A short look at a trio of Lenovo business convertibles

by Volker Weber

There is only one market segment for PCs that is not shrinking: 2-in-1 laptop/tablet combinations. Two prominent examples are the Lenovo Yoga line of consumer laptops at one end of the spectrum and Microsoft Surface (Pro) at the other end. The most exciting new entry into this market has been Microsoft's Surface Book, which is both a full notebook and a light tablet in one.

Lenovo is now going full in with very different configurations, targeting their business customers. I looked at three machines today, and I have a very personal view, that you may or may not share.

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The most exciting machine to me was the one you would probably find very boring: a ThinkPad X1 Carbon with OLED Touchscreen and Yoga hinges. It has a retracting keyboard and a pen that stores (and recharges) inside the machine. You can use it just as a brilliant 14" business notebook or you can flip it around to turn it into a somewhat large and heavy Windows tablet with pen digitizer.

If you ever used a ThinPad X1 Carbon, you will immediately like this machine. The Yoga experience just adds 90 g of weight and does not take anything away. Without looking at the X1 Yoga print on the screen you would be hard pressed to say which is which.

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And then there was the X1 Tablet. It is modular and has plenty of components and I had a hard time figuring out how you assemble it. My kit had the tablet itself, a pen, a keyboard and a "productivity" add-on, which adds ports and more battery power. There are two more modules I did not see today: one contains a projector, the other a 3D-camera.

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In its simplest configuration with tablet, keyboard and pen it might replace a Surface Pro. My use cases would not include any of the add-ons, so I am certainly not the target audience. For me, it has too many moving parts.

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The final machine would not only be considered as a Surface replacement, it also looks like one. It has a kickstand using two small hinges that work the same way as a signature Yoga 900 hinge. This Miix 700 was introduced as a consumer device, but Lenovo is now also positioning a Business Edition with Windows Pro and ThinkPad support.

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I would only want one of those machines. And as always, it is the most expensive one. If I needed a high-end, do-everything Windows laptop that doubles as a tablet, I would have a hard time deciding between a Microsoft Surface Book and the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga. The Microsoft option provides for a lighter tablet, but the ThinkPad just looks like a winner.

Comments

Surface Pro 4 is much faster, but an "offline tablet". The Lenovo X1 tablet allows you with its mobile broadband option to go into the internet and read emails even if you are not at home.

Andreas Meyer, 2016-03-16

A slower LTE tablet? That's also in Microsoft's portfolio.

Volker Weber, 2016-03-16

Oh, I do not mean so slow.

Andreas Meyer, 2016-03-16

If only Lenovo could source 16:10 or 3:2 panels.

Andreas Pfau, 2016-03-17

They can. The Miix 700 gives you a 12.0” display with 2160x1440, which is exactly 3:2. The ThinkPad X1 Yoga gives you an additional 200 px left and right making it 2560x1440 and 14".

Volker Weber, 2016-03-17

Thanks, that's great. (The Miix) I only looked at the description in shops. (And at the specs of the Yoga 260).

Andreas Pfau, 2016-03-17

I am waiting to order the OLED X1 Carbon Yoga. The only mistake is no USB-C, especially when they released a killer USB-C curved screen that is gorgeous. I love that they have 16 gigs of ram and a super fast SSD in it.

How is the pen?

John Head, 2016-03-18

The pen is a stylus. Good thing is that in charges right in the machine, but it is very thin.

Volker Weber, 2016-03-18

How would you compare it with the Surface Stylus?

John Head, 2016-03-18

Exactly like I said: very convenient as it is always fully charged and safely stowed away. But not as good as a Surface pen.

Volker Weber, 2016-03-18

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I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.

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