Lenovo ThinkBook 13x review: A thin and light laptop that costs way less than it should

Lenovo ThinkBook 13x review: A thin and light laptop that costs way less than it should

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When Lenovo sent me the ThinkBook 13x for review, I didn’t expect much. I expected another 13-inch ThinkBook, meaning that it would be a solid laptop that might have one or two interesting features, but overall, there wouldn’t be anything sexy about it.

But really, this feels like it’s a step above the rest. It’s super-light, weighing in at under two and a half pounds. It’s got a great QHD+ 16:10 display, an excellent keyboard, and solid performance with Intel’s UP4 processors. Oh, and right now it costs around a thousand dollars, which is just wild.

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Note that like everything under the Think umbrella, this is a business PC. ThinkBook is for SMBs that might be buying consumer laptops based on style and price, but need some business features.

About this review: Lenovo sent us the ThinkBook 13x for review. The company did not have any input on the content of this review.

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Lenovo ThinkBook 13x Specs

CPU Intel Core i5-1130G7
Graphics Iris Xe
Body 11.73×8.23x.51in (298x209x12.9mm), 2.49lbs (1.13kg)
Display 13.3″ 16:10 Dolby Vision, WQXGA (2560 x 1600), IPS, 400 nits, Glossy, Multi-touch
Memory 16GB DDR4-4266
Storage 512GB M.2 2280 SSD
Connectivity Intel Wi-Fi 6 11ax, 2×2 + BT 5.2
Ports 2x Thunderbolt 4 / USB4 40Gbps (support data transfer, Power Delivery 3.0 and
DisplayPort 1.4)
1x headphone / microphone combo jack (3.5mm)
Webcam 720p with ThinkShutter Privacy shutter
Keyboard 6-row, Spill-resistant, multimedia Fn keys, LED backlight, One-piece Precision Touchpad
Audio Stereo speakers, 2W x2, Dolby Audio, HARMAN-branded, Four Array Microphones
Security Power-on password, hard disk password, supervisor password, self-healing BIOS
Discrete TPM 2.0, TCG Certified, Touch style fingerprint reader on side smart power button.
Battery 53Wh battery, supports Rapid Charge Pro (charge up to 50% in 30 min)
Material Top: Aluminum, Bottom: Magnesium-Aluminum
Color Cloud Grey, Storm Grey
OS Windows 11 Pro
Price $1,029.81

That priced is based on the SKU that was sent by Lenovo for review. It’s from Lenovo.com, and to be clear, Lenovo’s prices often fluctuate. According to the listing, the normal price for this configuration is $1,999, although the company almost never sells its business laptops at full price.

Design: The Lenovo ThinkBook 13x is slim and light in a dual-tone chassis

I really love Lenovo’s current design philosophy with ThinkBooks. The lid has a two-tone design, which is pretty standard for a Lenovo ThinkBook right now, and it’s something that no one else is doing. I like it a lot.

Angled view of Lenovo ThinkBook 13x

The Lenovo ThinkBook 13x feels premium while being super lightweight.

It comes in Cloud Grey and Storm Grey. I’m pretty sure that the unit Lenovo sent for review is Cloud Grey, but I’d just call it a dual-tone silver. It’s just that if I had to choose between cloud or storm to describe it, it’s definitely the lighter one. I’m going to call it silver from now on, and that being said, this is one of very few silver laptops I actually like. There are so many silver PCs that are just dull; this isn’t that.

It’s also super-light, weighing in at under two and a half pounds. That’s a big deal. It makes it easy to carry, and it’s compact too. Lenovo made the choice of using an aluminum lid with a magnesium alloy base. This kept it light, but still made it feel premium by having aluminum on top. A lot of all-magnesium alloy laptops tend to feel like plastic.

Side view of Lenovo ThinkBook 13x

On the left side of the device, there are dual Thunderbolt 4 ports. You can use those for 40Gbps data transfer speeds, connecting an 8K monitor, connecting an external GPU, and more. Even if you don’t have a specific need for Thunderbolt, it’s something you should look for in a laptop. It’s kind of the gold standard of ports right now. There’s also a 3.5mm audio jack on that side.

Side view of Lenovo ThinkBook 13x

On the right side, there’s just a power button that doubles as a fingerprint sensor.

I really like the design of the Lenovo ThinkBook 13x. It’s sleek, it’s unique but subtle, and it’s super thin and light. It’s really well-crafted.

Display: The Lenovo ThinkBook 13x packs a QHD 16:10 touchscreen

The Lenovo ThinkBook 13x has a pretty solid display. It comes in at 13.3 inches with a 16:10 aspect ratio, so it’s taller and has a larger surface area than a 13.3-inch 16:9 display would. It also supports Dolby Vision HDR.

Close up of Lenovo ThinkBook 13x screen

I like that we’re seeing more QHD displays in the ThinkBook lineup. For some reason, earlier models stuck to FHD, and I always feel like QHD is the sweet spot.

Lenovo ThinkBook 13x Display Test

In my testing, the screen supports 100% sRGB, 71% NTSC, 77% Adobe RGB, and 77% P3. All of this is pretty solid, so you can buy into the ThinkBook 13x knowing that you’ll get a proper color gamut.

Lenovo ThinkBook 13x Display Test

Brightness maxed out at 405.8 nits, which just about matches Lenovo’s 400-nit promise. It also maxes out at a 1,460:1 contrast ratio.

Close up of Lenovo ThinkBook 13x webcam and privacy guard

The top bezel has Lenovo’s usual reverse notch, where it houses a 720p webcam with a physical camera guard. Obviously, a 720p webcam isn’t optimal, as an FHD camera would be better for working from anywhere. And in fact, we’re going to see a lot more laptops with FHD cameras this year.

Keyboard: It’s more like a consumer laptop, but that’s fine

I think the key takeaway from the Lenovo ThinkBook 13x is that while it doesn’t have any crazy bells and whistles, it’s a great all-around laptop. This once again shows through the keyboard quality.

Top down view of Lenovo ThinkBook 13x keyboard

The ThinkBook 13x has the quality of a ThinkPad, but it feels like a modern consumer laptop.

This laptop has a fantastic keyboard, and that’s by design. The ThinkBook brand is aimed at SMBs that might not be investing in proper business laptops. It’s basically a business laptop that feels like a consumer laptop. That means that it has the same premium keyboard quality as a ThinkPad, but the key-press is much more shallow like a consumer laptop. It’s very comfortable to type on.

And of course, it’s missing those legacy ThinkPad staples, like the red TrackPoint, which is a relic from an age before Precision touchpads. The Fn and Ctrl keys are in the right spots too.

Speaking of Precision touchpads, this unit has one, as does every modern laptop these days. That means that it supports all the gestures you’re used to, it’s fast and responsive, and so on. It’s average-sized, as I’d love to have seen Lenovo use a bit more of the available real estate for a larger touchpad.

Performance and battery life: Tiger Lake UP4 sings on this laptop

The ThinkBook 13x that Lenovo sent me for review includes an Intel Core i5-1130G7, 16GB RAM, and a 512GB SSD. The most notable part of that spec is the Core i5-1130G7, which is from the Tiger Lake UP4 family.

Angled view of Lenovo ThinkBook 13x

UP4 is a low-watt variant of the U-series that was previously known as the Y-series. To put it lightly, Y-series did not have a good reputation. It was horrible. Not only has it gotten better, but it’s actually gotten good. With four cores and Iris Xe graphics, you can actually do things like edit photos and videos, or run other kinds of demanding applications.

Using a low-watt processor didn’t help the battery life though. I only for around four hours on average using balanced settings and medium brightness. In fact, the Windows battery report estimates, based on the power cycles since using it, that it’s going to get three hours and 59 minutes of battery life.

For benchmarks, I used PCMark 10, Geekbench, Cinebench, and 3DMark.

Lenovo ThinkBook 13x
Core i5-1130G7
Lenovo ThinkPad Titanium Yoga
Core i7-1160G7
Dell XPS 13 9300
Core i7-1065G7
PCMark 10 4,418 4,488 4,402
Geekbench 1,342 / 4,875 1,333 / 4,055
Cinebench 1,281 / 3,780 1,127 / 2,597
3DMark: Time Spy 1,295 1,334

It’s worth noting that the 11th-gen UP4 processor outperforms the 10th-gen U-series Core i7 that’s in the Dell XPS 13 9300 in the PCMark 10 test. It goes to show just how good UP4 is, and why it no longer lives in a separate Y-series tier.

Conclusion: Should you buy the Lenovo ThinkBook 13x?

Given that this thing barely costs over a thousand dollars in this configuration, it’s a solid buy. The Lenovo ThinkBook 13x is just so good. It’s thin, light, and compact, making it easy to go wherever with you. And it’s stylish in it’s two-tone silver color.

Front view of Lenovo ThinkBook 13x

The biggest drawbacks are the 720p webcam and that battery life doesn’t really stand out. As long as you can live with those things, I don’t know what else you’re looking for.

The thing is that this is just great all-around. It doesn’t have some flashy new features or anything like that. It just gets the job done, and the things that are critical to the core experience are great.

To me, this feels like it’s key to the ThinkBook brand. If you’re a small business that can’t go in on buying 500 ThinkPads for a big building full of employees, you’re probably looking at something like this. If you are, it checks just the right boxes.

    The Lenovo ThinkBook 13x is a slim and light laptop for SMBs with 11th-gen processors and more.

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About author

Rich Woods
Rich Woods

Managing Editor for XDA Computing. I've been covering tech from smartphones to PCs since 2013. If you see me at a trade show, come say hi and let me ask you weird questions about why you use the tech you use.

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