Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 Review
The 14-inch Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Yoga Gen 7 delivers an excellent computing experience. It comes in a range of configurations and price points, starting at $1,456.95, but that is a highly discounted web price off a $2,649.00 list i5 version of the X1 Yoga. The 4K OLED with cellular runs $4,559.00 list but is currently selling for $2,735.40 at Lenovo. Buyers should never pay list and will rarely, if ever, be asked to do so. (Note that prices vary daily.)
The Lenovo X1 ThinkPad Yoga Gen 7 continues to move Lenovo away from boxy ThinkPad designs, but it isn’t as refined and refreshing as the Z-series. It is one of the better Intel-based laptops for a remobilized workforce, however.
Most versions of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 ship with a perfectly adequate 1920X1200 WUXGA display. For those willing to go all-in, the highest-level configuration offers a 3840×2400 OLED WQUXGA display. I cannot speak to its quality as my unit didn’t arrive with that configuration, but I’m guessing it’s gorgeous based on other Lenovo OLED displays I have seen.
That standard 16:10 IPS display also includes anti-reflective and anti-glare coatings, touch, 100%RGB, 400nites of brightness and support for low blue light.
The bezels are thin, with the top slightly taller to accommodate the camera. Unlike the Lenovo Z-series with a pronounced camera bump atop the display, the X1 Yoga hints at a bump.
As a 2-in1, the display mounts with a 360-degree hinge so it can flip into tablet or presentation mode, depending on need.
Primary input arrives via yet another excellent Lenovo keyboard with sculpted keys that cosy up to fingers for comfortable typing. A trackpad and trackpoint offer mouse control. The trackpad uses the older design language with the distinct trackpad buttons at the top, rather than the new, more subtle trackpad integrated buttons as in the Z13 and Z16.
As a 2-in-1, the Yoga supports a pen, which docks underneath the unit. I’m not a fan of the small pens, but for annotation or signatures, it works just fine. The pen is not designed for precision or extended use time, so drawing and CAD won’t be on the agenda for the X1 Yoga, except for stalwart employees muddling through because they’re maximizing the features of the tools they were given.
My eval unit clocked in at the middle of the pack for X1 Yoga options with the Core™i7-1260 and 16GB of RAM. The X1 Yoga is also available in i5 and i7-1280p configurations with up to 32GB of RAM.
I found this configuration perfectly acceptable for everyday business use. I experienced smooth operations across word processing, spreadsheets, media consumption and other activities.
A new dual fan thermal design keeps the air flowing out the rear vent of the Yoga, which kept the laptop comfortable when on my lap. I would not call the X1 Yoga noisy, but if you aren’t wearing headphones, you will hear the gentle whir of the fans when they kick in.
A built-in fingerprint reader handles Microsoft’s Hello protocol, while integrated Tile® tracking will help retrieve stolen or misplaced units. The Lenovo X1 Yoga Gen 7 also includes a standard security slot for hardware lockdown. Other than that, security arrives via Microsoft features like BitLocker.
Like many Lenovo laptops, the specs include some Mil-Spec references without details. Lenovo does not offer an IPX rating. That said, the well-machined chassis is solid. The X1 Yoga will take some abuse, but it will probably leave a mark.
The X1 Yoga focuses on business use. It includes keys for picking up and ending calls, good speakers and a solid FHD camera with software support to enhance its performance in collaborative settings (see Software, below).
Sound was fine for conferences when no one is around. Chances are the speakers will get little use with a headset attached to the X1 Yoga. Those who do listen to movies, music, or calls over the speakers will find them short on bass and a bit metallic. For any serious listening experience, add a good audio output device.
The latest Intel® Wi-Fi 6E AC211 2×2 Az vPro® drives connectivity, along with Bluetooth® 5.1. The high-end unit includes a Fibocom 1860-GL modem for cellular connectivity.
Ports include two Thunderbolt 4 ports, one for charging, two USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports, HDMI, and a standard audio jack. The always-on Type-A port supports charging passthrough. A good complement for a thin laptop.
Lenovo mostly makes beautiful laptops, and the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 is no exception. The sleek grey exterior gives way to a well-appointed interior. The glow of the backlight through the keys demonstrates what all backlighting should look like, even if it shines a bit too much around the keys.
The X1 Yoga measures 12.37 x 8.75 x 0.61 inches and weighs in at 3.04 pounds which is both a good size and weight compared to other 14-inch notebooks.
As with all recent Lenovo laptops, a cardboard shell and inserts reflect a minimalist package design. The cloth bag around the ThinkPad is a nice touch.
My X1 Yoga didn’t come with much software pre-installed. The Lenovo Vantage bundles up support and maintenance into a single app, and Microsoft Office sits awaiting activation. QuickClean, a holdover from when we worried about Covid-infected surfaces, offers disinfecting wipe-down time with a keyboard lock should you need that, and Lenovo View helps optimize the camera settings and performance, including features like centering the speaker in the frame.
What we like
I’m not sure if Lenovo considers the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 its flagship business product, but it certainly could contend for that title. It looks professional and offers an array of processors and a couple of displays—the highest-end configuration is both a serious workhorse and a serious drain on resources, pricing above similar devices from Dell and Apple.
The tablet mode adds value, but not enough for owners to not also own an iPad. The tablet features will likely be restricted to signatures and notes on PDFs. While the diminutive pen is not an outstanding feature, it’s better to have it than to not have it.
The keyboard remains an outstanding feature; even if this one isn’t the best of Lenovo’s, it is still better than most competitor keyboards.
The outstanding display is bright and sharp. The 16:10 display offers a bit more real estate than 1080p HD displays, but if the 3480×2400 OLED wasn’t so expensive, I would suggest that Lenovo make that the standard on a business machine at that level, as Apple has done with its MacBook Pro line.
Many laptop speakers sound horrible, but Lenovo’s Dolby Atmos® speakers bring some powerful, if not cultured, sound making the speakers more than superfluous must-haves. To minimize issues during calls or maximize personal sound, headphones are recommended.
Lenovo gets high marks for port selection, including HDMI. Although the port selection doesn’t include wired Ethernet support, the Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth® 5.2 eliminate most needs for wired networking. Optional cellular support is available.
The good but not battery-killing display and processors keep battery life at a respectable all-day level except for those trying to impress a manager by working 12 hours. Most reasonable work scenarios will allow owners to work without worrying about power until overnight.
What could be improved
My number one item for improvement would be a front-facing IR camera to support facial recognition. I find it hard to believe on a unit aimed at the business market Lenovo left out the IR camera. Only the highest-end unit includes IR support. Lenovo’s cameras should feature IR across the entire X1 Yoga Gen 7 line—perhaps it will be on Gen 8.
And as readers know, it’s time for the TrackPoint and confusing touchpad to go.
I would like to see more refined backlighting with additional levels as well as less bleed around the keys. Focus on the flow through rather than general lighting. This keyboard is not alone in leaking its light, but given Lenovo’s keyboard prowess, I expect better.
The beautiful touchscreen remains beautiful as long as you don’t touch it. Take a moment to clean it before switching from tap and drag to serious data input or writing. And if the designers want to include a pen and writing features, they should do so with seriousness, not as an afterthought. Sure, it’s better than not having a pen, but not that much better.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7: The Bottom Line
Overall, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 proves a solid business laptop. It’s not for gaming, and it’s overkill for casual users—but it satisfies the needs of its core users, business users, just as it should.
Gen 8 engineers should focus on a slightly better keyboard and more confined backlighting, an improved balance between price and performance, which to me, would mean reducing the base price but figuring out how to include a higher resolution monitor and an IR camera as standard.
ThinkPads have a fan base, and like Apple’s fans, they are willing to pay for their quirks—and fortunately, ThinkPads ship at steep discounts over the list price, unlike Apple’s products. That said, the list price on the X1 Yoga is high, and even with discounts, it never comes in at cheap. Consumers seeking similar features in an even prettier package should consider the Yoga 9i as a Lenovo-branded laptop that will siphon off less late 2022 deflated buying power.
Lenovo provided the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 for review. Images courtesy of Lenovo.
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