Anybody using the Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga line? (Not interested in Macs)

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by rgugler, Jul 25, 2016.

  1. rgugler

    rgugler Mu-43 Regular

    Hey everybody,

    I need to replace my computer sometime this year and originally had my heart set on the copper version of the HP Spectre X360, but it seems they have discontinued their 13-inch laptop. I came across reviews of the Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga line, and while it sacrifices a lot of the style, it has awesome specs. I was wondering if anybody had any experience using any of them for photo editing and some video editing? I am only an amateur photographer, but I am getting very serious about it and I am trying to up my photo game and work flow. (Some of the naturalist work I want to do in the winter requires a very high level of photography skill.) I like to travel, so that is why I am focusing on the smaller laptops. I also like the idea of being able to write on the screen. I had a convertible laptop when I was in college (it was massive and weighed over 5 pounds!) and being able to draw diagrams directly into my notes was super helpful. I'm currently looking into grad schools for GIS, remote sensing, and mapping, so this would be the laptop I had for that as well.

    I am currently using a 13 inch Toshiba Portege I bought in 2011, so I can't imagine being too terribly disappointed because anything would be an upgrade, but I don't like changing computers (obviously!) so I want one that will last. My current laptop has an intel Core i5 and I have upgraded the RAM to 8gb and hard drive to an HHD 1tb drive. It is working better than it was before the upgrades, but it has some serious heat management issues and sounds like it might explode sometimes, so definitely can't just upgrade some harware this time.

    Any input would be greatly appreciated!
  2. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

  3. rgugler

    rgugler Mu-43 Regular

    I'm looking at the Thinkpad yoga versions, which are the business level instead of the consumer level of the Yoga 900. They are black and bland, but are much more durable and have much better specs. The Thinkpad X1 Yoga is the 360 version of the Carbon. What specs did you get with the Carbon? Glad to know it is working well!

    ThinkPad Yoga | Our Best 2-in-1 Laptops  | Lenovo US
  4. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    I don't know if they have any better longevity, but they are warranted longer. You mentioned the Spectre, which is definitely consumer class like the Yoga 900, so I wasn't sure what you meant exactly.

    One cool thing about the business version is that the keyboard recesses when you flip it into tablet mode, so the back is flat. I demo-ed it at a trade show and was impressed.

    I have the 2560x1440 screen, i7-5600U, 8GB RAM (sadly the max on v3 Carbons) and the 512 SSD. Battery life is legendary and performance is pretty good, but it's still a dual core. So you do notice a little slower performance for long running jobs compared to a high end desktop. My office has about 200 of them deployed and everyone loves them.

    In terms of specs, the Yoga 900 13" is the winner. It has an available i7 and a 4K screen and Iris Pro graphics. It's also thinner and like 60% of the price with the same processor, RAM and SSD. I've been looking at one for personal use. I don't see a specific pen feature for it, though, so it may not be as good for that.
  5. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    I just bought my kids a pair of HP pavilion x360 i3 laptops. They are practically indistinguishable from my wife's Envy x360. Touch screens, think fold into a tablet configuration...Performance is snappy. Very happy with them and they were only $500 each.
  6. rloewy

    rloewy Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 5, 2014
    I have the old Yoga 2 Pro (3200x1800) with an i7, 256GB/8GB - it is good, it is reliable, very light, fast.

    I think one of the advantages the Thinkpad has is the pen support. I would sacrifice the thin and light (and slightly higher resolution) for the pen support of the Thinkpad.
  7. ivoire

    ivoire Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2011
    Naperville, IL
    I've been using the Yoga 700 for a few months when travelling. Works fine with standalone Photoshop CS6 installed
  8. SVQuant

    SVQuant Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 20, 2015
    SF Bay Area, California, USA
    My business partner and I have had Yoga 2 Pros (i7/8GB/256GB SSD) for about 2.5 years now and are very happy with it. No issues with mine so far, though my partner had to have the keyboard repaired after the space bar failed. There is no pen support which was a miss with the tablet mode.

    My wife got a Yoga 3 Pro and mostly likes it, though it has occasional issues with phantom touches on the touchscreen.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. rgugler

    rgugler Mu-43 Regular

    Thanks for all the input! The pen has really clinched it for me for the thinkpad line, I just have to decide which one to get.

    My current cost for configuring the X1 would be over $2000 after upgrading to a 1tb ssd after buying it, Yoga 460 would be about $1700 after upgrading the ssd and RAM, and the P40 would be about $1900, but the base ssd is big enough I could wait to upgrade it for a bit.

    I initially looked at all the consumer grade computers because they are more publicized and flashy, but I think the workhorse model would be a better balance for futureproofing. I just don't know which features I need to concentrate on because my computer use will be changing a lot in the next couple of years. Currently, the hardest thing I do with my computer is some lightroom photo editing and Netflix, but I plan to up the photo editing and add aerial photography, videography, and mapping with drones as well as other GIS work. I am almost wondering if I should just get a cheap model to get through right now and get a feel for the 2 in 1 computers, then purchase a higher end model when I have a better idea of what exactly I will need. Thoughts?

  10. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    Have you considered a MS surface book? Since you really like the pen idea, they are worth a look.
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  11. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    A couple of thoughts. First, HP is still showing a 13" Spectre x360's on their website as well as a 12" model: spectre x360 Search Result | HP® Official Store . Second, you really need to think about what features you want vs. what you need. For instance:
    • will you be using an external monitor
    • will you be using Lightroom and/or Photoshop
    • how long are you willing to wait for images to be handled/processed
    • how large or small of a unit are you willing to carry
    • is battery life important
    • what generation ports do you want
    • what is your budget
    All of these involve trade-offs of one sort or another. Laptop screens are better than they used to be, but they are generally not the first choice for color critical work. LR runs best with a quad core processor, but most laptops run with dual core units. This list could go on, but my point is that you might first want to figure out what you can and cannot live with and without. I have been a loyal ThinkPad user since 2006, but my newest machine is an HP desktop. I wanted the horsepower, and that was just not going to easily happen in a laptop at a price I wanted to pay. So, before you get to Spectre vs. Yoga, you should make sure that they have what you want/need. For $2000 that you mentioned above, you could almost pick up a desktop and laptop if you shop carefully.

    Good luck,

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  12. stevedo

    stevedo Mu-43 Regular

    May 12, 2012
    Steve Douglas
    My wife and I are currently travelling around the world by motorcycle. I purchased a Lenovo Yoga 2 11 for the trip in December 2013. We left on the trip in June 2014 and the Yoga has been bouncing around happily on our motorcycle since then, no problems at all. I used to work at Microsoft in the UK and asked IT if it were their own money, based upon the repairs they see, what would they buy. They said Lenovo or HP business grade machines. Given they had responsibility for about 4,000 devices from multiple manufacturers that was good enough for me :) . I use my Yoga for Lightroom and Photoshop work, browsing, Word, Excel, Access, OneNote, blogging and as an interface to my motorcycle . No complaints at all with those usage scenarios. Enjoy your Lenovo :) 
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2016
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  13. rgugler

    rgugler Mu-43 Regular

    My brain is kind of moving more towards the desktop/laptop combo, the problem with that scenario is I need to be extremely mobile. I do seasonal work (firefighter in summer and biologist in winter), so I piece together jobs for the year and travel around the country to them. Last year I lived in Alaska, Montana, and Kansas. So far this year I moved from Kansas to South Dakota to Idaho. There is a good chance my winter work this year might involve working on a cruise ship. A desktop is just way too stationary at the moment.
  14. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    This is helpful information. While you are mobile, are you space/weight challenged in your selection. There are some 15 (and even 17) inch laptop workstations that are quite powerful. Some contain quad core processors, and others have reasonably good screens (for a laptop). The trade-off for performance and features in this case is size/weight. I certainly see the appeal of a Spectre x360 or Yoga and think that a small laptop is great if it is not a primary machine. My Thinkpad is a 14" and it was a mid-weight machine when it was released in 2011. It is heavy by today's standards, but it does have a higher resolution 16:10 screen as well as the classic Thinkpad keyboard with lots of key travel - something favored by people who type a lot. I am not sure that I would want to lug it around on the bus to work each day, but I have a friend in IT who carries a 17" Dell workstation with him every day in his backpack.

    If you do need to make some compromises, try to find a model with a decent screen, preferably a true 8-bit rather than a 6-bit with dithering. Also, try to find a model with no ports slower than USB 3.0. They are common on most machines today, but you just never know. And, if your machine is sealed, buy as much RAM and as big of a disk as you can afford. If either can be easily upgraded by a user, then do it yourself and save some money (and possibly get better performance) by upgrading them yourself. In addition to Lenovo and HP, do look at some of the Dell models (and the latest top of the line Surface Pro). The XPS models appear to have good screens and they are quite small/light for their screen sizes. The 13" was the size of an 11", and the 15" was quite small as well. Also try to pick up some good external drives. If you are planning on using Lightroom, you can keep your catalogs on the internal drive and your images on an external if you are shooting a lot.

    Good luck (and safe and happy travels),

  15. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    You don't want a desktop with that lifestyle. But you might want to go with a more traditional laptop. It will cost less and give higher performance.
  16. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    We use HP EliteBooks at my office, they're light, thin, and pretty powerful.
    My main gripe is that even the 14" is wider than an old Dell 15.4", due to the 16x9 screen. The 15" HP won't fit in my messenger bag.
    Also, the ones we have max out at 16gb RAM.
  17. twokatmew

    twokatmew Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 1, 2012
    Lansing, MI, US
    Yes! I have an i7 HP Spectre x360 w/ 8GB RAM and use it daily. I can see it on HP's web site with a variety of configurations. I also had occasion to require hardware support and found HP to be excellent. I highly recommend this machine. Very impressed with it.

    Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
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