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Lenovo ThinkBook 13x review: Is this business laptop worth $1,200?

ThinkBook 13x needs to humble itself with its exorbitant price tag

Lenovo ThinkBook 13x
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

The ThinkBook 13x is a decent laptop with an ultra-fast SSD, dedicated Microsoft Teams keys and travel-friendly portability, but it’s overvalued.

For

  • Fast SSD
  • Portable and lightweight
  • Great build quality
  • Preinstalled AI transcription app
  • Dedicated Microsoft Teams keys

Against

  • Pricey
  • Insufficient ports

Laptop Mag Verdict

The ThinkBook 13x is a decent laptop with an ultra-fast SSD, dedicated Microsoft Teams keys and travel-friendly portability, but it’s overvalued.

Pros

  • +

    Fast SSD

  • +

    Portable and lightweight

  • +

    Great build quality

  • +

    Preinstalled AI transcription app

  • +

    Dedicated Microsoft Teams keys

Cons

  • -

    Pricey

  • -

    Insufficient ports

Lenovo ThinkBook 13x specs

Price: $1,221
CPU: Intel Core i5-1103G7 CPU
GPU: Iris Xe
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 512GB SSD
Display: 13.3-inch, 2560x1600-pixel touchscreen (16:10)
Battery: 9:03
Size: 11.7 x 8.2 x 0.5 inches
Weight: 2.5 pounds 

The Lenovo ThinkBook 13x, priced at $1,221, impelled me to squawk a popular phrase sticker-shocked shoppers often use after discovering an exorbitant price tag: “I like it, but I don’t like it that much!”

The ThinkBook 13x, a sleek, 13.3-inch notebook that succeeds the ThinkBook 13s Gen 2, is a terrific laptop, but I’m not quite convinced it’s $1,221 good. The price isn’t half bad compared to other popular business laptops on the market, but in juxtaposition with its predecessor, the ThinkBook received a significant price hike. As such, I wondered “What bells and whistles does this laptop have that warrants our readers’ extra hard-earned cash?” 

Quite frankly, I’m struggling to answer this question. Don’t get me wrong. The ThinkBook 13x has many alluring qualities, especially for on-the-go business folk who need a featherweight machine. Its build quality is *chef’s kiss* for folks who are concerned about longevity. I also dig the preinstalled AI Meeting Manager app, a voice-recognition conferencing tool that lets users enjoy voice-to-text output. It’s also built on the Intel Evo platform, which guarantees that your laptop meets or supersedes certain high standards, including zippy instant wake and all-day battery life.

But the question is, with its higher price tag, is it worth it? Or would you be better off with its cheaper predecessor? Stick around to find out.

Lenovo ThinkBook 13x price and configurations 

My review unit is the cheapest configuration you can get. It has a starting price of $1,221 and comes with an 11th-Gen Intel Core i5-1103G7 CPU, Intel Iris Xe graphics, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB PCIe SSD, a 13.3-inch, 1920 x 1200-pixel display and Windows 10 Pro. 

If those specs don’t cut it, you can upgrade to an 11th-Gen Intel Core i7-1160G7 CPU and a 1TB SSD for $1,500. As of this writing, Lenovo is offering up to $800 off on savings for both configurations (use the code “HelloHolidays” to get your discount at checkout). 

Lenovo ThinkBook 13x design

The Thinkbook 13x’s aluminum lid has a two-tone gray design: the upper half has the shade of a storm cloud while the bottom half has a silvery hue. On the bottom right of the lid, you’ll see the word “ThinkBook” glittering under the light with its shiny, reflective letters. On the top left, you’ll find a small, rectangular badge that says “Lenovo.”

Lenovo ThinkBook 13x

(Image credit: Future)

Not letting you forget that your laptop is a ThinkBook, you’ll find the word splashed across the laptop's protruding lip, which lets you easily lift the lid up to reveal the display and deck. The 13.3-inch panel has slim bezels on all four sides — even the chin is thin, which is a rarity. 

You’ll find more of that silverish color scheme throughout the deck that contrasts well with the dark-gray keys. Similar to the lid, you’ll find another small, rectangular Lenovo badge nestled on the bottom-right corner of the deck. The underside, constructed with magnesium and aluminum, has three rubber feet to keep your laptop elevated from surfaces for efficient cooling. You’ll also find dual, bottom-firing Harman Kardon-tuned speakers.

The Thinkbook 13x won’t stop traffic or turn any heads, but for many business men and women, this is a plus. This Lenovo machine has a “I look good, but I don’t mess around” attitude that will earn respect among professional circles.

Lenovo ThinkBook 13x

Lenovo ThinkBook 13x (Image credit: Future)

The ultra-light ThinkBook 13x has dimensions of 11.7 x 8.2 x 0.5 inches and weighs 2.5 pounds. It’s slightly heavier and thinner than its predecessor, the ThinkPad 13s Gen 2, and the Acer Swift 3x (12.7 x 8.4 x 0.7, 3 pounds). The Microsoft Surface Pro 7+ (11.5 x 7.9 x 0.3 inches, 1.8 pounds), on the other hand, beats the Lenovo laptop in the portability race.

Lenovo ThinkBook 13x ports 

Compared to the Thinkbook 13s Gen 2, the Thinkbook 13x is scant on ports. The left side features two Thunderbolt 4 ports and a headset jack — and that’s pretty much it.

Lenovo ThinkBook 13x

Lenovo ThinkBook 13x (Image credit: Future)

You’ll likely need more ports. If so, check out our best USB Type-C hubs and best laptop docking stations pages. 

Lenovo ThinkBook 13x display 

Although the ThinkBook 13x has a 13.3-inch display, the 16:10 aspect ratio makes the 2560 x 1600-pixel panel seem spacious. The ultra-slim bezels also help to squeeze out a little more screen real estate.

The ThinkBook 13x’s panel is a touch display, and I had fun navigating Spotify playlists and reading long-form articles while using my thumb to scroll through content. It’s super responsive, obeying my quick finger commands such as my left-to-right swipes to recall a previous page.

Lenovo ThinkBook 13x

Lenovo ThinkBook 13x (Image credit: Future)

When I watched the Jurassic World Dominion trailer, I was impressed as an African savannah landscape came into view and the sun peeked out of the horizon. Gorgeous hues of pumpkin-orange and squash-yellow decorated the sky around the hot, sizzling star, beautifully transitioning into a teal blue at the top of the screen. As a CGI pterodactyl swooped down onto a corpse, I got a glimpse of its wayward fur and bespeckled wings as the sun shone through them. 

Rhinoceroses populated a watering hole and I could see their heavily wrinkled skin riddled with red patches and scratches that made them look ancient and sickly. After a Tyrannosaurus Rex bared its teeth, I could see the texture of its tongue filled with papillae waiting to enjoy the taste of a prehistoric bird hopping nearby.

According to our testing, the Thinkbook 13x’s panel covers 80% of the DCI-P3 color gamut. This is better than the average premium laptop (73%), the Surface Pro 7+ (76%) and the Swift 3x (79%), but the ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 (86%) bested its successor.

Lenovo ThinkBook 13x

Lenovo ThinkBook 13x (Image credit: Future)

The ThinkBook 13x’s display emanated an average of 384 nits of brightness. This is more brilliant than the average premium laptop (313 nits), the ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 (267 nits), the Microsoft Surface Pro 7+ (358 nits) and the Swift 3x (294 nits).

The ThinkBook 13x, with a Delta-E of 0.32 (closer to zero is better), almost shares the same score as the ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 (0.31) and the category average (0.31). It bests the Swift 3 (0.35) when it comes to color accuracy, but the Surface Pro 7+ came out on top (0.24 nits).

Lenovo ThinkBook 13x keyboard and touchpad 

The Thinkbook 13x has an island-style keyboard with white letters and symbols superimposed on dark-gray keys. You may ask yourself, “Where is the power button?” Lenovo decided to put it on the right edge of the laptop. The power button also doubles as a fingerprint scanner. I like the placement; it’s out of the way, yet easily accessible.

Lenovo ThinkBook 13x

Lenovo ThinkBook 13x (Image credit: Future)

As a cherry on top, Microsoft Teams users will be delighted to know that there are dedicated keys on the function row for hanging up and picking up calls.

As you might expect from a 13.3-inch laptop, the keyboard feels a little cramped. This might not be an issue if you’re on a commercial flight where you’ll be squished between two passengers, but if you have a wide frame and big hands, the ThinkBook 13x may not be ideal as your main-driver laptop.

On the plus side, I loved typing on this keyboard. The keys are springy and bouncy. My fingers felt as if they were leaping off a trampoline with poise and grace. On the 10FastFingers.com typing test, I reached 87 words per minute, which is my typical typing speed.

The small, 4.2 x 2.5-inch touchpad under the spacebar is satisfactory. It’s not too soft and it’s not too resistant; it’s just right. I executed Windows 10 gestures such as pinch-to-zoom, two-finger scrolling and three-finger swiping to change windows without any issues.

 Lenovo ThinkBook 13x audio 

The ThinkBook 13x’s Harman Kardon dual speakers are nestled underneath the laptop, which isn’t ideal, but surprisingly, they sound great.

Lenovo ThinkBook 13x

Lenovo ThinkBook 13x (Image credit: Future)

I fired up the Top 50 USA playlist on Spotify, which launched Adele’s “Easy on Me.” The speakers captured the harmonious grit in Adele’s voice while emanating the soulful ballad with crisp and clear sound. My only complaint is that the singer’s smooth-as-silk vocals struggled to fill my medium-sized testing room — even at max volume. It would be nice if the speakers were a pinch louder.

I launched the Dolby Atmos tuning app, which offers five preset profiles: Dynamic, Movie, Music, Game and Voice. Dynamic and Music were my favorites while listening to Adele, but I leaned more towards the latter because it seemed to have a smoothing effect on the piano melody. You can also customize your listening experience using the Personalize tab.

Lenovo ThinkBook 13x performance 

When I first launched Google Chrome and navigated to YouTube, I already could tell that the ThinkBook 13x’s performance isn’t as zippy as I’d like it to be. It took a second or two to pull up the YouTube homepage, which isn’t too bad, but I’m used to quicker load speeds.

Lenovo ThinkBook 13x

Lenovo ThinkBook 13x (Image credit: Future)

Still, if you love flooding your browser with tabs (a RAM-heavy task for your laptop), the ThinkBook 13x will handle it like a champ. Packed with an Intel Core i5-1103G7 CPU and 16GB of RAM, I tested Lenovo's multitasking abilities by drowning Chrome with 30 tabs. Despite my chaotic workflow, the Thinkbook 13x continued to operate smoothly without any lag or slowdowns.

On the Geekbench 5.4 overall performance test, the ThinkBook 13x served up a score of 4,862. This outpaced the average premium laptop (4,533) and the Surface Pro 7+ (4,825), which has the same CPU as the ThinkBook 13x. However, the Lenovo couldn’t compete with its predecessor, the ThinkBook 13s Gen 2, which achieved a score of 5,363 with its Intel Core i5-1135G7 CPU. The Swift 3x, packed with an Intel Core i7-1165G7, unsurprisingly led the pack with a score of 5,846.

The ThinkBook 13x finally got its moment of redemption with the file-transfer test. With its speedy 512GB SSD, the Lenovo took only 20 seconds to duplicate 25GB of multimedia files for a transfer rate of 1,358.7 megabytes per second. This crushed the average premium laptop (605.48 MBps), the ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 (244.3 MBps), the Surface Pro 7+ (343.3 MBps) and the Swift 3x (771.49).

Unfortunately, the Thinkbook 13x Gen 2 couldn’t keep up the winning momentum on our Handbrake video-editing test. The Lenovo laptop converted a 4K video to 1080p resolution in 19 minutes and 14 seconds, which is much slower than the average premium laptop (15:37). If you thought that was bad, the Surface Pro 7+ took 23 minutes and 41 seconds to complete the same task. The ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 outpaced its successor (12:21). The Swift 3 was the quickest with a completion time of 11 minutes and 54 seconds. 

Lenovo ThinkBook 13x graphics 

The ThinkBook 13x, armed with Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics, continued to get wrecked by its predecessor on our graphics tests.

The ThinkBook 13x reached 3,646 on the 3DMark Fire Strike benchmark, which bests the average premium laptop (3,554) and the Iris Xe-packed Surface Pro 7+ (3,215). However, it could not compete with the ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 (4,172), which also sports Iris Xe graphics. The Swift 3x, equipped with an Intel Iris Xe Max GPU, had the best score (5,459).

Lenovo ThinkBook 13x

Lenovo ThinkBook 13x (Image credit: Future)

The ThinkBook 13x is not a gaming laptop by any means, but for the heck of it, we tested how well the ThinkBook 13x could handle graphics-intensive titles with our Sid Meier's Civilization VI: Gathering Storm (1080p) benchmark. It reached 42 frames per second, which surpassed our 30-fps playability threshold. It also beat the average premium laptop (25 fps), the Surface Pro 7+ (15 fps), the ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 (32 fps) and the Swift 3x (26 fps).

Lenovo ThinkBook 13x battery life 

The ThinkBook 13x lasted 9 hours and three minutes on the Laptop Mag battery test, which involves continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits. This is worse than the average premium laptop (10:01) and 10 minutes less than the ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 (9:13). 

Lenovo ThinkBook 13x

Lenovo ThinkBook 13x (Image credit: Future)

Despite the so-so runtime, the ThinkBook 13x also managed to beat the Surface Pro 7+ (8:49) and the Swift 3x (7:53).

Lenovo ThinkBook 13x webcam 

The ThinkBook 13x webcam is just another ho-hum 720p disappointment. The camera is similar to many other built-in laptop cameras on the market; it’s unimpressive.

Lenovo ThinkBook 13x

Lenovo ThinkBook 13x (Image credit: Future)

A selfie I snapped was filled with visual noise and the camera failed to capture any sharp details of my textured, curly bun. It’s not half bad at rendering colors, though, especially for center-positioned objects. The camera picked up on my under-eye dark circles, a pesky consequence of being an insomniac. The rich burgundy hue of the curtains behind me were accurately recreated. However, the webcam isn’t so great at rendering colors for off-kilter objects. A deflated balloon floating in the corner of my room looked dull and lifeless on the webcam despite its bright yellow and green color scheme.

What I do like about the ThinkBook 13x’s webcam is the shutter, which helps you keep peeping Tom hackers at bay.

A business laptop deserves a camera that can handle business, and unfortunately, this 720p webcam won’t cut it. We recommend buying an external webcam for conference calls. 

Lenovo ThinkBook 13x heat  

What good is a laptop if you can’t put it on your lap? If you’re wondering if the ThinkBook 13x can handle resource-intensive tasks without burning a hole in your jeans, we’ve got some thermal results for you.

Lenovo ThinkBook 13x

Lenovo ThinkBook 13x (Image credit: Future)

After playing a 15-minute, 1080p video, the Lenovo laptop’s touchpad reached 79 degrees Fahrenheit on our heat test. The keyboard peaked at around 88 degrees. The bottom of the laptop reached 93 degrees. The hottest region on the laptop is an area near the vents. It reached 100 degrees, which surpassed our 95-degree comfort threshold.

Lenovo ThinkBook 13x software and warranty  

The ThinkBook 13x’s most fascinating app is the AI Meeting Manager, a platform that consists of an AI assistant that can perform real-time translation, interpretation and voice dictation. It can also generate subtitles for videos. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to play around with the software; it’s not free.

Lenovo ThinkBook 13x

Lenovo ThinkBook 13x (Image credit: Future)

Whether you want the AI to translate an English speaker’s words into Japanese or you simply need a transcription bot, Lenovo offers four payment tiers: $2.99 for one hour of speech translation, and $14.99 and $28.49 for 10 hours and five hours, respectively.

Thankfully, there isn’t too much bloatware on the ThinkBook 13x. You’ll find Skype and Disney+ and Alexa, but that’s about it.

There’s also a slew of Lenovo-branded apps, including Vantage and Pen Settings.

Commercial Vantage gives you a well-organized overview of your laptop. You can quickly look up information about your warranty status, disk space, memory and system updates. Pen Settings is self explanatory. It’s an app that lets you customize your stylus’ buttons, pressure and tilt sensitivity (stylus is sold separately).

The ThinkBook 13x ships with a one-year warranty. See how the brand fared in our Tech support showdown and Best and worst brands special reports. 

Bottom line  

The ThinkBook 13x is a young whippersnapper that thought it could steal its predecessor’s shine, but the ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 is superior in many ways. It has a better variety of ports, zippier performance and quicker video transcoding. On top of that, its battery runtime is slightly longer. Of course, the ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 had its moments. It crushed its rivals in the file transfer, brightness and graphics tests.

That being said, the ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 might be a better choice if that extra battery runtime boost matters to you. It’s also a decent option if you do some video transcoding here and there and you want a machine that saves you time. And if you dislike dongles, you’ll appreciate the ThinkBook 13s Gen 2’s wider variety of I/O options. Plus, it’s much cheaper than the ThinkBook 13x and serves up better processing performance (a ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 with an 11th Gen Core i5 CPU only costs $769 at Walmart).

Still, the ThinkBook 13x has its niche audience. I’d recommend this laptop to Microsoft Teams users and office workers who would thrive with Lenovo’s built-in AI assistant that offers easy access to transcription and translation services via the taskbar. However, you should wait for a sale. I’m not convinced the ThinkBook 13x is worth $1,221.

Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!