X1 Yoga has a single fan and a rather small intake vent on the bottom, but other than a bit of throttling when the CPU is employing its boost, there's no sign of heat issues when under extended 100% load. Core temperatures sit around 80 degrees Celsius, and you're going to feel it on the bottom of the laptop. The metal chassis does a good job of dissipating heat, but that also means you probably won't want to keep the X1 Yoga on your lap if you're pushing it for an extended period.
Battery life is respectable, especially for a laptop with a 4K touch display. Testing with PCMark 10's Modern Office battery rundown, I set brightness to 50% and Windows 10 power to Better Performance. With these settings, the X1 Yoga managed eight hours and two minutes. Real-world numbers drop that down to somewhere around seven hours (or just a bit less depending on the workload), but that's still not too bad. Going with the low-power display option would no doubt boost that number significantly.
Should you buy the ThinkPad X1 Yoga (Gen 5)?
Who it's for
- Those who need a durable laptop with security features
- Those who want a convertible with inking
- Those who want to spend more than $1,400
- Those who want lots of ports and great typing
Who it isn't for
- Those who want to spend less than $1,400
- Those who don't need a convertible
- Those who don't need extra business features
Lenovo has improved on the X1 Yoga in a number of small ways, though anyone who's currently using a fourth-gen model likely won't be too interested in upgrading to a fifth-gen model. The new CPUs and other additions, including Wi-Fi 6, don't measure up to the hefty price that Lenovo is asking here. On the other hand, if you're coming from an older ThinkPad, this is going to seem like an enormous step forward. The X1 Yoga is undeniably a premium device whether you're holding it closed or using it open in tent, stand, or tablet mode.
Performance from the Intel Core i7 CPU was underwhelming, and the soldered RAM is rather slow without an option for upgrading, but the laptop still easily handled everything I threw its way. And even with a 4K touch display, battery life is respectable at about six to seven hours of real-world usage. The built-in active pen expands the laptop's versatility, the display is beautiful, and the typing experience is about as good as you'll find anywhere. Add in tons of security features and generous port selection, and the X1 Yoga is a well-rounded convertible.
I wouldn't be surprised to see some bigger changes in the sixth-generation models, and I'm hoping that Lenovo makes the change to even a 16:10 aspect ratio to get rid of some of the chin below the display. The boxier display would really propel this laptop forward. In any case, if you do need a convertible laptop now that can withstand life on the road (especially with optional 4G LTE) while keeping your data secure, the X1 Yoga is an expensive but worthy option. If it's not quite what you're looking for, we have a lot more great devices in our best Windows laptop roundup.
Premium Business Convertible
A few small changes for the fifth generation
The new ThinkPad X1 Yoga is a lot like the last X1 Yoga, but that doesn't mean it's not still a beautiful convertible laptop dripping with features.
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Cale Hunt is formerly a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full-time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.