Lenovo ThinkPad X13s review: Not pretty a MacBook Air

Lenovo ThinkPad X13s

MSRP $1,301.00

“The Lenovo ThinkPad X13s lives as a lot because the House home windows on ARM promise for battery life, nevertheless nonetheless lacks effectivity.”

Execs

  • Sturdy battery life
  • Top quality present
  • Great keyboard and touchpad
  • 5G WWAN selection
  • Engaging aesthetic

Cons

  • Effectivity lags Intel and Apple
  • Some flexing inside the keyboard deck

Apple’s M1 stays to be sending shock waves by the use of the {{industry}}. On one hand, the ThinkPad X13s is the House home windows equal.

Its ARM-based chip, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3, gives a number of of the same benefits as a result of the M1 or M2. It’s skinny and light-weight, and the battery life is implausible. For some, that alone makes the ThinkPad X13s a stunning choice. Nonetheless ensuing from mediocre effectivity, it’s but another occasion of House home windows on ARM laptops remaining a definite phase selection for most people.

Worth and configurations

As widespread, there’s a significant discrepancy on Lenovo’s web page between the retail price and the “sale” price. Correct now, the entry-level ThinkPad X13s is $1,301 (retail $2,169) for a device with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 CPU, 16GB of LPDDR4X RAM, a 512GB PCIe 4 SSD, and get in touch with present. That’s a fairly killer deal, significantly for that configuration.

On the extreme end is a $1,571 (retail $2,619) configuration with the Snapdragon processor, 16GB of LPDDR4X RAM, a 1TB PCIe 4 SSD, the non-touch present, and 5G WWAN help. My review configuration was the entry-level model other than together with 5G WWAN capabilities, which boosts the worth to $1,385.

I’m unaware of another business-class House home windows on ARM laptops to match to the ThinkPad X13s. Inside the additional customary Intel space, the Dell Latitude 7330 is a 13-inch laptop with the an identical enterprise choices, and it’s costlier than the ThinkPad at its sale prices.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 is one different greater laptop at 14-inches that offers the an identical ThinkPad experience at barely bigger prices. Lastly, the HP Elite Dragonfly G3 gives an equally small and light-weight sort difficulty with 5G connectivity, nevertheless it’s pretty a bit costlier.

Design

Lenovo ThinkPad X13s front angled view showing display and keyboard deck.Mark Coppock/Digital Developments

Take a look on the ThinkPad X13s from a distance and in addition you’ll immediately acknowledge it as a member of the highway. It’s all black (Thunder Black, in precise reality), has the purple dot on the “i” inside the ThinkPad model on the lid (albeit with out an LED) and on the palm rest, and the purple TrackPoint nubbin stands out in the midst of the keyboard.

Up shut, though, its edges are additional rounded than the on a regular basis ThinkPad’s, and there’s a excellent reverse notch on the excessive of the present for the webcam and IR camera. These small changes make the ThinkPad X13s stand out by itself. It’s undoubtedly additional placing than the Dell Latitude 7330, which is boring by comparability.

The ThinkPad X13s is constructed of two provides, a magnesium-aluminum alloy inside the lid and a glass fiber bolstered plastic inside the chassis. I found the lid pretty sturdy, along with the underside of the chassis, nevertheless there was some slight flexing inside the keyboard deck. It wasn’t egregious, nevertheless it was adequate to keep up the ThinkPad a step behind laptops identical to the Dell XPS 13 Plus, HP Spectre x360 13.5, and MacBook Air M1 usually rigidity. The hinge is type of stiff, requiring two arms to open the lid, nevertheless it holds the present firmly in place.

Attributable to its lightweight provides, the ThinkPad X13s is among the many lighter laptops we’ve examined at 2.35 kilos. It’s moreover skinny at 0.53 inches. The HP Elite Dragonfly G3 is lighter at 2.2 kilos, nevertheless thicker at 0.64 inches. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano will be lighter at 1.99 kilos, nevertheless not as skinny at 0.55 to 0.66 inches. So, the ThinkPad X13s is among the many many lightest laptops you should buy and its chassis is skinny and compact normal.

Ports and connectivity

Lenovo ThinkPad X13s left side view showing ports.

lenovo thinkpad x13s review right side

Unsurprisingly, the laptop’s connectivity is type of restricted. There are two USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 ports (no Thunderbolt 4 help on account of Qualcomm chipset), a 3.5mm audio jack, and an non-compulsory NanoSIM slot for WWAN variations. Wi-fi connectivity comprises Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.1, with 5G WWAN non-compulsory.

Effectivity

Lenovo ThinkPad X13s rear view showing lid and logo.Mark Coppock/Digital Developments

The ThinkPad X13s is constructed spherical Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 ARM processor, an eight-core CPU with 4 Cortex-A78 cores working at 2.4GHz and 4 Cortex-X1 Prime cores working at 2.95GHz. It’s the quickest processor Qualcomm has however made for the PC and ensures elevated effectivity over earlier generations. Its main direct opponents is Apple’s silicon, significantly the M1 and M2 CPUs which have supplied class-leading effectivity in two iterations of the MacBook Air. Phrase that like Apple’s MacBook, the ThinkPad X13s is fanless and so totally quiet.

The Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 is undoubtedly before its earlier technology, by 86% inside the Geekbench 5 multi-core check out and 55% inside the single-core check out. On the same time, the Apple M1 is 59% before the ThinkPad X13s in single-core and 34% sooner in multi-core, and the M2 is 77% sooner in single-core and 59% in multi-core. The underside-end Intel Twelfth-core CPU we’ve examined, the 15-watt 10-core/12-thread Core i5-1235U, is 44% sooner in single-core and 30% sooner in multi-core. AMD’s Ryzen chips given that 5000 sequence have moreover been significantly sooner.

In truth, that’s just one synthetic benchmark and doesn’t inform all the story. In distinction to in earlier House home windows on ARM generations, I was ready to run our Handbrake check out that encodes a 420MB video as H.265. In truth, that doesn’t indicate that Handbrake is optimized for ARM. And definitely, the ThinkPad X13s took 505 seconds to complete the strategy, compared with the MacBook Air M2 at 151 seconds and the Core i5-1235U at 134 seconds. I moreover managed to run the Cinebench R23 video-rendering benchmark, and the ThinkPad X13s scored 593 in single-core and a few,221 in multi-core. That compares to the MacBook Air M2 at 1,600 and 7,938 and the Core i5-1235U at 1,668 and 7,671.

Clearly, Qualcomm has an answer to go sooner than it catches up with Apple, Intel, and AMD. Even so, the ThinkPad X13s was fast adequate all through my testing for a similar outdated productiveness duties. I could protect pretty a few browser tabs open and run background apps like Outlook, Teams, and others with none noticeable hesitation. Nonetheless I wouldn’t rely upon the laptop for most likely essentially the most demanding workflows or inventive duties.

Geekbench
(single / multi)
Lenovo ThinkPad X13s
(Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3)
1,087 / 5,643
HP Elite Folio
(Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2)
770 / 3,028
Lenovo Flex 5G
(Snapdragon 8cx)
700 / 2,802
Apple MacBook Air M1
(Apple M1)
1,727 / 7,585
Apple MacBook Air M2
(Apple M2)
1,925 / 8,973
Lenovo Ideapad Duet 5 Chromebook
(Snapdragon 7c Gen 2)
599 / 1,718
Acer Aspire 5 2022
(Core i5-1235U)
1,565 / 7,352

The ThinkPad X13s wouldn’t run the 3DMark Time Spy check out, our main gaming synthetic benchmark. And I didn’t see a trigger to attempt working Fortnite, our go-to recreation for built-in graphics. It’s unsure that the Snapdragon GPU can play one thing higher than the oldest titles (should they arrange and actually run) at low resolutions and graphics. And that’s OK on account of by no means is the ThinkPad X13s meant to be a gaming laptop.

Present

Lenovo ThinkPad X13s front view showing display.Mark Coppock/Digital Developments

In accordance with Lenovo, three reveals will be discovered for the ThinkPad X13s, they usually’re all 13.3-inch 16:10 WUXGA (1920 x 1200) IPS panels. There’s an antiglare 300-nit contact present, an antiglare 400-nit low vitality non-touch present, and a 300-nit non-touch present. My review unit used the latter panel, which appeared like a top quality present all through my testing. Colors have been dynamic and pure, the present was shiny adequate for my widespread working circumstances, and blacks appeared true and by no means grayish.

In distinction to with earlier House home windows on ARM laptops I’ve reviewed, the ThinkPad X13s supported my colorimeter. That’s vital on account of it reveals the platform has expanded its peripheral driver help and the needs it ought to run. And based mostly on my colorimeter, the ThinkPad’s present is a powerful productiveness panel. It was shiny adequate at 341 nits, above our 300-nit commonplace nevertheless lower than the other reveals in our comparability group. Its distinction was extreme at 1,380:1, properly above our 1,000:1 threshold for premium reveals. Colors have been on the premium laptop widespread at 100% of sRGB and 77% of AdobeRGB, with a coloration accuracy of DeltaE 1.12 (1.0 or a lot much less is taken into consideration superb).

The ThinkPad X13s present is excellent for productiveness workers and media buyers, nevertheless it doesn’t have pretty the color width for demanding creators.

Brightness
(nits)
Distinction sRGB gamut AdobeRGB gamut Accuracy DeltaE
(lower is greatest)
Lenovo ThinkPad X13s
(IPS)
341 1,380:1 100% 77% 1.12
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10
(IPS)
411 1,660:1 98% 76% 1.96
MacBook Air M1
(IPS)
389 1,130:1 100% 79% 1.39
MacBook Air M2
(IPS)
486 1,310:1 100% 90% 1.08
Lenovo Yoga 9i 14 Gen 7
(OLED)
406 28,380:1 100% 95% 0.87

Two upward-firing audio system current audio, one on all sides of the keyboard. They offered sufficient amount all through my testing, with clear mids and highs and the identical outdated lack of bass. They’re sufficient for YouTube and videoconferencing, nevertheless Netflix bingers and music listeners will want to profit from some headphones.

Keyboard, touchpad, and webcam

Lenoov ThinkPad X13s top down view showing keyboard and touchpad.Mark Coppock/Digital Developments

Open the lid, and in addition you’ll uncover the acquainted ThinkPad keyboard with huge, sculpted keycaps and a great deal of key spacing. The switches have been lighter than some ThinkPads I’ve examined, with a fast bottoming movement and a quick response that made for fast, cosy typing. I’m not always an infinite fan of ThinkPad keyboards, usually discovering them too stiff, nevertheless this one ranked up there with HP’s Spectre and Dell’s XPS keyboards. The construction is totally completely different from the on a regular basis House home windows 11 keyboard, following the ThinkPad pattern, along with the left Fn and Ctrl buttons being swapped. There are a variety of specific carry out keys, along with a pair for videoconferencing and one for opening Lenovo’s Enterprise Vantage utility.

The touchpad is wider than on some ThinkPads, nevertheless it nonetheless loses some space to the buttons that service the TrackPoint nubbin. The touchpad glass ground is clear and comfortable and provides reliable help for House home windows 11 multitouch gestures, and the button clicks are assured and quiet. The TrackPoint nubbin works along with always for anyone who prefers that administration. The present on my review unit wasn’t touch-enabled, nevertheless there’s an selection for a touchscreen.

Lenovo ThinkPad X13s front view showing webcam.Mark Coppock/Digital Developments

The webcam makes use of a 5MP sensor and is type of extreme determination, and Lenovo makes use of some AI choices to calibrate the color and brightness of the image regardless of lighting circumstances. There are options for making use of extreme dynamic fluctuate (HDR) to video and enabling automated framing to keep up the individual’s face inside the coronary heart of the image.

Lastly, an infrared camera provides House home windows Whats up help by means of facial recognition, and there’s a fingerprint reader constructed into the recessed vitality button. Every passwordless login methods labored quickly and reliably.

Privateness and security

The keyboard incorporates a devoted key for shuttering the webcam, and there’s one different key for switching off the microphones.

The ThinkPad X13s is Microsoft Pluton ready, which suggests there’s a security processor embedded inside the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 to protect in opposition to diverse threats and bodily assaults. The laptop moreover comprises Lenovo’s self-healing BIOS to get properly the machine inside the case of corruption or assault.

Battery life

Lenovo ThinkPad X13s side view showing lid and ports.Mark Coppock/Digital Developments

The ThinkPad X13s has 49.5 watt-hours of battery functionality, which is an effective amount for a laptop with the ultra-efficient Qualcomm ARM CPU and a Full HD+ present. It’s decrease than the Lenovo Flex 5G that’s obtainable in at 60 watt-hours nevertheless higher than the HP Elite Folio‘s 46 watt-hours.

Take the Flex 5G out of the equation, and I’d say the ThinkPad X13s did very properly in battery assessments. It hit 11.75 hours in our web-browsing check out that cycles by the use of a sequence of demanding websites and 19.5 hours in our video check out that loops an space Full HD Avengers trailer. These are strong outcomes compared with most Intel laptops and promise all-day battery life after which some. The Elite Folio was shut adequate to the an identical outcomes. Nonetheless, the Flex 5G did significantly larger in every assessments, higher than the rise in battery measurement would predict, making it the champ among the many many Snapdragon 8cx machines we’ve examined. And the Apple MacBook Air laptops moreover did larger than the ThinkPad, every the M1 and M2 variations, although neither beat out the Flex 5G.

Even so, the ThinkPad X13s supplied sufficient battery life that it’s properly definitely worth the effectivity trade-off do you have to don’t have demanding workflows. Not lower than, that’s true compared with the Intel topic. As with effectivity, the ThinkPad X13s doesn’t compete as strongly with Apple’s ARM CPUs.

that’s Web trying Video
Lenovo ThinkPad X13s
(Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3)
11 hours, 48 minutes 19 hours, 39 minutes
Lenovo Flex 5G
(Snapdragon 8cx)
17 hours, 17 minutes 27 hours, 57 minutes
HP Elite Folio
(Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2)
10 hours, 52 minutes 19 hours, 27 minutes
Apple MacBook Air M1
(Apple M1)
15 hours, 31 minutes 18 hours, 28 minutes
Apple MacBook Air M2
(Apple M2)
17 hours, 59 minutes 21 hours, 9 minutes
Acer Aspire 5 2022
(Core i5-1235U)
6 hours, 25 minutes 10 hours, 41 minutes

Our take

All-day battery life? Confirm. On a regular basis-connected internet? Confirm. Great effectivity? Not lots. That virtually sums up the ThinkPad X13s and House home windows on ARM often. Qualcomm and Microsoft have made some strides, for sure. The Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 is the quickest however, and House home windows on ARM helps additional apps and drivers than sooner than. However it’s nonetheless nowhere close to Intel, AMD, or Apple when it comes to an normal experience.

For the perfect specific individual, though, the ThinkPad x13s is a correctly moveable laptop with good battery life. Everyone else ought to attend to see what’s coming subsequent.

Are there any choices?

There are additional 5G laptops accessible right now than solely a 12 months or so prior to now, nevertheless the inhabitants of House home windows on ARM machines stays to be fairly small. The Lenovo Flex 5G is unavailable, nevertheless the HP Elite Folio can nonetheless be purchased. It’s not as fast, nevertheless it gives associated battery life and 5G connectivity. It’s moreover a fascinating convertible 2-in-1 with a shocking look and a cosy actually really feel.

Should you occur to’re primarily looking out for a thin and light-weight laptop and are enamored of the ThinkPad mannequin, then the ThinkPad X1 Nano is a powerful selection. It’s one in every of many smallest and lightest laptops at merely 1.99 kilos, offering robust productiveness effectivity and battery life that rivals the ThinkPad X13s. It doesn’t current 5G WWAN help, however.

Lastly, the Apple MacBook Air M2 is a extraordinarily aggressive varied for anyone who doesn’t reside for House home windows 11 and doesn’t need 5G. It’s fast, extraordinarily well-built, has a number of of the best battery life, and it’s one in every of many thinnest laptops at 0.44 inches.

How prolonged will it ultimate?

The Lenovo ThinkPad X13s is constructed properly adequate that it is best to rely on years of service. It’s questionable whether or not or not the CPU will maintain with House home windows on ARM’s enchancment, nevertheless that’s nonetheless to be seen. The industry-standard one-year assure is disappointing on a ThinkPad.

Do it’s important to buy it?

Certain, do you have to don’t need the quickest effectivity nevertheless want prolonged battery life and 5G connectivity. The ThinkPad X13s is an excellent laptop for all nevertheless most likely essentially the most demanding prospects.

Editors’ Solutions




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