Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Excessive Assessment

Introduced in August , the ThinkPad X1 Excessive acquired 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 ideally suited for issues comparable to video modifying and even gaming.

Beginning at three.76 Lbs. the ThinkPad X1 Excessive can be the lightest 15.6” in its class which incorporates the MacBook Professional 15 and the Dell XPS 15, two prestigious rivals. 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 presents a wide 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 spite of everything, the ThinkPad X1 Excessive is a cousin of the spectacular ThinkPad P1 Workstation we lined earlier.

CPU choices embody the Intel Core i5-8400H, Core i7-8750H (+$150) and Core i7-8850H (+$350). That final one is never supplied, and a few rivals might have a Core i9 possibility, which Lenovo ought to get in December.

In the identical spirit, the RAM choices are eight/16/32/64 GB , with the 64GB possibility being hardly ever supplied, though it could possibly be tremendously helpful for individuals who work with giant datasets comparable 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 by way of PCIe-X4 to the system.

Lenovo X1 Excessive Overview Video

Industrial Design

At first look, you possibly can 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. After all, that is defined by radically totally different use circumstances.


With 361.eight x 245.7 x 18.7 mm dimensions and a weight of 1800g (three.97 lbs), the X1 Excessive is a mild 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.

In reality, the ThinkPad X1 Excessive has an excellent lighter model (three.76 Lbs) with a 1080p show. Nonetheless, we’re utilizing the heavier weight of the 4K model since that is our check unit’s weight.

At 1800g, The X1 Excessive is akin 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 the same configuration (2132g). Clearly, the carbon materials Lenovo is utilizing helps, though the chassis shouldn’t be all-carbon as there’s aluminum as effectively.

Be aware that the LG Gram 15 is far lighter, however it 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 signifies that it may endure what military undergo throughout deployment storage and transport on the entrance line when it comes to shocks/vibration, temperature, and humidity.

For a whole rationalization of what MIL-STD-810G is, you possibly can 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’ lots are excessive sufficient that inner elements could possibly be broken by extreme vibrations. Additionally, laptops screens are extra insulated from cracking (when closed), so this isn’t a main concern right here. Breaking one thing inside is.

The laptop computer shouldn’t be sealed, and the person or a technician can rapidly open it to entry/restore/improve inner parts. The RAM and a few storage choices might be changed by the person. With the ability to improve crucial parts comparable to reminiscence modules and SSD offers a probably excessive worth to the client.

Such upgrades might be accomplished at a later time for a fraction of the worth it will have price at order-time as a result of many PC Makers have greater margins on these order-time upgrades. However, element sellers have a decrease margin and an unlimited array of after-market merchandise

Keyboard and trackpad

The trackpad and keyboard are used each time, on a regular basis, so enter is a crucial factor to evaluate when buying a cellular laptop.

This keyboard has keys which can be ~zero.43 sq-inch large, which is taken into account to be giant within the laptop computer world. In reality, the keys floor space (16x16mm) is extra in depth than my desktop mechanical keyboard (14×14 mm) by a great margin. The important thing-travel distance is 1.7 mm, and that’s very comfy.

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This keyboard has a U-shape key design, which signifies that the keys should not flat, however curved downwards within the center. This makes the downward push pressure naturally push the fingertip in direction of the middle, thus serving to keep away from typing errors.

The keyboard is backlit (2 ranges of brightness) with a monochrome mild, which may be very useful at night time, in mattress (you shouldn’t) or within the airplane. Not too long ago, 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 at the least go away the sunshine ON when plugged to energy. It’s a little bit of a trouble to have to show it again on once more later.

The Keyboard Key dimension, format, and form are essential components in making the keyboard extra (or much less) comfy. Most of it’s a matter of private preferences, so it is very important attempt, if doable.

The X1 Excessive keyboard is spill-proof, so it might stand up to a mug of water or espresso being spilled onto it by chance. This could be a lifesaver, particularly for frequent vacationers who don’t get pleasure from a snug work space. Having a lifeless 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 in the case of trackpad sizes.

Like another touch-interface, the dimensions 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 typically extra comfy with a bigger floor. Examine the Home windows 10 gestures

There’s no have to introduce the Lenovo TrackPoint system which in some circle stays the only justification for getting a ThinkPad, even 25 years after ThinkPad was launched.

Ports: every thing you want, and a bit of extra

With 15.6” laptops, there are often loads of ports, however the combine can range rather a lot. Some OEMs select to go all USB-C (MacBook), however the draw back of that alternative is the lack of compatibility with USB-A (common full-size USB) connectors: that may be a major annoyance.


Lenovo has a considered ports choice and was smart to maintain two USB-A ports that may accommodate all of the legacy units chances are you’ll 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 effectively, however not an RJ-45 one, sadly (the laptop computer is simply too skinny for that), so you’ll need a dongle which isn’t included within the field. Today, I’d go for a small USB-C TB3 dock/HUB with Gb Ethernet, power-delivery and a bunch of ports.

2x USB Sort C, Thunderbolt 31x Customary HDMI 2.01x Ethernet, Proprietary1x three.5mm audio2x USB Sort A, three.1 Gen21x Flash Reader, SD1x Kensington lock

We have now not listed the Energy connector, however it’s on the left aspect as effectively. 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.

Necessary 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 chances are you’ll not even do one thing intensive. Only a good factor to bear in mind in the event 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 typical location for laptops. Typically 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 anticipate from a big chassis like this one. In principle, there may have been room on both aspect 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 possibility, 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 concerning the technical side of the 1080p possibility whereas sharing our reside expertise of the 4K one.

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Show Choices

15.6 Inch, 3840×2160, 400 NITs, Multitouch15.6 Inch, 1920×1080, 300 NITs, Multitouch

The dearer 4K show is healthier in each method, with HDR help, greater 400 NITs brightness and a sharpness that’s a lot superior. It has an sRGB protection of 100% which is actually 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 possibility. 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 greater colour saturation and wider view angles. Throughout the world of IPS LCD shows there are nonetheless some variations, however often 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 accessible.

The show brightness of is 425 NITs (measured in our lab) is superb and barely exceeds the 400 NITs specs. Typically, a extra intense backlight is superb to see the display screen content material on a sunny day (or shiny atmosphere). Larger brightness leads instantly 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, however it’s an industry-wide normal for laptops. The standard is sweet 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 digicam used to unlock Home windows and has no privateness shutter. There’s additionally a fingerprint reader on the appropriate aspect of the keyboard in the event you choose that.

This laptop computer has far-field microphones, which signifies that the pc is optimized to hearken to sound from anyplace within the room, as an alternative of simply inside 1 yard in entrance of it. This was initially added to help voice-assistant like Microsoft’s Cortana or Amazon’s Alexa.

Far-field microphones are a lot better for group conferences as it might choose up the voice of everybody, no matter their location relative to the laptop computer. Non-far-field microphones typically drop off your voice in the event you exit of the optimum location proper in entrance of the pc.

System Efficiency

Basic productiveness

As you possibly can anticipate, efficiency, as measured by benchmarks comparable to PCMark eight, present that the Lenovo X1 Excessive goes neck-to-neck with rivals such because the Dell XPS 15 outfitted with the same configuration. Nonetheless, 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 exhibits that you might 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 checks 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 positively felt with this laptop, a desktop-like expertise in a ~four Lbs form-factor.


A benchmark like geekbench is usually a great proxy for intensive multiprocessor workloads comparable to video modifying, video compression, CAD, Scientific computing and extra. Right here, the distinction between the X1 Excessive and the X1 Carbon 2018 is clear. With extra processing cores, the X1 Excessive can churn these duties far more quickly, because of the extra computing energy it has.

Curiously, it additionally signifies that heavy net browser customers can have extra tabs open earlier than the pc begins slowing down. Should you maintain 50+ tabs open, you definitely know what I’m speaking about… that is far more frequent than you’d suppose.

3D Graphics

Because it has a discrete graphics processor (GPU), the Lenovo X1 Excessive can deal with complicated graphics and GPU computing duties a lot better than laptops that solely have an Intel built-in GPU. A check comparable to 3DMark Firestrike exhibits how a lot sooner 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 signifies that it’s doable to play many latest video games with first rate efficiency (~30FPS+) even with comparatively excessive graphics settings.

The Razer Blade 15 ought to be even sooner as a result of it has GeForce 1060 and 1070 choices. We’re trying ahead to operating the numbers on that one, as issues ought to get very fascinating.

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Efficiency and Worth

efficiency by the prism of worth can be very insightful. The Lenovo X1 Excessive has a substantial efficiency/worth 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.


For instance, there are cross-platform apps such because the Adobe CC collection that develop into far more cost-efficient to run on PC than on Mac (assuming you’re OS agnostic).

Temperature and cooling

We used a identified CPU check 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 take care of the temperature of the CPU to stop a system failure. On battery, our system throttled the CPU to ~70%, even in finest efficiency mode, which prevented the system from increase as a lot warmth.

As you possibly can anticipate, a system that requires a 115W power-supply will dissipate extra warmth, and can, subsequently, require a extra distinguished and louder cooling system than a skinny & mild 45W laptop computer.

With an ambient temperature of 20.9C, the most well liked level on the open-side floor was at 41C. On the backside, the most well liked location was at 44C. We took some Infra-red images with a FLIR One digicam to indicate you the warmest areas of the laptop computer. Total, 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 length contacts (seconds), some research counsel 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 effectively with the MacBook Professional 15 (83 Wh). Nonetheless, the Dell XPS 15 has a 97Wh possibility (+21%) that continues to be the reference for that whole phase. Others just like the Razer Blade 15 pack solely 65 Wh of capability, probably betting that their gaming viewers will largely be linked to energy. Once more, that is smart for that gaming use case.

In our checks, 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 conscious that in-lab battery-life checks are by no means consultant of real-world utilization, as a result of app settings, background duties, brightness standing, and community situations are all the time totally different. A very powerful 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 glorious 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” phase of the market. ThinkPad customers now have a robust 15.6-inch laptop computer with an excellent show and a quick graphics processor, at a worth that makes lots of sense.

As it’s typically the case with Lenovo, the X1 Excessive is the one laptop of this class that has handed a number of the STD-810-G navy sturdiness checks and comes with a spill-proof keyboard. Along with being sturdy, it is usually the lightest possibility that we have now noticed on this class.

The massive 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 doable might be extraordinarily essential proper previous to boarding a flight or heading to a keynote room by which you gained’t have entry to energy for an extended whereas.

Total product ranking: 9/10

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