Advertisement

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Advertisement

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 6 review: High performance, higher price tag

Tim Danton
27 Jan 2022
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
1,596
inc VAT

One of the best Windows 10 convertibles around, but Lenovo charges a high price and it’s heavier than is ideal

Pros 
Superb colour accuracy
Slim, rugged design
Exceptional performance
Cons 
Pricey
Underwhelming battery life
A touch too heavy
Advertisement

If one of your top criteria for a 2-in-1 laptop is pen-on-screen capability, Lenovo makes a compelling argument for your money with the ThinkPad X1 Yoga. This is a serious business tool dressed in grey aluminium, with the only notes of relief being the red trackpoint in the centre of the keyboard and a backlit dot over the “i” in ThinkPad on the lid. It’s classy, understated and a little boring.

It’s also incredibly well made, with no hint of flex in the metal lid or the chassis. Lenovo backs this up with MIL-STD-810H tests, so you know you can use this laptop in even tough environments such as deserts without fear of failure.

Buy now from Lenovo


Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 6 review: Design

Lenovo achieves this ruggedness despite the slim dimensions. It measures 15mm thick, with bezelled edges to give it the impression of even more slenderness from the front. Ports aren't sacrificed, either: you’ll find a full-size HDMI 2 output on the left alongside one USB-A 3.1 port and two Thunderbolt 4 ports; the one closest to the back also acts as the power input. Head over to the right and you’ll find a second USB-A 3.1 port, 3.5mm jack and Kensington lock slot. There’s also a slot for a garaged stylus.

Lenovo doubles down on biometric security by embedding a fingerprint reader into the power button, while an infrared webcam supports Windows Hello for hands-free logins and an integrated privacy cover. It’s only a shame that Lenovo hasn’t upgraded the webcam to 1080p or higher, as the 720p resolution is no match for dedicated webcams.

Image quality is bog standard, with compression and mediocre colours. The Yoga’s strongest suit here is its excellent microphone system, with four far-field mics built in to clearly capture your voice rather than background sounds. Lenovo matches those mics with a fine pair of speakers, which sit on either side of the keyboard to create a stereo stage. I would be quite happy to listen to music on these while tapping away on a long document.

READ NEXT: Check out some of our favourite PC speakers

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 6 review: Keyboard

This brings us to the keyboard, which lacks the luxurious deep travel of ThinkPads of yore but remains a high-quality offering. It wins for the size and the contouring of the keys – they feel natural under the finger – and its sheer quietness. Even the heaviest typist won’t annoy their companions with the X1 Yoga.

Lenovo pays careful attention to the function keys at the top, with grouping to make them easier to hit plus dedicated keys for Home, End, Insert and Delete. Then there’s the double-height Enter key and elongated spacebar. Note the mouse buttons placed just below the keyboard, which are particularly useful for those who still use the trackpoint, and although that results in a smaller trackpad (110 x 57mm), few people will complain.

It helps that you can whip out the previously mentioned stylus at a moment’s notice, whether to annotate a PDF, sign a document or draw on the screen. Take scrawled note, though, that its size is reminiscent of the styluses found with Palm Pilots rather than a chunky Apple Pencil. The larger your fingers, the more difficult you’ll find it to hold.

READ NEXT: These are the best USB and wireless keyboards to buy

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 6 review: Display

Lenovo supplies four different IPS panels with the Yoga Gen 6, so pay attention when you pick your model. I tested the top-end 3,840 x 2,400 version with HDR400 certification, a nominal peak brightness of 500cd/m² (I measured 531cd/m²) and the promise of 90% DCI-P3 coverage. The reality exceeded even that expectation with 97% coverage and a superb maximum Delta E of 0.58. That translates into superb accuracy.

The other three panels Lenovo offers won’t be as good, with no promises of colour coverage, and also note their lower 1,920 x 1,200 resolution. That translates into 162ppi, which is sharp to the human eye at distances from 21in and over, so if you normally view your laptop screen at arm’s length, it will still look sharp.

However, if you can afford the higher-spec panel, then choose it. Not simply because of the greater colour coverage, but because when in tablet mode you’ll likely be working at closer quarters than arm’s length. That being said, the argument for the ThinkPad as a tablet is weaker. While a weight of 1.4kg is respectable for a 14in laptop, this isn’t a machine you’ll want to hold in one hand for long.

Buy now from Lenovo


Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 6 review: Performance

Where Lenovo pulls well ahead of the pack is power. Despite the fan rarely going above a low drone, it proved a star performer in our benchmarks. A score of 159 is exceptional from a Core i7-1165G7, and one reason for this is the stunning PCI-E 4 SSD: it returned 5,450MB/sec in AS SSD’s sequential write test and 3,547MB/sec for reads. 16GB of RAM always helps, but note this is soldered in and not upgradable.

The Yoga relies on integrated Iris Xe graphics, but again we saw results at the top end of this accelerator’s skills. A 51fps at 1080p in Metro: Last Light is strong, as is 41fps in F1 2020 and 67fps in Dirt: Showdown. The only negative compared to some recent laptops is a video-rundown score of 8hrs 29mins in our battery tests. I hoped for ten hours or more, and Lenovo promises 15 hours under light use. Still, the power adapter won’t take up much space in your bag and it weighs only 350g.

READ NEXT: These are the best gaming laptops to buy today

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 6 review: Verdict

So to the big question of whether you should buy the X1 Yoga – and an uncomfortable conversation about prices. If you want the display I tested, your only current option on lenovo.com is a customisable model that ships in “more than six weeks” and costs £2,410. That’s with the Windows 11 Pro 64 OS, 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. The precise spec I tested, with the part code 20XY004BUK, isn’t available, which is a shame as it also supports 4G; that’s a £140 upgrade on Lenovo’s website, or you can buy 5G for £400.

Cheaper options are available. For example, £2,070 buys a Core i5 model with Windows 11 Home 64, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, a 1,920 x 1,200 screen and 4G. That’s not cheap, but it includes a three-year return-to-base warranty you can upgrade to on-site for £89.

Should your IT department offer you the X1 Yoga Gen 6 as a laptop then I wouldn’t hesitate: it’s a great convertible laptop despite the minor weaknesses I’ve highlighted. I just hope that they can negotiate a better deal than what’s currently on offer direct from Lenovo.

Buy now from Lenovo