Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme review (Core i7-8850H, GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, UHD screen)


  1. Thrandine

    October 19, 2018 at 9:54 am

    I'm curious whether the X1E is really more durable than XPS 15 9570. After all, they're made of same materials – carbon fiber plastic and aluminum alloy, and the Extreme surely is the most consumer-oriented out of all the current Thinkpad X,T,P lineup. You've handled both laptops, what is your take on this?

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 19, 2018 at 10:47 am

      Hard to say. Both are very well made, but the XPS actually feels a little bit more solid imo, as the outside is made from fairly thick sheets of metal and the interior barely bulges, while the keyboard deck of the X1E flexes a bit when pressed. Still, i don't think durability should be a concern or a decisive factor with any of these.

  2. Archuk

    October 25, 2018 at 7:29 am

    Would you pick it over XPS 15? There seem to be some quality control issues being reported with XPS?

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 25, 2018 at 10:39 am

      It depends on the price, but the XPS is much cheaper in most regions, and as long as you're OK with its shortcomings, still a very competitive option. I'd also consider the ThinkPad P1 as a more affordable alternative.

      • Archuk

        October 25, 2018 at 12:25 pm

        Well, the prices I've seen are actually same for XPS and X1, while P1 is pricier… might be because of the preconfigured versions of P1 often sell them with Xeon CPUS (which, let's admit it are pretty useless for 99% of people). So, assuming that the prices are about the same (from what I've seen preconfigured XPS/X1 extreme 15 9570 32GB Ram + 1TB SSD with i7 8750/8850 cost about the same). So, if the price is the same – would you say that x1 extreme is better choice? What concerns me a bit is the battery life…

        Also, how does undervoloting affect the battery life in your case?

      • Andrei Girbea

        October 25, 2018 at 12:36 pm

        I'd get the X1 in that case. Yes, battery life is shorter. I haven't tested battery life on the undervolted profile, but it shouldn't have much impact in daily use, when the CPU already runs at pretty low frequencies and thus, Wattage.

        Performance is a little better though, the keyboard/touchpad nicer and the screen about on par (i'd reckon you're going to opt for the UHD panel?). The XPS gets louder speakers, but the ones on the X1 aren't as bad as on other Thinkpads.

  3. Batusi

    November 2, 2018 at 5:26 pm

    How would the X1 compare with the larger 15' workstations like the Lenovo P52 and Dell 7530 (same specs) in terms of CPU performance, throttling, cooling given you undervolt all, for heavy use? If not directly, from prior experience (i.e. Dell 9560 vs 7520). From this review as well as from Notebookcheck, it seems the Lenovo X1 and Dell 9570 perform better than their respective larger siblings – no?

    We know that larger SSDs are faster, but if you only use it for WIN 10 and programs, would opting for a 512GB drive over a smaller 256GB drive (on my PC, I have 100GB used, 138GB free) produce any tangible speed differences in performance?

    One more question, does the 8850h make a real difference over the 8750h on laptops like the X1 Extreme and 9570?

    Thanks for the detailed review!

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 2, 2018 at 6:48 pm

      I've never reviewed the P52 or the 7530 and can't comment on those. Theoretically the larger the laptop, the more space for the cooling and thus the better the performance.

      Notebookcheck's review of the P52 shows a little better performance in Cinebench out of the box, compared to the 9570, so with both undervolted, I'd expect slightly higher frequencies for the P52 in continuous demanding loads. They're within 5% of each other from what I can tell, but I'd reckon the P52 should run at lower temperatures, so yes, there's some benefit from choosing the larger laptop, but unless you'll mostly keep the device in one place, I don't think it compensates for the loss in portability.

      As for the other questions, a 512 Gb SSD should be perfectly fine for everyday use, and I'd even reckon a 256 GB drive should be enough. Yes, the 256 GB version is slower, but unless you're transferring a lot of content everyday, the difference in response times should be marginal. I'd go with the 512 GB SSD if possible, that's pretty much the sweet spot imo.

      As for the 8850h vs 8750h, I'd stick with the latter in such computers, simply because the 8850H is significantly more expensive and cannot run at its maximum Turbos in 100% loads (see the Cinebench test). Yuo might see some marginal performance benefits from the 8850H in demanding loads that won't put a 100% load on the CPU, but imo that's not significant enough to be worth the premium.

  4. Suburbazine

    November 3, 2018 at 11:00 am

    I've found USB-C charging to function with Apple adapters and cables. Also tossed together some stats for it:

    You're welcome to use any of it as you wish.


  5. limo

    November 6, 2018 at 1:25 am

    Looks like a clone of Macbook Pro 2007/2008 layout :) Regarding LCD panel it is clear that companies like Lenovo cut the cost accepting LCD panels with high tolerance. This is unnaceptable for a professional machine for photo / video editing at this price. Regarding P1 model difference is no HDR support but Xeon, Quadro and ECC DRAM support. Theoretically P1 should support 10-bit color depth on GPU side (Quadro) and possibly LCD panel so this is real advantage over X1E. Unfortunately there is no review that go into details on this.

  6. Rachel Sweeney

    November 9, 2018 at 6:23 am

    It just tickles me that they still put that little red rubber mouse control thingy on ThinkPads. Takes me back to the first time I used a ThinkPad in my high school biology class – I remember actually using the red thing because the touch pads were so iffy.

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 9, 2018 at 7:32 pm

      It's part of their branding. All ThinkPads still get the knob.

  7. David

    November 11, 2018 at 11:42 am

    Sorry, being autistic this is too long to read online. Is it pen compatible and does the screen flip around for use as a tablet/convertible?

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 12, 2018 at 1:49 pm

      Yes, certain pens are compatible, but the screen doesn't flip to 360 degrees. You can look at the smaller ThinkPad X1 Yoga if a convertible screen is what you want.

  8. Karim

    November 21, 2018 at 11:28 pm

    Hey Andrei, I received this exact model couple days ago and I noticed aswell some electric hissing coming from keyboard area. its not loud but im worried about long-term effect. Should I even bother returning it? Any suggestions on what to do?

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 21, 2018 at 11:33 pm

      It shouldn't get worse long term, so as long as you can live with it, just accept it and move along. There's no guarantee you won't get the same or worse if you ask for a replacement.

  9. Jorge

    November 23, 2018 at 6:06 am

    Since DELL XPS 15 9570 is mentioned, what is your opinion regarding the reported issues with high DPC latency and with the Standby / Modern Standby problems?

    I'm actually considering the X1 to avoid these problems. And also to not have a nose-cam, which is annoying in a professional environment, where Skype calls are common.

    For the X1, I think the absence of a RJ45 port is a bad decision for a professional laptop. It's one more dongle to carry and, maybe, forget somewhere.

    Thanks for X1 the detailed review.

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 23, 2018 at 1:16 pm

      Those have been documented in Doug's article here: https://www.ultrabookreview.com/23071-xps-15-9570-review-follow-up-3-months-later/ . As far as I can tell, the X1 doesn't run into any of those issues, at least the unit I got to use did not.

      Ports are being cut out with these newer thinner devices, and yes, no LAN can be an issue. It's a minor nuisance for me, as I've been using ultraportables without LAN for so long now and never missed it, as even remote hotels have wireless around here these days or I can hotspot my phone if I really have to get online.

    • Suburbazine

      November 23, 2018 at 1:51 pm

      I carry an all in one dongle just because I never know where I'll need VGA, LAN or additional USB ports. Unlikely to be lost due to size, but not so big it can't be comfortably carried in my bag.


      • Andrei Girbea

        November 23, 2018 at 2:01 pm

        That's a solution, yep, but the one you mentioned seems a bit large and from what I'm seeing, gets a lot of 1-star reviews on Amazon. I'd personally prefer something more compact, but there are various options that would cater to most needs.

  10. cagri

    November 25, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    First of all, thanks for the detailed review!
    As a blind person, may I need your help in terms of keyboard difference between 9570 and x1 extreme:
    is the size and shape of arrow keys same? ( wondering the same thing for enter key as well )
    Does 9570 have dedicated home, end etc keys like x1e?
    Lastly, what about the distance between f1-f12 keys? are they really tight in both machines?
    Thanks for your help!

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 25, 2018 at 1:54 pm


      1. The size of the keys is mostly the same, but the keys on the Lenovo are a bit more tactile in my opinion, as they have a lowered bottom part and slight concave key-cap.
      2. HMO, END, PageUp and PageDown are not dedicated keys on the XPS, instead they are secondary functions on the arrows, you need to press FN + one of the arrow for them.
      3. The Fucntion keys at the top are squeezed together on the X1 Extreme, with maybe one mm or two in between. They're a bit more spaced out on the XPS, but not fully spaced

      • cagri

        November 25, 2018 at 2:51 pm

        Thanks for the detailed explanation!
        As a blind person, I use a screen reader and do my all work by using the keyboard so it is really important for me.
        And at last, should I go with xps 9570 or x1 extreme?

      • Andrei Girbea

        November 26, 2018 at 2:10 pm

        That's up to you to decide, both are good laptops with pros and cons. The X1 Extreme is a better overall products imo, but the XPS might be more affordable in some regions, and based on that it might be the better value buy. Up to you to balance the positive/negatives and price and make the decision that best suits your needs

      • cagri

        January 4, 2019 at 2:42 pm

        Hello again,
        I went for the x1 extreme during black friday – cyber monday deals on lenovo website.
        I have one important question: which settings should I use for long battery life? ( windows power settings, and / or lenovo vantage software settings )
        I mean, did you make the battery test by disabling and re-enabling the d-gpu?
        I was having the same issue and just saw your update about this bug.
        I wish you a great year!

      • Andrei Girbea

        January 4, 2019 at 4:55 pm

        I use the Windows Power Settings. Make sure to update to the latest BIOS options, you should get better runtimes than I did back when I tested this.

      • cagri

        January 4, 2019 at 5:27 pm

        I installed all the updates by using the lenovo vantage software. My battery estimated time jumps up and down most of the time. I think the d-gpu issue still continue..

      • Andrei Girbea

        January 4, 2019 at 6:15 pm

        Use HWinfo >> Sensor to monitor CPU/GPU activity and Energy drain (in the battery section). It will show you if the dGPU is active with your daily chores or not.

      • cagri

        January 4, 2019 at 9:28 pm

        I downloaded the hw-info and it says 15.5w under the smart battery..
        my battery settings are set to balanced mode ( better battery ) what may cause such a high power consumption?

      • Andrei Girbea

        January 7, 2019 at 11:52 am

        That's normal for everyday use on Balanced imo.

  11. Didier

    December 1, 2018 at 1:14 pm

    Nice article, I wasn't able to find how much you undervolted the GPU.
    Would you mind given more info (values etc) on you GPU undervolting?
    Thanks a lot!

    • Andrei Girbea

      December 1, 2018 at 1:43 pm

      I haven't messed with the GPU on this one, only undervolted the CPU

  12. cagri

    January 7, 2019 at 1:27 pm

    One important issue is that there is a popping sound when you are using a headphone through the headphone jack. There are ceveral topics which you can find on lenovo forums. Seems like a hardware issue, I can't find any solution even after reading the posts. These kind of issues are really annoying for this kind of premium (?) devices…

    • Cagri

      October 22, 2019 at 12:53 pm

      It has been a long time, I forgot to mention the update about this issue. This was solved after a software update. I don't have this kind of a problem any more since 7-8 months.

  13. cagri

    January 7, 2019 at 10:46 pm

    I have one last question about throteling. Even if I set the power slider to best performance mode, the cpu is significantly throteling on battery. For example, in Cinebench, I can only get about 400 points and fans are not spinning fast. Any suggestions?

    • Andrei Girbea

      January 8, 2019 at 1:05 pm

      Try to disable Intelligent cooling in the Vantage app, preferably switch to High Performance (or something of that sort, can't remember exactly how it's called) and see if that changes anything

      • cagri

        January 11, 2019 at 12:01 pm

        I made that change but it doesn't have any impact I guess, fans still don't come active when I perform a cinebench test. However, when I set the power slider to better battery mode, I could get about 850 points in cinebench. fans even didn't work in this case too.
        I have the latest 1.17 bios version.

      • cagri

        January 11, 2019 at 4:30 pm

        By the way, what is the boot time after pressing the power button to log-in screen for you?

      • Andrei Girbea

        January 11, 2019 at 4:33 pm

        I no longer have the X1 Extreme around, perhaps others can help you with that.

  14. MrMojo

    January 9, 2020 at 11:32 pm

    Got a pre-owned X1EG1 similar to the reviewed version but with a 512Gb SDD at a decent price before the Christmas holiday.
    The included 16Gb RAM chip was from Micron. Bought a 16Gb Crucial RAM chip since it on sale.
    Put in a 2Tb SSD and now have 2/5Tb of space. Combined with the upgraded RAM, it's a fast laptop.
    The one expected drawback was the 4K touchscreen. Currently have resolution scaled down to 200% with 50% brightness and most background apps turned off and power savings battery mode on and it gets ~3-4 hours, maybe close to ~5 hours if I'm lucky but that's to be expected for a power hungry 4k screen.

  15. Harvey Martinez

    September 26, 2021 at 10:38 pm

    Generally what do you think is the best in terms of durability? The Thinkpad X1 Extreme or the Asus Zenbooks?

    • Andrei Girbea

      September 27, 2021 at 11:37 am

      Generally, Thinkpads should be more reliable and better design for hassle, but that might vary on your luck with the particular unit that you end up getting, as there are variations in quality control with all brands. I'd also consider which brand offers the better service and post-sale in your country.

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