Brandon here and I’m really excited because today’s post and video are the first in a new series I’ll be doing on the Blog and Channel called Coffee Break! In each Episode (post) I’ll be unboxing and reviewing a product, gadget, etc.. from the perspective of a designer/engineer and showcasing how new technology can help us in our day to day work and life.
In todays post (Ep#1) I’ll be taking a look at the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (Gen 2) and how I think it can be helpful for designers and creative on the go.
I wanted to find a way to organize tech content/reviews on the blog as well as branch out in a way that I hope will be helpful and interesting for you, my awesome readers! I’ve already reached out to a handful of companies/brands in our industry and have received great responses and a ton of products to review and showcase that are a perfect fit for us as designers, engineers, and creatives. I really hope you enjoy this first Pilot/Test post & episode of Coffee Break (Each episode will either be a blog post or a video/combination of the two). Let me know what you think as well as what other products you’d like to see in the comments!:)
Let’s get started: Coffee Break Ep#1
First, a little backstory, about a month or so ago you may have seen my post on twitter (don’t forget to follow me if you don’t already 😉 @cadintentions) where I posted a few pictures of a laptop/2-in-1, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (Gen2), that I was sent to review and test out in my day to day life as a designer. This post contains my overall thoughts and impressions of the XI Yoga after using it on and off for the month or so that I had it along with the below video where I showcase some of my favorite design features as well as some sketching using the built-in pen and touchscreen (the Coffee Break part of the video starts about halfway through).
(Quick disclaimer: I was sent this laptop on loan, for review purposes and have since sent it back, I was not paid, provided with free product, or influenced in any way for the review. All thoughts and impressions are my own 🙂 )
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga:
When I first spoke with Lenovo about reviewing/testing some of their laptops, my goal was to find a balanced, portable option for engineers and designers/creatives that didn’t need or want the power of a full-on workstation laptop (Like the ThinkPad P51 or HP Zbook G4) and everything that comes with it like size, weight, and cost. After looking through options and specs for various laptops, I happily landed on the X1 Yoga since it provided a great balance of portability which is important for many designers/engineers that need to make trips to project sites, client meetings and office visits regularly, yet it still provided plenty of power/speed (i7 Processor, 16gb Ram & 512gb SSD) to run typical office and most design lighter software like AutoCAD, Sketchup, Sketchbook or Photoshop etc…
Another feature, one that I never knew I needed until now was the included built-in ThinkPad Pen, I have used plenty of drawing tablets/stylus products on and off over the years but this was my first foray into an all in one laptop with touchscreen sketching capabilities and I have to say that I loved it! You can see one use case in my video below but having the ability to quickly sketch edits onto a pdf, or work with photoshop/sketchbook directly on the screen to fill in a landscaping plan or quickly produce a site concept is amazing. It really did leave me a bit sad and make it difficult to go back to a plain old mouse the next time I used photoshop. Even my wife who normally wouldn’t be as excited as me about new tech really enjoyed playing with the pen and doodling (I could see it being a great benefit when stuck in an airport or traveling with kids).
The overall build quality of the X1 Yoga was another highlight I noticed in my time with the device, everything felt sturdy and well constructed while being compact (13.11″ x 9.02″ x 0.69″) and light (starting at 2.99lbs) at the same time, even the 360-degree hinged screen that can flip around to be in tablet mode. I was worried it would have a flimsy or bendy feeling when moving it but I was pleasantly surprised that it had a firm movement throughout its multiple options (Normal, tent, flat, tablet etc.).
Although I didn’t test it by spilling anything, the laptop/keyboard is also touted as spill-resistant per Lenovo’s in-house tests, I’m not sure exactly how resistant that makes it, but it does seem like it could handle most normal accidental spills on the go. As for the keyboard, it features Lenovo’s new “Wave Keyboad” which provides a very smooth feel and a great experience. The new keyboard has been included to allow the keys to be pulled more into the chassis to prevent any protruding when using the laptop in tablet mode.
The included Ports and Connections met all my requirements and then some:
- ThinkPad Pen Pro
- Mini RJ45
- USB 3.0 x3
- Thunderbolt 3 x2
The bright OLED Screen (14″ WQHD (2560×1440) OLED Glossy -Touch) had very good contrast and colors in my use cases and was a pleasure to look. My main concern was the High-gloss/reflective finish of the screen which could make it a bit tough for detailed work in a very bright office/outdoor environment as well as having the potential of being a ‘fingerprint magnet’ though in my use it wasn’t overly noticeable.
In my time with the X1 Yoga, I used a varying combination of the Trackpad, Red Trackpoint, and Pen for moving around. As with all ThinkPads, the little red nub was easy and smooth to use and I’m sure those who are fans of it will like the one on the Yoga as well. For me, my favorite was the Pen, partly because of the novelty, but also because for some reason it just felt soo natural to be able to sketch and move around with it, especially in Sketchbook after a bit of practice. The ThinkPad Pen, while a little small feeling worked really well in my use and tests and was easy to use, it has it’s own storage slot in the laptop and never had any issues with battery or charging.
Using the trackpad was easy and accurate as well, but as I’ve mentioned in other posts/videos I don’t tend to use trackpads very much and tend to use a mouse for any design work as I’m sure most of you do as well.
To see some more pictures/video of the X1 Yoga and some sketching with the pen check out this weeks video around the half way mark:
In my experience with the device, Battery life was quite good, lasting 7-8hrs when I went without charging between uses which is impressive given most of my time was spent using demanding software, the pen, or watching youtube. While the battery life might not be all day or the best available, the bright OLED screen and available hardware specs are worth the trade-off. Plus, coming from primarily using huge workstation laptops with 3 to 4-hour battery lives the X1 Yoga was a welcome change.
Overall, after spending a month with the X1 Yoga I can easily say it is a great laptop and would be a perfect solution for a designer/engineer that was looking for a portable and durable, yet decently spec’d laptop they can bring with them everywhere they went with the added bonus of the Pen/Touch screen to help get some concept and sketch work done along the way as well.
I really hope you enjoyed my thoughts and impressions of the Lenovo X1 Yoga (Gen. 2) and if you have any questions about it or requests for other reviews you’d like to see in the future please just leave a comment below!
Click here for more info on the: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga
Here are the main Specs of my review model (visit the link above for full specs and options):
X1 Yoga OLED
|Intel HD 620
|14″ WQHD (2560×1440) OLED Glossy -Touch
|512GB SSD M.2 PCIe NVMe Opal2
Also published on Medium.