Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 4 Review: A Powerful Refresh

ThinkPad X1 Excessive Gen 4: Lenovo’s Workhorse Feeds On Tiger Lake-H And GeForce RTX 30

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Ultraportable laptops with 13 or 14-inch shows and low-power processors are nice for a sure form of consumer. These of us are often discovered operating from gate to gate in an airport or catching an Uber to a gross sales assembly. These machines have nice single-threaded efficiency and good-enough graphics capabilities, however the thermal limits and the legal guidelines of physics get in the way in which of extra demanding workloads. Lager format machines have the additional cooling capability and thermal funds so as to add in discrete graphics and extra processor cores, and the customers that worth this further muscle are the goal demographic that Lenovo’s new ThinkPad X1 Excessive Gen 4 goals to please by putting a stability of measurement, weight and horsepower. 

It is simple to consider the ThinkPad X1 Excessive as one in every of Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon’s in an even bigger enclosure, and in some respects that is true. Lenovo endowed the 4th era X1 Excessive with its trademark keyboard and distinct stylings, however that line of considering does not consider the efficiency its new 16 laptop computer has beneath the hood. NVIDIA GeForce RTX graphics and high-powered Tiger Lake-H processors are the order of the day right here, and that class of elements will blow out the thermal funds of an ultralight laptop computer. So let’s meet the brand new ThinkPad X1 Excessive Gen 4 and see what its extra strong configuration is manufactured from, the way it performs and the worth proposition Lenovo has on supply.

ThinkPad X1 Excessive Gen 4 Options and Specs

The ThinkPad X1 Excessive has Intel’s present era of Tiger Lake-H processors beneath the hood. Our overview unit has the Core i7-11800H, which has eight cores (16 threads by way of Hyper Threading) and 24 MB of L3 Good Cache. Turbo clock speeds max out at 4.6 GHz for a single core, so there needs to be loads of single-threaded efficiency on faucet. Whereas desktop variations of Intel’s twelfth era processors, codenamed Alder Lake, are already out the door with its hybrid structure and killer single-threaded efficiency, there hasn’t been any releases for moveable PCs simply but.

closed system with charger lenovo thinkpad x1 extreme gen4

To again that speedy processor, Lenovo gave the ThinkPad X1 Excessive 16GB of DDR4-3200 reminiscence. Sadly, our instance has that reminiscence in a 1×16 GB single-channel configuration, which implies the system is leaving reminiscence bandwidth on the desk. The excellent news is that Lenovo does supply dual-channel 2 x 8 GB configurations on its web site, however such a mannequin wasn’t accessible for us to check. Extra importantly, the reminiscence is user-serviceable normal SO-DIMMs, so upgrading later is just not a problem within the least. Talking of user-serviceable, the 512GB M.2 NVMe solid-state drive can also be a easy spec to improve afterward.

Graphics come by means of NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 3060 pocket book GPU. The driving force management panel tells us it is a 95 Watt model of the RTX 3060, with 3,840 CUDA cores. Clocks max out at 1,425 MHz and there is 6GB of GDDR6 reminiscence onboard hooked up to the CPU by way of a 192-bit interface. Compared to the desktop model of the GeForce RTX 3060, it is truly extra CUDA cores, however the cellular variant runs at decrease speeds to protect energy. Nonetheless, this loadout has the potential to present a fluid gaming expertise at comparatively excessive settings relying on the decision, assuming the cooling can sustain. This pocket book can also be a part of NVIDIA’s Studio program. Studio notebooks are supposed to be dependable content material creation machines at the start, however you are nuts if you happen to do not suppose we’ll run our gaming assessments on this pocket book. If this is not sufficient efficiency, Lenovo provides upgrades all the way in which as much as the GeForce RTX 3080 pocket book GPU.

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For networking, Lenovo gave the ThinkPad X1 Excessive Intel’s newest AX210 Wi-Fi 6E chipset with vPro and Bluetooth 5.2 assist. People that want mobile connectivity can add an optionally available Qualcomm X55 5G modem for an expensive $462 upcharge. It might have been good to see a Gigabit Ethernet port on a bigger pocket book like this, however like headphone jacks on smartphones, wired networking appears to be going the way in which of the dinosaur on flagship notebooks today. A docking station would possible have it anyway, we suppose. 

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The “i” in ThinkPad has a pink LED indicating the system is on, and it pulses whereas in sleep mode. 

ThinkPad X1 Gen 4 Excessive Design and Exterior Options

By default the ThinkPad X1 Excessive is available in a black polycarbonate shell with a matte end and a smooth contact. In our time with the pocket book it has been fairly good about rejecting fingerprints, though it should present some faint smudging in direct gentle. Consumers who go for a top-of-the-line UHD+ show can get the Excessive with a carbon fiber weave materials within the lid as a substitute of plain ol’ poly. The matte black end on our overview unit is sweet sufficient and appears good, nevertheless it does not really feel fairly as premium because the carbon fiber on its smaller sibling or the aluminum physique discovered on a Dell XPS 13 or Apple MacBook Professional. Nonetheless, it ought to climate constant use effectively.

display lenovo thinkpad x1 extreme gen4

The 16:10 IPS show panel begins with a decision of 2560 x 1600 and a most brightness of 400 nits, and that is precisely what this unit has. For all the things aside from HDR video and outside use in direct daylight, 400 nits is loads of gentle. In any other case the show has a pixel density excessive sufficient that textual content seems sharp, and it has the very vast viewing angles and excessive colour accuracy we count on from an IPS show. Whereas it solely has a refresh fee of 60 Hz, there is no noticeable ghosting or trails, and colours are vibrant. Lenovo Vantage has a number of totally different colour profiles accessible for these with out colorimeters. As a machine with the NVIDIA Studio moniker, the Excessive is focused at a crowd the place colour accuracy is important, so most patrons will most likely go for calibration themselves. 

There are a pair of upgraded show choices accessible that embrace Dolby Imaginative and prescient certification and a 600-nit most brightness at both 2560 x 1600 or 3840 x 2400, and the highest finish consists of that carbon fiber end we talked about earlier. For no matter motive, Lenovo additionally requires these shows on its web site to get an infrared digicam, so the built-in 1080p webcam in our overview unit doesn’t assist Home windows Howdy. When you want facial recognition, you will should spring for an upgraded show as effectively. However, a fingerprint reader is constructed proper into the ability button so customers who need some type of biometric authentication are in luck.

The bezels on the ThinkPad X1 Excessive’s show are fairly skinny, particularly on the edges. The highest bezel is an enormous taller, nevertheless, to make room for that non-IR digicam together with a pair of noise canceling microphones. We’re actually glad to see Lenovo plug a 1080p digicam into this pocket book, as it appears that evidently distant work and Groups conferences aren’t going away any time quickly. 720p cameras are tremendous, however this 1080p unit is clearer and provides higher total high quality. We simply want it supported IR facial recognition, too. 

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Up-firing audio system with Dolby Atmos and that trademark ThinkPad keyboard

These twin microphones do a great job, as callers had no issues listening to us even with noise within the background. The up-firing stereo audio system carry Dolby Atmos certification, they usually do a great job for voices, they usually’re not dangerous for some gentle music too. Notebooks simply do not have the room for giant woofers, although, and so like so many others we overview, the built-in audio system usually are not an awesome possibility for motion motion pictures the place boomy bass is a should. Happily there’s nonetheless a headphone jack and Bluetooth connectivity, each of which let you plug in or wirelessly join audio system of your selecting. 

The keyboard is typical ThinkPad: very comfy with satisfactory 1.5 millimeters of journey. As at all times with our pocket book critiques, I am writing your entire article on the overview unit and it feels nice. The keys are simply the correct measurement and it is fairly comfy for a pocket book. The monitor pad is rather less nice, as it is not notably large, nevertheless it does have its personal discrete buttons. Nonetheless, what Lenovo desires mouse-less of us to make use of for navigation is the pencil eraser-style TrackPoint. Paired with these buttons on the monitor pad, it is fairly straightforward to get across the system with no mouse, although it nonetheless lacks the precision of a daily mouse. Both possibility will do in a pinch and on the go, although. 

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Lenovo has given the ThinkPad X1 Excessive sufficient ports for many customers. The left facet has a pair of Thunderbolt 4 ports, an HDMI 2.1 output, and a four-pole mixture headset jack to plug in a pair of audio system or an analog headset. There’s additionally a devoted connector for the system’s strong 230 Watt AC adapter. The adapter itself has an oblong connector that is only a bit thicker (tall) and narrower (vast) than a USB-A port, and you would be forgiven for complicated the 2. It isn’t bodily attainable to plug it into something however the acceptable jack, although, so there is no probability of doing one thing dangerous to the system. 

ports right lenovo thinkpad x1 extreme gen4

Round the correct of the ThinkPad sits a pair of USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports that ship as much as 5Gbps of bandwidth every, a Kensington-style lock port, and a full-sized SD card reader. The cardboard reader is helpful for photographers on the go who must shortly entry the information from their cameras with out the necessity for an exterior reader. As talked about earlier, we might have appreciated some Ethernet onboard, however a dock must suffice. Because of the means the hinge folds across the again of the unit, there are not any ports on the rear of the system. 

Lenovo’s Present ThinkPad Software program Expertise

Proper now, Lenovo sells the ThinkPad X1 Excessive with Home windows 10 out of the field, with the Residence model the default buy possibility. Ours got here with Home windows 10 Professional put in and up to date to the most recent 21H1 launch. Ours got here with nearly nothing else put in — no antivirus trials or undesirable bloat. There may be, as a part of the Home windows 10 set up, an Workplace trial, however that may be eliminated fairly simply. Apart from that, our management panel simply confirmed drivers and their respective menu choices. As soon as the system was absolutely up to date with Home windows 10, we began seeing the Home windows 11 improve accessible in Home windows Replace, though we caught to Home windows 10 for our testing. 

lenovo vantage thinkpad x1 extreme

The one further app in any respect was Lenovo’s Benefit software program, which acts as a hub for system administration, characteristic toggles, {hardware} monitoring, and firmware updates. The device additionally reveals the specs of our check system and has various troubleshooters to attempt to cope with points. Lastly, customers can join with Lenovo for assist points or guarantee service requests. 

Now that we have seen the ThinkPad X1 Excessive, let’s take it for a spin in our efficiency assessments to see the way it holds up. Does that single-channel configuration maintain it again? Or can this 16″ pocket book energy by means of our check suite with fashion? Let’s discover out… 

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