Introduced in August , the ThinkPad X1 Excessive obtained a discrete GPU, together with a 15.6-inch show. This is a vital inflection level as a result of till now the X1 line of computer systems was not typically thought of to be supreme for issues akin to video modifying and even gaming.
Beginning at three.76 Lbs. the ThinkPad X1 Excessive can also be the lightest 15.6” in its class which incorporates the MacBook Professional 15 and the Dell XPS 15, two prestigious opponents. Let’s see how this laptop computer performs within the real-world.
Configuration as examined, and configuration choices
As examined: Intel Core i7-8750H with 32GB RAM, GeForce 1050Ti Max-Q, 1TB SSD (Samsung).
Lenovo affords a big selection of CPU choices to cowl a big set of use circumstances going from individuals who need a wonderful productiveness system with a big display screen to a close to workstation-level energy, storage and options for professionals. In any case, the ThinkPad X1 Excessive is a cousin of the spectacular ThinkPad P1 Workstation we lined earlier.
CPU choices embrace the Intel Core i5-8400H, Core i7-8750H (+$150) and Core i7-8850H (+$350). That final one isn’t supplied, and a few opponents might have a Core i9 choice, which Lenovo ought to get in December.
In the identical spirit, the RAM choices are eight/16/32/64 GB , with the 64GB choice being hardly ever supplied, though it may very well be tremendously helpful for individuals who work with massive datasets akin to Creatives or scientists.
The shows choices go from 1080p and 300 NITs brightness, to a a lot better 4K HDR with 100% sRGB gamut and 400 NITs (+$403) of brightness.
Storage goes from an HDD 256GB (SATA3) to 256/512/1024 GB of SSD NVME storage, and the X1 Excessive chassis can settle for two M.2-2280 modules, every linked through PCIe-X4 to the system.
Lenovo X1 Excessive Overview Video
At first look, you may instantly see that it is a ThinkPad X1 as a result of it makes use of the identical design language because the X1 Carbon and X1 Yoga. Clearly, the chassis dimension is far bigger, with this X1 Excessive being ~30% bigger than the X1 Carbon. In fact, that is defined by radically completely different use circumstances.
“THE LIGHTEST CHASSIS IN THIS CATEGORY”
With 361.eight x 245.7 x 18.7 mm dimensions and a weight of 1800g (three.97 lbs), the X1 Excessive is a gentle laptop computer. In its class, its dimension is comparable to the MacBook Professional 15 (2018), however its weight is the lightest on this high-powered 15.6” laptops class.
The truth is, the ThinkPad X1 Excessive has a good lighter model (three.76 Lbs) with a 1080p show. Nevertheless, we’re utilizing the heavier weight of the 4K model since that is our take a look at unit’s weight.
At 1800g, The X1 Excessive is corresponding to Apple’s MacBook Professional 15 (1830g), about 10% lighter than Dell’s XPS 15 (2000g mannequin 9570, with 97Wh battery) and 18% lighter than the Razer Blade 15 with an analogous configuration (2132g). Clearly, the carbon materials Lenovo is utilizing helps, though the chassis will not be all-carbon as there’s aluminum as nicely.
Notice that the LG Gram 15 is far lighter, but it surely additionally doesn’t compete in the identical efficiency class in any respect, so we’ll go away it out.
The ThinkPad X1 Excessive additionally is rated MIL-STD 810G Mil-Spec, which implies that it may endure what military hardware undergo throughout deployment storage and transport on the entrance line by way of shocks/vibration, temperature, and humidity.
For an entire rationalization of what MIL-STD-810G is, you may go over our What’s MIL-STD-810G article
This certification is far extra on-point for laptops than it’s for handsets as a result of laptops’ plenty are excessive sufficient that inside components may very well be broken by extreme vibrations. Additionally, laptops screens are extra insulated from cracking (when closed), so this isn’t a major concern right here. Breaking one thing inside is.
The laptop computer will not be sealed, and the consumer or a technician can shortly open it to entry/restore/improve inside elements. The RAM and a few storage choices might be changed by the consumer. With the ability to improve essential elements akin to reminiscence modules and SSD supplies a doubtlessly excessive worth to the customer.
Such upgrades might be finished at a later time for a fraction of the worth it might have price at order-time as a result of many PC Makers have increased margins on these order-time upgrades. Alternatively, part sellers have a decrease margin and an enormous array of after-market merchandise
Keyboard and trackpad
The trackpad and keyboard are used each time, on a regular basis, so enter is a essential factor to evaluate when buying a cellular pc.
This keyboard has keys which can be ~zero.43 sq-inch large, which is taken into account to be massive within the laptop computer world. The truth is, the keys floor space (16x16mm) is extra intensive than my desktop mechanical keyboard (14×14 mm) by an excellent margin. The important thing-travel distance is 1.7 mm, and that’s very comfy.
This keyboard has a U-shape key design, which implies that the keys are usually not flat, however curved downwards within the center. This makes the downward push pressure naturally push the fingertip in the direction of the middle, thus serving to keep away from typing errors.
The keyboard is backlit (2 ranges of brightness) with a monochrome gentle, which may be very helpful at night time, in mattress (you shouldn’t) or within the airplane. Lately, Lenovo and different OEMs have chosen to dim the backlight when not in use for a short while, even when plugged. I’d suggest them to a minimum of go away the sunshine ON when plugged to energy. It’s a little bit of a problem to have to show it again on once more later.
The Keyboard Key dimension, format, and form are essential elements in making the keyboard extra (or much less) comfy. Most of it’s a matter of non-public preferences, so you will need to attempt, if potential.
The X1 Excessive keyboard is spill-proof, so it could face up to a mug of water or espresso being spilled onto it by chance. This is usually a lifesaver, particularly for frequent vacationers who don’t get pleasure from a snug work space. Having a useless laptop computer throughout a visit is the very last thing anybody desires, imagine me.
With a trackpad floor of ~10.54 Sq.-inches, the trackpad is fairly comfy. When in comparison with the competitors, this dimension is not probably the most spectacular, however there are diminishing returns with regards to trackpad sizes.
Like some other touch-interface, the scale of the trackpad in relation to the gestures issues. On laptops, most individuals use scroll and “pinch & zoom” motions. Extra superior usages require as much as 4 fingers, and round gestures are usually extra comfy with a bigger floor. Test the Home windows 10 gestures
There’s no must introduce the Lenovo TrackPoint system which in some circle stays the only real justification for purchasing a ThinkPad, even 25 years after ThinkPad was launched.
Ports: the whole lot you want, and a bit of extra
With 15.6” laptops, there are normally loads of ports, however the combine can range loads. Some OEMs select to go all USB-C (MacBook), however the draw back of that selection is the lack of compatibility with USB-A (common full-size USB) connectors: that may be a major annoyance.
“LENOVO HAS A JUDICIOUS PORTS SELECTION”
Lenovo has a considered ports choice and was smart to maintain two USB-A ports that may accommodate all of the legacy units you could want. Moreover, there are two USB-C Thunderbolt three (TB3) ports to entry the cutting-edge storage, shows and even exterior GPUs you may want.
There’s a native Ethernet port as nicely, however not an RJ-45 one, sadly (the laptop computer is just too skinny for that), so you’ll need a dongle which isn’t included within the field. Lately, I’d go for a small USB-C TB3 dock/HUB with Gb Ethernet, power-delivery and a bunch of ports.
2x USB Kind C, Thunderbolt 31x Commonplace HDMI 2.01x Ethernet, Proprietary1x three.5mm audio2x USB Kind A, three.1 Gen21x Flash Reader, SD1x Kensington lock
Now we have not listed the Energy connector, however it’s on the left facet as nicely. Lenovo isn’t utilizing a USB-C energy adapter as a result of the wattage exceeds 100W, which is the utmost USB-C Energy Supply (USB-C PD) can settle for.
Vital element: 75W is the utmost energy that may be drawn from an airline seat, so whereas most ultralight laptops don’t exceed 45-65W, computer systems at this energy degree will most likely journey the seat’s fuse, although you could not even do one thing intensive. Only a good factor to bear in mind in case you plan to work whereas flying.
Audio system and audio
The X1 Excessive audio system are positioned on the backside of the chassis, which is a standard location for laptops. Generally user-facing audio system present a greater sound expertise as a result of much less vitality is spent “reflecting” the sound from the desk. Additionally, having the pc in your lap might alter the sound considerably.
But, the sound high quality is fairly good, however maybe inferior to we’d count on from a big chassis like this one. In concept, there may have been room on both facet of the keyboard.
The sound is loud however lack physique and isn’t as immersive as we wish it to be. The excellent news is that Lenovo has a Dolby Atmos choice, Home windows Sonic, and DTS Sound Unbound– all three for headphones.
Show: 1080p or 4K, it’s as much as you
The Lenovo X1 Excessive has two show choices, one 1080p and one 4K. We’re testing the 4K mannequin, so we’ll simply remark in regards to the technical side of the 1080p choice whereas sharing our dwell expertise of the 4K one.
15.6 Inch, 3840×2160, 400 NITs, Multitouch15.6 Inch, 1920×1080, 300 NITs, Multitouch
The dearer 4K show is healthier in each approach, with HDR assist, increased 400 NITs brightness and a sharpness that’s a lot superior. It has an sRGB protection of 100% which is absolutely good, however some customers might have extra particular wants.
The decision of 3840×2160 is extraordinarily excessive in absolute phrases, however different Home windows laptops in the identical class even have that choice. Solely Apple has a considerably lesser pixel density at 221 PPI (2880×1800 decision) as an alternative of the 282 PPI discovered on Home windows laptops, together with the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Excessive.
IPS/PLS LCD shows can render extra colours than common LCD, with increased shade saturation and wider view angles. Inside the world of IPS LCD shows there are nonetheless some variations, however continuously IPS/PLS are past fundamental LCD shows. Since OLED shows are extraordinarily uncommon within the laptop computer house, IPS LCD variants are among the many most superior LCD tech obtainable.
The show brightness of is 425 NITs (measured in our lab) is excellent and barely exceeds the 400 NITs specs. Generally, a extra intense backlight is great to see the display screen content material on a sunny day (or shiny surroundings). Increased brightness leads immediately to higher picture high quality typically conditions.
The 720p webcam (zero.92 Megapixel with fixed-focus) isn’t actually one thing that can wow anybody, but it surely’s an industry-wide commonplace for laptops. The standard is nice sufficient for a video name in a decently lit place, however that’s about it.
The 1080p show webcam has a privateness shutter than might be manually locked in place. The 4K model comes with a 3D face digital camera used to unlock Home windows and has no privateness shutter. There’s additionally a fingerprint reader on the fitting facet of the keyboard in case you want that.
This laptop computer has far-field microphones, which implies that the pc is optimized to take heed to sound from anyplace within the room, as an alternative of simply inside 1 yard in entrance of it. This was initially added to assist voice-assistant like Microsoft’s Cortana or Amazon’s Alexa.
Far-field microphones are a lot better for group conferences as it could decide up the voice of everybody, no matter their location relative to the laptop computer. Non-far-field microphones typically drop off your voice in case you exit of the optimum location proper in entrance of the pc.
As you may count on, efficiency, as measured by benchmarks akin to PCMark eight, present that the Lenovo X1 Excessive goes neck-to-neck with opponents such because the Dell XPS 15 geared up with an analogous configuration. Nevertheless, the X1 Carbon scores equally, regardless of being much less highly effective.
Workplace duties hardly push computer systems to their limits, and if something, it reveals that you would get away with one thing that doesn’t have computing energy if all you do is fundamental workplace work. Within the subsequent sections, the CPU and graphics exams actually present the actual efficiency of this laptop computer.
Maybe what that benchmark doesn’t present is how the efficiency stays regular as extra apps run concurrently. That is one thing that we undoubtedly felt with this pc, a desktop-like expertise in a ~four Lbs form-factor.
A benchmark like geekbench is commonly an excellent proxy for intensive multiprocessor workloads akin to video modifying, video compression, CAD, Scientific computing and extra. Right here, the distinction between the X1 Excessive and the X1 Carbon 2018 is obvious. With extra processing cores, the X1 Excessive can churn these duties way more quickly, because of the extra computing energy it has.
Apparently, it additionally implies that heavy net browser customers can have extra tabs open earlier than the pc begins slowing down. Should you preserve 50+ tabs open, you definitely know what I’m speaking about… that is way more widespread than you’ll suppose.
Because it has a discrete graphics processor (GPU), the Lenovo X1 Excessive can deal with advanced graphics and GPU computing duties a lot better than laptops that solely have an Intel built-in GPU. A take a look at akin to 3DMark Firestrike reveals how a lot quicker it’s when in comparison with the X1 Carbon. It additionally is quicker than Apple’s MacBook Professional 15 (2018) which has an AMD graphics processor.
This degree of efficiency implies that it’s potential to play many latest video games with respectable efficiency (~30FPS+) even with comparatively excessive graphics settings.
The Razer Blade 15 needs to be even quicker as a result of it has GeForce 1060 and 1070 choices. We’re wanting ahead to operating the numbers on that one, as issues ought to get very fascinating.
Efficiency and Worth
efficiency by the prism of worth can also be very insightful. The Lenovo X1 Excessive has a substantial efficiency/value benefit in comparison with the MacBook Professional 15, but in addition a sizeable one towards the Dell XPS 15 due to the configuration and pricing decisions Lenovo has made.
“THE LENOVO X1 EXTREME HAS A CONSIDERABLE PERFORMANCE/PRICE ADVANTAGE COMPARED TO THE MACBOOK PRO 15”
For instance, there are cross-platform apps such because the Adobe CC sequence that turn into way more cost-efficient to run on PC than on Mac (assuming you’re OS agnostic).
Temperature and cooling
We used a recognized CPU take a look at named Prime 95. When linked to energy, it pushes CPU utilization to 100% and the CPU heats-up to the purpose the place the thermal throttling will kick in to keep up the temperature of the CPU to forestall a system failure. On battery, our system throttled the CPU to ~70%, even in greatest efficiency mode, which prevented the system from increase as a lot warmth.
As you may count on, a system that requires a 115W power-supply will dissipate extra warmth, and can, due to this fact, require a extra outstanding and louder cooling system than a skinny & gentle 45W laptop computer.
With an ambient temperature of 20.9C, the most popular level on the open-side floor was at 41C. On the backside, the most popular location was at 44C. We took some Infra-red photographs with a FLIR One digital camera to indicate you the warmest areas of the laptop computer. General, the thermal throttling does its job and retains the pc from inducing fast burns.
When uncovered to warmth for prolonged durations (many minutes), human pores and skin can slowly burn ranging from 44C / 111.2F. Getting your pores and skin uncovered to a 41C temperature gained’t make you bounce, however will really feel heat.
For brief period contacts (seconds), some research recommend that what most individuals think about to be a burn occurs when the pores and skin temperature reaches 62.5C / 144.5F.
With a battery capability of 80 Wh (Watt-hours) the Lenovo X1 Excessive can compete very nicely with the MacBook Professional 15 (83 Wh). Nevertheless, the Dell XPS 15 has a 97Wh choice (+21%) that continues to be the reference for that whole section. Others just like the Razer Blade 15 pack solely 65 Wh of capability, presumably betting that their gaming viewers will principally be linked to energy. Once more, that is sensible for that gaming use case.
In our exams, we discovered the charging velocity of this laptop computer to be 1.2 Wh/mn (72 Wh/hour), which is very quick. Charging can generally offset sheer capability, and it’s important for anybody who cares about battery life.
Be aware that in-lab battery-life exams are by no means consultant of real-world utilization, as a result of app settings, background duties, brightness standing, and community circumstances are at all times completely different. Crucial a part of battery life is to take a look at the battery capability (in Wh) and the general system energy baseline (CPU thermal design level, or TDP).
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Excessive is a wonderful 15.6-inch introduction within the ThinkPad X1 line of merchandise, and we couldn’t be happier to see Lenovo coming into this high-performance 15.6” section of the market. ThinkPad customers now have a strong 15.6-inch laptop computer with an important show and a quick graphics processor, at a value that makes a number of sense.
As it’s typically the case with Lenovo, the X1 Excessive is the one pc of this class that has handed a number of the STD-810-G navy sturdiness exams and comes with a spill-proof keyboard. Along with being sturdy, it’s also the lightest choice that we now have noticed on this class.
The big battery capability and the fast-charging are two traits which can be fascinating on any laptop computer, however particularly on these potent ones. With the ability to replenish the battery as quick as potential might be extraordinarily necessary proper previous to boarding a flight or heading to a keynote room during which you gained’t have entry to energy for a protracted whereas.
General product score: 9/10