Lenovo’s Titanium 2-in-1 Is Perfect for Post-Pandemic Work Travel

Lenovo’s Titanium 2-in-1 Is Perfect for Post-Pandemic Work Travel
Photo: Sam Rutherford
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Lenovo’s ThinkPads are some of the toughest and most capable laptops on the market, but the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga is something else entirely. That’s because in addition to a super strong titanium frame, the X1 Titanium also sports a fancy webcam with presence detection and a brand new kind of touchpad. That’s in addition to all the flexibility its 2-in-1 design enables. And while its price might put it out of reach for some folks, if you need to pack light without sacrificing durability, the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga really feels like it’s pushing the boundaries of convertible laptop design.

Designed for Road Warriors

Right off the bat, the X1 Titanium’s metallic body signals that it’s not like other thin and light 2-in-1s. Sure, it still passes Lenovo’s standard battery of military-level durability tests, but its titanium frame means it weighs in just 1 kg and measures just 0.43 inches thick. That titanium also means the whole notebook feels super sturdy, with only a tiny bit of flex when you press down hard in the middle of the keyboard.

Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Titanium Yoga

WHAT IS IT?

A special edition of the X1 Yoga with a titanium chassis

PRICE

Starts at $2,949

LIKE

Bright screen, superb build quality, super portable, webcam with presence detection and privacy shutter, stylus support

DON'T LIKE

Somewhat pricey, performance is just OK, small touchpad, RAM is soldered on

The X1 Titanium sports a 13.5-inch QHD display (2256 x 1504) with a taller 3:2 aspect ratio, which means it’s better for getting work done than for entertainment. In our testing, its screen actually exceeded Lenovo’s claimed brightness of 450 nits, making the X1 Titanium more than capable for working outdoors, while still producing delightfully rich colours. On the left side, you’ll see the X1 Titanium’s two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4, which is one short of what I typically like to see on a laptop of this size, but somewhat understandable given this laptop’s sleek dimensions. On the right you get the power button and a headphone jack, with a bonus fingerprint reader on the inside above the keyboard.

Lenovo even includes built-in stylus support, with a pen that’s included on certain configs. And while there’s no built-in storage slot to stash a stylus when not in use, there is a hidden magnetic strip that allows the stylus to stick to the side of the system, which is probably the next best thing.

Photo: Sam Rutherford Photo: Sam Rutherford

I also have to hand it to Lenovo for making a 2-in-1 laptop that is almost totally flat when transformed into tablet mode. Not only does this make the X1 Titanium easier to hold when using it as a tablet, it also eliminates almost all of the flex you typically get from hybrids that leave big air gaps between the lid and keyboard, once again reinforcing the durability. When it comes build quality, Lenovo nailed it.

Fine Performance, Solid Battery Life

With its focus on rugged portability, it probably isn’t surprising to learn that the X1 Titanium isn’t exactly a mobile powerhouse. Instead of more powerful Ryzen or Intel H-series chips, Lenovo offers a range of lower-power CPUs — our review unit sports an i5-1130G7 processor.

Photo: Sam Rutherford Photo: Sam Rutherford

When it comes to benchmarks, it’s not quite as fast as a Ryzen 7-powered Surface Laptop 4, taking more than twice as long (11 minutes and 38 seconds) to finish our CPU render test in Blender, compared to just 4:58 for the Surface. And even when compared to similarly priced ultraportables like a Dell XPS 13 with an i7-1165G7 CPU, the X1 Titanium took more than 30 minutes to convert a 4K video to 1080p, versus 17:24 for the Dell. In short, while the X1 Titanium is more than capable of cranking out PowerPoint presentations and managing a bunch of spreadsheets, it’s not really what you want for more creative work like photo or video-editing.

In terms of battery life, the X1 Titanium performed admirably, lasting 9 minutes and 45 minutes on our streaming video rundown test. It falls slightly short of the XPS 13’s 10:09, but that’s not a huge difference.

Trackpad Goes Full Force Touch

Instead of the same old touchpad Windows laptops makers have been using for years, Lenovo enlisted the help of Sensel to install a touchpad that delivers the closest thing you can get to Apple’s Force Touch trackpads on a Windows laptop.

Photo: Sam Rutherford Photo: Sam Rutherford

We’re not going to get too deep into the physics of how it works, but instead of relying on a standard capacitive touch system, Sensel’s touchpad relies on hundreds of tiny FSRs (force sensing resistors) to track your fingers, and the result is one of the most accurate and responsive touchpads I’ve ever used. Lenovo puts that extra sensitivity to good use by making it easy to customise various touchpad gestures, so you can quickly switch between apps or go back to your desktop.

The downside is that unlike Sensel’s external touchpads, the pad on the X1 Titanium is a bit small (most likely due to the cost of using all those FSRs), and its haptics aren’t quite as sensitive as I’d like, which can leave the simulated mouse clicks the touchpad creates feeling a bit ham-fisted. To best suit my tastes, I had to turn the simulated mouse clicks to their highest settings, which helped, but still didn’t deliver the more satisfying haptic feedback you’d get on a modern MacBook.

Photo: Sam Rutherford, In-House Art

Photo: Sam Rutherford, In-House Art

Click through for more closeups of the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga.

Photo: Sam Rutherford, In-House Art

Photo: Sam Rutherford, In-House Art

Photo: Sam Rutherford, In-House Art

Photo: Sam Rutherford, In-House Art

Photo: Sam Rutherford, In-House Art

Photo: Sam Rutherford, In-House Art

Photo: Sam Rutherford, In-House Art

Photo: Sam Rutherford, In-House Art

Photo: Sam Rutherford, In-House Art

Photo: Sam Rutherford, In-House Art

But Lenovo also includes its signature Trackpoint nub and additional physical mouse buttons, so you’ll have plenty of input options. And even with a slightly shallower key travel, the Titanium still delivers a pleasantly bouncy typing experience despite its super thin frame. The X1 Titanium’s F-keys are super tiny, but I’m still glad they’re there.

A Presence-Sensing Webcam

Normally, webcams on laptops are often an afterthought, simply meant to make sure people can see your face when you need to jump on a video call. And in some respects, with a 720p webcam camera, that sentiment is true for the X1 Titanium, too. But even with average resolution, I found the X1 Titanium’s webcam still captured relatively sharp and detailed video, which is a lot more than I can say about the webcam on Samsung’s Galaxy Book Pro 360.

Photo: Sam Rutherford Photo: Sam Rutherford

But more importantly, the Titanium’s webcam packs in some extras like a physical privacy shutter, a hybrid infrared sensor that works with Windows Hello, and a third optional sensor that can detect human presence. That sensor can tell when someone is sitting in front of the laptop, so it knows not to turn off the display if you haven’t touched it in a while (for instance, when you’re watching a movie) or automatically lock the system when you walk away. It’s a nice touch that delivers on the idea of simple security.

Road Warrior for sale

When it comes to deciding whether to buy an X1 Titanium or not, things can get a bit confusing. Because of the way Lenovo applies discounts on its own website, its starting price can vary between around $1,800 and $2,500 or more, with Lenovo’s starting “web price” in some regions set to a whopping $3,800. This means you have to be extra careful to make sure you’re getting a good deal.

Photo: Sam Rutherford Photo: Sam Rutherford

Right now due to extra incentives, a base X1 Titanium Yoga is going for $1,800 in select regions (Editor’s Note: The same discount available in the U.S. does not appear to be available in Australia), which makes it a competitive option compared to an XPS 13, with the Lenovo offering better durability and extras like its touchpad and webcam, but slightly worse performance, connectivity, and battery life. That’s a reasonable trade-off for any frequent flyers who prioritise portability. However, if Lenovo’s online discounts aren’t quite as steep, a lot of the Titanium’s value fades away. Double check that price tag before making a final decision.

If I had to choose one laptop to accompany me to a trade show or an out-of-town event, the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga’s rugged flexibility would put it at the top of my short list, right next to the XPS 13. Its build is excellent, and even in its first generation, Sensel’s FSR-based touchpad shows a ton of promise. And with a sturdy titanium shell and 2-in-1 design, the Titanium Yoga can handle almost any work task with ease, regardless of how you bend it.