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Grow Your Business Technology

Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 460 Review: Is It Good for Business?

Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 460, business laptops The ThinkPad Yoga 460 earns 3.5 out of 5 stars. / Credit: Jeremy Lips

Lenovo's ThinkPad Yoga 460 is a super-versatile work machine. The 14-inch laptop sports a 360-degree folding hinge that lets it transform from notebook to tablet; its built-in stylus makes it great for scribbling down notes; and its above-average battery life supplies the juice to last through a long work flight. For $1,086, though, I expect faster performance and a more comfortable keyboard.

The ThinkPad Yoga 460's silver shell might feel like plastic, but it's actually made from durable carbon fiber. Lenovo says it was designed to withstand short drops, dings, vibration, shocks and extreme temperatures, which is good news for commuters, or anyone who needs to lug the system along on a business trip.

Commuters will be less thrilled by the notebook's relative heft. The ThinkPad Yoga 460 tips the scales at 4.2 lbs., which puts it about on par with the HP Spectre x360 15t – even though that laptop has a larger 15-inch display. Workers who plan to carry their laptop around every day might be better off with the 14-inch ThinkPad X1 Yoga, a similar (but slightly pricier) system that weighs just 2.8 lbs.

As the name implies, the ThinkPad Yoga 460 is an extremely flexible laptop. It sports a 360-degree folding hinge, which lets you flip the display all the way back to use it like a big, heavy tablet. 

Workers will probably find more use in the intermediate modes, though. Stand mode lets you use the keyboard deck as a base, making it easy to reach the display. That’s handy for using touch-screen apps, and it's also really nice when you want to take digital notes with the built-in stylus – but more on that later.

Nearly every port that a worker could want is available on the ThinkPad Yoga 460. The left edge includes a OneLink+ desktop dock connector, one USB 3.0 port, and an SD card slot for expanding the system's internal storage.

Meanwhile, the right edge adds two additional USB 3.0 ports, a Mini DisplayPort, HDMI out and a Kensington lock slot for physically securing your laptop at your desk. There's no Ethernet port, though, which is disappointing on a laptop this large.

The ThinkPad Yoga 460's 14.1-inch display is nice and roomy, and its 1080p resolution is plenty for a display this size. There's enough space for screen-intensive work tasks like editing large documents, and split-screen multitasking feels comfortable. 

Unfortunately, the glossy display tends to pick up distracting reflections from windows and overhead office lights. I much prefer a matte display on a business laptop.

I wasn't particularly impressed by the ThinkPad Yoga 460's picture quality, either. Colors are a bit dull, and the screen tops out at 241 nits of brightness. That's fine for typical indoor use, but it's a bit dimmer than the category average of 249 nits. 

If you're not yet enticed by the Yoga 460's flexible design, consider this: when folded back, the display makes a great canvas for handwritten notes and sketches. The notebook comes with a built-in stylus that slides out of a slot on its left edge, and Microsoft's excellent OneNote software comes pre-loaded so you can get started right away.

The stylus is thinner than a typical ink pen, but it's more substantial than the slide-out styluses you’ll find on many other notebooks. Measuring about 5 inches long, it's thick enough for me to get a good grip on while writing. You also get two programmable buttons on the side of the pen, which come in handy for right clicks and quickly accessing the eraser tool in your notes app.

The Yoga 460's display offers full-pressure sensitivity, which means you can easily vary your line width and feather your strokes, just like you would with a real ink pen. That helps make handwriting feels responsive and natural. 

Slightly mushy – that's how I would describe the Yoga 460's mediocre keyboard. It just isn't up to the standards I've come to expect from the ThinkPad brand, which is known for its responsive, highly comfortable keyboards. 

To be fair, this isn't a bad keyboard at all. It offers a generous 1.7 millimeters of key travel – well above the 1.5mm we look for on a laptop – and its keys are large and well-spaced. You also get full backlighting, which comes in handy for low-light typing. And while the keys don't feel as snappy as I'd like, most workers probably won't mind.

I also like how the keys retract when the lid is folded back by about 200 degrees. That makes the device more comfortable to use as a tablet, and eliminates the possibility of errant key strokes when the device is used in stand mode.

The Yoga 460 offers a solid lineup of business-class security options. The system includes a Trusted Platform Module, which enables hardware-based encryption to keep your work files private. You also get Intel's vPro technology, which allows for secure remote management. 

One feature you won't find on the Yoga 460 – but you do get on pricier models such as the ThinkPad X1 Yoga – is a fingerprint scanner. That feature would have been a big perk for everyday security, but you can use the standard password screen instead.

The ThinkPad Yoga 460 didn't wow us on our battery test, but it did last a bit longer on a charge than the average thin-and-light laptop. The system lasted a solid 8 hours and 20 minutes on our battery test, which simulates continuous web browsing over Wi-Fi, about 20 minutes longer than average. Pricier rivals did last a bit longer on the same test, though, including the Spectre X360 15t (8:27) and the ThinkPad X1 Yoga (8:38).

The ThinkPad Yoga 460 packs some relatively beefy hardware, so I was surprised by its middling performance. The system comes equipped with an Intel Core i5-600U processor with 8GB of RAM and 192GB of solid-state drive (SSD) storage, a configuration that would typically provide fast performance for heavy multitasking. Daily work tasks felt smooth, but I noticed the occasional moment of lag when switching between apps.

The system racked up a middle-of-the-road score of 5,848 on the Geekbench 3 test, which measures overall performance. That's quite a bit lower than the laptop category average of 6,838, and it's well behind its rivals, including the Spectre x360 15t (6,376) and the ThinkPad X1 Yoga (6,838) – even though both those systems are powered by the same processor as the ThinkPad Yoga 460.

At least it performed better on our spreadsheet test, matching 20,000 names to their addresses in 4 minutes and 32 seconds. That's just about on a par with the Spectre x360 and the X1 Yoga.

The ThinkPad Yoga 460 can do a lot more than your average business laptop. Its flexible, folding hinge lets you use the system in a variety of modes, and its top-notch stylus is the perfect note-taking tool. Meanwhile, commuters will love its sturdy construction and above-average battery life. I just wish its slightly mushy keyboard lived up to the ThinkPad name.

If you can afford to pay a bit more, Lenovo's $1,400 ThinkPad X1 Yoga offers a slimmer design, faster performance, longer battery life and a more vibrant display. Plus, it's snappy keyboard is supremely comfortable. Still, the Yoga 460 isn't a bad pick for workers who want a nice 14-inch 2-in-1 for around $1,000.

Brett Nuckles

A former Ohio newspaper man, Brett Nuckles fled the Midwest in 2013. He now lives in Seattle, where he spends his days tinkering with smartphones, tablets and computers. He loves to think about the intersection of technology and productivity, and how to get the most out of new gadgets and apps. He's also a big fan of vegetarian food and digital painting. In his off hours he spends most of his time drawing and painting sci-fi/fantasy scenes on his PC with his trusty Wacom stylus in hand.