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2554 Posts

04-17-2014

United States of America

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Battle of the ThinkPads: ThinkPad L14 Gen 2 (AMD) vs ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 5

2021-05-18, 4:43 AM
(Disclosure:  I received the ThinkPad L14 Gen 2 AMD as a pre-production test unit from Lenovo.  All opinions are my own,  and no one from Lenovo received copy approval before this review is posted.)
 
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For the past year, my daily driver has been the ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 5 with an Intel i7-10510U processor and 16GB of memory.  After using the ThinkPad L14 Gen2 (AMD) for a week, how does it stand up to the X1 Yoga?  Let's find out!
 

Configuration

The ThinkPad L14 Gen2 (AMD) I'm reviewing has the following specifications:
  • AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 5850U (8C / 16T, 1.9 / 4.4GHz, 4MB L2 / 16MB L3
  • 64GB DDR4 SSD(32GB + 32GB dual-channel)
  • 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD M.2 2280
  • 14" FHD (1920x1080) IPS 300nits Anti-glare, Touch
  • Standard 2D RGB camera with privacy shutter
  • CAT12 WWAN with physical or eSIM capabilities
  • Wifi6

The ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 5 has the following specifications:
  • ​​Intel Core i7-10510U (4C / 8T, 1.8 / 4.9GHz, 8MB)
  • 16GB Soldered LPDDR3-2133
  • 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD M.2 2280
  • 14" FHD (1920x1080) IPS 400nits AR (anti-reflection), Touch
  • 720p + IR with ThinkShutter
  • Wifi6

 

Design and Ports

While both laptops share the classic ThinkPad DNA, they are also significantly different as well.  The obvious difference is that the L14 is a traditional clamshell whereas the X1 Yoga can flip 360-degrees into a tablet.  The X1 Yoga also has an Active Pen located in a silo on the right of the laptop and is very useful for marking up documents on the go.  The L14 has a touchscreen available but there is no Active Pen support available.  The L14 is made of polycarbonate-ABS which is sturdy and durable.  The X1 Yoga is made of an aluminum unibody which feels very nice to the touch and should be more durable.  I personally like the classic ThinkPad black look, so I put a matte black skin on my X1 Yoga to match the aesthetic of the classic ThinkPads.   ​
 
Picture
Original look of the X1 Yoga before I put on the matte black skin.
Picture
Design of the L14
 
In terms of weight, the L14 is about half a pound heavier than the X1 Yoga, which isn't a big difference but is ever-so-slightly noticeable when comparing the two in a backpack.  The L14 also has slightly larger display bezels than the X1 Yoga, which results in the overall dimensions of the L14 being a third of an inch larger in length and two-thirds of an inch larger in width.  This is noticeable in a 14-inch laptop sleeve as the slight increase in dimensions makes it a tighter fit for the L14.  The slightly larger size of the L14 does have one key benefit: the trackpad is about half an inch longer than the one on the X1 Yoga.  This is definitely noticeable as the added real estate provides more leverage when scrolling and moving across the screen.  
 
Picture
Top (with the tape holding my skin together) is the X1 Yoga, and the bottom is the L14.
 
The L14 also has more ports than the X1 Yoga: a full-size Ethernet port, a Smart Card reader, and an HDMI 2.0 port vs a 1.4 port on the X1 Yoga.  The X1 Yoga does have Thunderbolt 3 support on its USB-C ports, whereas the L14 does not.  What this means is that Thunderbolt specific applications like an eGPU won't work on the L14, but the USB-C ports on the L14 are still capable of data transfer, Power Delivery 2.0, and DisplayPort 1.4.  Both machines have a fingerprint reader as an option, an IR camera as an option, and WWAN as an option.  As with all new ThinkPads, a camera shutter on the webcam is standard on all configurations.  If you're looking to upgrade the RAM down the road, you will be able to with the L14 as there are two SO-DIMM slots; on the X1 Yoga, however, you will not be able to upgrade the memory down the road as it is soldered on the system board.  ​
Picture
 
Picture
Top: X1 Yoga.  Bottom: L14 Gen2
 

Performance and Thermals

The L14 and the X1 Yoga fall in two different laptop categories, with the X1 Yoga targeting the Ultrabook market and the L14 being more of a full-fledged laptop.  As a result, there are prominent performance differences between the two.

The X1 Yoga excels in day-to-day tasks like web browsing, content consumption, document and presentation editing, and coding but will begin to lag and thermal throttle when running many things at once.  Part of this is because of the 16GB of memory it has compared to the 64GB on the L14, but also because the i7-10510U on the X1 Yoga is an Ultrabook-grade processor whereas the AMD Ryzen 7 Pro 5850U on the L14 is a pro-grade CPU.  

I ran an extreme stress test on both the X1 Yoga and the L14 where I simultaneously opened a hundred Chrome tabs, connected the laptops to an external 1080p display, ran a remote virtual machine on X2Go, ran a circuit simulation on SIMetrix and Multisim, opened a drawing on AutoCAD, started recording in the background with OBS, ran a Python script in the background with Cygwin, and ran Microsoft Teams in the background.  The L14 didn't skip a beat and didn't thermal throttle during this extreme pressure test whereas the X1 Yoga started thermal throttling and the cursor glitching.  
 
Picture
Internals of the X1 Yoga
Picture
Internals of the L14
 

Display

Both displays are 1080p, though the X1 Yoga can be configured with a higher resolution option.  The L14 model I have has a 300 nit touchscreen display, though a 400 nit non-touch option is available as well.  The X1 Yoga's display is 400 nits.  In terms of display quality, colors are more vibrant on the X1 Yoga and the additional brightness of the X1 Yoga contributes to that.  The display on the L14 is matte whereas the one on the X1 Yoga is glossy, and there are tradeoffs and benefits to both.  On the one hand, the glossy display makes colors more vibrant and detailed, but is also easily distorted in direct sunlight.  With the matte display, colors are slightly duller, but direct sunlight does not affect the visibility of the display as much.  
Picture
Left: L14. Right: X1 Yoga.
 

Speakers

The X1 Yoga has a pair of downward-firing speakers and upward-firing speakers whereas the L14 only has downward-firing speakers.  The speaker quality on the X1 Yoga is definitely better than on the L14, whether it's from a bass standpoint or a volume standpoint.  The L14 is fine for voice and meetings, but it's not great for content consumption.  
 

Keyboard, Trackpad, and Trackpoint

Both keyboards are very similar on these machines, and I like them very much as I do with all ThinkPads.  I would give a slight edge to the L14 because it feels like it has a bit more key travel, but the X1 Yoga has a more tactile keyboard if you're more of a fan of that.  To each their own.  The TrackPoints are identical; they use the same slim TrackPoint design and can be interchanged between machines.  The trackpad on the L14 is half an inch longer than on the X1 Yoga and that difference is noticeable if you are heavily reliant on the trackpad.  
 
Picture
 

Odds & Ends

Both models can be configured with LTE, and in my testing with the L14 with a T-Mobile data plan, coverage and speeds are comparable to my LTE phone.  Both models can also be configured with a Windows Hello enabled IR camera, which enables facial recognition for login and inter-OS Windows Hello unlocks.  

The battery on the X1 Yoga lasts about half a day more than the L14 in my testing because it has a slightly larger battery (45Wh vs 51Wh) and has an Ultrabook grade processor.  They both charger using the 65W charger and I found charging speeds to be similar for both.
 

Conclusions

If you're looking for a general use machine that is versatile in the sense that it can change from a traditional laptop form factor to a tablet, is extremely portable, and works great for everyday tasks like web browsing, note-taking, and media consumption, the X1 Yoga is a great fit.  If you're looking for a machine that just gets things done, the L14 will not disappoint as its sheer performance and productivity features make it a great laptop to handle any performance heavy task you throw at it.  For me, the two laptops complement each other very well.  For general tasks like note-taking, web browsing, and media consumption, I like to use the X1 Yoga as the Active Pen comes in handy quite often, the convertible nature of the device allows me to use it in a way that fits my environment, and the better display and speakers create a better media consumption experience.  When I need to get multiple projects done, I turn to my L14 to take advantage of the extra CPU and graphics power as well as the abundant amount of memory I have available.  Being able to open as many tabs and programs as I want without worrying about it thermal throttling has been a godsend when I'm juggling multiple engineering projects at once.  Overall, these two machines are suited for different use cases but I find that they complement each other very well.  
 
The ThinkPad L14 Gen 2 (AMD) is coming out soon on Lenovo.com.  Keep an eye out for it here.
Check out the latest ThinkPad X1 Yoga here.

Regards,
Eric Xu

I'm a Lenovo forums advocate and brand advocate (Lenovo INsider). I'm a volunteer; I don't work for Lenovo.

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4469 Posts

07-24-2013

Switzerland

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  • Message 2 of 4

Re:Battle of the ThinkPads: ThinkPad L14 Gen 2 (AMD) vs ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 5

2021-05-18, 6:43 AM

Nice review!

 

I'm surprised the L14 has a so much "darker" black than the X1Y (which looks light gray in comparison).  :-)

 

 

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2554 Posts

04-17-2014

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  • Message 3 of 4

Re:Battle of the ThinkPads: ThinkPad L14 Gen 2 (AMD) vs ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 5

2021-05-18, 12:58 PM
Thanks :)

Regards,
Eric Xu

I'm a Lenovo forums advocate and brand advocate (Lenovo INsider). I'm a volunteer; I don't work for Lenovo.

Did someone help you today? Press the thumbs up to thank them with a Kudo!

If you find a post helpful and it answers your question, please mark it as an Accepted Solution!


Please read the Community Guidelines before posting. Include as much information as possible: model, machine type, operating system, and a descriptive subject line. Do not include personal information: serial number, telephone number, email address, etc.

Please do not PM me for individual requests... please post to the forums instead :)

Lenovo Forums have transitioned to a new platform. The team is working hard to bring new features and make the forums better than it was before!

The 'Search' function is currently down. In the interim, please get help through browser searches.

Please ensure the option 'Subscribe me automatically to all discussions I have participated in' is enabled under your forum settings. That way, you'll be notified if anyone replies to your thread!

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2 Posts

05-25-2021

Pakistan

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  • Message 4 of 4

Battle of the ThinkPads: ThinkPad L14 Gen 2 (AMD) vs ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 5

2021-05-25, 16:43 PM
Thank you for sharing
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