By now it’s no secret that the collective laptop world is awaiting the release of Apple’s new 2016 MacBook Pro with bated breath. It’s late October, we know its arrival is eminent, and we can all but guarantee it will be heralded as the new standard by which all other laptops going forward will be judged. While this is great news for Mac users with a nice hunk of expendable income, what about the Windows folk? With so many options to choose from this year, and new models entering the pipeline every day, it can be tough to say for sure which machine really outranks the rest. When it comes to display, though, Lenovo’s latest hybrid offering may take the cake.
The future of displays is here and it can be summed up in four letters – OLED. Once you’ve used a computer with an OLED display, the old LCD screens will simply never look the same. This beautiful new technology, which stands for Organic light-emitting diodes, enriches colors with bright, crisp, beautiful hues. It offers dramatically superior color reproduction and exceptional attention to contrast, with ultra-black blacks that don’t have even the slightest hint of visible backlight bleeding. In fact, one reviewer of the ThinkPad X1 Yoga said this actually created some issues when he continuously moved the mouse into the surrounding bezel – the color is that deep.
There is something less exciting and immediately apparent once you begin navigating the new Yoga, too. While the display has received a massive and welcome upgrade, much of the rest of the Yoga remains nearly the same as it has for the last decade or so. There is surely something to be said for Lenovo’s dedication to brand recognition and an “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality, it’s just simply the wrong time to be playing it safe. The laptop and hybrid worlds are changing and evolving faster than ever; even as I type this I can almost hear Team Mac’ers salivating over what new and exciting features will be announced with Apple’s forthcoming MacBook addition. Nonetheless, playing it safe doesn’t necessarily mean that this is a terrible rig; simply that it doesn’t inspire the excitement of the new. The latest ThinkPad X1 Yoga is encased in Lenovo’s standard carbon fiber mix, matte black finish. It still includes the hallmark red TrackPoint nub in the center of its keyboard, and a comfy chiclet keyboard with a roomy trackpad, and little else for personality.
The specs and ports are also about what you’d expect from a Windows hybrid in this day and age, aside from one major exclusion. While you’ll get an HDMI and mini DisplayPort for your monitors, three USB ports, a SIM slot and microSD storage, there is no longer a full-sized SD card slot. Instead, Lenovo has bundled its OneLink+ port for connecting to its docks. If this doesn’t deter you (and honestly, it really shouldn’t), then the rest of the rig can be tailored to your specific storage, processing and price needs. Be prepared, though – while the base model starts at around $1,700, upgrades and configurations can push the price of this snazzy hybrid device into upwards of $4,000 territory.
All in all, the new ThinkPad X1 Yoga from Lenovo performs excellently as a business or enterprise laptop. As a hybrid device with an excellent touchscreen, it keeps a handy stylus tucked away and charging for whenever you need it. The keys retract slightly into the body when you’re using it as a tablet, which given the spectacular color and display offered by the new OLED screen, you’ll probably be doing fairly often. The only obvious drawback to the device is the battery life, which is unsurprisingly unspectacular, thanks to that big beautiful 14-inch OLED. But if cutting-edge display technology and convertible convenience are at the top of your Windows laptop wish list, this may be just the device for you.
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