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Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga vs. Dell XPS 12 Comparison Smackdown


Posted May 22, 2014 by , Editor in Chief (twitter: @lisagade)

The Dell XPS 12 and Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga are likely on the same short list for those shopping for a 12.5" Windows 8.1 convertible Ultrabook with a good keyboard, full HD display and business-minded qualities like a strong build, high quality parts and available on-site warranties. They're both around 3.4 lbs., have excellent backlit keyboards and touch screens. Unless you're a strong fan of one of these brands, how do you choose?

Lenovo Thinkpad yoga and ms surface pro 2

Configurations and Options

The ThinkPad Yoga has quite a few build to order options, more than the XPS 12. You can get an HDD rather than SSD for example, or save money by purchasing the 1366 x 768 touch screen version (both options that were added after we reviewed the machine). Corporate buyers will likely appreciate the options, while most consumers will probably go with the SSD and full HD screen. Both run on Intel Haswell 4th generation ULV U series Ultrabook CPUs, from Core i3 to i5 and i7. Both are available with 4 or 8 gigs of RAM, soldered on board and not upgradable. The ThinkPad Yoga has a 2.5" standard SATA laptop drive bay and an M.2 slot while the Dell XPS 12 has a single mSATA SSD slot.


Lenovo Thinkpad yoga and ms surface pro 2


The pen. If you want the active digitizer with Wacom digital pen (much more precise than a capacitive stylus, with pressure sensitivity and palm rejection too), then it's the Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga. Lenovo offers a full HD display with touch or with pen and touch--on their website the full HD has both pen and touch while retailers also offer full HD models with just touch. Make sure you get the one with a pen if you need this feature since the required digitizer is different from the touch-only model. The Dell XPS 12 is touch only, so if you need the pen, this isn't your Ultrabook.

Two Takes on the Convertible Design

Both have convertible designs so they work as laptops, tablets, in presentation mode and tent mode (the Lenovo is a bit more stable in tent mode). The Dell XPS 12 has an easel display design, so the display flips inside a frame, avoiding the Yoga problem of having the keyboard facing outward in tablet, presentation and tent modes. Lenovo addressed the Yoga issue of squiggly keys against your fingers in tablet mode by designing the ThinkPad Yoga with a Lift and Lock keyboard. The keyboard bezel rises up and the keys lock: there are no wiggly keys but you still don't get a smooth surface against your fingers.

Both have 12.5" displays with good color gamut that's similar to Surface Pro 2 but not as wide as the Sony Vaio Flip 13, Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus or Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro. If you're a graphics professional, this matters, but if you're a normal user you'll enjoy a colorful, sharp and high contrast display. Both approach 400 nits of brightness, which is very good, and they have IPS displays with wide viewing angles. The ThinkPad Yoga with pen has a matte display, while the Dell XPS 12 is a typical glare monster. The non-pen Yoga has somewhat reduced glare design on a gloss display, and it sits between the pen Yoga and XPS 12 in terms of glare.

There are plenty more points to cover, so watch our Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga vs. Dell XPS 12 comparison smackdown video.


Deals and Shopping:


Dell XPS 12 vs. Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga Comparison Smackdown Video


  Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga (Core i5-4200U, 4 gigs RAM, SSD) Dell XPS 12 (Core i5-4200U, 4 gigs RAM, SSD)
PCMark 7 4769 4889
wPrime (lower is better) 19.83 sec. 23.06 sec.


Pricing from manufacturers websites (retailers often discount these prices, especially the Dell):

Dell XPS starts at $999 with Intel Core i3, 4 gigs of RAM and an 80 gig SSD. $1,200 for Core i5, 4 gigs RAM and 128 gig SSD.

Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga starts at $901 with Core i3, 4 gigs RAM, 500 gig HDD and 1366 x 768 touch screen. $1,200 with Intel Core i5, 4 gigs RAM, full HD pen + touch and 128 gig SSD.


Related Reviews:

Dell XPS 12 Review

Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga Review



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Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga Specs:

Display: 12.5" full HD 1920 x 1080 IPS screen with 10 point multi-touch and 400 nits brightness. Wacom active digitizer with reduced glare finish available direct from Lenovo's website. Intel HD 4400 integrated graphics. Has a mini HDMI port. 1366 x 768 touch screen option also available.

Battery: 4 cell, 47 Wh Lithium Ion rechargeable, sealed inside (can be serviced if you remove the bottom panel, affixed with Phillips head screws).

Performance: 4th generation Intel Haswell ULV CPUs. Available with Intel Core i3-4010U, Core i5-4200U, Core i5-4300U, Core i7-4500U and Core i7-4600U, all dual core with Turbo Boost on Core i5 and i7. 4 or 8 gigs of DDR3L RAM (soldered to motherboard) and 128 or 256 gig SSD (2.5", 7mm high SATA3). 500 gig HDD with caching drive also available.

Size: 12.46 x 8.70 x 0.75 inches. Weight: 3.5 pounds.

Camera: 720p webcam and mic.

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

Networking: Integrated single band 2 x 2 Intel N-7260 WiFi 802.11b/g/n or dual band Intel 7260 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0.

Software: Windows 8.1 with the usual Lenovo device management software.

Expansion and Ports: 2 USB 3.0 ports, mini HDMI, 3.5mm combo audio, OneLink Dock port and SDXC card slot.


Dell XPS 12 Specs:

Display: 12.5", 1920 x 1080 IPS LED backlit display, capacitive multi-touch, 400 nits brightness. Intel HD 4400 integrated graphics. Mini DisplayPort. Supports Intel WiDi wireless display and Miracast.

Battery: 50 WHr, 6 cell Lithium Ion rechargeable, sealed inside.

Performance: 1.7GHz Intel Core i3-4010U, 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-4200U or 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-4500U. 4 or 8 gigs DDR3 1600MHz RAM (dual channel). 128 or 256 gig SSD drive (Samsung PM841 mSATA).

Size: 12.48 x 8.46 x 0.59- 0.79 inches. Weight: 3.35 pounds.

Camera: 1.3MP webcam with digital dual array mics.

Audio: Built-in stereo speakers, dual array mics and 3.5mm standard stereo headphone jack. Realtek ALC3260 with Waves MaxxAudio 3.

Networking: Integrated dual band Intel Centrino Advanced-AC 7260 WiFi 802.11b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.0.

Software: Windows 8 or 8.1 and Windows 8 Pro 64 bit available.

Expansion and Ports: Two USB 3.0 ports, mini DisplayPort, 3.5mm audio. TPM optional.



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