We tested and compared the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga versus ThinkPad X1 Carbon in terms of Performance, Price, Battery life, Display Quality, Portability & more.
Above you can see the Ranking with the test results & below you will find the in-depth reports of the two Lenovo ThinkPad Laptops.
Ranking First: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga
- Best Performance in Computing power for Office & Editing Use
- Great Keyboard (For long writing sessions) & Display
- Pen and adapter included
- More expensive than ThinkPad X1 Carbon
Turn, fold, type. “Pencil,” touch, press: Lenovo’s business notebook, the ThinkPad X1 Yoga 3 from Lenovo can actually do everything, but its paradise discipline is solid understatement. It makes no secret of all this and is difficult to classify.
In this review we’ll look at two notebook versions, one of which has the HDR 10-capable display with a flash brightness of 500 candelas per square meter. But first it gets very dark around us.
Design & Ports
Nice and black. Even the less agile, normal ThinkPad X1 belongs to the noblest business notebooks. But the crown wears the convertible. Because only here can the 14 inch display be folded back 360 degrees.
Those who do so can watch the keys in a remarkable spectacle. They retract into the inside of the case. Not as elegant as the electric door handles of a Teslas. But in such a way that a flat surface for the knees is created.
Anyone who has never seen this before will be amazed. This is not a super-flat, compromising emergency solution, but a fully-grown standard keyboard with such a long stroke that other mobile people become envious.
And yet, the laptop, which is available in black and now for the first time also in grey, doesn’t show such tricks at all. Even the practical, active operating pen, which has a fixed place in the case and is also supplied with power there, is only discovered when you know it is there.
One more example: since we got to know the mechanical slider – called ThinkShutter – we’ve been wishing for such a solution from all other manufacturers as well. It locks the webcam mechanically, the “cute” webcam stickers and the often associated adhesive residues can be saved. Would perhaps also be something for the smartphone.
We have two versions of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga 3rd Generation in review. The traditional black version with WQHD display weighs 3.08 lbs. The gray version, additionally equipped with an NFC module and HDR display, weighs 3.13 lbs. Thus, the 14 incher aren’t really lightweights, but they are within limits from a convertible point of view. Microsoft’s Surface Book 2 with a 13 inch display weighs a proud 3.60 lbs.
If we already address the potential competition from Redmond: The Surface Book 2 looks more noble, but the ThinkPad X1 Yoga is clearly more robust. And we don’t see any noticeable gaps here either. No matter how much we shake the two ThinkPads, they don’t make a sound.
Our attempt to twist them against their will is met with composure. As a convertible, the ThinkPad series embodies the robust charm of a high-tech tool and, in our opinion, lives up to it.
Unfortunately, the black carbon case collects fingerprints like virus scanners update messages. The reason for this is the soft-touch surface. Either you learn to live with it in the sense of a tool that is not always cleaned after use. Or you pull out the cleaning cloth very often. Another unpleasant characteristic of the black soft-touch version is the smell. Even after two weeks in use, the X1 still smells very much like plastic.
The grey version on the other hand does without the soft-touch coating and doesn’t smell at all. It’s also not susceptible to fingerprints and is therefore probably the more relaxed version for people with a cleaning mania.
If you buy a ThinkPad, you can only smile mildly about the lack of connections of some top notebooks. The X1 Yoga comes with about two USB 3.0 Type A and two USB 3.1 Type C ports, the latter capable of both Thunderbolt 3 and display ports.
In addition, there is an HDMI output, a headphone jack and a microSD card reader in an unusual place, namely on the back. Oh yes – Lenovo puts an adapter for the proprietary Ethernet port in the box, where we even find an HDMI to VGA adapter. Still open wishes?
Keyboard & Touchpad
Not only Apple is using ever thinner keys in its MacBook (Pro) series, but Dell, like recently with the XPS 15, is also using unusual solutions that aren’t always effective. Too little space for “real” keys? Not on the ThinkPad.
And thus, our fingers notice a total of 86 keys, which seem anachronistic in a positive sense, as if fallen out of time. Everything used to be better? This may be true for notebook keyboards, but most users feel comfortable on the ThinkPad keyboard. The reason is the very long stroke.
In return, the rather spongy pressure point at the end of the key path is a matter of taste. We would have liked more precise feedback here. All keys can be illuminated automatically or manually in two stages, the illumination is very even and doesn’t shine through even from a pointed viewing angle.
We don’t have quite as much praise for the trackpad. It’s okay, but only average in comparison to the exceptionally good keyboard. With a diagonal of twelve centimeters, it didn’t turn out to be very large, but it has good gliding characteristics and supports multi-touch gestures under Windows 10.
If you don’t want to work with the trackpad, there are more input options available. Since it is a touchscreen, you can of course tap the corresponding entries directly. Alternatively you can use the TrackPoint. The red mini-joystick, which is embedded between the letters B, G and H on the keyboard, can not only look at a moving story but also at a loyal fan community.
The operation in combination with the separate mouse buttons at the top end of the trackpad requires practice. Professionals, however, appreciate the advantage that the hands hardly ever have to leave the 10-finger basic position for the way to the mouse or trackpad.
And then there is the active stylus, also known as digitizer or stylus. It’s great that Lenovo has managed to accommodate the so-called ThinkPad Pen Pro in the case so that it can’t get lost when not in use. Also praiseworthy is the fact that you can scroll system-wide with the stylus and aren’t dependent on the small scroll bars on the side. With this and in combination with two well-functioning buttons, the stylus is fit for everyday use. A real enrichment, instead of hardly used tools for graphic artists and designers – that fits the ThinkPad X1 Yoga.
The test device is available with different display options, which are always designed as touch screens and mirror accordingly. The Full-HD version forms the basis.
We have both the version with a normal WQHD display (2,160 x 1,440 pixel resolution) as well as the Dolby Vision HDR-capable version of the 14 inch display. It’s worth taking a look at the latter, even if compatible content is still rare at the moment.
But non-HDR content also benefits from this panel and its brilliant luminosity. With 500 candelas per square meter (manufacturer’s specification) and a subjectively very successful, strong color display, YouTube videos also look much more intense than in the pure WQHD variant, which glows with a maximum of 300 candelas per square meter.
But even the maximum brightness of the HDR panel under the open sky is sometimes not enough to outshine the strong display reflections. With a completely black image, we also see slight halos in the corners, which aren’t quite as pronounced in the normal display variant.
If you have the choice between both displays, we still recommend the HDR version. As we all know, you can never have enough brightness (although this of course affects the battery life) and compatible content will be more in the foreseeable future. Especially the high contrast often makes us forget that this is not an OLED display in front of us. The bottom line is that both versions are great displays.
By the way, the blinking angles are comparably high on both displays and there are no color inversions even from an acute angle. We don’t miss a 4K resolution, the pixel density is absolutely sufficient for both panels.
Performance & battery life
Intel’s Core i7-8550U (Kaby Lake Refresh) is the processor in both test devices. In addition, there is eight gigabytes of LPDDR3 main memory, which unfortunately can’t be changed afterwards because it is soldered to the motherboard. For the graphics you have to make do with the internal Intel UHD Graphics 620, there is no option for a dedicated GPU.
In everyday use, the need for more performance never arose during the test period of more than two weeks. Apps, huge tables and programs opened up with little time to think about it. The X1 Yoga needs less than 20 seconds for a complete cold start. If you close the lid and then open it again (warm start), the Windows 10 system is immediately ready for use again.
The perceived high working speed is underlined by the benchmark results. Under Cinebench R15, for example, the test device achieved an average of 620 multi-core points. After completion of the OpenGL test, an average of 48.5 frame repetitions per second are on the clock. Good results through the bench. (Benchmarks are valid for a version with Intel Core i7-8550U and 16 gigabyte RAM).
There are differences between both test laptops in terms of battery life. If we turn the brightness on both notebooks to 100 percent, the lights go out after just under seven hours in the HDR version in simulated use (surfing and writing).
The normal WQHD version lasts about two hours longer here. Thus, the Lenovo X1 Yoga unfortunately isn’t an endurance runner – a pity, especially for a business convertible. However, if you turn down the brightness and cut off the wireless connections, you’ll achieve considerably longer runtimes.
Although the X1 looks great on a desk (laptop mode), at a business dinner (tent) or on an airplane (presentation mode), it can also show its advantages in a Sunday late riser bed. Then you can adjust the display as you need it and pay attention to the rather powerful sound that radiates from the speakers that are directed downwards in laptop mode.
They can actually be heard and are qualitatively comparable to those in the MacBook Pro. For a real cinema feeling, especially in connection with the HDR display, we recommend the use of reasonable headphones.
Fortunately, no overzealous fan will thwart the ThinkPad’s multimedia qualities. The paddle wheel often stands completely still. Under load, you hear a constant hissing noise, which you quickly come to terms with and which is usually quickly over.
Whether in the ICE, in the conference room or at the breakfast table, the Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Yoga leaves a good figure in most situations.
We especially liked the robust, well thought-out case with the very good keyboard, the complete range of connections and smart details like the ThinkShutter or the stylus. That it is a convertible is hardly noticeable in the Yoga.
Does it necessarily have to be the HDR version in view of the high cost price? The high brightness could be an argument, but most users should also be happy with the normal WQHD version.
All in all the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga is ranking first vs ThinkPad X1 Carbon due to its excellent overall performance.
Ranking Second: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
- Extremely compact and lightweight
- Cheaper Price than ThinkPad X1 Yoga
- Very good speakers & Quiet fans
- Comparatively short battery life
Intel’s latest generation of Comet Lake CPUs is now finding its way into Lenovo’s top models worldwide. After outside the EMEA region (Europe and Middle East) the 7th generation X1 Carbon could already be ordered with Comet Lake CPUs, the new ThinkPad X1 Carbon of the 8th generation now completely relies on the “new” CPUs, but otherwise provides a comparatively smaller update of its predecessor. Here we test the X1 Carbon 20UAS04T00 with Core i7-10510U.
As this is a new device, we would like to give you a first impression here – but this test report will be continuously updated!
Design & Ports
The ThinkPad X1 Carbon 8th Gen continues to use the case of the 7th generation, which we have already tested here. With 323mm x 217mm x 14.9mm and a weight of only 2.40 lbs, the X1 Carbon is by far the smallest and lightest 14″ ThinkPad. If the user decides on the Privacy Guard display (more about the display options later), the device increases by 0.5mm to 15.4mm thickness and weighs 2.67 lbs.
Even if the name suggests otherwise, the X1 Carbon is not made entirely of carbon. The lower part, into which the keyboard is built from below, is made of a magnesium alloy.
Although this makes a keyboard replacement expensive for the end customer and impossible without loss of warranty, Lenovo saves overall height and can realize a convincing key stroke despite the thin case. The interfaces are located on the left and right of the case, the fan outlet is on the right side – bad news for right-handers with an external mouse.
The maintenance flap on the bottom is surprisingly stable and probably also made of a magnesium alloy. The display lid finally lives up to its name and is made of carbon – it looks very stable, can hardly be twisted and doesn’t give way even under pressure, which prevents bright spots in the display from being damaged by pressure, e.g. when carrying a rucksack.
All in all, the X1 Carbon 8th Gen looks very high-quality and well manufactured. The fact that the entire case, even the display bezel, has a matt rubber coating also contributes to this.
When it comes to the palm rest, wearers of a watch with a metal strap will probably have to be careful here, as scratches are otherwise pre-programmed. The feel is excellent for this. Only the ThinkShutter slider clouds the impression, as it isn’t coated and thus differs from the rest of the case in terms of color and structure.
The interfaces are sensibly arranged: On the left, there are two USB 3.2 Type-C Gen2/Thunderbolt 3 ports, of which one is integrated into the side docking port. Both ports can charge the device. The second socket in the docking connector leads the connection for the native Intel I219-V Ethernet chip to the outside, the matching adapter is included in the scope of delivery of the device.
Furthermore, there is a USB 3.2 Gen1 type A connector, an HDMI 1.4b port and the 3.5mm jack socket for headsets or headphones on the left. A wider USB stick and an HDMI cable could get in the way here, as the connections are close together.
On the right side there is the eyelet for a notebook lock, another USB 3.2 Gen1 type A port with Always On function, as well as the power switch.
The ThinkPad X1 Carbon 8th Gen features an Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 chip that supports 802.11ax and Bluetooth 5.1, but is currently limited by Windows to Bluetooth 5.0. LTE-A can be ordered optionally, the Fibocom L850-GL LTE card is also available in a 2×2 MIMO version, which can double the data rate. Lenovo also offers the possibility of an eSIM here. Ethernet can be connected natively via an adapter, as already described.
Keyboard & Touchpad
The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 8 has a keyboard in the current 6-row layout. There is an innovation in comparison to the predecessor – Lenovo has assigned function keys for answering and hanging up calls to F10 and F11. Of course, the keyboard is backlit in two levels, which can be switched through via the Fn space bar key combination.
Despite the thin case, Lenovo has managed to construct a keyboard with a convincing typing feel. Typing longer texts in 10-finger technique is also very comfortable on the X1 Carbon 8th Gen with a low error rate. This is also contributed to by the fact that it is a normal-sized keyboard due to the 14″ form factor – there are no smaller keys like on the 13.3″ ThinkPads.
ELAN seems to have replaced Synaptics as the standard manufacturer of the ThinkPad mouse hardware, and the TrackPoint and touchpad for this device also come from this manufacturer. The TrackPoint works perfectly and allows precise control of the pointer.
The TrackPoint buttons are, as already in the X1 Carbon 7th Gen, almost completely flat and hardly protrude from the case, but are still pleasant to use. Like most new ThinkPads, they are designed as click switches, but still have a well-defined pressure point.
The glass touchpad is also convincing – it has a very smooth, pleasant surface and a rich pressure point. The available space is well used.
Unfortunately, the mouse driver lacks the possibility to set the scroll speed for the track point separately. If you set it appropriately for scrolling with the trackpoint, you scroll much too slowly with the touchpad.
Our test device is equipped with a low power full HD-IPS display of the manufacturer BOE, which is listening to the type designation NE140FHM-N61. While Lenovo states a brightness of 400 nits, a color space coverage of 72% NTSC and a contrast ratio of 800:1, the manufacturer lists a contrast of 1500:1.
The image is already convincing in the as-delivered state, but the panel still benefits from a calibration to correct a slight yellow/green cast. The color spaces sRGB are covered to 94% and Adobe RGB to 74%, NTSC to 74%. A color profile is available for download at the end of the report. Although a complete coverage of the sRGB color space would be desirable and is also achieved by other displays, the X1 Carbon 8th Gen can still be used for image and video editing.
The maximum measured brightness is 421 nits – so even outdoors in sunshine should be possible without problems. It can be dimmed up to 5.2 nits, which makes it pleasant to work in dark surroundings.
The regulation is non-linear, so the display doesn’t even reach half of its luminosity with 168 nits at 70% brightness – presumably this is supposed to take care of the fact that you’ll want to readjust in small steps in dark surroundings and correspondingly low brightness settings.
Lenovo also offers the 400 nits Full HD display with 10-finger multitouch in individual configurations. A further Full HD option is the panel with Privacy Guard option with 500 nits of brightness – a privacy filter can be added here at the touch of a button.
A 4K display (“DolbyVision HDR400) with 500 nits brightness and 90% P3 coverage can be configured as the top model, but unfortunately it is only available with a glossy surface. A WQHD display with 300 nits can still be ordered in some markets, but doesn’t offer any significant advantages.
Audio, camera and biometrics
Lenovo installs two downward radiating 2W loudspeakers in the X1 Carbon 8th Gen as well as two 0.8W speakers sitting above the keyboard, which are Dolby Atmos certified. Although the loudspeaker grids 2020 are almost unfamiliar, the system is convincing as soon as the Dolby software is set up and active.
For the Ultrabook category, the sound has an amazing volume and powerful bass. The mid-range is clear, only the high frequencies blur the sound image. In the software, the sound can be further adjusted to your own taste with an equalizer.
The volume is easily sufficient to fill a medium-sized conference room. It is also very pleasing that the loudspeakers are only slightly quieter with deactivated Dolby software (e.g. under Linux) – however, especially the bass frequencies are lost.
Four 360° wide field microphones are positioned at the upper edge of the display lid and allow for good communication in a conference call. The webcam seems to have improved a bit in comparison to other ThinkPads, as it has a better dynamic range in good lighting conditions. However, the picture is still quite blurred and only resolves with 1280×720 pixels – Full HD should be a standard in 2020.
Face detection by IR camera works flawlessly and very fast – since the X1 Carbon also wakes up very quickly from standby, you’re logged in almost immediately after opening the lid.
You can also log in biometrically using a fingerprint reader – this is located to the right of the touchpad and also works without any problems.
The Intel Core i7-10510U is a 4-core CPU of the 10th generation “Comet Lake” in 14nm++ technology. It clocks with 1.8 GHz and can reach up to 4.9 GHz in Turbo Boost. 8MB L3 cache support the CPU, which has a TDP of 15W – this can be increased to 25W.
We tested the Core i7-10510U in Cinebench R20. In mains operation the CPU achieves an average of 1531 points in the multi-core test and 417 points in the single-core test, which results in a multi-core ratio of 3.67.
We’ll try to undervolt the device with Intel’s Xtreme Tuning Utility (XTU) in the test.
The integrated Intel UHD Graphics GPU is identical to the previously installed Intel UHD Graphics 620.
FurMark and 3DMark benchmarks are still pending.
Lenovo installs a Samsung PM981a SSD with 512GB memory (MZVLB512HBJQ-000L7) in our test device. The SSD is connected via PCIe 3.0 x4 and uses TLC memory. In everyday operation the system feels extremely fast and the benchmark is also convincing.
We will test the ThinkPad X1 Carbon 8th Gen’s cooling system extensively in the coming weeks. However, it’s already positively noticeable that the fan is inaudible in normal use and only noises quietly even under full load.
The case heats up considerably on the right side and you can easily feel the waste heat on the keys located there. You don’t feel any heat development in the wrist-rest area, though.
Lenovo installs a 51 Wh battery in the ThinkPad X1 Carbon 8th Gen, which was produced in our test device by SMP, and states a runtime of up to 18 hours. We will test this in detail in the next few weeks.
A 65W USB Type C power supply in the new “slim” design is included with the device, which is very much reminiscent of the design of the Dell XPS power supply. However, this is to be seen positively – you can simply wind the cable on the power supply in a space-saving way.
So far, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon in the 8th generation has convinced us, but could just nearly reach ThinkPad X1 Yoga, which is why the ThinkPad X1 Carbon is ranking behind versus ThinkPad X1 Yoga.
The X1 Carbon has the cheaper price instead though.