Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 review: 7th time’s a charm?

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7: Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Yoga is its business-class 360-degree convertible 2-in-1, sharing the same bloodline as the rest of the ThinkPad line but without quite the same all-black aesthetic. The laptop received a major upgrade in its 6th generation, and so the ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 is primarily a specifications boost that brings Intel’s 12th-gen CPU, LPDDR 5 RAM, and PCIe 4.0.I received a midrange version of the ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 to review, a $2,100 configuration running on the Intel Core i7-1260P with the entry-level Full HD+ display. It’s as well-built as the typical ThinkPad, has a similar and perhaps even better keyboard, and offers strong battery life, but some thermal issues held back its performance. It’s a solid choice for anyone looking for a business laptop with manageability, security, and privacy, but its mainstream appeal is more limited.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 front angled view showing display and keyboard deck.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7

MSRP $2,100.00

“The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga isn’t the strongest performer, but its build quality and battery life more than make up for it.”

Pros

  • Solid productivity performance
  • Above-average battery life
  • Excellent keyboard
  • Strong security and privacy features
  • Robust build quality

Cons

  • Thermal throttling limits creative performance
  • Expensive
  • Touchpad is a little small

 

Design

The lid of the ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7.

The ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 is mostly unchanged from the previous version in its design, which was a complete redesign of the chassis and a switch to a 16:10 display. The 2-in-1 sports a Storm Grey (dark grey) color throughout with no chrome accents, and its lines are simple and minimalistic with only a rounded rear edge that stands out.

The most interesting aspects of the design are the usual ThinkPad red accents in the LED dot over the “i” in the ThinkPad logo on the lid, the red accent on the logo itself on the lid and palm rest, and the red TrackPoint nubbin in the middle of the keyboard. Lenovo was incredibly aggressive with its redesign of the Yoga 9i Gen 7, which has a new rounded chassis with tasteful chrome accents and a fresh, modern look. The ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 has a very conservative aesthetic by comparison.

As with most ThinkPads, the ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 is built extremely well, constructed of CNC machined aluminum throughout. It feels robust, with no bending, flexing, or twisting in the lid, keyboard deck, or chassis. The Yoga 9i Gen 7 is just slightly less rigid, giving the ThinkPad a leg up. Of course, it’s been subjected to military testing for robustness as with all ThinkPad, giving some extra confidence in its build quality.

Another recent 14-inch 2-in-1 I reviewed, the MSI Summit E14 Flip, was a little less solid than either of Lenovo’s machines, reminding me of how important build quality can be. The ThinkPad’s hinges were light enough to allow for opening with one hand while holding the display steady in clamshell, tent, media, and tablet modes.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 front angled view showing display.
Mark Coppock/

The display bezels are larger than some of the competition’s, with small side bezels but a larger top bezel — including Lenovo’s reverse notch that houses the webcam and optional infrared camera — and a larger chin. The screen-to-body ratio comes in at 81%, which is less than the 90% we’re seeing in some recent 14-inch 2-in-1s.

Even with the larger bezels, the ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 is slightly smaller in width and depth than the Yoga 9i Gen 7 while being just a hair thicker at 0.61 inches versus 0.60 inches and slightly lighter at 3.0 pounds versus 3.09 pounds. The ThinkPad is a very thin and light 14-inch 2-in-1 that’s highly portable and usable in tablet mode with the included active pen.

Ports

Connectivity is excellent. Along the left-hand side, there are two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4 support (one is used for charging the laptop), a USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port, and a full-size HDMI 2.0b port. On the right-hand side is another USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port and a 3.5mm audio jack. The only major omission is an SD card reader.

Wireless connectivity includes the most up-to-date Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2, and 4G LTE is an option.

Performance

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 tent view close up of hinge.
Mark Coppock/

My review unit was built around Intel’s 28-watt, 12-core (four Performance, eight Efficient), 16-thread 12th-gen Core i7-1260P. We’ve reviewed enough laptops with this chip to know that it provides solid productivity performance and is significantly faster than the last generation at CPU-intensive creative tasks. It matches up well against AMD’s latest CPU for thin and light laptops, the Ryzen 7 6800U.

Most manufacturers now include utilities that allow the user to switch between performance modes, typically with a quiet mode that minimizes fan noise, heat, and performance, a balanced mode that’s meant to optimize all three, and a performance mode that runs as fast as possible without regard for fan noise and heat. I’ve included both balanced and performance mode results in the table below. Note that on all the laptops I’ve tested, the PCMark 10 Complete benchmark hasn’t shown much of an increase when switching modes, so I’m listing just the balanced mode results.

Looking at the benchmarks, we see that the ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 didn’t benefit as much from the switch to performance mode as some other laptops with the Core i7-1260P. Depending on the benchmark, though, its balanced mode performance was higher. That wasn’t true in Geekbench 5, where it was slower than all but the MSI Summit E14 Flip. which was slow across the board in balanced mode. In our Handbrake test that encodes a 420MB video as H.265, though, it was faster in balanced mode, but its score actually decreased in performance mode. And it was also higher in Cinebench R23 in balanced mode, but it fell behind in performance mode. Its PCMark 10 Complete score was competitive.

The ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 is a very thin laptop, and its thermal design couldn’t keep up.

These results are easy to explain. The ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 is a very thin laptop, and its thermal design couldn’t keep up. In Handbrake in performance mode, it hit 99 degrees C and throttled. And in Cinebench, it throttled in both modes, hitting 100 degrees C. I saw the same kind of behavior in the Asus ZenBook S 13 OLED with the Ryzen 7 6800U, which was the fastest laptop in Handbrake and Cinebench in balanced mode but didn’t benefit as much from a switch to performance mode due to throttling. Lenovo used some tricks to improve thermal performance, such as pulling in air through the keyboard via twin fans, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Intel CPU running at full speed.

Overall, the ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7’s performance was respectable outside of Geekbench 5. There’s not much point in switching to performance mode, and in fact, that might slow you down. Keep the laptop in balanced mode and you’ll get solid productivity performance and enough speed for some lower-end creative tasks as well. But it doesn’t have as much headroom as some other laptops we’ve tested with the same CPU.

Geekbench
(single / multi)
Handbrake
(seconds)
Cinebench R23
(single / multi)
PCMark 10
Complete
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7
(Core i7-1260P)
1,650 / 8,080
Perf: 1,621 / 8,544
116
Perf: 120
1,587 / 7,682
Perf: 1,611 / 8,078
5,537
MSI Summit E14 Flip
(Core i7-1260P)
1,485 / 7,732
Perf: 1,472 / 10,276
152
Perf: 94
1,536 / 6,793
Perf: 1,536 / 9,124
4,910
Lenovo Yoga 9i 14 Gen 7
(Core i7-1260P)
1,717 / 9,231
Perf: 1,712 / 10,241
130
Perf: 101
1,626 / 7,210
Perf: 1,723 / 8,979
5,760
LG Gram 16 2-in-1
(Core i7-1260P)
1,682 / 9,035
Perf: 1,686 / 9,479
137
Perf: 113
1,524 / 6,314
Perf: 1,663 / 8,396
5,404
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
(Ryzen 7 6800U)
1,417 / 6,854
Perf: 1,404 / 7,223
112
Perf: 111
1,402 / 8,682
Perf: 1,409 / 8,860
5,647
HP Spectre x360 14
(Core i7-1165G7)
1,214 / 4,117
Perf: N/A
236
Perf: 189
1,389 / 3,941
Perf: 1,404 / 4,847
4,728

The 3DMark Time Spy gaming benchmark demonstrated the same behavior as with the Handbrake test. The ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 achieved the fastest score among the Intel Iris Xe-equipped laptops in balanced mode, but then its score decreased again in performance mode due to throttling and it fell significantly behind.

The same thing happened in Fortnite, where the ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 was a couple of frames per second (fps) ahead of the other Intel Iris Xe machines in balanced mode but then dropped behind in performance mode. It barely matters, though; given the integrated graphics, this was never going to be a serious gaming laptop.

3DMark
Time Spy
Fortnite
(1080p/1200p Epic)
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7
(Core i7-1260P)
1,899
Perf: 1,886
17 fps
Perf: 16 fps
MSI Summit E14 Flip
(Core i7-1260P)
1,740
Perf: 1,959
15 fps
Perf: 19 fps
Lenovo Yoga 9i 14 Gen 7
(Core i7-1260P)
1,658
Perf: 1,979
12 fps
Perf: N/A
LG Gram 16 2-in-1
(Core i7-1260P)
1,746
Perf: 1,919
15 fps
Perf: 20 fps
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
(Ryzen 7 6800U)
2,110
Perf: 2,213
19 fps
Perf: 19 fps
HP Spectre x360 14
(Core i7-1165G7)
1,457
Perf: 1,709
19 fps
Perf: 23 fps

Display and audio

Mark Coppock/

Lenovo offers several displays for the ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7, all 14-inch touch displays with a productivity-friendly 16:10 aspect ratio that’s becoming the new standard in modern laptops. Options include a WUXGA (1,920 x 1,200) IPS low-power anti-glare 400-nit display, a WUXGA IPS low-power 500-nit display with Privacy Screen, and a WQUXGA (3,840 x 2,400) low-power OLED 500-nit display with HDR400 and Dolby Vision. My review unit equipped the entry-level display that was a bit less sharp than I like but seemed bright and colorful with deep blacks. I’ll mention that I’ve reviewed so many laptops with higher resolutions that it was weird working with what’s also called a Full HD+ panel. I’ve been spoiled.

My colorimeter found the display to offer a higher-quality image than we’re used to seeing in lower resolution displays. The display was bright at 386 nits (with 300 nits being out baseline), more than enough for any indoor lighting conditions and usable outside except in direct sunlight. The contrast was exceptional for an IPS laptop display at 1,900:1. That’s one of the highest scores we’ve seen. Color width was slightly above average at 100% of sRGB and 81% of AdobeRGB; we typically see closer to 75% of the latter in the average premium display. Finally, colors were extremely accurate at a DeltaE of 0.87, where anything less than 1.0 is indistinguishable to the human eye.

While the display couldn’t compete against the OLED panels in our comparison group, it did well against the other IPS displays — all of which were higher resolution screens that typically offer higher quality. That makes the ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7’s display quite good, and a great choice if you don’t require a higher resolution and you want to optimize your battery life (see below).

Brightness
(nits)
Contrast sRGB gamut AdobeRGB gamut Accuracy DeltaE
(lower is better)
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7
(IPS)
386 1,900:1 100% 81% 0.78
MSI Summit E14 Flip
(IPS)
516 1,320:1 100% 89% 1.10
Lenovo Yoga 9i 14 Gen 7
(OLED)
406 28,380:1 100% 95% 0.87
LG Gram 6 2-in-1
(IPS)
323 1,230:1 100% 87% 2.82
Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro
(IPS)
369 1,340:1 100% 80% 1.65
Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon
(OLED)
397 27,590:1 100% 96% 0.88

Four speakers, two upward-firing next to the keyboard paired with two downward-firing on the front bottom of the chassis, provide a lot of volume for a thin and light laptop. Mids and highs were clear with just a bit of scratchiness when turned all the way up, and there was just a hint of bass. Overall, I’d rate the sound quality as very good for a 14-inch laptop, and you won’t necessarily need a pair of headphones to enjoy some Netflix bingeing or music.

Keyboard, touchpad, and webcam

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 top down view showing keyboard, touchpad, and pen.
Mark Coppock/

The keyboard is a version of the typical ThinkPad keyboard, with the same layout (including the unfortunately reversed left function and control keys), large, sculpted keycaps, and plenty of key spacing. However, given the ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7’s thinner chassis, the switches aren’t as deep and they’re much lighter than usual. I prefer this version, which is snappy and precise and doesn’t require as much pressure to register a keystroke as most ThinkPad keyboards. It’s a step behind the Dell XPS and HP Spectre keyboards, which I think are the best among Windows laptops, but it’s a comfortable keyboard nonetheless for long typing sessions.

As usual with ThinkPads, you get two ways to control the cursor. There’s the TrackPoint nubbin in the middle of the keyboard that seems anachronistic but remains something that Lenovo won’t let go of. If you like that kind of control, this is the best example. The downside to the TrackPoint is that it requires a set of buttons that take up space on the touchpad, which has been widened in this generation but remains smaller than it could be. It’s a good touchpad with a comfortable and precise surface and the buttons are perfect with a solid, quiet click, it’s just too small.

The webcam’s video image quality is better than most.

The ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 retains the same small active pen as the previous models, which docks in a bay on the right side of the laptop for storage and power. It works well with the touch- and pen-enabled display, although I do prefer full-size pens to the ThinkPad’s diminutive version.

There are three webcam options, all Full HD. You can get the webcam by itself, with infrared capabilities for facial recognition, and with Computer Vision that improves the human presence detection features outlined in the next section. I found the video image quality to be better than most and a good fit for hybrid workers who rely on videoconferencing.

Privacy and security

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 display view showing webcam.
Mark Coppock/

Windows 11 Hello passwordless login support is provided by a fingerprint reader embedded in the power button as well as an optional infrared camera for facial recognition. My review unit did not equip the infrared camera, but the fingerprint reader worked quickly and reliably. For some added privacy, the webcam can be physically blocked using Lenovo’s ThinkShutter privacy switch.

Even without the infrared camera, you can still utilize the installed Glance app that enables several human presence detection features. For example, the display will blur if the user looks away from it, and the laptop will go to sleep if the user leaves. Glance will not, though, wake the laptop back up when the user returns. Privacy Guard will blur the display if someone looks over the user’s shoulder and Privacy Alert will let the user know someone’s looking. Digital Wellness will provide an overview of the user’s laptop usage, and Snap Windows will control the cursor based on where the user is looking when an external display is connected.

If you opt for an infrared camera with Computer Vision, you also get enhanced human presence detection capabilities. Configured using the Commercial Vantage utility, Lenovo’s Zero Touch feature can lock the laptop when the user steps away and, unlike Glance, wake it back up when the user returns. The rest of the features listed above are also supported.

Finally, Lenovo built Tile device location technology into the ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7. Simply subscribe to the Tile service, register the laptop, and you’ll be able to locate it via Bluetooth on your smartphone when the laptop’s in range and via the Tile Network when it’s not.

Battery life

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 tablet mode,
Mark Coppock/

The ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 has a 57 watt-hour battery, which is less than average for a 14-inch laptop. And so far, the Core i7-1260P in general hasn’t been breaking any efficiency records in our testing. Toss in the fact that ThinkPads don’t always excel in longevity, and I wasn’t holding out much hope for all-day battery life.

Things started out well, with the laptop lasting just over 10 hours in our web browsing test that cycles through some popular and complex websites. That’s a strong showing, especially for the CPU. In our video test that loops a local Full HD Avengers trailer, the ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 lasted for over 16 hours, another strong score. All the other laptops in our comparison group have higher resolution displays as well as include some OLED panels, and the ThinkPad’s low-power Full HD+ display was clearly an advantage in this test.

Then I tested with the PCMark 10 Applications battery test, which is the best predictor of typical productivity battery life, and the ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 did well at 10.5 hours. That’s the second-longest result among the Core i7-1260P machines we’ve tested and generally an indication that a laptop will last a full day of productivity work unless it includes demanding CPU-intensive tasks. In the PCMark10 Gaming battery test, which indicates how hard a laptop works while running on battery, the ThinkPad managed 1.75 hours, a little less than average and indicating that the ThinkPad works hard while unplugged.

Overall, battery life is a strength. You’re likely to get a full day’s work on a charge, with some power left over for Netflix binging in the evening.

Web browsing Video PCMark 10
Applications
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7
(Core i7-1260P)
10 hours, 10 minutes 16 hours, 12 minutes 10 hours, 33 minutes
MSI Summit E14 Flip
(Core i7-1260P)
7 hours, 23 minutes 9 hours, 0 minutes 7 hours, 54 minutes
Lenovo Yoga 9i 14 Gen 7
(Core i7-1260P)
9 hours, 10 minutes 12 hours, 45 minutes 8 hours, 32 minutes
LG Gram 16 2-in-1
(Core i7-1260P)
11 hours, 31 minutes 17 hours, 58 minutes 16 hours, 39 minutes
 Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
(Ryzen 7 6800U)
8 hours, 4 minutes 13 hours, 13 minutes N/A
Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon
(Ryzen 7 5800U)
10 hours, 6 minutes 11 hours, 12 minutes 9 hours, 22 minutes

Pricing and configurations

My review unit currently costs $2,100 on the Lenovo web store for a Core i7-1260P, 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM, a 512GB PCIe 3.0 solid-state drive (SSD), and a 14-inch Full HD+ anti-reflective and anti-smudge IPS display. Drop down to a Core i5-1240 (a slower chip with the same core and thread count), 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD and you’ll spend $1,721. At the high end, there’s a $2,773 configuration with a Core i7-1270P with vPro, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB PCIe Gen 4 SSD, a 14-inch WQUXGA (3,840 x 2,400) anti-reflective and anti-smudge IPS display with Dolby Vision HDR, and an infrared camera with Computer Vision. You can also configure various other combinations at various price points, and Lenovo sells through a variety of retail channels, so it’s a good idea to check around for the best price when making your purchase.

Our take

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 is a solid business 2-in-1 choice, offering a vPro CPU option for enhanced management and security and a host of other features that are of interest to security- and privacy-minded businesspeople. And you can choose unique service offerings that businesses will appreciate.

But how does it compete as a mainstream 14-inch convertible 2-in-1? It suffers from some thermal issues that hold back its high-end performance, but it has superior battery life, strong connectivity, and a nice low-power Full HD+ IPS display for users who don’t need OLED or higher resolutions. It’s also quite expensive, which will likely hold it back against some solid competition.

Are there any alternatives?

Lenovo’s Yoga 9i Gen 7 is the strongest competitor, offering a stunning new design, better performance, and a gorgeous OLED display (which you can configure on the ThinkPad). It doesn’t have the ThinkPad’s business-oriented features, however.

The brand-new HP Spectre x360 13.5 looks like it will be a strong competitor, offering a more efficient processor that will challenge in performance as well (which remains to be seen when we conduct our review). It’s more elegantly designed and will likely offer the same excellent keyboard and display as the Spectre x360 14 that it’s replacing.

Finally, you should consider Apple’s MacBook Pro 14 if you don’t require the flexibility of a 2-in-1. It’s exceptionally well-built, like all MacBooks, and its Apple M1 Pro or M1 Max CPUs are speedy and offer some of the best battery life. If you don’t demand Windows 11, then the MacBook Pro 14 is an excellent, albeit expensive, alternative.

How long will it last?

The ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 has a robust build quality that should last for years, and it’s stocked with up-to-date components. There’s a one-year warranty, which is less than we like to see on what’s considered a business-class laptop.

Should you buy it?

Yes, if you’re a businessperson who can benefit from its business-focused features.

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