Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga Evaluate: Cool to the Contact

ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga

"The ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga is the best 2-in-1 convertible if you want to use it as a tablet."

  • Attractive and innovative chassis

  • Insanely thin and light

  • Solid performance

  • Excellent battery life

  • Great display for productivity users

  • The touchpad is too small

  • Expensive

Remember when Lenovo's ThinkPad line was the old standby, a collection of well-built and highly functional, but often boring, laptops? Well not anymore.

That's a good thing because what has been replaced is a far more dynamic line-up that keeps surprising. The latest example is the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga, an exciting addition to the convertible 2-in-1 category that – at least on paper – promises to rival some of the best laptops you can buy.

I received a midrange version of the laptop with a Core i5-1130G7, 16 GB of RAM, a 512 GB PCIe solid-state drive (SSD) and a 13.5-inch display in the productivity-friendly 3: 2 aspect ratio and with a high QHD resolution (2,256 x 1,504). This is the only display option available, a potential vulnerability we'll discuss later. The price for this configuration is $ 1,685 after the e-coupon (list price is a crazy $ 3,369) which makes it a very top notch 2-in-1 device indeed. Let's find out if the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga has what it takes to achieve the best.

design

Let's start with that: Titanium is a really cool metal that is used in aircraft, among other things. Using it in a laptop is even cooler. What if it's only used in the lid of the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga? It's there and while it gives the laptop a cumbersome name, I like it. It has a nice texture that plays with the ThinkPad's usual soft-touch material. At least I'm assuming this is the titanium I'm touching as the lid is made from both titanium and carbon fiber.

Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

The rest of the case is made of a magnesium-aluminum alloy, which is supposed to make it both light and durable. While it's very light at just 2.54 pounds, there is a bit of sag in the lid and keyboard deck when some pressure is applied.

The HP Specter x360 14, the ThinkPad's most direct competitor, weighs 2.95 pounds and feels more solid – and both differences are noticeable. The difference in thickness is also noticeable, as the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga is only 0.45 inches thick compared to the relatively bulky Specter at 0.67 inches. The Specter x360 14 is smaller than the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga – in particular, thanks to the smaller upper and lower bezels, it is not as deep and almost as wide. The Dell XPS 13, the best clamshell competition, comes in at 2.8 pounds and 0.58 inches thick. It also feels sturdier than the ThinkPad.

The ThinkPad would have benefited from smaller bezels all around, although the top bezel needed an extra size for some additional components (see the Security section below for details). The XPS 13 is the smallest model, but it doesn't have to mess with a more complex 2-in-1 hinge. Speaking of the hinge: The ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga is a bit stiff. Two hands are required to open, but the lid stays where it belongs in clamshell, tent, media and tablet modes. Note that tablet mode on the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga is more comfortable than many other convertibles thanks to its thin case and 3: 2 aspect ratio, which is closer in size to a piece of paper.

What does this thin and light laptop look like? First of all, it hardly resembles its all-black ThinkPad siblings. It's a pleasant silver-gray color that eschews all embellishments except the logos. Even these are different than usual as the ThinkPad logo on the lid is more of a silver embossed version than the norm. white, although the "i" dot remains a flashing LED that shows information about the status of the laptop. Directly below it is a more pronounced X1 logo, which is a mixture of red and black and looks sharp against the ThinkPad logo. There is a barely visible Lenovo logo on the back.

Open the lid and you'll find a similar logo on the keyboard deck, the usual red TrackPoint studs, and the recognizable ThinkPad keyboard. The TrackPoint buttons above the touchpad skip the red accents, which I think works here. Overall, this is a very modern, yet conservative design that I really like, much like the gemstone design of the Specter x360 14 and the sleeker appearance of the XPS 13.

Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

Unsurprisingly, with a machine this thin, connectivity is minimal. You get two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4 support, one of which is used to power the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga, a Kensington lock port and a 3.5 mm audio jack. This means that if you need to connect multiple devices at the same time, you'll need dongles for older devices and a docking station. Wireless connectivity is state of the art with Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1, and there is an option for 5G or 4G LTE WWAN.

security

The ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga has the usual ThinkPad security features like the ThinkShutter privacy switch for the webcam and the fingerprint reader for the sensor. This also includes the HPD (Human Presence Device) technology and the software that I tested on the ThinkPad X1 Nano and found to be fast and reliable.

Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

Basically, HPD, configured in the Intelligent Security section of Lenovo's Commercial Vantage utility, uses radar to detect when a user is in front of the laptop and when that user is leaving. In the latter case, the technology first dims the display and finally – as quickly as it can be configured by the user – puts the laptop into sleep mode (especially into modern standby mode). As soon as the user returns within a 60-degree arc from the front of the laptop, the device wakes up and logs the user back in using Windows Hello. Once the infrared camera and face recognition are set up, the process is seamless. Go away, the laptop goes to sleep; When you return, your face will be scanned and you can go back to work.

The feature works well and is great except when you're running a long process that shouldn't be interrupted. For example, I had to turn off HPD during my lengthy benchmarks and battery tests unless I wanted to stay locked in front of the laptop. Otherwise my tests would be interrupted. Imagine a long video rendering session and you will get the idea. I tested the same technology on the Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1 and found Lenovo's solution to be more reliable and seamless.

performance

My test device used the Core i5-1130G7, a version of the Tiger Lake Core i5 of the 11th generation with a lower thermal design output (TDP) of seven to 15 watts instead of the usual 12 to 28 watts of the Core i5-1135G7 and a maximum turbo frequency of 4.0 GHz versus 4.2 GHz. It contains Intel Iris Xe graphics with the full 80 execution units, but with a slower clock rate of 1.1 GHz compared to 1.3 GHz. All of this is to indicate that Lenovo has opted for a slower and cooler CPU for the Thinkpad X1 Titanium Yoga, which makes sense given the laptop's thin case. Note that the same CPU equipped the ThinkPad X12 detachable tablet I tested, which, as you can see in the table below, was slightly slower than the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga in most of our tests.

As you can see in the graphic, the ThinkPad keeps up in Geekbench 5, but falls behind in the other benchmarks. In the 3DMark Time Spy GPU test, it particularly outperformed the Lenovo Yoga 7i and its faster Core i5, but this was not reflected in real games. Otherwise, the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga did exactly the performance you can expect given its CPU.

Note that where a machine offered switchable performance modes, I recorded results from the "normal" setting. In most cases – including the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga – there is only a slight difference between the "Normal" and "Performance" modes. An outlier is the HP Specter x360 14, which led the field in performance mode while its normal mode is a bit slower.

Geekbench
(single / multiple)
Handbrake
(Seconds)
Cinebench R23
(single / multiple)
PCMark 10 3DMark Time Spy
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga (Core i5-1130G7) 1353/4852 251 1274/3705 4498 1339
Lenovo ThinkPad X12 detachable
(Core i5-1130G7)
1352/4796 185 1125/3663 4443 926
HP Specter x360 14 (Core i7-1165G7) 1214/4117 236 1389/3941 4728 1457
Dell XPS 13 (Core i7-1165G7) 1540/5432 201 1449/4267 N / A 1589
Lenovo Yoga 7i (Core i5-1135G7) 1357/4246 207 N / A 4565 913
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano
(Core i7-1160G7)
1466/5139 180 1377/4550 4600 1549

The PCMark 10 results of the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga were particularly interesting. It was slightly behind on the main score shown in the graph, but more importantly, it was particularly slow in the area of ​​content creation of the benchmark. This was carried over to our handbrake test, which encodes a 420 MB video as H.265, in which the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga was even significantly slower than the ThinkPad X12 Detachable. Overall, this laptop performs well for typical productivity apps, web browsing, media usage, and the like, but you don't want to use it to edit videos. I haven't included Apple laptops with their fast M1 chip or AMD Ryzen machines lately – these would have significantly outperformed the ThinkPad and wouldn't really be in the same class of laptops in terms of performance.

This laptop should not be chosen based on its gaming capabilities. I ran Fortnite at 1080p (in a window as the only full screen option was the display's full resolution where the performance would have been awful) and it has 23 frames per second (fps) in high graphics and 17 fps in epic graphics managed. That's about 10 fps slower than most other Tiger Lake laptops.

display

Lenovo built the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga on a 13.5-inch IPS display with a productivity-friendly aspect ratio of 3: 2 and a high QHD resolution (2,256 x 1,504). As mentioned earlier, the 3: 2 aspect ratio makes this thin and light laptop a superior tablet compared to most other convertible 2-in-1s – including the HP Specter x360 14, which has the same aspect ratio.

Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

But a display also has to look good, and this is where my colorimeter comes in. According to this device, the display of the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga corresponds to the modern premium average in some respects and surpasses it in other respects. For example, it's pretty bright at 431 nits, well above our preferred 300 nit threshold and better than most of the others. The OLED display of the Specter x360 14 was “only” available at 374 nits, while the 4K display of the Dell XPS 13 was 420 nits. At 1,010: 1, the contrast of the ThinkPad display just exceeded our desired 1000: 1 ratio, which is less than that of the XPS 13 with 1,360: 1 and that of the HP with an incredible 374,200: 1.

The display on the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga was less impressive in terms of color. It managed 71% of AdobeRGB and 96% of sRGB, which is just average for premium displays. The XPS 13 4K display achieved 79% of AdobeRGB and 100% of sRGB, which is slightly better, while the Specter x360 14 had professional quality with 96% of Adobe RGB and 100% of sRGB. The ThinkPad's color accuracy was a DeltaE of 1.62 (less than 1.0 is excellent) compared to the Dell's 1.21 and the HP's 0.69. Gamma was just a bit too bright at 2.1 (2.2 is perfect).

Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

In practice, I find that it is a pleasant display to work on thanks to the high contrast that creates dark blacks on a white background and a lot of brightness. Creative professionals who crave wide and precise colors won't be satisfied, but productivity workers will love it. Dolby Vision support ensures that HDR (High Dynamic Range) content such as that provided by Netflix is ​​displayed. This is an excellent display for media consumption.

The audio quality was mixed. The volume of the two downward facing speakers was just loud enough and there was little distortion. The highs were blown out a bit, however, so the midrange could struggle for attention. As always, there was no bass. The sound quality is fine for the occasional YouTube video. However, if you want to binge or listen to Netflix music, good headphones or bluetooth speakers are recommended.

Keyboard and touchpad

The ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga shares the same basic keyboard as the rest of the ThinkPad lineup, with identically shaped keycaps and excellent spacing. It's a bit flatter, with good travel, but not quite as deep as on larger ThinkPads. This is an improvement: I find that some other ThinkPad keyboards take too much force to register a click. Here the feeling is light, crisp and very precise, with a confident floor effect. It can't quite live up to my favorites, HP's Specter keyboards and Apple's latest Magic keyboard, but it's close.

Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

The typical ThinkPad TrackPoint sits in the middle of the keyboard and works as usual if you're into that sort of thing. The main disadvantage is that it requires a number of buttons that take up space on the touchpad. That's a bummer, because one of the advantages of a larger display is more keyboard deck space for a larger touchpad. Lenovo didn't take advantage of that space, leaving behind a touchpad that is much smaller than it could be. For example, the touchpad on the Specter x360 14 is much larger. And this is no ordinary touchpad. It uses haptic feedback rather than physical buttons to register clicks. While it doesn't work as naturally as the Apple version, it is a decent solution. There's the usual Microsoft Precision touchpad support, so Windows 10 multi-touch gestures are well supported. Overall, it's an attractive touchpad – it's just too small.

The display is of course touchable and also reacts. It supports the Lenovo Active Pen that is included and supports 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity and tilt assistance. The pen is magnetically attached to the right side of the display. While it's not like other Lenovo pens that slide into a port for storage and charging, it's a full-size pen and well worth the tradeoff.

Windows 10 Hello is supported by both a fingerprint reader and facial recognition. Both were quick and accurate. As mentioned earlier, you'll want to use face recognition to get the most out of its human presence detection features.

Battery life

The thin frame of the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga only contains 44.5 watt hours of battery, which is not much for a laptop with a high-resolution display of this size. Given the general tendency of the ThinkPad to have a battery life that was above average, I wasn't confident that it would achieve impressive longevity.

As it turned out, the battery life wasn't great, but it was also terrible. In our web browser test, the ThinkPad managed 9.45 hours, an above-average performance, and exceeded both the seven hours of the Specter x360 14 and the slightly more than six hours of the XPS 13 4K. In our video test, which ran through a Full HD movie trailer, the Thinkpad X1 Titanium Yoga managed a strong 15.75 hours, 5.5 hours longer than the HP and five hours longer than the Dell.

Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

I also ran the laptop through the PCMark 10 gaming battery test, which put a strain on the CPU and GPU, and it lasted three hours, much like the Specter x360 14 and about half an hour less than the XPS 13 4K. In the battery test for PCMark 10 applications, which gives the best indication of the productivity of the laptop, the ThinkPad was at the top of our database with almost 11 hours, about two hours longer than HP and Dell.

The net result is that the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga gives you likely a full day of battery life, and a few more. That's not too shabby for a machine with a high-resolution display and decent productivity performance.

Our opinion

The ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga is a superior 2-in-1 convertible that takes the best of the HP Specter x360 14. It's thin and light, so it works well as a tablet, a rarity in this class of machines. It has a great keyboard and pen, solid security options, and a case that feels very modern and sturdy.

You won't love the performance of doing more than the usual productivity tasks, but if you don't want to get on with demanding tasks, the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga is for you. And it's partly made of titanium, which again is pretty cool.

Are there alternatives?

The HP Specter x360 14 is the most logical alternative. It's faster, slightly smaller, thicker, and heavier, and has a superior OLED display. The HP is also close to the same price as the ThinkPad, just with a Core i7-1185G7 and the OLED display, which makes it a far cheaper price.

If you want a detachable tablet instead of a 2-in-1 convertible tablet, the Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable is a great option. You get slightly slower performance and battery life, but the best detachable tablet available right now. It's also several hundred dollars cheaper.

If you don't need the flexibility of a 2-in-1, the excellent Dell XPS 13 is, as usual, a great choice. It remains the best overall notebook and offers better performance, a higher resolution display option in a 16:10 aspect ratio, and a chassis that is more robust and slightly smaller.

How long it will take?

The ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga is tough enough to withstand years of hard work and has the latest components. You should make a lot of productive work out of it. They also suffer from the inadequate, but industry-standard, 1-year guarantee.

Should you buy it?

Yes. The ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga is the best 2-in-1 convertible to use as a tablet and has solid battery life due to its attractive, thin and light design.

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