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Lenovo ThinkPad X380 Yoga review: A true business-class machine

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
1,360
inc VAT

A superb thin, light and powerful laptop for business users on the move

Pros 
Powerful
Versatile
Practical
Cons 
Not the most stylish
Could be speedier with more RAM
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Like so many of Lenovo’s ThinkPads, the X380 Yoga doesn’t feel like it’s trying to impress. The styling is simple, angular and practical. There’s no rose gold, ivory or champagne tones, just a whole bunch of matte black.

It’s thin and lightweight at just 1.44kg, but it’s not bothered about being the skinniest laptop on the block. Like its stablemate, the X280, it’s a laptop aimed squarely at getting work done wherever and whenever you need to get work done. The only hint of showing off is how smoothly it switches between laptop, tent and tablet forms.

Lenovo ThinkPad X380 Yoga review: Design and features

Needless to say, it feels bulletproof. Lenovo has apparently tested it against 12 military-spec requirements, with the X380 Yoga passing over 200 durability tests. Whether you’re a rugged adventurer, hopelessly cack-handed or a parent of young kids, this is something you’ll appreciate.

And where other thin-and-light models are cutting down on connectivity, the X380 Yoga packs in everything you need, including a dual-mode USB Type-C/Thunderbolt 3 port, two USB 3.1 ports and a mini Gigabit Ethernet port (which needs a dongle, sadly not supplied).

One thing that is supplied is a stylus, although you might not notice it at first. That’s because it docks neatly into a slot on the right-hand side of the unit where it also charges while not in use. It’s a fantastic piece of design and turns the X380 Yoga into a really effective mobile business tool, particularly if you like to make notes or annotate schematics, plans and documents with the laptop in its tablet mode. Our only criticism is that the fan at the back of the keyboard pushes out lots of hot air when used this way.

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It’s almost dull to report that a ThinkPad keyboard is great, but this one is great, so what can we do? The big keys and slightly concave keytops are a dream to type on, with a superbly balanced, springy action and a solid base.

The only things we might moan about are the weird positioning of the PgUp and PgDn keys in the cursor pad, and the way a Function key sits where you’d expect the left Ctrl. It’s something you get used to, but you’ll notice it if switching between a ThinkPad and another PC.

Meanwhile, the trackpad doesn’t have the size or luxurious feel of some glossier rivals, but it’s responsive in use. One final question – does anybody still actually use the ThinkPad’s weird red analogue nub in the centre of the keyboard?

The Yoga X380 has no pretensions or desires to be an entertainer. The sound is basic and near-useless for listening to music, and the screen is bright but mediocre on both colour accuracy and sRGB gamut coverage. Watch Netflix and your shows look slightly drab.

Lenovo ThinkPad X380 Yoga review: Performance

Luckily, the Yoga X380 has it where it counts for business. Battery life isn’t quite up there with the Dell XPS 13, but we still got nearly nine-and-a-half hours of looping video playback on a single charge, with a fast-charge option that can take you back up to 80% from an hour’s charging.

And while the X380 isn’t quite as speedy as its stablemate, the X280, it still has a formidable Core i7-8550U processor. We would be tempted to partner it with 16GB of RAM rather than 8GB, though, as its benchmark scores fell behind machines with similar specs other than memory. Its 500GB NVMe SSD certainly doesn’t hold it back, however, with read/write speeds in the region of 2GB/sec.

Lenovo ThinkPad X380 Yoga review: Verdict

This isn’t the laptop you buy to impress your friends or attract envious looks from across the boardroom, but it is the laptop you buy if you want to carry around a true-business class machine that won’t weight down your briefcase, backpack or cabin bag. It’s powerful, versatile and very, very practical; and that’s reflected in its enterprise-grade price.

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