Hands On: Lenovo X1 Yoga Ultrabook (2nd Generation)

A few years ago when I worked at Best Buy as the stores Microsoft Consultant, aka a sales person, one of the benefits of that position was having the use of a Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S. The company sometimes called it a Mini Laptop because of its compact size.

It was my first significant use of a convertible style laptop and I fell for it very quickly. For that time it had great performance, a good screen, and flexibility to be used in a handful of modes like Laptop, Tent, Stand, and Tablet. When I left the job I had to turn it back in and I was really bummed about that to the point I almost purchased one of my own.

I have had the chance recently to take a closer look at a few Lenovo devices like the ThinkPad X1 Tablet (2nd Generation) 2-in-1 and the Miix-720 2-in-1 Convertible Tablet. Both of these devices have their own pros and a few cons and they are well suited as 2-in-1 type devices. That is what they were built to be and they do that just fine.

Last night I started putting the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (2nd Generation) Ultrabook through its paces and that same familiar feeling I experienced with the Yoga 11S started to come back to me. This is a spectacular device for many reasons.

The first thing you notice is the weight - well actually the lack of it - when you take it out of the box. Just 2.99 lbs for the OLED model.

Yes - you read that right. A laptop/convertible/2-in-1 with an OLED screen. This thing is so sharp and the colors are more brilliant than any other device I have ever used. The 14 inch screen sports a resolution of 2560 x 1440) and supports multi-touch. An Intel HD Graphics 620 drives the screen performance.

As I began setting up the device, I next noticed the performance of the Intel Core i7-7600U CPU running at 2.80GHz in dual cores. The CPU was assisted along the way with the 16GB of RAM and a 512GB PCIe SSD.

There are plenty of ports including a surprising MicroSIM slot next to the MicroSD slot on the back of the device. There are also 2 Thunderbolt 3 (USB Type-C) ports, 3 USB 3.0 Type-A ports, and a full size HDMI port.

The X1 Yoga comes with a 720p HD webcam which faces the user, Dolby Premium Audio, and a handy docked rechargeable pen on the front right of the keyboard. Check out the images in the gallery for its specific location.

It also has two key security features beyond those included in Windows 10 Pro. A fingerprint reader is right below the arrow keys on the right side of the keyboard so you can log in with Windows Hello plus the device has a TPM 2.0 chip for hardware security.

Connectivity wise the X1 Yoga has an LTE radio that uses the MicroSIM slot I mentioned earlier plus of course Bluetooth 4.1 and Dual-Band Wireless AC.

So as you can see the Lenovo X1 Yoga (2nd Generation) has all the markings of an ultrabook style device so it has certainly heard that sticker on its keyboard bucket.

After getting the device completely configured in my standard layout for apps, software, and the Start Menu I started it up first thing this morning and used it for a solid 6.5 hours before it reached 10% battery remaining. Afterwards, it regained its 100% charge in just over an hour and it was ready to go once more.

I was using the device for social media, document preparation, viewing videos and other activities. I was pleased to get that kind of performance and that brilliant OLED screen for that long on one charge. In addition, I was back up to 100% an hour or so later and ready to do it all over again.

Lenovo states in the specs that the battery life is 15 hours but of course that is based on specific testing scenarios and not likely how the battery will perform under steady use as I explained. I will take 6.5 hours for that anyday - especially for the performance and specs. If I need more hours then I can adjust various settings to prolong that span of time. I used the default power configuration without making any changes to get my results.

By default, the screen was set to scale at 200% of normal size but I found that much to large to my liking so I adjusted it down to 150%.

Here is what that looks like with the Start Menu open on the desktop:

200% Display Scaling (Default Setting)

150% Display Scaling (Adjusted Setting)

The small ThinkPad Pen Pro that tucks into the X1's keyboard base is always at your fingertips. It charges quickly and even has two configurable buttons on its side.

My only complaint is that you must lift the keyboard up slightly to get at the pen or slide the laptop out over the edge of your desk to reach it for removal.

The first time you pull it out of the laptop you will get a dialog box about its charging habits:

The ThinkPad Pen Pro charges to 80% in just 15 seconds

As I mentioned earlier, check out the gallery to see where the pen is stored.

The keyboard is another fascinating aspect of this device because it slides down even with the keyboard surface when you close the lid or convert it into a tablet. Initially I thought something was sticking or broken with the X1 but I finally realized what was happening when I watched the keyboard deck as I was closing the devices lid. While many convertibles deactivate the keyboard when you go into tablet mode, the keys still stick out and get pressed in while they rest on most soft surfaces. This is a great way to protect them in storage and tablet usage mode.

The last thing to mention is the LTE capability which uses a MicroSim. It is tucked away under a small cover along the backside of the X1 alongside the MicroSD card slot that you can use for expanding storage on the device.

Portable connectivity like that is nice to have when you have no other option available to you. I will be honest - I was not expecting it until I was taking my product images and discovered it back there. I even mentioned this to someone on social media and the were even unaware that the device had this option.

In order to put the X1 Yoga through its paces in a real world scenario it is heading to Microsoft Ignite with me next week and will be the device I carry around the conference in my backpack.

I mean - can I pass up the opportunity to have my working device weight just under 3 lbs?

I don't think so.

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