IT buyers who believe that the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is the pinnacle of thin and lightweight business laptops need to think twice. The new ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga ($ 1899) imagines the classic laptop. This smart look is the thinnest ThinkPad yet, rising just over 0.4 inches from the corner office desk. But based on the early look that Lenovo gave us, before the ThinkPad X1 Titanium’s debut at CES 2021 (we got a preview sample in hand), we found that the redesigned keyboard can keep it from corporate star status.
Any color, as long as it̵
Companies like ThinkPads in part because the rugged black chassis has changed so little over the years. Lately, however, the current owner of the ThinkPad line, Lenovo, has been shaking things up. The X1 Yoga Titanium is the technology giant’s latest effort. The new laptop only comes in a lightweight Titanium color scheme, and does away with the black finishes of the X1 Carbon and other previous ThinkPad flagships.
It is a yoga, which means that it has a 360-degree rotating hinge that allows you to turn it into an easel, a tent or a tablet. It’s been the standard price for some ThinkPads for a while; There is already a ThinkPad X1 Yoga for sale, now in its fifth generation, with a sixth generation announced along with Titanium.
Apart from being much thinner and lighter (it weighs 2.5 kilos) than the X1 Yoga and X1 Carbon, the X1 Yoga Titanium’s unique screen sets it apart. It has a 13.5-inch touch-enabled screen with 450-nit backlight and 3: 2 aspect ratio, making it taller and narrower than the 16: 9 widescreen orientation of current ThinkPads. The extra height allows you to see more of a text document or web page before you need to scroll, a blessing for flooded executives who review notes all day.
The 3: 2 aspect ratio also makes a comeback on other ultraportable laptops; We have seen a handful of such models introduced in the last year. Before the advent of widescreen video, the 3: 2 aspect ratio was more common on laptops.
Breakthrough Enterprise Features
The ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga has many groundbreaking business-friendly features you would expect from a laptop that costs so much. They include user-friendly innovations such as a webcam that includes both IR sensors for face detection logging in via Windows Hello and a reassuring privacy shutter. These components require a little extra space between the top of the screen and the edge of the laptop, which means that the interior looks a little less groundbreaking, such as the latest iterations of the Dell XPS 13 (whose pixels practically drip from the sides of the laptop) .
Inside the X1 Titanium Yoga, there are many features that IT professionals will appreciate, including the possibility of brand new 11th generation Core processors with vPro remote control and security features. The Lenovo device made available for testing has 8 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD, although buyers will be able to order configurations with twice as much. The addition of vPro processors is often the key to the adoption of Fortune 500 companies and other large companies that distribute and manage large laptops. Intel says that the new 11th generation core processors with vPro offer 20% better performance in general than the 10th generations they replace.
Despite all the business-friendly features, the X1 Titanium Yoga do has, there are still a few important ones that are missing. Main among those absent is a full-size HDMI port for physical connections to conference rooms and A / V systems. (The case is too thin for such a large port.) Instead, the only physical connections are X1 Titanium offers two USB Type-C ports, a SIM card slot for optional 5G / LTE modem and a headphone jack.
Sure, you can easily order a USB-C to HDMI adapter or cable, but there’s one thing to keep in mind before embarking on your next business trip (like judging by the still raging COVID-19 pandemic, perhaps not for a while).
Hi, what happened to the keyboard?
The most controversial X1 Titanium Yoga features are the keyboard and trackpad. These two traditional inputs are important to ThinkPad users, and Lenovo has radically changed them in this new laptop, starting with the touchpad. It removes the traditional physical click switch, and instead selects a haptic feedback that simulates physical clicks with small vibrations.
This technology has been around for a few years on Apple laptops, where it works quite well. But based on the short time I spent with the X1 Titanium, Lenovo’s implementation feels more difficult. It relies on technology from a small company called Sensel, whose design integrates haptic engine sensors and all the other trackpad components into a single package. This compact design is an important reason why the X1 Titanium can be made so thin.
Sensel, which debuted its next-generation prototype haptic touchpad at CES on Monday, offers some settings in a standalone app on the X1 Titanium. They include setting the finger detection and clicking threshold, as well as adjusting the intensity of haptic feedback or disabling it completely. These are similar to the options that MacBooks offers, but in general I found that tapping and haptic clicks were somewhat less precise on the X1 Titanium. This is based on just a few minutes of use, so I may not have passed the required learning curve yet.
The X1 Titanium’s keyboard is just as unusual and potentially more controversial. It ditches the luxurious keys and travel distance that are endemic to ThinkPads in favor of a shallower, stiffer keyboard. I think this is an unequivocally negative aspect. The keys are full size, but they are simply not as comfortable as those on the X1 Yoga or X1 Carbon, or other ThinkPad laptops I have tried.
The overall feel is more similar to how typing feels on the XPS 13 or previous generation MacBook Pro and MacBook Air equipped with butterfly switches. It is tapping, not writing.
Of course, we have to wait to decide our full verdict until we can test the keyboard and the rest of the X1 Titanium further, but it is clear now that the new keyboard is not a definite step forward in ThinkPad design.
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