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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga OLED review: An enticing $250 upgrade

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 Recommended 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.

See at Lenovo

As reviewed

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga OLED hardware and specifications

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga. (Image credit: Windows Central)

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.

CategoryXX
ProcessorIntel Core i7-7600U vPro (up to 3.90GHz)
Dual-core
Storage512GB PCIe SSD
(Samsung MZVLW512)
RAM16GB DDR3-1866MHz
Display14-inch WQHD (2560 x 1440)
OLED, touch, glossy
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 620
PortsThree USB-A 3.0
Two USB-C Thunderbolt 3
HDMI 1.4
ThinkPad Ethernet extension connector
3.5mm jack
microSD card reader
Micro SIM
SpeakersDual 2W speakers
WirelessIntel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
802.11ac (2 x 2)
Bluetooth 4.1
CameraFront-facing, 720p
TouchpadPrecision
PenThinkPad Pen Pro
SecurityFingerprint reader for Windows Hello
Discrete TPM 2.0
Intel vPro
Battery56WHr
Weight2.99lbs (1.36kg)
Dimensions13.11 inches x 9.02 inches x 0.69 inches
333mm x 229mm x 17.4mm
OSWindows 10 Pro
ColorThinkPad black
PriceAbout $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.

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).

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

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.

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.

CPU

Geekbench 4.0 Benchmarks (Higher is better)

DeviceCPUSingle coreMulti core
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga OLEDi7-7600U4,4398,189
Lenovo Flex 5 15i7-7500U3,9767,730
Lenovo Yoga 720 15i7-7700HQ3,78410,255
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (2nd Gen)i5-7200U3,9117,549
Surface Laptopi5-7200U3,7257,523
Lenovo ThinkPad T470i5-7300U vPro4,3948,580
Dell Latitude 5285i7-7600U4,6359,289
Lenovo ThinkPad X270i7-7600U4,5128,566
Lenovo ThinkPad T470si5-7300U vPro3,9196,077
Lenovo Yoga 720 13i5-7200U3,8817,509
Lenovo X1 Carboni5-7300U4,1398,311
HP EliteBook x360 G2i7-7600U4,4968,435
Samsung Notebook 9 15 Exti7-7500U4,3168,320
Dell Latitude 7280i7-7600U4,3817,935
Dell XPS 13 (9360)i7-6560U4,1207,829
HP Spectre 13i7-7500U4,1007,469
Surface Booki7-6600U3,9487,415

The Intel Core i7-7600U CPU handled everything I threw at it and tested quite well in this benchmark. You'll see no issues with everyday tasks.

GPU

Geekbench 4.0 Graphics OpenCL (Higher is better)

DeviceScore
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga OLED20,491
Lenovo Flex 5 1516,912
Lenovo Yoga 720 1513,727
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (2nd Gen)19,738
Surface Pro 201730,678
Surface Laptop19,256
Lenovo ThinkPad T47021,276
Dell Latitude 528521,921
Lenovo ThinkPad X27017,376
Lenovo ThinkPad T470s16,635
Lenovo Yoga 720 1318,185
Lenovo X1 Carbon20,932
Dell Latitude 548021,616
Dell XPS 13 (9360)19,410
Surface Book18,197
Dell Latitude 728017,827

The integrated Intel HD Graphics 620 can handle a good amount of work, but you'll no doubt want something with dedicated graphics if you're looking for a gaming machine or something that can handle heavy multimedia editing.

PCMark

PCMark Home Conventional 3.0

DeviceScoreComparison
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga OLED2,845Better than 51 percent of all results
Lenovo Flex 5 152,634Better than 46 percent of all results
Lenovo Yoga 720 152,993Better than 57 percent of all results
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (2nd Gen)2,773Better than 46 percent of all results
Surface Pro 20173,055Better than 57 percent of all results
Surface Laptop2,494Better than 40 percent of all results
Lenovo ThinkPad T4703,103Better than 62 percent of all results
Dell Latitude 52853,079Better than 57 percent of all results
Lenovo ThinkPad X2703,009Better than 57 percent of all results
Lenovo ThinkPad T470s2,576Better than 40 percent of all results
Lenovo Yoga 720 132,717Better than 46 percent of all results
Lenovo X1 Carbon Core i52,965Better than 57 percent of all results
Samsung Notebook 9 15 Ext2,998Better than 57 percent of all results
Dell XPS 15 (9560)3,534Better than 71 percent of all results
Dell Latitude 72802,829Better than 52 percent of all results
HP Spectre x360 152,472Better than 41 percent of all results

The PCMark Home Conventional test takes a bunch of your hardware and determines how well it works together while performing a number of everyday tasks. The ThinkPad X1 Yoga OLED performed quite well, and this score is reflected in usual use. There are no standout issues to report.

SSD

CrystalDiskMark (Higher is better)

DeviceReadWrite
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga OLED1,213 MB/s1,401 MB/s
Lenovo Flex 5 152,146 MB/s1,186 MB/s
Lenovo Yoga 720 151,839 MB/s1,238 MB/s
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (2nd Gen)1,253 MB/s763.6 MB/s
Surface Laptop423 MB/s237 MB/s
Lenovo ThinkPad T4701,079 MB/s716.1 MB/s
Dell Latitude 52851,300 MB/s1,113 MB/s
Lenovo ThinkPad X270 PCIe1,049 MB/s636.9 MB/s
Lenovo ThinkPad T470s1,557 MB/s1,333 MB/s
Lenovo Yoga 7201,904 MB/s1,169 MB/s
Lenovo X1 Carbon1,518 MB/s1,188 MB/s
Samsung Notebook 9 15 Ext1,365 MB/s1,213 MB/s
Razer Blade Pro2,571 MB/s2,467 MB/s
Dell XPS 15 (9560)2,207 MB/s1,628 MB/s
Dell XPS 13 (9360)1,287 MB/s794 MB/s
HP Spectre x360 151,128 MB/s862 MB/s

The Samsung PCIe SSD here isn't the fastest we've seen in a Lenovo laptop, but it's nevertheless quite speedy. Windows 10 boots almost immediately, apps launch in a snap, and file extraction is fast.

TL;DR

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga OLED review: Conclusion

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.

See at Lenovo

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.
Cale Hunt
Cale Hunt

Cale Hunt is 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.

14 Comments
  • Not sure how you got the $250 cost of upgrade as a 'pro'??
  • If you changed your entire OS theme to be black and dark instead of bright, and used a pretty minimalistc desktop background that's mostly black, I'll bet it would greatly increase your battery life.  Would be great to measure that.  
  • Yeah, OLED should provide better battery life in general, unless the screen is mostly white or bright. I suspect the main battery hit though is not the display difference, but the fact that it's also much higher resolution. That loss of battery life is probably mostly from the graphics card, not the display itself.
  • Gotta say, 1440p on a 14" screen really isn't necessary IMO.  But to each their own.  
  • If battery life is the priority (and depending on how sharp your eyes), that could be a good reason to drop to a lower resolution, but I would personally not want to work on anything less than 2560x1440 on a screen of that size. I'm not even sure I'd depart from native 100% scaling at 14". My current laptop has 13.3" screen with 2560x1440, and I do run it at 125% to make things a bit bigger for touch, but it's also much sharper to my eyes than if it were only 1920x1080 and I can always zoom out if I need to fit more text or Excel rows on the page. I dislike 1920x1080 screens on anything larger than about 9" as either looking bad (pixelated) or not fitting enough on the screen. But, as you say, to each their own. :-)
  • No words about OLED's burn-in?
  • OLED is generally a better display than LCD, including IPS. You're not going to get burn-in from typical use-cases. LED's do fade over time from use, so you can weaken some LEDs that get greater use than others and the blue fade a bit faster than the red, so the color also shifts a bit over time, but these are minor changes. They are nothing like the CRT or plasma burn-ins screens of the past would experience. Given a choice, at the same price, with a few very specific use cases as exceptions, I would always recommend OLED over LCD. Main benefit of LCD is lower price. The other is if you want to run the computer on battery and plan on having a lot of white on the screen, LCD will get better battery life on a fully white screen.
  • No warning on OLED display option not supporting WWAN?
  • "The OLED display found here is manufactured by Samsung, which has a reputation for quality screens" - ...and for aggressive PWM at a 240Hz frequency on those screens.
  • Lenovo provides ThinkPad X1 Yoga OLED futured leptop at affordable price.
  • Kills me that you can't get OLED and LTE.  Oh well, maybe next year.
  • Need more 14 and 15 inch laptop options with OLED screens, this is the only option if you want to buy anything larger than 13.3 inch OLED laptop.
  • This is almost the perfect laptop. If it weren't for the coming quad core U-series CPU's I might consider it right now. However, I will be waiting for a quad core CPU before I buy.
  • For that price, it wouldn't kill them to add a dedicated GPU.