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

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

Intro, Exterior and Internal Features

Lenovo sent over an OLED-equipped ThinkPad X1 Yoga a while back. I was mid-development on our client SSD test suite and had some upcoming travel. Given that the new suite’s result number crunching spreadsheet ends extends out to column FHY (4289 for those counting), I really needed a higher res screen and improved computer horsepower in a mobile package. I commandeered the X1 Yoga OLED for the trip and to say it grew on me quickly is an understatement. While I do tend to reserve my heavier duty computing tasks and crazy spreadsheets for desktop machines and 40” 4K displays, the compute power of the X1 Yoga proved itself quite reasonable for a mobile platform. Sure there is a built in pen that comes in handy when employing the Yoga’s flip over convertibility into tablet mode, but the real beauty of this particular laptop comes with its optional 2560x1440 14” OLED display.

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OLED is just one of those things you need to see in person to truly appreciate. Photos of these screens just can’t capture the perfect blacks and vivid colors. In productivity use, something about either the pixel pattern or the amazing contrast made me feel like the effective resolution of the panel was higher than its rating. It really is a shame that you are likely reading this article on an LCD, because the OLED panel on this particular model of Lenovo laptop really is the superstar. I’ll dive more into the display later on, but for now let’s cover the basics:

Read on for our review of the ThinkPad X1 Yoga!

Exterior

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On the left edge, we have the power connector (not shared with a USB port as we have seen on some other Lenovo models), OneLink dock connector, Mini DisplayPort, and a USB 3 port that (if enabled) can also be used to charge devices even while the X1 is fully shut down.

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On the right (viewed inverted), we have a Kensington Lock receptacle, an HDMI out, two more USB 3, a headset jack (with mic), volume up/down buttons, power / standby button, and the integrated stylus port. You can also see one of the bottom/side firing stereo speakers here.

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The carbon reinforced lid and magnesium chassis are surprisingly scuff resistant and have held up very well considering it has been lugged around in my daily backpack for months now. The included 65W charger is more than adequate yet compact and can charge from empty in a bit over an hour.

Interior

Our sample came reasonably equipped with a Core i5-6300U (Skylake), Samsung SM951 512GB NVMe SSD, and 8GB of RAM. LCD models of the line run in the $1400 range, while OLED will cost a $200 premium.


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.