When it comes to paper goods, a “pad” usually costs less than a “book,” but that’s not true of Lenovo laptops. While ThinkPads are elite systems for enterprise execs, ThinkBooks are more affordable machines intended for small businesses. In other words, if you want a 14-inch convertible and can’t swing a ThinkPad X1 Yoga, you’ll find the ThinkBook 14s Yoga (starts at $968; $1,079.99 as tested) a fine alternative. It offers a handsome design, perky performance, plenty of ports, and an onboard stylus, all in an excellent-value package. It’s impressive enough to claim an Editors’ Choice award as our new favorite midrange 2-in-1.
Attractive and Affordable
The $968 base model at Lenovo.com carries an 11th Generation Core i5 processor, 8GB of memory, a 512GB NVMe solid-state drive, a full HD (1080p) touch screen, and Windows 10 Pro. Our test unit, priced at $1,079.99 at CDW, steps up to a quad-core, 2.8GHz (4.7GHz turbo) Core i7-1165G7 chip and 16GB of RAM. That’s a steal considering that our Editors’ Choice-winning premium convertible, the HP Spectre x360 14, was about $1,700 as tested, and business models like the X1 Yoga and Dell Latitude 9410 2-in-1 over $2,500.
Clad in Abyss Blue aluminum, the ThinkBook 14s Yoga measures 0.67 by 12.6 by 8.5 inches, a bit bulkier than the Latitude (0.59 by 12.6 by 7.9 inches) but trimmer than the more-consumer-oriented Asus VivoBook Flip 14 (0.72 by 12.8 by 8.7 inches). At 3.3 pounds, it’s a tad heavy to hold in your hands rather than your lap in tablet mode, but no burden in a briefcase.
The fingerprint-prone lid features a two-tone color scheme with a large ThinkBook logo. Lifting it reveals a 1,920-by-1,080-pixel display with thin top and side bezels. (Lenovo claims an 86% screen-to-body ratio.) A sliding shutter on the top edge disables the webcam. Two hinges let you flip and fold the screen back into tablet, presentation kiosk, or tent modes, with minimal wobble if you tap the display in laptop mode. Though the ThinkBook hasn’t passed the MIL-STD durability tests given to ThinkPads, there’s hardly any flex if you grasp the screen corners or press the keyboard deck.
Everything You Need, Nothing You Don’t
The 720p webcam, like all but a handful of laptop cameras, is nothing to write home about; it captures reasonably bright and colorful but soft-focus and slightly noisy images. Downward-firing speakers produce somewhat hollow sound; there’s enough volume to fill a small room, but bass is minimal, and overlapping tracks sound flat. Dolby Audio software lets you choose among music, movie, game, and voice presets and play with an equalizer.
The backlit keyboard lacks dedicated Home, End, Page Up, and Page Down keys—you pair the Fn key and cursor arrows to get those functions, and the latter are staged in an awkward, HP-style row instead of the proper inverted T. Also, the Escape and Delete keys are puny. On the positive side, the typing feel is fairly snappy and there are handy top-row shortcut keys, including two to place and hang up on conference calls. The buttonless touchpad takes a light tap to click.
Lenovo rates the screen at 300 nits of brightness, which is usually fine, but I found myself wishing I could turn it up another notch or two—backgrounds were acceptably white instead of dingy, but things looked just a bit dim and prone to reflections. Otherwise, the display is acceptable, with rich colors and decent contrast. Viewing angles are wide, and fine details are sharp.
Keeping Up With the Higher-Priced Spread
For our benchmark charts, I compared the ThinkBook 14s Yoga with four other 14-inch convertibles. Two of them are consumer models—the Lenovo Yoga 9i and HP Spectre x360 14—and two are more costly business systems—the HP EliteBook x360 1040 G7 and Dell Latitude 9410 2-in-1. The ThinkBook is the lowest-priced of the quintet. You can see their basic specs in the table below.
Productivity and Media Tests
PCMark 10 is a holistic performance suite developed by the benchmark specialists at UL (formerly Futuremark). Its primary test simulates different real-world productivity and content-creation workflows. We use it to assess overall system performance for office-centric tasks such as word processing, spreadsheeting, web browsing, and videoconferencing. PCMark 8, meanwhile, has a storage subtest that rates the speed of the unit’s boot drive. (See more about how we test laptops.)
Read More: https://www.pcmag.com/reviews/lenovo-thinkbook-14s-yoga