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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Long-Term Review - OLED is AMAZING!

Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Lenovo
Tagged: yoga, X1, Thinkpad, oled, Lenovo

Software and OLED

Software

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Lenovo has thankfully taken a minimalistic approach to their software loadout on this X1 Yoga. The only two OEM-installed apps installed are Lenovo Companion and Lenovo Settings. These are not bloatware as much as they are apps that help open up all of the Lenovo-specific functionality of these machines.

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Lenovo Companion is a simple app that handles driver and security updates, warranty status, etc.

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The Lenovo Settings app is feature packed and allows for the following:

  • Power
    • Battery Stretch mode (reduces power use system wide across multiple functions)
    • Always on USB (charging power to the left side USB port even when shut down)
    • Battery charge threshold (to limit full charge - increases LiPo battery lifespan)
  • Audio
    • Application specific Dolby Audio
    • Microphone DSP modes for center focused voice isolation or omni
  • Wireless
    • Can preset home page (Edge), default printer, and VPN based on local WiFi SSID
  • Camera (webcam)
    • Privacy mode for disabling webcam
  • Display
    • Calibrated color modes (sRGB, AdobeRGB, DCI-P3, Blue Cut, etc)
    • Night mode (start/stop time based)
    • Dynamic brightness
    • Taskbar dimmer / background dimmer

That last part about dimming the taskbar and background are significant mostly because of how OLED displays work. A typical LCD must keep the backlight on constantly and rely on the pixels to ‘close off’ that light to produce blacks, meaning LCDs consume some power all of the time and a bit more power when displaying a fully black screen. An OLED display flips all of that on its head because the pixels *are* the light sources, so a black screen takes literally zero power to drive while a fully white screen consumes more power than an equivalent white LCD screen would. While OLEDs themselves are very efficient, independently driving 11 million (sub-pixels) requires more power than what is required to backlight an equivalent LCD panel at the same brightness level. With a mix of typical content displayed on these screens, this first generation of OLED will probably draw slightly more power than the equivalent LCD, but that appears to be a small price to pay given the amazing contrast, sharpness, and vivid colors possible.

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Macro shot of web text. Note the pure whites with minimal color fringing around the edges of text. This sharpness helps increase the effective resolution of this OLED panel vs. competing LCD.

Lenovo compensated for the increased display power draw by increasing that model’s battery to 56Wh (up from 52Wh in the other models). Despite having a larger battery, Lenovo rates the OLED’s battery life more conservatively at 9 hours, down from 11 hours for the LCD models. This stems from the display brightness and content displayed during those standardized tests (a lot of full page white background stuff). Even with the larger battery, the lack of a required backlight brings the total weight of the OLED model down to 2.8 lbs. The backlight and LCD hardware add 0.2 lbs to the non-OLED models.


February 13, 2017 | 10:39 AM - Posted by zurv (not verified)

This is a great laptop. OLED is amazing.

Now if someone would come out with a 30+" 4k gysnc monitor... :)

My only issue with it is the green-tint off angle viewing. But whatever, i'm the one using the laptop and from that view is looks amazing!

February 13, 2017 | 12:09 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

I think the off angle shift is partially due to the anti-glare method employed. I was surprised to find a polarization filter in an OLED panel, but it must be there for good reason.

February 13, 2017 | 03:01 PM - Posted by zurv (not verified)

Do you know who made the screen?

I was thinking it was Samsung. The cancelled dell 30" OLED was also Samsung and had off angle viewing issues too.

hrmm... i didn't think maybe the laptop issue was a coating. thanks for pointing that out.

February 13, 2017 | 11:25 AM - Posted by BlackDove (not verified)

If only it wasnt a lenovo piece of shit it would be really interesting. Ill wait for a manufacturer id actually buy from to make an OLED laptop though.

February 13, 2017 | 12:06 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

Curious to know what you believe to be lacking in this particular laptop? I haven't exactly been easy on it and it has held up just fine. No slop in screen hinges, no keyboard or trackpad issues, reasonably difficult to bang up the exterior. Seems good to me.

February 13, 2017 | 02:14 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

http://www.zdnet.com/article/lenovo-rootkit-ensured-its-software-could-n...

February 13, 2017 | 10:25 PM - Posted by Luthair

Note that that problem did not affect thinkpads.

This is also an issue with all manufacturers - Dell had a support tool that allowed any website with 'dell' in the URL to download and install software. The unfortunate reality is they all suck.

At least Thinkpads now ship with Microsofts Signature image.

February 13, 2017 | 01:05 PM - Posted by Peter (not verified)

OLED still suffers from massive retention. Which is especially a problem on PC usage because of static images and objects. All LG's 2016 models have retention issue, ESPECIALLY with PC usage (such as HTPC etc).

Is this also a problem on this Lenovo?

February 13, 2017 | 02:25 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Reports of actual IR on the 2016 OLED models is practically non-existent

February 13, 2017 | 02:52 PM - Posted by Rob H (not verified)

I've been using a 2015 OLED with an HTPC/Gaming Rig for over two years and haven't seen any IR. However I'm more cautious about it just to be safe. I would like to see them run their tests with High Contrast theme activated. I bet battery life would come out a lot better.

February 13, 2017 | 03:07 PM - Posted by zurv (not verified)

eh? I own 4 OLED TVs (the oldest being 3 years old.)

Zero BI issue. I also leave windows desktop images on the screen for hours at a time.
maybe if someone jacked the brightness (which would be silly) and set it to vibrant mode and left something static on it for months.. maybe.. but any screen wouldn't like that.

IR would be more of an issue and there are background tasks that the TV does to help with that. People have reported that most IR issues go away really fast. I've never really had any IR issues. The few times are the brief ghost of image that was up for a long time, but it went away in a few sec (and was hard to see when it was there.)

Honestly i'm confused why comments like this keep coming up. the IR issues are MUCH!! better than a plasma and, before they stopped being made, they really didn't have that issue either.

February 14, 2017 | 09:05 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

But... but... the Best Buy guy said OLED is bad like plasma!!!!1

February 13, 2017 | 07:44 PM - Posted by Jordan Viray (not verified)

Was that photo taken with a black desktop background because I'm not seeing the superb inky blacks associated with OLED displays. But now that OLED screens are becoming more common on laptops, it's hard to imagine anyone not paying the small premium.

February 14, 2017 | 11:08 AM - Posted by razor512

Do the laptop OLED panels suffer the same color temperature issues as they do on smartphone, where the color temperature drops over time in the most active areas of the screen?

February 14, 2017 | 01:02 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

My OG Thinkpad Yoga has just reached the end of its warranty, so I'm eyeing up the current laptop market for its replacement. The new 2017 TPX1Y is an option, as is this slightly older 2016 TPX1Y that retains the OneLink dock connector (so I don't have to replace all my docks...). The XPS 13 2-in-1 looks... alright I guess, though my experience with supporting Dell's Latitude line has rather put me off them. The Surface Pro is tempting, but the need to have space for the hinge at the back puts me off (no so good on a crowded train). Surface Book is very nice, particularly with the dGPU, but also very expensive and a generation behind in both CPU and GPU (if only it had a mobile Pascal chip suitable for VR...).

Consumer laptops aren't even worth considering, of course.

February 24, 2017 | 03:48 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Does it include the large optical table? I think I want that more.

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