If you want a notebook that will bend over backward for your business, you want a 2-in-1. The Lenovo ThinkPad X380 Yoga ($1,223.10 to start; $1,541.70 as tested) is both a laptop with an awesome keyboard and a tablet with a rechargeable, stowaway stylus. It also has a powerful 8th Gen Intel Core processor. But its battery life, while lasting over 8 hours, doesn't run as long as competitors', so those who work overtime might want to look elsewhere.
The X380 retains the timeless ThinkPad design, sporting a black carbon-fiber lid with a ThinkPad logo in the top left-hand corner and silver hinges on the back.
The 13.3-inch display is surrounded by a moderate bezel, and there's yet another ThinkPad logo on the deck beneath the fingerprint reader. There are a few pops of color, thanks to the red accents of the mouse buttons and the red TrackPoint nub in the middle of the keyboard.
At 3 pounds and 12.3 x 8.8 x 0.7 inches, the X380 has a standard footprint for a business 2-in-1. The Dell Latitude 7390 2-in-1 is 3.2 pounds and 12 x 8.3 x 0.8 inches, and the ThinkPad X1 Yoga is 3.1 pounds and 13.1 x 9 x 0.7 inches.
The X380's ports are a mixed bag. There's a mini Ethernet port, which requires you to buy a dongle to use with wired internet. That port on the left side of the computer is joined by a power jack, and while many of Lenovo's other laptops are powered over USB Type-C, this one still uses a bulky, square power-adapter plug.
The left side of the machine has the aforementioned ports, as well as a Thunderbolt 3 and USB Type-C, while the right side is jam-packed with a stylus slot, a headphone jack, a microSD and SIM card slot, a USB 3.0, an HDMI output and a Kensington lock slot.
Security & Durability
The X380 is MIL-STD-810G tested against humidity, extreme temperatures, vibration and high altitude, so this should be fine when you jam it in a backpack or a briefcase.
Some models (though not the one we reviewed) come with Intel's vPro for remote management.
The laptop has a fingerprint reader to log in through Windows Hello, and some models (again, not ours) come with IR cameras for facial recognition.
The X380's 13.3-inch, 1080p display is bright and vivid, though some competitors are even better. When I watched a trailer for Avengers: Infinity War, Gamora's hair was the perfect combination of red, pink and black, and I could see the veins bulging in Captain America's face as he pushed back Thanos.
The X380 covers 113 percent of the sRGB color gamut, matching the premium laptop average. The Latitude's 119 percent and the X1 Yoga's 201 percent were even more vivid.
It also measured an average 308 nits of brightness, surpassing the average (299 nits), and is just one nit behind the Latitude (309 nits). The X1 Yoga is far brighter, at 477 nits.
Keyboard, Touchpad and Stylus
The X380's keyboard is one of the better ThinkPad keyboards I've used in the last few months. With a deep 2 millimeters of travel that need 72 grams of force to press, they're clicky, responsive and comfortable. On the 10fastfingers.com typing test, I reached 110 words per minute (within my average range) with my usual 2-percent error rate.
When you fold the X380 back into a tablet, the keyboard shows off a sweet trick: The keys retract into the chassis so that you don't press them unnecessarily.
The 3.5 x 2.1-inch touchpad is standard ThinkPad fare, with Windows 10 precision drivers for three- and four-finger gestures. But old-school fans may still prefer the TrackPoint nub on the center of the keyboard, which means you never need to take your fingers off the home row.
There's also the ThinkPad Pro Stylus, which fits into a slot on the right side of the keyboard to charge, which means you never need to worry about changing AAAA batteries or losing the stylus. It's a little thin for my liking, but I eventually got used to it. You can customize its two buttons with the Wacom Pen app, and it offers 2,048 degrees of pressure sensitivity, though tilt sensitivity was just OK.
The speakers on the X380 Yoga are par for the course on a 13-inch laptop, providing loud enough sound to fill a mid-size conference room and decent mids and highs. When I listened to Daft Punk's "Instant Crush," the vocals, synths and guitar were clear, though the bass was almost impossible to make out. I tinkered with the Dolby settings in Lenovo Vantage, and while the gaming mode brought out a bit more of the low-end, it also reined in the vocals.
Armed with an Intel Core i5-8250U CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD and Windows 10 Pro, the X380 can handle a few simple tasks simultaneously without choking. For example, I ran my usual gamut of 25 tabs in Google Chrome, including one streaming a 1080p episode of Last Week Tonight, and the computer just kept on chugging.
On the Geekbench 4 overall performance test, it earned a score of 10,828, surpassing the premium laptop average of 10,088, though falling behind the Latitude (12,811, Intel Core i7-8650U) and the X1 (14,517, Intel Core i7-8650U), which we reviewed with more powerful processors.
It took the X380 8 seconds to copy 4.97GB of files, a blazing speed of 636MBps. That's far higher than the average of 283.4MBps, the Latitude (363MBps) and the X1 Yoga (508.9MBps).
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But the Yoga took 24 minutes and 23 seconds to transcode a 4K video to 1080p in Handbrake, which is longer than the average (21:53), the Latitude (21:00) and the Yoga (18:38).
Featuring Intel UHD Graphics 620, the X380 Yoga won't play most of the games in your Steam collection. But the ThinkPad X380 ran Dirt 3 at a highly playable 54 frames per second (fps), below the premium average (66 fps) and X1 (64 fps) but ahead of the Latitude (42 fps).
The X380 will squeeze through a workday, though its competitors last longer. Lenovo's laptop lasted 8 hours and 9 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test 2.0, which falls short of the 8:47 premium laptop average. It's also below the X1 Yoga (9:07) and the Latitude (10:13).
The 720p webcam on the Yoga is decent; it takes sharp, color-accurate photos, though it struggles a tad with bright light. In a photo I shot at my desk, I was completely in focus, and I could even see the stitching on my sweater. Although some of the background was visible, some light coming in from windows nearby was totally blown out, but that didn't affect the clarity of me as the subject.
Think twice before working with the X380 in your lap. After streaming 15 minutes of HD video from YouTube, the laptop stayed hot, climbing to 89 degrees Fahrenheit at the center of the keyboard and 109 degrees on the bottom, both surpassing our 95-degree comfort threshold. The touchpad stayed cool at 84 degrees.
Software and Warranty
The ThinkPad X380 Yoga, like many Lenovo laptops before it, is light on software. Lenovo's Vantage is a one-stop shop for hardware scans, support issues and settings options, but otherwise, the company doesn't add too much. You still, of course, have to deal with the bloat that's on every Windows 10 laptop, like Candy Crush Soda Saga, March of Empires: War of Lords, Disney Magic Kingdoms and AutoDesk SketchBook.
How Much Does the ThinkPad X380 Yoga Cost?
The ThinkPad X380 Yoga we tested, with an Intel Core i5-8250U CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD and Windows 10 Pro, costs $1,541.70.
The base model, with a 128GB SATA SSD and Windows 10 Home, costs $1,223.10. Lenovo also sells a maxxed-out version with a Core i7-8650U CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD and Windows 10 Pro for $2,015.10.
The ThinkPad X380 Yoga is a capable 2-in-1 with a top-notch keyboard and a rechargeable stylus that hides away discreetly when you don't need it. The 8th Gen Core performance is solid and its display is very good, but some competitors have even better screens.The best of the best is the ThinkPad X1 Yoga ($1,514.24 similarly configured) with a beautiful display, a webcam privacy slider and an even sleeker design. The Dell Latitude 7390 2-in-1 ($1,737 similarly configured) has a more vivid display and long battery life, but a bland design and a cramped, uncomfortable keyboard.
If you can afford the luxury of the X1 Yoga, that's the way to go. If not, the X380 Yoga will be a solid workhorse.
Credit: Shaun Lucas/Laptop Mag