We’re back again with yet another laptop review; specifically, the review of the Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 260, a versatile, lightweight, business ultrabook. Lenovo continues to push out excellent computer products from the low end to the high end. While other PC manufactures have been stuck in a rut with boring designs and over bloated software, Lenovo’s design team is knocking it out of the park. Check out our full ThinkPad Yoga 260 review straight ahead.
ThinkPad Yoga 260 Specifications
Plastics are the order of the day on the ThinkPad Yoga 260, but don’t think you’ll find anything cheap here. It’s very much the opposite. The plastics used in the construction of the 260 are premium and rugged. ThinkPads are known for their tough exteriors and for standing up to the abuse a business user on the move can put them through. The hinges are made of a smooth metal that is grey in color and looks strikingly handsome against the matte black plastic finish.
On the right side of the ThinkPad Yoga 260 you have the power, volume rocker, ThinkPad Pen Pro, headphone jack, microSD card/SIM slot, USB 3.0 port, HDMI port and a Kensington lock. Over on the left we have the power adapter port, OneLink+ port, miniDisplay port, USB 3.0 port and a Smart Card slot. The bottom of the laptop has a large number of slates that act as ventilation for the motherboard and processor.
One of the nicest things about the ThinkPad Yoga 260 is the keyboard. The keys have nice shape and tactile feel to them, great response, and aren’t overly loud to type on. The keyboard is also backlit, which is important because no one should be buying a keyboard that is not backlit anymore. The greatest design element of the keyboard is the way the keys recess into the body when you move the laptop into tablet mode. This keeps you from clacking the keys when holding it in tablet mode, a really great feature. Overall the design is what you would normally expect from the ThinkPad series. It has a bit of a refreshed feel and look but does not stray far from tradition.
The 12.5″ HD display has a slightly glossy look to it but is not too bad with glare. In bright sunlight it doesn’t do as well as I’d like, but not many screens do. The display is crisp with text but, something to keep in mind if you have poor eyesight, if you have it set to the highest resolution the words will be small. The color reproduction on this display isn’t bad, it isn’t the best but it’s not awful by any means. Contrast is nice and deep and consuming media on this machine should satisfy your average users. This is probably not a machine for the creatives out there. Photoshop and Lightroom users are probably going to go for different machines with higher end displays.
I’ve read other reviews that complain about the larger bezels on this machine but I rather like the bezel design. Having the bezels too thin would likely make using tablet mode a bit more difficult. Also, sometimes my palm rested on the bezel which meant it wasn’t touching the screen. The touchscreen is responsive and easy to use. My one complaint with all the laptop-tablet hybrids is the on screen keyboard. Most of these on screen keyboards take a lot of real estate and unlike a smartphone, they can be cumbersome to use. Overall the screen on the ThinkPad Yoga 260 is excellent and fits in well for this class of laptop and for its intended users.
Shipping with Windows 10, the ThinkPad Yoga 260 runs extremely well with Microsoft’s latest OS. Our review unit was rocking a core i5 processor with 8GB of RAM and the software was smooth as butter. I love Windows 10 much more than Windows 8 and PCs have come alive again because of it. The proprietary Lenovo extras and the inclusion of an anti-virus I would consider bloat software and unneeded. I hope Lenovo considers shipping their machines with just the basics and nothing more in the future.
One of the nicer touches of the ThinkPad Yoga 260 is the ThinkPad Pen Pro stylus. While I didn’t find much use for it for what I use a laptop for, this could be a very handy tool for presenters and artists alike. The pen is responsive and pretty accurate. I can’t compare it to other PC styluses, but overall I found using it was enjoyable, especially for simple drawing, which is the best drawing I can muster up. Also included is a fingerprint scanner which works very nice and unlocks the 260 very quickly, other fingerprint scanners I’ve used haven’t been as good as this one.
With an Intel Core i5 and 8GB of RAM paired with Intel HD Graphics 520 this thing smoked through multitasking and graphics performance easily. The performance of this machine will serve those business users who might do presentations on a regular basis and need to run presentation software. When those same business users are on their downtime, the Intel HD Graphics 520 will easily handle streaming video and media consumption.
The keyboard was a joy to use and the way it tucks away when in tablet mode is also a great little feature. The trackpad is a bit of an improvement from past Lenovo trackpads but it still has a bit of hang for me. Apple’s trackpads still remain the best I’ve used. You alternatively have the TrackPoint, the red nub in the center of the keyboard. Longtime ThinkPad users rave about this feature but I could never master it very well. It has a bit of a learning curve, but it’s sure to satisfy the hardcore ThinkPad crowd. Overall the ThinkPad Yoga 260 is a solid performer with power to spare.
The speakers and sound on the 260 are actually pretty decent and sound even better when in tent mode. Laptops this small generally do not have the best sound, but the ThinkPad Yoga 260 does a decent enough job you won’t be hunting for your earphones.
Camera is good for Skype and Google Hangouts. It has decent clarity but nothing to rave about.
Battery life is advertised at 10 hours and we got just about that, 10 hours and 5 minutes on average. Battery life could always be better and that’s one thing many reviews might ding the 260 on, but in a chassis this thin, it’s hard to demand 20 hours of battery life alongside the performance it provides. I will say the battery life is acceptable for the size and specs of the machine.
Starting at just over $900 you can configure the 260 much further up than that. I think Lenovo provides great value in most all of the machines we’ve tested, and the ThinkPad Yoga 260 is no different. Good performance paired with rugged and well-built design give you a very nice little business hybrid.
This one should be on the shortlist of any business person looking to upgrade that old 13″ laptop.