Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (Gen 5) review: New CPU options, new features for the premium convertible

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (Gen 5)
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (Gen 5) (Image credit: Windows Central)

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.

ThinkPad X1 Yoga (Gen 5) at a glance

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

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 (opens in new tab) after a hefty discount at Lenovo.

More affordable models are available at Lenovo, starting at about $1,440 (opens in new tab) 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.

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OSWindows 10 Pro
Processor10th Gen Intel
Core i7-10610U vPro
4 cores, 8 threads
Up to 4.90GHz
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics
Storage512GB M.2 PCIe SSD
Samsung PM981a
Display14 inches
3840x2160 (4K)
IPS, touch
Dolby Vision HDR 400
Active penThinkPad Pen Pro
Built-in silo
PortsTwo USB-A 3.2
Two Thunderbolt 3
HDMI 1.4
Ethernet extension
3.5mm audio
AudioTwo tweeters
Two woofers
Dolby Atmos
Four far-field mics
WirelessIntel Wi-Fi 6 AX201
802.11ax (2 x 2)
Bluetooth 5.0
Fibocom 4G LTE (optional)
CameraFront-facing 720p
IR camera
SecurityWebcam shutter
Fingerprint reader
dTPM 2.0
Kensington lock slot
PrivacyGuard (optional)
PrivacyAlert (optional)
65W AC adapter
Dimensions12 x 8.5 x 0.59 inches
(323mm x 218mm x 15.2mm)
WeightFrom 2.99 pounds (1.35kg)
ColorIron Gray

Aluminum and magnesium

ThinkPad X1 Yoga (Gen 5) design and features

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

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 (opens in new tab). 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.

Productivity machine

ThinkPad X1 Yoga (Gen 5) keyboard and touchpad

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

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.

Beautiful 4K

ThinkPad X1 Yoga (Gen 5) display and inking

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

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.

The X1 Yoga's 4K touch display delivers accurate color reproduction and an anti-reflective layer to cut out glare.

Testing with a Datacolor SpyderX Pro (opens in new tab) 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.