Thursday, September 21, 2023

ThinkPad X1 Nano review: light and powerful but doesn’t last

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Display and audio

One thing that is new with the Nano is its 16:10 aspect ratio. This means that its 13-inch screen is taller than older ThinkPads and lets you see more at once. Love it – honestly all laptops should be running at 4:10 p.m. You can see more emails, tweets, or memes on your screen at once, just better. It should be noted that Lenovo is a bit behind the times, as Dell and Apple have been using this aspect ratio for quite some time now. HP’s latest Specter x360 13 is still stuck at 16: 9, however.

Dimensions aside, the Nano’s screen is pretty decent. It’s a 2K panel that supports Dolby Vision for richer colors and peaks at 450 nits of brightness. It’s an improvement over the X1 Carbon (2019), which was dark and dull, but not as sumptuous as the QLED display on the Galaxy Book Flex. It should also be noted at this point that the Nano does not have a touchscreen. But that’s good because it’s a clamshell laptop.

Lenovo outfitted the Nano with a Dolby Atmos speaker system and four 360-degree microphones. This is to make it easier for your contacts to hear other people in your room if necessary. You can use Lenovo’s specialized software to optimize when you’re chatting with your parents on your sofa and want them to hear your kids gathered around the coffee table, for example. While none of my coworkers noticed a big difference in the way I sounded on our calls, I found the speakers surprisingly loud. As usual with most laptops, the audio from the Nano lacked bass and sounded somewhat hollow, but this is a category-wide issue and not an issue with this device. only.

The Nano also has a new presence detection feature that will wake up the laptop when you sit in front of it so you can unlock it and get back to work faster. This uses an “ultra-wideband” radar sensor with a 60 degree field of view and generally works well. Companies like HP offered this feature in their devices, but in my testing the Nano implementation is the most consistent and easiest to use. I didn’t have to activate any settings and every time I walked away and returned to my desk the screen would light up to greet me.

Cherlynn Low / Engadget

Keyboard and trackpad

What generally sets ThinkPads apart from other laptops are their keyboards and on that front the Nano delivers as well. As expected, the buttons here are well spaced and cushy, with a deep travel and satisfying commentary. I’m not a fan of the middle pointing device, but it was pretty easy to turn off. I also wish Lenovo would change the position of the function and control keys at the bottom left to place the control at the very end, as that’s what I’m used to on most Windows keyboards.

While keyboards are one of Lenovo’s strengths, the company’s trackpads haven’t been quite as impressive. They’re generally less responsive than those from Microsoft, Dell, or even Samsung, and the X1 Nano is just as slow. I felt like the cursor was dragging as I glided across the trackpad. This is not a major problem, as the trackpad works well and you can also use multi-finger gestures for shortcuts. But it would be nice to see Lenovo improve this in future machines.

Performance and battery life

As expected, the X1 Nano is a capable laptop that has followed my usual workflow of too many Chrome tabs with various messaging and photo editing apps in the background. I also managed to take down an enemy team on League of Legends lag free, but since it uses the Intel Xe graphics card, the Nano is not ideal for more demanding gaming or intensive video editing. It’s nice to see that Lenovo didn’t have to sacrifice performance for the lightness of the Nano, and the 11th Gen 2.1GHz Intel Core i7 chipset with 16GB of RAM kept it running smoothly. .

Throughout the working day, the Nano’s battery level slowly declined, which led me to expect it to last quite a long time. But once I started playing videos (and a series of MDR), battery life. In our video summary test, the Nano’s result of 9 hours and 2 minutes was shorter than most subnotebooks we tested. It barely meets the criteria of the Intel Evo program, which states that qualifying laptops must last at least 9 hours, but this is based on a Full HD display.

While the battery life of the Nano was disappointing, I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly it recharged. Lenovo claims that its Rapid Charge technology will get you to 80% juice in an hour, which matches my experience.

ThinkPad X1 Nano review photos

Cherlynn Low / Engadget


For such a light laptop, the X1 Nano performs incredibly well. Lenovo has sacrificed surprisingly little to make the lightest ThinkPad to date and has even managed to improve its display and speakers. Of course, battery life is a big compromise, but if you’re looking for something to throw in your book bag that wouldn’t make it too heavy and doesn’t need something that lasts all day, then the ThinkPad X1 Nano is worth considering. Just be aware that at $ 1,399 you have several other options from Samsung, Apple, and Dell that could look better, last longer, and have superior screens at about the same price.


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