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


  1. 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.

  2. 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

      • 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.

  3. 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?


  4. 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.


  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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 :)

  9. 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!

  10. Jes

    September 30, 2020 at 10:51 am

    One more question: when I look in Windows setup of my X1E Gen2 it seems that the maximum resolution measures supported are 1920×1080. If I now look at the QHD measures of BenQ e.g.32inch it says 2560×1440. So it seems that the Notebook does not support the higher resolution. Does it then really make sense to go for QHD? Or will the options in Windows Setup automatically expand to higher resolution once I connect such a monitor?

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