01-28-2018 11:41 PM - edited 02-03-2018 01:13 PM
Last month Lenovo sent me a pre-production version of the ThinkPad L380 Yoga to help me prepare for answering questions about it here in the forum. I did something similar a year ago with its predecessor, the ThinkPad Yoga 370, where I ended up writing a kind of FAQ on it. An album of pictures to accompany this post is available here.
One of the more interesting announcements from CES 2018 was the announcement by Lenovo not just of the addition of a new 2-in-1 model to the ThinkPad L series, the L380 Yoga, but that this model is geared towards the educational market. Yoga has traditionally been a premium form-factor for the company's UltraBooks and high-end X- and P-series ThinkPads, to the point where they have their own ThinkPad Yoga section on Lenovo's web site. Lenovo has even sold smaller 11.6" models into the education space, but putting a Yoga right into the middle of the L-series line signals a desire to get a more mainstream audience with Yoga.
As the Thinkpad L-series is meant to provide lower-cost options (compared to the T- and X-series), the L380 Yoga does have several differences compared to its more expensive brethren. The use of carbon-fibre plastics in the chassis have been replaced with conventional plastics, and it does not have the Lift 'n Lock Keyboard used in its more expensive siblings. As another concession to costs, the ThinkPad L380 Yoga "only" has USB 3.0 SuperSpeed (5Gbps) ports, and not the faster USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10Gbps) or Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps), and no OneLink or bottom docking connectors. It also discards the RJ-45 Ethernet connector in favor of Lenovo's proprietary mini-Ethernet jack; this is more likely in concession to the thinness of the ThinkPad L380 Yoga's chassis than anything else.
In practice, I'm not sure how much of a difference these will make, aside from bragging rights. Lenovo does offer several USB 3.0 docks, and there are models available from third-parties such as Anker, J5, Kensington, Plugable, StarTech, and Targus, as well. And the screen lid of the ThinkPad L380 Yoga is made of an aluminum alloy, which should hold up well in the classroom at work. As far as the hinges goes, I'm unable to determine any difference in behavior between them and those of the previous generation ThinkPad Y370 model.
Because the model I received is pre-release hardware, I'm not going to focus particularly on benchmarks, as the final hardware specs might be different. The same for the software. Also, I'm not going to provide a huge amount of pictures, in part because these are readily available in articles from ThinkScopes, Laptop Mag, UberGizmo and Reddit, but also because I'm not a great photographer.
The unit I received contains an eighth-generation Intel Core i5 processor, 16GB RAM, a 256GB SSD, a 13" FHD touch screen with pen, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi with Bluetooth 4.1 radios. The maximums offered are an eight-generation Intel Core i7 CPU, 32GB RAM and a 512GB SSD. The model I received did not come with a fingerprint reader (I added a USB one) or the the Thinkpad Externet Extension Cable dongle, however, it works fine using the standard part for the ThinkPad X1 Carbon and Yoga 370 models. This unit also came with an NFC radio and world-facing camera.
The only other software installed besides Windows 10 Pro Version 1709 (Build 16299.64) was the Intel AMT software, Intel PROset/Wireless software and the Wacom Active Pen software. I installed both the Lenovo Vantage (formerly Lenovo Companion) and Lenovo System Update programs, but neither has found any updates for this L380 Yoga so far.
|CPU||Intel Core i5-8350 CPU (1.70GHz, quad core, 6MB cache)|
|GPU||Intel UHD Graphics 620|
|RAM||16GB (2×8GB Micron Technology 8ATFAG64HZ-2G6H1 DDR4-2666 SO-DIMMs|
|Storage||256GB Toshiba KXG5AZMV256G M.2 2280 NVMe PCIe SSD XG5|
|Screen||13.3" FHD IPS antiglare 10-point touch (Lenovo Wide viewing angle & High density FlexView Display 1920x1080, FRU LEN4094, IVO M133NWF4 R3)|
|Networking||Intel AC-8265 802.11ac (2×2) + Bluetooth 4.1; mini Ethernet connector for dongle|
|Camera||720p HD camera on LCD bezel; World-facing camera above keyboard|
|Battery||45 Wh with RapidCharge, USB Type C 65W adapter|
|Audio||2×2W speakers, Lync-certified; dual-array microphones|
|Input||6-row back-lit keyboard with 3-button, TrackPoint, ClickPad and Wacom active pen|
|Size||322 × 224.2 × 18.8mm (WDH) / 1.56kg and up|
The ThinkPad L380 Yoga is also slightly larger than the Yoga 370 (by 0.85 × 0.2 × 0.06cm, W×D×H). I don't think this will make much difference to most people.
PORTS AND CONNECTIVITY
On the left side, the Lenovo L380 Yoga has 2 × USB 3.0 Type-C ports, one of which supports USB-C charging, a conventional USB 3.0 Type-A port, and a standard HDMI connector.
On the right side, the Lenovo L380 Yoga has a silo for its Wacom active pen, a power button, 3.5mm headset jack, Micro SDXC slot, mini Ethernet jack and Kensington slot lock.
Behind the keyboard (specifically the F8 key) is Lenovo's world-facing camera. While this may seem like an odd location to have a camera on a a laptop—nostril-view web-conferencing, anyone?—it makes a lot more sense when you put the Lenovo L380 Yoga into Tablet mode. At that point, it turns into a rear-facing camera. I suspect students will be very comfortable with using it in this mode. It may also be useful in science classes, where it can be combined with low-cost wood or cardboard microscopes.
The TrackPoint is the standard soft dome model, with three buttons below the space bar. The TrackPoint buttons are subtly textured, which gives some added traction. The ClickPad is from ELAN and has a smooth surface and may be a Windows 10 Precison Touchpad. I am not sure about that, though, because I did not use it, nor did I see an option to disable it in the UEFI (BIOS) firmware.
Lenovo has not used whitelists for its WLAN cards for many years. To confirm this, I replaced the Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265 card inside the ThinkPad L380 Yoga with an Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 9260 and no change in behavior was noted.
Due to the thinness of the system, the ThinkPad L380 Yoga only has room for one single-sided M.2 2280 PCIe SSD. I think the highest-capacity M.2 2280 SSDs with chips on one side are 512GB, but I would expect that higher-capacity SSDs will work once they enter the market.
I think that Lenovo may have a hit on its hands with the ThinkPad L380 Yoga. While it's priced quite a bit more than Chromebooks—about five-times the price of the cheapest models—it also offers much more functionality, as well as proven levels of ThinkPad ruggedness. Schools probably buy such units in large quantities and receive educational discounts, so their pricing will likely be lower than in single-unit quantities. It may also be appealing to businesses and consumers seeking an affordable 2-in-1 laptop that is small yet offers decent performance.
If you have any questions about the Lenovo ThinkPad L380 Yoga, please let me know.
NOTE: An earlier version of this post was previously published on Reddit.
01-28-2018 11:57 PM
Nice review and pics Aryeh! Thanks for sharing.
The innards look interesting and everything looks easy to reach. I'm not familiar with this series, so I found the long and wide internal battery interesting :-)
01-31-2018 10:23 AM
Thank you for the overview.
The L380 Yoga has a chance of high selling units. Entry level ThinkPad Yoga. Great decision.
Good to read it looks worth buying.
02-03-2018 04:18 PM
02-04-2018 11:39 PM
I don't think the release date has been announced, and I'm not sure what alternate USB modes it supports.
When will this be available?
Do the USB-C support Display?
Thanks a lot
02-04-2018 11:47 PM
Well, leaving out the processor, the next thing up is storage, and both units have the same expansion options there (one M.2 2280 SSD drive). So, the next thing to look at is memory. The ThinkPad Yoga 370 has a maximum of 16GB of RAM, and the L380 Yoga has a maximum of 32GB. Which is going to be more important to you over the life of the device?
Hi You tested the L380 yoga and 370 yoga. In comparison which one is more worthy. Please exclude the Processor in your answer. i could get the 370 for 750 and the L380 for 1100(?) bucks, which would u recommend? thanks
03-05-2018 01:55 PM
It is interesting you see the L380 as successor to 370 rather than X380? Didn't the 370 have the Carbon Fiber case material of X380 rather than plastic of L380? I am not sure the differentiation between the two ?380 Yoga is really clear. Lots of confusing overlap.