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Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12 Convertible Review

Manuel Christa, Tanja Hinum (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 03/29/2015

Business convertible. The ThinkPad Yoga fuses two of Lenovo's lines to offer professional users the 360-degree display of a Yoga convertible in a hybrid device. Is it now finely tuned or poorly twisted?

For the original German review, see here.

Are convertibles only gimmicks for private users? Not at all, says Lenovo, and equips its business devices from the ThinkPad series with the 360-degree folding displays. As if this would not expand the use options enough, the ThinkPad Yoga is also equipped with a digitizer pen. This is a very useful accessory for professional users.

Lenovo invented this convertible model, i.e. the 360-degree display. The competition has already been copying the idea for a while, although not necessarily in business devices like the present ThinkPad Yoga 12. For example, Asus has the Transformer Book Flip in the market and Hewlett Packard its Envy 15 x360. These are 15-inch devices, but Lenovo offers the Yogas in different sizes: The 11.6-inch ThinkPad Yoga 11e is somewhat smaller than the ThinkPad Yoga 12. The Yoga 3 Pro has a screen size of 13.3 inches and the ThinkPad Yoga 14 - as the name suggests - features a 14-inch screen. Competition is also found on its own shelves: The ThinkPad Helix 2 with an 11.6-inch screen and Intel's Core M platform should also be interesting for business users.

We compare the ThinkPad Yoga 12 with business devices that have a similar size and performance. HP's Envy 15 x360 is equipped with the same processor, Intel's Core i5-5200U, although it is a 15-inch device. Other 12-inch convertibles that do not necessarily have a 360 degree hinge are, for example, Fujitsu's LifeBook T734Fujitsu's Stylistic Q704 and Acer's Aspire Switch 12.

We use a ThinkPad Yoga 12 model equipped with an Intel Core i5-5200U, 8 GB of RAM, a hybrid hard drive with a capacity of 500 GB and an 8 GB cache, and a digitizer pen for this test. This configuration of the ThinkPad Yoga 12 is available for approximately 1150 Euros (~$1238).

Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12 (ThinkPad Yoga Series)
Graphics adapter
Intel HD Graphics 5500, Core: 300 - 900 MHz, 10.18.10.4013
Memory
8192 MB 
, dual-channel, soldered
Display
12.5 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel, capacitive & digitizerc, LEN40E4, IPS, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel Broadwell-U PCH-LP (Premium)
Storage
Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive, 500 GB 
, 5400 rpm, 413 GB free
Soundcard
Intel Broadwell PCH-LP - High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
2 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, 1 Docking Station Port, Audio Connections: combo audio jack, Card Reader: 4-in-1 card reader
Networking
10/100 MBit Lan Adapter (10/100MBit), Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7265 (a/b/g/h/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.0
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 19.3 x 316.5 x 221 ( = 0.76 x 12.46 x 8.7 in)
Battery
47 Wh, lithium polymer, 4 cells
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 720p, HD ready
Additional features
Speakers: built-in stereo speakers, Keyboard: chiclet-AccuType style, Keyboard Light: no, USB 3.0 Ethernet adapter, mini-HDMI to VGA monitor cable, 12 Months Warranty
Weight
1.584 kg ( = 55.87 oz / 3.49 pounds), Power Supply: 285 g ( = 10.05 oz / 0.63 pounds)
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12
Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12

We are used to the high-quality casing standard of ThinkPad laptops. Once again, Lenovo has installed a magnesium-aluminum chassis that is considerably more stable than common plastic casings, although it is slightly heavier. The laptop's build is impeccable as expected from a device in this price range. No irregular gaps or protruding edges are found. The consistently positive impression is continued in the design. A plain yet elegant matte black is in line with the style of an unobtrusive office device.

The ThinkPad Yoga 12 is not exactly a lightweight among the convertibles. The weight of just over 1.6 kilograms (~3.5 lb) has not changed since last year's precursor. However, other convertibles, such as Fujitsu Stylistic Q704 or Acer Aspire Switch 12, are a few hundred grams lighter. On the other hand, their keyboards are detachable.

The 360-degree display hinge allows four different modes of use. Lenovo calls them Laptop, Stand, Tablet and Tent. The keyboard tray rises at an opening angle of approximately 270 degrees until it is flush with the keyboard and the keys lock so that they can no longer be triggered. This also protects the keys when the device is resting on this surface in Tablet or in Stand mode.

The hinges fulfill all expectations that the flexibility of a convertible demands. They keep the display firmly in place in every opening angle. The hinges prevent light rocking and shocks and allow the display to be opened with only one hand. This is definitely due to the good stability.

Lenovo's ThinkPad Yoga 12 is more than just a laptop
Lenovo's ThinkPad Yoga 12 is more than just a laptop
...or also be set up in Tent mode
A digitizer is in the lower right corner
It works impeccably with the touchscreen
Opened by 180 degrees
The screen is not as reflective as some other touchscreens
A Windows button in the display bezel
Right-hand buttons
Only few interfaces on the left
The manufacturer's logo is found more than once
The strong hinges are quite stable
The TrackPoint is a ThinkPad characteristic
Just like the model's logo with a red dot
It could be mistaken for a conventional laptop when closed
Lenovo offers different Intel processors in the ThinkPad Yoga 12
The keyboard frame recedes when folded
The device and its power supply
The power supply has a sufficient capacity with an output of 45 watts
The underside's cover can be unscrewed
Internal components
The communication module provides Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
The fan is in the center
The battery's capacity is 47 watt hours
Lenovo offers both hard drive or SSD as an option
Rubber stoppers are also on the upper side

Connectivity

In view of interface distribution, the ThinkPad Yoga apparently cannot decide whether it wants to be a laptop or a tablet. Some buttons and port are not where they would be expected. For example, the power button and volume rocker are found on the front right. These buttons are positioned where they would be used intuitively, i.e. in the upper right, when the Yoga is opened in Tablet mode. The headphone jack is in the front right in most laptops, but here it is on the left and also centered.

This rather unusual positioning cannot be seen as a drawback, but quite the opposite. The distribution of the ports on both sides prevents the USB and mini-HDMI from getting in each other's way. The digitizer pen is inserted in a corner of the device where it is well-hidden and does not interfere, but is easy to pull out at the same time.

Although with only two USB 3.0 ports (one with PowerCharge), one audio jack, and a mini-HDMI socket, the connectivity is not exactly abundant, it is sufficient. In addition, a proprietary port enables connecting an external docking station when additional interfaces are needed.

Left: Power, docking station, USB 3.0, audio
Left: Power, docking station, USB 3.0, audio
Right: Power button, volume rocker, screen lock, SD card reader, USB 3.0, mini-HDMI, Kensington
Right: Power button, volume rocker, screen lock, SD card reader, USB 3.0, mini-HDMI, Kensington

Communication

Intel's Wireless-AC 7265 module provides Wi-Fi in the common standards with a gross data rate of up to 867 Mbps. It also adds Bluetooth 4.0, which makes wireless linking of peripherals like keyboard, mice or speakers possible. We did not detect any shortcomings in the module's Wi-Fi connection range or quality.

Security

Security features are fundamental characteristics that distinguish business devices from consumer laptops. It is necessary for a professional laptop to have a TPM chip, which is also available in the ThinkPad Yoga 12. However, other security features like a fingerprint scanner or SmartCard slot are not present here. Fujitsu's Stylistic Q704, for example, comes with these.

Accessories

The digitizer pen is a very useful accessory for professionals, and enables quick sketching or making notes. The price difference between the models with a pen and without one is exactly 100 Euros (~$108). The screen reliably detects the palms and thus prevents erroneous inputs when using the digitizer.

The ThinkPad Yoga 12 can be expanded with the OneLink Dock via the mentioned docking port. It adds ports for video, USB 3.0, Gigabit Ethernet and audio, and recharges the battery. The docking station is available for 119 Euros (~$128) from the manufacturer's online shop.

Opened underside
Opened underside

Maintenance

The cover on the underside can be taken off after removing some screws. It is closed quite tightly, which speaks for the casing's quality. When the ThinkPad is opened, the user can access internal components, such as the battery or hard drive.

Warranty

Lenovo includes a one-year Depot or Counter service as standard. Beyond that, many warranty upgrades are available, such as extending the warranty period up to 5 years or an on-site repair service.

Input Devices

Keyboard

Lenovo calls it a "Lift'n'Lock" keyboard. This refers to the automatic retracting and disabling of the keys when the display is folded to an angle of approximately 270 degrees. Small rubber stoppers are not only found on the underside, but also next to the keyboard's bezel. They protect the keyboard surface.

The keys in the ThinkPad only differ from a classic chiclet layout with their lightly curved lower edge. This feature has an effect only on the keyboard's looks, but not the typing feel, which is positive and consistent with what we are used to from ThinkPad keyboards. The keys fit securely, have a decent drop and a clear pressure point. Consequently, it is uncompromisingly suitable for all users who type fast and / or prolific writers.

A feature that also makes sense is the row of switchable functions. The volume or screen brightness no longer have to be adjusted via a key combination. A little green LED in the FN key reveals which function row is currently enabled.

Touchpad

The ThinkPad Yoga 12 provides all thinkable methods of cursor utilization: Touchpad, touchscreen, TrackPoint, and three dedicated mouse buttons. Users of other devices can instinctively use their multi-touch gestures on the touchpad, while the ThinkPad fan would rather scroll with the center mouse button and TrackPoint. Like the keyboard, these input devices are disabled when the display is folded, i.e. is in either Stand or Tablet mode, and only the touchscreen is available for finger or digitizer pen use.

Touchpad
Touchpad
Keyboard
Keyboard
TrackPoint
TrackPoint
Digitizer
Digitizer

Display

The IPS screen has a diagonal measurement of 12.5 inches or 31.8 cm, and a Full HD resolution (1920x1080 pixels). The (semi) AR-coated screen glass  is a positive feature since virtually all other touchscreens have a glossy surface.

The screen's average brightness of 366 cd/m² is quite impressive, and confirms the ThinkPad Yoga's outdoor suitability. Its precursor, based on a Haswell CPU, and the ThinkPad Helix 2 both presented similar brightness rates. The sister models with varying screen sizes, such as the ThinkPad Yoga 11e or ThinkPad Yoga 14, can only serve with a brightness considerably below 300 cd/m².

347
cd/m²
336
cd/m²
316
cd/m²
383
cd/m²
380
cd/m²
386
cd/m²
388
cd/m²
362
cd/m²
397
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2 // Gossen Mavo-Monitor
Maximum: 397 cd/m² Average: 366.1 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 80 %
Contrast: 745:1 (Black: 0.51 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 4.57 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.1
ΔE Greyscale 3.46 | 0.64-98 Ø6.4
Gamma: 2.43

The black level of 0.51 cd/m², which results in a contrast ratio of 745:1, represents a good image reproduction. However, similar convertibles like Fujitsu's Stylistic Q704 or the ThinkPad Helix 2 can boast with similar good rates. The assessments using CalMAN show clear color shifts that however, should not be visible to the naked eye.

CalMAN - ColorChecker
CalMAN - ColorChecker
CalMAN - Grayscale
CalMAN - Grayscale
CalMAN - Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN - Saturation Sweeps

Thanks to its relatively high maximum brightness and the AR-coated screen, the ThinkPad Yoga 12 is a good device for outdoor use. Although other convertibles have equally good brightness rates, they are highly glossy, significantly reducing their outdoor suitability. This is the case in, for example, both Acer's Aspire Switch 12 and Fujitsu's Stylistic Q704.

The ThinkPad Yoga 12 outdoors
The ThinkPad Yoga 12 outdoors
Viewing angle stability
Viewing angle stability

As expected from an IPS screen, the ThinkPad Yoga's viewing angle stability is quite good. The viewing angle is not necessarily at a right angle, particularly in Tablet mode, and thus the stability is even more important here. However, the image is clearly visible, even in acute angles - although the contrast decreases slightly.

Performance

The ThinkPad Yoga 12 is available in many different configurations from Lenovo's online shop. The least expensive model, for example, is equipped with an Intel Core i3-5005U, 4 GB of working memory, and a 500 GB hard drive. The low-budget version is sold for just 899 Euros (~$968) without a digitizer pen. The device's price climbs to 1409 Euros (~$1517) with an i7-5500U processor, 8 GB of RAM, SSD and digitizer pen.

CPU-Z
CPU-Z
GPU-Z
GPU-Z
DPC Latency Checker
DPC Latency Checker
HDTune
HDTune
CrystalDiskMark
CrystalDiskMark

Processor

Our version of the ThinkPad Yoga 12 is powered by Intel's Core i5-5200U. It is a dual-core processor from Intel's latest Broadwell architecture, which clocks with a base rate of 2.2 GHz. The processor's Turbo can achieve a clock rate of up to 2.7 GHz during load. Furthermore, the chip incorporates Intel's HD Graphics 5500 graphics unit.

The scores of the different Cinebench versions exhibit the expected results: There are barely any performance differences to competing devices based on the same CPU. Processors from the particularly efficient Core M family are clearly inferior to the i5 chip, but they enable a noiseless, passive cooling. A fan that is very audible during load is crucial in the case of the ThinkPad Yoga 12.

Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
4161
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
8628
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
5604
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
26.31 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
2.86 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.2 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
31.4 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
98 %
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
108 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
258 Points
Help
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
1.2 Points ∼49%
Fujitsu LifeBook T734
HD Graphics 4600, 4200M, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
1.24 Points ∼51% +3%
Fujitsu Stylistic Q704
HD Graphics 4400, 4300U, Samsung MZNTD128HAGM
0.66 Points ∼27% -45%
Acer Aspire Switch 12 SW5-271-61X7
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y10c, 128 GB SATA SSD
0.96 Points ∼39% -20%
Lenovo ThinkPad Helix 2
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y71, Toshiba THNSFJ256GDNU 256 GB
1.13 Points ∼46% -6%
HP Envy 15-u200ng x360
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Toshiba MQ02ABF100
1.25 Points ∼51% +4%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
2.86 Points ∼11%
Fujitsu LifeBook T734
HD Graphics 4600, 4200M, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
2.94 Points ∼11% +3%
Fujitsu Stylistic Q704
HD Graphics 4400, 4300U, Samsung MZNTD128HAGM
1.05 Points ∼4% -63%
Acer Aspire Switch 12 SW5-271-61X7
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y10c, 128 GB SATA SSD
1.98 Points ∼7% -31%
Lenovo ThinkPad Helix 2
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y71, Toshiba THNSFJ256GDNU 256 GB
2.04 Points ∼8% -29%
HP Envy 15-u200ng x360
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Toshiba MQ02ABF100
2.82 Points ∼10% -1%

System Performance

The i5 processor alongside 8 GB of working memory and a hybrid drive provides a solid basis for smooth workflow on the desktop. The hardware equipment enables far more than just simple browsing and office tasks. Even more sophisticated applications, such as image editing or video editing, are not a problem for the ThinkPad Yoga 12. As mentioned, Lenovo allows customizing the hardware configuration from its online shop, so that it can be adapted to meet personal requirements.

It might seem surprising that the convertibles based on the weaker Core M CPU suddenly score better in the PCMark 7 benchmark at first glance. However, both the ThinkPad Helix 2 and Aspire Switch 12 not only have a hard drive, but also a faster flash memory, and the better performance is reflected in the score of the overall performance.

PCMark 7 Score
3872 points
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
2841 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
3358 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
3827 points
Help
PCMark 7 - Score (sort by value)
Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
3872 Points ∼45%
Fujitsu LifeBook T734
HD Graphics 4600, 4200M, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
2745 Points ∼32% -29%
Fujitsu Stylistic Q704
HD Graphics 4400, 4300U, Samsung MZNTD128HAGM
3248 Points ∼38% -16%
Acer Aspire Switch 12 SW5-271-61X7
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y10c, 128 GB SATA SSD
4112 Points ∼48% +6%
Lenovo ThinkPad Helix 2
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y71, Toshiba THNSFJ256GDNU 256 GB
4602 Points ∼54% +19%

Storage Devices

Users who want the capacity of a hard drive and, and at the same time, want to come close to experiencing the operating speed of an SSD will find the installed hybrid drive suitable a compromise. It has both a 500 GB hard drive and an 8 GB cache. The Seagate's ST500LM000 model SSHD with an average transfer rate of almost 80 MB/s is also average in terms of quality. Depending on the capacity, Lenovo charges an additional 90 to 130 Euros (~$97 to $140) for a solid-state drive.

Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
Transfer Rate Minimum: 1.3 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 110.8 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 78.3 MB/s
Access Time: 17.3 ms
Burst Rate: 153.7 MB/s
CPU Usage: 4.3 %

Graphics Card

Power saving rather than high performance is the motto of a processor-integrated graphics. This is also the case for Intel's HD Graphics 550. Although it supports DirectX 11.2 and has a base clock of just over 900 MHz, the user should not even consider up-to-date games. It is quite sufficient for basic 3D applications and desktop software. Rendering videos with a resolution of up to 4K smoothly is not a problem with this graphics unit.

The 3DMark benchmarks confirm the expected. Intel's older and weaker integrated units also achieve these low results; for example, Intel's HD Graphics 4400 from the former Haswell generation or even Intel's HD Graphics 5300 from the more frugal and weaker Core M family.

3DMark 11 Performance
1105 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
48582 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
4928 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
740 points
Help
3DMark
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Score (sort by value)
Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
4928 Points ∼8%
Fujitsu LifeBook T734
HD Graphics 4600, 4200M, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
3322 Points ∼6% -33%
Fujitsu Stylistic Q704
HD Graphics 4400, 4300U, Samsung MZNTD128HAGM
1733 Points ∼3% -65%
Lenovo ThinkPad Helix 2
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y71, Toshiba THNSFJ256GDNU 256 GB
3522 Points ∼6% -29%
HP Envy 15-u200ng x360
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Toshiba MQ02ABF100
4265 Points ∼7% -13%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Score (sort by value)
Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
48582 Points ∼4%
Fujitsu LifeBook T734
HD Graphics 4600, 4200M, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
38418 Points ∼3% -21%
Fujitsu Stylistic Q704
HD Graphics 4400, 4300U, Samsung MZNTD128HAGM
13430 Points ∼1% -72%
Lenovo ThinkPad Helix 2
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y71, Toshiba THNSFJ256GDNU 256 GB
35119 Points ∼3% -28%
HP Envy 15-u200ng x360
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Toshiba MQ02ABF100
41365 Points ∼4% -15%

Gaming Performance

The gaming performance is rather secondary for a business device. Thus, the integrated graphics unit is neither gaming suitable nor inappropriately weak for the intended application purposes. However, this does not mean that Yogas without a dedicated graphics card do not exist. The larger ThinkPad Yoga 14 features a mid-range GeForce graphics.

As for the tested games, we used slightly older game samples. For example, it was quite possible to play the 2011 role game “Elder Scrolls: Skyrim”. Classic games are playable on lower resolutions at approximately 30 fps.

low med. high ultra
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011) 28.214.28.14.4fps
Total War: Rome II (2013) 30228fps
Civilization: Beyond Earth (2014) 381610fps

Emissions

System Noise

The ThinkPad Yoga 12 needs a fan. However, the fan is virtually silent when only browsing on the Internet or working with office suites. More demanding applications, such as benchmarks or even games, quickly speed up the fan. The maximum 36 dB(A) that we measured is roughly on par with comparable devices.

Buyers looking for a silent device will have to go for models with passively cooled Core M processors. They are, for example, found in Acer's Aspire Switch 12 or Lenovo's ThinkPad Helix 12 - but not in the business convertibles.

Noise Level

Idle
30 / 30 / 30 dB(A)
HDD
30.1 dB(A)
Load
35.1 / 36.9 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Voltcraft sl-451 (15 cm distance)

Temperature

Stress test
Stress test

In everyday use, the ThinkPad Yoga 12 does not get unusually or noticeably warm. Our measurements displayed isolated areas that reached up to 40 degrees Celsius (~104 °F), but the wrist rest, for example, reaches a maximum of 30 degrees (~86 °F) under full load.

Throttling! This is the diagnosis of the stress test. The laptop was put under full load via the Prime95 and FurMark tools, which limited the CPU to just 1 GHz. This was not the case with load via Cinebench. Thus, performance losses due to throttling could be experienced when certain applications demand occasional performance peaks. However, this high load will hardly occur during routine use, and thus it is unlikely that the user will notice any throttling. At least the CPU's sensors recorded a maximum temperature of perfectly acceptable 88 degrees Celsius (~190 °F).

Max. Load
 26.5 °C
80 F
40.4 °C
105 F
33.6 °C
92 F
 
 26 °C
79 F
33.4 °C
92 F
32.8 °C
91 F
 
 25.6 °C
78 F
26.9 °C
80 F
31.2 °C
88 F
 
Maximum: 40.4 °C = 105 F
Average: 30.7 °C = 87 F
28.3 °C
83 F
40.9 °C
106 F
40.4 °C
105 F
27.3 °C
81 F
32.8 °C
91 F
37.8 °C
100 F
26.5 °C
80 F
29.9 °C
86 F
32.9 °C
91 F
Maximum: 40.9 °C = 106 F
Average: 33 °C = 91 F
Power Supply (max.)  43.9 °C = 111 F | Room Temperature 20.6 °C = 69 F | Fluke 62 Max
(+) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 30.7 °C / 87 F, compared to the average of 30.3 °C / 87 F for the devices in the class Convertible.
(±) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 40.4 °C / 105 F, compared to the average of 35.4 °C / 96 F, ranging from 21.8 to 55.7 °C for the class Convertible.
(±) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 40.9 °C / 106 F, compared to the average of 36.5 °C / 98 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 26.9 °C / 80 F, compared to the device average of 30.3 °C / 87 F.
(+) The palmrests and touchpad are cooler than skin temperature with a maximum of 31.2 °C / 88.2 F and are therefore cool to the touch.
(-) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 29 °C / 84.2 F (-2.2 °C / -4 F).

Speakers

The ThinkPad Yoga 12 cannot really score with its sound quality. The sound is rather tinny and both stereo speakers simply lack bass. However, a 2.1 sound system, including a subwoofer, is found only in multimedia laptops for private consumers. Ultimately, the ThinkPad has been designed for work and not for play, and thus it is logical that little importance has been placed on the speakers' sound quality. Nevertheless, it is sufficient for occasional video conferencing.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The power consumption measurements from the laptop delivered relatively average rates. With just 0.1 watts in standby, the battery is barely drained, for example, when the ThinkPad is simply closed. Other convertibles consume more here. Fujitsu's Stylistic Q704 guzzles a whole 0.4 watts in standby.

The minimum load consumption of 3.6 watts is quite low. The convertibles based on an energy-efficient Core M CPU, such as Acer's Aspire Switch 12, cannot provide lower rates here. The maximum consumption of approximately 35 watts corresponds to that of a device with a ULV processor.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0 / 0.1 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 3.6 / 8 / 8.9 Watt
Load midlight 32.7 / 35.7 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Runtime

Like last year's precursor, the ThinkPad Yoga 12 can serve with a decent battery life. Here, the Wi-Fi test provides the most important rate. A script that opens differently sized websites runs in the browser using medium screen brightness. The laptop managed 7 hours and 13 minutes in this scenario. This almost equates to a whole workday without external power. The ThinkPad Yoga 14 with a larger screen, shut down over an hour sooner in this test.

The ThinkPad Yoga lasted almost two hours under load. A longer runtime could be expected here in view of throttling. However, the comparatively bright screen will probably be responsible for its relatively high consumption.

A battery life of over 13 hours is possible when the communication modules are disabled, and the screen's brightness is set to minimum in energy saving mode. This is a good test runtime, only slightly outperformed by the precursor. However, the other ThinkPad Yogas as well as Acer's Aspire Switch 12 present similar, good runtimes.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
13h 08min
WiFi Surfing
7h 13min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 57min

Pros

+ Very good build
+ Metal casing
+ Bright screen
+ Lifting keyboard tray
+ Decent input devices
+ Non-glare screen
+ Digitizer

Cons

- TPM chip sole security feature
- A bit heavy
- Relatively expensive

Verdict

Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12. Test model courtesy of Campuspoint.de
Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12. Test model courtesy of Campuspoint.de

In the usual ThinkPad manner, the device's build is impressive, which is also reflected in the stability of the 360-degree hinge mechanism. The screen remains stable in every thinkable position. The Lift'n'Lock feature, which lifts the keyboard tray and locks the keys when the display is folded, is just as impeccable.

The Convertible gimmick with a 360-degree display hinge was actually made for private users. However, like with the precursor, Lenovo has managed to implement it as a useful feature for professional users and supplements it with a digitizer pen.

Lenovo has to continuously fulfill the high expectations of the ThinkPad fan community - and once again has been successful. Lenovo has apparently not designed anything too carelessly or made any overly big compromises. 

As to the hardware equipment, it can be customized from Lenovo's shop. Thus, the lack of an SSD or not enough working memory cannot be reproached. Therefore, buyers looking for a business convertible have no reason not to choose a ThinkPad Yoga. Lenovo not only offers it in different performance categories, but also with different screen sizes.

Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12 - 03/21/2015 v4(old)
Manuel Christa

Chassis
85 / 98 → 87%
Keyboard
94%
Pointing Device
86%
Connectivity
62 / 80 → 78%
Weight
68 / 35-78 → 77%
Battery
87%
Display
85%
Games Performance
70 / 68 → 100%
Application Performance
75 / 87 → 86%
Temperature
90%
Noise
93%
Audio
55 / 91 → 60%
Camera
47 / 85 → 55%
Average
77%
83%
Convertible - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12 Convertible Review
Manuel Christa, 2015-03-29 (Update: 2018-05-15)