The ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 3 is a powerful business laptop that costs around $ 2,100 and brings you 4K and the popular ThinkPad keyboard. But what appears to be a lower margin on this computer is a bit noticeable compared to other 10th-gen Intel-based competitors, especially the HP NV15.
The ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 3 is a ThinkPad. It has keyboard black, clever mouse buttons, and a black chassis with scattered red dots. (If you’ve seen its predecessor, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2, you know what you get – the models are similar with different chips.)
But this ThinkPad has a unique feature that you don’t see every day: an OLED screen. It, in conjunction with its discrete GPU, has positioned the X1 Xtreme General 3 in the business laptop space traditionally dominated by ThinkPads and is entering the crowded market for redundant content creation machines. Among those competitors, the X1 Xtreme has several major shortcomings that prevent it from coming to the top of the package. But it’s still full of features that have become so prominent throughout the ThinkPad board, which means it definitely has an audience.
Like other ThinkPads, the X1 Extreme can be customized for a variety of prices. All configurations have Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti Max-Q. The base model is priced at $ 2,734 (currently discounted to a reasonable $ 1,640) and includes the Core i5-10400H, 8GB RAM, 256GB storage, 1920 x 1080 non-touch screen and a standard 720p HD webcam. Among the pre-built models, you can go for a system with Core i9-10885H, 64GB RAM, 1TB of storage, a 3840 x 2160 OLED touchscreen and an infrared camera – for all – stay tuned – $ 2,974.40 currently quoted. In the middle of my test setup; It includes Core i7-10850H, 1 TB of storage, 32 GB of RAM, and an OLED touchscreen. It has an MSRP of $ 4,111 but is currently trading at $ 2,466. While some depend on others, you can change many specifications to your liking; For example, all models without a basic display come with an infrared camera.
This model has two outstanding features. The first is the keyboard. ThinkPads generally have excellent keyboards and this one is no exception. Aside from the Dell XPS 15, this is one of my favorite keyboards that I tested on a laptop at work this year. The keys have a comfortable texture and a lot of travel without making noise. The typing experience feels closer to a mechanical keyboard than a flat laptop key. During my tests, I noticed that my personal laptop was no longer sponsored by ThinkPad.
There is a useful line of hotkeys at the top of the platform. The X1 endpoint updates with three buttons that are suitable for remote work: F9 opens the notification center, F10 answers call, and F11 completes calls. There are also keys to turn off the volume and microphone, toggle airplane mode, and change volume and brightness.
A quick thing about the keyboard: the Fn and Ctrl keys switch from where you find them on most keyboards. This is how ThinkPad keyboards are set up forever, and you can reset the keys through the BIOS or with the Lenovo utility app if you want. But it’s worth noting that if you’re not a typical ThinkPad user, or are swapping between this machine and a personal laptop, it will take time to set up (or it will use incorrectly labeled keys). I have been using the extreme X1 for almost a week and still accidentally press Fn regularly.
The second highlight is the 15.6-inch 4K OLED panel. Covers 100% of the sRGB spectrum, 100% Adobe RGB, and 100% P3. (Basically, it maxed out our pigment meter.) The board is crisp and vibrant. You can watch streaming content that supports HDR and switches between different color profiles with Lenovo’s Display Optimizer.
Build quality is another strong point. Like many of its ThinkPad siblings, the X1 Extreme feels durable. Lenovo says the keyboard or lid has no flex and has been tested with “12 military-grade certification methods and more than 20 operating procedures” to resist shock, vibration, overheating, humidity, and more. The laptop achieves this without sacrificing much portability. It measures 0.74 inches on the side, but at four pounds it’s lighter than most competitors, including the Dell XPS15 and MacBook Pro16.
The chassis has a black finish. The ThinkPad logo on the right palm rest and the X1 logo on the top cover add a touch of red. The lid has a unique carbon fiber weave pattern that resembles the carbon fiber palm rest of the Dell XPS15. (This is only available on UHD models.) Lenovo claims that this material is lighter and more durable than aluminum and other common chassis materials. That may be part of the reason for the X1 Extreme’s high price.
A note on construction: the lid and chassis aren’t the worst fingerprints I’ve ever seen, but they do. After a few days of use, the keyboard platform was very fluid.
Finally, the X1 end comes with some useful features for remote mounting. In Lenovo’s Vantage software, you can optimize the dual microphones for a variety of settings (including voice recognition, individual calls, and conference calls). They had no problem choosing my drinking mouth. The stereo speakers are very good, distortion-free audio can be played on drums and bass, but not exclusively. In the preloaded Dolby access software, you can create custom matching profiles and switch between voice, music, movie, and game previews.
The infrared webcam was also pleasantly surprised, with a bit of graininess, but it was quite color accurate and presented a good image in a low-light environment. It has a physical privacy shutter, making it easy to click again. You can access the X1 endpoint with Windows Hello Face Recognition and the corresponding sensor fingerprint reader on the side of the keyboard deck, it was quick to set up and generally not difficult to recognize.
All of this is similar to the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2, with no significant differences. The improvements in Gen 3 are internal. It has a 10th-generation Intel 6-core processor and the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti Max-Q, while its predecessor has a 9th-generation Intel processor and GeForce GTX 1650 Max-Q.
The Core i7-10850H isn’t the most horrible processor out there, especially compared to AMD’s recent H-series chip. But it will bring special benefits to the Intel vPro platform business, and it did a good job with my spreadsheets, email, slack, and other general office work.
Similarly, the GTX 1650 Ti Max-Q is a mid-range graphics card; You don’t need to use it for serious gaming or professional video editing with high-quality output. But for hobby designers and other artists, it can certainly help.
My test model scored 386 Pujetbench points for Premiere Pro, which tests the competence of the real-world Primary Pro features. It’s not an embarrassing score among top competitors, but it’s not great either. The system is subject to the same scores that we saw on the six-core MacBook Pro with the same GPU and Dell XPS15’s AMD Radeon Pro 5300m. In fact, it was lost to the designer’s machines with more powerful Nvidia chips, like the cheaper Gigabyte Aero 15 RTX 3060.
If you’re going to work hard on content, be prepared to ask the fans. I often hear them even when I am browsing in Chrome. On the plus side, they did their job – the bottom of the laptop, keyboard, touchpads, palm rest, and hinge were great.
Another compromise you make here is battery life. For our battery test, I spent an average of four hours and 59 minutes each, which involved using a ThinkPad for continuous office multitasking in the battery saver profile and a screen brightness of around 200. I did an experiment without using Chrome to see if it would make a difference; It was not so. This result actually appears to be a bit high: two hours and 19 minutes even shorter than Tom’s hardware in an artificial flow stream.
It’s no wonder that a machine with a 4K display and a discrete GPU doesn’t last all day. But from Gigabyte Aero 15 I got more juice. It has an OLED screen and a heavy graphics card. If you don’t need an HD display (most people won’t), the Dell XPS15 (it still has a special display) lasted an hour with my workflow and my colleague Dieter Bone lasted up to eight hours from the MacBook Pro. Those interested in the X1 Xtreme should consider an FHD (1080p) format if they don’t always want to plug it in.
In the end, the decision between the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 3 and the thinner and lighter 15-inch desktops really falls apart: Do you need a ThinkPad?
This means that X1 Xtreme shares many of the strengths and weaknesses of Windows machines such as XPS15. They both have amazing displays, good chips, strong construction, rugged fans, and average battery life. They both have the best keyboards and touchpads with standard webcams and speakers.
But ThinkPad and XPS are still very different machines, and if you’ve used any line member before, you probably know which one you like. They have different looks and different emotions. The ThinkPad is a bit lighter and slightly erratic and has more ports and larger bells. XPS is a bit powerful, but there are additional business features in the ThinkPad.
XPS, due to its low price, is a more accessible model to many consumers. The X1 Xtreme’s poor chips and poor battery life make it difficult to swallow, especially at a high price. But there is still a market for the X1 Extreme, and if you want to dedicate a little power, a little money, and battery life to the unique advantages of a ThinkPad, you will fall for it.