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Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 260

Editor's rating (1-5): rating starrating starrating starrating star

What's Hot: Slim and light, versatile 360 degree convertible design. Very good pen experience. Upgradable internals.

What's Not: Small evolutions here, display color gamut below the competition.


Reviewed February 26, 2016 by , Editor in Chief (twitter: @lisagade)

Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 260

What's in a name? The Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 260 is the successor to the ThinkPad Yoga 12, which was the successor to the ThinkPad Yoga (at the time of the original ThinkPad Yoga, it was the only ThinkPad Yoga available, so a size designation wasn't necessary). Now we have consumer Yogas like the Yoga 700 and Yoga 900, the 12.5" ThinkPad Yoga 260 and the high end 14" ThinkPad X1 Yoga. Then there's the ThinkPad Yoga 14, now called the ThinkPad Yoga 460, except by Best Buy in the US where it's still called the ThinkPad Yoga 14. Oh and let's not forget last year's ThinkPad Yoga 15. Whew! Clearly, Lenovo has capitalized on the popularity of the Yoga convertible design and offered a variety of sizes to see what sticks. The granddaddy 12.5" model has remained a constant through three generations of updates. It's nimble, small enough for comfortable pen use for art and notes, and it's powerful enough to be a main PC.


Specs at a Glance

The ThinkPad Yoga 260 is a 12.5" convertible Ultrabook with 360 degree hinges, a touch screen, a Wacom AES pen and Intel Skylake 6th generation dual core CPUs (Core i3, i5 and i7 available). What's different from the last generation model ThinkPad Yoga 12? The updated Intel CPU and related chipset, a drop in weight and the switch to Wacom AES from the Wacom EMR pen and digitizer. The laptop is available with IPS 1366 x 768 and 1920 x 1080 displays, and it has dual band Intel 8260 WiFi 802.11ac with Bluetooth, an SSD drive and your choice of 4, 8 or 16 gigs of RAM. The base price model with the 1366 x 786 touch + pen display, Core i3 processor, 4 gigs of RAM and a 128 gig SSD sells for just under $1,000. Our review unit with a full HD 1920 x 1080 touch + pen display, Core i5, 8 gigs of RAM and a 256 gig SSD sells for $1,400. A backlit keyboard with TrackPoint and relatively upgradable internals are standard.


Design and Ergonomics

The 2.9 lb. Yoga 260 is slim yet durable with a rigid casing in matte black. It's designed to handle travel and less than careful handling well. The 0.7" thick chassis doesn't flex, nor does the lid. This is a robust and business ready machine with a metal frame. The matte finish resists fingerprints and it's easy to clean with a damp cloth and a little Soft Soap. The bottom panel is held in place by Phillips head screws and the associated plastic clips on the bottom panel aren't difficult to unclip should you need to upgrade or service the laptop.

Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 260

The ThinkPad has four rows of vents on the bottom, which is quite a lot for a 15 watt Ultrabook with integrated Intel HD 520 graphics that doesn't tend to generate a lot of heat. An exhaust vent lives on the rear edge and blows toward the back of the machine courtesy of the CPU fan. There's one warm spot on the bottom that never got burning hot (101F max in our tests) during hard work, and it's toward the rear so it likely won't distract you or heat you up. The fan is unobtrusive and rarely heard during productivity work and streaming video, but it will ramp up if you're working it hard with code compiles or 1080p video export.

For a small and relatively thin and light machine, the ThinkPad Yoga 260 has an ample port selection: 2 USB 3.0 ports, mini DisplayPort, a OneLink + dock port, HDMI, 3.5mm combo audio, a microSD card slot, SIM card slot for the optional 4G LTE module and a lock slot. The Yoga has side volume controls for use in tablet mode (there are also volume controls on the Fn row of the keyboard) and a side power button (again, good for tablet mode). The Wacom AES pen lives in a silo on the right side so you'll have a safe place to stow it. The notebook has a fingerprint scanner on the keyboard deck, and it's the newer rectangular kind you lay your finger on rather than a slit that you drag your finger across. It works well and is compatible with Windows Hello for logging into Windows 10.


Keyboard and Trackpad

As ever, Lenovo's ThinkPad keyboards are superb with excellent key damping, good force stroke and healthy key travel. It's a typist's dream, and the backlighting, activated using Fn and spacebar keys works well in dimly lit and dark settings. The Synaptics trackpad has settings for gestures and multi-touch, unlike barebones (though still often very good) Microsoft reference driver machines like the Dell XPS 13. It's a good trackpad, though we still don't enjoy the cursor acceleration that tends to send the cursor meandering afar when dragging files. The TrackPoint eraser stick pointer is nestled in the keyboard and the trackpad has discrete buttons for the TrackPoint at the top of the trackpad, though the trackpad itself has the usual buttonless design.

Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 260


360 Degree Hinge for Versatile Convertible Use

The 360 degree hinges allow you to use the ThinkPad Yoga 260 in laptop, tent, presentation and tablet modes. The hinges are firm and display bounce isn't bad for a 2-in-1 convertible-- the display didn't bounce more than a standard laptop's when riding on a bus. When not in laptop mode the keyboard faces outward, but the Lift and Lock mechanism raises the bezel surrounding the keyboard and locks the keys so they won't wiggle when you handle the Yoga 260 (and they're disabled so you can't accidentally type when in tablet, presentation or tent modes). The trackpad does still depress and click, but the laptop ignores input unless the Yoga is in conventional laptop mode. If you find Windows 10's versatility perfect for convertibles or if you wish to use the pen for notes or art, then the ThinkPad Yoga 260 makes perfect sense.



We have the 1920 x 1080 full HD IPS display in for review and it has Lenovo's usual ThinkPad anti-glare coating that's actually a permanent screen protector or overlay. It helps mitigate glare but dulls colors and contrast a little bit. It adds tooth for the pen, so it doesn't slip over the display as much when writing and drawing compared to glossy displays. Color gamut is disappointing for a laptop in this price range, and it won't suit professional graphic and video workers. It covers just 68% sRGB and 53% Adobe RGB, while competing brands and Lenovo's own more expensive ThinkPad X1 Yoga manage close to 100% sRGB and 75% of Adobe RGB. It looks decent but is certainly not breathtaking when viewing photos and video. Brightness however is very good, and though Lenovo claims 300 nits of brightness, our unit measured 344 nits, which is above average and perfectly bright for use in a well lit office.

Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 260

Lower end models have a 1366 x 768, 300 nit IPS display, which is adequate in terms of resolution but not particularly sharp on a 12.5" panel. It too supports both pen and touch.


Deals and Shopping:


Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 260 Video Review


Wacom AES Pen

Lenovo has switched from Wacom EMR (electromagnetic digitizers and pens to the new Wacom AES (active electrostatic) technology that has much in common with N-Trig on Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Surface Book and some Vaio models. Both N-Trig and Wacom AES use electrostatic pens where the pen is active (it supplies power rather than the display digitizer providing power). The included small pen lives in a silo so you won't lose it when transporting the laptop. It charges in the silo--15 seconds in the silo is enough for 2 hours of pen use. If you prefer a larger pen, there's the $40 Lenovo ThinkPad Pen Pro, which uses a AAAA battery just like N-Trig pens. The anti-glare layer adds tooth for writing and drawing, making for a slightly more natural experience than on the glossy ThinkPad Yoga 14 (ThinkPad Yoga 460). The pen supports 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity, but I honestly couldn't feel the difference in terms of pressure levels compared to N-Trig's 1024 levels.

Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 260

Edge detection and parallax (pen tip offset) are excellent, again like N-Trig and better than Wacom EMR in that respect. Wacom says EMR is still their most precise and expensive technology, but it does cost more, and it adds weight and thickness due to the digitizer on the display. I actually feel that lack of parallax and good edge detection are more important than absolute accuracy, so I'm content with Wacom AES and the latest N-Trig for my writing and art needs.

Palm rejection works very well (you can rest your hand on the display when writing and drawing), and the Wacom control panel allows you to adjust the pressure curve to a limited degree. It supports WinTab for those who use older art programs that require WinTab for pressure sensitivity, and it worked well in OneNote and a variety of art programs like Corel Painter 2016, ArtRage 4, Adobe Photoshop CC and Clip Studio Paint.

Horsepower and Performance

The ThinkPad Yoga 260 uses ULV 15 watt dual core CPUs like most Ultrabooks and many convertibles. These are 6th generation Intel Skylake CPUs with Intel HD 520 graphics. Unlike the 14" ThinkPad Yoga 460, there's no dedicated NVIDIA 940M graphics for a little graphics punch. The Yoga 260 is powerful enough to be a main machine if you're a student or business person who does productivity work in MS Office, photo editing, web, streaming video and occasional video editing. For a 12.5" laptop it's eminently upgradable with one RAM slot (up to 16 gigs DDR4 RAM), an M.2 SSD slot for SATA interface drives and the usual socketed WiFi/Bluetooth card. The machine benchmarks similarly to other laptops and convertibles with 5th and 6th generation Intel CPUs and graphics.

Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 260



- 2.3 GHz Core i7-6300U, 8 gigs RAM, 256 gig SATA SSD used for tests.

PCMark 8 Home Accelerated: 2826
wPrime:  18 sec
Geekbench 3 (64 bit): 2780, multi-core 5960


Battery Life

The ThinkPad Yoga 260 has a 44 Whr, 4 cell battery, which is average in capacity among its competitors in this size class. Lenovo claims up to 10 hours per charge, and as ever that's optimistic. Our Core i5, full HD model averaged 7.5 hours when doing productivity and video streaming with brightness set to a very adequate 40%. The notebook ships with Lenovo's compact 45 watt charger.

Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 260



The Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 260 is a pleasing though not groundbreaking refresh of one of Lenovo's all-purpose small convertibles. We like the Wacom AES digitizer and pen quite a lot--the pen is responsive, has good tracking right to the edge of the screen and pressure sensitivity works well. There are even WinTab drivers should you need to work with legacy graphics programs that behave better with WinTab for pressure sensitivity. The display disappoints in terms of color gamut, but the anti-glare finish and 344 nits of brightness are plusses. We can't recommend the laptop to those who work seriously in graphics programs due to the limited color gamut, but it's fine for others. Performance is strong and the ThinkPad line remains relatively free of bloatware, unlike Lenovo's consumer laptop lines. The machine is durable and the keyboard is superb.

If you like the Yoga 260 but want a larger screen or a higher resolution screen, or a higher gamut screen, consider the ThinkPad X1 Yoga. Yes, it's Lenovo's flagship Ultrabook so the X1 Yoga costs more. If you simply prefer a larger display, low end dedicated graphics and a glossy display, there's Lenovo's ThinkPad Yoga 460 (sold as the $999 ThinkPad Yoga 14 latest generation by Best Buy).

Price: starting at $989


Related Reviews:

Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 460 Video Review

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Review

Lenovo Yoga Book Review

Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga Review

Microsoft Surface Book Review

Vaio Z Flip Review

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet Review

Lenovo Yoga 900 Review

Lenovo Yoga 700 Review

Wacom Cintiq Companion 2 Review

Dell Inspiron 13 7000 Review

HP Spectre x360 Review

Samsung ATIV Book 9 Spin Review

Dell XPS 13 Review




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Display: 12.5", 1366 x 768 and 1920 x 1080 IPS display options, both with 300 nits brightess, pen and touch. Intel HD 520 integrated graphics. HDMI and mini DisplayPorts.

Battery: 4 cell, 44 Whr Lithium Ion rechargeable, sealed inside (accessible if you remove bottom cover). 45 watt compact charger included.

Performance: Intel 6th generation Skylake Core i3, Core i5-6200U and Core i7-6500U dual core 15 watt CPU options. 4, 8 or 16 gigs DDR4 RAM in 1 RAM slot. 128, 256 and 512 gig SSD drives in M.2 slot (SATA interface).

Size: 12.20 x 8.66 x 0.70 inches. Weight: 2.9 pounds.

Security and Biometrics: TPM and fingerprint scanner that works with Windows Hello.

Camera: 720p webcam with mics.

Audio: Built-in stereo speakers, mic and 3.5mm standard stereo headphone jack.

Networking: Intel 8260 2x2 dual band WiFi 802.11b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.1.

Software: Windows 10 Home and Professional available.

Expansion and Ports: 2 USB 3.0 ports, OneLink+ docking connector, HDMI, mini DisplayPort, 3.5mm audio WWAN SIM card slot (even if not purcahsed with 4G LTE radio option, the card slot is there) and microSD card slot.



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