Lenovo ThinkPad L380 Yoga review: a productivity-oriented workhorse

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Lenovo ThinkPad L380 Yoga review: A productivity-oriented workhorse

“Here are our two cents on Lenovo’s latest laptop, the ThinkPad L380 Yoga”
Lenovo’s latest ThinkPad, the L380 Yoga is designed to appease corporate honchos. It comes with the signature ThinkPad build, a fantastic keyboard, and a stunning yet understated design. But, if you want to get funky and use it as a tablet, then the laptop gives you that option too. Since it’s a Yoga, you can just flip its screen, pop out the stylus and get creative. However, in a sea of business-class 2-in-1’s, can Lenovo’s offering stand out? Well, that’s what I’m here to find out. Stay with me.
Lenovo ThinkPad L380 Yoga review
Lenovo ThinkPad L380 Yoga review
Design, Build and Connectivity
The Lenovo L380’s design is a timeless masterpiece. Although the company’s ThinkPad series has been in the market for a good two decades or so, the brand has refrained from experimenting much with the design of its products. Sure, the hinges are new, and the matte aluminum lid has sharper corners than before, but the overall essence of the machine remains unchanged. You’ll still find the ThinkPad logo with a blinking LED positioned at the top-left corner of the lid. There’s the iconic TrackPoint nub sandwiched between the keyboard and the trackpad still sports a trio of mechanical buttons at the top which mimics traditional mouse keys. Suffice it to say, you walk into a meeting room with the L380 in your hand and people will know you mean business.
Lenovo ThinkPad L380 Yoga review
Lenovo ThinkPad L380 Yoga review

 While the L380 sports the iconic ThinkPad build, the design of the laptop has been tweaked to meet 2018 standards. With the lid closed, the machine measures in at just 0.76-inches, giving it a rather sleek girth. The display spans 13.3-inches diagonally and overall, the ThinkPad L380 is quite compact and portable. Moreover, the build quality of the laptop lives up to the ThinkPad heritage too and there’s little-to-no flex when you apply force to the laptop’s chassis or the lid. The icing on the cake is that the laptop also comes with Mil-Spec certification, which adds to the machine’s robustness. The base of the laptop sports chamfered edges, which ensure that the edges don’t bite your wrists when you’re jolting down numbers on an Excel sheet. A stylus is tucked away on one side.


Lenovo ThinkPad L380 Yoga review
Lenovo ThinkPad L380 Yoga review

My only complaint with the laptop’s design is that the hinge mechanism doesn’t seem as sturdy as I’d like it to be. Over the course of my review period, the hinges loosened up and were showing less resistance whenever I was opening the laptop or putting it in tablet mode. It also made using the touch panel annoying when the L380 was in laptop mode as the display wobbled a bit.
Lenovo ThinkPad L380 Yoga review
Lenovo ThinkPad L380 Yoga review
For connectivity, Lenovo’s L380 ThinkPad ships with a decent assortment of ports, including two USB 3.0 ports and two USB 3.0 Type-C ports, one of which is used to charge the machine. There’s also a microSD card slot, a Mini RJ-45 Ethernet port, a headphone jack as well as a full-sized HDMI 1.4 port present on the laptop. Lastly, there’s a fingerprint sensor which has been positioned next to the TouchPad and during my testing, the sensor worked flawlessly – it’s quick, responsive and extremely accurate.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The keyboard on the Lenovo ThinkPad L380 is arguably its strongest and its weakest link. On one hand, the keyboard is well laid-out, the keys provide a satisfactory tactile feedback, aren’t too rigid and offer adequate travel too. I’ve been using the laptop for well over two weeks and I know for a fact that I’ll find it difficult to adjust to other keyboards once I return my review unit of the L380 – it’s that good. That said, for a business class 2-in-1, I can’t figure out for the life of me why Lenovo chose to opt for a non-backlit keyboard. For anyone who works in a dimly-lit environment, the lack of a backlit keyboard could be a deal breaker.
Lenovo ThinkPad L380 Yoga review
Lenovo ThinkPad L380 Yoga review
Coming from a MacBook Air, I didn’t have high hopes from the L380’s touchpad. While it’s not in the same ballpark as Apple’s offering, it’s still pretty darn good. The touchpad boasts a matte finish and makes use of Windows precision drivers which give you the ability to use gestures to speed up navigation. I got used to the size of the touchpad at a gallop and didn’t find any issues with the unit’s responsiveness either. Three-finger gestures worked just fine and if you don’t fancy pressing down the keypad to imitate a left or right click, Lenovo has also furnished the laptop with three mechanical buttons on top of the trackpad.

Performance

The Lenovo L380 ThinkPad is packed to the brim with powerful hardware and as a result, I was thoroughly satisfied with the laptop’s performance during my stint with the machine. My review unit shipped with the latest 8th Gen processor from Intel in the form of a quad-core i5-8350U processor which worked alongside 8GB of RAM and a 512GB PCIe SSD. However, you can purchase the laptop with up to an 8th Gen core i7 processor and 32GB of RAM.
Lenovo ThinkPad L380 Yoga review
Lenovo ThinkPad L380 Yoga review
Performance-wise, my review unit of the L380 showed no signs of struggle when switching between various applications. I used the machine exclusively during a recent trip, and the L380 breezed through everything I had to throw at it with ease. To give you a better picture, my workflow involved at least a dozen tabs open in Chrome on any given instant with Handbrake encoding a video in the background and Adobe Photoshop open for some light editing. Lest I forget, I was constantly writing articles on MS Word and messaging my co-workers on Slack at the same time too.
Turn the page over to gaming and you’ll get a different result. Now, in the laptop’s defense, the integrated Intel UHD 620 GPU isn’t designed for gaming. That said, you can still achieve playable frame rates on platformers like Ori and the Blind forest and Limbo on the machine. To give you a better gauge of the laptop’s performance, the L380 scored 3,465 in PCMark10, which was slightly higher than the average score achieved by laptops with the same processor and graphics card. 

Battery life and more

The Lenovo L380 ThinkPad ships with a 45W battery which much like the laptop’s keyboard, has its lows and highs. Let’s get my qualms out of the way first. The battery life of the L380 isn’t very good, and it falls way short of Lenovo’s bold 12-hour claim. During my usage, I couldn’t get over six hours of work done with the machine and therefore, I’d suggest you pack the charger if you plan on using the laptop on a day-long trip.

Lenovo ThinkPad L380 Yoga review
Lenovo ThinkPad L380 Yoga review
On the flip side, the laptop makes use of a USB Type-C port for charging and also supports Lenovo’s RapidCharge technology. Therefore, you won’t have to stay tethered to the wall charger for long, should your L380 run out of charge.
Before I wrap up this review and give you my verdict on the machine, I’d like to touch upon some other things too.
·         Folks who spend a lot of time using Excel might find the absence of a dedicated numpad somewhat disappointing.

·         The L380 ships with downward facing speakers located at the base of the machine which don’t get too loud. Moreover, the position of the speakers makes it so that they get easily muffled too so if you plan on consuming a lot of media with the smartphone, be vary of the same.
·         The L380 ships with a 720p webcam which can be found at the center of the top bezel, above the display. The webcam outputs decent quality images and therefore, it should suffice for Skype calls.

Verdict

From a productivity standpoint, the Lenovo ThinkPad L380 Yoga is fantastic machine, as are most ThinkPads. The L380 offers powerful performance and scores big on the hardware front too by offering a solid keyboard, an attractive display and a robust build. That said, the laptop’s sub-par battery life and the absence of a backlit keyboard could sway prospective buyers to the competition’s doorsteps.

Lenovo ThinkPad L380 Yoga review
Lenovo ThinkPad L380 Yoga review

Moreover, the thick bezels surrounding the display and the chassis’s loose hinges mar the experience of using the L380 as a tablet. So, if you are in the market for a new work machine, then by all means, go for the L380 ThinkPad, which retails for Rs 65,000. But, if you want to make the most of the 2-in-1 experience, then you should look at other options too. 

Editor’s rating: 3.5 / 5

Pros:

·         Fantastic design 
·         Attractive display
·         Excellent keyboard
·         Solid performer 

Cons:

·         Hinge’s a bit lose
·         No backlit lighting for keyboard
·         Average battery life