The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Excessive gen4 represents the technological pinnacle of the ThinkPad X1 sequence. As such, it has the best potential configuration choices of any X1 and exhibits how far Lenovo’s laptop technology can go for that technology of laptops.
When it launched, the specs and configuration choices appeared terrific. Now, we’re going to dive deeper into the strengths and potential tradeoffs of packing a lot energy right into a 3.99 Lbs chassis. We are going to let you know who, how, and when this laptop could be most helpful (to).
Specs highlights + config choices
Our take a look at unit is a ThinkPad X1 Excessive Gen4 with a Core i7-11800H CPU, 16GB of RAM, 512GB of SSD (KXG7AZNV512G LA KIOXIA), and the NVIDIA RTX 3060 GPU. As configured, this unit is on the decrease spectrum of efficiency the X1 Excessive Gen4 provides, so preserve that in thoughts. Lenovo has appreciable configuration choices.
CPU choices embody the Core i7-11800H (ours), Core i7-11850H, and Core i9-11950H. The primary distinction between them is the utmost Frequencies of 4.6, 4.8, and 5.0 GHz, respectively.
Customers can order or set up a most of 64GB RAM (DDR4-3200) through two SO-DIMM modules, making this laptop appropriate for data-heavy work. The next OSes can be found: Win10, Win11, Linux (Ubuntu), and no OS.
The discrete GPU choices embody the RTX 3050 Ti 4GB, RTX 3060 6GB (ours), RTX 3070 8GB, and RTX 3080 16GB. Extra decisions than prime rivals.
Storage choices of “as much as” 2TB are barely completely different relying on the laptop tiers: RTX 3050Ti and under get two M.2 slots, whereas RTX 3060 and above get solely one M.2 slot.
The ThinkPad X1 Excessive gen4 makes use of a barely modified chassis in comparison with final yr’s. Probably the most notable evolutions are the brand new show 16:10 ratio and the new audio system’ location on both keyboard aspect.
The show cowl is fabricated from Carbon, whereas the remainder of the chassis is generally Aluminum. It’s all lined by the standard ThinkPad soft-touch paint that Lenovo has used for years (with minor tweaks), so in the event you’ve seen a current ThinkPad earlier than, the floor therapy may be very comparable.
“THE CORE I9-11950H+RTX 3080 THINKPAD X1 EXTREME SHOULD HAVE NO PROBLEM BEATING THESE COMPETITORS WHEN IT COMES TO PERF/WEIGHT RATIO”
With a weight of 3.99 Lbs (4.1 Lbs for the touchscreen SKU), it’s a 16-inch mild laptop, on par with the brand new Dell XPS 15, however a bit heavier than the three.5 Lbs Macbook Professional.
That stated, the Core i9-11950H+RTX 3080 ThinkPad X1 Excessive should not have any drawback beating these rivals in terms of Perf/Weight ratio. By “how a lot” it wins stays to be seen.
Keyboard and Trackpad
On the floor, the ThinkPad X1 Excessive inputs appear to be your typical ThinkPad keyboard and principally really feel the identical. Nevertheless, the key-travel appears a bit extra shallow, and that’s additionally true for the trackpad click on depth.
This small change doesn’t hassle me, however people who beloved the basic ThinkPad keyboard for its deep key journey may discover and must determine for themselves. Almost definitely, you’re going to get used to it in a short time, and that’s most likely the worth to pay for having such highly effective inside elements in a skinny chassis.
The keyboard backlight has the usual two brightness ranges, however it could have been good to have the next peak backlight brightness.
The bigger (glass) trackpad is clean and makes utilizing any gestures snug. The bodily left/proper trackpad buttons make click on operations extra correct and dissociated from any mouse cursor movement.
Ports & Connectivity
This laptop has all of the ports one would sometimes want, and I can’t think about requiring a dongle, aside from Ethernet connectivity, maybe. That could possibly be a steep benefit over super-slim rivals with solely USB-C ports.
The presence of a full-size SD card reader is an effective trace that Lenovo had Inventive customers in thoughts, and it’s an incredible thought as a result of this laptop will appeal to a lot of them for its dimension/weight/efficiency ratio.
WiFi-6E makes this laptop future-proof for native wi-fi networking. The subsequent stage can be to get the non-compulsory 5G connectivity powered by Qualcomm’s X55 modem that was utilized in high-end telephones not so way back. Built-in 5G is at all times a lot better and extra handy than making a hotspot along with your telephone.
Lastly, if in case you have a number of 4K shows and even exterior GPUs, Thunderbolt 4 is a good bonus to have on this laptop.
ThinkPad X1 Excessive Sound high quality
The two up-firing audio system (2x 2-Watt) are positioned on both aspect of the keyboard and are a big improve from earlier X1 Excessive generations that had bottom-firing audio system. This is likely one of the most optimum speaker placement on a laptop.
“CUSTOMERS WILL BE SATISFIED WITH THE X1 EXTREME’S IMPROVED SOUND SYSTEM”
They output a very good high quality sound that’s clear, distortion-free, and highly effective sufficient to take pleasure in a very good motion film in your mattress or lodge room. Lenovo’s soundbar on YOGA Laptops is a bit higher, and so are choose laptops just like the Macbook Professional 16, the brand new Huawei MateBook 16, or Dell XPS 15 (4 audio system).
Nonetheless, I believe that clients will likely be glad with the X1 Excessive’s improved sound system.
Lenovo continues to roll out 16:10 ratio shows, and that’s nice from a productiveness standpoint because it gives a bit extra vertical area for content material. Maybe we’ll see a 3:2 version sometime, just like the 2021 X1 Titanium.
Our unit’s show is the 16-inch WQXGA (2560×1600), a non-touch panel with a matte end. A matte show shouldn’t be as susceptible to glare as a shiny display, but it surely’s additionally true that colours don’t “pop” as a lot, and shiny shows may look a bit sharper.
The show high quality is excessive, with wonderful coloration gamut (95% sRGB measured) and good coloration accuracy as nicely (avg Delta-E < 2.2). The picture high quality makes this laptop appropriate for Inventive skilled utilization.
A brightness of 354 NITs measured makes it readable sufficient outside, however that’s simply above common. Fortuitously, Lenovo has higher, dearer choices with even higher picture high quality.
If you wish to go the additional mile, you need to calibrate it your self utilizing a Spyderx datacolor, or get a pre-calibrated show just like the Lenovo ThinkPad P15 Gen2 workstation.
For gaming functions, understand that the refresh price is 60Hz. For many customers, that’s fully nice, and I take pleasure in taking part in at a sustained 60FPS myself. However some players are a bit pickier and may need a display that reaches 120Hz+ simply because this laptop can run some video games at a really excessive pace.
The new 1080p webcam is noticeably sharper than your typical 720p camera. That stated, a mid-range telephone selfie camera Remains to be higher than any laptop we reviewed, together with this one, but it surely’s good to see some progress on this entrance, and I encourage OEMs to proceed pushing the envelope.
ThinkPad X1 Excessive Efficiency
From a efficiency standpoint, the benchmark numbers present the ThinkPad X1 Excessive to be an excellent performer, with considerably increased normal “Productiveness” efficiency than the newest X1 Carbon.
For CPU-heavy Inventive duties, our Core i7-11800H CPU proves to be a bonus when in comparison with laptops geared up with Core i7-11375H processors, despite the fact that they might have an analogous graphics processor.
Usually not seen within the benchmarks, however in some functions, you may get a lift in reminiscence efficiency in the event you go for a unit with two reminiscence modules because it will increase the height RAM bandwidth. Some RAM configurations include one module solely.
Laptops with the RTX 3070 or 3080 GPUs are even sooner, as demonstrated by the Acer Predator Triton 500 SE. Nevertheless, you need to consider the cooling capability of every laptop design. These two GPUs generate loads of warmth, and I don’t understand how quick this X1 Excessive chassis can dissipate it, despite the fact that Lenovo is ventilating it as a lot as potential.
Additionally, trying on the efficiency “per Lbs” exhibits how nice this X1 Excessive design is for many who care about each little bit of weight.
The ThinkPad X1 Excessive is designed as a enterprise laptop or mild workstation. That’s why it doesn’t characteristic a large gaming-like cooling system (and chassis). Gaming laptops are designed to run scorching and noisy.
As a substitute, the X1 Excessive is skinny and visually pleasant to a enterprise setting, and that features retaining a low fan noise (solely ~51db max, vs. 60db+ for gaming laptops).
Our RTX 3060 GPU ran scorching, practically reaching 88-90 Celcius, and whereas it’s okay for minutes of benchmarking, it’s not excellent for sustained efficiency as warmth builds up and thermal efficiency throttling units in to forestall overheating. Notice that we didn’t have any type of stability points.
Lenovo doesn’t present software program fan controls, and having a few of these capabilities would assist customers get probably the most from this laptop. Within the meantime, you possibly can management the followers utilizing tpfancontrol, however I’d like to see a local resolution.
In case your price range is tight and you may get by with solely 4GB of video reminiscence, the RTX 3050 Ti SKU could be a good selection. It would maximize the worth/pace ratio by maximizing the thermal dissipation capabilities.
In benchmarks, the graphics efficiency “per Lbs” of this RTX 3060 X1 Excessive may be very corresponding to the sunshine Acer Triton Predator 300 SE gaming laptop. For a enterprise laptop, it’s spectacular and a large enchancment over final yr’s X1 Excessive Gen3.
The ThinkPad X1 Excessive Gen 4 provides workstation-level SSD efficiency, with barely higher total efficiency than the heavier ThinkPad P15 Gen2. The writes are usually not as quick because the Predator Triton 500 SE as a result of Acer makes use of a RAID0 configuration in that laptop, pushing it above everybody with out RAID0.
Since this laptop has PCIe 4.0, you need to get increased efficiency by manually upgrading to the newest PCIe 4.0 SSDs from Samsung or different OEMs, however this stays to be confirmed independently.
ThinkPad X1 Excessive Battery Life
The 88Wh battery capability may be very respectable given the small chassis dimension, and the 6h48mn battery endurance in the course of the steady “Workplace Productiveness” battery take a look at is consistent with laptops with the identical efficiency envelope.
If you wish to have a for much longer battery life, you will want to choose a pc with a decrease efficiency profile. That’s all there may be to it. If you’d like Gaming-like graphics efficiency, you additionally want a higher-wattage CPU and GPU that may devour extra energy always. Intel’s new Alder Lake structure ought to assist significantly with energy effectivity sooner or later.
That’s why the 2021 ThinkPad X1 Carbon has a for much longer battery life, regardless of that includes a a lot smaller battery.
It’s potential to cost the X1 Excessive utilizing the USB-C ports, however you want a high-power USB-C charger. I’m unsure what the minimal is, however I’ve a 100W USB-C charger, and it labored, whereas a 65W from one other Lenovo laptop didn’t. I’ll strive discovering out what the precise flooring is, however be conscious of this till then.
That stated, solely the 230W authentic Lenovo energy provide can fulfill this laptop’s vitality requirement to run at full pace. However in the event you lose it, it’s good to have an alternate emergency possibility (like borrowing from a pal).
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Excessive Gen4 (official web page) is a formidable replace from a yr in the past. It is likely one of the finest skinny & mild 16-inch enterprise laptops for its peak efficiency and total options. And understand that we solely examined the slower model of this laptop!
With sooner RTX 3070 and 3080 GPU choices, the graphics efficiency has extra potential. Regardless that I’m wondering how thermal limitations may have an effect on their peak efficiency, I do know that peak speeds can be considerably increased.
“THE LENOVO THINKPAD X1 EXTREME HAS THE BEST CONFIGURATION OPTIONS IN ITS CATEGORY”
Objectively, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Excessive has the very best configuration choices in its class, making it very arduous to beat in its most “excessive” model: Core i9-11950H+RTX 3080.
For brief and heavy compute workloads going from 20mn to 5mn remains to be a fascinating and measurable productiveness acquire. You’ll need to determine this out to your use case and value it.
In conclusion, as probably the most “excessive” ThinkPad X1, this laptop is a good product that may deal with any enterprise utility and will likely be an incredible companion throughout instances of enjoyable as nicely.
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