The Lenovo ThinkPad X Series: A Complete Review

Rugged, reliable, and practical, the Lenovo Thinkpad X is an industry standard. The Thinkpad places a premium on durability, ergonomics, and adaptability. This makes them popular laptops for business, particularly finance, industry, and computer science.

The Thinkpad X series is Lenovo’s ultra-portable line. They lack the rigid and tough exteriors of the mainline Thinkpad T series. Instead, they focus on portability and battery life, making them ideal for those on the go. That said, they still have Lenovo’s commitment to durability.

The Thinkpad X series for business comes in many shapes and sizes. With many options available in power, size, and design, you can easily find a Thinkpad that works for you.

Here, we’ll do a Thinkpad X series review of the latest models, highlighting the strengths and features of each. Keep reading to find out what you need to know.

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Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Extreme

The Thinkpad Extreme X1 has just been refreshed for 2021 with a new Gen 3 model.

As the flagship Lenovo Thinkpad X series model, the Thinkpad Extreme X1 maintains the classic Lenovo features. It has a durable chassis, as many ports as you need, and the signature TrackPoint center button on the keyboard.

New to the 3rd generation of Thinkpad X1 Extremes is an ultra-HD OLED screen. This makes the Thinkpad X1 Extreme suitable for creative work such as photo and video editing as well as business. If your line of work includes both Photoshop and spreadsheets, the Thinkpad X1 Extreme is the right choice.

Thinkpad X1 Extreme Specs

The Thinkpad X1 is available in a number of configurations. The base model features 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage and is powered by an Intel Core i5-10400H. It retails for around $1,600.

The highest-end model features an OLED touchscreen as well as an Intel Core i9-10885H, 64GB of RAM, and 1TB of storage. It retails for around $4,500.

Of course, most users will want a model somewhere in the middle. Six configurations to choose from means that whatever your needs, you can find a Thinkpad X1 extreme with the right specs for you.

Lenovo designed the Thinkpad X1 for durability. It is resistant to temperature, shocks, and vibrations. You can drop or roughly handle the Thinkpad X1 Extreme with little fear of damage.

Slightly thick at 0.75 inches, the Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Extreme weighs only four pounds.

Ergonomics and Features

One of the highlights of the Thinkpad X1 Extreme is the ultra-ergonomic keyboard. The keyboard has high travel and is built specifically for comfort when typing for long periods of time. It is closer to a mechanical keyboard than a typical laptop keyboard.

Remote work is becoming more and more common. The Thinkpad X1 Extreme now has three hotkeys specifically designed for remote work. One ends calls, one brings up notifications, and one answers calls.

The OLED screen on higher-end models covers 100% of the sRBG color spectrum. This means it is suitable for photo and video editing. Streaming videos are ultra-high-definition and colors are bright.

Even in bright light, the screen is legible and clear. You can also swap between different color profiles for different photo editing needs.

The Thinkpad X1 Extreme is a sturdy and powerful machine good for a variety of uses. Thinkpads have a passionate fanbase and this high-end model will demonstrate why.

Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Nano

The Thinkpad X1 Nano is the lightest Thinkpad ever made. It maintains Lenovo’s commitment to durability and performance. It does all of that starting at only 2 pounds.

The Thinkpad X1 Nano is similar to a conventional Thinkpad but for the weight. The ergonomic keyboard, capable processor, and build quality are all maintained.

It makes some trade-offs to achieve this lightweight, such as a lower amount of ports. But for many people’s needs, the Thinkpad X1 Nano will deliver the same quality features as the X1 Extreme at half the weight.

Thinkpad X1 Nano Specs

Like the regular Thinkpad, the Thinkpad X1 Nano is highly customizable in its specs.

The base model comes with an Intel Core i5-1130G7, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of solid-state hard drive storage. The highest-end model comes with a touchscreen, an Intel Core i7-1180G7, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB of hard drive storage.

High-end models weigh slightly more – 2.16 pounds vs 1.99 pounds. But the difference is negligible. It’s doubtful that the extra 0.1 pounds will make a difference in your decision. Overall, the Thinkpad X1 Nano is almost one pound lighter than similar laptops such as the MacBook Air M1.

As a consequence of its lightweight, the Thinkpad X1 Nano has fewer ports than a typical Thinkpad. It includes an audio jack and two Thunderbolt ports on the side. HDMI, Ethernet, or USB-A connections will need an adapter.

The Thinkpad X1 Nano maintains its signature durability. The keyboard is spill-proof and the chassis is very sturdy. Lenovo maintains that it performs “military-grade” tests on its laptops to ensure that they are difficult to break.

Ergonomics and Features

The Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Nano has a number of features that make it well suited to remote work or frequent travel.

The 16:10 display provides extra vertical space and a touchscreen is available on higher-end models.

The speaker system is surprisingly powerful for a laptop. Users can configure the four-speaker Dolby Atmos system to specialize in music, movies, or chatting. Four microphones also help you stay clear on Zoom calls.

The Thinkpad X1 Nano also has a facial identification and fingerprint system. The computer will automatically lock when you walk away and wake up when the webcam sees your face.

Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Fold

The Thinkpad X1 Extreme and Thinkpad X1 Nano are both sturdy, powerful workhorse laptops. They are great at what they do, but they don’t offer much in the way of exciting new features.

The Thinkpad X1 Fold, on the other hand, is a genuinely innovative new technology in the Thinkpad X series lineup. As you might expect from the name, it’s a folding screen you can use as a full laptop, like a tablet, or like a hardcover book.

Thinkpad X1 Fold Specs

The X1 Fold comes with only one suite of options. Since it is a somewhat experimental device, it does not yet have multiple hard drivers and processors to choose from. It is powered by the light, efficient Intel Core i5-L16G7 and has a full terabyte of onboard storage.

The Thinkpad X1 Fold can be used with an optional stylus in tablet mode, or with an optional mini-keyboard in laptop mode. The keyboard fits right into the folded laptop and magnetically attaches while charging. An on-screen keyboard also appears if you don’t choose to use the mini keyboard.

The display, a 13.3-inch OLED with 2048 x 1536 resolution, is beautiful and vibrant. It covers 100 percent of the sRGB color spectrum, meaning it is suitable for photo and video editing.

Multiple layers of behind-screen support prevent the screen from cracking or bubbling at the fold point. In fact, you can’t even see the fold when the screen is on.

The Fold is beautifully built and durable. A leather case and special scratch-proof material prevent it from accruing scratches and dents when it is folded up. It is small enough to fit into a purse or small bag, perfect for taking notes and networking on the go.

Ergonomics and Features

The main attraction of the Thinkpad X1 Fold is, of course, its folding nature. Most features of the laptop are built to work with the folding screen and make it as efficient and easy to use as possible.

Lenovo has put special attention into the stylus and keyboard. A Pen Mapping app can allow the stylus to be programmed according to the user’s needs. That means the stylus can instantly highlight, copy, and paste or control music volume.

Because the keyboard size has been shrunken to accommodate the Fold’s smaller size, Lenovo has relegated certain keys behind two taps. Using the stylus for applications like copy and paste helps make this a less difficult transition.

The Fold also includes a Mode Switcher app which can run one application on one side of the screen and one on the other side. You can have a notepad app up with a Zoom meeting, or a presentation on the side of a YouTube video.

The app automatically switches between portrait and landscape mode, so you can take the Fold from tablet to laptop with no change in what you are doing

Choosing the Right Model in the Thinkpad X Series for You

Thanks to this review of the Thinkpad X series, you now know which Thinkpad X is right for you. If you’re looking for power and durability in a laptop as well as portability, the Thinkpad X series is unsurpassed.

For more reviews and comparisons of the latest devices, browse our technology section.


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