Battery Life

For some people, performance is king, and others like a great design. Some crave great displays and some love the flexibility of a convertible device. The one thing everyone can pretty much agree on is that the battery life of a mobile device is important. Over the last couple of years, the increases in battery life due to hardware and software changes has been pretty dramatic. Notebooks that used to last an hour or two can now make it a whole working day, and others have exploited new power paradigms to rule the roost. Processors, displays, storage, and wireless cards are all more efficient than before, and even battery capacity has increased quite a bit. Despite the thin and light convertible design, Lenovo has managed to squeeze a 52 Wh battery inside the X1 Yoga. Battery capacity seems to be a moving target, with every generation seemingly increasing in size.

It is worth noting that initially there were some issues testing battery life due to the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. The method in which Edge was invoked in our tests raised some issues with Edge crashing. This gave me the chance to implement a new battery life test that I’ve wanted to do for a while. For now, the existing 2013 Light test will be maintained, although for 2016 it is just too light, as you’ll see. Going forward, the same test we utilize for our smartphones and tablets will be used. This test is noticeably heavier on the CPU and gives a better angle for real-world results.

2013 Battery Life Light

Battery Life 2013 - Light

Coming in at 504 minutes, or almost 8.5 hours, the X1 Yoga with the higher resolution display is middle of the road in the light test. It does outlast the 2015 X1 Carbon by about three quarters of an hour, and the specifications are pretty similar, meaning there is improvement in the design.

2016 Web Battery Life (The New Test, starting with this review)

Since this is a new test, it has only been run on the X1 Yoga, but we were able to run it on the OLED version as well. OLED has a power advantage when displaying dark images, since it only uses power to create light. In movies and such, it has proven to be a great advantage for consuming content. But there is a power penalty for OLED when doing many typical office tasks, such as spreadsheets, documents, and web browsing, since all of these activities tend to emphasize white backgrounds (in typical Windows OS environments at least). Web browsing has a pretty high average picture level (APL) for white, and as such there is a penalty for this on OLED.

Battery Life 2016 - Web

On our more difficult web browsing test, the OLED version achieved 3h39 for battery life, compared to 6h11 on the LCD model. Both have the same resolution and hardware (aside from SATA vs NVMe), so most of the delta should come down to the display. The OLED model had 41% less battery life than the LCD model in this test, which, although one of the worst case scenarios for OLED, is also something that a majority of people will use quite a bit. Although OLED has some amazing gamut and contrast, in our new test it can’t touch an LCD for power efficiency when doing typical office tasks.

Normalized Results

Removing the battery size from the equation allows an equal-footing display of platform efficiency. Some laptops have large batteries but only use that to mask power draw issues, while others can make a smaller battery last for a lot longer.

Battery Life 2013 - Light Normalized

The X1 Yoga LCD model is not the most power efficient laptop around, with a normalized result on our light test of under ten. It is a minor improvement on the X1 Carbon from 2015, but an improvement nonetheless.

Battery Life 2016 - Normalized Web

On the 2016 test since we just have the two results, it is difficult to draw much of a comparison at this time.

Charge Time

The other side of mobility is charge time. Even with a device that has a low battery life, being able to top up quickly can help mitigate that.

Battery Charge Time

Lenovo has tended to do very well on this test, and the X1 Yoga is the fastest charging laptop tested yet. Zero to 100% in less than two hours is very good. It is helped quite a bit by the inclusion of a 65-Watt AC adapter, which is quite a bit larger than what most Ultrabooks ship with.

OLED Display Analysis: Adobe RGB and Custom P3 Mode Wireless, Thermals, and Audio


View All Comments

  • lefenzy - Thursday, September 29, 2016 - link

    The 520 is fine for anything outside of gaming. And light gaming like CS:GO is perfectly ok to. You don't have to play at native resolution. Reply
  • BrokenCrayons - Thursday, September 29, 2016 - link

    Playing around with video games wasn't the focal point of that comment. I'd hardly consider it relevant in the modern world when gaming is a better chore for purpose-built hardware (consoles) or mobile scenarios where a person is compelled to wait for something for a few minutes (tablets/phones).

    That's why I said, "1080p is a stretch for the 520 doing anything intensive." That statement covers a wide range of other tasks that stress a graphics processor but have nothing to do with "playing" and everything to do with working.
  • lefenzy - Thursday, September 29, 2016 - link

    Majority of users just do internet, office, and media work, with primary stress on the CPU. I wouldn't expect anything more from an ultrabook. Reply
  • BrokenCrayons - Friday, September 30, 2016 - link

    Your personal expectations may not align with the expectations of other people. It's a computer and therefore will be subjected to a variety of different workloads. Just because it meets Intel's specs for battery life and thickness doesn't grant it immunity from user demands.

    "Sorry end user, I'm an ultrabook so you simply can't perform tasks x, y, and z at all." -- Sounds a bit silly doesn't it? It sounds even more silly when a certain category of computing tasks was performed on say a old 386DX running at 25MHz packing 4MB of 30-pin RAM in 8 512KB sticks. But oh no, a Thinkpad X1 can't perform the modern version of that chore. Why? Because ultrabook!
  • lefenzy - Monday, October 03, 2016 - link

    you're going off the rails Reply
  • MrSpadge - Thursday, September 29, 2016 - link

    What could you possibly want to work with such a device where the GPU and screen resolution matter?

    Video re/encode: it's the video resolution, not the screen
    CAD, 3DS etc.: good luck with Intel OpenGL drivers to make it run at all. And if it does, a factor of 2 or 3 more performance from the Iris / Iris Pro won't change the experience much.
    GPU computing: Intel not supported, driver bugs etc.
    Some corner case benchmark: well, maybe it helps here
  • BrokenCrayons - Friday, September 30, 2016 - link

    "What could you possibly want to work with such a device where the GPU and screen resolution matter?"

    Quite a few computer users spend quite a bit of time fretting over GPUs and screen resolution. Evidence can be found by reading computer reviews, monitor reviews, GPU reviews, advertisements for computers, technical forums, or just by asking around. In modern times, we even spend significant time discussing the graphics processors and screen resolutions of our telephones. I can't think of many situations where those two metrics aren't relevant concerns.
  • MrSpadge - Friday, October 07, 2016 - link

    Just because it's listed in specs and some people get crazy about it doesn't mean it really matters. when was the last time you badly wanted to run a game on your phone but your GPU was too slow? Reply
  • Samus - Friday, September 30, 2016 - link

    it's important to note most modern Thinkpad's do NOT meet many MIL-STD-810G specifications, presumably including this Yoga since the previous Thinkpad Yoga's didn't meet any of them. The most durable model, the T series, meets only 8 of the specifications and most of them mildly in comparison to the competition. For example, the Thinkpad T460 is guaranteed to pass the mechanical shock test (no details given on what the testing parameters are) precisely 18 times, giving the perception they are cherry picking a number.

    By comparison, the weakest modern Elitebook, the 8460\8470 (predates the 94xx/8xx/10xx series) bested the test 40 times at a distance of 3 feet and a repetition frequency of 30 seconds. It also did it while POWERED ON, and did not turn off. All these details are missing from the Lenovo data.

    Additionally, certain tests, such as dust tests, are also cherry picked results by Lenovo, using a 6 hour cycle. By comparison, they use the MIL-STD guideline of a 24 hour continuous test, not four 6-hour tests.

    Lastly, a number of tests are missing. Important ones, such as the impact pressure test (1500G) aka the "crush" test which is comically reproduced on YouTube by running over Elitebooks with a VEHICLE of some sort. But this could conveniently fall into Lenovo's category of high-vibration "multiple tests" again with no details or data provided.

    Modern Lenovo Thinkpads are more in-line with HP Probooks and Dell XPS's. If you want most of the 810G compliancy the only economical devices are Elitebook 8xx/10xx series, various Dell Latitude 64xx\65xx series and the Precision 7000 series. It's important to note that Thinkpad's from over a decade ago were substantially more durable than the modern equivalent. At the same time, the competition, specifically HP, Dell and Panasonic, have all improved their durability every subsequent generation (although HP has been sacrificing durability for aesthetics in some recent models such as the 1020/1040.)

    Comically, Lenovo sells various "shells" or cases for their Thinkpads to improve durability. My favorite one is the "healthcare" case. Look it up for a good laugh.

    Also worth pointing out because a lot of people say the competition doesn't offer a "Yoga" competitor is yes, they do. The "convertible" form factor has existed for nearly 20 years. Windows 98 PC's came in convertible "tablet" options. The Elitebook 810G (11.6") is probably the most modern version of a convertible, offering all the flexibility of a Yoga with more durability and a lower price.
  • lefenzy - Thursday, September 29, 2016 - link

    IMO, you should avoid language like the Fn and Ctrl keys are swapped from "default" arrangements as there is no default. Thinkpads have had Fn on the left corner for forever, and so do macs.

    Also the placement of Print Screen where there should be the Menu key remains inexplicable.

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