Looking to own a workstation laptop that is powerful and attractive? Here is a ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 review to get you started.
Itechguides' Take on ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2
With a solid, attractive build, impeccable display, and a high-end CPU, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 delivers nothing but exceptional performance. However, this laptop is quite expensive, and its battery life is somewhat average.
- Solid attractive build
- Spectacular display
- Multiple configurations
- Comfy keyboard
- Fierce performance
- Relatively expensive
- Average battery life
This review contains extensive information about ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2’s design features and specifications. Not just that, the processor, memory, storage, GPU, and battery performance of the laptop will also be discussed in this review.
Furthermore, in various sections of this review, comparisons between the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 and its major competitors will be made. Also, I will offer the laptop’s results in numerous benchmark tests to verify its performance.
Additionally, based on its performance, I will rate the laptop on a scale of one to ten at the end of each section of this review. Therefore, at the conclusion of this review article, you should be able to decide if this laptop is worth your money.
My Initial Thoughts
Without any doubt, Lenovo has been able to achieve a great feat in the tech world through its ThinkPad series. This is because laptops in the series often pack a lot of excellent specifications alongside multiple configuration options to choose from.
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Therefore, to expand the ThinkPad series, Lenovo released the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 in 2019. As anticipated, this laptop employs lots of impressive specifications and multiple configuration options.
As a result, it came off as one of Lenovo’s all-time bestsellers during the time of its release. However, even though it is one of the brand’s bestsellers, we can’t argue the fact that the laptop is pretty expensive.
Specifically, as of April 2022 (when this article was published), the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 had a starting price of $3,487.91. With that being said, you must be wondering if the performance of this laptop equates to its expensive price tag.
To find out, you have to read this article all the way through.
ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 Design, Dimension, and Weight Review
When it comes to design, Lenovo rarely disappoints, and the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 isn’t an exception. Precisely, on the exterior, this laptop hails a beautiful charcoal black body that is entirely made out of magnesium alloy.
Due to its magnesium alloy body, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 appears solid and durable. As a matter of fact, the laptop is so sturdy that you won’t notice any flex or creaking sound.
Besides, the aluminum hinge of the laptop also did a good job of attaching the lid and base firmly together. As a result, the lid of the laptop only wobbles a bit when pushed forcefully.
Talking about the lid, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2’s lid has a carbon-fiber finish that isn’t prone to fingerprints or smudges. Moreover, to add more elegance to the laptop’s overall design, Lenovo included a “ThinkPad” inscription at the top right corner of the lid.
Not just that, you will also find an “X1” inscription on the bottom left corner of the lid. That aside, opening this lid reveals more amazing features of the laptop, one of which is its display.
To be more specific, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 comes with a stunning 15.6-inch display. Furthermore, for this display, Lenovo offers two resolution options.
These resolution options are FHD (1920 x 1080) and 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) resolution. With either resolution option, this laptop’s display should be able to deliver impressive picture quality.
However, with the 4K UHD resolution option, the display’s picture quality should be more colorful, realistic, and lifelike. This is because it features roughly two times the number of pixels that the FHD resolution has.
Besides, if you purchase the laptop with the 4K UHD resolution option, the display will be touchscreen. However, with the FHD resolution, the display will be non-touchscreen.
Nevertheless, with either resolution, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2’s 15.6-inch display is made with an IPS panel. Hence, the display should offer wide viewing angles.
Thus, you should be able to watch the display off-center without noticing color distortion or a reduction in picture quality. To make things even better, the laptop’s display offers an impressive maximum brightness of 500 nits with either resolution option.
Due to this impressive maximum brightness, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 is ideal for use outdoors or in well-lit areas. Apart from its excellent maximum brightness, this laptop’s display also features an anti-glare coating on its surface.
This anti-glare coating prevents reflection and sun glares from the display when the laptop is used in bright areas. However, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2’s 15.6-inch display is surrounded by sizeable bezels that may cause a bit of distraction when streaming videos.
Nevertheless, in the middle of the top bezel, you will find a 720p (HD) camera with ThinkShutter. Performance-wise, this camera is quite impressive for both selfies and video calls, as it offers excellent image and video quality.
Moving on to the base/deck, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 comes with a standard backlit keyboard. Due to its backlit feature, users should be able to type with this keyboard in dark environments without issues.
Besides, the keyboard features well-spaced keys with an adequate amount of key travel. As a result, typing on the keyboard should be very comfortable and problem-free.
In case you don’t know, key travel is the total distance between a key’s resting point to full depression. At the bottom of the keyboard, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 features a mid-sized touchpad.
The surface of this touchpad is really responsive and smooth. Also, the touchpad supports multitouch gestures like three-finger-swipe and pinch-to-zoom.
Moreover, it features two integrated click buttons and three dedicated click buttons at the top. These dedicated click buttons are not for the touchpad since it already features integrated click buttons.
Instead, the dedicated click buttons are meant for the laptop’s Trackpad. This Trackpad is an alternative to the touchpad, and it is located in between the G, H, and B keys on the laptop’s keyboard.
When it comes to the ports, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 offers a wide variety of ports on its sides. Starting with the left side, this laptop features a power connector, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, and an HDMI 2.0 port.
Moreover, you will also find an Ethernet port and a 3.5 mm headphone jack situated on the left side of the laptop. The right side of the laptop, however, houses a smart card reader, an SD card reader, two USB Type-A ports, and a Kensington lock slot.
In terms of size and weight, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 is quite slim and light. Precisely, the laptop measures 361.8 x 245.7 x 18.7 mm ( W x D x H) and weighs 1800 g.
With this amount of weight, it is quite obvious that the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 is light enough to be carried around easily. Besides, when compared to most of its counterparts, the laptop weighs less.
For example, the Apple MacBook Pro 16 measures 357.9 x 245.9 x 16.2 mm (W x D x H) and weighs 2000 g.
In summary, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 offers a solid design with an awesome display and an excellent keyboard. Furthermore, this laptop is lighter than most of its competitors.
For these reasons, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 deserves a rating of nine out of ten in this design review section.
ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 Processor (CPU) Performance Review
The processor that powers the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 is a remarkable octa-core (8 cores) Intel Core i9-9880H CPU. Moreover, this CPU offers a base frequency of 2.30 GHz and a maximum frequency of 4.80 GHz.
Furthermore, the processor comes with a whopping 16 MB cache memory for temporarily storing data and instructions. Besides, the Intel Core i9-9880H processor is one of the latest high-end processors that offers exceptional power and performance.
Therefore, with this CPU, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 should be able to handle basically any computing tasks you throw at it. To back up this claim, I will now share the laptop’s result on a Geekbench 5.0 test.
In brief, Geekbench 5.0 is a cross-platform benchmark test that gauges the performance of your computer when its CPU’s cores are put to use. Therefore, this cross-platform benchmark test involves two tests – the single-core test and the multi-core test.
In case you don’t know, the single-core test evaluates the performance of the computer when one of its CPU’s cores is in use. Meanwhile, the multi-core assesses the performance of the computer when all its CPU’s cores (eight in this case) are put to use.
Notably, a high score on these tests indicates good processor performance. Thus, based on the test results, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 scored 1200 points on the single-core test.
Meanwhile, on the Geekbench 5.0 multi-core test, the laptop scored 7161 points. Comparatively, this laptop performed better than the Apple MacBook Pro 16, which also uses an Intel Core i9-9880H processor.
Precisely, on the Geekbench 5.0 test, the Apple MacBook Pro 16 scored 1139 points on the single-core test. However, on the multi-core test, the laptop scored 6841 points.
Therefore, to conclude this processor review section, I will rate the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 a nine out of ten.
ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 Memory (RAM) Performance Review
In terms of memory, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 offers a standard memory of 8 GB RAM DDR4 2666 MHz. Furthermore, this laptop features two memory slots and supports a maximum memory capacity of 64 GB.
Hence, with the help of the memory slots, you should be able to upgrade the laptop’s memory up to 64 GB. However, this review focuses on the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2, which features 16 GB RAM.
With this amount of memory, this laptop should be capable of handling most computing tasks and also multitask fluidly. Speaking of multitasking, this Lenovo laptop should be able to run 20 Chrome tabs simultaneously without slowing down a bit.
As a matter of fact, hopping from one tab to the other should be smooth and lag-free for the laptop. Having said all that, let us now talk about the laptop’s result on a PCMark 10 test to further verify its memory capability.
However, before I dive into the result, I would like to briefly explain what this test is all about. PCMark 10 is a benchmark test that simulates various real-world productivity tasks in order to evaluate the memory performance of a computer.
Furthermore, a high score on this test means a good memory performance, and vice-versa. Thus, based on the PCMark 10 test results, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 scored 5969 points.
In comparison, the Apple MacBook Pro 16 offered a lesser score than this Lenovo ThinkPad laptop. Specifically, on the PCMark 10 test, the Apple MacBook Pro 16 was only able to deliver a score of 5500 points.
In conclusion, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 offers two memory slots and supports a whopping maximum memory of 64 GB. Moreover, the laptop with 16 GB RAM performed better than one of its closest rivals on a benchmark test.
Therefore, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 deserves nothing short of a nine out of ten rating in this memory review section.
ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 Storage Options and Performance Review
Concerning storage, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 features an M.2 PCIe NVMe 3.0 x4 SSD. This storage drive supports up to 4 TB of maximum storage capacity – impressive, right?
With this amount of maximum storage capacity, there is nothing more to be desired concerning saving multimedia files, apps, games, and documents. In fact, as a bonus, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 features an SD card reader for storage expansion.
Besides, considering the fact that the laptop uses SSD, it should offer fast transfer speed and rapid boot time. This is because SSDs are one of the fastest, if not the fastest storage drives available – they are faster than HDDs and eMMCs.
As a matter of fact, it takes a laptop that uses an SSD an average of 22 seconds to boot into Windows 7.
For more insights into the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2’s storage performance, I will now highlight its CrystalDiskMark 5.2 test result. For clarity, CrystalDiskMark 5.2 is a benchmark test that estimates the read and writes speed of a computer’s storage drive.
Briefly, the read speed and write speed are the time it takes a storage drive to open and save files respectively. Moreover, a high “MBps” value on the CrystalDiskMark 5.2 benchmark test equates to fast read and write speed.
Hence, based on the test result, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 delivered a sequential read speed of 1320 MBps. In addition to the read speed, the laptop also delivered a sequential write speed of 1414 MBps.
Comparatively, the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 15 Inch, which also uses SSD, delivered a slower read and write speed. Specifically, on the same test, this Microsoft laptop recorded a sequential read speed of 1100 MBps and a sequential write speed of 500 MBps.
In summary, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 offers an extremely fast SSD that supports a maximum storage capacity of 4 TB. Due to this, I will rate the laptop a nine out of ten in this storage review section.
ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 Graphics Card Performance Review
For performing graphics-related tasks, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 features an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Max-Q GPU. In terms of speed, this GPU has a base frequency of 1020 MHz and a maximum frequency of 1245 MHz.
Furthermore, the graphics card is a dedicated graphics card. Hence, unlike integrated GPUs, it has a dedicated VRAM – it features a dedicated VRAM of 4GB GDDR5.
Therefore, with this GPU, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 should be able to effectively handle graphics-demanding apps like Adobe Photoshop. Also, most title AAA games should run smoothly on the laptop.
For example, while playing Hunt Showdown, this laptop should deliver an impressive frame rate of 114.8 fps. Having established that, let us proceed to discuss the laptop’s result on the 3DMark test to further verify its graphics performance.
Briefly, 3DMark is a benchmark test that analyses the 3D rendering as well as the gaming abilities of a computer’s graphics card. Moreover, on this test, a higher score means better graphics performance.
Hence, according to the 3DMark test results, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 scored 3100 points. When compared with most of the laptops in its category, this Lenovo ThinkPad laptop performed better.
For example, the MSI GF63 Thin 9SC, which uses the same GPU, scored 3004 points on the 3DMark test.
All things considered, I will rate the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 a nine out of ten in this graphics card review section.
ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 Battery Life and Performance Review
In terms of battery, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 is powered by a 4-cell 80 Wh Li-Polymer battery. According to a claim made by the manufacturer (Lenovo), this laptop should deliver a battery life of 14 hours.
To confirm if this claim is true, let us quickly discuss the laptop’s result on a battery rundown test. This battery rundown test involves repeatedly surfing the internet via a WIFI network until the laptop’s battery dies.
Thus, at the end of the test, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 delivered a battery life of 4 hours and 5 minutes. Evidently, this laptop’s battery life is nowhere near the 14 hours that Lenovo claimed.
In fact, when compared with most of its major rivals, this laptop’s battery life is poor. For instance, the Apple MacBook Pro 16 delivered a battery life of 7 hours and 50 minutes on the same battery rundown test.
Therefore, to bring this battery review section to a close, I will rate the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 a seven out of ten.
Frequently Asked Questions
The ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 weighs 1800 g.
The ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 is quite expensive, starting at a price of $3,487.91 when I wrote this review article in April 2022.
Yes, it does. The ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 offers two Thunderbolt 3 ports.
The ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 supports a maximum storage capacity of 4 TB.
The ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 comes with two RAM slots.
My Final Thoughts
The ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 is simply an amazing laptop. From its attractive design to its powerful specifications, this laptop leaves nothing more to be desired from a workstation laptop.
However, like most laptops of its caliber, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 is super expensive. Also, the battery life of the laptop is quite average.
Nevertheless, if it is something you can afford, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 is a laptop I strongly recommend due to its excellent overall performance.
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References and Further Reading
- notebookcheck.net – Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme
- notebookcheck.net – Intel Core i9-9880H
- laptopmag.com – Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme (Gen 2) review
- pcmag.com – Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 Review
- ultrabookreview.com – Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Review
- pcworld.com – Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 review
- laptopmedia.com – Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 review
- notebookcheck.net – NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Max-Q
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