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Review ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 4 Why a Thinkpad vs. a Legion Gaming Laptop?


hey everybody it’s lon seidman we’re taking a look today at the lenovo thinkpad x1 extreme gen 4 and over the last year or two we’ve been looking at a lot of their legion laptops which are designed for gamers and i’ve recommended those laptops as productivity devices as well especially for photo and video editing but now it looks like lenovo is putting some of those hardware specifications into the thinkpad line that is more geared to business and in this video we’re going to look at what this laptop is all about but i’ll also bring up my experiences with some of their legion laptops so that you can figure out whether or not the thinkpad route or the legion route might be best for you but before we get into this review i do want to let you know in the interest of full disclosure that this is on loan from lenovo so we’re done with this it goes back to them all the opinions you’re about to hear are my own no one is paying for this review nor has anyone reviewed or approved what you’re about to see before it was uploaded so let’s get into it now and see what this laptop is all about now this one starts at around seventeen hundred dollars for the base model and then it goes up from there as configured i think this one is probably in the twenty two hundred dollar territory it has a sixteen inch display our review loaner here is running at 2560 by 1600.

this one has the dolby vision option on it so it can go from a brightness of 400 nits to a peak of 600 nits the display looks great it is not a touch screen but it’s really well suited for photo and video editing the hinge here has a lot of motion on it as well so you can find the right spot for getting your work done and it really does look very nice for a productivity laptop now we have in the past looked at the legion 5 laptop which is the lenovo gaming machine with a similar size display but that display can run at a higher refresh rate which is better for gamers you can get about 165 frames per second out of the legion display this one is locked in at 60 hertz making it better for productivity apps versus games that might push frame rates beyond 60 frames per second now this model only comes in an intel variant at the moment it has an i7 11 800 h processor it has 16 gigabytes of ram in our review loaner here along with a 512 gigabyte nvme ssd like the legions this is upgradable ours though only came with one stick of ram installed the 16 gigs is in that slot with the other slot open you can of course upgrade the ram on this to add more memory to the mix along with that nvme if you want there is apparently a second nvme storage slot on this one on the left hand side on the image you see here underneath that panel labeled two but it’s not easy to get to they do let you configure this with a second solid state drive installed but it looks like it’s hard for the user to add that one themselves now you can install pci express four ssds on this in that visible slot we saw earlier the other slot appears to be limited to just pci express three now this is lighter than its gaming cousin the legion 5 pro it comes in at just under 4 pounds 3.99 to be exact or 1.81 kilograms it achieves that weight due to its construction it is made with a carbon fiber magnesium chassis which gives it a lot of strength but not a lot of weight it actually feels really nice it’s got a nice rubberized feel to the keyboard deck here it does pick up fingerprints a little bit but it really feels nice and premium i also like how well balanced it is so when you open up the display here it doesn’t take the keyboard with it so from a construction standpoint this is thinner and lighter and that might be a good enough reason to pick one of these over the legion especially if your main target is productivity now think pads are known for their great keyboards and this one is no exception to

that rule it feels very think pad like it’s got the tracking nub here that you can use for moving the mouse pointer around but you also have the trackpad these buttons here of course are for the nub so you can click your left and right and center buttons here but you also can use the trackpad like you would on any other laptop using different types of gestures you get the best of both worlds as you do on all of the modern think pads the key travel on this is pretty good about 1.5 millimeters some of the think pads actually go deeper than that but this is about the same key travel that you get on the legion 5 pro which is a great gaming keyboard but this one is just another great thinkpad keyboard so there’s really no advantage one way or the other here this does have a fingerprint reader up here that you can use to get into your laptop securely now the keyboard on this is backlit but it doesn’t have all the fancy colors that you’ll see on one of the gaming laptops you only get a white backlight on this one now one thing that surprised me on the thinkpad here is that it has fewer ports compared to the legion 5 gaming laptop now right here you’ve got your power input and it comes with the same 230 watt power supply that we see with the lenovo gaming devices but you also have two thunderbolt 4 ports here that are full service so you have a choice as to how you bring power into the laptop you can use the included power supply or you can plug in a usbc power source into one of these two ports but it’s important to note that you need a lot of

power to get the most out of this device and you will not see the full power using a usbc or thunderbolt docking station or just a usbc power supply most of the ones that i’ve encountered out in the wild max out at 100 watts or so there are some more powerful ones making their way to the market but most are fairly low powered versus what this laptop requires so to get the most out of it my suggestion is to lug around the power supply with you to make sure you’ve got the full performance but at least you have the option of using any available usbc power source if you have no other option now these are full service ports so of course in addition to power going in you can connect usbc and thunderbolt data devices and both of these ports will also output video with a dongle but you also have a full size hdmi port here so you can plug a monitor directly into that port but all three of these can output video at the same time you also have a headphone microphone jack over here on the other side you have a card reader this is a full size sd card reader but it doesn’t take the card in all the ways when you put a card in it kind of sticks out a little bit like that so you’ll probably not want to walk around with your card sticking out like that all the time but you’ve got the card reader built in at least and then you’ve got two usb 3 ports here in addition to a kensington lock here to keep your expensive laptop from walking away now the battery life on this will be better than many of the legion gaming laptops primarily because it has a bigger battery this is powered with a 90 watt hour battery compared to an 80 watt hour battery on the legion 5 pro that means you’ll get about 8 to 10 hours of basic usage out of this when you’re doing web browsing word processing and email and that assumes you’re going to keep the display brightness

down a bit but if you start pushing it running things that use the gpu extensively or things that use the cpu extensively or both that of course will result in significantly less battery life but you’ll squeeze out a little bit more longevity on this one versus one of the legion gaming laptops when you’re not plugged in now this does have a 1080p webcam on board which looks very nice and should do very well for your web conferences and whatnot that camera is located right up here on the top and like other lenovo devices they have the shutter mechanism here to block the lens so you don’t need to put tape on it there are two upward firing speakers here they sound pretty good not a lot of bass but they’re very loud and clear with good stereo separation given their distance here and i always prefer upward firing speakers to downward firing ones so this sounds pretty good and of course looks pretty good too with that nice display let’s take a look now and see how it performs we’ll begin with the basics and then see how some games run on it so let’s take a look at video editing a key use case for this laptop but i’ve got a 4k 60 frames per second project running here all is good it’s running with the nvidia gpu here for its video encoding and decoding it seems to be pretty responsive as i’m moving video clips around and this is what i would expect out of an i7 based computer with an nvidia gpu inside so all good on the editing front it’s also good at the basics here like word processing in microsoft word and of course if you’re browsing the web here we’ll visit the nasa.

gov homepage real quick and see how it renders that screen up for us but i would expect that to be super fast here as you can see so all together for doing production work live streaming basic work like word processing and email i think this will do quite well in all of those areas now a little bit earlier we tested out some 4k 60 frames per second video on my youtube channel it played back just fine on the device here we did get a few drop frames when it first got started but after that it was smooth sailing with no stuttering or anything like that if you opt for the dolby vision version of this laptop and want that hdr video from netflix and other services grab the apps out of the windows store to use those services versus the browser that’ll give you the best results and the hdr video when supported one other thing to note is that this is a 16 by 10 display and that makes this a little bit taller than the aspect ratio that most videos you’ll encounter are recorded in so for example this hd video from my youtube channel is a 16×9 video and you will get letterboxing here top and bottom on many of the videos that you watch on the device but i really prefer 16×10 for getting work done and i think that is one of the trade-offs you’ll get with one of these 16 by 10 displays and for me it’s not a big trade-off so let’s move on to gaming now we’ll start with an older game this is the witcher 3 and we ran this one at the full resolution of the display 2560 by 1600 and we were getting about 50 to 55 frames per second on this one sometimes it dipped a little bit lower than that but not bad and you can see how you can tweak things to very easily hit the 60 frames per second mark to match the full

frame rate of the display here next up is a newer game red dead redemption 2 this is at ultra settings 2560 by 1600 and we were getting between 40 and 50 frames per second here it looked and played great and again another game that we could tweak down to a 60 frames per second frame rate next up here is call of duty warzone per specific this is a new one in jake’s repertoire who tests the games for me here on the channel this one was running at high settings between 30 and 50 frames per second looks great on here next up is apex legends and this is at 2560 by 1600 as well 45 to 55 frames per second at those high settings not bad here at all with that 3060 gpu uh last up here is halo infinite this is the multiplayer game jake wants you to know that he tested this as a custom game versus bots not the campaign and this was at high settings and we were getting between 50 and 60 frames per second here in this game as well so even though this is not necessarily a gaming laptop it certainly can play games because it has the same gpu and cpu you’ll find in many gaming laptops you can get some work done on it and then transition over to something a little more fun and

on the 3dmark time spy benchmark test we got a score of 6991 that puts this one very close in performance to the hp victus 16 that we looked at a few weeks ago and the dell xps 17 that we looked at a few months ago but look at the last column on that test the cpu scores on those other machines do a little bit better and i suspect that’s because those machines were configured with dual channel memory whereas our review loaner here had only one stick of ram and was running in single channel mode i also want to show you the results we got from the lenovo legion slim 7 which is one of their gaming laptops with the same gpu as this one its gpu performance was better and that’s partly because they tuned those gaming laptops to get a little bit more out of their gpus than you might see on something more conservatively configured like a think pad and on the 3d mark stress test we got a score of 94.1 percent that is not a passing grade 97 is passing and on the legions that we’ve looked at over the last two or three years all of them have been able to get to that 97 mark or a little bit higher than that and what this indicates to me is that when you’re playing a game you might see some thermal throttling on this over time because this machine is not able

to cool itself as well as the legions do now the legion laptops have the entire chassis kind of designed around the cooling system this one because it’s a thinkpad is designed the way many other think pads are so you have your air intake here on the bottom and it exhausts underneath the hinge here and i just don’t think there’s as much air flow in this one as we’ve seen on some of the legions and as a result of that in games you’ll probably get a little bit of throttling here which you won’t see on the legion side of the lineup and the fan noise on this one when it really gets cooking is pretty loud it’s on par with what i’ve seen out of many gaming laptops and because those legions do have a larger cooling system the fans are larger and a little bit quieter so you will i definitely hear this fan running especially when you put it under load i was hearing it a lot when i was doing some transcoding on the video we looked at in davinci resolve a little bit earlier now one last thing to check out and that is its linux performance it was able to boot up linux just fine on here we ran the latest version of ubuntu

everything got detected properly that includes the wi-fi the audio the bluetooth and we were also able to get the nvidia gpu detected so if you are looking to run an operating system other than windows on here i think it’ll run just fine on this hardware so why choose the thinkpad over one of the gaming laptops well i think it really depends on what your use case is if you’re somebody who’s looking for a device to take with you on the road to edit photos or video or do live streaming this might be the better way to go because it’s a lot lighter yet delivers comparable performance so this comes in at just about four pounds the legion five pro with the same size display is five and a half pounds that’s a significant weight difference and if you are lugging this through airports this is going to be a lot less of a load on your back versus the legion gaming laptop but if you’re playing a lot of games a gaming laptop is going to be the better way to go for that use case where you have higher refresh displays for faster frame rates you have the better cooling for more consistent gaming performance and of course all the other accoutrements like rgb keyboards and whatnot but this might look better in the boardroom than a gaming laptop it looks like everyone else is boring corporate laptop but it’s got a lot more power baked in and i think

there is something to be said about having a machine that might look a little better in a professional environment versus a gaming laptop and that might be another reason to look at the thinkpad so overall the performance here is great not quite as great in certain circumstances like gaming versus a gaming laptop but it is something i think fills a role and i think that’s why this laptop exists and if you are looking for something lightweight and powerful this is definitely worth taking a look at because not only is it not going to weigh you down all that much it’s designed to be traveled with and i think it will hold up very well over time thanks to its premium construction so that is going to do it for this look at the thinkpad x1 extreme g4 and until next time this is lon simon thanks for watching this channel is brought to you by the london tv supporters including gold level supporters jim tannis and tom albrecht hot sauce and video games and eric’s variety channel brian parker and frank goldman ameda brown and matt zagaya and chris allegretta if you want to help the channel you can by contributing as little as a dollar a month head over to lawn dot tv support to learn more and don’t forget to subscribe

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