Lenovo ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9 review: Above average price, below average performance

The ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9 can handle basic tasks but falls short of the competition.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9 on a black desk with a pencil cup in the background
(Image: © Stevie Bonifield)

Laptop Mag Verdict

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9 is easy for everyday tasks like web browsing and word processing and features an excellent keyboard. However, it needs to catch up in some critical categories compared to similar laptops.

Pros

  • +

    Fantastic typing experience

  • +

    Anti-reflective IPS display

  • +

    High-quality speakers

Cons

  • -

    Poor graphics and gaming performance

  • -

    Narrow touchpad

  • -

    Awkward magnetic stylus placement

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Business laptops are often good at basic tasks you’d focus on in a typical work day, like web browsing or word processing, but aren’t always well-rounded with solid performance in other areas like gaming or display quality. That’s the case with the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9. 

This lightweight, steel gray 2-in-1 sports a speedy Intel Core Ultra 7 155U CPU, but Lenovo still needs to keep up with similarly priced laptops. It does have its strengths, like Lenovo’s stellar keyboard and Dolby Atmos speakers. However, sub-par test results can easily overshadow those strengths in a few key areas. So, knowing all of those pros and cons is essential before choosing this as your next business laptop. 

Here’s an in-depth look at the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9, from the specs to hands-on performance testing. 

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9: Specs (as reviewed)

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Price$2,109
CPUIntel Core Ultra 7 155U
GPUIntegrated Intel Graphics
RAM16GB
Storage1TB
Display1920x1200 IPS touch display
Battery9:47
Dimensions12.31 x 8.57 x 0.61 inches
Weight3.11 pounds

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9: Price and configurations

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9 folded in tablet mode sitting on a black desk with a stylus on top

(Image credit: Stevie Bonifield)

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9 has several configurations starting at $1,720.95. The base configuration includes an Intel Core Ultra 5 125U CPU, 16GB of RAM, integrated Intel Graphics, 512GB of storage, and the Lenovo Slim Pen accessory. There are several upgrades available, including up to 32GB of RAM, up to 2TB of storage, an OLED display, an ePrivacy display filter, and three alternative CPUs: the Intel Core Ultra 5 135U vPro, Intel Core Ultra 7 155U, and Intel Core Ultra 7 165U vPro. 

Our review configuration, priced at $2,109, includes an Intel Core Ultra 7 155U CPU, 16GB of RAM, integrated Intel Graphics, 1TB of storage, and the Lenovo Slim Pen.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9: Design

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9 sitting on a black desk with a pencil cup and pictures in the background

(Image credit: Stevie Bonifield)

ThinkPads usually have a simple, straightforward design that will blend in just about anywhere, and the ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9 is no exception. It features a steel-gray aluminum chassis, much of which is made of recycled material. The edges of the chassis have a slightly smoother, glossier texture, which gives the ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9 a nice premium touch. Plus, it meets the MIL-STD 810H military-grade durability standards, so its design can withstand a slip or drop now and then. 

The keyboard deck has cool gray keys with white legends and the classic ThinkPad TrackPoint in the center. A fingerprint reader is also in the bottom right corner of the keyboard. The trackpad is narrow but includes physical keys along the top edge. 

Above, the ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9 sports a 1920x1200 IPS (or OLED) touch display, which you can flip around to use in tablet mode with the optional Lenovo Slim Pen. Magnets are located along the right edge of the keyboard deck for storing the pen when you’re not using it. 

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9: Ports

Close up of the ports on the left side of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9

(Image credit: Stevie Bonifield)

The ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9 has plenty of ports for everyday tasks. On the left-hand side, there is an always-on USB Type-A port and two Thunderbolt 4 USB Type-C ports. On the right-hand side, there’s a Kensington Nano Security slot, an HDMI port, one USB Type-A port, a headphone jack, and the power button. 

The ports on the right side of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9

(Image credit: Stevie Bonifield)

You can add a Nano-SIM card slot to the left side of the ThinkPad X1 if you want to use it with a wireless cellular plan. It’s also worth noting that you can magnetically attach the Lenovo Slim Pen to the right side of the ThinkPad X1, but it covers the power button, headphone jack, and half of the USB Type-A port on that side when attached.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9: Display

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9 sitting on a green blanket with CBS's Survivor on screen

(Image credit: Stevie Bonifield)

The ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9 display could have scored better on our display tests, but I did appreciate the anti-reflective coating. The ThinkPad X1 covered 71.2% of the DCI-P3 color gamut with an average brightness of 326 nits, which is lower than other laptops in this price point, like the HP Spectre x360 14 (85.8%, 366 nits) and the MacBook Air M3 (77.8%, 476 nits). 

Swipe to scroll horizontally
LaptopDCI-P3 color gamutAverage brightness
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 971.2%326 nits
HP Spectre x360 1485.8%366 nits
MacBook Air M3 (13-inch)77.8%476 nits

Despite its underwhelming test results, the ThinkPad X1’s display looked fine while watching Survivor and Star Trek: Discovery on Paramount Plus. The vibrant island sets for Survivor challenges looked just as colorful as they do on my TV, and Discovery’s special effects and sleek spaceships all looked clean and crisp. 

I noticed that a couple of the games I tried, like Death’s Door, looked a bit duller than on my desktop display, but most users would not notice this for everyday tasks like web browsing or word processing. You can upgrade to an OLED display if you don’t mind paying extra.  

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9: Keyboard and touchpad

Close-up shot of the keyboard deck on the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9

(Image credit: Stevie Bonifield)

I enjoyed typing on the ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9 while testing it. Lenovo’s laptop keyboards have impressed me in the past, and this one did not let me down. There’s a comfortable amount of key travel and a soft, satisfying tactile feedback when keys bottom out. I also found that the key spacing on the ThinkPad X1 was just right. None of the keys seemed awkwardly large or small, either. 

On the Monkeytype typing test, I scored a whopping 103 wpm with 98 percent accuracy. That’s well above my laptop average of 90 wpm with 97 percent accuracy and far better than my desktop average of 84 wpm with 94 percent accuracy. That’s also nearly identical to what I scored on the Lenovo Slim 7i, which has one of my favorite laptop keyboards. This one feels and performs very similarly, with the notable addition of the TrackPoint in the center and a different touchpad design. 

The ThinkPad X1's touchpad has physical keys at the top, making it narrow. It measures 4.7 x 2.2 inches, not including the physical buttons. You can click directly on the touchpad, so the physical buttons are unnecessary if you find them awkward. I didn’t use them much while I was testing the ThinkPad X1. 

I would have preferred a slightly larger touchpad without the physical buttons, but some may find them helpful. However, there is an upgrade available for a larger haptic touchpad without the buttons if you don't mind paying a bit extra. 

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9: Audio

The ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9 includes Dolby Atmos, so the audio quality impressed me. One unique feature of this laptop is the placement of the speakers. They’re top-firing, but you wouldn’t know it at first glance since the speakers are hidden under the keyboard deck. They sound great and get pretty loud. 

Taylor Swift’s “The Last Great American Dynasty” was well-balanced throughout with its mellow vocals. “Members Only” by Nothing But Thieves also sounded good despite being a very different style of music. The speakers on the ThinkPad X1 handled its punchy electric guitar and electronic backing notes without drowning out the vocals or losing bass quality. The bass can get so loud on the top-firing speakers that I could feel it through the keyboard while listening to Glass Animals’s “Heat Waves.”

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9: Performance

Close-up shot of the Intel Evo sticker on the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9

(Image credit: Stevie Bonifield)

The ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9 could have done better on our performance tests. On the Geekbench 6 multi-core benchmark, the ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9 scored 9519, just under the mainstream laptop average of 9595. That’s also significantly lower than the HP Spectre x360 14 (12325) and the MacBook Air M3 (12087). 

The ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9 transcoded a 4K video to 1080p in the HandBrake benchmark in 7 minutes and 42 seconds. That’s faster than the mainstream laptop average (8:23) but slower than the HP Spectre x360 14 (7:30) and over a minute behind the MacBook Air M3 (6:32).

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LaptopGeekbench 6 (multi-core)HandBrake time
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 995197:42
HP Spectre x360 14123257:30
MacBook Air M3 (13-inch)120876:32

The ThinkPad X1 performed well during my testing, efficiently managing web browsing and word processing. It downloaded and started up apps and games quickly for the most part. It also handled multitasking reasonably well, from running a dozen or so tabs in Brave browser to running numerous apps at once. So, it can handle basic everyday tasks well for the most part, but it may struggle with more processor-intensive tasks than other laptops in this price bracket. 

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9: Gaming and graphics

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9 sitting on a black desk with a white mouse running Death's Door

(Image credit: Stevie Bonifield)

Gaming and graphics-intensive tasks are one area where the ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9 needs to catch up to the competition. It scored noticeably lower than similarly priced laptops in our graphics tests. 

In the 3DMark FireStrike test, the ThinkPad X1 scored 5022, over 1000 points below the HP Spectre x360 16. It only achieved 19 fps while running Sid Meier’s Civilization VI: Gathering Storm in 1080p, well below the HP Spectre x360 14’s average of 36 fps and less than half of the MacBook Air M3’s average of 41 fps.  

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Laptop3DMark FireStrikeSid Meier’s Civilization VI: Gathering Storm (1080p)
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9502219 fps
HP Spectre x360 14698636 fps
MacBook Air M3 (13-inch)N/A (unable to do the same test)41 fps

I also noticed similarly underwhelming performance in my gaming tests. The ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9 visibly dropped frames in Death’s Door, which has colorful graphics but nothing particularly processor-intensive. Only games like Moonlighter and Kingdom: Two Crowns, which both feature pixel art graphics, were truly playable. 

So, you can do casual gaming on the ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9 or stream games through cloud streaming platforms like GeForce Now. However, gaming is not the ThinkPad X1’s forte. If you’re looking for a laptop that excels with games, you would be better served with one of the best gaming laptops.  

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9: Battery life

In the Laptop Mag battery tests, the ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9 lasted an average of 9 hours and 47 minutes, enough to get through a whole day if you mainly do low-power tasks like web browsing. That time is below our mainstream laptop average of 10 hours and 9 minutes. It’s also significantly lower than similarly priced laptops like the HP Spectre x360 14 (11:01) and the MacBook Air M3 (15:13).  

Swipe to scroll horizontally
LaptopBattery life (hours, minutes)
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 99:47
HP Spectre x360 1411:01
MacBook Air M3 (13-inch)15:13

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9: Webcam

Close-up shot of the webcam privacy shutter on the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9

(Image credit: Stevie Bonifield)

One feature of the ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9 I liked was the built-in privacy shutter on the webcam. These have become pretty common, particularly on Lenovo laptops, and they’re always a favorite feature of mine. 

The webcam underneath the privacy shutter is an FHD 1080p camera. It looked pretty good in my test video but wasn’t as sharp as I hoped. However, while the video was a bit fuzzy, the camera had a wide viewing angle, and the built-in mic sounded decent. It’s good enough for everyday video calls on Zoom or Google Meet. 

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9: Heat

The ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9 got warm during my tests but stayed below our 95-degree comfort threshold. The hottest temperature we recorded on the touchpad was 80 degrees, and the underside averaged 83.5 degrees. The center of the keyboard deck was a bit hotter at 90.5 degrees. The highest temperature we recorded overall was 91.5 degrees on the underside of the keyboard deck between the two bottom vents.  

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9: Software and warranty

The ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9 includes a one-year limited warranty, although you can purchase a longer or more comprehensive warranty through Lenovo Premium Care Plus. You can view your warranty status and device details through the Lenovo Vantage app, which comes preloaded on the ThinkPad X1 along with standard Windows 11 apps like Microsoft Edge, the Windows Store, the Xbox app, and Microsoft Office 360 trials. 

Bottom line

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9 on a black desk with a pencil cup in the background

(Image credit: Stevie Bonifield)

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9 is a good business laptop for everyday tasks like web browsing and word processing. It has a wide variety of customization options for everything from the processor to the display, which allows plenty of flexibility. The steel gray chassis will fit right in at the office, and you won’t have to worry about durability during your commute since the ThinkPad X1 meets military-grade durability standards. 

Unfortunately, the ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9 fell short of the competition in nearly all our tests. It scored particularly poorly in graphics tests but was below average in overall performance and battery life. Considering the high starting price of $1720, many users may be better served by higher value alternatives, such as the HP Spectre x360 14, which is one of the best 2-in-1 laptops and has a similar price to the ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen 9. 

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Stevie Bonifield
Freelance Writer

Stevie Bonifield is a freelance tech journalist specializing in keyboards, peripherals, gaming gear, and mobile tech. Outside of writing, Stevie loves indie games, photography, and building way too many custom keyboards