Many of you know me for my CPU, motherboard, and SFF PC reviews, but as of today, I am officially taking over systems and notebooks. I am happy to report that many manufacturers have already sent in their notebooks and gaming systems, and my first notebook review is of Lenovo's highly acclaimed ThinkPad X1 Yoga. Now, reviews of this notebook have been out for many months, but I am hoping that it will provide insight into certain aspects not covered by other articles.
The ThinkPad X1 Yoga, which Lenovo sent us, is using the Intel i7 6600U, a 15W 2 core/4 thread CPU, based on Intel's Skylake-U microarchitecture. While this is not the first time I have looked at systems equipped with Skylake-U CPUs, it is the first time I am looking at a mobile system that uses one. One of the most impressive aspects of Intel's 6th Generation CPUs is not only the higher performance per watt but also the addition of more SKUs below the 35W mark.
The proliferation of low power yet relatively high-performance CPUs has enabled manufacturers to kick things up a notch with even thinner mobile devices that use less battery power. The ThinkPad X1 Yoga is a 2-in-1, it merges the traditional Ultrabook form factor with the ability to flip into a tablet mode. With Windows 10's seamless support for both operation modes, its usability as either device is no longer just a novelty, but something useful. Let's take a look!
Our configuration is one of the most expensive. After I had configured it on Lenovo's site, I reached the $2100 mark. However, our version uses a 256GB Samsung NVMe based M.2 SSD, while the smallest offered on their i7-6600U version is 512GB, so our exact configuration should be a little cheaper. I would suggest sticking with what Lenovo suggests, as it is not easy to expand the internal storage of this device.
To make the X1 Yoga as slim as it is (only 17mm/0.67"), Lenovo has integrated many things onboard, and this reduces the ability to upgrade things later down the road. The i7-6600U version we have is the only version that supports 16GB of memory, and you won't be able to upgrade memory capacity after purchase. Lenovo is using LPDDR3 instead of DDR4, running at 1866MHz. I have found that with lower memory frequencies such as those found in mobile devices and SFF PCs, DDR3 is preferable because of its lower latencies. It is only when we can run at very high speeds (>2666MHz) or require higher density (>16GB) when DDR4 becomes advantageous.
Our version also carries the beautiful 14" 300 nits WQHD (2560 x 1440) OLED with touch support. The dimensions are exactly 333 x 229 x 17mm or 13.11" x 9.01" x 0.67". The device weights only 1.27kg (2.8lbs).
The ThinkPad X1 Yoga is for both business and home users. It comes with built-in TPM 2.0 support, so you should have no problem with Windows 10 BitLocker volume encryption. It also fully supports vPro and AMT. Physical security is present as well through a Kensington lock slot and back-panel/storage removal detection capabilities. Our version didn't have the WWAN Qualcomm Snapdragon X7 LTE-A modem, but with the modem, you would be able to access the internet without Wi-Fi and Intel's Anti-Theft Technology could be utilized to its fullest potential through Intel's out of band 3G remote security technology.
The size of the device limits it to Intel's integrated graphics, but that is more than enough for most users. An M.2 based Samsung 256GB NVMe drive was used in our configuration.
The configuration of our ThinkPad X1 Yoga is around the $2000 mark.
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