Lenovo’s new ThinkPad The Chromebook C13 Yoga has everything ThinkPad fans love – there’s a great keyboard, a sturdy, no-frills design, and yes, the little red TrackPoint in the middle – but instead of Windows or Linux, it is running Google’s Chrome OS.
It is neither the cheapest nor the the prettiest Chromebook in the world, but this is the best I have used. The 2-in-1 design comes with a built-in stylus, the trackpad has buttons at the top and plenty of ports. If you love ThinkPads and plan to dip your toes into Chrome OS, then this laptop is for you.
The C13 Yoga has been Lenovo’s first ThinkPad Chromebook for quite some time, so it’s interesting to see what Lenovo sees as the defining characteristics of a ThinkPad.
All that I love my favorite ThinkPad, the X270, is here in the C13 Yoga – the keyboard is almost identical to every other ThinkPad in recent memory (the layout follows the Chromebook style), the TrackPoint is present, and the trackpad buttons are at the top. You’ll also find a fingerprint reader and a host of ports, including two USB-C, two USB-A, a MicroSD card reader, and an HDMI. Oddly enough, it also has a phone-style volume rocker.
What makes it more interesting is that this is one of the first Chromebooks to use AMD’s latest 3000C series processors. There are a few configurations, starting with the entry-level model which uses the Athlon Gold chip with 4 gigabytes of RAM. Then there’s the Ryzen 3 model, also with 4 gigabytes of RAM, followed by the model I tested, which has a Ryzen 5 chip and 8 gigabytes of RAM (a higher tier Ryzen 7 is also available). Hard drive options range from a paltry 32 gigabytes to 256 GB on the model I tested. All SSDs use PCIe NVMe connections.
The Ryzen 5 chip in my test device is very fast. Chrome OS doesn’t demand too much of the processor, so it’s no surprise. But even edit photos in an Android app, open dozens of tabs in Chrome and type this is in Vigor the use of Linux features has not slowed it down at all. It’s just as fast as premium Chromebooks like Samsung Galaxy Chromebook or the Pixelbook Go.
The 1080p display is bright and crisp, a nice change from the cheaper Lenovo Chromebooks that tend to have washed out and muddy screens. There’s also an option to get a 4K OLED display with the C13 Yoga, but given the battery life I would hesitate to add a power-hungry display (more on that later).