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Lenovo
positions its laptops in the market as carefully as pieces on a chess board.
The ThinkPad L13 Yoga ($899.99) slots in above the company’s consumer Yoga
2-in-1 convertibles but below the ThinkPad X1 Yoga—it replaces the ThinkPad L390 Yoga as a choice for business execs who want the superlative keyboard and sturdy
MIL-STD 810G certifications of a ThinkPad but are also watching their budgets. The
L13 is a solid performer with sterling build quality; with its standard (and
handily stashed) stylus pen, it could be the best under-$1,000 convertible you
can buy. It succeeds another older Yoga, the 2018 Yoga 730, as our Editors’ Choice among midrange 2-in-1 hybrids.

Everything
But Thunderbolt

Compared
to the ThinkPad X1 Yoga, the L13 offers a 13.3- rather than 14-inch display,
limited to full HD rather than 4K resolution. Its two USB 3.1 Type-C ports
don’t support Thunderbolt 3, which we don’t consider a negative in an
under-$1,000 laptop. Your $899.99 at Best Buy gets you a 10th Generation,
quad-core Intel Core i5-10210U processor with Intel UHD integrated graphics,
8GB of memory, a 256GB NVMe solid-state drive, and Windows 10 Home.

The
Lenovo site offers other configurations, ranging from a $677 Core i3 stripped-down model to a $1,403 Core i7-10510U Windows 10 Pro model with twice the memory and storage
of my test unit. All except the starter offer a backlit keyboard with
fingerprint reader and Lenovo’s TrackPoint cursor controller, which has its own
set of three mouse buttons above the touchpad.

At
3.17 pounds, the ThinkPad is on the wrong side of the three-pound line for
anyone planning to hold it one-handed in tablet mode, though it’s fine on a lap
or desk or in a briefcase. Measuring 0.69 by 12.3 by 8.6 inches, it’s a tad
heftier than the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (0.51 by 11.7 by 8.2 inches) or HP Spectre x360 13 (0.67 by 12.1 by 7.7 inches), which weigh 2.9 pounds each.

Lenovo ThinkPad L13 Yoga left ports

The
two abovementioned USB Type-C ports—one for the AC adapter—are on the laptop’s left
side, along with a USB 3.1 Type-A port, a connector for a proprietary Ethernet
dongle (not included), and an audio jack. On the right, you’ll find another
USB-A port, a microSD card slot, an HDMI port, and the power button, plus a
security lock slot. There is no volume rocker for use in tablet mode. A
SmartCard slot adorns the front edge.

Lenovo ThinkPad L13 Yoga right ports

Built
for the Long Run

Clad
in classic ThinkPad matte black (silver is an option), the L13 combines a
magnesium/aluminum alloy lid with a glass fiber reinforced plastic bottom. The display
wobbles slightly when tapped in laptop mode but there’s almost no flex when you
grasp the screen corners or press the keyboard deck; the system has passed a
dozen MIL-STD 810G torture tests against shock, vibration, and environmental
extremes such as high temperature and humid or dusty conditions.

Lenovo ThinkPad L13 Yoga webcam

A
sliding shutter disables the 720p webcam, which captures slightly dim and
soft-focus but agreeably clear and colorful shots. Bottom-mounted speakers pump
out fairly loud, somewhat hollow sound; there’s not much bass but highs and
midtones are solid and it’s easy to distinguish overlapping tracks. Dolby Audio
Premium software lets you switch among dynamic, music, movie, game, and voice presets
or tinker with an equalizer.

Lenovo ThinkPad L13 Yoga rear view

I
was mildly disappointed that, unlike previous ThinkPads I’ve tested, the Lenovo
Vantage utility didn’t let me swap the Fn and Ctrl keys, which are in each
other’s place at lower left. Otherwise, the keyboard is faultless—silent and
snappy, with dedicated Home, End, Page Up, and Page Down keys and convenient
system controls along the top row. If you don’t like buttonless touchpads, you
can use the TrackPoint buttons above the pad, but I found it glided and tapped
smoothly.

Lenovo ThinkPad L13 Yoga keyboard and touchpad

The
1,920-by-1,080-pixel IPS touch screen is acceptably bright (300 nits), with
good contrast and sharp details; fine screen elements don’t look pixelated.
Colors are rich and well saturated. The 5-inch, two-button ThinkPad Pen Pro
stylus recharges while parked in its niche in the convertible’s front right
corner; it offers 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity (but no tilt) and kept
up with my fastest swoops and scribbles while providing good palm rejection.

Lenovo ThinkPad L13 Yoga stylus

Perky
Performance

For
our performance comparisons, I matched the ThinkPad L13 Yoga against four other
convertibles. The Dell Latitude 5300 2-in-1 is probably the closest match, occupying the affordable side of Dell’s business
line. The HP Spectre x360 13 and Editors’ Choice Dell XPS 13 2-in-1, with their
10th Generation Core i7 CPUs, hold the high ground, priced $400 and $700 above
the Lenovo respectively. The LG Gram 14 2-in-1 flaunts a larger 14-inch screen and an 8th Generation Core i7 chip.

Lenovo ThinkPad L13 Yoga comparison chart

The
1.6GHz (4.2GHz turbo) Core i5-10210U is no record-setter, but the Yoga felt
reasonably peppy in everyday multitasking and when switching among browser tabs.
Like its peers, its integrated graphics silicon means that hardcore gamers need not
apply, but it’s a capable productivity partner. (Check out how we test laptops.)

Productivity
and Media Tests

PCMark
10 and 8 are holistic performance suites developed by the PC benchmark
specialists at UL (formerly Futuremark). The PCMark 10 test we run simulates
different real-world productivity and content-creation workflows. We use it to
assess overall system performance for office-centric tasks such as word
processing, spreadsheet work, web browsing, and videoconferencing. PCMark 8,
meanwhile, has a storage subtest that we use to assess the speed of the system’s
boot drive. Both yield a proprietary numeric score; higher numbers are better.

Lenovo ThinkPad L13 Yoga PCMark

The
Lenovo tied with the LG, a millimeter shy of the 4,000 points that we consider
an excellent score in PCMark 10. All five hybrids’ swift SSDs aced the PCMark 8
storage subtest.

Next
is Maxon’s CPU-crunching Cinebench R15 test, which is fully threaded to make
use of all available processor cores and threads. Cinebench stresses the CPU
rather than the GPU to render a complex image. The result is a proprietary
score indicating a PC’s suitability for processor-intensive workloads.

Lenovo ThinkPad L13 Yoga Cinebench

The
Lenovo landed in the middle of the pack in this test, showing its suitability
for complex spreadsheets and light media-crunching work, if not workstation-style dataset manipulation or 3D
rendering.

In
our Handbrake video editing benchmark, we put a stopwatch on systems as they
transcode a brief movie from 4K resolution down to 1080p. It, too, is a tough
test for multi-core, multi-threaded CPUs; lower times are better.

Lenovo ThinkPad L13 Yoga Handbrake

The
Latitude did pretty well for a Core i5; the Yoga didn’t. Video editing is not
its forte.

We
also run a custom Adobe Photoshop image-editing benchmark. Using an early 2018
release of the Creative Cloud version of Photoshop, we apply a series of 10
complex filters and effects to a standard JPEG test image. We time each
operation and add up the total (lower times are better). The Photoshop test
stresses the CPU, storage subsystem, and RAM, but it can also take advantage of
most GPUs to speed up the process of applying filters.

Lenovo ThinkPad L13 Yoga Photoshop

The
L13’s time was bearable, but translated to another last-place finish. Its handsome
screen and microSD card slot make it a fair choice for light image touch-ups,
but not ambitious visual work.

Graphics
Tests

UL’s 3DMark
measures relative graphics muscle by rendering sequences of highly detailed,
gaming-style 3D graphics that emphasize particles and lighting. We run two
different 3DMark subtests, Sky Diver and Fire Strike. Both are DirectX 11
benchmarks, but Sky Diver is more suited to laptops and midrange PCs, while
Fire Strike is more demanding and lets high-end PCs and gaming rigs strut their
stuff.

Lenovo ThinkPad L13 Yoga 3DMark

The two machines with Iris Plus graphics (Dell XPS, HP Spectre), thanks to 10th Gen “Ice Lake” CPUs, are a clear step above the rest here. Still, none
of the convertibles is a true gamer, nor is meant to be. Casual or browser-based games, not the
latest fast-twitch titles, join streaming video and audio as their most fitting entertainment pursuits.

Next
up is another synthetic graphics test, this time from Unigine Corp. Like
3DMark, the Superposition test renders and pans through a detailed 3D scene,
this one rendered in the eponymous Unigine engine for a second opinion on the machine’s
graphical prowess. We present two Superposition results, run at the 720p Low
and 1080p High presets. For lower-end systems, maintaining at least
30fps is the realistic target, while more powerful computers should ideally
attain at least 60fps at the test resolution.

Lenovo ThinkPad L13 Yoga Superposition

You can see the difference here again between run-of-the-mill UHD Graphics and Iris Plus. Fast-paced
gaming becomes a slide show on the Lenovo. As a gamer, it’s great for Microsoft
Office and Google Docs.

Battery
Rundown Test

After
fully recharging the laptop, we set up the machine in power-save mode (as
opposed to balanced or high-performance mode) where available and make a few
other battery-conserving tweaks in preparation for our unplugged video rundown
test. (We also turn Wi-Fi off, putting the laptop into airplane mode.) In this
test, we loop a video—a locally stored 720p file of the Blender Foundation
short film Tears of Steel—with screen brightness
set at 50 percent and volume at 100 percent until the system quits.

Lenovo ThinkPad L13 Yoga battery life

The
ThinkPad was the shortest-lived contestant here, but it still showed enough
stamina to get through a workday plus an evening of Netflix—not an exceptional
performance, but a perfectly fine one.

A
Not-Too-Shabby 2-in-1

The
ThinkPad L13 Yoga didn’t set our benchmark charts on fire, but that shouldn’t
detract from its status as a desirable convertible laptop. Its size and weight
are eminently portable, and it comes with the stylus that many 2-in-1 models omit or charge extra for.
Both its keyboard and screen are above average, and its build quality is sturdy and elegant.

Lenovo ThinkPad L13 Yoga hinge

I
wouldn’t hesitate to pay $1,100 or $1,200 for a system this nice, so getting it
for $900 is icing on the cake. The ThinkPad X1 Yoga and XPS 13 2-in-1 may
outshine this hybrid, but its first-class value makes it a worthy Editors’
Choice.

Lenovo ThinkPad L13 Yoga Specs

Laptop Class Convertible 2-in-1
Processor Intel Core i5-10210U
Processor Speed 1.6 GHz
RAM (as Tested) 8 GB
Boot Drive Type SSD
Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested) 256 GB
Screen Size 13.3 inches
Native Display Resolution 1,920 by 1,080
Touch Screen Yes
Panel Technology IPS
Variable Refresh Support None
Screen Refresh Rate 60 Hz
Graphics Processor Intel UHD Graphics
Wireless Networking 802.11ac
Dimensions (HWD) 0.69 by 12.3 by 8.6 inches
Weight 3.17 pounds
Operating System Windows 10 Home
Tested Battery Life (Hours:Minutes) 12:26

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