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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Review (Core i7, Nvidia GTX 1650, 500-nit FHD screen)

285 Comments

  1. bittricks

    November 11, 2019 at 11:57 pm

    So here is a screenshot of running Cinebench R15 immediately after wakeup from overnight sleep.

    There is no undervolting and neither Throttlestop or XTU are on the system. This is what happens to PL1 and PL2 AFTER undervolting with either Throttlestop and XTU and doing a clean install of Windows. The TDP is completely unstable as shown in the image. PL1 and PL2 should NEVER change. They should NEVER become dynamic. That either one changes proves there is a major problem with the X1E G2.

    You can see in the image that PL1 dipped below 45 W and PL2 was at 45 W during the first 8 Cinebench R15 runs. On the 9 th run, PL1 and Pl2 jumped back up to their correct values.

    https://imgur.com/a/fNag5Or

    Just look at the Core 0 frequency during all of this ! Eventually, PL1 will plummet all the way down to the 12.5 to 15 W range. I posted images of it when I reported this with the first X1E G2 I received.

    The Cinebench R15 results go from 1040 down to the 900 to 600 range.

    I have been able to replicate this on two separate X1E G2s – both manufactured months apart. So what is happening is not a system-specific issue. Nor is it a user-error as all I did was do a simple 125mV undervolt on the CPU core and cache and a 75mV undervolt on the integrated graphics. Just like I've done hundreds of times.

    After any undervolting on the new X1E G2, the PL1\PL2 settings become dynamic and wreck performance. Plus, the cooling solution can be borked.

    I've replicated it twice at-will on two separate systems. This is proof-positive that there is some systemic issue with the X1E G2. And it is unfortunate that to get something like this diagnosed and fixed by an OEM requires a ton of frustrating effort over a long period of time.

    Caveat Emptor

    • Christoph Jäger

      December 14, 2019 at 4:08 am

      Hi, my own tests showed your described behavior sets in when discharging to ~87%
      and remains until almost fully charged (to ~97.5%)
      Above that the PL1 stays at 45W, and PL2 at 75W.
      I could not find any correlation with specific levels of, or lack of, undervolting.
      Maybe you can reproduce this.

      • bittricks

        December 15, 2019 at 5:38 am

        Hello Christoph,

        I could reproduce it at-will every single time when undervolting on the Lenovo OEM Windows image.

        After I did clean Windows install, it did not happen.

  2. Antonio

    November 14, 2019 at 5:54 pm

    Dear Douglas, quick question on the screen. In general, have 4K screens still the problems in terms of rescaling of the apps in windows that used to have? Thank you.

    • Douglas Black

      November 14, 2019 at 6:36 pm

      That's down to the windows apps I think. It's still an issue if you run a lot of different kinds of software from different eras. What apps are you using mostly?

      • Antonio

        November 14, 2019 at 6:48 pm

        Word, Powerpoint, excel, Matlab, Jupiter notebooks, R, Eviews (econometric package), Bloomberg. Doing financial forecasts: so econometric/statistical models/ charts with daily weekly monthly data.

        On anothe note: I believe that given what I do (mainly CPU intensive tasks, but not really very heavy), processors like Intel Core i7-10710U or i7-1065G7 can perform almost as good as Intel Coffee Lake-H Core i7-9750H CPU. Makes sense? Thks.

        • Douglas Black

          November 14, 2019 at 6:52 pm

          I haven't used that stuff on high DPI displays, but I know that a fair bit of stuff still had issues on 4k displays to the point where I ran my 4k touch display on my XPS 15 at 1080p just to avoid BS — especially when running a 1080p external monitor as well.

          i7-10710U – I believe this runs pretty well for CPU tasks in the short-term, but beyond 30 seconds or so you're going to see far lower performance.

          i7-1065G7 – performance on this one seems just not a big improvement based on the reviews and benches I've seen. It's better at lower wattages and the performance increase with more power seems minimal.

        • Antonio

          November 14, 2019 at 7:03 pm

          Thanks vm.

          on the CPU: makes sense what you wrote. I just tried to run a spreadsheet that computes some montecarlo simulations in a dell xps 15 2019 (FHD with i7) of my colleague and it took 1 minute 28 seconds. In my elitebook x360 1030 G3 with i7 8650U (so 2 generations old i think) it took 1 minute 52 seconds. The difference beyond the 30 seconds / 1 minute starts to be material.

  3. David

    November 14, 2019 at 8:01 pm

    I am struggling to make a decision for a new laptop and looking for advice. I currently have a Surface Book 1 with performance base. It has served me well, but it is definitely at the end of its life. I have gone through some painful periods where the entire system was lagging, including typing in word and gmail, that basically drove me nuts. Because of that experience, I have decided that I really want to go for performance overkill. For work I am generally running large excel files that currently destroy my computer's performance. If I scroll, I have to wait for the data to load, etc – I am not doing any photo or video editing. I would love to be able game, but I would consider that a happy accident and not necessary.

    I have been looking at the Thinkpad Extreme Gen 2 for a few reasons. I love the keyboard – and value the typing experience a lot on any computer. The overkill performance I think should be able to handle my spreadsheets. I am definitely committed to a 15 inch laptop, as the 13.5 inch screen makes spreadsheet productivity on the road very difficult. My concerns are the following: 4k vs. 1080p screen. Currently on a 2k 13.5in display with the Surface book, and am worried about going to a bigger display and doing a downgrade on resolution, but am worried about battery life on the 4k screen. For work, I dock into a topre keyboard and dell ultrawide, and that is how I do 75% of my work. The rest of the time is traveling for work – so I am not sure I need the 4k display and feel like the battery life is more important for those days away from the desk. However, for productivity, the screen real estate is super important to me for the large spreadsheets and multitasking, and I am not sure if the 1080p screen makes sacrifices in that department. I recently went to B&H photo and they had a 4k P1 gen 2 out and a T590 in 1080p, and it was a stark difference to me. I did play with a few of the gaming PCs, and found the responsiveness very attractive. Lastly, I saw a Surface Book 2 15 and the screen was perfect, the the 15 inch 3:2 is very attractive. But given my experience with SB1, I am gun shy about buying dated super expensive Microsoft products.

    I feel like I really want 6 core CPU, no GPU, thinkpad inputs, and a 4k display that can last 6-8 hours in non-gpu related work. Reviews have said 3.5 – 6 hours of battery life, which just feels short and risky for a road trip. The only place I have ever seen this is customizing a P1 Gen2, you can just the integrated graphics there. Will battery life be better? Do you have any idea what I should expect for battery life? What screen option would be best here? Will 4k with no GPU get me 6-8 hours? Is OLED plus no dgpu a good combo?

    Lastly, it looks like the X1E gen 1 had better battery life. Is that a better option in 4k? I am weirdly not finding it to be much cheaper than the gen 2? Is it stupid not consider an XPS 15 for my case? Am I just wrong about 4k? When I looked in person at B&H, the 4k seemed much better than a 1080p screen on T590.

    Any help would be appreciated!

    • Douglas Black

      November 15, 2019 at 8:59 am

      If you want battery life, the G2 should be the same or better than the g1. Unless gaming, the GPU should not be active anyway, basically. That shouldn't factor in to battery life unless the test involves gaming or other software requiring the GPU.

      You won't scrape much over 6 hours with the 80whr battery, 6-core CPU and 4k oled, I'm afraid. Maybe consider an XPS 15 or precision? If you want a 4k screen and decent battery life that is a better bet, though it will come with caveats.

      • Gioby

        November 15, 2019 at 10:38 am

        Do you think that Dell XPS 7590 is too risky to buy due to all the quality issues problems ?
        I'm deciding between Lenovo Thinkpad x1 extreme gen 2 and Dell XPS 15. I can buy the Dell at 1450€ (8gb ram, 512 gb ssd ,i7, full HD) and upgrade it to 32gb or the Lenovo Thinkpad x1 extreme gen 2 at 1977€ with 32gb of ram , 512 ssd , i7, full HD . The 300€ difference is worth it ? Only reason i would buy Dell XPS is battery life. Do you have some benchmarks about the difference in battery life between Dell and Lenovo (both with full HD version ) ? Lenovo is better but I don't know if 300€ more is worth it ( I know that both of them have heating issue ) . Thanks

    • Rainer

      December 3, 2019 at 4:29 pm

      I am a Little late to chime in, but just discovered this comment and had a Surface book myself (first Version maxed out – 16 GB + 1TB SSD). It's still running smoothly, and even the battery lasts 7-8 Hours after 3.5 years (from 8-9 initially, I always let it charge to almost full, then disconnect the power until it's down to 5% and about to turn off, I think that really helped) – I just need something faster for Video editing right now and had some similar thoughts about size and Resolution, so to answer your Question:
      DEFINITELY SKIP THE 4k Display, get a full HD one. Read the other comments above about 4k… It might be helpfull for a Video or Picture editing where you Need to see every Pixel. Otherwise, IMHO it's Marketing crap that apple started and most people now fall for it and want thoose Displays – in fact, they only cause trouble. You and I had this with the Surface book… For "normal" apps like Excel, we have to set scaling to blow up text. In the end we can't display more text in menues then on a full HD screen without scaling – menus, icons and some other stuff would be too small. In theory excel (Outlook, Word and any other non photo/Video app) could display more stuff on a 4k screen because off more Pixels, BUT it would be way too small. So the apps have to scale it up. In the end, you will see just as much data (or even slightly more) on a full HD screen. But the scaling crap is gone with full HD. And the battery will last longer. And you will save some money / can invest in other parts of the Hardware… see Douglas comment above about setting his 4k Display to FHD because of the scaling… In ended up doing the same on my Surface book this year. I just couldn't stand it any more so I got a P1 FHD. And I am so happy with it, FHD was a great decision. Ont he P1, the FHD screen has 500 nits + HDR and is just awesome. Lost some Hours because I couldn'T stop watching movie trailers….

      For Performance in Excel: Make sure to get enough RAM. I remember in 2015 I had a very complex Excel file from a client, that only two of their Excel specialists and I could open – because I already had 16 GB of RAM back then. So you might want to go for 16 or 24 GB of RAM AND install the 64 bit Version of Excel (if you don't need any 32 bit macros / add ins).

      And you might want to have a look at the P53s (almost same size as X1 extreme / P1, but with a seperate number pad included, screen has only 250 nits which should be perfect indoors) or maybe T590 with one of the better FHD Options (there are several FHD screens to choose from) if you don't need a GPU (although if you get it included for a great Price as with the 53s, it won't hurt to have one :-) ).

    • Singh

      May 7, 2020 at 2:05 pm

      I believe the P1 is available without GPU.

  4. Jorge

    November 17, 2019 at 4:35 am

    Hi to all! My name is Jorge and I live in Santiago, Chile. Sorry my english!

    By the way, we are having since a month ago in our country a political and social crisis with the same public disorders and street violence like HK. This world is apparently changing and people are empowering themselves because they are tired of political corruption and inequaty, but at a very high cost for the peace of the common citizen. Some doesn't respect democratic rules and violence is the only solution for them.

    Back to our topic, a couple of days ago Lenovo Chile released the Gen 2 here. But, sadly, we have only ONE ready configuration to buy. No more options:

    – Intel Core i7 9750
    – 32 GB RAM
    – NVMe 1 TB
    – 3 year on-site warranty
    – Most important, only choice: 15.6" UHD (3840×2160), HDR, IPS, anti-glare, LED backlight, 16:9, 500 nits, with Dolby Vision

    The launch price is US$ 2.150. You can add a damage insurance for app USD$ 80.

    I think this display doesn't sell in other markets. What do you think? I don't care being touchscreen or OLED. I just want the best future-proof display quality possible. I am planning to keep this notebook for at least 3 or even 4 years.

    Thank you and regards.

    • Jorge

      November 17, 2019 at 4:47 am

      By the way, I always try to plug my notebook. I use battery sometimes when I have to go out but only for a couple of hours max., so, short battery life isn't a real problem for me. In fact, I would buy a more portable notebook or even a tablet for this.

      My concern is really display-quality. I want to have the best possible quality! (and I am relief that OLED isn't the only choice because I read comments about problems with a 'mesh' under the screen)

    • Douglas Black

      November 17, 2019 at 4:58 am

      I've been seeing news about Chile. It inspires many in Hong Kong. Congratulations on owning your future!

      Only reason not to get 4k is if you are using multiple displays at different reasons or apps that don't scale well at high DPIs, since you already said battery isn't an issue for you. I think as long as the price isn't prohibitively higher, go for it. Personally though I do like the FHD 500 but I just don't really like resolutions above QHD.

      • Jorge

        November 17, 2019 at 5:53 am

        Thank you very much for your quick response!

        One more question: listed on the Notebook specifications, this is apparently included on the package (I mean, is not optional):

        – X-Rite Pantone factory color calibration

        Do you know what this could be?

        I couldn't find any information about this on other international Lenovo store pages.

        • Douglas Black

          November 17, 2019 at 6:08 am

          That's just for the panel itself if it's the 4k one. I think they are calibrated for better colour accuracy to some degree, but whether it's good enough to be 100% accurate is very doubtful. Notebookcheck uploads their calibrated profiles to their laptop reviews so you could try those if you don't want to buy a Spyder or pre-calibrated screen

  5. David

    November 17, 2019 at 6:50 am

    Hi Douglas,

    Thanks for the great review! I am a Thinkpad and Latitude fan, but treasure the excellent Thinkpad keyboard and LACK of number pad, which I find useless anyways. The various XPS 15 models often don't have discrete PGUP, PGDN, HOME and END keys which drives me bonkers, as I actually type a lot on my laptop.

    Also, I'm with you on the screen resolution – 1920×1080 works great for most things, and saves battery life. I'm super excited about the 500nits display on this new Gen 2, as I use my laptop outside (or TRY to) and you really need the brightest possible display for that. Sounds like this one is pretty good.

    Again, thanks for the good review! Lenovo should pay you for these!

    • Douglas Black

      November 17, 2019 at 7:04 am

      Thank you for reading! If it's a good product, it's a good product! If I asked for money for a good X1E G2 review, I'm afraid what they'd do to us for our recent P53 review… D:

  6. bittricks

    November 17, 2019 at 10:13 am

    I've had my replacement X1E G2 for about two weeks. At first the CPU core temps were +/- 5 to 6 C under benchmark loads, but now look at how the core temp differences have progressed over a two week period of benchmarking:

    https://imgur.com/a/CzbKjza

    The above images are from consecutive Cinebench R15 runs. I've seen as much as a 20 C temp difference between core 4 and cores 1, 3 and 5. Actually, cores 1, 3 and 5 are consistently much higher on average than cores 0, 2 and 4.

    • Douglas Black

      November 17, 2019 at 3:24 pm

      Your heatsink may be warped or it was not screwed-in in the right order or maybe tight enough. Make sure you keep pressure on the plate while tightening the screws and tighten them evenly like lug nuts on a tire, see if that helps

  7. Gioby

    November 20, 2019 at 12:05 am

    Do you think that Dell XPS 7590 is too risky to buy due to all the quality issues problems ?
    I'm deciding between Lenovo Thinkpad x1 extreme gen 2 and Dell XPS 15. I can buy the Dell at 1450€ (8gb ram, 512 gb ssd ,i7, full HD) and upgrade it to 32gb or the Lenovo Thinkpad x1 extreme gen 2 at 1977€ with 32gb of ram , 512 ssd , i7, full HD . The 300€ difference is worth it ? Only reason i would buy Dell XPS is battery life. Do you have some benchmarks about the difference in battery life between Dell and Lenovo (both with full HD version ) ? Lenovo is better but I don't know if 300€ more is worth it ( I know that both of them have heating issue ) . Thanks

    • Douglas Black

      November 20, 2019 at 12:16 am

      If you avoid the oled panel in both I think you shouldn't have anything show stopping in either laptop at this point.

      With the fhd display in the XPS I believe you can check out the 9570 review I did last year on this site, and then add just a little bit more efficiency. I would guess 11 hours is realistic with fhd XPS 97 whr (no wear) and 8 hours for the x1e.

      I'm actually in the process of selling my x1e and buying an XPS 15 for my own ethical reasons

      • Cip

        November 20, 2019 at 12:24 am

        Can you elaborate the ethical part? :)

        • Douglas Black

          November 20, 2019 at 12:29 am

          I have my own reservations about supporting Chinese companies given the inexorable connections they are required to have with the Chinese state and Communist party. These are my personal views only and not those of UBR, nor does it mean you should not buy a Lenovo if it's the best laptop for you.

          ZTE and Huawei, on the other hand, I would put on a "never" list, regardless.

        • Zhong Guo Wan Sui

          March 19, 2020 at 12:21 am

          Then you should not use any phone carriers and certainly not any phone. I liked your review but can't agree on your political view. As for Chinese, we put economy before everythin but certainly after justice. You and many other western citizens are still brain washed by news about China Only produced for western citizens.If you have ever live in China more than 5 years you would know we have the best government around the world.

          As for example, many poor people like my grandpa was supported by the government to have a place to farm and to thrive.

          By the way, Hong Kong is part of our country, the riot is for a bill to ship criminals to mainland China. Would you agree that someone commit a crime in Los Angels and fled to New York not to be judged? You probably would not.

          The world is quickly changing. If you can't open you mind and be critical, you would find yourself as a useless follower rather than a leader for anything.

          Critically, A really nice review beside political.

        • Douglas Black

          March 19, 2020 at 12:39 am

          Dear Zhong Guo Wan Sui,

          Firstly, I very much appreciate you taking the time to articulate your views to me rather than flaming. I think there is a bit of misunderstanding between us in terms of what my views are, so I'd like to take the time to explain my thinking with you, and you can check my conclusions. Firstly though, I humbly ask that you read this: https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/academic_writing/logic_in_argumentative_writing/fallacies.html

          Then, I look forward to having an open discussion!

          I would like to just offer a few points while I await your reply:
          0. "China" and the Chinese Communist Party are *separate*. This is crucial. The CCP does not represent China, and when I talk about "China", I am referring not to the ethnic Chinese diaspora, but instead, the modern creation of the communist party that is called the PRC.

          1. I lived in China for 10 years. I am clear that Hong Kong is considered part of China. But this is irrelevant, because whether something is *legal* does not make it right!

          What is right and what is wrong are known to us already. You feel what is right in your gut.

          2. I accept that the communist party has helped many people. I accept that your grandfather was helped by them (and I'm very glad!).
          3. Understand that the communist party is made of people. People can be good, bad, or any mixture. There are good, bad, and confused people within the communist party. However, I submit that the communist party has not helped people because it wants to help them, but because it wants to control them. It will only help the people to the minimum extent needed to control them.

          4. What I submit is bad, is the ideology of the communist party. It is illogical, based on wrong assumptions. This is the root of conflict. The people at the top are not thinking logically, they are instead referring to dogma, like a religion. The world can not be forever described by what was written by man in a book. PeoMeaning, when something is proven not to work, an ideologue will not be able to compute that their decision was an error. Because, how could it be an error if what is written is presumed correct? This is the fundamental problem.

          I hope that helps clear some things up.

          Best,
          Douglas

      • Gioby

        November 20, 2019 at 5:14 pm

        thank you! At the moment on Lenovo website there are some discounts. Thinkpad x1 extreme gen2 at 1760euro with 8 gb of ram.

        I understand your ethical reason. Only people who life there can really understand the situation

      • bittricks

        November 23, 2019 at 3:23 am

        It is a well-known fact that most any Chinese digital part or equipment supplier can be compelled by the Chinese government to insert surveillance capabilities into either software or hardware during the development or manufacture process.

        All Chinese companies are required by law to cooperate with the government as the government sees fit.

        Lenovo has been blasted before due to BlowFish (Man in the Middle) and evidence of surveillance embeds.

  8. KT

    November 21, 2019 at 5:52 am

    Any thoughts on the MSI Prestige 15 as an alternative? Thinking in terms of better battery life and lower weight. Thanks!

    • Douglas Black

      November 22, 2019 at 11:21 pm

      If you want a light 15" notebook first and foremost, I think it's a good option. In terms of power, though, it's not going to match with the X1E. The CPU just can't quite feed the GPU consistently and enough compared to coffee lake in the XPS 15 or X1E. Build quality is also not very nice with MSI; they always feel flimsy to me. No easy repairs on-site like Dell or Lenovo, either. The main thing is that it's lighter and cheaper.

  9. Jorge

    November 23, 2019 at 5:26 am

    Well, finally I ordered it! Core i7, 32 GB, 1 TB, 4K UHD HDR IPS Anti-glare 500 nits, Windows 10 Pro, Pantone calibrated.

    Cost me around 2,250.

    Only choice in Chile. Not XPS 15 here.

  10. cagri

    November 26, 2019 at 4:26 pm

    Hi Dug,
    Thank you for the detailed review!
    I have several questions:
    1) did you install win 10 from microsoft website or did you order the lenovo recovery ( factory image )

    2) Did you install all of the drivers from Lenovo product website manually?
    Thanks!

    • Douglas Black

      November 26, 2019 at 4:59 pm

      I never use recovery images :). Drivers from Lenovo

      • cagri

        November 26, 2019 at 5:13 pm

        So after installing win 10 from microsoft, do you still install and use lenovo vantage?

        And after installing the drivers, do you use GFE to update the nvidia drivers or do you wait for lenovo to put the latest graphics driver to their website?
        Thanks again :)

        • Douglas Black

          November 26, 2019 at 5:17 pm

          I don't let gfe anywhere near my computer. Download from Nvidia. Use vantage because I have no other way of setting battery charge threshold

        • cagri

          November 26, 2019 at 5:53 pm

          I read issues about installing the drivers from nvidia. Some users wrote that when they are trying to install the driver, it says this driver is not compatible with this device etc. So, do you download the dch drivers from intel and nvidia?
          Because on the other hand, people say download and install the driver that you find on your laptop's manufacturer website. That's why my mind is a bit complicated about this..
          Thanks again!

  11. cagri

    November 26, 2019 at 6:00 pm

    Hi again,

    I read issues about installing the drivers from nvidia. Some users wrote that when they are trying to install the driver, it says this driver is not compatible with this device etc. So, do you download the dch drivers from intel and nvidia?
    Because on the other hand, people say download and install the driver that you find on your laptop's manufacturer website. That's why my mind is a bit complicated about this.. I hope you can give a little explanation regarding to that.
    Thanks again!

  12. Simon Jordan

    November 27, 2019 at 8:29 pm

    Hello Douglas,

    thank you for your detailed reviews.
    I was wondering if you have any information on the srgb and argb coverage for the FHD Version of the 2019 Lenovo Extreme? Would be nice to know.

    Cheers and keep it up!

  13. bittricks

    November 28, 2019 at 12:04 am

    The X1E G2 build quality is good, but I'm just not digging the funky polymer paint overlay on the magnesium frame. It feels like plastic and it sounds like plastic. My guess is that the lid is carbon fiber with the awful polymer applied to it. The main frame is magnesium alloy and the underside panel is aluminum allow.

    Despite what some people are calling it, it isn't a true carbon fiber. The XPS 15 has true carbon fiber as its palm deck. There is no comparison between the two.

    Plus, the Lenovo finish is easily scratched\marred. It isn't a really robust finish. Definitely not like the XPS 15 which is built like a tank. Lenovo chose this polymer-over-underlay system for the lightest possible weight.

    Like Doug mentioned somewhere, you kinda worry that you might scratch it with your fingernail. I will tell you this… a careless graze with a sharp metal object like a mechanical pencil tip or pen is gonna leave a mark. Most likely a permanent one.

  14. bittricks

    November 29, 2019 at 4:51 am

    Today is Black Friday in the U.S. On the Lenovo U.S. website, they raised the prices by 30 % yesterday only to drop them today. The baseline i5 model was priced at $1450 or so a few days ago, then the next day it went to $1800 or so, and today it is down to $1350 or so.

    Just to give you an idea of how much profit OEMs have built-into their product, I got an X1E G2 direct from Lenovo, brand-new, 50% off the price of the custom-build wizard price of $2077.

    If you use the customize option, Lenovo immediately adds-on a $400+ customization fee. Then it charges huge premiums for very easy upgrades such as more RAM and an additional drives.

    What I got into the laptop is basically $1225. To purchase the identical system from Lenovo at its current holiday pricing would cost $2100. Yesterday, the same system was $2500.

    If you ask me, the X1E G2 is, at worst, overpriced. At best, it just isn't a good value. The fully-featured version at $3,000 at holiday prices is just absurd.

    The trend for laptops like the X1E G2 and XPS 15 are just crazy. The value is inversely proportional to the number of CPU cores for a given power level (modified desktop CPUs) thrown into the unit due to the thermal constraints.

    Sorry for the rant, but I just hate seeing people spend large amounts of money and really not getting their money's-worth. I know because I've been there and done the same thing a number of times. Just had to have the techno-wonder-gizmo, forked-over a big greasy wad of cash… only to be dissatisfied and disgruntled over time with my choice.

    Just an end note, high price does not equate to better user experience and satisfaction. My best user experience and satisfaction was with a $750 Toshiba laptop. I really do regret that I didn't buy a second one.

    • Douglas Black

      November 29, 2019 at 5:03 am

      I'm with you 100% there. Lenovo definitely does some shady stuff with their pricing, indeed. I enjoy my XPS 15 7590 right now, but my favourite user experience is my X330 for sure. Just a few hundred dollars laptop from 6 years ago with some modifications for the screen. It's a joy to use from the user experience perspective.

  15. Renato Datoc

    November 30, 2019 at 7:58 pm

    Nǐ hǎo nǐ hǎo ma, Doug

    Just wanted to get some practice in ;-) as my granddaughter is probably going to end up bilingual, as she'll have to speak to her Taiwanese grandparents.

    Been a while. I drank the Kool-Aid, so now I'm running Ubuntu 19.10 on the XPS 15. It's been an adventure as I planned doing a double boot (Windows/Linux) which kind of morphed into a soon-to-be multi-boot setup, as I couldn't settle on which distribution to load. Dithering between easy to use (Pop OS), cutting edge (Arch/Manjaro), "official" (Ubuntu) and low-resource (Cinnamon/Mint) so I thought, what the heck, let's load them all ;-).

    So Ubuntu 19.10 to start with. How's Pop OS! working for you?

    • Douglas Black

      November 30, 2019 at 10:03 pm

      你好,謝謝為你的信息 :)

      I actually have been running Manjaro on my XPS 15 and loving it. It works really well (better than POP! on my X1E) and the battery life is something like 9 hours after tweaking with TPL et al. I really like XFCE as a DM over Gnome, I think!

  16. bittricks

    December 1, 2019 at 7:12 am

    Well, just when I got to the point where I was OK with the issues with my 2nd replacement X1E G2, tonight I attempted to install a second Lenovo OEM SSD – and guess what ? – there's a big unremovable gob of epoxy in the slot preventing the SSD from being inserted.

    At this point this one is going back for a refund. It doesn't matter that Lenovo gave me 50 % discount because of all the problems. I have so much time tied up in resolving X1E G2 QA\QC problems that now it is just one huge distraction. The thing is supposed to be a tool, but the whole experience has turned out to be nothing but a litany of problems and a whole lot of dissatisfaction. I've spent very little time actually using the thing because of most of the past two months have been spent filing RMAs and then shipping back-and-forth.

    Sorry, but my experience with the X1E G2 has been a bad one. And I refuse to pay an extra few hundred dollars for on-site support\repairs when I know all too well Lenovo will subcontract with someone who will show up, they won't know what they're doing, and as a result do a hack job.

    I have Lenovo OEM 16 GB RAM and 512 GB SSD if anyone is interested. I am going to sell at my cost. So huge savings over Lenovo's absurd mark-ups.

    • Douglas Black

      December 1, 2019 at 7:17 am

      I understand the lengthy struggle. But, expoxy? Seriously? I believe you, but could you put up a picture of that? Lenovo would like to know.

  17. bittricks

    December 1, 2019 at 9:26 am

    Photo from under the stereoscope.

    https://imgur.com/a/PcLoECF

    We took pictures before we even tried to pick and scrape it away.

    And, yes. We tried getting it off. But I didn't feel like risking scratching and picking too hard on it then something goes awry, something gets damaged, and then I'm stuck with the thing.

    Looking at it again, it might even be solder. But the technician said it is epoxy. There is an open area at the back of the plastic housing of the PCIe port, that he pointed to and said "during manufacture they put too much epoxy on back here, some flowed through this opening and then you have this big glob. Return it."

  18. Jorge

    December 1, 2019 at 9:39 pm

    Hi

    I have the Lenovo X1E Gen 2 since friday.

    Unfortunately, I am having problems too, but all are at a Software level I think and could be repaired with updates. All are documented in the Lenovo forums and other users are having it too.

    – Keystrokes missing (it's not all the time, it's annoying but I can live with this until Lenovo fix this)
    https://forums.lenovo.com/t5/ThinkPad-X-Series-Laptops/X1-Extreme-Gen-2-missing-keystrokes/td-p/4569936

    – An annoying and random 0.5 second micro freeze while you are at desktop, that I had on my former Notebook too. I think it's NVIDIA-Intel VGA and their real time switch related (Optimus?). Currently I have an App called TrayPwrD3 that apparently fixes this, but it's not an optimal solution. This does not happen when you have a second screen via HDMI connected.
    https://forums.lenovo.com/t5/ThinkPad-X-Series-Laptops/X1E-Gen-2-0-5-sec-freeze-problem/td-p/4587960

    – Slow operation when you are at 'Second display only' mode. Workaround: work with extended desktop (and also resolves the last problem xD)
    https://forums.lenovo.com/t5/ThinkPad-X-Series-Laptops/X1-extreme-screen-lag-on-quot-second-screen-only-quot/td-p/4475674

    – And the battery life, that it's not good, but it's normal for me considering a 4K display
    https://forums.lenovo.com/t5/ThinkPad-X-Series-Laptops/X1-Extreme-Gen2-Battery-life-is-ridicolous-Please-share-yours/td-p/4588130

    Funny thing is that even with this problems this Notebook is less annoying that my old Asus ZenBook Pro. So I will wait for updates. I have faith in all this will be resolved. This is a high-end machine and Lenovo should fix all.

    I hope…

    • Douglas Black

      December 2, 2019 at 9:37 pm

      That bug with external displays is really annoying. You need to disable/reenable the intel GPU every time!

      • Jorge

        December 2, 2019 at 9:54 pm

        Fortunately, an updated driver just released appears to resolve this issue. Many users have confirmed this.

        We are waiting for the fix for the missing keystrokes issue. It is starting to bother me.

  19. Robert

    December 4, 2019 at 10:57 pm

    Thank you for this great review. One quick question. At the end you stated that "there’s no reason to go with a CPU more powerful than an i7-9750H in a chassis this thin." Right now, one of the best deals on this X1 extreme comes pre-built with the i7-9850. Basically, I can get that CPU for the same price as the i7-9750. Is there any reason to NOT get the 9850? Anything related to thermals, fan noise, etc.? If so, I'll just build one on the Lenovo site with the i7-9750. I think you'll say that the two chips are so close in specs that there won't be any difference, but on a machine this expensive I wanted to ask. I plan on keeping this laptop for more than 3 years. Thanks a ton.

    • Douglas Black

      December 4, 2019 at 11:04 pm

      I had a P1 with an 8850H, and it was fine. It will have very similar performance to the 9750, so just go for it. But don't expect it to keep those higher turbos!

    • bittricks

      December 4, 2019 at 11:15 pm

      Higher Intel model does not always translate into higher performance.

      The i7 9750 does not perform any better than the i7 8750. And the 9850 could performs less than the 9750 in the Lenovo's chassis. This is what Notebookcheck has determined in several instances. But, like a 2 or 3 % difference is meaningless unless you were doing intensive computing full-time over a long period of time – such as cryptomining where a 3 % difference would make a difference. Looking at the Notebookcheck results, the differences between the 9750 and 9850 come out as a "wash" where there are certain instances where the 9750 has a slight edge while there are other cases where the 9850 is the leader. The differences are statistically meaningless just by looking at the very small differences.

      That being said, if you do a custom build using Lenovo's website, they will immediately add a $400 customization fee to the price. I went with the pre-built option to save as much money as possible as there was no real advantage to a custom system costing $400 more.

      • Robert

        December 5, 2019 at 3:07 am

        Thanks. The custom build with the i7-9750 is about the same price as the pre-built option with the i7-9850. Additionally, the pre-built will arrive sooner. For these reasons, I was leaning toward the pre-built. Even the i7-9750 is likely overkill for my needs. So I don't need extra power, and for that reason, I wanted to make sure that I wasn't unknowingly making a mistake if I went with the i7-9850 given things like heat, fan noise, or anything else. Sounds like there should be no practical difference in the machine whether equipped with the 9750 or 9850 CPU, correct?

        • Douglas Black

          December 5, 2019 at 3:28 am

          Yeah, essentially no difference

        • bittricks

          December 5, 2019 at 10:34 am

          Before you commit to a purchase, you should research Lenovo's TicketsatWork.

          https://www.reddit.com/r/thinkpad/comments/dk1mi3/why_is_x1_extreme_gen_2_so_much_more_expensive/

          https://www.reddit.com/r/Lenovo/comments/ctanxd/is_tickets_at_work_legit/

          https://www.lenovo.com/us/en/ticketsatwork/gatekeeper/showpage?toggle=PasscodeGatekeeper

          Just a FYI… if Lenovo messes up badly, then if you complain skillfully you can get them to "comp" you with a 30, 40 or 50 % discount. You have to complain until they just want you to go away. And they'll give you an offer you can' refuse.

        • Robert

          December 5, 2019 at 7:37 pm

          Doug, despite the X1 extreme seems like a great machine but, admittedly, i share your ethical concerns about supporting Lenovo. I also wonder about the possible personal security risks of using a Lenovo machine. Like many, it's come down to X1 vs XPS 15" for me. I love the build quality and keyboard on Thinkpads and was scared away from the XPS based on what I've read about bugginess, general reliability, etc. of the Dell. Are you completely satisfied with the XPS as your daily machine? Any other advice on weighing the X1 vs XPS? Thank you.

        • Douglas Black

          December 5, 2019 at 7:54 pm

          I'll tell you what makes me happy about the XPS 15 every time I use it: the 4K UHD screen (that I run at 1080p due to software scaling, lol), the performance, the appearance, and the battery life.

          If it helps vs. the X1E… the keyboard in the X1E *feels* better to type on, but you need to type slower because of a key detection bug with the KB firmware. It just can't poll fast enough in certain key combinations to get all the keystrokes, so you need to keep it to 80 WPM or so. The XPS doesn't have that issue, at least. XPS 15 also plays much better with docks and eGPUs, though it lacks the second TB3 port.

          On the X1E, having that second SSD slot is nice — but I've found that 2TB works just fine for me, actually.

  20. Robert

    December 5, 2019 at 8:29 pm

    Got it. I was going to get the X1 with 1080p display to avoid tiny fonts and scaling issues. This is primarily a work machine not a machine for consuming media. I use an iPad for that. Since you're running the XPS at 1080p, is there any reason, based on your experience with the machine, for me to even order the XPS with 4k?

    • Douglas Black

      December 5, 2019 at 8:43 pm

      I love the option to use touch. It's also one of the nicest screens you'll still ever see in a laptop. It really does make you go "wow" every time you use it. If you are not a "toucher" and have no plans to be, though, the matte will save you money, weight, and battery life

      • Robert

        December 5, 2019 at 10:51 pm

        At least back in the old days, decreasing the resolution below the native resolution led to blurry icons and text. I'm assuming you don't experience any of that running the 4k display at 1080? Taking the ethical issues out of the equation, is the XPS 15 as good as the X1 Extreme?

        • Douglas Black

          December 5, 2019 at 11:04 pm

          Performance wise, with UV and repasting, it's better than the x1e. The only part that reminds you that you aren't using a thinkpad is the lack of trackpoint and the feel of the keys. I'm happy with it and I don't feel bad about the switch

        • bittricks

          December 6, 2019 at 1:12 pm

          I actually like the Dell XPS 15 keyboard (as well as the Razer).

          If I could change one single thing about the XPS, then it would be to put the X1E's touchpad into the XPS 15. The touchpad in the XPS 15 physically isn't bad. However, the precision drivers that Dell made using the Microsoft guidelines are prone to a lot of unwanted behaviors. For example, it will translate a 2 finger swipe as a 3 finger swipe. So the workaround solution that I've used is just to disable all the touchpad gestures on my XPS 15. Yet, despite this workaround, some over-sensitivity\incorrect interpretation by the precision touchpad drivers are still an annoyance.

          The thing I like about the XPS 15 is that the thermals are great and the thing is build like a tank.

          Going forward I'm just wondering how much more the thermal solutions in units like the XPS 15 and X1E can handle given the new i9s and their heat output. It looks to me like the i9 is the point of diminishing returns for a thin laptop's cooling capacity. For every extra dollar $ spent on an i9 there is a greater reduction in overall CPU capacity due to the thermal constraints.

          Now someone is going to come along and say that is hog-wash. Why ? Because Intel has been getting better performance over time for a give thermal output (power level consumption). While that is true, the real benefit (and value) of that improvement is only found in desktop units. And why is that ? Because, except in the case of large laptops with robust cooling solutions (such as Aorus, for example), laptops are not designed to handle CPU heat in a way that will enable the CPU to attain its full capacity.

          The i5s are always a better value because of lower cost and less heat. However, so many people sink thousands of dollars into a laptop that is meant for heavy-load video editing when all they do is surf the internet, watch a movie and some light document editing. A complete waste of money and computing resources… but hey, the OEMs love you for it.

  21. bittricks

    December 11, 2019 at 7:45 pm

    LOL… researchers just discovered an Intel chip undervolting vulnerability that when an attacker undervolts, or has access to an already undervolted system, the Intel Security Extensions are bypassed.

    Already people online saying "switching (back) to AMD or Apple."

    It's ridiculous. People.

    • Douglas Black

      December 11, 2019 at 7:52 pm

      That's quite funny. (still gonna undervolt!)

  22. bittricks

    December 12, 2019 at 1:11 am

    When it comes to most things IT security…

    there is no area that I am aware of where so many people are so misinformed and make decisions that – while well meaning and seemingly common sense – are so wrong or utterly wasted effort because of their technical ignorance.

    • Douglas Black

      December 12, 2019 at 1:17 am

      No kidding. It's no wonder that HIKVision is the world's #1 CCTV manufacturer despite it being common industry knowledge that they are partially or wholly-owned by the Chinese state.

      • bittricks

        December 13, 2019 at 1:57 am

        It wouldn't be beyond the realm of possibility for you and I to start a device OEM concern – and then subcontract with the Chinese government to embed reconnaissance and surveillance software and\or components. And don't think we wouldn't make bank doing so. The Chinese government is hungry for such stuff because it is their policy to hack and grift data and information. It is a central, key tactic that they intend to take full advantage of to advance technologically and industrially. Why fight a war to annex and steal when you can just hack your way to technological dominance and riches ?

        I had a Chinese national girlfriend. Mainland Communist. And she told me that the Chinese expect people to be clever about how they go about doing things. If not, they think you're a dumbass and will treat you accordingly. Well, all the stuff the US does falls into their dumbass classification. The whole blunt, foreward in-your-face approach is barbarian tactics to them. They just shrug it off as uncivilized brute ignorance.

        Google, Apple and others actively support the demands and mandates of the Chinese surveillance state. And why wouldn't they ? No corporation whose sole motive is profit is going to take a moral or ethical high ground position in a market of in-excess of 1 billion potential buyers.

  23. bittricks

    December 21, 2019 at 7:37 pm

    Reports from the field for Linux on the X1E G2 are:

    Fedora 31 KDE – working (a few quirks, but nothing major)
    Ubuntu 19 – not working (system freeze)
    Ubuntu 18 non-OEM – not working (no Wifi driver)
    Kubuntu 19 – not working (system freeze)

    You cannot get your hands on the Lenovo OEM Ubuntu 18.04 LTS image\ISO that Lenovo and Canonical "certify" for the X1E G2. However, like all things Linux there is a caveat – that the image is "certified" for only a very specific build\model as stated in Canonical's hardware certification page.

    Based upon the Canonical documentation, there is no answer as to whether or not a user could "recreate" the Lenovo OEM Ubuntu image using the various OEM packages maintained in the repos. Since it is Linux I wouldn't be surprised if it can be accomplished, but Canoncial and Lenovo aren't going to tell anyone how to do it.

    • John Noonan

      December 21, 2019 at 10:00 pm

      Ubuntu 19.10 works fine so long as you install with the proprietary Nvidia driver. Pop OS 19.10 also runs great.

      • bitricks

        December 22, 2019 at 1:33 am

        Well, you must be doing something different than everyone else. I've read the online guides and every single one of them give directions for installing base Ubuntu first and then downloading and installing the NVidia drivers – which is not possible because the distro freezes immediately upon first boot.

        • John Noonan

          December 22, 2019 at 11:38 pm

          Mine would freeze with the default video drivers, but i was able to be logged in long enough to change them. Have you looked at this: https://medium.com/@remy.hosseinkhan/installing-ubuntu-19-10-on-lenovo-thinkpad-x1-extreme-gen-2-and-p1-gen-2-ba4c9c7c7ed2 ?

          I have successfully installed Ubuntu twice and Pop OS once. Pop OS will install the Nvidia drivers by default, but with Ubuntu you have to install them yourself.

        • bittricks

          December 23, 2019 at 4:34 am

          Thanks John for the point.

          I am able to get both Fedora 31 and System76's PopOS to run without disabling Windows secure boot or without disabling fast startup.

          Ubuntu distros simply freeze immediately after load. Therefore there is no opportunity to download the NVidia driver. However, I did not try the procedure outlined in the linked blog. Not sure if I would even try at this point as PopOS is a quite decent alternative to Ubuntu.

          Obviously there is a way to make a liveUSB of a distro with the NVidia driver as System76 does with their PopOS NVidia option. But damnation I've searched everywhere online for a right proper tutorial on it.

  24. John Noonan

    December 23, 2019 at 6:29 am

    I wonder if a recent update has caused the issue with Ubuntu that you experienced. I installed it in late November. That said, I actually prefer Pop to Ubuntu.

    • bittricks

      December 23, 2019 at 10:08 pm

      I run Windows 10 on one drive and Linux on the other.

      LOL… PopOS crapped the bed after a day or so. However, if I disabled secure boot then it works.

      There is a security trade-off when disabling secure boot. So it is a bit problematic depending upon your point of view. It irks me to no end that in all of System76's guides, nowhere does it mention that secure boot should be disabled. One has to go digging all over the net. And every single one of the replies regarding PopOS support for secure boot is an unofficial one.

      The other thing I dislike about PopOS is that it doesn't really support dual installs of Windows and Linux on different drives. You have to use the F12\Boot Menu every time you want to switch between OSes.

      LOL… Fedora 31 crapped the bed after a day. I have to disable the Nvidia Nouveau driver. Afterwards, Fedora 31 runs fine without any NVidia driver.

      Federa installs Grub2 and this provides the menu to easily switch between Windows and Linux residing on different drives.

      As a side note about NVidia drivers… not installing the NVidia driver should not be the cause of all the reported system freezes out there – as is shown with Fedora 31. As long as their is support for the native Intel graphics there should be no issues with these Linux distros. Afterall, one can remove the NVidia driver on Windows and it does not cause system freezes; it just makes the NVidia graphics unavailable.

      Ubuntu, I won't even try it at this point.

      The problem that has always defined Linux is that it is just isn't user-friendly. After all these years, Fedora not shipping the NVidia drivers instead of the Nouveau garbage, secure boot not supported, and so on and so on. People don't want to spend days, weeks and months getting their OS to run. Microsoft at least figured that out.

  25. bittricks

    January 2, 2020 at 12:12 am

    It is reported that the latest BIOS update triggers the fan at 60C during low-load use such as internet surfing. Because of the light construction, the X1E G2 does transmit more heat to the user than a Dell XPS 15. The Dell has better thermal management all the way around.

    I think Doug got a 6 or 7C overall reduction after a CPU re-paste, followed buy a couple of degrees reduction via undervolt.

    In the case of the Lenovo, I really do think that if you want to get the best out of it, you have to do a re-paste. Doug was spot-on in this regard.

  26. Rokas

    February 5, 2020 at 1:44 pm

    Comment on "8 hours" battery life – most definitely false.

    I have new X1 Gen2 with 4k screen. Battery life is 3-5h with light usage.

    Example, battery dead in 3.5h with: brightness 50percent, wifi on, working in MS Word, Youtube music with Bluetooth headset conected.

    • Rokas

      February 5, 2020 at 3:20 pm

      the above comment is for 4k touch-screen version. Avoid at all costs. 4k touch-screen on 15-inch laptop is a useless addition, down-grade really. Cuts battery life in half, adds nothing of value.

    • bittricks

      February 7, 2020 at 1:56 pm

      I don't get 8 hours of battery life even with the 300 nit display. At best I get 5 hours. And I'm using ThrottleStop with -145mV undervolt.

      There is no way I can get continuous-use 8 hours out of the battery.

      • Douglas Black

        February 7, 2020 at 6:36 pm

        What's your idle wattage as reported by ts? It should be under
        1v

        • bittricks

          February 8, 2020 at 10:41 pm

          On battery, VID goes to around 0.55.

          On 3 separate X1E G2s, I never got close to 8 hours of battery time. I don't know where people are coming up with that amount of battery life, but it isn't possible on a stock system using ThrottleStop.

          3 separate systems. All yield same result of around 5 hours battery life. 8 hours, perhaps it is possible if you disable a bunch of stuff on the system and make other tweaks, but as far as getting full-time use extending to 8 hours – nope, that isn't possible based upon 3 separate systems just using ThrottleStop.

  27. Martin

    February 17, 2020 at 11:50 pm

    Hi there,

    thanks for the review! I'm looking for a laptop to run a DAW and you explicitly mention, that the X1 extreme gen2 is not suitable for this purpose. Can you maybe elaborate more on that? What is the reason for the poor performance? Or has this been improved with updates? If not, can you recommend an alternative solution?

    Cheers

  28. bittricks

    February 20, 2020 at 7:10 pm

    Has anyone used a matte screen protector for any laptop display ?

    The X1E G2 matte display always has streaks in it no matter which cleaning product or micro-fiber products used. The streaks can be seen in all light types – incandescent, fluorescent and sunlight. It is very distracting. The only thing I can think of is to apply a gloss or other screen protector.

    Matte screens suck. They always streak. This is the same problem on my Dell XPS 15, but the Dell isn't anywhere as bad as the X1E.

    Can anyone recommend a screen protector product ? You know how it goes, buy one product and it doesn't work. Buy another product and it doesn't work. The next think you know you have $100 tied-up in various screen protectors.

    Thx

  29. Matt

    February 24, 2020 at 5:13 am

    I've noticed that keyboard ghosting comes into effect when pressing three keys simultaneously. It'll make a beep noise and not recognize the third keystroke. That's an incredibly low amount of keystrokes for a laptop that's supposed to have a really nice keyboard. Is there a way to adjust the anti-ghosting for this laptop? I won't be able to play intense FPS games with this limitation.

  30. Jorge

    February 25, 2020 at 8:23 am

    I have this notebook since mid-november.

    A nightmare. Worst keyboard on the planet. Losing keystrokes due to bad quality keyboard.

    Widespread problem with multiple users complaining Lenovo hasn't recognized yet, and instead deleted a 50+ page thread on their official support forums due to a "forum platform upgrade".

    Paltry battery life, no more than 3 hours. Also, a design problem with the back cover.

    Using the notebook as a desktop computer, connected to an external display, keyboard and mouse and on the AC power: no problem at all. But as a notebook product, it's a complete disaster.

    Last PC notebook I got. Next one will be a MacBook Pro.

  31. bittricks

    March 30, 2020 at 6:57 am

    After using the Gen 2 for nearly 6 months, my overall impression is that overall it is a solid laptop. Yet, what you get is not worth the very high prices that Lenovo charges for it.

    The laptop's trackpad is better than the Dell XPS 15's and the 300 nit screen has almost no backlight bleed whereas Dell XPS 15 matte screens are notorious for backlight bleed.

    The X1 battery life is not great. At 300 nits max screen brightness, using Virtual Box to run linux and perhaps a browser open is going to get about 4 hours battery life. However, battery life is almost a non-issue since I rarely use the laptop in battery mode. In today's world there are outlets everywhere to accommodate laptop users.

    Everybody rants and raves that IBM keyboards are the input gold standard, yet I find feel and error rate of the Gen 2 keyboard essentially identical to the Dell. Where the Gen 2 and XPS 15 really differ are the trackpads. Dell's precision trackpad driver causes annoying imprecision.

    A person can literally save thousands and have a much better user experience by persistently trying out a bunch of different laptop models in store showroom floors.

    Experience has taught me that a key feature is a glossy 1980×1080 display. 4K is so problematic unless you are willing to use only 4K compatible software. The glossy refractive index is so much easier on the eyes than the matte display's washed-out aura, it is easier to maintain it without streaks and haze, and it just looks much better than a matte display. However, the stink of it is that OEMs rarely offer a 1980×1020 glossy option on these "premium" laptop models. That practice is purely motivated by profit… putting in on a 4K glossy display means an additional $150 to $400 in the OEMs pocket.

    I have learned not to listen to online laptop model hype, but instead to settle upon my in-person experience at the store.

    Laptops at the high end have long since reached the point of diminishing consumer value. And I feel this way over a Gen 2 that I only paid $1,000 for with top specifications directly from Lenovo. MSI, Huawei, Razer, and so on are worse. Apple, Microsoft's and Google's "high-end" devices. Oh please. RipOff Report goods. What you pay for and what you actually get is not worth the price – not even at a 50 % discount to prevailing prices. Not for any of these top of the line models.

    We can put men on the moon, but none of the OEMS can do a great job at delivering high quality at a reasonable price. I have only one thing to say… "try harder." And stick the notion that display backlight bleed is an acceptable manufacturing defect up your arses.

    The fact that a lot of people change laptops faster than they change their underwear clearly indicates there are deeply troubled aspects to the laptop market. There has only been a single instance where I bought a laptop and I really liked it and preferred it for years over even all the most expensive models.

    • John

      August 17, 2020 at 9:03 am

      Great review, actually read all of your comments and you convince me to not get X1 Extreme thinkpad. Either going to build custom PC or but an iMac. As laptop was thinking of getting
      https://system76.com/laptops/lemur since it has supposedly 8-12 hours of battery life and is customized in the bios to work better in Linux. I love my Thinkpad T560 is the best laptop I have had in my life, yet Lenovo ruined the T series since they removed Power Bridge and now solders the Ram.
      Now Dell just do a google search….. about how awful it is. Not only quality of their products but terrible customer support. I did search and got 200,000+ while lenovo got 1000+.
      Reality is that I don't need dedicated GPU and need good battery.
      Yet X1 truly disappoint me when it came to battery life.

  32. Fil

    June 9, 2020 at 11:59 am

    Does anyone now, if a refresh of the x1 extreme with Intels 10th Generation or even AMD Ryzen is coming up?

    • Andrei Girbea

      June 9, 2020 at 12:40 pm

      An AMD Ryzen update is highly unlikely, but an Intel update should happen in the next months. Questions is, do you need 10th gen hardware? 8Core i7 options would struggle in this thinner format, as they require a low of power and cooling, and 6Core i7s aren't much of an upgrade gen over gen.

      • Fil

        June 9, 2020 at 1:48 pm

        Thanks Andrei, that is a good point. I was thinking next Gen because of higher thermal efficiency, but that may be not to relevant

      • bittricks

        June 9, 2020 at 9:04 pm

        Thermally the Thinkpad X1 cooling solution can realistically and honestly be rated as "adequate." Now that is with whatever processor you choose.

        If you just got to have the latest generation Intel processors, then the Dell XPS 15 has a better cooling solution.

        However, I find that consumers waste a huge amount of money buying top-of-the-line processors, high RAM, huge drives, graphics, 4K screens and other features that they just don't need. The main culprits that literally add hundreds of dollars to the cost of a laptop are first the graphics card followed by CPU and 4K screen. The typical person needlessly overpays by $400 to $1000 for stuff that is wasted – because either they never utilize the feature or because all of it does not meaningfully increase their productivity or provide for a better user experience.

        The vast majority of consumers are bedazzled by the latest specifications and induced to chase and pay for so much that they really don't need. It is a marketing scam that the OEMs count upon to maximize profits.

        I work in IT using heavy VMs and even I don't need the high-cost latest and greatest on a laptop to work productively. Last year's model with a 45W i7 is the best overall value, however an i5 at the right price can be a great value.

        The thing that works against people to rip themselves off is their buying psychology. People scam themselves. The OEMs depend upon it year after year.

        • Andrei Girbea

          June 9, 2020 at 9:41 pm

          true, but the 8Core 10th gen i7/i9 require a lot of power to run at full potential in sustained loads, somewhere close to 100W, and that's impossible on this sort of a laptop. It's impossible on most laptops.

        • bittricks

          June 9, 2020 at 11:27 pm

          "8Core 10th gen i7/i9 require a lot of power to run at full potential in sustained loads, somewhere close to 100W"

          Wow. Honestly I did not check the 10th gen i7/i9 power consumption specifications. Wow. Just wow. 100W is a laptop and lap burner even on a Dell XPS 15. Good grief. What are the OEMs thinking when they create such a firestarter ?

          For 100W heat output you need a workstation such as Gigabyte\Aorus or MSI with huge cooling capacity (for a laptop)… and even then I'm certain that the laptop models with the best cooling solutions might not be enough.

        • Andrei Girbea

          June 10, 2020 at 11:19 am

          That would be for the max potential. The i9 runs stably at 80+W and 3.6+ GHz in the full-size ROG Scar 15 chassis that we've tested, but this CPU can theoretically run at sustained 4.3 GHz, and you'd need at least 100W for that.

          The 8Core i7 runs at up to sustained 70W in multiple chassis that we've tested, and that also puts it at 80-85% of its potential.

          Again, we're taking sustained performance in Cinebench, Blender, video editing, etc. They peak at 100+W for shorter bursts in all implementations.

          Now, I haven't tested the new XPS 15, but I'd reckon these processors won't even run at that sort of power in the X1 or the XPS. Sure, even in this case the 8Core i7 would perform better than the 6Core options in multi-threaded tests and real-life use, but it's hard to tell how much better and whether that's worth the price premium, especially in this sort of thinner chassis.

          Finally, OEMs are working with what Intel provides: a power-hungry 14nm++++++ architecture. Imo, we, "the reviewers", just need to explain these aspects so buyers are aware of the technicalities and what to expect.

        • bittricks

          June 10, 2020 at 6:23 pm

          I know from going to shows that the OEMs deliberately configure systems for maximum gross margin. So that means a discrete graphics card, a 4K panel, and so on. Now if you get an OEM rep that is honest, they will tell you the vast majority of consumers (and even businesses) do not need all the features and top of the line components that the OEM cobbles together for maximum profit. It isn't just a matter of OEMs working with what Intel offers.

          OEMs can easily produce systems with integrated graphics, CPUs that are best choices for thin laptops, 1920×1080 resolution screens instead of 4K, and so on. I have had OEM reps admit those facts. The OEMs don't do it because such systems are lower gross margin systems. It doesn't matter about meeting consumers' needs versus perceived\chasing specs needs.

        • Andrei Girbea

          June 10, 2020 at 6:33 pm

          yeah, well, they're in the business of making money :)

  33. Jens

    September 23, 2020 at 10:24 pm

    I want to buy a new external display (ultrawide) for my X1E Gen. 2. Are there any specs that I need to watch out for in terms of ideal fit? High refresh rate?

    • Douglas Black

      September 23, 2020 at 10:47 pm

      Remember that it will need to keep the dGPU active. You have any preference between TB3/USB-C and HDMI?

      • Jens

        September 24, 2020 at 9:58 am

        No preference at all. I wanthe best display for my eyes and a wide displays to display several programs / files at the same time on the screen. I mosty do office stuff, pictures, videos (no games). Any recommendations?

        • Douglas Black

          September 24, 2020 at 4:03 pm

          Look for something with somewhere between FHD and UHD, likely QHD/QHD+. You'll want near 100% adobe RGB. This one looks like it might be up your alley: https://amzn.to/3kOrV3T

        • Jens

          September 24, 2020 at 4:29 pm

          Thanks, Douglas.

        • Douglas Black

          September 24, 2020 at 4:51 pm

          You're welcome!

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