2-in-1 face off: Surface Book 2 vs. ThinkPad X1 Yoga (2018)

2-in-1 face off: Surface Book 2 vs. ThinkPad X1 Yoga (2018)


– So now that we’ve got some
of the big laptop reviews for early 2018 out of the way, we’re gonna start doing some versus. Today, Surface Book
Two versus the X1 Yoga. Stay tuned. (pulsing music) All right, so before we get
started, these laptops are both, well, very high-end and premium devices. If you’re on a budget,
neither one of these are gonna be good choices, but
they do represent sort of that new hybrid style of laptops, and what I think are
the best form factors, but they do it in different ways. Now I know you guys are gonna
look for a clear winner here, but it’s really gonna come
down to personal preference, ’cause both of these laptops
I’ve rated very highly. They do have some pros and cons for each, and I kind of wish I could
combine both of them, but let’s go through those specifications and get down to the nitty gritty. All right, let’s talk
about the processors first. So surprisingly both
of these are the same, at least on the high-end model. With the ThinkPad you’re
gonna get a few more options as Lenovo is always a big fan of that, but we’ll talk high-end stuff. So you’re talking about the
Intel 8th generation 8650U for both of these. These are technically 15-watt chips, but they can actually
rate a little bit higher, so they go up to around
20, 25 watts for boosting, and they are quad core. The ThinkPads surprisingly,
although a little bit smaller, they don’t throttle back that processor. It does perform very
well, but as a result, it can run a little hot. Surface Book Two can
also run a little hot, but since its processor
is behind the display, you won’t quite feel
it in your lap as much, and you’re not gonna hear
the fans as much, either. But they both run very well. Now when it comes to RAM, you’re gonna talk about 16
gigabytes, again, DDR Three, so nothing too amazing there, and both of these are soldered-on options, so you gotta order it configured
and just be happy with it. Now for storage, you
get a bunch of options. Both of these are PC IDE, so they’re gonna be very fast drives. You can get up to one
terabyte in both of them, but in terms of raw speed, the
ThinkPad is going to win out. It ships with the Samsung PM981, which is a blazingly fast
SSD, and it’s, in fact, the fastest one you can get right now with over a 3000 read
speeds and 2000 writes; it’s just a killer. Now, the Surface Book Two
has got a good SSD in it, but it’s not gonna perform nearly as well, plus with the ThinkPad you can
open it up and swap it out, where you can’t do that here, so if you’re looking for storage solutions and for the fastest one out there, well, the ThinkPad’s gonna win out. Now when it comes to the
real performance difference between these two devices,
it’s obviously in graphics. So the 13-inch Surface Book Two ships with an Invidia GTX1050, and
if you go for a 15-inch model, you get the GTX1060. These are both very
good gaming-level GPUs, and you can do gaming on both of these. They’re just excellent choices. What do you get with the X1 Yoga? Well, nothing, really. You’ll get the Intel UHD620. Not don’t get me wrong,
the UHD620 is a fine GPU for web browsing and working in Word, and that’s what this laptop is meant for. It’s meant for productivity,
after all, not gaming. But yeah, you’re not gonna get
any graphics boost in here. I kind of would have liked to
see the MX150 thrown in there just for that little extra boost, but you’re not even gonna get that. All right, what about keyboards? Well, these are both winners in my book. I really, really like the
Surface Book Two’s keyboard. In fact, all the Surface devices in my opinion, have very good keyboards, but you can’t deny the legacy of Lenovo. I mean, people really are
stuck on these keyboards and for good reason. Even I enjoy using this and
have a hard time giving it up. But honestly, either one of
these keyboards are gonna be really good. They have a lot of travel on
them, they’re both backlit, and you do get the TrackPoint
system with the Lenovo, if that’s important
again, for some people, they absolutely rely on it,
think it’s the best thing in the world. I still haven’t converted
to it although it’s on my to-do list in 2018. Well, what about track pads? Again, Surface Book
Two, little bit bigger, just because it doesn’t
have that TrackPoint system, so it’s gonna be taller, also glass. It’s using precision touch pads. The X1 Yoga here, well, it’s not as big, but it’s a pretty good size. I really don’t have
any complaints about it but those TrackPoint buttons
do take away from some of that space, but you are
getting precision touch pad drivers here as well. Now, if I really had to
choose, Surface Book Two is gonna be the winner but I
can’t really complain about this track pad, it’s solid. Now, let’s talk about the display. So this is gonna be sort
of personal preference. These are both very good displays. Now, you’re talking higher
resolution with Surface Book Two, slightly, it’s nothing
crazy, 3000 by 2000, but it is 13 and a half inches. The real big difference here, of course, is that aspect ratio. It’s gonna be three by two
and I’m a convert to that. I’ve already written an editorial about it saying just how I absolutely prefer it. One of the reasons why I have
a hard time switching away from the Surface Book Two is because it’s one of the reason I
like the MateBook X Pro. Now, the Think Pad,
you’ll get a traditional 16 by nine display, which
I don’t care for as much. I just feel everything is
squished but for some people, they really still like
it, so there you go. Now, the benefit though, with
the ThinkPad is, of course, you get that Dolby Vision HDR, at least in the high-end model but it’s $180 extra, which in my opinion, is totally worth it. It is an outstanding color display. We’re talking 100% Dolby color accuracy and 100% SRGB, plus it gets over 500 nits of brightness. It’s just stunning looking. I don’t know. I wish I could take the
Dolby Vision and put it into this aspect ratio. So this is kind of a wash in my opinion. Again, some of you are
gonna value one of those more than the other, so
it’s a tough choice to make but these are both really good displays. Turning to biometrics,
it’s also a tough decision. So Surface Book Two,
by default, comes with Windows Hello facial recognition. It’s absolutely phenomenal,
works very well, no issues. ThinkPad gets a little bit complicated. You can get Windows
Hello facial recognition, which I recommend, but
the trade-off there is you can’t get that awesome
Dolby Vision HDR display, which I just raved about. So instead you get a finger print reader, which to be honest, on a
laptop, ain’t a bad thing, except for this one, it’s not good at all. I really do not like
this fingerprint reader. I have to rest my finger on
there for one to two seconds, which may not sound like a long time. It kind of is though. It’s just not good. When it comes to audio and
sound, well Surface Book Two puts those speakers next to the display. They are front firing,
in fact, they’re kind of face firing if you think about it. Really good audio. Not a lot of base but I don’t
have any complaints about it. It’s some of the best speakers
you can get on a laptop. Looking at the X1 Yoga
though, they put the speakers on the bottom. These are pretty good. Now when I read the X1
Carbon, I didn’t really like the audio at all. With the Yoga, they changed
things up quite a bit, much better speakers, and
although they’re downwards firing, if you rotate this around, you
get upward firing speakers. Still, Surface Book Two
is gonna beat it out but these are pretty
good speakers overall. Okay so what about our ports? Well, ThinkPad X1 Yoga is
gonna definitely win out for the majority of you. That is, it just has more
ports and more options and there’s really no sacrifice here. You have two USB Type-C and
yes, three full PCIU lanes. You can do EGBU on this. Plugin 24K displays running at 60 hertz. You got it all here, plus you
have your legacy USB A ports. I know some people get
mad I call them legacy but just go with it. Now when it comes to storage,
you’ll get a micro SD slot in the back, it’s not really
convenient and I don’t really like micro SD cards
but they are compatible with a lot of modern
cameras and smartphones and I guess that’s why it’s there. You also get an LTE option
which, it’s in theory you have an option,
you can’t order it yet, but you should be able
to in a couple months. But if you wanna get a modem
with this, you can in theory, get a modem with it. For me, that’s a huge deal. You do not get that with
Surface Book Two at all. Additionally, on the X1 Yoga,
you’ll get a full HDMI port which, when I go to hotels
and I just wanna plug in to the TV, I still find
very useful, and obviously those in business prefer to use it, too so nice option there. You also have the weird
ethernet dongle thing. So what they did is they built ethernet into the motherboard but the
connector is just too big for this device so they
have a dongle that acts as the connector. That’s an extra purchase
but it does allow you to get very high speed internet
wired through this device, again, important to some people. Now, Surface Book Two,
obviously a lot of compromise but not in all areas. You get two USB Type-A
ports which is pretty nice. You also get a USB
Type-C port which is new to the Surface Book Two
but as everybody knows, it is not Thunderbolt
3 which means you can’t do a lot with it. You can do peripherals, you
can charge devices from it and to it. It’s nice but you just
get two external GPUs and you can’t power two 4k displays, but you can power one though,
so better than nothing. Now you do, however, get a full
SD card slot on this device and even I find that
useful for photography. My camera still uses a full
SD card slot and a lot of pros still use full SD, they’re
cheaper, they’re faster, all that kind of stuff. That makes this the better
choice for those people. So what about being a convertible? So the cool thing about
both of these devices is they turn into tablets. They just do it in different ways. There’s no clear winner here,
although for some of you, there will be. Let me discuss. Okay, the Surface Book
Two detaches as a tablet so you have the entire
computer in the upper display. The benefit there is it
makes that tablet very light. You don’t, however, get
all your IO ports now with that choice. There’s also the time thing. It’s a little clunky to hit the button, you gotta wait a second
for the system to detach, lift it off, and then begin using it. I know that sounds trivial
but it’s one of those things I don’t use it as a
tablet very often because it feels like an extra step. Let’s turn to the Yoga; Yoga
does it very differently. Uses the classic hinge system so you rotate the display around. Well, that gives you many more options, including tent mode, presentation mode, you can use it as a tablet. You’re still talking the
full weight of this device, which is around three pounds, as a tablet, and that makes it heavier. That’s actually twice the
weight of what this thing would be as a tablet, so
that’s gonna be a trade-off. But the benefit here with
that hinge is I find myself flipping this around more
often than I’d be using this as a tablet, that is,
this is just much easier to get to. Which is better? It depends on how you use it. I think for some artists and
people looking at the pen, the Surface Book Two
would be a better option but for those in business who
wanna do presentation mode, who like to watch movies,
well, this one would be a little bit easier. Speaking of touch
screens and convertibles, let’s talk about the pen. Surface Book Two doesn’t come with one, so that’s a bummer. You gotta pay $99 for
that brand new surface pen and it’s a pretty good pen. It’s also expensive but
it has a cool magnet and it attaches to the side of the device so that’s kinda nice to have. Plus, you get to pick your color, which is always a nice thing to have. Now, the ThinkPad Yoga is
kina cool because it has an active pen built into the system. It’s more like a toothpick. It’s not a full pen, it’s very small, but it pops out and it
charges while it’s in there. In fact, 15 seconds of being in there, charges it for like 100
minutes which is kinda crazy. That convenience of having
that pen there all the time is pretty awesome. So this comes down to how
are you gonna use the pen? If you’re gonna use the pen
all the time or frequently, Surface Book Two is a much better choice. If you’re like me though,
you like the idea of a pen, you don’t use it very often
but you’d like to have a device with it then
this is the better choice. Don’t forget, even that
small pen, even if you don’t wanna use it, you can go
buy an AES pen that supports this device, that’s
bigger and more natural, including that Wacom Ink one
that I mentioned earlier. And that’s another difference. This is AES, this is Intrigue. I’m not gonna say one’s
better than the other, they’re both kinda similar at this point. But it’s nice you have
a few more options here with this, plus it
technically comes with a pen. Alright, what about battery life? They’re both, I would consider,
nearly all game machines, but really the Surface Book
Two is gonna win out here. It’s a very good battery life. We’re talking near 10
hours easily with this. That’s both the 13 and
the 15 inch versions. They’re really the best
performing surface books in terms of battery life. The X1 Yoga, it’s good, maybe eight hours, you can probably push it to nine. Again, this has a lot more capabilities, you have the HDR display
of hitting 500 nits, so if you turn up that
display very bright, it’s going to drain the battery quickly. Likewise, Surface Book
Two, if you start using that GPU a lot and playing video games, you too will also drain that battery. So your mileage will vary
but if you’re just doing productivity work, Surface
Book Two is gonna last longer. Another important difference
between these two systems for battery, well, the X1
ThinkPad, you can swap out that battery in a couple
years if you want to. It’s pretty easy to do so
that’s important if you’re gonna hold onto this for five years. Surface Book two, good luck. You’d probably have to send it in for them to swap out the battery and
even then, it’s not guaranteed. You definitely won’t be
able to do it yourself. For some people, that’s
an important distinction. Alright, what about pricing? Well, as I mentioned earlier,
these are both very expensive devices but no surprise, Surface Book Two, the more expensive one. Now it does start off at
$1499 which is a doable price for some people but
that’s the Core i5 version with 256 storage and eight
gigs of RAM and you don’t get discrete graphics, so that
is just the Intel UHD620, and that’s the older version, the Core i5. It’s kind of a weird device, to be honest, but if you like this form
factor, it’s a great price point for that to get in there and
it’s pretty good performer but you’re not gonna
get all the cool stuff that you get in the Core i7 model. Speaking of the Core i7
model, once you throw in those in video graphics, all of a
sudden you’re gonna bump into $2300 for the 13 inch; it
goes up more for the 15 inch. All in all, if you were
to max this system out with the 15 inch version,
you’re talking $3299. Yikes, that’s very expensive. Now the X1 Yoga is actually cheaper. Lenova always has sales so
it’s kinda hard to pinpoint their pricing. Starts around $1400, you can
get that with the Core i5 and this maxes out around
$2500 for the Core i7, one terabyte, 16 gigabytes. That’s still though, a few
hundred dollars cheaper than Surface Book. You also got a few more
options here for choices when you’re picking that so
it gives you a little bit more freedom to configure
the device how you want. You also can get a different color. If you don’t like black,
you can get it in silver, which I actually prefer
and I’m thinking about ordering it myself. Alright, let’s wrap it up. Is there a clear winner here? For me, there isn’t. Now, I really like using Yoga. It’s a fun device, great
keyboard, great track pad, that HDR display is phenomenal. I don’t love the aspect ratio though. I talked about this endlessly. The 16 by nine still feels dated. The fingerprint reader is
kind of a deal killer for me. Given that LTE modem though,
if that option comes out, is really enticing though. I like the idea of taking
this device anywhere, using it everywhere around the world. And the build quality on
this is not necessarily better than Surface Book, it’s definitely more resilient though. Lenovo is very well known
for making tough devices. This meets Mil-SPEC design and testing. If you drop this, it probably won’t break. I can’t say that with Surface Book Two. Surface Book Two, it’s sturdy
but it’s pretty delicate. Mark and I. our videographer,
have had a few stories already with Surface Book Two. In fact, you can’t see it
here but my power button is a little pressed in. It’s kind of annoying. You gotta be careful with
the Surface Book Two. It’s a tough device but at the same time, you kind of gotta baby it a little bit. So if you’re prone to dropping
or if you’re throwing things into bags, you get much better
longevity with the X1 Carbon. All in all, these are
both very good devices. I don’t know, I still feel
attachment to Surface Book Two just because of the display. It’s the first thing I see. I like that aspect ratio, the keyboard, and the all day battery
life really goes for me, but I have to admit, this
is a nice choice as well. I don’t think you can go
wrong with either one of them. If you’re looking to save
money, this is gonna be the better value. Surface Book Two though,
well, it’s a little bit cooler looking. So there’s a quick comparison
between Surface Book Two and the Lenovo X1 Yoga
3rd generation for 2018. Now, if you have an opinion
of which one is better, leave me a comment below
and if you want to see us do another versus video, tell
me which devices you want. I’m thinking maybe Spectre
SPX 13 or about that WaWel Matebook X versus whatever. Let me know in comments
and we’ll take a look at it next time. If you like this video,
give us a thumbs up and as always, don’t forget to subscribe. Thanks for watching. Take care, everybody.