Last on my list for the year is the Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Extreme.
Like the X1 Carbon, I was very excited to get my hands on it and see how well it performs. Mainly because of how much I liked the X1 Carbon and that this is basically a slightly larger version with a faster processor, a dedicated GPU, and improved cooling.
I’ve been messing with this machine for the better part of a month now, and I can say without a doubt that I like what Lenovo is offering here. It’s a little on the expensive side, as most Thinkpads are. But for the most part, the value is there and I could certainly see myself using this on a day-to-day basis.
There are a couple of things I wish Lenovo would have paid attention to though, to give this laptop a little more polish. They are minor and some are software-related, so perhaps they can still fix some of them. Regardless, I still give it a thumbs up on my behalf.
Let’s dig into the details.
Specs as reviewed – Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme gen 4
Thinkpad X1 Extreme Gen 4
Screen 16 inch, 2560 x 1600 px, IPS, 60 Hz, matte
Processor Intel i7-11800H CPU, octa-core 2.3 GHz (4.6 GHz boost)
Video NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 with 6GB GDDR6 VRAM up to 90W TGP
3050Ti to 3080 options available
Memory 16 GB DDR4-3200
Storage 1x 512GB M.2 NVMe (Kioxia), second empty M.2 bay
Connectivity Intel Wifi 6 AX210 with Bluetooth 5.2
Ports 2x USB-A 3.2 gen1(one always on), 2x USB-C 3.2 Thunderbolt 4 (with PD 3.0 charging support), HDMI 2.1, mic/earphone
Battery 90 Wh, 170 W charger
Size 359.5 mm or 14.13” (w) x 253.8 mm or 9.99” (d) x 17.7 mm or .70” (h)
Weight 1.81 kg (4.0 lbs) as weighed
Extras backlit keyboard, FHD webcam with shutter, stereo speakers, SD card reader
Design and construction
When I first picked the device up, I was like, Wow this thing is light. It’s not as light as some of the pure ultrabooks out there, but considering it has a GPU and a 16” screen, I’m very impressed right out of the box.
Not only does the weight impress, but the durability as well. This thing is solid! The lid is made of a carbon fiber plastic, while the rest of the body is made of aluminum and magnesium alloys. All have a soft-touch coating to make them feel consistent with each other.
And it works too. Without reading the press info I was sent, I would have had a tough time distinguishing the materials. On top of that, everything feels high quality, especially when handling the laptop while open. I didn’t detect any chassis flex in the lid, palm rest, or keyboard.
Being only .7” thick and exactly 4 pounds, I don’t have any complaints about the handling aspect of this machine. It’s a symmetric design and there’s enough of an angle on every side to pick it up easily off the table, no matter where from. Even picking it up with a few fingers on the corner while open felt very easy to do.
As I already mentioned, the lid is carbon fiber plastic. It’s smooth and has a matte finish. There’s a Lenovo logo in the bottom corner, with a Thinkpad X1 logo in the opposite corner. The only thing I don’t care for is the dot in the I, which turns on while the laptop is on and pulsates while in sleep. It just doesn’t look good to me, but this is minor as the LED is small.
Opening the lid is a one-finger job and the hinge still feels very sturdy at the same time. Underneath is a large 16” screen with small bezels on all four sides. Down below is a standard Thinkpad keyboard and trackpad, which I’ll cover in more detail soon. The power button is on the upper right and also doubles as a fingerprint reader. Flanking both sides of the keyboard are some speaker grills.
The underside of the laptop is pretty unremarkable, which is fine by me, It blends perfectly with the rest of the laptop, has decent-sized feet, and large enough cutouts for the air intakes. In case you were wondering what your laptop was made of, it tells you in the lower corner. :)
As for the IO, there’s a decent amount offered. On the right-hand side, there are two USB-A slots. There is also a full-sized memory card reader, which is nice considering most laptops still seem to forget people want this. It’s only half a slot though, so your card will stick out.
On the left side is Lenovo’s standard power port, two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4 and PD 3.0 support, an HDMI 2.1 port, and a headphone/mic combo. I really like this setup because it puts all the power delivery and “dock” ports on the left side and leaves the right reserved for a mouse dongle and anything else.
To summarize, this is arguably my favorite laptop design of this year. Lenovo really nails it by providing the thinnest and lightest solution with such heavy specs inside the package. On top of that, the casing still feels solid and premium, which is where the competition usually fails when going this thin.
I’ve owned a
Razer Blade in the past, and I currently own a Legion 7. Had I seen this before getting my Legion 7, I would probably have given it some serious thought, because this is such a well-designed machine. I’ll elaborate more in my final thoughts, after we dig more into the details.
Keyboard and trackpad
This was a very easy keyboard and trackpad to get used to, mainly because they are pretty much identical to those on the Thinkpad X1 Carbon I just borrowed. That’s a good thing, by the way.
The keyboard layout is very typical as far as Thinkpads go. Everything is in a logical place, so there should be few surprises. The only oddball key is the left Fn key, which is typically where Ctrl is on standard laptops. You can switch these keys in the BIOS/software if you want to, or just get used to it, as I have.
The keys themselves provide adequate feedback and have a concavity to them that makes keystrokes more difficult to miss. I didn’t have any trouble at all typing this review, as my error rate was low and my wpm were a little above average for me.
The keyboard is backlit, but keep in mind that the backlighting only comes in white and has only two levels. It’s adequate for nighttime use, but it’s nothing fancy. I do have one gripe though, and that’s with the fact that the backlighting switches off by default every time you boot. So if you want to turn it on, you must do so manually every time, which can you can do with Fn-Space. I still wish there was a setting to change the lighting to activate by default.
The trackpad by itself works very well. Being glass, it has a very smooth surface, making precise tracking feel very natural. I had no trouble at all with multi-touch gestures.
The trackpad can also be used as a clickpad, with right and left clicks being integrated into the lower corners. Of course, you can also just use single and double finger taps or even the buttons above.
The only minor complaint I have with the trackpad is I wish it were a little bigger. Especially since this is a 16” laptop – I am used to seeing something larger in chassis of this size. But it ‘s understandable that some space needed to be reserved for the physical buttons.
Those buttons, by the way, are more to be used for Trackpoint users. From my perspective, I never use the trackpoint at all. But I can certainly see the advantage of it in certain situations. This is, of course, the norm for Thinkpads, so if you’re a frequent Thinkpad buyer, this is no surprise to you.
Overall, I’m giving Lenovo good marks on the input devices. They aren’t perfect, but are far above average in my opinion, as I feel like they are at a premium level.
I was excited to see yet another model with the 16:10 aspect ratio in a 16-inch panel. I’ve been enjoying it on my Legion 7 for several months now, and firmly believe that these are the best panels for those who are on the fence about getting a 17” laptop for the screen real estate but don’t want the extra heft.
Unlike the 16” panel on the Legion series, this one isn’t 165Hz. In fact, it’s only 60Hz. Boo.
I took some measurements on my X-rite i1 Display Pro sensor and here’s what I got:
Panel HardwareID: CSOT MNG007DA1-4(LEN41B0);
Coverage: 94.6% sRGB, 69% DCI-P3, 67.5% AdobeRGB;
Measured gamma: 2.2;
Max brightness in the middle of the screen: 348 cd/m2 on power;
Contrast at max brightness: 1657:1
Native white point: 6770 K;
Black on max brightness: 0.21 cd/m2.
The part number for this panel is almost the same as the Legion 5 Pro or Legion 7, which is what I was expecting to see here. That panel on the Legions is 500 nits and 165 Hz though. This one is only 350 nits and 60 Hz. Still good enough for the RTX 3060, but I would have expected better for the 3070 and 3080 models. I’d prefer a faster refresh rate, but with a 3060, you really don’t need it that much. I think in general, most people would be fine with what Lenovo is offering in this model and would appreciate the 16:10 real estate.
The other panel available is a 4k model, which is glossy and touch-enabled. I didn’t get to review this panel, unfortunately, but it seems great on paper. That panel is 100% aRGB and reaches up to 600 nits of brightness!
Hardware and performance
My model has an Intel Core i7-11800H CPU, which is an octa-core processor that boosts up to 4.6Ghz. Paired with the CPU is an RTX 3060 with 6GB of VRAM as well as 16GB of DDR4-3200 RAM.
For all of my testing, the laptop performed very well. I think most everyone will find the CPU to be overkill for your typical tasks and more than adequate for the heavier stuff. Even for gaming, it’s plenty fast enough to tackle what’s thrown at it.
The GPU is also good for a laptop of this size. I like the idea of the RTX 3060 in such a thin package. Lenovo also offers a 3070 and even the 3080, but at the power limits, I can’t see either of those being worth paying the extra money for. The TGP of these graphics chips is 90W, which is pretty common for chassis this small.
The RAM is upgradeable, having two slots of replaceable memory. I was able to open the back cover and take a peek to verify it. Taking the back cover off was super easy. Seven self-capturing Phillips screws just need to be loosened and the cover pops right off.
The RAM is located underneath a couple of sleeves, as you can see in my pictures. You also get a look at where the SSD resides. But that’s about all you get to replace. The Wifi adapter is soldered and, to my surprise, there is no second SSD slot. This is a major bummer because from what I understand, the lower-spec 3050 model has that second slot. With the 3060+ options, there’s a larger fan on the GPU side, and that leaves no room for the 2nd M.2 slot.
Let’s dig more into the testing now.
First off, the CPU Cinebench loop test. Here’s what I got on the Best Performance mode in Windows, and on the Better Performance mode, which allows the fans to eventually run quieter. But that’s because the CPU is also limited at around 25W after a while in this mode, while on the Best Performance mode it runs at around 45-50W of power.
And here’s how this i7-11800H implementation fares in this test against a couple of other portable Intel/AMD designs.
No surprise given the slightly limited power setting, but roughly on par with the XPS 15 9510 or the Acer Concept D3, both rivals in the same niche. You would be getting much faster multi-threaded results with an AMD implementation, though.
I then took some synthetic benchmarks with the Graphics in the BIOS set to discrete. Here’s what I got:
3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 15969 (Graphics – 18634, Physics – 20759); 50db(A)
3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 7252 (Graphics – 7167, CPU – 7781);
3DMark 13 – Port Royal (RTX) Graphics: 4216;
3DMark 13 –CPU profile: max – 6532 16 – 6552, 8 – 5531, 4 – 3251, 2 – 1777, 1 -922;
Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 4508;
Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Medium: 13046;
GeekBench 5: Single-Core: 1517, Multi-core: 6903;
CineBench R15: OpenGL 213.55 fps, CPU 1708 cb, CPU Single Core 225 CB;
CineBench R23: CPU 10962 pts, CPU Single Core 1484 pts;
I got the impression that this laptop was running both loud (50++ dBA) and hot so I retook the benchmarks with a cooling pad underneath:
3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 16829 (Graphics – 18920, Physics – 20896); 46db(A)
3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 7289 (Graphics – 7186, CPU – 7937);
3DMark 13 – Port Royal (RTX) Graphics: 4212;
3DMark 13 –CPU profile: max – 6449 16 – 6581, 8 – 5574, 4 – 3345, 2 – 1816, 1 -925
Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 4598;
Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Medium: 13206;
GeekBench 5: Single-Core: 1505, Multi-core: 6913;
CineBench R15: OpenGL 212.55 fps, CPU 1670 cb, CPU Single Core 224 cb;
CineBench R23: CPU 10819 pts, CPU Single Core 1504 pts;
Not as much of a difference as I initially thought, but it’s a slight improvement. The laptop still runs kind of loud, though…
For comparison, here are a couple of graphics benchmarks when you enable Optimus in the BIOS:
3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 16108 (Graphics – 18304, Physics – 20603);
3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 6767 (Graphics – 6833, CPU – 6417);
3DMark 13 – Port Royal (RTX) Graphics: 4175;
Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 4665;
Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Medium: 12950.
These are fair results for a thin and light design, so make sure to properly adjust your expectations, as both the CPU and the GPU are limited here in comparison to other designs. I did notice that the CPU temperatures spike pretty high during the benchmarks, which was a little concerning. The average temperatures were OK though.
I also tried to undervolt using Intel XTU, but was unable to do so. Throttlestop is the same.
I originally thought there were no power profiles on this laptop, but come to find out they just aren’t in Vantage, but Lenovo opted to use the power modes in Windows for that. Setting the profile to “Better performance mode” will drop the TDP so it will rest at 55W and further to 25W. This cuts down on the fan noise a little, but the CPU performance takes a hit in sustained loads. The only other thing you can do is to disable Turbo Boost, but you also cripple the CPU performance this way. More on that soon.
I also did some testing with a number of games. All these tests were done in performance mode in QHD+ and FHD+ resolutions at 16:10:
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, Ray-Tracing OFF) 105 fps avg, 92 fps low
77 fps avg, 72 fps low
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, Ray-Tracing ON) 40 fps avg, 27 fps low
37 fps avg, 23 fps low
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
(DX 11, Ultra Preset, Hairworks On) 74 fps avg, 66 fps low
53 fps avg, 45 fps low
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
(DX 11, Ultra Preset, Hairworks Off) 90 fps avg, 79 fps low
58 fps avg, 52 fps low
Horizon Zero Dawn(Ultra) 86 fps avg, 79 fps low
56 fps avg, 51 fps low
(Ultra, Ray Tracing On, DLSS Auto) 36 fps avg, 32 fps low
37 fps avg, 32 fps low
(Ultra, Ray Tracing On, DLSS off) 12 fps avg, 10 fps low
7 fps avg, 5 fps low
(Ultra, Ray Tracing Off, DLSS off) 53 fps avg, 48 fps low
31 fps avg, 28 fps low
(High preset) 73 fps avg, 61 fps low
47 fps avg, 44 fps low
(High, Ray Tracing On) 40 fps avg, 32 fps low
34 fps avg, 23 fps low
(High, Ray Tracing On) 169 fps avg, 123 fps low
110 fps avg, 95 fps low
I’m pretty impressed with these results. The RTX 3060 performs well, even with the increased resolution over a typical 16:9 QHD screen. I don’t think I’d be turning down the resolution to FHD for many titles, but I took the benchmarks just in case. I think it’s probably best to just lower the settings on QHD+ to get the framerates you desire.
Keep in mind too that these results were taken with the GPU set to discrete graphics in the BIOS. Lenovo Vantage has no way to set this, so you have to manually set it in the BIOS for these results. Expect framerates to be roughly 10% less when playing these games on Optimus, which is set by default.
One thing to mention about running in discrete mode is the panel is not GSYNC capable. It’s also 60Hz, so VERY prone to screen tearing. If you don’t set up Vsync in Nvidia settings, even simple things like scrolling in MS Word will look terrible. Games too – turn Vsync on.
I also had some concerns with fan noise and heat with these tests as well. Because of this, I decided to retake some benchmarks with Turbo Boost disabled. I also played a game to see the effect. Here were my results:
3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 13059 (Graphics – 19504, Physics – 12680); 46db(A)
3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 7184 (Graphics – 7415, CPU – 6108);
3DMark 13 – Port Royal (RTX) Graphics: 4244;
3DMark 13 –CPU profile: max – 4148 16 – 4120, 8 – 3230, 4 – 1815, 2 – 929, 1 -464
Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 4564;
Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Medium: 13099;
GeekBench 5: Single-Core: 1528, Multi-core: 6991;
CineBench R15: OpenGL 218.02 fps, CPU 1712 cb, CPU Single Core 229 cb;
Horizon Zero Dawn
(Ultra) 82 fps avg, 73 fps low
60 fps avg, 53 fps low
(High preset) 66 fps avg, 52 fps low
50 fps avg, 46 fps low
Of course, the CPU results were all lower in the benchmarks. But not by all that much. It’s interesting how the GPU performed better in some parts and that the gaming results were pretty similar. I suspect the added heat from the CPU running at full power takes its toll on the combined performance over time.
I also found out really late in my review that you can adjust the power profile in Window’s default power settings. I apologize for not getting more testing on this earlier but it’s just not that intuitive of a place to put those, especially since Lenovo uses Vantage for all of their gaming laptops for that purpose.
But I was able to do a Cinebench loop at the end which shows that the TDP lowering to 55W and again to 25W after sustained use. This will most likely affect gaming results more than my simple disabling of turbo boost above. Mainly because turbo lasts for mere seconds on this model and is only good for short bursts. Lowering the overall wattage to the CPU will surely lower your fps but it’ll operate cooler and quieter at least.
To summarize, I like the performance of this laptop from a birds-eye view. It gets the job done as it screams through most programs and also plays games pretty well. I didn’t experience any major throttling which is nice. But the fan noise was very noticeable. Let’s talk more about that in the next section.
Noise, Heat, Connectivity, speakers, and others
The cooling solution on this laptop is adequate, but keep in mind that because the laptop is so thin, it’s going to get hot. Removing the back cover shows the dual fan design, along with some large heat pipes attached to a vapor chamber. It’s a good thing they used a vapor chamber too, otherwise, the TGP would likely have been lowered.
While I say it’s adequate, it’s going to be up to you what you think. It keeps the CPU and GPU under control, to a point. But the fan noise and average temps might put some people off a bit.
For example, in my typical Horizon Zero Dawn test, my CPU temps averaged at 88C, with spikes of 94C. The GPU also averaged 85C. Both are higher than I would like, especially with fans blowing at 54dB(A) at head-level. Arguably, it’s under the thermal limits, so it should be fine. But this is the price you pay for thinness.
Turning off turbo boost helps a little. I retook the same test with Turbo off. Average CPU temps drastically dropped to 80C, but the GPU temps still stayed at 85C. The fan noise was reduced to around 46dB(A). So marginal impact on the CPU, but the fan noise was a lot more tolerable. Maybe worthwhile?
Another thing you can try is turning the power profile to “better performance”. This should help significantly because it’ll eventually throttle your CPU to 25W. But that will take its tool with games, especially the CPU intensive ones. Unfortunately, I only discovered this setting at the end of my review and couldn’t retest any of the games. But I did run a 15 run Cinebench test and noticed that the fan noise drops from 45 dB(A) to 40dB(A) when switching power profiles. Definitely worth looking into if you want to keep your thermals and noise levels under control.
Typical use was significantly better on the thermal temps. Most normal tasks don’t even use the dGPU, and even in my heavy internet use test, my CPU temps hovered around 50C. Unfortunately, it wasn’t silent running though. The fan noise capped out around 40dB(A), which is quite noticeable for this kind of test imo.
The fans eventually do go quiet, but from my experiences, it’s only with very light tasks like light surfing or maybe streaming a movie. I guess this is ok, but when compared to other laptops out there, I prefer stealth operation over ultra-thin form factor. Perhaps they went a little too far here.
External temps are about what you’d expect to see. The daily use test is average for a unit this thin. The gaming test resulted in some very hot spots that you won’t want touching your lap. Using a cooling pad for gaming is going to be important – for your lap and for the thermal cooling of the internal components.
*Daily Use – streaming Netflix in EDGE for 30 minutes, fans at 0-40 dB
*Gaming – playing Horizon Zero Dawn for 30 minutes, fans at 52-54 dB
For connectivity, this model uses the Intel AX210 wireless module which supports Wifi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2. My speed test from 30 feet away from my router maxes out at 540Mbps, which is very strong. I also had no connectivity problems while using this loaner. Good stuff there.
The last thing to mention is the memory card slot. It’s a full-sized SD, but the card sticks out, so if you were planning on keeping a card in there permanently, you might want to look elsewhere. The good news is it’s fast, though. I tested a memory card in the slot and the speeds matched what the card specifications were.
The speakers on this laptop are upward-facing and sound very good. There’s one on each side of the keyboard and they are decent sized. My sound test resulted in a maximum amplitude of 77dbB(A) with bass being audible as low as 100Hz.
This by itself may seem average, but the fullness of the sound is really good to me, so I’m satisfied for the most part. Usually, thin laptops (especially ones that are for gaming) skimp on speaker quality. But these speakers here are above average compared to much of the competition.
The only criticism I have is the missed opportunity for a second array of speakers. There’s a ton of space on both sides of the battery for another set of downward-facing speakers. Either that or a bigger battery would have been nice. Oh well.
Above the screen is an FHD webcam with a physical shutter. I honestly don’t understand why go through the motion to use an FHD camera when the image is still lousy. The test shots I take are in rooms with decent lighting, yet the image still looks a little blurry and the colors are washed out.
In very good office lighting, it’s acceptable, but still doesn’t look FHD. You can use this for Zoom/Teams calls, but don’t expect much more than the bare minimum. At least they have a privacy shutter. No Windows Hello.
The biometrics are covered in the built-in fingerprint reader that is embedded in the power button. Like the X1 Carbon I just reviewed, it captures your fingerprint when you power on the machine and uses it to log on at the Windows prompt. It works well when and it captures your fingerprint correctly, but it all comes down to how disciplined you are at using the correct finger and pressing it the right way. Takes getting used to, but it’s better than nothing.
The X1 Carbon Extreme has a 90Whr battery, which is a good size battery. I take what I said back about them putting a bigger battery in the casing and now just criticize them for not putting in more speakers. :)
Optimus is used to conserve battery and switch between the integrated and dedicated graphics as needed. But given that this is an octa-core Intel CPU and this model lacks the
“Intel Evo” certification that its smaller brother has, I wasn’t getting my hopes up on the battery life.
So here, I took a bunch of battery measurements, with the screen set at 50% brightness, roughly 76 nits.
7.7 W (~11 h 41 min of use)– idle, Best Battery Mode, screen at 0%, Wi-Fi ON, backlighting off;
13.5 W (~6 h 40 min of use)– text editing in Word with light internet use, Better Battery Mode, screen at 50%, Wi-Fi ON;
11.5 W (~7 h 50 min of use)– 1080p Youtube fullscreen in Chrome, Better Battery Mode, screen at 50%, Wi-Fi ON;
13 W (~6 h 55 min of use)– 1080p Netflix fullscreen video in Edge, Better Battery Mode, screen at 50%, Wi-Fi ON;
25.9 W (~3 h 28 min of use)– browsing in Chrome, Better Performance Mode, screen at 50%, Wi-Fi ON;
72.8 W (~1 h 14 min of use)– Gaming – Witcher 3, Maximum Performance Mode, 60fps, screen at 50%, Wi-Fi ON.
My hunch was right – it’s not bad, but certainly not as good as the battery life that we saw
on the X1 Carbon. It’s mostly because of the CPU, but the screen probably also has something to do with it.
I could still use this for work, for sure. It’s just one of those things that I’ve given up on and always keep a GaN USB charger in my backpack at all times. But this is another missed opportunity for Lenovo in my opinion. They couldn’t go any larger on the battery – legally they can only go up to 99Whr. But they could have picked components that shaved some of the wattages away. I bet those fans hurt as well, now that I think it through.
The charger is pretty small at least. It’s 170W and is their standard reversible interface for the connection. At least they didn’t include a 300W adapter as they did with
Andrei’s Legion 5!
Price and availability- Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Exterme
At the time of this review, I couldn’t find this current model anywhere on Amazon. The only one I could find was a model with a RTX 3050 Ti and 32GB of RAM and the rest of the specs being the same. This was $2499 too. Steep! There’s also a 3070 version for $3390.
Follow this link for updated configurations and prices at the time you’re reading the article.
Lenovo’s website usually has some sales, though. At the time of this review, you could get a RTX 3050 Ti model for as low as $1652. My test model is currently $2133. Coupled with a cashback site and a coupon, you could get even better.
The RTX 3070 and 3080 will cost you more, but the 3080 model also comes with an i9 processor. Unsinging the configuration tool ,the i9/3080 model with 32GB of RAM was around $3300. Expensive, yes, but comparable to other laptops with similar specs.
Keep in mind though, these are sales. The MSRP on these devices is VERY high, but typical for Thinkpads. If you’re on a budget, you’ll want to be patient and shop carefully.
Final thoughts- Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme gen 4
It’s easy to say that I really like this laptop. The overall design is everything I ever wanted, which is good construction, thin and light, a decent GPU and it looks professional. As far as I can tell, no other laptop available does this well in all four areas as much as the X1 Extreme.
Truth is, if it were available 4-5 months ago when I was shopping for a replacement for my Razer Blade, this would be on my shortlist for sure. Not that I’m unhappy with my Legion 7 – I still think I actually prefer it. But the portability really makes a difference, and while I gave the
Asus G15 a shot earlier this year, I think what Lenovo has to offer is way better.
It’s mainly because of the overall construction and design though. I really dig having such a thin device with a dedicated GPU and it still feels strong. No other laptop this thin is like this, except maybe the
Razer Blade or the Zephyrus M16. But this has a weight advantage that certainly makes it more appealing. And no ugly logo on the lid, like the Blade…
The performance is really good too. Granted, the fans have to get extremely loud in order to keep the components cool, but that is kind of expected with a device as thin as this with components that carry a lot of wattage.
What puts it over the top for me are the IO and the input devices. Everything is where it should be and there are little to no compromises, except maybe the half-sized SD card slot. The keyboard and trackpad are both excellent for a device this thin and certainly live up to the Thinkpad reputation.
It’s not all perfect though – no laptop is. If Lenovo wants that unicorn laptop, they certainly need to fix their webcam. It’s just not good. Enough said. It also would have been nice to see a second SSD slot. Almost every laptop I’ve had my hands on this year has had two SSD slots, so it’s disappointing to see it absent in this one.
I’d also like to see a faster screen in future models. Sure the 16” 2560 x 1600 px screen is pretty good, but they have a brighter 165 Hz panel available in their Legion 5P and 7 models, which is much better. Why not just use that one Lenovo?
I also don’t understand why they cut off all the power profiles and customization options from the Vantage software, the kind offered with all the other Lenovo laptops except for these recent ThinkPads. I sure would have appreciated a Balanced mid-tier kind of profile that did a better job of balancing performance, thermals, and some sort of middling fan-noise levels. Right now, the only way to get that is by disabling the CPU’s Boost, which is rudimentary, to say the least.
The last thing to gripe about is the cost. MSRP is ridiculously high. Pretty much every retailer is selling these at MSRP and I just can’t justify that kind of money for this laptop. But the good news is the prices on Lenovo’s website (at least at the time of this review) are pretty normal. As much as I’d like you to support me by buying on Amazon, I just can’t help but sway you away to save some serious money.
In the end, if the price is right for you in your region, I think the Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Extreme is a nice laptop to grab going into 2022. Quirks aside, it’s an excellent, professional-looking laptop with a lot of horsepower. If you’re the type that has to do serious work in an office but you’re also a closet gamer, this is the perfect laptop to keep up your reputation.
Unfortunately, I have to send this back to Lenovo, but I’m more than happy to answer any questions you may have in the section below.
Derek Sullivan Derek Sullivan - Review Editor
. In addition to being a tech enthusiast, I have a career as a Biomedical Engineer. I enjoy taking things apart, figuring out how they work, and finding ways to make them better. My other hobbies include spending time with my family, "Do it yourself" projects such as home automation, and running.
December 21, 2021 at 2:59 am
I own one of these laptops. The speakers are software boosted. When you use Linux or uninstall the Dolby software, the sound quality is terrible.
December 21, 2021 at 6:36 pm
I've been using my laptop with same specs for 3-4 weeks now. Love it. CPU, GPU, looks, screen are all top-notch.
I'd prefer a standard USB charger, better battery life (it doesn't get me through the day, and I'm not a gamer). Better speakers would be helpful too.
However, my webcam is really good (1080p), so I'm surprised by your experience there.
Overall, a great laptop if you can grab it at thr right price – for this spec that would be around 2K USD in late 2021.
December 23, 2021 at 8:23 pm
How far back can you fold the hinge? I like laptops that I can fold into a tablet mode if I want to use their monitor as a second screen in conjunction with my desktop.
December 23, 2021 at 8:25 pm
180 degrees. It won't flip all the way back around like the Yoga series.
December 27, 2021 at 2:49 pm
I am a novice programmer, is this laptop suitable for me?
December 27, 2021 at 4:15 pm
Yeah, it should be fine.
February 3, 2022 at 7:29 am
Are there any Intel 12 gen laptop reviews coming soon?
February 3, 2022 at 9:56 am
Yes. First will be up today
October 3, 2022 at 3:54 am
I'm a photographer and videographer. For my work, I have a very powerfull PC at home, and I also have a powerful laptop to work photos and video when on the field, on gigs.
After having owned a PNY Prevail Pro 3000 for a few years it was time to buy a new laptop.
I went for a 5 500$ CAD Thinkpad: the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 4 Intel (16”):
Processor: 11th Generation Intel® Core™ i9-11950H Processor with vPro® (2.60 GHz, up to 5.00 GHz with Turbo Boost, 8 Cores, 16 Threads, 24 MB Cache)
Operating System: Windows 11 Pro 64
NVIDIA® GeForce® RTX™ 3080 with Max-Q 16GB
Memory: 32 GB DDR4 3200MHz
Storage: 1 TB PCIe SSD
I ordered it directly from Lenovo. I received it, I set it up, but didn't needed it until 1 month after having received it (because I don't need a laptop on every gig I have).
So the first time I really used it on a gig was to record a powerpoint like I a did dozens of time with both my PC and my old laptop. But after 35min of recording, the laptop froze. I thgought it really sucked because that had never happened before with my other machines. So the next day I called Lenovo customer service. They told me to update a bunch of things. And then they told me to run a diagnosis. In the mean time the Laptop froze a few times doing simple tasks as browsing the web. Then I spent a few hours on the phone with abunch of people. And finally they told me I had to re-isntall Windows. So they sent me a USB key to reinstall Windows. It took a few days to arrive. I reinstalled windows and re-installed all my programs. And I was ready for the next gig on which I needed my laptop.
This gig was a 3 day event phtoography event with one of my good client. Usually, with this client, I set up my laptop and than, through the day, I transfer, edit and then uplaod directly the photos for my client to use right away. So from 9am to 10am, I took a bunch of pictures and at 10am I began a first transfer. After transfering a couple of photos to the laptop, it froze. I had to hard-reboot it by pressing the power button for 10 seconds. Just to transfer and to edit this first batch of photos, I had to reboot my laptop this way 5 times. It just kept freezing. At lunch time, the reboot count was at 12.
So during lunch, I call the """customer service""" (again), and I told the guy that i had done all what they wanted, that I had reinstalled Windows, but that the laptop was still freezing all the time and was now barely usable. I asked again (it was not the first time) for a whole replacement unit because I obviously had received a lemon, but the guy told me they wouldn't replace it. Instead, they would try to repair it. The guy told me they were gonna order a new motherboard (I would have to wait for them to get the part) and then they were going to send a technician to replace the part… But in the meantime I would be stuck with a unreliable machine. The next 2 days of my gig where a nightmare, I had to hard-reboot the Thinkpad at least 20 times per day. It made me look so unprofessionnal in front of my good client.
So this is where I am now. I have paid 5500 $ for a laptop because I wanted a powerfull machine a peace of mind. But now, I'm stuck with a machine that is unusable that freezes all the time.
At least if Lenovo and Thinkpad were owning their misktake and they were willing to replace the machine, I would be understanding. I get it, I got a lemon. It happends. But I should not penalized because Lenovo can't deliever working machine 100% of the time.
I'm so mad. It's been a week now and they still have not received the motherboard. And when they're going to receive it God knows how much time it's gonna take for them to book a technician to come to replace the motherboard.
I'm so angry at Thinkpad. They don't value their customer at all. They treat me like shit.
So, for your own sake, run from this company. They product is not what it used to be and their custumer service is a joke.
October 26, 2022 at 12:00 pm
I want to buy this laptop for my son, he loves digital designs
Is it suitable for him or not?
If it is not suitable, can you introduce me to a more suitable model?
October 26, 2022 at 1:11 pm
Either model is capable but if he's really serious and cares about color volume, you'll probably want to lean towards the 4k model over the QHD one I reviewed.