LAS VEGAS - With their deep blacks and ultra-rich colors, OLED displays have offered the most luscious images on smartphones and TVs-- and now the screen technology is coming to laptops. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (starting at $1,449) is going on sale this month with a sharp WQHD LCD display, but if you wait until April you'll be able to get this 2-in-1 with an eye-popping OLED panel. That upgrade brings the price to $1,649, but based on our hands-on time here at CES 2016, the premium looks to be well worth it.
Also joining the X1 family is the new X1 Carbon ($1,299 in February), which is the lightest 14-inch laptop yet at 2.6 pounds, and an extremely versatile X1 Tablet ($899 in February) that has an optional snap-on projector and other modules.
ThinkPad X1 Yoga: OLED Looks Awesome...for a Price
We’ve seen some head-turning screens on laptops, such as the Infinity Display on the Dell XPS 13, but the ThinkPad X1 Yoga’s OLED display (supplied by Samsung) is guaranteed to inspire envy. Starting at $1,449 for the LCD model but priced at $1,649 for the OLED-equipped model, the latter's 2560 x 1440-pixel touchscreen blew us away when we looked at images side by side on both displays.
An image of a frog looked a lot more vibrant on the OLED X1 Yoga, complete with richer reds, truer blacks and more details in the shadows. The OLED panel is more glossy than the LCD X1 Yoga, but we didn't find it to be too reflective. Plus, the OLED screen is brighter at 400 nits versus 350 nits for the LCD. The OLED model is rated for 2 hours of less battery life at 9 hours, compared to 11 hours for the LCD X1 Yoga, but we'd be willing to make that trade-off.
Lenovo will also offer a traditional LCD touch screen with a full HD panel for those who prefer even longer battery life.
Because this is a Yoga, you’ll be able to flip the display around to take advantage of multiple usage modes, including tablet, tent, stand and laptop. Plus, Lenovo includes a Stylus Pen that you can dock in the lightweight 2.6-pound device for charging. You get 100 minutes of use from a 5-second charge.
Despite its 0.66-thin profile, the X1 Yoga squeezes in three USB 3.0 ports, Ethernet, a mini DisplayPort and HDMI. However, the chassis houses a microSD card slot instead of a full-size SD card slot.
The X1 Yoga is powered by 6th-generation Core processors (up to Core i7), and it comes with up to 16GB of RAM and up to 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD. Other options include an LTE-A modem for getting online anywhere and WiGig wireless docking.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet: Snap-on Modules Add Versatility
The Surface Pro 4 offers a snap-on keyboard, but the ThinkPad X1 Tablet does Microsoft’s device three better when it comes to add-ons. Lenovo offers a trio of optional modules for this $899 hybrid, including a Presenter Module ($279) with a built-in projector that can beam a 60-inch image.
Other add-ons include a Productivity module ($149) that adds 5 hours of battery life along with HDMI and OneLink+ ports and a RealSense 3D imaging module ($149) coming in May that will let you capture and edit objects for graphics design and 3D printing. Unfortunately, the keyboard also costs extra.
By itself, the ThinkPad X1 Tablet weighs just 2.4 pounds with Lenovo’s classic ThinkPad keyboard and TrackPoint, complete with three colors and adjustable angles. The tablet itself weighs a manageable 1.8 pounds, which is slightly heavier than the Surface Pro 4’s 1.73 pounds, but it’s just as thin as Microsoft’s slate at 0.33 inches.
A 6th-generation Core m processor powers the X1 Tablet along with up to 16GB of RAM and up to a 1TB NVMe SSD. Ports on the tablet include one USB 3.0, one USB Type-C, mini DisplayPort and micro SD, in addition to a nano SIM card slot for LTE-A connectivity.
ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2016: Lightest 14-incher Yet
To put the ThinkPad X1’s 2.6-pound weight in perspective, this 14-inch laptop is nearly half a pound lighter than the MacBook Air with its smaller 13-inch screen. It’s also lighter than the 2.7-pound Dell XPS 13 (which is 2.9 pounds with touchscreen) while packing plenty of oomph.
Available in February for a starting price of $1,299, the new X1 Carbon offers 6th generation Core performance, faster NVMe SSD storage and both LTE-A wireless and WiGig and OneLink+ docking. Lenovo promises up to 11 hours of rated battery life, slightly up from the 10.9 hours on the current model. On our testing, the last X1 Carbon lasted a pretty good 8 hours, so we’re fine with a modest bump.
The new X1 Carbon houses three USB 3.0 ports, a OneLink+ port that doubles as an Ethernet jack, mini DisplayPort, HDMI and microSD card slot. We’re glad to see some kind of memory card slot, as the last Carbon lacked one, but we’d prefer a full-size SD to a mini.