The Lenovo ThinkPad X360 and X280 are intended to be workhorses for businesses and have had their fair share of evolution since last year. Let’s start with what’s common to both models. As you can guess, they are using the latest 8th generation Intel Core processors which have seen the number of computing cores double since last year. This is an appreciable upgrade in this category of computers.
They both are equipped with the integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620 Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), which is not a gaming beast, but can play games launched a few years ago, and will handle productivity apps without any problems.
As far as memory (RAM) goes, both can handle “up to” 16GB of RAM, but the X280’s memory can be clocked to 2133 MHz while the X380’s can go as high as 2400 MHz, which gives it more punch when it comes to moving data around.
The SSD storage is seemingly similar on the surface with a maximum of 1TB of SSD. However, the specs of the X380 mention NVME PCI-E, while the X280 doesn’t. We’re not quite sure of the X280 has SATA SSD connectivity, but this may be a significant difference in terms of storage performance. Faster storage makes the OS snappier, and the load and boot times better.
Even the audio is a bit different: while the X380 has Dolby Premium Audio, the X280 has Dolby Advance Audio. Both are excellent improvements over the “nothing special” audio drivers that many PCs ship with, but they are in a distinct class.
Maybe some of the differences trickle down from the laptop chassi design. While the ThinkPad X280 has a 12.5” display, the X380 has a 13.3” one. Both are using 1080p (1980×1080) panels, but the X380 has an IPS LCD panel which has better color and viewing angle, with a 300 NITs of theoretical brightness. 300 NITs is the point where a display is somewhat usable in bright outdoors.
The difference in screen diagonal has repercussions on the chassis sizes. Take a look:
- ThinkPad X380: 313.5 x 222.2 x 18.2mm for 3.08 lbs (1.40 kg)
- ThinkPad X280: 307.7 x 209.8 x 17.8mm for 2.56 lbs (1.16kg)
The final difference in chassis is what ports are available to you. It’s easy to guess that the larger laptop has more ports…
- ThinkPad X380: 1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 3.0 (Always-on), 1x Thunderbolt 3, 1x card reader (SD, MMC, SDHC, SDXC), 1x HDMI, 3.5mm jack with input
- ThinkPad X280: 1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 3.0 (Always-on), 1x Thunderbolt 3, 1x HDMI, 3.5mm jack with input
From a computing standpoint, those two have many things in common, but it is clear that the ThinkPad X280 has been optimized for weight, while the X380 is a more generalist do-it-all mobile computer. These are two distinctly identified market, and Lenovo has been careful to tweak its designs to not compromise speed and productivity while keeping a lid on prices. The $999+ X280 and the $1500+ X380 should be competitive in the business thin & light market.