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Lifewire / Matthew S. Smith
Thin, attractive titanium exterior
3:2 display is great for multitasking
IR camera supports Windows Hello
Doesn't feel robust in-hand
Still bulky in tablet mode
Mediocre display resolution
Wi-Fi range isn't great
Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga combines modern design and connectivity with old-school functionality in the ideal 2-in-1 for ThinkPad loyalists.
Lenovo provided us with a review unit for one of our writers to test. Read on for our full take.
First released in 1992 by IBM, and purchased by Lenovo in 2005, ThinkPad has a particularly loyal fanbase. Lenovo encourages this following with premium laptops that target hardcore enthusiasts, and the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga is the latest.
This 2-in-1’s headline feature is in the name. It’s constructed partially from titanium, a material rarely found on a laptop (Apple’s PowerBook G4 was the last to use it). The X1 Titanium Yoga is also the thinnest ThinkPad ever at just 0.45 inches thick.
That’s an advantage, but also a challenge. ThinkPads are known for great keyboards and extensive connectivity, but packing these features in a laptop thinner than an Ethernet port isn’t easy. Can the X1 Titanium Yoga pull it off?
Titanium is a durable material with a premium reputation, but it doesn’t look or feel different from aluminum. Lenovo solves this with a bumpy, tactile surface on the X1 Titanium Yoga’s display lid. It’s instantly different from smooth, slippery competitors. This 2-in-1 feels premium and luxurious the moment you pick it up.
Unfortunately, titanium doesn’t lead to outstanding rigidity. The material isn’t used throughout the entire chassis. That, along with the 2-in-1’s thin profile, allows noticeable flex when handling the laptop. It’s a disappointing trait in a laptop that sells north of $1,500.
The X1 Titanium Yoga uses a 360-degree hinge to convert into a tablet. The keyboard is always attached, so the 2-in-1 feels large and heavy when used in tablet mode. Most users will find tablet mode uncomfortable to hold for more than a few minutes at a stretch.
The X1 Titanium Yoga is the thinnest ThinkPad, ever.
Cutting thickness to 0.45 inches presents challenges for physical connectivity. With legacy ports out of the question, Lenovo goes all-in on a pair of USB-C 4 ports with ThunderBolt 4. These high-performance ports can be used for connecting peripherals, monitors, or Ethernet (with the right adapters, of course).
Still, there’s no getting around the fact many owners will need to purchase a USB-C hub or dock, an added cost to an already expensive laptop.
The ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga’s modern design is old-school in one key way: a 3:2 display aspect ratio. It’s closer to square than the 16:9 aspect ratio most common on laptops and, as a result, the 13.5-inch screen has far more vertical space than most laptops of comparable size.
The aspect ratio reminds me of my first laptop: a ThinkPad T42 I purchased in college. I loved that screen’s size, and while the X1 Titanium Yoga isn’t as square, it’s still an upgrade over a traditional widescreen display. The Titanium’s screen is perfect for working with long documents or multitasking with two windows side-by-side.
Aspect ratio aside, the display isn’t remarkable. It’s an IPS touchscreen with 2256x1504 resolution, leading to a mediocre pixel density of 201 pixels per inch. That’s not as sharp as the optional 4K displays found on similarly priced alternatives like Dell’s XPS 13 2-in-1. The display has good color accuracy and a respectable contrast ratio of 1000:1, but the same can be said of nearly every alternative from the XPS 13 2-in-1 to Apple’s MacBook Pro and HP’s Spectre x360 14.
I tested the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga equipped with an Intel Core i5-1130G7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB solid-state drive. This close to the laptop’s entry-level configuration, though Lenovo does offer a model with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. An upgraded model with a Core i7-1160G7 processor is available.
The X1 Titanium Yoga scored 4,329 in PCMark 10 with a productivity score of 6,109. This is a solid result, beating the Razer Blade Stealth 13 and falling just a hair behind the Microsoft Surface Pro 7. Intel’s Core i5-1130G7, a quad-core processor, won’t keep up with AMD Ryzen alternatives that offer more cores, but they’re often not available in a device this thin.
3D performance is provided by Intel Iris Xe graphics with 80 execution units. It hit a score of 3,327 in 3DMark Fire Strike and achieved 55 frames per second in the GFXBench Car Chase test. These are modest scores, but fine for a thin Windows 2-in-1. The X1 Titanium Yoga can handle basic 3D games like Counter-Strike or Rocket League.
It felt smooth and responsive in a variety of situations and handled more demanding tasks, like photo editing, without much issue.
The optional Intel Core i7-1160G7 processor, which has 16 additional execution units, can provide a small boost. I recently tested it in Lenovo’s ThinkPad X12 Detachable and found it delivers a performance gain of roughly 20 percent.
The 2-in-1’s good benchmark scores translated well to everyday performance. It felt smooth and responsive in a variety of situations and handled more demanding tasks, like photo editing, without much issue. This is not a workstation laptop, so it has limitations, but its overall performance is impressive given its thin profile and low weight.
Thin design often comes at the expense of keyboard quality. Surprisingly, the super-think ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga avoids this problem. It has a spacious, sensible layout, and key feel is enjoyable. Key travel is just 1.35mm, which is noticeably shallow, but respectable for a thin laptop. I wrote most of this review on the laptop and enjoyed every minute of it.
The keyboard has a spacious, sensible layout, and key feel is enjoyable despite the 2-in-1’s thin profile.
The touchpad, which mimics the aspect ratio of the display, is rather small. It includes one set of physical buttons at the top, rather than the bottom, of the touchpad. It’s a sign this laptop is meant for ThinkPad purists. The location of the buttons feels odd if you use the touchpad, but it’s perfect if you prefer the Trackpoint, a red nub in the middle of the keyboard.
Lenovo’s Precision Pen is supported and, in some regions, included in the box. If not, it’s sold separately for $60, which is more affordable than most of its competitors. The Precision Pen supports 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity and feels smooth, but it's not as attractive or balanced as Apple’s Pencil or Microsoft’s Surface Pen.
Lenovo packs a 44.5 watt-hour battery in the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga. That’s not a large battery, but it performed reasonably well in my testing. It endured a workday of web browsing and Word document editing with just minutes remaining.
Battery life is extended through a feature called Human Presence Detection. It uses the laptop’s IR camera to detect whether you’re using the laptop and, if not, go into standby to conserve power. The IR camera also supports Windows Hello facial recognition login. This 2-in-1 can detect you, resume from standby, and log you in without touching a single key.
Fast charging is supported, with Lenovo saying that 30 minutes of charging will provide up to 4 hours of battery life. My testing found this was accurate.
A pair of 2-watt forward-facing speakers serve the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga’s audio. They’re reasonably loud at maximum volume but have trouble overcoming ambient noise, such as a nearby air conditioner or box fan. They provide clear dialogue and reasonably enjoyable music.
The speakers are Dolby Atmos-certified but, as with past laptops I’ve tested with this certification, I don’t hear the point. The speakers aren’t loud enough to provide anything close to a cinematic experience.
The ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga supports the latest wireless standards: Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1. Cellular connectivity is also available, though I wasn’t able to test it on my review unit.
I wasn’t impressed by the laptop’s Wi-Fi performance. It’s great when very close to a Wi-Fi 6 router, pushing beyond 800 megabits per second (Mbps). That’s more than an average home Internet connection can deliver.
However, the laptop only hit 25Mbps to 40Mbps in my detached office, which is about 40 feet from a powerful Wi-Fi 6 compatible mesh router node. It’s a disappointing result, as a desktop with a Wi-Fi 5 adapter exceeds 100Mbps in the same location.
Need to make a video call? The ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga’s webcam won’t impress with its sharpness, but the camera is better than most at achieving an attractive, well-balanced image. It’s perfectly usable for meetings or chatting with friends on Zoom.
Want privacy? The camera has a physical privacy switch that covers the camera.
And there’s a bonus: the 3:2 screen, which is taller than most laptops with this size of display, placing the webcam in a slightly better position than a laptop with a 16:9 screen, which is shorter. This results in a more flattering camera angle.
Want privacy? The camera has a physical privacy switch that covers the camera. It only covers the 720p webcam, however: the IR sensor remains uncovered and continues to function when the privacy switch is engaged.
All ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga models ship with Windows 10 Pro. Microsoft’s operating system. Windows 10 is an exceptional desktop operating system with great built-in multitasking features and the best app compatibility of any operating system available on a 2-in-1. I doubt most ThinkPad buyers want another operating system even if it were available.
Windows 10 is less impressive if you fold the 360-degree hinge, however. Microsoft never nailed the touch experience on any version of Windows and, in recent years, has slowed the pace of its efforts. Touchscreen use is possible but can be awkward. You’ll frequently encounter small interface elements that were designed to be used with a mouse, not a touchscreen.
Lenovo bundles a variety of software, such as Lenovo Commercial Vantage and Lenovo Pen Access, to handle proprietary features like Human Presence Detection. The software isn’t obtrusive and can be entirely ignored if you’d like. The 2-in-1 is otherwise free from bloatware including third-party antivirus software.
Prices for the Titanium Yoga X1 go from $1,685 and upwards depending on configuration and coupons, but the upgrades provided by these models are limited to a slightly faster Intel Core i7-1160G7 processor and up to 1TB of solid-state storage. My review unit, which was the $3,369 MSRP model with Core i5 processor, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB solid-state drive, should work for most buyers. At the time of this writing, it's also available for a hefty discount.
Dell’s XPS 13 2-in-1 is a strong competitor and arguably the best premium Windows 2-in-1 on the market today. Despite the Titanium’s use of its namesake metal, the XPS 13 2-in-1 feels more robust and looks more attractive. The Dell is slightly thicker at 0.51 inches and is heavier at 2.9 pounds. The XPS 13 2-in-1 also holds an advantage in resolution thanks to an option 4K display.
The ThinkPad strikes back in productivity. The Dell is no pushover, but the X1 Titanium Yoga has a better, more comfortable keyboard and a more functional 3:2 display. Dell’s 2-in-1 has a larger touchpad, though fans of the ThinkPad’s Trackpointer won’t care.
Pricing for the XPS 13 2-in-1 starts lower than the X1 Titanium Yoga, but those models are much less powerful. The two have nearly identical prices when equipped with similar processors, RAM, and storage.
I think the XPS 13 2-in-1 is better for most people, but the ThinkPad has perks. Its superior keyboard, 3:2 display aspect ratio, and Trackpointer give it an edge with those who want a thin yet functional 2-in-1 for on-the-go multitasking.
A functional and powerful 2-in-1 for ThinkPad fans.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga doesn’t feel as premium as its price suggests, but it’s a highly functional and powerful 2-in-1 that will please frequent travelers. The display’s 3:2 aspect ratio is great for multitasking and the keyboard is enjoyable to use for hours at a time. 2-in-1 shoppers looking for a larger display than a typical 12 or 13-inch widescreen device, without the weight and size of a 14-inch alternative, should give the X1 Titanium Yoga serious consideration.
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