Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 2 Evaluate

Out there in each Intel and AMD flavors, the Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 2 is for organizations who need the basic ThinkPad expertise with out a premium price ticket. This compact enterprise laptop computer, which presently begins at $1,391.40 for the Intel model examined right here, is a fantastic option to populate massive fleets the place reliability and safety are extra necessary than ultralight carbon-fiber chassis or different C-suite bells and whistles. It is excellent, however not fairly as gorgeous because the a number of Editors’ Selection award-winning ThinkPad X1 Carbon. 

Loads of ThinkPad, Not A lot Weight

The ThinkPad X13 is available in both conventional clamshell or 2-in-1 convertible (X13 Yoga) varieties. We preferred each variations of the first-generation X13, however we famous that it was basically a rebadged model of 2019’s ThinkPad X390, so it wasn’t as contemporary as its moniker would possibly recommend. The X13 Gen 2, outfitted with Intel’s newest eleventh Technology “Tiger Lake” processor and the newly trendy 16:10 as an alternative of 16:9 display facet ratio, is extra fashionable.

The X13 Gen 2 clamshell seen right here has a 13.3-inch, 1,920-by-1,200-pixel show and a quad-core Core i5-1135G7 CPU, in addition to 8GB of reminiscence and a 256GB solid-state drive. For those who assume these are quite anemic specs for a $1,400 laptop computer, you are proper. Our AMD-based however in any other case equally outfitted ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 had a beginning worth beneath $1,000 when it went on sale final 12 months. In an indication of the post-pandemic silicon scarcity, the entry-level mannequin of the Gen 2 reviewed right here is presently not listed on the market on-line, and there isn’t any indication of when it is likely to be again in inventory. However when it does grow to be out there, we count on the value to be decrease.

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Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 2 left angle

(Picture: Molly Flores)

The least costly mannequin presently on the market will increase the storage and reminiscence quantities to 16GB and 512GB, respectively, whereas retaining the identical Core i5 processor. That represents a a lot better worth for the asking worth, although it is presently back-ordered for greater than 4 months. Pricing varies relying on what number of laptops you order and your relationship with Lenovo. Important (and confidential) additional reductions could possibly be doable, together with earlier supply dates. 

No matter how a lot RAM and storage you choose, you get greater than only a run-of-the-mill Core i5 pocket book. The X13 Gen 2 has almost all the pieces that companies have come to count on from fashionable ThinkPads, particularly the reliability and manageability options. For starters, the chassis has been considerably redesigned, leading to a slimmer dimension that also feels eminently sturdy if not significantly skinny.

Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 2 rear view

(Picture: Molly Flores)

Thinner prime and backside bezels intensify the brand new 16:10 display facet ratio, which is a bit taller to allow you to see barely extra of an internet web page or doc with much less scrolling. ThinkPads that occupy the tiers beneath the svelte X1 Carbon have typically appeared chunky; the newly slimmed X13 Gen 2 bucks that development.

The smaller chassis additionally trims system weight to only 2.78 kilos, comfortably beneath the 3-pound mark that we think about to be the ceiling for ultraportable laptops. The slimming feat is much less spectacular when you think about that the X1 Carbon has a 14-inch display and weighs even much less (however prices rather more). The ThinkPad X13 Gen 2 can be a bit thick, measuring 0.7 by 12 by 8.6 inches (HWD). Even the extra inexpensive ThinkBook 13s, just like the Carbon, is barely 0.59 inch thick.

Loads of Ports

In return for accepting a barely thicker chassis, Lenovo offers you extra enter and output choices. These embody two rectangular USB Kind-A ports and two USB-C ports, every of the latter supporting Thunderbolt 4 speeds. There’s additionally a full-sized HDMI video output and a 3.5mm audio jack, one thing that some costlier ultraportables lack.

Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 2 left ports

(Picture: Molly Flores)

One of many USB-C ports is recessed right into a receptacle on the X13 Gen 2’s left edge that additionally holds Lenovo’s proprietary ThinkPad Ethernet port. You possibly can’t plug a full-sized Cat 5 cable into it, but it surely does hook up with side-mount ThinkPad docks for simple transformation right into a desktop workstation. Another premium ThinkPads, such because the X1 Nano, lack docking-compatible ports.

Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 2 right ports

(Picture: Molly Flores)

As for wi-fi connectivity, you get the cutting-edge Wi-Fi 6E normal in addition to Bluetooth 5.2. There are additionally elective 4G and 5G LTE modems, suitable with both a nano SIM or an eSIM. And IT departments with strict consumer entry management protocols can outfit the ThinkPad X13 Gen 2 with an elective SmartCard reader or a fingerprint reader constructed into the keyboard. 

Refined, Matte-End Show

Whereas Home windows 10 presents sturdy contact assist, many companies use specialised apps that are not optimized for contact screens, so our evaluation unit’s non-touch panel would possibly go well with them higher. What it lacks for in contact capabilities, the show makes up for in colour accuracy and the power to cut back glare. Regardless of having a backlight rated for an unremarkable 300 nits (it really registered 346 nits in our testing), the matte end does an excellent job at overpowering any reflections brought on by ambient gentle. As for colour accuracy, we discovered that the display can show your entire sRGB gamut and greater than 75% of the extra complete Adobe RGB and DCI-P3 palettes, which is spectacular although commonplace for a premium enterprise laptop computer. 

For those who’d desire a contact display or an built-in privateness filter, Lenovo presents these choices for the ThinkPad X13 Gen 2 as properly. All are 16:10 shows with 1,920-by-1,200-pixel decision; there isn’t any choice for a higher-resolution QHD or 4K show as there may be on the X1 Carbon. Fortunately, the lower-resolution, washed-out 1,366-by-768 base show of the X13 Gen 1 is historical past.

Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 2 right angle

(Picture: Molly Flores)

You even have a alternative of webcams for the skinny bezel above the display. The bottom mannequin we examined has a run-of-the-mill 720p digital camera, which makes for barely grainy video even when the topic is brightly lit. The upgraded choice is a 1080p webcam that gives each increased picture high quality and IR sensors that allow you to log into your Home windows account by way of face recognition with out typing a password, assuming your IT safety coverage permits it. 

The 1080p webcam can be fitted with a proximity sensor that mechanically wakes the laptop computer from sleep when it detects your presence. This function is accessible on a number of different enterprise laptops from Lenovo, HP, and Dell, however except you are capable of log in with face recognition, it is of restricted use. All three digital camera choices function sliding privateness shutters, which is a pleasant contact. 

Reassuring ThinkPad Typing Consolation

Typing consolation was as soon as paramount on any ThinkPad, though Lenovo has experimented lately with shallower, much less snug keyboards on skinny fashions just like the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga. Typing purists will likely be glad to search out none of these experiments on the X13 Gen 2, which presents a model of the basic, finger-pleasing keyboard that has graced ThinkPads for many years. 

Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 2 keyboard

(Picture: Molly Flores)

The supremely snug key switches do not wobble and supply beneficiant journey distance. The keyboard format can be acquainted, with set-apart, inverted-T arrow keys and a Fn key at decrease left. The keyboard is backlit and consists of Lenovo’s iconic crimson TrackPoint pointing stick for customers preferring that cursor management choice. 

The clickable touchpad can be snug. Over the course of a number of days’ testing, I discovered it to be extra correct than different ThinkPad touchpads I’ve used up to now.

Audio high quality from the front-facing audio system is sufficient for videoconferencing, however not for fulfilling music listening or video watching. The audio system assist Dolby Audio, however I discovered bass to be quite missing whereas listening to music. 

Configuration Choices: Slim Pickings

In distinction to archrival Dell, which presents in depth configuration choices for the Latitude 7320, Lenovo presently has simply two ThinkPad X13 Gen 2 configurations out there. Each have quad-core Core i5 processors, however our Core i5-1135G7 lacks Intel’s vPro distant administration assist, which solely enterprise IT departments sometimes care about. It is greater than ample for on a regular basis enterprise duties, as I discovered our evaluation unit suffered from no lags or sluggishness throughout testing. Considerably much less favorably, I additionally discovered the X13’s cooling fan to be incessantly audible. It was typically annoyingly loud, even when the laptop computer was idle. 

Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 2 underside

(Picture: Molly Flores)

When you cannot presently improve to a Core i7 CPU, you may step as much as the Core i5-1145G7 with vPro assist. That configuration additionally comes with the upgraded 1080p face recognition webcam. All variations include a one-year guarantee with mail-in {hardware} assist, however many different guarantee durations and assist choices can be found, although protection upgrades added after your preliminary buy can price as a lot as 30% extra. Lenovo supplied extra in depth configuration choices for the first-generation ThinkPad X13, and we count on it would accomplish that for this mannequin later this 12 months.

Testing the ThinkPad X13 Gen 2: Core i5 Will get the Job Accomplished

Regardless of having a Core i5 as an alternative of i7 processor, the ThinkPad X13 Gen 2 benchmarks moderately properly in opposition to opponents just like the Latitude 7320 and 13-inch Apple MacBook Professional. It additionally does properly in opposition to the ThinkBook 13s and ThinkPad X1 Carbon, helpful options which might be one rung beneath and above it in Lenovo’s enterprise laptop computer lineup respectively. Listed below are the essential specs of the techniques in contrast right here.

In complete benchmarks like PCMark 10 and Geekbench, the ThinkPad X13 Gen 2 posted wonderful outcomes grouped carefully with its opponents. The primary PCMark 10 take a look at simulates a variety of actions from workplace productiveness duties to demanding work with digital media; scores above 4,000 factors are wonderful. (See extra about how we take a look at laptops.)

Our PCMark 10 storage and Geekbench checks carry out comparable measurements, however isolate how the SSD and CPU respectively contribute to efficiency.

In additional demanding content material creation workflows akin to transcoding video with the HandBrake app, modifying photographs in Adobe Photoshop, and rendering a 3D picture with Maxon’s Cinebench, the ThinkPad X13 Gen 2 carried out respectably in contrast with its Home windows opponents, although the MacBook Professional sped forward in Cinebench and HandBrake due to its potent M1 processor. That is not a significant mark in opposition to the X13, since on a regular basis enterprise duties sometimes do not contain these varieties of workflows. 

Neither do they contain gaming, which is an efficient factor judging by the comparatively lackluster outcomes the X13 posted in our 3DMark and GFXBench gaming simulations. The Core i5-1135G7’s Iris Xe silicon handles fundamental video output capably, however this built-in GPU is not any match for one of many discrete graphics chips that gaming laptops sometimes provide.

Battery Life: All Day and Then Some

The ThinkPad X13 Gen 2 lasted for greater than 19 hours in our video rundown take a look at, which includes enjoying a domestically saved 720p video file at 50% display brightness (with Wi-Fi and the keyboard backlight off) till the battery is exhausted. This can be a bit much less demanding than a full workday of internet shopping and doc modifying could be, however nonetheless suggests that you simply will not must plug in fairly often. 

The ThinkPad X13’s battery rundown time basically matched that of the X1 Carbon and was considerably longer than what the ThinkBook 13s and Latitude 7320 needed to provide. 

A Severe ThinkPad for Severe Work

The ThinkPad X13 Gen 2 is what each enterprise ought to count on from a ThinkPad. What it lacks in cutting-edge options like 4K decision or an impossibly skinny and light-weight chassis, it makes up for in typing consolation, competent efficiency, and lengthy battery life. This is not a enterprise laptop computer to impress C-suite executives, but it surely’s an excellent laptop computer to run the remainder of the enterprise on.

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon is a more sensible choice for companies with deeper pockets, whereas it is arduous to beat the efficiency of the Apple M1 processor within the MacBook Professional. For each different group whose IT division is searching for a compact workhorse, the X13 Gen 2 is a fantastic alternative.

Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 2


  • Compact and light-weight

  • Snug keyboard with nice touchpad

  • Out there 1080p webcam and vPro administration

  • Wi-Fi 6E

  • Matte display end reduces glare

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The Backside Line

A primary-rate, barely cheaper various to flagship ThinkPads, Lenovo’s ThinkPad X13 Gen 2 is a slim, handsome enterprise ultraportable that meets the IT necessities of huge enterprises.

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