Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga OLED review

Back with a black finish and OLED display, how does the 14-inch ThinkPad X1 Yoga fare?

The ThinkPad X1 Yoga can be seen as Lenovo's convertible version of the X1 Carbon, widely regarded as one of Lenovo's finest devices. The X1 Yoga is no slouch either, and we reviewed the 14-inch version with a 1080p IPS display with mid-range hardware inside, awarding it a near-perfect score.

Windows Central Choice Award

We now have here a 14-inch X1 Yoga with a WQHD (1440p) OLED display and topped out hardware inside. How does the high-res OLED display affect the overall package? Let's take a look in our review.

About this review

Lenovo loaned Windows Central a review unit of the 14-inch ThinkPad Yoga X1 with OLED display. This specific configuration has an Intel Core i7-7600U processor (CPU), 16GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 512GB PCIe solid-state drive (SSD). This exact configuration costs about $2,430.

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As reviewed

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga OLED hardware and specifications

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga OLED review

This configuration has maxed out hardware inside and is thus quite expensive. The OLED display itself, if chosen at checkout, only adds about $250 to the final price tag. Here's the hardware inside this review unit.

Category XX
Processor Intel Core i7-7600U vPro (up to 3.90GHz)
Dual-core
Storage 512GB PCIe SSD
(Samsung MZVLW512)
RAM 16GB DDR3-1866MHz
Display 14-inch WQHD (2560 x 1440)
OLED, touch, glossy
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 620
Ports Three USB-A 3.0
Two USB-C Thunderbolt 3
HDMI 1.4
ThinkPad Ethernet extension connector
3.5mm jack
microSD card reader
Micro SIM
Speakers Dual 2W speakers
Wireless Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
802.11ac (2 x 2)
Bluetooth 4.1
Camera Front-facing, 720p
Touchpad Precision
Pen ThinkPad Pen Pro
Security Fingerprint reader for Windows Hello
Discrete TPM 2.0
Intel vPro
Battery 56WHr
Weight 2.99lbs (1.36kg)
Dimensions 13.11 inches x 9.02 inches x 0.69 inches
333mm x 229mm x 17.4mm
OS Windows 10 Pro
Color ThinkPad black
Price About $2,430

Vivid

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga OLED display

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga OLED review

The OLED display found here is manufactured by Samsung, which has a reputation for quality screens. Upon opening the lid, the difference between the regular IPS display and the OLED display is apparent.

The IPS configuration of the X1 Yoga could already hit a decent level of brightness — something many Lenovo laptops cannot do — and the OLED display can do better depending on the situation. Whereas the IPS display has a set maximum for backlight brightness, there are fluctuations here depending on what is displayed.

When displaying white backgrounds, brightness is the lowest. When displaying a black background color, the display is the brightest. When at its brightest, expect about a 15 percent jump over the IPS display, and at its dimmest, expect about 10 percent less than the IPS display. That's just how OLED displays work; nothing out of the ordinary here.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga OLED review

The OLED display also comes with a higher resolution at 2560 x 1440, which really makes the 14-incher come to life. Scaling in all images here is set at 150 percent rather than the recommended 200 percent, which I feel gives plenty more real estate for productivity without making text hard to see.

Color accuracy was about as good as it gets. In testing, we saw 100 percent sRGB, 100 percent AdobeRGB, and 97 percent NTSC. As far as contrast goes, the OLED delivers real black even with brightness cranked right up, and everything is satisfyingly saturated. Love watching movies? You'll almost want to watch them on this display rather than your TV (unless, of course, it's OLED).

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga OLED review

The only issue with OLED and higher resolution is that the battery takes a hit. Whereas the X1 Yoga with 1080p IPS display saw at least eight hours on a single charge, here we saw only about six hours of regular use, and that number would no doubt drop if streaming video or doing a bit of light gaming. Luckily, the battery can take about an 80 percent charge in just an hour through one of the Thunderbolt 3 ports.

As a cherry on top of the OLED sundae, the capacitive ThinkPad Pen Pro can be found docked on the underside of the laptop. It delivers 2,048 levels of pressure for a decent inking experience, and I have no problems using it, other than the fact that I prefer something with a thicker body; this is more like a pencil, whereas I prefer a pen.

Back to black

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga OLED design

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga OLED review

Rather than the silver finish we had on the X1 Yoga with IPS display, we're back to the regular ThinkPad black with the OLED configuration. The paint has the same bit of sparkle as always, and there's a soft feeling to the finish; expect smudges from fingers and palms to show up. The lid is made from a carbon-fiber hybrid, while the bottom is a magnesium-PPS hybrid, giving it a solid feel. Thanks to the OLED display, some weight has been shed. We're now down to 2.99 pounds from 3.15 pounds.

Cutting about 0.16 pounds doesn't seem like a lot, but coupled with the black finish that seems to give the X1 Yoga a much smaller footprint than the silver finish, this is definitely a laptop for anyone who loves a ThinkPad but needs to keep it thin and light. On that note, keep in mind that these laptops are put through 12 MIL-STD 810G tests to ensure that it can take a beating in the field and keep on running.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga OLED review

One of the only issues I had with the X1 Yoga in the original review was the way the "Wave" keyboard causes a sort of ratchet feeling when converting the laptop into the tent, stand or tablet modes. The issue is still here, but it's nowhere near a deal-breaker; you'll only feel it in the hinges when moving the lid past about 220 degrees.

Battery suffers

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga OLED performance

This configuration of the X1 Yoga, on top of the OLED display, comes packed with the top hardware Lenovo offers, so performance was pretty much blazing fast across the board. That performance, though, doesn't come without a high price. Expect to pay just over $2,400 for this exact configuration.

TL;DR

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga OLED review: Conclusion

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga OLED review

We awarded the ThinkPad X1 Yoga with IPS display a 4.5-star rating and a Choice Award, and we're handing out the same score here. While the OLED display is downright gorgeous and a tempting $250 upgrade at checkout, the battery life does take a hit, dropping it down to fewer hours than there are in a workday. For a ThinkPad — a laptop with productivity in mind — that's a bit of an issue.

Yes, this laptop weighs less, and the black finish does seem to give the appearance of a smaller overall footprint, but the issue with the hinges due to the "Wave" keyboard might drive some of you nuts if you're often switching between tablet and notebook modes.

With the perks come drawbacks, but we still have here an attractive convertible laptop that hits performance checkmarks, has a wide selection of ports and continues the legend of the ThinkPad. As mentioned in the first X1 Yoga review, this is a ThinkPad for anyone who needs something that can fit into business and everyday situations.

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Pros

  • OLED display is beautiful.
  • Upgrading to OLED display is $250.
  • It weighs less.
  • Black finish seems to shrink footprint.

Cons:

  • Battery life takes a hit.
  • "Wave" keyboard inhibits hinge.
  • Very expensive from the start.

Outstanding

4.5/5