Ahead of MWC 2021, Lenovo is updating its ThinkPad X1 Extreme with a 4th-generation (Gen4) model, and the changes are rather spectacular. From a distance, it may look like the X1 Extreme Gen3 we previously reviewed, but don’t get fooled: Lenovo went all-out on this one.
First, the display now has a 16:10 aspect ratio that has an immediate impact on productivity because users now have more vertical space to work on documents or code. 16:9 might be superb to watch a video, but 16:10 is better for work.
As usual, the IPS-LCD display options include FHD or 4K. There isn’t an OLED option at this time, but we know that Lenovo’s IPS options are excellent, so that’s not a problem.
The 1080p webcam is also a sizeable upgrade when compared to the 720p options generally available last year. We have not sampled the image quality yet, but any improvement on that front is more than welcome after a year of doing video calls.
The display back cover of the most expensive X1 Extreme models will feature an updated Carbon Weave pattern with more contrast.
Upon opening the laptop, there’s the legendary ThinkPad keyboard which needs no further description ( except in our reviews). To the right, the Power button doubles as a fingerprint reader, which is practical and perhaps a sign that the fingerprint sensor is more performant. The TrackPad size is slightly larger.
Two speaker grills have appeared on either side of the keyboard, and that’s great because it’s one of the better placements since no sound energy is lost from bouncing on a table surface. For now, I bet that Lenovo’s soundbar remains the top speaker (check our Yoga 9i review), but these dual-speakers are the next best option.
Given the size of the laptop, you will find plenty of ports on either side. The Thunderbolt 4 support will help you build the perfect one-cable docking solution, especially if you opt for Lenovo’s own Thunderbolt 4 dock, which supports a sufficiently high wattage (most standard TB docks max out at 90-100W).
Left ports: Power, 2x USB-C TB, 1x full HDMI, 3.5mm
Right ports: Kensington anti-theft, 2x USB-A Super-Speed, SIM, full-size SD card (yes!)
A high Wattage is required to unleash the full power of this laptop as it can be configured with the best Intel Core i9 H-Series Gen11 processor and NVIDIA’s powerful RTX 3080 graphics processor. We’re talking about actual “Gaming Laptop” performance levels here, in a ~4 Lbs chassis.
That’s a far cry from last year’s GeForce 1050Ti Max-Q discrete GPU, and we can’t wait to witness the X1 Extreme Gen4 graphics speed. Some of the speed/Lbs ratios should blow away people’s minds.
To tame the heat generated by all this computing power, Lenovo has introduced a new cooling system which consists of a massive heatsink, a vapor chamber, and an intelligent ventilation system. That is quite a feat for a think & light laptop.
The starting price is $2149 for the lowest configuration, and you can expect it to climb as you crank up the storage, display, and computing options. However, with a maximum of 64GB of RAM, Dual-SSD, optional 5G and 4K display, the Lenovo X1 Extreme Gen4 is shaping up to be one of the most powerful laptops for Creative and Business users.
Workstation users who want certified CAD drivers or Xeon CPUs should also look at the new ThinkPad P1 Gen 4.
And if you have some cash left, you might want to check Lenovo’s ThinkVision M15 portable monitor, which seems to be just as good as the ThinkVision M14, but larger.