Another pleasant tech surprise: FedEx left a pre-customer-ship ThinkPad X390 Yoga on my doorstep Let's have a look... As usual, this isn't exactly a review. More of an introduction and check-out of the things that I find useful and interesting. Hopefully a conversation starter. But first:
From time to time Lenovo sends me a gadget. They’re handy to have around – both for my own use and when trying to help out in the Lenovo forums. I do some testing and writing as well. Beyond the use of the laptop, I’m not otherwise compensated.
Professional images are Lenovo’s. Amateur snapshots are mine. Opinions are exclusively mine. I do not work for, represent, or speak for Lenovo.
I don't have any hands-on with the previous X380 Yoga model, but the '390 seems to be an incremental evolution of the '380: slightly smaller, slightly lighter, repositioned ports, improved battery run-time, and a different 8th-gen CPU with broader clock frequency range.
Please note that this is a pre-customer-ship unit. The specifics of this X390 Yoga are presumably representative, but may not be exactly the same as what will be available to customers. The Lenovo data sheet snip below is as of 2019.04.04 and may change. I hope this article is a useful head-start, but do carefully verify actual specifications before placing an order.
Lenovo X390 Yoga data sheet:
ThinkPad X390 Yoga Data Sheet Snip
It's my understanding that the RAM options will be 8 or 16 GB of DDR4 2400 soldered to planar, no sockets, and that the WWAN slot does not support an SSD.
Not mentioned in the above data sheet is the proprietary Ethernet port. It's part of the set of ports that mate with the side docks, and can be used directly with a passive RJ45 dongle (part # 4X90Q84427) which was included with my test laptop but will probably not be included in most markets.
Proprietary Ethernet Port
My test unit's basic specs:
CPU: i7-8565U with integrated UHD 620 graphics
RAM: 16GB DDR4 2400 soldered to planar
SSD: Toshiba KXG6AZNV1T02 1TB PCIe/NVMe
WLAN: Intel AC9560
WWAN: Fibocom L850-GL
Display: 1920x1080 LEN4094/N133HCE-EP2
BIOS: N2LET24W (1.05) 2019.03.15
The camera privacy shutter is making its way into more Lenovo models, and becomes less obtrusive with each iteration. This has caused occasional consternation among new consumer laptop owners who don't immediately spot it - and think their camera is defective
X390 ThinkShutter - Closed
External Views - relative size
A look at ports and size compared to an X280 and X1 Yoga Gen 1:
X390 Yoga, USB-C Charger, VGA and Ethernet Dongles
X390 Yoga (middle) Front View
X390 Yoga (middle) Left View
X390 Yoga (middle) Right View
X390 Yoga in 40AJ Ultra Dock
Major Components & Performance
With its 8th-gen i7, NVMe SSD, 16GB of RAM, and AC wifi, it's quick. The supplied SSD takes full advantage of the four PCIe lanes available, and the WLAN card hooks up with my ASUS router at its max available speed. I'm not equipped to test the WWAN capability at this time. Have not had enough time with it to estimate battery run-time.
ThinkPad X390 Yoga - SSD Layout and Performance
ThinkPad X390 Yoga - Networking and Thunderbolt
VT-x capable i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, and fast 1TB SSD make running VMs on the Yoga a piece of cake
I don't generally do alternate OS bare-metal installs on single drive laptops like this one, but VMs give me access to *nix coding and editing tools and build environments. Ubuntu & Bash on Windows has made that a little less vital - but still there are times when I want to work within a specific *nix distro (full disclosure: ...or did ... retired now, but used this stuff extensively back in the day).
I tend to use VMWare Workstation Player (free) but there are several other VM hosting options out there.
ThinkPad X390 Yoga - RHEL and Ubuntu VMs
Modern Standby - S0i3 Sleep
This is the sleeping-with-one-eye-open mode that's showing up in some ThinkPads lately. I'm not a fan. Happily, this X390 with this BIOS seems to be a classic S3 sleep machine:
ThinkPad X390 Yoga - Reported Sleep States
Modern Standby is apparently the way things are going, but speaking strictly for myself: S0i3 is not the way I want my ThinkPads to sleep - even if/when the current implementation issues are ironed out.
There's a fair bit of pain in the Linux community over the lack of S3 sleep in some newer ThinkPads. I rather expect Linux will eventually support S0i3 (IMHO expecting new hardware and BIOS modes to support Linux - in advance - is rather reversed from the Linux developement model I'm used to... that's a conversation for another day...) but even so, I far prefer S3 to be a BIOS option for both Windows and Linux.
Again, I repeat, speaking strictly for myself. And speaking of Linux...
Linux - the Other OS
As mentioned above, I don't generally do dual-boot installs unless I have a 2nd drive to work with. I don't like shared boot loaders and OSen that might step on each other's bootability during updates and modifications. Even so, once in a while it's handy to boot a live Linux distro for forensics, repair, or just to give it a try.
Others will prefer to install the "other OS" bare-metal along side or in place of Windows, and a quick check of what works via live flash drive will hopefully give some indication of how an install will go. I'm pleased to report that brief trials with live Ubuntu 18.10 and Fedora 29 seem to show that all the basics work right out of the box This is actually a bit better than the last ThinkPad I tested (an X280) that required a little grub boot stanza tweaking.
ThinkPad X390 Yoga - Live Ubuntu 18.10 ThinkPad X390 Yoga - Live Fedora 29
With both distros the basic necessities seemed to work as expected: wifi, touchpad and TrackPoint, touchscreen, and access to Windows files on the SSD.
That was all I tried with Fedora, but I dug a bit deeper with Ubuntu. Also looked at tablet mode, bluetooth, audio, camera, and pen. Still the basics - didn't test multi-touch on anything, and didn't try the pen buttons, WWAN, NFC capability, or the fingerprint reader. That will come later as time permits. Tablet mode did correctly switch off the primary keyboard and enable an on-screen keyboard as needed.
ThinkPad X390 Yoga - Ubuntu Tiled
That's all I've got for now. I'll continue to configure the X390 Yoga and install the software I tend to use, and see how it works as a daily driver. I expect it to go well
I'll post links to the User's Guide, Hardware Maintenance Manual, and Base Specification when they are available. As always, I'm happy to try to answer questions and test capabilities - as hardware, software, time, and brain cells permit.
[edit to add] See the comments section for follow-up information.