09-04-2015 02:46 PM - edited 09-04-2015 03:42 PM
Lenovo announced two new ThinkPad Yoga models, the ThinkPad Yoga 260, and the ThinkPad Yoga 460. They are the follow-ups to the ThinkPad Yoga 12 and the ThinkPad Yoga 14.
With these new Convertibles, Lenovo stays true to their ThinkPad development approach: Evolution, rather than revolution.
On my visit on Lenovos IFA 2015 launch event, I had the honor to witness the announcement of the Skylake ThinkPad Yoga models (you can see it on youtube), and then got a hands-on with the machines.
ThinkPad Yoga 260
The Yoga 260 is the successor to the Yoga 12. Its the first redesign of the 12“ Yoga line (which means it has a new chassis) since the announcement of the first ThinkPad Yoga in 2013. What are the major changes tot he chassis you might ask? Well, this new Yoga is much lighter, due to the extensive use of Carbon fiber, the first time ever on a ThinkPad Convertible. With 1.3 kg its almost 300 g lighter than its predecessor, something you instantly notice when picking it up. Its a really nice and light chassis. Chassis robustness is also great, although the Yoga 12 as a slight edge here, due to the slightly stiffer lid. In terms of design, the 260 is less rounded than the Yoga 12 (big like!), but also a bit less boxy, which sharper edges. A very nice design.
What else has changed? In terms of keyboard and mouse, not much. The keyboard is mostly the same as the Yoga 12, despite some small and welcome additions (a Status LED for CapsLock, for example). The same goes for the UltraNav. Its mostly unchanged from the Yoga 12, however the TrackPoint buttons are again a part of the keyboard, as they were with Tx30 series and prior (with the Tx50 models, they were a art of the TouchPad).
Regarding ports: The new Yoga finally has a full-sized HDMI port, as well as an additional new mini-DisplayPort – much better than the miniHDMI the Yoga 12 had. A small sacrifice in the other direction is the downgrade from a full-size SD card slot to a MicroSD slot – too bad.
Connections: As a Skylake device, there is a new WLAN card (Intel 8260). More importantly, the 260 is also the first Yoga to feature WWAN in the form of LTE-Advanced, also the first time ever on a ThinkPad (former models maxed out at normal LTE).
Besides the Caps-Lock LED that I already mentioned, Lenovo also brought back the battery LED, which is a change for all new Skylake ThinkPads. Its located directly besides the power port.
As a ThinkPad convertible and a successor of the discontinued X-series tablets, the new 260 of course also features a digitizer pen. Now, I am not an expert on this topic, but from what the Lenovo people at the product launch told me, this isn´t the same digitizer as older models, like the Yoga 12. Different from the old digitizers, this one is Active, which means its powered (but don´t worry about batteries, its recharging when you slide it into its silo). And yes, its still Wacom tech, so no fear there. Unfortunately, there is no eraser at the end of the pen, but at least it has two buttons (in the past, some ThinkPad pens only had one). Its the same size as the pen of the Yoga 12.
Spec wise, the Yoga 260 features Skylake U CPUs, a maximum of 16 GB of RAM (I was told that from here on out, 16 GB would be the minimum as the max capacity for ThinkPads), no dedicated graphics (Intel HD 520 only), up to a 512 GB PCIE SSD and up to an 12.5“ FHD IPS screen (300 nits, the one on display had a display from Chi Mei, and the model number N125HCE-GN1). The most interesting detail here: It seems the HDD option is gone. Its likely Lenovo ditched the 2.5“ HDD option in favor of a 80 mm M.2 SSD, as this saves much space for other components inside the machine. HDDs are not mentioned in the data sheet.
Like the battery for example. The one in this bad-boy has a capacity of 44 Wh. Lenovo says it will last 10 hours, we will see how much it is in real-world usage. Skylake is supposed to be more energy efficient.
The second new Yoga, the 460, isn´t completely new like its new brother. Why? Its predecessor, the Yoga 14, has the same chassis. Almost!
There are some changes present here as well of course. For one, the new Yoga 460 now has a pen silo, something that what missing from the Yoga 14. It has the same pen as the Yoga 260, so no battery swapping required (also different from the Yoga 14). Next in the line ist he weight, the Yoga 460 looses a few gram (but not as much as the Yoga 260), going down from 1.9 kg to 1.8 kg.
As far as ports are concerned, the new model gains mini-Displayport, and it also (like the 260) has the new Onelink+ port.
Last but not least, the specs: Skylake U CPUs, Intel HD 520 and an optional GT 940M, 16 GB of RAM (there was some confusion around that it might be 8 GB, but it turns out, its 16 GB – anything else would not make any sense), up to 1 TB HDD / 256 GB SSD – so in this case HDDs are still an option, which makes sense for this machine, with a thicker (19 mm Yoga 460, 17.5 mm Yoga 260) and a bigger chassis. The screen is an important spec for this one: This is the first ThinkPad, apart from the X1 Carbon, to come with a 14“ 2560x1440 IPS screen as the premium option. Does this mean we will see these ones in other machines, like a potential new T-series? Who knows. The Yoga 460 will also be available with a FHD IPS screen, which was also the screen of the model on display on IFA – this specific screen was made by Samsung (and so likely also PLS) and had the model number LTN140HL05401.
The battery in here is bigger (of course, since its a bigger machine^^), with a capacity of 53 Wh.
Both new Yogas are good machines, with lighter chassis and premium materials. They are only available with IPS screens, and both come with a Wacom Active Digitizer (with a silo!). Pair that with the great ThinkPad keyboard, TrackPoint and you have two winners – the 460 is a smaller step up from the Yoga 14 (but still a very nice one), but the real magic is happening with the 260 – its significantly improved over the old Yoga 12. Both are going to be available this fall (alongside the new P-Series as the first new Skylake models) – so if you are shopping for a Convertible, or just a ultra-portable in general (as the Yoga 260 is really light and thin, and small!), check both oft them out. The only thing that remains: Lenovo has to make them available on time (which was a bit difficult for older Yoga 14 and 15 models, especially the pen equipped models).
09-05-2015 08:42 PM
I really wish Lenovo had gone with a 3:2 aspect ratio screen on the new ThinkPad Yogas like what is on the Surface Pro 3 and the new Lenovo Miix 700. Portrait mode is terrible on a 16:9 screen.
09-07-2015 11:24 PM - edited 09-07-2015 11:27 PM
here´s a video interview about the highlights of the Thinkpad Yoga.
Lenovo INsider Lenard Gunda met Modi Zhang to discuss the new ThinkPad YOGA 260 on the #LenovoIFA stand.
He told him about some interesting details, so have a look.
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I´m a volunteer here using ThinkPad X1 Carbon 5th Gen. Silver Edition, ThinkPad 13, Yoga 900, ThinkPad T430s, IdeaCentre B540.
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09-08-2015 05:03 AM
Thank you Lenovo opting for 16GB of RAM in the ThinkPad Yoga's. I can now use the ThinkPad Yoga as my primary developer machine. I am really impressed by the progress and changes to the product line.
Personal website: ThinkScopes
09-08-2015 05:03 AM
Here are a few pictures of the YOGA 260 I took at IFA.
You will also find a few pictures of the silver version here ;-)