Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 review: A great 2-in-1 for business pros
- Durable and functional chassis
- Top-notch keyboard
- Great speakers, webcam, and microphone
- Long battery life for its category
- Too large for significant tablet use
- Performance is just so-so
- Extremely expensive
Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 is ideal for work and travel. It’s also too dang expensive.
Price When Reviewed
Best Prices Today: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 (2022)
Lenovo’s Thinkpad X1 Yoga is now a veteran of the Windows 2-in-1 market. It has outlived competitors like the Microsoft Surface Studio and Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 to become one of the last flagship 2-in-1s with a 360-degree hinge. Lenovo seems aware of its unique position and is willing to charge for it. While we really liked the keyboard and speakers, performance is average at best. Read on to learn more.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 specs and features
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 I received was a relatively basic variant with mid-tier processor, RAM, and solid state drive options. It also equipped a 1920×1200 IPS touchscreen instead of the OLED option. Still, even this model has forward-looking features like two Thunderbolt 4 ports and Wi-Fi 6E, the latest wireless standard.
- CPU: Intel Core i7-1260P
- Memory: 16GB
- Graphics/GPU: Intel iris Xe
- Display: 1920 x 1200 IPS touchscreen
- Storage: 512GB SSD
- Webcam: 1080p
- Connectivity: 2x Thunderbolt 4, 2x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, Headphone/Microphone, HDMI 2.0
- Networking: Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2
- Biometrics: Fingerprint reader in power button
- Battery capacity: 57 watt-hours
- Dimensions: 12.38 x 8.75 x .61 inches
- Weight: 3.04 pounds
- MSRP: $1,938.60
Then again, this mid-tier model is rather expensive. This X1 Yoga I tested rang up at just under $2,000. The Lenovo X1 Yoga Gen 7 is priced higher than the Apple MacBook Air, MacBook Pro 13, Dell XPS 13 Plus, and the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio, among many others. Can it justify the premium?
Design and build quality
IDG / Matthew Elliott
Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 family takes the “if it’s broke, don’t fix it” approach to design. That’s not a great way to grab headlines, but it’s hard to find fault with the X1 Yoga’s look, feel, or function.
The X1 Yoga is a handsome and professional 2-in-1 with a slim, minimalist exterior. Those who’ve been away from ThinkPads for a few years may be surprised it has a silver aluminum chassis instead of the classic black magnesium alloy of older models. The newer aluminum design is more generic but also more luxurious. That’s important given the X1 Yoga’s high pricing.
Though designed as a 2-in-1 with a 360-degree hinge and touchscreen, laptop use is the clear priority. The X1 Yoga weighs about three pounds and is six-tenths of an inch thick, which means it’s no lighter or thinner than traditional laptop alternatives like the Dell XPS 13 or MacBook Air. The X1 Yoga also packs a large 14-inch screen with a 16:10 aspect ratio. This makes for a comfortable typing experience, but the device is too heavy for comfortable tablet use.
Still, the touchscreen provides some versatility. Using the keyboard as a stand makes the touchscreen more accessible in tight spaces. It’s also convenient when watching movies or YouTube. The touchscreen supports stylus use and, unlike most competitors, the X1 Yoga has a portable stylus that tucks safely inside the device.
Keyboard and trackpad
IDG / Matthew Smith
The X1 Yoga’s keyboard is fantastic. It has a spacious layout with ample room between keys both vertically and horizontally and, despite the 2-in-1’s thin profile, the key feel is spacious with a firm and responsive bottoming action. Most premium laptops and 2-in-1 lines, including Apple’s MacBook Air and Dell XPS 13, also have great keyboards, but the X1 Yoga remains at the front of the pack.
Lenovo stuffs in a few keys that some 2-in-1s ditch, such as the home, end, and insert keys, as well as the page up and page down keys. This isn’t a big deal for most people but those who need them will appreciate their inclusion.
Keyboard backlighting is standard on all X1 Yoga models. There’s only two levels of backlight brightness, however, and a fair amount of light leaks around the edges of each key. Though not a functional problem, it is underwhelming for a premium 2-in-1.
The classic Lenovo TrackPoint nub sits in the middle of the keyboard. I’m a fan of the TrackPoint, which I find quicker and more responsive than a touchpad, but there’s nothing here to change the minds of those who don’t like it.
The touchpad is responsive and has a smooth, pleasant surface, but it’s a bit small because of three physical, clicky touchpad buttons at the top of the touchpad. These buttons can be used with either the TrackPoint or touchpad. This, like the TrackPoint, sets the X1 Yoga apart from its competitors. Physical touchpad buttons are nearly extinct on competing devices.
IDG / Matthew Smith
Lenovo ships the X1 Yoga with up to a 3,480 x 2,400 OLED display, but was bold enough to send me the less expensive 1,920 x 1,200 IPS display instead. I appreciate this – the OLED display is excellent, I’m sure, but it’s not what most people will buy.
The basic display still holds up well, with good contrast, high brightness, and vivid, accurate color. Like most IPS screens, the display is best when viewing punchy, saturated, bright content, such as 3D esports games or animated shows. The display can’t reach a deep and convincing black level but actually does better than most, hitting a contrast ratio of 1690:1.
The 1,920 x 1,200 resolution doesn’t seem impressive on paper but still packs over 161 pixels per inch. That’s nearly identical to a 27-inch 4K monitor, which crams 163 pixels per inch. Sharpness is excellent across movies, web pages, and documents.
And, because this is a 16:10 display, there’s extra display space when compared to a 16:9 alternative. It’s not much of an advantage, as competitors have also moved to a 16:10 display. Still, the added space is useful when working with two windows side-by-side.
Though it may look professional, the X1 Yoga can rock out. It has a four-speaker sound system with Dolby Atmos certification. The Atmos branding is fluff (I’ve heard Atmos home theater sound systems, and this ain’t it), but audio quality is strong with clear dialogue, good sound staging, and a hint of kick to the low end. It’s a good effort and, while not as crisp or deep as Apple’s MacBook Pro 14 or Microsoft’s Surface Laptop Studio, it’s impressive.
Webcam, microphone, biometrics
A 1080p camera can be found above the screen of every ThinkPad X1 Yoga, with an upgrade to IR cameras with computer vision available.
My model had the base camera and, to my surprise, it was good. The camera handled modest lighting well and was able to adjust exposure to keep my face well lit in a room with mixed light sources. Color reproduction and sharpness were solid, as well.
The X1 Yoga also has an impressive quad-microphone array. It picked up my voice at a usable level from a variety of angles and, because of its volume, I didn’t have to raise my voice for others to hear. Audio quality is still a bit tinny, as true of most laptop microphones, but it’s a solid effort overall.
A fingerprint reader is hidden in the power X1 Yoga’s power button, located just above the keyboard. It works well though, like most fingerprint readers I’ve tried on Windows laptops, it misfires too often. The optional IR camera upgrade enables Windows Hello facial recognition login, which is quicker and more reliable.
IDG / Matthew Smith
The ThinkPad X1 Yoga’s connectivity has something for everyone.
A pair of Thunderbolt 4 ports offer strong support for modern devices. They can be used to charge the laptop or connect external displays. This is paired with two USB-A Gen 3.2 ports for older wired devices and an HDMI output for connecting to external displays without an adapter. A 3.5mm combo audio jack rounds out the physical ports.
Wireless connectivity is just as robust, offering support for the latest Wi-Fi 6E standard. This can reach speeds equal to and above wired Ethernet in ideal situations, which helps excuse the X1 Yoga’s lack of an Ethernet port. You’ll need a Wi-Fi 6E router to unlock this potential. Bluetooth 5.2 is supported, as well.
Those who need truly mobile connectivity can upgrade to 4G or 5G modem, though my review unit did not offer this. These upgrades will allow Internet use anywhere your service provider offers mobile data. You pay for the privilege, though: the 4G modem is nearly $200, and the 5G modem is almost $300.
Intel’s Core i7-1260P processor powered my ThinkPad X1 Yoga review unit. It’s a twelve-core processor with four performance cores, eight performance cores, and a maximum turbo frequency of 4.4GHz. My review unit paired the i7-1260P with 16GB of soldered LPDDR5 RAM and 512GB of solid state PCIe storage.
IDG / Matthew Smith
Our first test, PCMark 10, evaluates total system performance with a heavy lean towards the processor. It achieved a respectable but not outstanding score of 5,118.
This score is a tad behind the Lenovo Yoga 9i, which was tested with the same Intel Core i7-1260P processor, and significantly behind several AMD Ryzen 7 5000 and Ryzen 7 6000 series processors that are popular in competing machines.
IDG / Matthew Smith
We next dig into Cinebench R15, a heavily multithreaded benchmark that provides the Core i7-1260P to show off. It reaches a score of 1,425, which is impressive, though perhaps not as good as I’d expect from this processor. This benchmark suggests the X1 Yoga is not the quickest platform for this chip.
IDG / Matthew Smith
That was confirmed by the strenuous Handbrake benchmark, which throws a heavy-lift encode of Tears of Steel straight at the processor’s face. A test this long strains the thermal capabilities of a laptop and, arguably, the X1 Yoga flinches, requiring over an hour and twenty minutes to complete the task.
There’s two ways to approach this result. This is still a huge upgrade from the Intel 11th-Gen Core processors that were available in the prior model. So, if you’re upgrading from an older machine, it’s a win. But this result falls well behind the Lenovo Yoga 9i, which suggests the X1 Yoga is reaching a thermal limit over longer workloads.
IDG / Matthew Smith
3DMark Time Spy comes to a score of 1,393. Continuing the X1 Yoga’s theme, this is a good result compared to older laptops but not impressive in 2022. The X1 Yoga will be defeated by some alternatives with Intel Iris Xe and also lose to laptops with AMD’s new Radeon 680M graphics, which is found in some Ryzen 6000 mobile processors.
IDG / Matthew Smith
The Shadow of the Tomb Raider benchmark reached an average of 15 frames per second at 1080p resolution and Highest detail. That’s a respectable result for integrated graphics, though certainly still well behind most discrete graphics solutions. Older 3D games are playable but only at medium to low detail settings.
It’s no surprise to see small gaming laptops are much quicker – though this comparison is not entirely strange, as the X1 FYoga’s pricing is in league with an Alienware x14 or ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14.
On balance, it seems the ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 prioritizes portability and lower fan speeds over performance. The laptop is not particularly loud and, as I’ll discuss in a moment, offers good endurance. Performance, on the other hand, is modest for this category of processor.
The X1 Yoga can easily handle day-to-day tasks easily and will also chew through many heavier workloads, like typical photo editing or programming, without issue. It’s lackluster for gaming, however, and isn’t the best choice for video editing and encoding, 3D rendering, and other extremely intensive tasks.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga had a 57 watt-hour battery. That’s not huge for a 2-in-1 in its segment, but it still turns out a strong result of 10 hours and 57 minutes. That’s much better than most laptops we’ve recently tested.
There’s a few reasons for this: the 1920×1200 IPS display and the laptop’s somewhat modest hardware. The lack of OLED, discrete graphics, or a top-tier mobile processor help the 2-in-1 wring respectable endurance from each watt-hour.
Solid battery life is great for portability, which is further enhanced by the laptop’s Thunderbolt 4 ports and its thin profile. The included power adapter isn’t large and smaller third-party adapters are available, so packing both laptop and adapter isn’t a hassle. Small
I like the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7. A lot. I’ve personally purchased ThinkPads for most of my life, and the X1 Yoga Gen 7 underscores the reasons for my preference. It has a handsome, durable exterior, a great keyboard, offers the unique TrackPoint impact, and delivers on connectivity and battery life. It’s great for working long hours yet portable enough for travel.
But the X1 Yoga, like many ThinkPads, comes with baggage: the price. The X1 Yoga Gen 7 starts a bit north of $1,500 and can easily breach $3,000. This isn’t just Lenovo’s pricing, either. The X1 Yoga is expensive at retailers like Amazon and Best Buy. I could excuse this if the X1 Yoga proved especially quick, but it’s slower overall than the less expensive (yet still premium) Lenovo Yoga 9i.
The X1 Yoga is also more expensive than the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio which, though now a generation behind on processor performance, provides a more compelling 2-in-1 experience.
Lenovo’s premium ThinkPads target very specific customers with a willingness to pay for exactly what they want. If that’s you (or your boss is willing to foot the bill), awesome. But most people would be better off buying the Yoga 9i and pocketing the savings.