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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga review: This 2-in-1's OLED screen will color your computing world

Jon L. Jacobi | Sept. 23, 2016
This laptop delivers rich colors and top-notch performance.

In fact, what influences how fast a system will subjectively feel is more so the type of storage drive. Happily, the X1 Yoga comes equipped with the fastest you can currently get: a PCIe-NVMe SSD—but the experience puzzled us at first. Windows and applications didn’t pop open the way they should with an NVMe SSD. For some reason, Lenovo didn’t install Samsung’s NVMe driver, instead relying on Microsoft’s. As a result, the SSD read great, but wrote like an inebriated hog.

with and without samsung nvme driver

Before and after installing Samsung’s NVMe driver on the X1 Yoga. Note that the 4K writes (unthreaded) were so slow before the install, they don’t even tick the chart.

Installing the proper driver (downloaded from Samsung’s website) worked miracles. The feel of the unit perked up dramatically, as you can see in the AS SSD benchmark results above. If you see reviews complaining that the X1 Yoga doesn’t feel as fast as it should, the generic driver is probably why.

As for gaming performance, the X1 Yoga performed about equal to its ultraportable peers in 3DMark’s Cloud Gate test. That said, the whole lot of ultrabooks can’t do much to begin with on their integrated GPUs. At best, you can play games with light system demands.

x1 yoga 3dmark cloud gate overall v2 

Of more importance for a machine like this is battery life. The X1 Yoga’s 56-watt-hour battery lasted 7 hours and 44 minutes during our video playback test, in which we played a 4K movie file on continuous loop in Windows 10’s Movie & TV app with the screen brightness set between 250 and 260 nits. That’s about a transatlantic flight. One note, though: In order to get that screen to 250 nits, we had to crank the brightness up all the way to 100 percent.

x1 yoga battery life v2 

Strangely, though, the panel’s OLED nature seems subjectively brighter at 250 nits compared to other machines set to the same level. That’s possibly due to the fact that the display type seems to induce a bit of a home-brew HDR effect even in standard-definition material. OLED screens already possess that kind of dynamic range, thanks to the rich black they render. Fire, laser shots, and such really pop compared to the same type of elements on an LCD display.

Without a doubt, OLED makes just about everything more compelling (especially movies), at least visually. Sadly, it can’t do anything for poor writing, directing, or acting.

 

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