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Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 laptops are right up there with the best on the market. Usually well built with top-end components and great usability, they can be hard to beat. The latest in the 2-in-1 ThinkPad X1 Yoga series, now in its 6th generation, is affordable only to those with deep pockets, even at its starting price of £1,849.99 (inc. VAT; £1,541.66 ex. VAT) in the UK -- although models are currently available from $1,393.84 in the US. But splash out, and you can get a superbly portable, powerful and usable laptop.
The design of the ThinkPad X1 Yoga is well established and continues to impress. The chassis is compact considering it houses a 14-inch screen, measuring 313mm wide by 223mm deep by 14.9mm thick (12.32in. x 8.77in. x 0.59in.). It didn't trouble even the smallest of my carry bags. The 'starting at' weight is quoted very precisely on Lenovo's UK website at 1.399kg, although the US site just settles for 3lbs, which converts to 1.36kg. It's not as light as some 2-in-1s, but the exceptionally solid build – the X1 Yoga passes MIL-STD-810H testing -- justifies every gram or ounce. Neither the lid nor the base show any flex, so there's no mechanical need for a protective sleeve. Still, if this were my everyday laptop I'd probably want to protect the scratchable metal outer shell.
The deep grey chassis colour is quite attractive, and Lenovo's familiar ThinkPad X1 logo on the lid is distinctive. This is repeated on the bottom right corner of the wrist rest -- somewhat unnecessarily, in my view, as the silver, red and black colour scheme is a little distracting.
As with all Lenovo Yoga devices, the 360-degree screen hinges support tablet as well as laptop mode, and points in between such as 'tent' and 'presentation' mode. All models have a touch screen, and Lenovo provides a stylus which is housed on the chassis. The AAAA-powered ThinkPad Pen Pro is pressure sensitive, offering control over line thickness. It has two buttons, which can be configured to launch apps or perform functions in the on-board Lenovo Pen Settings app. The stylus charges while in its housing, and battery life can be displayed in the settings app and on the taskbar. The inclusion of the stylus and its on-device housing are big plus points. Although the pen is quite small and lightweight, I found it fine for hand-written input.
The keyboard is very comfortable to use. There's not a lot of resistance on the downward stroke, and keys bounce back with vigour, making typing feel effortless. The 'click-clack' sound that accompanies typing is not distracting. The main keys all have Lenovo's standard pot-bellied design, while the Fn key row and arrow keys are squared off. The Enter key is tall and wide. I had no trouble touch-typing at my normal speed.
Lenovo's trademark red TrackPoint sits between the G, H and B keys, with three buttons above the trackpad for use with it. The TrackPoint is responsive and easy to use, but those buttons do mean less room for the touchpad. It's usable enough, but Lenovo can't follow the trend for large touchpads here.
Biometric authentication is catered for by a fingerprint sensor integrated into the lozenge-shaped power button that sits on the right side of the gap between keyboard and screen. The 720p webcam above the screen has a sliding privacy cover, and IR support is available as an option if you want to use Windows Hello face authentication.
My review unit had a top-end UHD+ (3,840 x 2,400, 323.5ppi) IPS touch panel whose brightness (500 nits), sharpness and clarity were all excellent. It also supports 90% of the DCI-P3 colour gamut. A lower resolution FHD+ (1,920 x 1,200, 161.7ppi) IPS touch panel is also available, with either 400 nits or 500 nits brightness (the latter also comes with a PrivacyGuard filter). A lower-resolution screen will make sense if you want to maximise battery life.
A great screen deserves great speakers, and that's precisely what Lenovo provides here. There's lots of volume, bass is punchy, classical music is well-defined, and voice is clear and sharp. Lenovo provides two ways of tweaking audio. Its own Lenovo Commerical Vantage application provides Dolby Audio settings for different scenarios: dynamic, movie, music, game and voice, and allows users to automatically optimise audio voice calling. The Dolby Access app provides finer-grained controls for those five scenarios, plus three presets. It's quite an expansive range of settings if you like to fiddle and tweak.
There are currently eight ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 6 models on Lenovo's UK website -- three 'build your own' and five 'ready to ship'. The starting price is £1,849.99 (inc. VAT; £1,541.66 ex. VAT), for which you get an Intel Core i5-1145G7 processor, integrated Iris Xe Graphics, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD and a 14-inch FHD+ (1920 x 1200) IPS touch screen with 400 nits brightness. Configurable options go up to a Core i7-1185G7 CPU (+£210), 32GB of RAM (+£180), a 2TB SSD (+£410) and a UHD+ (3,840 x 2,400) IPS touch screen with 500 nits brightness (+£150).
Mobile broadband is included with some of the preconfigured models and is available as a customisation option: 4G LTE will add £140 to the price, while 5G is a £400 addition.
In the US, as noted above, prices start at $1,393.84, which buys you a Core i5-1135G7, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD and an FHD+ screen. The top-end preconfigured model in the US (Core i7, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD, UHD+ screen) costs $2,393.40.
Lenovo, and other manufacturers, can be stingy with ports and connectors on their high-end laptops, but not here. It's great to see a pair of USB-A ports in addition to two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports, full-size HDMI and a 3.5mm combo audio in/out slot. One of the USB-C ports is used for charging, leaving just one free for a peripheral or hub when the battery is being replenished. Even so, Lenovo shows that it's possible to provide a good array of ports on a compact laptop chassis.
Lenovo claims up to 15 hours of life for the 57Wh battery on its website, although the data sheet has estimates ranging from 16.1h to 23.9h. My review unit's UHD+ (3840 x 2400) screen may be responsible for a somewhat poorer showing, which saw the fully charged battery fall to just 49% during a three-hour session running mainstream workloads -- writing into web apps, web surfing and media streaming. That works out at around 6 hours on a linear extrapolation, and I'd hoped for better. It's possible there was an issue with my review unit, because on the first attempt at a rundown test the battery reached 82% after one hour and then crashed right down to 6% in the next half hour. If I get a second review unit from Lenovo, I will retest the battery.
Rapid charging (which requires a 65W power supply or higher) worked fine, though. With the battery at 6% a 15-minute charge saw it rise to 27%, a further 15 minutes took it to 44% and after a total of 45 minutes it had risen to 62%.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 6 is a gem of a 2-in-1 laptop, albeit an expensive one. It's compact and well-made, with a superb keyboard, a high-resolution screen and an excellent audio subsystem. The bundled, garaged stylus and good range of ports are additional plus points, and the ability to configure the laptop to meet your precise needs, including up to 2TB of SSD storage, is welcome.
There's a question mark over battery life, but this may be a glitch with my review unit. If my battery problem proves to be a one-off, then the ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 6 is a premium 14-inch 2-in-1 to be reckoned with.