Offering a versatile 2-in-1 design and swift 8th-gen performance, the Lenovo ThinkPad L380 Yoga is a 13-inch business notebook that will do backflips for you, literally and figuratively. It could probably survive an actual backflip, as well, considering it has a MIL-STD 810G durable chassis. The L380 Yoga ($1,011 as tested, $739 starting) also features powerful speakers and a great keyboard. We wish the display were brighter and the touchpad were bigger, but, overall, this is a solid business 2-in-1.
The ThinkPad Yoga's sexy, 2-in-1 body bends so that you don't have to. The exterior sports a sleek dark-silver finish over its aluminum lid, accompanied by a steel-colored ThinkPad logo protruding from the top left corner.
Once I opened it up, I was greeted by the ThinkPad's lovely island-style keyboard with its signature red pointing stick. The internal chassis felt a little smoother than the exterior, as it's made of glass-fiber-reinforced plastic. It also has a metallic ThinkPad logo in the lower right.
The bezels on the display are a little thick, especially for a 2-in-1. There is a webcam just above the display, with select configurations also featuring a world-facing camera placed just above the keyboard.
Flipping the ThinkPad Yoga into tablet mode felt natural. However, the stylus is annoying to pull out once you're already in tablet mode due to its thin handle. The power button is accessible in tablet mode, but there's no volume rocker on the side.
At 3.5 pounds and 12.7 x 8.8 x 0.7 inches, the ThinkPad Yoga is the heaviest 2-in-1 among its competitors. The HP Spectre x360 is the lightest and thinnest at 2.9 pounds, 0.5 inches, and the Lenovo ThinkPad X380 Yoga lands between them at 3pounds, 0.7 inches.
The ThinkPad Yoga has a decent selection of ports. The left side packs two USB-Type C ports, one USB 3.1 port with always-on charging and an HDMI 1.4 port. On the right, you'll find a secure lock slot, one mini RJ45 port, one USB 3.1 port, a microSD card reader, a headphone/microphone combo jack, an external power button and the stylus port.
Security and Durability
ThinkPad Yoga's glass-fiber-reinforced plastic design passes 12 MIL-STD 810G military-grade certification tests. That means that it's able to withstand extreme humidity and temperatures, vibration, high altitude, sand and dust, solar radiation, fungus and mechanical shock. On the security side, the ThinkPad Yoga can be outfitted with Intel vPro for remote management.
The L380's 13.3-inch, 1920 x 1080 LED backlit display offers plenty of detail and vibrant colors, but the panel looked so dim that I felt like I had to squint while I watched the trailer for The Catcher Was The Spy.
As Paul Rudd turned his face away from the camera, I noticed how crisp every pixel was, from the stitching in his tie to the blemishes hidden under his makeup. Despite the cinematography being tonally dark, the color popped as a green military car drove onto an active battlefield. Each layer of dirt, military barricade and worn-down building in the background crafted a photorealistic image with distinguishable colors. However, the corners of the screen were sucked into darkness during night scenes, as the display was too dim to properly illuminate the surroundings.
According to our colorimeter, the ThinkPad L380 Yoga's panel covers a solid 124 percent of the sRGB color gamut, sliding past the premium laptop average and the X380 Yoga. The Spectre x360 fell below that mark with 109 percent.
Too bad the screen isn't very bright. At 283 nits, the L380 Yoga has the dimmest display among its competitors. The X380 Yoga (308 nits) and the Spectre x360 (313 nits) both climbed above the 305-nit category average.
Keyboard, Touchpad, Pointing Stick and Stylus
With a soft palm rest and clicky, elegant shield-shaped keys, the ThinkPad L380 Yoga is an absolute joy to type on. However, I will always have a gripe with the function key being before the control key.
I produced 66 words per minute on the 10fastfingers.com typing test, closing in on my 68 wpm average. The keys traveled at 1.6 millimeters and required 72 grams of actuation force, which is well within the 1.5-to-2.0 mm range and the minimum 60 grams of force that we look for in a keyboard.
While the pointing stick feels solid, I'm a little disappointed that the discrete mouse buttons didn't get their usual red accents.
The 3.9 x 2.2-inch touchpad is quite soft and responsive, but it's too small, causing my finger to occasionally slide off when I moved the cursor upward. It did, however, recognize all of the key Windows 10 gestures.
The ThinkPad Pen Pro is black, rechargeable and comes with two customizable clickers. It accurately tracked my movement as I drew an adorable little fish with no distinct features. I also noticed that the ink became thicker the harder I pressed, as the pen features 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity. Additionally, the stylus recharges while sitting in its slot.
The ThinkPad L380 Yoga's speakers are straight-up vicious. As I played ONE OK ROCK's "Heartache," the speakers blasted concert-worthy audio throughout a large conference room. I physically felt every single chord on the acoustic guitar intertwine with Taka's melodic vocals, and each note he hit, from high to low, was perfectly captured throughout the song. Even when the xylophone and drums kicked in, all the instruments on the track were fully distinguishable from one another.
Lenovo's excellent sound is bolstered by the laptop's integrated Dolby software that automatically enhances the audio, but also includes multiple sound profiles such as Dynamic, Movie, Music, Gaming and Voice.
The ThinkPad L380 Yoga can handle over 30 Google Chrome tabs, a 1080p YouTube video and some creative sketching all at the same time. Underneath that tough hood lies a 1.6-GHz Intel Core i5-8250U processor, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD and an Intel UHD 620 graphics card to make all of the aforementioned tasks possible.
On the Geekbench 4 overall performance test, the ThinkPad Yoga scored 9,766, which slightly underperformed compared to the 10,772 premium laptop average. The X380 Yoga (i5-8250U) and the Spectre x360 (i7-8550U) scored higher at 10,828 and 13,568, respectively.
The ThinkPad L380 Yoga held its ground on our Excel test, taking 1 minute and 28 seconds to match 65,000 names and addresses. That beatis the 1:35 category average and the Spectre x360's 1:36. The X360 Yoga was faster by just a second, at 1:27.
On our HandBrake test, the ThinkPad Yoga took 22 minutes and 11 seconds to transcode a 4K video to 1080p, making it faster than the 22:16 average as well as the X380 Yoga (24:23) and the Spectre x360 (26:00).
The L380 Yoga copied 4.97GB of multimedia files in 18 seconds, translating to 282 megabytes per second, which is well within range of the 286 MBps category average. However, the Spectre x360 and the X380 Yoga pumped out faster speeds at 566 and 636 MBps, respectively.
The Yoga's Intel UHD 620 graphics card scored 65,340 on 3DMark's Ice Storm Unlimited graphics benchmark. While this trails the 85,907 premium laptop average and the Spectre x360's 79,528 (Intel UHD 620), it still beat the Yoga X380's 48,152 (Intel UHD 620).
The Yoga ran Dirt 3 at 32 frames per second, and while that's above our minimum playability threshold of 30 fps, it's less than half of our 72 fps average for premium laptops. The X380 Yoga (54 fps) and the Spectre x360 (56 fps) also did a lot better. The ThinkPad Yoga did manage to average 32 fps while it ran Overwatch, but it fell as low as 18 fps when I blasted D.Va's micro missiles into Genji's cyborg ninja face.
The ThinkPad L380 Yoga will get you through your workday unscathed, as it lasted 8 hours and 30 minutes after surfing the web at 150 nits of brightness over Wi-Fi. It narrowly beat the 8:21 premium laptop average as well as the X380 Yoga's 8:09 and the Spectre x360's 8:00.
The majority of the photos I snapped on the ThinkPad L380 Yoga's webcam turned out incredibly dull. While it managed to capture the stubble on my face and the strands of hair on my head, the brightness and color from my plaid shirt was drained. I couldn't make out the yellow or green in my shirt at all; instead, the different colors blended into blue and red chunks. The webcam managed to capture photos of the ceiling without getting washed out by the lights, but when put up against the office window, it could take in only half of the buildings before being overwhelmed by light.
The ThinkPad Yoga can get a little warm, but not overwhelmingly so. After the laptop streamed a 15-minute HD video, the underside reached 101 degrees Fahrenheit, slightly above our 95-degree comfort threshold. The touchpad and center of the keyboard hit 81 and 93 degrees, respectively.
Software and Warranty
The L380 is light on Lenovo-branded software, but the Lenovo Vantage app is still there, helping you manage system updates, warranty, hardware settings and cybersecurity. The tacky Vantage Toolbar provides access to settings for the Dolby audio, camera, microphone and Wi-Fi security. There's also the Wacom Pen app, which allows you to customize the clickers on the stylus.
There is some usual Windows 10 bloatware, however, like Candy Crush Soda Saga, Disney Magic Kingdom and the Microsoft Solitaire Collection.
The ThinkPad L380 Yoga I tested costs $1,011 and is outfitted with a 1.6-GHz Intel Core i5-8250U processor, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, an Intel UHD 620 graphics card and Windows 10 Pro.
The base model costs $739 and drops you down to a 2.2-GHz Intel Core i3-8130U processor, 4GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD and Windows 10 Home.
The top-of-line model comes in at $1,576 and is packed with a 1.7-GHz Intel Core i5-8350U processor with vPro, 32GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, a world-facing camera and a backlit keyboard.
Thanks to its 8th-gen processor, 8-hour battery life and military-tested design, the ThinkPad L380 Yoga offers productivity, longevity and durability. The typing experience and speakers are also top notch.
However, its screen is hindered by thick bezels and a lack of brightness. We also would like a bigger touchpad, though pointing stick fans won't mind.
If you are able to stretch your budget, the HP Spectre x360 ($1,259) is a lighter and thinner 2-in-1 that offers a brighter display with thin bezels, faster overall performance and HP's SureView privacy screen. But Lenovo's system offers longer battery life and a better keyboard.
Despite some flaws, the ThinkPad L380 Yoga's steady performance, comfortable keyboard and customizable stylus make it a solid 2-in-1 business laptop for the price.
Credit: Laptop Mag