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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme review: The first X1 with a Core i7-8750H, and GeForce graphics

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme review: The first X1 with a Core i7-8750H, and GeForce graphics

Lenovo introduced the ThinkPad P1 in mid-August, adopted by the announcement of the ThinkPad X1 Extreme a couple of weeks later. I did assessment the P1 earlier this month, and should you caught that one, you’re in for few surprises right here. The two PCs are virtually equivalent. The solely actual distinction is that whereas the P1 is constructed to be a workstation with a Xeon processor and Nvidia Quadro graphics, the X1 Extreme is extra mainstream with a Core processor and GeForce graphics.

However the ThinkPad X1 Extreme is the first new entry to the flagship X1 household because the X1 Yoga and the X1 Pill a few years in the past, and that makes this system thrilling by itself. It’s fairly differentiated from the remainder of the pack as nicely.

It’s the first ThinkPad X1 to have a 15.6-inch show, the first to have a 4K decision, the first with devoted graphics, and the first with a 45W hexa-core processor. Certainly, it’s a highly effective and lovely machine, in a slim type issue. Right here’s our evaluation:

Specs

CPU Intel Core i7-8750H (2.2GHz hexa-core) GPU Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti with Max-Q (4GB DDR5) Show 15.6 inches, three,840×2,160, Dolby Imaginative and prescient HDR Physique Non-touch: 14.24″x9.67″x0.72″; 361.eight×245.7×18.4mm
Multi-touch: 14.24″x9.67″x0.74″; 361.eight×245.7×18.7mm
three.76 lbs (non-touch), four.06 lbs (multi-touch) Ports (2) Thunderbolt three
(2) USB three.zero (Sort-A), one always-on
(1) Ethernet extension connector
(1) HDMI 2.zero
(1) SD card reader (SD, SDHC, SDXC), helps UHS-II
(1) Microphone / headphone combo jack Storage 512GB SSD M.2 PCIe NVMe Opal2 Reminiscence 16GB (DDR4 2400MHz) Home windows Hiya IR digital camera, fingerprint sensor Battery 80Wh Materials Carbon fiber/graphite hybrid
Backside: Aluminum alloy OS Home windows 10 Professional Worth $2,510.10

Whereas these specs sound nice, the X1 Extreme will get extra highly effective. You’ll be able to have it configured with a Core i7-8850H, which is 2.6GHz, 64GB RAM, and as much as two 1TB SSDs. Utterly specced out, this factor will run you $four,152.60.

Day one

Design

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme is manufactured from the supplies you’ll discover in premium ThinkPads, which is a carbon fiber and graphite hybrid. The materials is mild and robust, and it additionally makes the system type of distinctive. It’s not one other MacBook clone, as there are such a lot of aluminum laptops on the market. The black ThinkPad design is iconic, and the fabric is lighter than aluminum, which may get fairly heavy.

Like all ThinkPads, the X1 Extreme is supposed to deal with, nicely, excessive circumstances. It’s MIL-STD 810G examined, passing 12 commonplace exams alongside with Lenovo’s personal in-house exams. That signifies that it’s shock-, temperature-, dust-, high-altitude, humidity-resistant, and extra.

One other factor that’s value noting is a few minor design modifications that Lenovo made to its premium ThinkPads this yr. There’s a new ThinkPad emblem that’s extra of a shiny black, versus the previous grayish silver one. There’s additionally a new X1 emblem that replaces the Lenovo emblem, and lastly, the shade of black is darker.

Let’s speak a little bit about ports although, as a result of one factor that’s nice about Lenovo ThinkPads is that they’ve loads of ports. On the left aspect of the system, you’ll discover Lenovo’s proprietary energy port, two Thunderbolt three ports, HDMI 2.zero, a mini Ethernet port, and a three.5mm combo audio jack.

I used to be a bit disenchanted to see Lenovo utilizing its proprietary energy port for the 135W charger, as I want to make use of USB Sort-C for the whole lot. The energy adapter is analogous in form to USB Sort-A, so it’s straightforward to confuse them.

Every Thunderbolt three port ought to be able to 40Gbps knowledge switch, and can energy two 4K screens or one 5K show off of it. On prime of that, you’ll be able to plug in a 4K monitor via HDMI 2.zero.

On the appropriate aspect, there’s a full-size SD card reader, and two USB Sort-A ports. In different phrases, there’s a port for every thing that you simply’re going to wish.

The backside panel may be eliminated with seven Phillips screws. This will provide you with quick access to the reminiscence and the SSD, and you may also simply substitute the speaker meeting. Except the SSD, all of that may be achieved with out instruments; nevertheless, you’ll in all probability have already got a screwdriver useful from eradicating the underside panel.

If you open the show on the ThinkPad X1 Extreme, every part is fairly commonplace. There’s a energy button situated to the left of the keyboard, alongside with a fingerprint sensor. The TrackPoint is between the G, H, and B keys, and there’s a clickable trackpad under the keyboard with bodily buttons.

4K show with Dolby Imaginative and prescient HDR

Up till this yr, Lenovo used to make use of OLED shows in its ThinkPads. The firm moved to Dolby Imaginative and prescient this yr citing higher battery life and HDR, and it seems to be fairly nice.

It’s nonetheless value noting that the X1 Extreme has the most important show of a ThinkPad X1 at 15.6 inches. The Carbon and the Yoga are each 14 inches, and the Pill is 13.three inches. It’s additionally the first that’s 4K, because the Carbon and Yoga max out at 1440p.

Dolby Imaginative and prescient works by dynamically adjusting the colour profile of a video that you simply’re watching based mostly on its metadata. Common HDR is static all through the video. The excellent news is that there are many streaming providers that help Dolby Imaginative and prescient, together with Netflix, Amazon, iTunes, and Vudu. Clearly, different HDR requirements may also be supported by different distributors.

With the Dolby Imaginative and prescient app, you’ll be able to select between Darkish, Vibrant, or Vivid settings. My private choice is Vivid, as I like vibrant colours, however different issues may work higher relying in your setting.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme additionally comes with Dolby Audio, which signifies that you get a utterly immersive media consumption expertise. When you’re utilizing headphones, it additionally helps Dolby Atmos. The key to this machine is that it’s nice for each work and leisure.

Keyboard, trackpad, and TrackPoint

This is among the greatest keyboards I’ve ever used, though it’s tied with another ThinkPads. Right here’s the underside line: if you would like a nice keyboard, you purchase a ThinkPad. Additionally, the carbon fiber materials on the palm relaxation feels cool, mushy, and snug.

Clearly, the keyboard is one thing that I care about a lot, since I sort for a dwelling. Once more, if I needed to decide a keyboard to work the remainder of my life on, it might be this one or one prefer it. It’s very exact, by no means feeling too delicate or not delicate sufficient.

The keys aren’t as shallow as some rivals, and you possibly can take that as a good or a dangerous factor relying in your choice. You’ll get full-depth keys right here although. I’ve truly observed that Lenovo’s ThinkPad clamshells even have a deeper key press than its convertibles. However once more, whereas the important thing press is deeper, it doesn’t really feel too resistant. I make only a few errors on this keyboard.

I additionally prefer it as a result of it’s a little greater. It doesn’t really feel as constrained as a smaller laptop computer does. There’s a lot of room to maneuver round.

After which in fact, there’s the trackpad and the TrackPoint. As is all the time the case with ThinkPads, you’ve got your selection in how you progress the cursor. The trackpad is clickable, so that you don’t even have to make use of the bodily buttons above it in the event you don’t need to; these are primarily there to be used with the TrackPoint.

I truly discover myself utilizing each at totally different occasions. I’ll typically use the trackpad for common navigation, however for scrolling, I’ll typically use the TrackPoint and the middle button (the button is there for scrolling). For dragging and dropping issues, I’ll use the bodily left-click button and the trackpad. It’s fascinating that in utilizing this setup for a whereas, you’ll discover totally different mixtures of utilization.

Home windows Whats up and ThinkShutter

I’ve been complaining about this all yr, however till it’s fastened, I’ll maintain complaining. For the first time, Lenovo provided an IR digital camera for facial recognition in its ThinkPads, and for the first time, it provided a bodily privateness guard for the digital camera referred to as ThinkShutter. The solely drawback is which you could’t have each. In the event you go for the 4K show, there isn’t an choice and you get the IR digital camera.

Each are nice options too. A bodily cowl for the digital camera is superior for those who put tape over their webcam. And facial recognition is simply a pure means of unlocking your pc, as you simply sit in entrance of it and it sees you. However in fact, we will’t have every little thing in a almost good PC.

There’s a fingerprint sensor as properly. Actually, ThinkPads have shipped with fingerprint sensors since earlier than Home windows Howdy was a factor. And since Home windows Hey was a factor, that’s been the one technique of biometric authentication on ThinkPads.

I’m actually joyful to see Lenovo embracing facial recognition, because it’s actually the best way to go. I simply hope that the corporate can work out together with ThinkShutter and an IR digital camera in the identical product.

Efficiency

The efficiency on the ThinkPad X1 Extreme is implausible. In my time with it, I’ve used it for all the things from modifying video to enjoying video games.

As I discussed within the introduction, there are a lot of firsts within the X1 household for this machine. For one factor, it’s the first to make use of an Intel H-series processor. The mannequin that was despatched to me consists of a Core i7-8750H, which is a hexa-core CPU that has a 45W TDP and a 2.2GHz clock velocity. There are two different processor choices: the Core i5-8400H and the Core i7-8850H. The latter is just about the identical because the one on this mannequin, besides with a 2.6GHz clock velocity. The i5, nevertheless, is quad-core within the eighth-generation H-series.

For comparability, most ultrabooks use the U-series, which is Intel’s 15W lineup, and the eighth-generation of that’s quad-core. That is what’s discovered within the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, Yoga, and Pill. The H-series, notably the i7, is far more highly effective.

The Extreme can also be the first X1 that has devoted graphics, with its Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti. That is one thing of a mid-range GPU, and that is what’s used as a result of the X1 Extreme is designed to stability energy and portability. Something extra highly effective than the 1050Ti would require a greater chassis, if just for the air flow.

Naturally, a highly effective machine like this makes use of a lot of energy. Don’t anticipate to get greater than a few hours of battery life, and you must convey your energy cable with you. The H-series is a excessive energy collection of processors. If you need low energy, you go for U-series.

I’ve used the X1 Extreme for enjoying video games like Forza Horizon four, and I’ve used it to edit video that’s 4K 60fps. Sure, there are some efficiency snags when modifying video at that prime of a decision and body price, however I’ve to say, it was actually spectacular given the specs of this machine. And naturally, I’ve used this machine for normal work, fairly a bit.

As I additionally famous within the introduction, the ThinkPad P1 is aimed toward being a workstation, so should you want Quadro graphics as an alternative of GeForce, you’re going to need to take a look at that. There are additionally extra highly effective ThinkPads on the market when you want it, however not from the X1 household.

For benchmarks, I used PCMark eight, which supplies three checks: Residence, Artistic, and Work. First up is Residence, which checks widespread duties like net shopping, video chat, and informal gaming.

The ThinkPad X1 Extreme carried out fairly properly, higher than 66% of outcomes. Subsequent up is the Artistic check, which checks extra GPU-intensive duties like mainstream gaming and video modifying.

Lastly, the Work check checks productivity-related duties like writing and spreadsheets.

Conclusion

I completely love this machine. Usually, I all the time discover ThinkPads to only be a pleasure to make use of, and I’m all the time on the lookout for the suitable stability of energy and portability. I additionally really feel like up till lately, some of these machines have been uncommon. When you needed an H-series processor and devoted graphics, you’d have to take a look at a gaming machine, a workstation, or a Dell XPS 15. There wasn’t a lot else, and now we’re seeing extra.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme is your PC for every thing. It’s nice for work, play, and leisure. Lenovo made positive of this with its highly effective internals, lovely 4K Dolby Imaginative and prescient show, and in fact, that tremendous ThinkPad keyboard.

The solely actual downsides are the battery life, and that you could’t have each the ThinkShutter privateness guard and the IR digital camera. It might even have been good to see a Core i9 choice, though the choice for the upper finish Core i7 is fairly candy.

At simply over $2,500, it’s priced at simply a bit decrease than a comparably priced MacBook Professional. Personally, I feel that the worth is a discount. Should you’re on the lookout for a highly effective PC that you would be able to snug carry with you, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme is the right selection.

 

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