Lenovo P40 Yoga
Recently my twin daughters completed a review of the Lenovo P40 Yoga, a device we’ve wanted to get our hands on ever since I got to see it at Autodesk University. Let’s just say I came home from AU very excited about it. Now that we’ve had a chance to use it, I think its safe to say we love this device.
“The world’s first multi-mode mobile workstation, featuring Yoga’s famous 360-degree hinge, is built to last with carbon fiber and magnesium alloys. Digital artists, engineers or architects will enjoy the Wacom Active ES™ pen technology for drawing and sketching.”
Here are the specs for the unit we tested
- Windows 10 (64-bit)
- Intel i7-6600U @ 2.60 GHz
- 16-GB RAM
- nVidia Quadro M500M
- 500 GB Samsung SSD
- Dimensions 338 x 236 x 20 mm (WxDxH)
- Weight ~4 lbs
Pricing starts below US$2000 for the Yoga, but the configuration we tested priced at $3250 on the Lenovo website.
Lenovo built the P40 with a magnesium-alloy frame for “light-weight” strength and its multi-mode chassis supports four different modes; laptop, stand, tent, and tablet. As with all their recent products, the Lenovo P40 Yoga is MIL-SPEC tested… it is rugged, I had no fears or concerns letting my four kids use this device. It is also as “light” as advertised, actually I would advertise it as “feather-light“… it definitely feels more like tablet than a laptop.
Lenovo claims the Yoga P40 is “Flexible and Durable.” I would agree. The kids “booted” this around for a month and its still like new. I composed most of this article while staying at a hotel (kids ball tournament), so it was written while sitting at a patio table watching the kids swim, at the desk in the hotel room, and while lying on the bed. It’s a great unit for someone always on the go.
As you swing the screen (to switch into tablet mode) the keys sink and become locked. Because of this, you can hold the device just about any way you want and not have to worry about pressing the keys. “Hot dog” tabs also rise meaning you can lie it down as a tablet on a table and again not have to worry about pressing the keys.
The finish is much less susceptible to fingerprints compared to the Lenovo laptops… which is a great thing. In fact, after a month of use from 4-kids and 2-adults there is hardly any noticeable smudges and there are no scratches. The screen on-the-other-hand is full of smudges, although it does appear to be much more smudge-resistant than the Lenovo tablet I have and the Samsung Tabs the twins have.
The Lenovo P40 Yoga comes equipped with a Wacom Active ES pen. I’m not an artist or industrial designer, but the ones I have talked to and the reviews I have read, Wacom is definitely a market leader and really the standard for industrial designers.
The pen is stored in-chassis and is automatically charged when inserted back into the unit. This means no AAAA batteries and worrying about the pen dying at inopportune times. The pen offers 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity on the Yoga’s high-res display… meaning it mimics the accuracy and precision of traditional brushes and pens. You can actually control the line width and opacity by how lightly you touch the pen to the screen.
One thing that would be nice is note taking similar to the Samsung Note in which you can start taking notes without the need to activate the device first… just start writing on the black screen.
Use the Yoga as a sketchbook or notepad in tablet mode, or flip it into laptop mode for emails, documents, and CAD. A big bonus to using the Yoga (over other similar products) is that you do not need to detach the screen to work as a tablet… it will seamlessly flip between modes even with applications running. The twins actually showed me the benefits of this as they would work on their PowerPoint presentations in laptop mode and then flip to tablet mode when they were reviewing… they are so smart! (sometimes)
The keyboard is sized appropriately and laid out in a fashion, that even with my short stubby fingers I was able to type efficiently and proficiently. We didn’t like how the “red mouse thingy” was inset into the keyboard, making the keys surrounding it more difficult to press. I also do not like Lenovo’s insistence to flip the Ctrl and Function keys. However, outside these concerns typing on the Yoga P40 is more laptop than netbook. I appreciate how I was able to easily switch between it and my other computers without issue… a very good indicator the keyboard is setup right.
The trackpad is almost unusable and unbelievably frustrating. While in laptop mode I have to use a mouse, which is odd for me as although I don’t like using them I’m actually quite proficient at using the trackpads. The trackpad is very slick feeling and my fingers run too smoothly over it. It is also way-to easy to press the embedded left and right buttons… AND the actual left / right buttons are above the trackpad, not below like on most laptops. I also don’t appreciate how there is no middle button.
The Lenovo Yoga P40 uses Intel 6th Gen Core processors and is equipped with the NVIDIA Quadro M500M GPU. It is certified to run many professional applications, including Autodesk Inventor, and it is powerful enough to receive ISV certifications.
I recently reviewed the Lenovo Thinkpad P70, and while its not a true “apple-to-apple” type comparison, I figured I might as well see how the Yoga P40 compares using the same dataset.
Here is the dishwasher model in Autodesk Inventor with ray tracing enabled – highest quality. The P70 was able to complete this in 200-seconds compared to the Yoga P40 which took 300-seconds.
The same model in draft ray trace mode the P70 was able to complete the view in 85-seconds compared to 323 for P40 Yoga. Another example… I used Inventor Studio to render the dishwasher model. I configured it to render for 4-minutes. The P70 was able to get almost four times the iterations in (198 vs 54).
So this shows the Thinkpad P70 kicks ass, but for the Yoga P40 its kinda like bringing a knife to a gun fight…. the two units serve different purposes. I was able to comfortably work with Inventor, Fusion 360, and SolidWorks on the Yoga P40, something I don’t think you could say about the iPad or Surface, regardless of which versions you are using. I was also able to throw the Yoga in my backpack for the ball tournament trip so that I could work on this article, something you couldn’t say about the P70 Thinkpad.
The Lenovo Yoga P40 is the soup that eats as a meal… it’s lightweight & portable, but with an actual usable keyboard. It works as a very large tablet and can switch between tablet and laptop almost seamlessly. It can handle tough treatment from even the hardiest road warrior. This little unit is also powerful enough to run most mainstream CAD applications.
- Lightweight, yet sturdy and durable
- Easily flip between the four modes without stopping applications
- Pen charges while in the chasiss… no batteries!
- Wacom pens kick ass
- Portable yet powerful enough for CAD
If you plan on running AutoCAD, Inventor, or SolidWorks 40+ hours a week this is not the unit for you. If you are a CAD user who is constantly on the go, this may be the unit for you. If you are an industrial designer using things like Sketchbook and Alias then this is definitely the unit for you. It’s the in-between these scenarios that makes it a bit more difficult to decide, especially as the price might put some people off.
I know for me right now this is the perfect device for me. I’m able to easily take it along to meetings for note taking and making presentations, I’m able to support the CAD users & Engineers I am responsible for, I’m able to continue developing and implementing our new ERP implementation, and I’m able to use it for the part-time consulting I do after hours. I’m also able to write articles for D&M from a poolside table and then toss it to the kids so they can play Candy Crush… I call that a win!
Feature Image Real Yoga Feeling by Bianca