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Retro ThinkPad: It’s Alive!

(Image Lenovo)

At last!  Official word from David Hill that the Retro ThinkPad project is a reality.

Wonderful news!

Retro ThinkPad: It’s Alive

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Lenovo’s New ThinkPad Yoga 370 – It’s Silver!

yoga-370-full-better

Talk about an embarrassment of riches! Another Lenovo laptop has arrived! It’s a pre-production ThinkPad Yoga 370 – an advance sample of one of the new products due to be announced at CES 2017.

First things first: From time to time the nice people at Lenovo send me a gadget. They’re handy to have around – both for my own use and when trying to help out in the Lenovo forums. I do some testing and writing as well. I’m not otherwise compensated, and opinions are my own. I DO NOT speak for Lenovo.

I’ve done my best to gather correct specs here, but please keep in mind that the Yoga 370 is a pre-production unit. It’s not likely that things will change when it becomes available for purchase – but it’s possible. The specs available to me are also preliminary. Please verify anything you read here – about either model – before using it to make a purchase decision.

The TP Yoga 370 is a successor to the TP Yoga 260. Since I also have a ‘260 we’ll follow the same format used to introduce the (non-ThinkPad) Yoga 910 here and compare the two ThinkPads’ specs and features. Of course they’re both Yogas, with the poses, postures, and flexibility that implies.

(Images Lenovo)

Off the top, the main differences are Kaby Lake processors, larger display in a slightly larger frame with reduced bezel size, USB-C/Thunderbolt port, proprietary Ethernet port, deleted OneLink port (in favor of the USB-C port), deleted mini DisplayPort, and deleted volume buttons.

The specific pre-production unit that I received has an i5 7100U Kaby Lake CPU, 4GB of DDR4 RAM (single socket in this version – see below), a 128GB SATA SSD, no fingerprint reader, and a 1920×1080 display. This is at the low-spec end of the option list but reasonably well suited for the way I’ll use it: evening surfing, some media consumption, and writing. The below shows the range of specs, using the documentation available at this writing.

Did I mention that it’s silver? It’s a looker – but this will take some getting used-to. Aren’t ThinkPads supposed to be black? At least it has a TrackPoint. That’s not negotiable. Period. The end. Full stop.

Specifications

12 March 2017 update: TP Yoga 370 specs are now available.  Sales link still pending…

<370 sales link> ThinkPad Yoga 260
Processor
options
Intel Core i3-7100U
2.4 GHz no turbo
3MB cache

Intel Core i5-7200U
2.5-3.1 GHz
3MB cache

Intel Core i5-7300U
2.6-3.5 GHz
3MB cache

Intel Core i7-7500U
2.7-3.5 GHz
4MB cache

Intel Core i7-7600U
2.8-3.9 GHz
4MB cache

all: 2 cores, 4 threads

Intel Core i3-6100U
2.3 GHz no turbo
3MB cacheIntel Core i5-6200U
2.3-2.8 GHz
3MB cacheIntel Core i5-6300U
2.4-3.0 GHz
3MB cache

Intel Core i7-6500U
2.5-3.1 GHz
4MB cache

Intel Core i7-6600U
2.6-3.4 GHz
4MB cache

all: 2 cores, 4 threads

Operating
system
Windows 10 Pro Windows 10 Home or Pro 64, Windows 7 Pro 64, Windows 7 Pro 64 via downgrade rights
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 620
supports dual independent display
Max resolution: 4096×2160 (HDMI)@24Hz
Intel HD Graphics 520
supports dual independent display
Max resolution: 3840×2160 (Mini DisplayPort)@60Hz
4096×2160 (HDMI)@24Hz
Memory Non-WWAN models: 16GB max / 2133MHz DDR4, one DDR4 SO-DIMM socket

WWAN models: 8GB 2133MHz DDR4 soldered to systemboard

Non-WWAN models: 16GB max / 2133MHz DDR4, one DDR4 SO-DIMM socket

WWAN models: 8GB 2133MHz DDR4 soldered to systemboard

Storage Up to 1TB m.2 2280 SATA or PCIe SSD Up to 1TB m.2 2280 PCIe 3.0 x 4 SSD
Display FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS 13.3″ display 300 nits multi-touch HD (1366×768) or FHD (1920×1080) IPS 12.5″ display 300 nits multi-touch
Pen ThinkPad Pen Pro active pen for multi-touch display Some: ThinkPad Pen Pro active pen for multi-touch display
Camera HD 720p Camera 720p HD, 1.0 MP resolution, fixed focus
Audio support HD Audio, Conexant® CX11771 codec, Dolby® DAXII

stereo speakers, 2W x 2

dual array microphone

combo audio / microphone jack

HD Audio, Conexant® CX11852 codec, Dolby® Home Theater® v4

stereo speakers 2W x 2

dual array microphone

combo audio / microphone jack

Keyboard Full-size keyboard, backlight, 6-row, multimedia Fn keys Full-size keyboard, backlight, 6-row, multimedia Fn keys
UltraNav TrackPoint pointing device and multi-touch with 3+2 buttons click pad TrackPoint pointing device and multi-touch with 3+2 buttons click pad
G sensor, eCompass, Gyroscope 3D accelerometer and 3D magnetometer, 3D compass, 3D gyrometer 3D accelerometer and 3D magnetometer, 3D compass, 3D gyrometer
Ambient light sensor  Yes Yes
Fingerprint Reader Some: Touch style fingerprint reader on the keyboard bezel Some: Touch style fingerprint reader on the keyboard bezel
WLAN/WiGig Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC (2 x 2) 8265,
Bluetooth Version 4.1

Intel Tri-Band Wireless-AC 18265 WiGig + WiFi 2 x 2 AC + Bluetooth 4.1 M.2 Card

WiGig adapter is only available in selected countries

BCM: Broadcom Wireless-AC, 2×2, Wi-Fi + Bluetooth combo adapter, M.2 Card

no vPro: Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260, 2×2, Wi-Fi + BT, M.2 Card

vPro: Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260 with vPro, 2×2, Wi-Fi + BT, M.2 Card

Intel Tri-Band Wireless-AC 18260 WiGig + WiFi 2×2 AC + Bluetooth 4.1 M.2 Card

WiGig adapter is only available in selected countries

WWAN Optional

Qualcomm® 4G LTE-Advanced/DC-HSPA+/HSPA+/HSPA/UMTS/GNSS, M.2 card

WWAN models are only available with i5, i7 processores, 8GB soldered to systemboard memory

WWAN models not available in North America

Optional

Sierra Wireless EM7455,
Qualcomm® 4G LTE-Advanced/DC-HSPA+/HSPA+/HSPA/UMTS/GNSS, M.2 card

WWAN models are only available with i5, i7 processors,
8GB soldered to systemboard memory and FHD display

Battery Up to 12.5 Hours Up to 10 hours Li-polymer 4-cell 44Wh
Ports Two USB 3.0 (one Always On)

USB-C/Thunderbolt 3

microSD

HDMI

Combo audio / microphone jack

Rectangular “Slim Tip” charging port

Two USB 3.0 (one Always On)

Mini DisplayPort

HDMI

Onelink+ connector

Combo audio / microphone jack

Rectangular “Slim Tip” charging port

Weight From 3.03 lbs (1.37 kg) From 2.90 lb (1.32kg)
Dimensions 12.30” x 8.75” x 0.70” (313.5 mm x 222.2 mm x 18.2 mm) 12.20″ x 8.66″ x 0.70″ (309.9mm x 220mm x 17.8mm)
Color Black or silver Midnight black or silver

Photos

Yoga 370 on top, 260 on bottom.

Again, the 370 is a prototype. Ports and features may differ in production units, and units with different options.

Front and rear very similar. The 370 is slightly larger.

The size difference is more apparent in side view.

370: “slim” charging port, USB-C/Thunderbolt 3, proprietary Ethernet port, USB 3.0/always on
260: “slim” charging port, OneLink+, mini DisplayPort, USB 3.0/always on

370: power button, pen in pen silo, combo audio jack, micro SD card slot, (SIM slot WWAN models) USB 3.0, HDMI, security lock port
260: power button, volume up/down, pen in pen silo, combo audio jack, micro SD card slot/SIM card slot, USB 3.0, HDMI, security lock port

A look at the screens side-by-side, showing the 370’s larger display in a slightly larger frame on the right.

ThinkPad Yoga 370 Links

12 March 2017 update: TP Yoga 370 specs and some documents are now available.  Sales and user’s guide links still pending…

Hardware Maintenance Manual – ThinkPad Yoga 370

PSREF Page

Base Specification

ThinkPad Yoga 260 Links

ThinkPad Yoga 260 (sales site)

(English) User Guide – ThinkPad Yoga 260

Hardware Maintenance Manual – ThinkPad Yoga 260

PSREF Page

Base Specification

Random Observations

Device and Disk Managers, SSD performance: This TP Yoga 370 has a SATA m.2 SSD, not NVMe.

Operating System: this unit shipped with Windows 10 Pro Signature Edition.  It’s my understanding that production systems will also use a signature edition preload.  Signature edition preloads include much less (or no) bloatware.  That’s welcome news 🙂

Like other recent Lenovo offerings, it uses a PBR (Microsoft push-button reset) image.  There is a small recovery partition but it contains recovery tools, not the recovery image.  The recovery image files are incorporated in the C: partition, not in a separate partition.  They get updated when the OS updates, so recovery isn’t to as-shipped state, but to as-shipped if it had shipped with the updated OS.

Linux: Live Ubuntu Linux 16.04.1. No wifi out of the box. SATA AHCI-mode SSD (containing Windows 10) is visible to Linux.

Virtualization: VMWare Player and two VMs. Requires enabling VT-x in BIOS. Two VMs pretty much maxed the 4GB of RAM in this system. Configuring the VMs with less virtual RAM each would help, but it’s not really workable to run both at the same time with the RAM available in this particular laptop. They also consume a fair bit of the 128GB of main storage.

For any kind of serious VM work a configuration with more SSD, more RAM, and perhaps a stronger processor would be appropriate. For occasional/demo/experimental use, this one is fine.

Dongles: The ‘370 uses Lenovo’s proprietary Ethernet port, since the unit isn’t thick enough for a standard RJ45 port. The ‘260 made Ethernet available via the OneLink port – or with a USB dongle as described below.

There’s a Lenovo Ethernet dongle <part number needed> that provides a full-sized RJ45 connector.

It’s also possible to use an aftermarket USB-C or USB 3.0 to Ethernet dongle. I tested briefly with an Anker USB-C to USB 3.0/RJ45 mini combo hub. Also a StarTech USB 3.0 to RJ45 dongle. Both worked without requiring an additional driver. I mention them here as examples, not necessarily as recommendations.

Color: Did I mention that it’s SILVER? It’s also available in black…

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To the Nines – Lenovo Yoga 910

lenovo-laptop-yoga-910-13-work-play-3

(Image Lenovo)

Sleek, elegant, and powerful.  This beauty has it all – including one rather irritating problem.  Well, maybe two…

But first: From time to time the nice people at Lenovo send me a gadget.  They’re handy to have around – both for my own use and when trying to help out in the Lenovo forums.  I do some testing and writing as well.  I’m not otherwise compensated, and opinions are my own.  I DO NOT speak for Lenovo.

A year ago we had a look at the Yoga 900.   It’s still one of my favorite consumer-grade laptops.  Lenovo Yoga 900: not a ThinkPad, but not too bad…  It was a real improvement over the ground-breaking Yoga 3 Pro.  The Yoga 910 that recently landed at my front door continues that evolution in all ways:  updated CPU (7th gen Kaby Lake) and RAM, larger and faster SSD, and an optional 4k display.  The very slender bezel makes the most of the available real-estate with most of it dedicated to the display.  It goes without saying that it’s a Yoga, with multiple modes:  laptop, tablet, tent, stand…

The specific unit that I received had an i7 CPU, 16GB of DDR4 RAM (soldered to the mainboard), a 1TB NVMe SSD, fingerprint reader, and a 4k display.  Yow!

Let’s examine the evolution of the 910 by comparing it to the 900.  Specifications are derived from Lenovo documentation available at the time of this writing.  Please confirm anything you read here before making a purchase decision.  Also note that the Yoga 900 specs are for a -13ISK model.  That has been superseded by the -13ISK2 with an NVMe SSD.

Specifications

Yoga 910 Yoga 900
Processor Intel i5-7200U (2 cores / 4 threads 2.5 GHz 3MB cache)

Intel i7-7500U (2 cores / 4 threads 2.7 GHz 4MB cache)

Intel Core i5-6200U (2 cores / 4 threads 2.3 GHz 3MB cache)

Intel Core i7-6500U (2 cores / 4 threads 2.5 GHz 4MB cache)

Operating System Windows 10 Home or Pro 64 Windows 10 Home 64
Graphics  Intel HD Graphics 620  Intel HD Graphics 520
Memory 16GB max 2133MHz DDR4 soldered to system board 16GB max 1600MHz LPDDR3 soldered to system board
Storage Up to 1TB  m.2 2280 PCIe 3.0 x 4 SSD Up to 512 GB  m.2 2280 SSD
Display FHD (1920×1080)

UHD (3840×2160)

IPS 13.9″ 300 nits

QHD+ (3200 x 1800)

IPS 13.3″ 300 nits

Camera  720p HD, 1.0 MP resolution, fixed focus  720p HD, 1.0 MP resolution, fixed focus
Audio support HD audio, JBL branded stereo speaker with Dolby Audio Premium certification 2.0W x 2

dual array microphone

combo audio / microphone jack

HD audio, JBL branded Speaker with Dolby Audio Premium certification 2.0W x 2

dual array microphone

combo audio / microphone jack

Keyboard Full-size keyboard, backlight, 6-row, multimedia Fn keys Full-size keyboard, backlight, 6-row, multimedia Fn keys
Touchpad One-piece multi-touch touchpad Buttonless touchpad below keyboard, multi-touch
Ambient light sensor Yes Yes
Fingerprint Reader Yes No
WLAN 802.11ac, QCA61x4A 1×1 Wi-Fi + BT combo adapter

(Bluetooth 4.1 integrated in Wi-Fi + Bluetooth combo adapter)

One of the following, configurable by model:

11b/g/n+BT: 11b/g/n, 1×1, Wi-Fi + Bluetooth combo adapter, M.2 Card

11ac+BT: 11ac, 1×1, Wi-Fi + Bluetooth combo adapter, M.2 Card

Intel 8260 ac+BT: 11ac, 2×2,Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260,
Wi-Fi + Bluetooth combo adapter, M.2 Card

(Bluetooth 4.1 wireless, integrated in Wi-Fi + Bluetooth combo adapter)

Battery Up to 15 hours Li-polymer 4-cell 78Wh Up to 9 hours, 4-cell 66 Watt Hour Li-polymer
Ports USB 3.0 x 1 (support always on charging)

USB 3.0 x 1 (Type C, support DP function)

USB 2.0 x 1 (Type C, support DC-in function)

audio combo jack x 1

optional HDMI port (via USB 3.0 Type-C to HDMI Dongle, sold separately)

optional VGA port (via USB 3.0 Type-C to VGA Dongle sold separately)

2 x USB Type A 3.0 1 x USB Type C 3.0 with Video-out 1 x DC-in with USB 2.0 Function

4-in-1 Card Reader (SD, MMC, SDXC, SDHC) Audio Combo Jack

Weight 3.04lb (1.38kg) 2.8 lbs (1.3 kg)
Dimensions 12.72″ x 8.84″ x 0.56″ (323mm x 224.5mm x 14.3mm) 12.75″ x 8.86″ x 0.59″ (324 x 225 x 14.9 mm)
Color Silver, champagne gold or gun metal Clementine orange, champagne gold or platinum silver

Photos

A look at the display and keyboard.

yoga-910-display-and-keyboard1

The Yoga 910 uses USB-C charging.  The charger has been tweaked – with the AC prongs at the corner – to avoid blocking both outlets of a North-American duplex, or multiple outlets in a plug strip.  An AC extension cord is also included.  A nice touch.

yoga-910-usb-c-charger

And now let’s compare the old and new.  The 910 is on top, the 900 on the bottom.  They’re similar … yet different.  The 910 has a USB-C charging port and no card reader among other differences. The details are spelled out in the links at the end of this article.  My apologies for the image quality.  Lenovo hasn’t sent me a phone yet…

yoga-900-910-front

yoga-900-910-rear

yoga-900-910-left

yoga-900-910-right

And finally, a display comparison.  The narrow bezel of the 910 on the right allows for a larger display in a nearly-identically sized laptop.

yoga-900-910-display

Yoga 910 Links

Yoga 910 (sales site)

(English) User Guide – Yoga 910-13IKB, Yoga 910-13IKB Glass

Hardware Maintenance Manual – Yoga 910-13IKB, Yoga 910-13IKB Glass

PSREF page

Base Specification

Sarbin’s Lenovo Forum Spotlight Snap-review: Yoga: The Next Generation – The Yoga 910!

Random Observations

Camera: it’s at the bottom of the screen (as viewed in laptop mode).

Devices, drive layout and performance: as-delivered Device Manager, SSD layout, SSD performance.

yoga-910-disk-dev-mgmt-ssd-perf-resized

Linux: Yes, the Yoga 910 will boot Ubuntu 16.04 live on a USB flash drive.  However – unless the SATA mode is toggled to AHCI in BIOS config the installer won’t be able to see the main drive.  Wifi also doesn’t seem to work out-of-the-box.

yoga-910-ubuntu-16-04-screenshot

Virtual Machines: VMWare Workstation Player (free) and a couple of my VMs copied from another laptop.  Requires enabling VT-x in BIOS.

This is an example of one of the drawbacks of an extremely high-res display.  Older software (like this Solaris VM) don’t know how to scale, and become tiny.  Newer software generally can cope – but some older stuff may be unusable.

yoga-910-virtual-machines-resized

The Problem(s)

Well, I guess you’ve all been waiting for this… fan noise 🙁  2-in-1 ultrabooks are a challenge to cool.  Add a high-end mobile i7 CPU and it just gets worse.  Then try to hide the vents in the watchband hinge…

It’s understandable that there’s some fan/air noise given the above.  It can become objectionable if the fan runs too often, runs unnecessarily, or just plain sounds nasty.  All of these have been discussed by unhappy forum members.  My particular unit has a fan whine that I find rather obnoxious.  It’s not clear that they all do that.

Lenovo is working on BIOS and driver mods to address some of these aspects.  Forum members are already doing some testing, with mixed results so far.

Part of the problem is “rogue” processes increasing CPU loading (in the background independent of user activity) and causing the fan to run more than it should.  A major player is Windows Update and the associated Trusted Modules Installer.  With Windows 10 Home (the typical OS on these machines) those processes pretty much run when they feel like it, and can disrupt a quiet meeting room, or just aggravate the user.

It’s possible – likely even – that considerable improvements in fan noise are on the way, at least as regards frequency of operation and RPM.  The “tone” of the fan is another issue IMHO – and a troubling one.  Stay tuned…

Oh yeah, the other “problem”… the right SHIFT key.  Sheesh.  What were they thinking?

Update 2017.01.27  My Yoga 910 has gone back to Lenovo for analysis, and I’ve received a replacement.  The replacement still has a fairly “active” fan, but doesn’t screech like the first one did.  It’s a very different experience, even before making the Lenovo-suggested BIOS and driver changes in the link below.

My guess is that one fan vendor’s product that has the severe noise problem – and that’s on top of whatever excess fan activity is caused by BIOS, drivers, and general Windows 10 background activity.

For reference, the thread on the Lenovo forums:  Yoga 910 crazy loud fan even when CPU at <35%

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X1 Mouse in the House…

x1-mouse-and-logo

The same old boilerplate:  From time to time the nice people at Lenovo send me a gadget.  They’re handy to have around – both for my own use and when trying to help out in the Lenovo forums.  I do some testing and writing as well.  I’m not otherwise compensated, and opinions are my own.  I DO NOT speak for Lenovo.

You’d think the humble mouse was fully evolved by now.  Nope.  Lenovo has managed to find ways to refine even the venerable rodent.

Behold the ThinkPad X1 Wireless Touch Mouse.  It’s a highly capable and innovative gadget.  The “buttons” are touch-sensitive, with the actual “click” located on the bottom.  It’s also quite compact.   Perhaps a little too compact for all-day use on the desk in my big paws, but an excellent companion to my ThinkPad X1 Yoga on the road.  Maybe an even better companion to the TrackPoint-absent non-Think Yoga series like my 900 where a small external mouse really makes a difference.

Please note that the X1 mouse supports Bluetooth 4.0 and won’t work with older laptops like my ThinkPad T420 that use an earlier Bluetooth version.  For those cases use the mouse in RF mode with the included USB dongle.

Lenovo’s specs and some images below, but first, here’s a nice bonus: a discount code for the Yoga Mouse. A somewhat different critter than the X1 and looks very nice in its own way. (I haven’t had a chance to try it myself.)

Lenovo YOGA Mouse(Black)-NA

Note: discount code currently for North American customers only.

Part number:
Lenovo YOGA Mouse(Golden)-NA – GX30K69569
Lenovo YOGA Mouse(Black)-NA – GX30K69565
eCoupon : INFLUENCER
% off : 25%
Start date: 10/25/2016
End date: 12/31/2016

Lenovo X1 Mouse link, specs and images:

ThinkPad X1 Wireless Touch Mouse

Dual wireless: Bluetooth 4.0 and 2.4GHz
Rechargeable internal battery (380 mAh)
Multiple LED battery life indicator
Capacitive touch scrolling
Touchpad presenter
1000 DPI

x1-mouse-details

 

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