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Lenovo ThinkBook 14s Yoga Gen 2 review

Lenovo ThinkBook 14s Yoga Gen 2 review

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 is a premium business convertible, but our $2,457 price for the June review could topple a small business. Fortunately, Lenovo has another 14-inch 2-in-1 for offices south of the enterprise: the ThinkBook 14s Yoga Gen 2 (starting at $1,007.40; $1,197.99 as tested) is a slightly generic laptop with an old-fashioned full HD (1,920 – 1080-pixel) screen – the aspect ratio is the familiar 16:9 rather than the slightly taller, recently fashionable 16:10 – but it’s a capable performer with a handy built-in stylus. The ThinkBook isn’t the best convertible you can buy, but saving $1,250 has its attractions.


Everything you need, nothing you don’t

We gave the first round of the ThinkBook 14’s Yoga an Editors’ Choice award in April 2021, but the table stakes have increased since then. The Gen 2 model has a 12th generation Intel Core processor – a Core i5-1235U in the $1,007.40 base model. Our $1,197.99 Staples configuration has the same 16GB of RAM, 512GB NVMe solid-state drive, and 1080p touchscreen, but steps up to a Core i7-1255U CPU (two performance cores, eight efficiency cores, 12 threads).

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Lenovo ThinkBook 14's Yoga Gen 2 Tent Mode

(Credit: Molly Flores)

The screen is rated at 300 nits of brightness, which is adequate, but not the 400 nits we always hope for, and uses IPS technology; there is no smart OLED model available. The bezels are thin – Lenovo claims an 86% screen-to-body ratio – and the webcam has 1080p instead of 720p resolution. The camera lacks Windows Hello facial recognition, but there is a fingerprint reader integrated with the power button. The memory cannot be expanded beyond 16 GB, although there are two M.2 SSD slots.

The aluminum ThinkBook has a two-tone color scheme in Abyss Blue or our model’s Mineral Grey. It measures 0.67 x 12.6 x 8.5 inches, a close match for the Dell Inspiron 14 7415 2-in-1 (0.71 x 12.7 x 8.4 inches), and weighs almost the same (3 .31 pounds, to Dell’s 3.4 pounds). The luxurious ThinkPad X1 Yoga is a tiny trimmer at 3.04 pounds. As for the ThinkBook, there’s hardly any flex if you grab the corners of the screen or press the keyboard deck.

Lenovo ThinkBook 14s Yoga Gen 2 left ports

(Credit: Molly Flores)

Two USB 3.1 Type-C ports, one suitable for the AC adapter and the other with Thunderbolt 4 functionality, decorate the left edge. They are connected by a USB 3.2 Type-A port, an HDMI video output and an audio jack. Another USB-A port and a microSD card slot are on the right side, along with the power button, a security lock slot and a niche for the included pen.

Lenovo ThinkBook 14s Yoga Gen 2 right ports

(Credit: Molly Flores)

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A little more than the basics

The webcam has a sliding privacy shutter in the top frame. With 1080p resolution, it takes relatively well-lit and colorful images with good detail and almost no noise. Bottom-mounted speakers produce loud, slightly hollow sound; drum beats sound more like static than booming bass, but highs and mids are clear and you can see overlapping tracks. Dolby Audio software provides music, movie, game and voice presets and an equalizer.

The thin, 4.25-inch long Lenovo Integrated Pen hides in a charging slot on the right edge and has two customizable buttons. It kept up with my fastest strokes and scribbles on the screen, and showed good palm rejection. An accompanying SmartNote app lets you save pages of sketched notes and export them to Microsoft OneNote.

Lenovo ThinkBook 14s Yoga Gen 2 front view

(Credit: Molly Flores)

I found myself hitting the F6 key in the hope of cranking up the brightness a couple more notches, but the touchscreen is otherwise attractive, with clean white backgrounds and rich, well-saturated colors. Viewing angles are wide, and the edges of letters are sharp, not pixelated. Contrast is pretty good, although a brighter backlight would help.

The backlit keyboard has a satisfying, fast typing feel. Like many laptop layouts, it lacks the Home, End, Page Up, and Page Down keys, combining those functions with the Fn key and cursor arrows, arranging those arrows in a clunky HP-style row instead of the proper inverted T. arrow up and down, like the Escape and Delete keys on the top row, are too small and hard to hit. Hotkey functions on the top row include making and ending Microsoft Teams calls, as well as adjusting brightness and volume. The medium-sized, buttonless touchpad has a slightly stiff click.

Lenovo ThinkBook 14's Yoga Gen 2 Keyboard

(Credit: Molly Flores)

Lenovo is preloading its Windows 11 Pro system with presentations for several annual subscription services, including $29.99 Smart Performance, $39.99 Smart Privacy, and $49.99 Smart Lock anti-theft. An AI Meeting Manager program offers fee-based real-time transcriptions (as well as foreign language translation and subtitles) during video conferences. Lenovo Smart Noise Cancellation optimizes the microphones for a table full of participants or a single speaker, while Lenovo Smart Appearance offers to blur the background, beautify your face and let you move around during a video call.


Testing the ThinkBook 14’s Yoga Gen 2: Snappy enough, but not lightning fast

For our benchmark charts, we compared the ThinkBook 14’s Yoga Gen 2 to four other small business laptops. Two are convertibles, the Dell Inspiron 14 7415 2-in-1 and the 15.6-inch Samsung Galaxy Book2 Pro 360. Two are 14-inch clamshells, the Acer Swift 3 and the just-reviewed HP Pavilion Plus 14. You can see their basic specs in the table below.

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Productivity tests

The primary objective of UL’s PCMark 10 suite is to simulate a variety of real-world productivity and content creation workflows to measure overall performance for office-centric tasks such as word processing, spreadsheet work, web browsing and video conferencing. We also run PCMark 10’s Full System Drive test to assess the load time and throughput of a laptop’s storage.

Three benchmarks focus on the CPU, using all available cores and threads, to assess a PC’s suitability for processor-intensive workloads. Maxon’s Cinebench R23 uses the company’s Cinema 4D engine to render a complex scene, while Primate Labs’ Geekbench 5.4 Pro simulates popular apps ranging from PDF rendering and speech recognition to machine learning. Finally, we use the open source video transcoder HandBrake 1.4 to convert a 12-minute video clip from 4K to 1080p resolution (lower times are better).

Our latest productivity test is Puget Systems’ PugetBench for Photoshop, which uses Creative Cloud version 22 of Adobe’s famous image editor to assess a PC’s performance for content creation and multimedia applications. It’s an automated extension that performs a variety of general and GPU-accelerated Photoshop tasks, from opening, rotating, resizing, and saving an image to applying masks, gradient fills, and filters.

The Yoga Gen 2 held its own in these tests. It proved more than suitable for everyday applications—it easily cleared the 4,000-point barrier in PCMark 10 that indicates excellent productivity for Microsoft Office or Google Workspace—but CPU results were underwhelming, in part because the Core i7-1255U only had two performance cores.

Graphic tests

We test the graphics of Windows PCs with two DirectX 12 game simulations from UL’s 3DMark, Night Raid (more modest, suitable for laptops with integrated graphics) and Time Spy (more demanding, suitable for gaming rigs with discrete GPUs).

We also run two tests from the cross-platform GFXBench 5 GPU benchmark, which emphasizes both low-level routines like texturing and high-level game-like rendering. The 1440p Aztec Ruins and 1080p Car Chase tests, rendered off-screen to accommodate different screen resolutions, training graphics and data shading using the OpenGL API and hardware tessellation respectively. The more frames per second (fps), the better.

None of these laptops’ integrated graphics come within a country mile of the discrete GPUs you’ll find in gaming rigs, so they’re only for casual gaming and streaming media rather than the latest shoot-em-ups. Lenovo took fourth place in a five-way race.

Battery and display tests

We test laptop battery life by playing a locally stored 720p video file (the open-source Blender movie Tears of steel(Opens in a new window)) with screen brightness at 50% and sound volume at 100%. We make sure the battery is fully charged before the test, with Wi-Fi and keyboard backlight turned off.

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We also use a Datacolor SpyderX Elite display calibration sensor and Windows software to measure the color saturation of a laptop display—what percentage of the sRGB, Adobe RGB, and DCI-P3 color gamuts or palettes the display can display—and its 50% and top. brightness in nits (candela per square meter).

Although it only managed a middle-of-the-road finish, the ThinkBook’s battery life was impressive – it should get you through a full day of work or school plus an evening of entertainment. The screen delivered pretty good color and clarity, although it was no match for the AMOLED screen in the Samsung or the OLED screen in the Pavilion Plus, and the brightness was weak at best.


Verdict: A safe choice for small businesses

We’re seeing so many slimmer convertibles with brighter, more colorful screens that we’re not particularly excited about the Lenovo ThinkBook 14’s Yoga Gen 2, but we can’t deny that it’s a solid value.

Lenovo ThinkBook 14s Yoga Gen 2 seen from the back

(Credit: Molly Flores)

A sunnier screen and better keyboard would be nice, to be sure, and those things are available on other laptops, both business models like the ThinkPad and Dell Latitude series and consumer entries like Lenovo’s Yoga 9i Gen 7 and HP’s Specter line . But most cost much more. The ThinkBook is a well-built, low-cost small business solution that you shouldn’t overlook if it’s in your price range.

Lenovo ThinkBook 14s Yoga Gen 2

Benefits

  • Reasonable price

  • Good selection of ports

  • Stylus pen included

The bottom line

It’s overshadowed by pricier competitors from both the business and consumer sides of the aisle, but Lenovo’s latest ThinkBook 14s Yoga is an affordable 2-in-1 for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

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