Reviews

Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 2 Review (2021 Model, i7-1165G7)

When we talk about laptops, Lenovo is one of the most popular names globally. The Chinese manufacturer has been quite successful with its ultra-thin high-quality ThinkPad. Recently, Lenovo launched the second generation of its flagship ThinkPad X13 – Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 2. The company unveiled this device at the ThinkPad 2021 spring launch event in Beijing with the theme “Hello Pioneer”.

Actually, the company launched three new flagship products in the X1 series at this event and each of these products comes with major changes. This article looks at the detailed review of this laptop highlighting the major changes. The power supply remains 65W which supports PD protocol with the popular USB Type-C interface. Unfortunately, the power adapter does not use the same slim design as the X1 series. This is not really a big deal for a laptop with high performance.

Specifications

Screen 13.3″ WQXGA (2560×1600) IPS, anti-glare, 400 nits, LP133WQ1-SPF1
Processor 11th Generation Intel Core i7-1165G7 Processor with vPro™ (2.8 GHz, up to 4.7 GHz with Turbo Boost, 4 Cores, 8 Threads, 12 MB Cache)
TDP 65W
Graphics card Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics
Memory 16GB LPDDR4X 4266MHz (Soldered)
Storage 512GB PCIe SSD
Camera Optional: Hybrid infrared (IR) / 1080p webcam privacy shutter
Ports 2 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 (1 always on), 2 x Thunderbolt 4, HDMI 2.0, Headphone/mic combo, Kensington Nano Security Slot, Smart card reader slot, Nano-SIM slot
Battery 54.7Wh
OS Windows 10 Pro
Weight 1.27kg (without an adapter)

The Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 2 offers convenience, aesthetics, and comfort. The 16:10 display is further enhanced with ultra-thin bezels especially the top and bottom bezels.

Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 2 Review: Appearance

In terms of appearance, the Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 2 is not very different from the previous generation but it has a more premium look. The first generation ThinkPad X13 uses a Magnesium/Aluminum alloy combo for the base and plastic for the lid. The second-generation uses the same build materials only that the coating is now more skin-friendly and the scratch resistance is also higher. Due to the improvement in the texture of the surface, the ThinkPad logo substrate was changed from brushed to polished and it uses a skin-friendly frosted material.

ThinkPad X13 Gen 2

Despite the use of aluminum and magnesium alloy, Lenovo still managed to keep the weight of this device below 1.3kg (specifically 1.27kg). This means that it is about 50 grams heavier than the previous generation. Furthermore, the thickness also increases from 0.67 inches in the previous generation to 0.7 inches. The main reason for the higher thickness is the new display which is thicker and better. However, there is a reduction in the body length and width (0.7″ x 12″ x 8.6″ – the previous generation is 0.67″ x 12.28″ x 8.55″). This means that there is no difference in the overall portability of this device.

Display

The screen layout of the Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 2 is basically the same as the previous generation. The docking station remains the same which means that the second generation X13 is compatible with the previous desktop docking station.

display

This ThinkPad uses an LG Display with model number LP133WQ1-SPF1 and it is designed for office users using the Windows system. It comes with a 13.3-inch 16:10 stunning display and the resolution is 2560 x 1600 (WQXGA resolution).

The screen’s maximum brightness in SDR mode exceeds 425nit and the contrast ratio of over 1400:1. Furthermore, the native Gamma value of 2.55 implies that the native color temperature is very close to the standard 6500K. Except for the high native gamma and the slightly bluish native white point, the display looks perfect. Thankfully, the hardware sRGB backlight panel resists harmful blue light.

After color correction, the color gamut hits 101.9% sRGB which is more than 100% for most displays. It also achieves a 70.2% Adobe RGB and 72.2% DCI P3. The color output for the Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 2 is near perfect whether you are considering sRGB standard, NTSC-C standard, DeltaE value, color temperature, Gamma value, or gray balance. We can safely say that this is one of the best screens that the Lenovo X series have ever used.

Connectivity

The Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 2 comes with a total of 9 ports on different sides of the device. On the right side, we have two slots which include a 5Gbps bandwidth USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 1 port and a Kensington Nano Security Slot.

Most of the ports on this laptop are on the left side. Here we have another six slots which include two 40Gbps bandwidth Thunderbolt 4 ports, a mini-network cable connector (network extension for Ethernet/side mechanical docking), one HDMI 2.0 port, a 5Gbps USB Type-A port with broadband shutdown charging (USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 – always on) and a 3.5 mm headset/mic combo connector.

On the rear, there is a card tray for a nanoSIM card, this is an optional smart card slot for enterprise users only. There is also a Rest keyhole at the bottom of the chassis.

At first glance, these ports still look familiar in layout and alignment. However, a closer look at these ports shows that there are some changes.

There is a switch between the USB Type-A port and the HDMI port on the left side. This makes it easier to plug and unplug USB devices when the computer is plugged into the HDMI cable.

However, the TF card reader which is originally on the side of the nanoSIM card, has been removed and replaced with a nanoSIM cardholder pop-up trigger position. With this change, it means Lenovo is expunging a design that it has used for two generations. It appears that Lenovo has a soft spot for the X series by making it one of the most advanced and first to use new ideas. FOr instance, the X series is now the first to use the new 16:10 screen. That’s how significant the X series is to ThinkPad.

In other to make the new screen ratio more applicable, the company had to reduce the chin significantly. Furthermore, the equal thinness of the side bezels makes the display more attractive. The top IR camera and ThinkShutter black valve are now standard.

On either side of the camera, there are two matrix microphone pickup holes. However, there is no hardware for noise canceling. Thus, it is recommended that when you use it to participate in a web conference, it is best to wear headphones

Keyboard

The keyboard also has a couple of changes relative to the previous generation. First of all, the fingerprint reader which is usually on a knob in the keyboard is now integrated with the power switch. This makes it easier to use the fingerprint reader. In fact, it brings back the one-touch power on feature. Users no longer have to put on the laptop before unlocking it with the fingerprint sensor.

ThinkPad X13 Gen 2

The keyboard design, red dot, and keys are all similar to the X1 series design but the audio outlets move from the bottom of the previous generation to the top of the keyboard. In addition, Lenovo made the keyboard pretty easy to remove. You do not have to disassemble the entire laptop to change the keyboard. There are two screws on the bottom of the laptop, remove them and the keyboard is off.

In terms of the keyboard, we will have to do a comparison with the previous generation. The Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 uses a 1.8mm key range keyboard. The X13 Gen 2 is equipped with a 1.5mm key travel keyboard and a high trigger pressure gram. The design is different from the low-passage trigger pressure gram of the previous generation. The summary of this is that this laptop is designed for users that do not hit the keyboard with much strength. The keyboard will respond even with the slightest of touches and this will make typing easier for many users. However, the swift and easy response of keyboards has its advantages and disadvantages. Users who are used to hitting the keyboard with strength may find out that they make a lot of mistakes while typing with this keyboard because even the slightest scrape on an adjoining key will input the letter or number. Generally, this keyboard reduces typing fatigue.

Unfortunately, the touchpad of the Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 2 is not as great as the X1 series. The left key and the touchpad itself are a bit loosed. When slightly lightly tapped or pressed, there is a strange noise. However, we want to believe that this is not the situation with all the units, probably it is an issue with the unit we reviewed probably because it has been disassembled before the review. A close interaction with this laptop at launch shows that the touchpad and two keys underneath are just fine and do not emit any noise when pressed.

Hardware

The hardware of the Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 2 is just as we will expect it. This device comes with Intel’s 11th generation Core low voltage mobile processor i7-1165G7. It also has an 11th Generation Intel® Core i5-1135G7 model. In terms of processor and performance, this series has three models. They are

  • 11th Generation Intel® Core™ i5-1135G7 Processor (2.40 GHz, up to 4.20 GHz)
  • 11th Generation Intel® Core™ i5-1145G7 Processor with vPro™ (2.60 GHz, up to 4.40)
  • 11th Generation Intel® Core™ i5-1165G7 Processor with vPro™ (2.80 GHz, up to 4.70)
  • 11th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-1185G7 Processor with vPro™ (3.00 GHz, up to 4.80 GHz)

This device comes with an integrated Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics while the RAM (LPDDR4x memory) capacity with a maximum operating frequency of 4266MHz hits 16GB. Furthermore, the SSD is PM9A1 from Samsung and it a PCI-E 4.0 protocol NVMe hard drive with a capacity that ranges from 256GB to 1TB.

The cooling system uses the traditional single eagle wing fan coupled with a single thick heat pipe design. Apart from the cooling system, we can safely say that the core hardware is technically the same as the ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 6.

While we find the cooling system interesting, the noise output is also another important aspect to consider. The eagle wing fan is still quite good and at 20 cm from the air outlet, the noise level irrespective of the usage does not exceed 42dB. On the keyboard region, the noise does not exceed 38dB which is quite good. We can safely say that the noise control level of this laptop is excellent

This device supports WiFi 6E connectivity which is a faster and more efficient version of WiFi. Furthermore, users can choose the optional 5G capability. If the cellular network is available and 5G is active then this laptop will run on 5G connectivity. In addition, this device achieves faster data transfer and connections with the dual Thunderbolt™ 4 ports. Another option is the WWAN availability which varies by region. If WWAN is available in your region, ensure that it is configured at the point of purchase.

In addition to the two antennas already installed on the LTE card, there are two additional WWAN antennas. These are relevant for the 5G models.

We can not talk about the hardware without mentioning the battery. The Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 2 uses a 54.7Wh battery from Sunwoda

The black bar near the back of the body is the audio of the computer. However, it only comes with the Dolby Audio logo.
The sound tuning is still focused on highlighting the human voice. Simply put, the sound is not entirely great, it is recommended that users make use of headphones to get more immersive sound.

CPU Performance

This laptop is powered by the 11th Generation Intel Core i7-1165G7 Processor (2.40GHz up to 4.20GHz with Turbo Boost, 4 Cores, 8 Threads, 8 MB Cache). On GeekBench database, this desktop performance ran a score of 5265 points for multi-core and test and 1516 points for the single-core test. This is significantly higher than the previous generation.

We use PCMark10 to test its CPU. The overall scores are basically stable at around 5050. Whether we are using best performance or average performance, the score fluctuates between 5000 and 5100 which is quite insignificant. For the best performance mode, the score is 5100 while the average performance mode hit a score of 5000.

On the 3DMark Time Spy, the highest score for this laptop is 1653 while the lowest score 1634

On Fire Strike, this device recorded a highest score of 4809 and a lowest score of 4792

X13 3DMARK

On Wild Life, the highest score is 10,668 and the lowest score is 10,617 while Wild Life Extreme recorded a highest score of 3422 and a lowest score of 3415

On Night Raid benchmark, the highest score hit 17020 while the  lowest score is 16005

From the scores, we can see that the Lenovo ThinkPad X13 overall 3D performance is behind X1’s. However, decoding 4K 60 fps HDR video at 40Mbps bitrate is stress-free. The hard drive score is also basically the same as the X1

On the AIDA64 Stress CPU, the power consumption looks pretty good. For the “desktop mode”, it can release up to 27.7W, 4.09GHz while the “stand mode” can release up to 27.1W, 4.09GHz.

Instead, the power consumption remained stable at over 20W and more than 2GHz for all cores. This setting is to allow the X13 to do better than the X1 series when it continues to do intense floating-point computing which gives it better results than the X1 series.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 2 actually comes with a top-notch cooling system which gives it an edge over the previous generation. In theoretical tests, the previous generation may appear to be on par with the X13. However, on actual application scenarios, the X13 series will certainly be ahead.

Battery Life

We used the PCMARK8 office scenario setting for the battery life test. To carry out the testing, we turned on the WiFi and adjusted the brightness of the screen to 50%. The ThinkPad X13 Gen 2 achieved 7 hours and 55 minutes in “longer battery life” mode. This is about 20 minutes less than the X1 Yoga Gen 6. However, the latter comes with a higher battery capacity thus there is no surprise here.

Summary

Finally, we can now look at the bottom line of this device. The Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 2 is a perfect balance of computing power, mobility, battery life, expansion capability, design and workmanship, and cost-effectiveness. Looking at Lenovo’s long lineup of notebooks, we can safely say that the X13 Gen 2 is still the most suitable tool for office productivity in the office. If you work in operations, marketing, sales, branding, administration, product, or management and you prefer a small form factor workbook and your budget is about $1,200, then the ThinkPad X13 Gen 2 will be your best choice. However, it is important to note that the top models of this laptop can be as expensive as $2,200

The connectivity and power performance of this notebook makes it a powerhouse. The optional gray version includes a tone-matched keyboard as well as a power-button integrated fingerprint sensor which allows for quick, one-touch login.

This laptop’s 11th Gen Intel Core processor coupled with the Iris X graphics promises a blazing-fast performance. Interestingly, this device also supports the latest WiFi 6E and industry-leading AI for swift connection.

 

David Tian

David is the editor @ MyFixGuide. He loves technology, especially good at laptops and mobile phones. In his free time, he loves to take apart the latest mobile phones and laptops.

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