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Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 Review: All-Around Business Notebook

Review verdict: Lenovo’s ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 shows that the use of Ryzen PRO processors once again gives it a great performance boost while being more affordable than Intel-powered siblings. It may be more expensive than the ThinkPad T14 Gen 1, but you are getting a better-performing set of internals with the ThinkPad X13 Gen 1. 

The ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 is priced at Php 54,669.

Pros:

  • Powerful Ryzen PRO processor
  • Better keyboard than the ThinkPad T14
  • Laudable battery life

Cons:

  • Unusual MicroSD card reader
  • Not the brightest display in its class

ThinkPad X13 Review

AMD is slowly pushing into territory traditionally held by Intel’s chips in the mobile space, and more and more manufacturers are offering the chipmaker’s new Ryzen PRO processors in their business-oriented laptops. It’s not a bad move either – AMD’s new chip makes the ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 incredibly quick and snappy, giving it a solid performance boost while keeping the price relatively low.

ThinkPad X13 Review

Design

If you put the ThinkPad T14 and X13 side-by-side, they look almost similar–though you will notice that the ThinkPad X13 is slightly smaller and slimmer than its T-series sibling. In fact, both ThinkPads come with a magnesium chassis, though the ThinkPad X13 Gen 1’s more compact design makes it lighter as well–roughly as light as a modern MacBook Pro.

ThinkPad X13 Review

Because of its slimmer chassis, some of the ports have been rearranged and some have been removed: you don’t get an Ethernet port on the ThinkPad X13 Gen 1, and the MicroSD card reader is relocated at the back of the laptop. Speaking of the MicroSD card reader, the ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 goes for an unusual tray design where you need a SIM ejector tool. It’s an unusual design for sure, but the upside here is that you can use it as an easy way to expand the laptop’s limited 256GB capacity.

You still get two USB-A ports, two USB-C ports, a full-sized HDMI port, and a headphone jack–just the right amount of ports for those who are used to working using WiFi.

ThinkPad X13 Review

The similarities extend to the keyboard–TrackPoint and all. The ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 has a slightly more compact keyboard, though I noticed that its keys are more clicky than the one used on the ThinkPad T14. While both have the same stellar keyboard ThinkPads are known for, I leaned more towards the ThinkPad X13 Gen 1’s clickier keys as far as typing comfort is concerned.

ThinkPad X13 ReviewDisplay and Speakers

Armed with the same thick bezels and webcam with a ThinkShutter, the ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 uses a smaller 13.3-inch Full HD display, though Lenovo advertises its panel as being brighter than the one used on the ThinkPad T14 Gen 1 at 300nits (the ThinkPad T14 Gen 1’s panel is rated for 250nits). Being able to review both ThinkPads, the one used on the ThinkPad X13 is brighter, though I have seen better displays with similarly-priced laptops.

As for the display itself, results obtained from our Spyder tool reveal that the Thinkpad X13 Gen 1’s brightness can go as high as 272 nits, which is a bit off from Lenovo’s claims. As for color gamut coverage, the ThinkPad X13 Gen 1’s panel covers 89% sRGB and 67% AdobeRGB, making it a suitable workhorse for light to medium multimedia work.

Another aspect where the ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 is better than its T-series sibling is with its bottom-firing speakers. Compared to the front-firing speakers of the ThinkPad T14 Gen 1, the ThinkPad X13 Gen 1’s speakers are louder and more detailed even at just 50-60% of the volume range. Like the Thinkpad T14 Gen 1, you also get Dolby Audio for further audio tweaking.

Performance and Battery Life

Like the ThinkPad T14 Gen 1, you also get the same set of internals with the ThinkPad X13 Gen 1: Ryzen 5 PRO 4650U, 8GB RAM, and 256GB NVMe storage. Despite using virtually the same set of internals, our benchmark tests show that the ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 performed slightly better than the already good ThinkPad T14 Gen 1.

Aside from a better-performing processor, we also noticed that the ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 uses a faster Samsung SSD than the ThinkPad T14 Gen 1, which we verified through CrystalDisk.

While all the focus is on AMD’s newest batch of chips, the Ryzen PRO 4000-series is still a great processor family that can go head-to-head even with Intel’s Tiger Lake processors. With GeekBench Single Core, GeekBench Multi-Core, and PCMark Work, the Ryzen 5 PRO 4650U’s performance is somewhere in between a Core i5-1135G7 and Core i7-1165G7.

Our review with the ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 shows that that like with the ThinkPad T14 Gen 1, the overall performance of this laptop is very similar. That being said, the ThinkPad X1 Gen 1 is adequate for Photoshop and Lightroom work, Full HD video editing, and the usual multi-tasking associated with productivity work.

For daily use, the 8GB RAM and 256GB NVMe SSD feel adequate for the typical employee. If that’s not enough, you can rest east knowing that the ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 has a vacant RAM slot for further expansion, and the NVMe SSD is also easy to replace in case 256GB is not enough for you. If you want to save yourself from opening the laptop, you can opt to pop in a high-speed 128GB or 256GB MicroSD for instant storage expansion.

For power, the ThinkPad X13 gets a slightly smaller 48wHr battery. Even if it uses a brighter display than the ThinkPad T14–and brighter displays translate to higher power consumption–the ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 lasted for a little over 6 hours with our YouTube video loop test. That further proves that the 7nm-based process of its Ryzen PRO processor helps in making the most out of its battery. Like the ThinkPad T14, the ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 supports 65w USB-C charging that takes under 2 hours to fully charge the battery.

Wrap up and Conclusions

While it is slightly more expensive than the equally good ThinkPad T14 Gen 1, our review of the ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 shows that it comes with practically a better set of internals across the board–from the display to the SSD used. The configuration may be dead similar to the one used on the ThinkPad T14 Gen 1, but it looks like Lenovo used a better set of components to the ThinkPad X13 Gen 1.

Losing the Ethernet port is not a big deal since the target market of the ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 is for workers who depend mostly on WiFi connectivity, and its unusual MicroSD card reader makes it a perfect way to expand storage to augment the ThinkPad X13 Gen 1’s SSD without resorting to opening up the chassis.

Just like with the ThinkPad T14 Gen 1, the use of Ryzen PRO processors on the ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 greatly helps make Lenovo’s proven ThinkPads more accessible to everyone with a lower price tag compared to Intel-powered models.

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