Lenovo’s Revamped ThinkPad X1 Extreme Is Now Slimmer and Way More Powerful

Lenovo’s Revamped ThinkPad X1 Extreme Is Now Slimmer and Way More Powerful
Photo: Sam Rutherford

The ThinkPad X1 Extreme was already a great system for people who needed a powerful and sturdy mobile workhorse, but for this year’s refresh, Lenovo has made pretty much everything better while still cutting down on thickness and giving the laptop a big boost in performance.

Even though Lenovo hasn’t really messed with the X1 Extreme’s overall design, there are a number of tweaks that should add some physical and visual appeal. The first change is that Lenovo is showing more of the X1 Extreme’s carbon fibre weave — a small departure from the ThinkPad line’s typical matte black finish. But perhaps more importantly, the new X1 Extreme is thinner than before, measuring just 17.7mm thick compared to 18.4mm thick for the previous model, while weighing just four pounds.

Additionally, Lenovo has switched over to a new 16-inch 16:10 aspect ratio display that gives you a little more vertical screen real estate, which is always valuable when you’re working on the go. And on the inside, Lenovo also installed a new system of heat pipes and vapour chambers to improve cooling without sacrificing on the spill resistance or mil-spec durability people have come to expect from ThinkPads.

Here's what Lenovo's new cooling design on the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 4 looks like. (Photo: Sam Rutherford) Here’s what Lenovo’s new cooling design on the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 4 looks like. (Photo: Sam Rutherford)

However, the new X1 Extreme’s most meaningful change is all the new components Lenovo has packed inside, which includes up to an 11th-gen Intel Core i9 H-series CPU, dual SSD slots, and up to an Nvidia RTX 3080 GPU with 16GB of vRAM. That last part is a massive upgrade considering the previous model topped out at a GTX 1650. And even with all that power, with a standard 90 Whr battery, Lenovo claims the X1 Extreme should be able to last up to 10.7 hours on a charge.

But that’s not all: There are a bunch of other little improvements, like the jump up to a full HD webcam (up from 720p) that also includes a handy physical webcam shutter and optional IR sensor, a larger touchpad, and display options that include support for 4K with Dolby Vision HDR and up to 600 nits of brightness. Lenovo even added a fingerprint reader into the X1 Extreme’s power button, so you can more easily sign into your machine with a single touch. And with two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt, two USB-A ports, an SD card reader, and a full-sized HDMI port, there’s a ton of connectivity options, too.

Photo: Sam Rutherford, In-House Art

Photo: Sam Rutherford, In-House Art

Lenovo is trying to highlight the X1 Extreme’s durability by making the carbon fibre weave used in its chassis more visible. Click through for more close up photos.

Photo: Sam Rutherford, In-House Art

Photo: Sam Rutherford, In-House Art

Photo: Sam Rutherford, In-House Art

Photo: Sam Rutherford, In-House Art

Photo: Sam Rutherford, In-House Art

Photo: Sam Rutherford, In-House Art

In addition to the new X1 Extreme, Lenovo is also introducing refreshed versions of the ThinkPad L13 and the ThinkPad L13 Yoga powered by AMD Ryzen 5000 chips. But I gotta admit that when I got a chance to check all of this stuff out in person, I was oddly drawn to Lenovo’s new line of Lenovo Go accessories, which combine productivity with a surprisingly sophisticated design.

The new Lenovo Go vertical mouse and Wireless Split Keyboard feature cork panels to add a bit of texture and warmth to typically cold designs, while Lenovo’s new USB-C Wireless Charging Kit makes it possible to add wireless charging capabilities to 13- and 14-inch laptops. And for extra charging mobility, Lenovo even created a 10,000 mAh power bank with built-in Qi wireless support, so you can top up a phone without needing to physically plug it in.

Lenovo's new line of Lenovo Go accessories includes everything from wireless keyboards and mice to power banks, portable speakers, headsets, and more.  (Photo: Sam Rutherford) Lenovo’s new line of Lenovo Go accessories includes everything from wireless keyboards and mice to power banks, portable speakers, headsets, and more. (Photo: Sam Rutherford)

The new ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 4 will start at $US2,149 ($2,756) and will be available in August in the U.S. along with the ThinkPad L13 and ThinkPad L13 Yoga. Meanwhile, Lenovo’s new line of Lenovo Go accessories will begin rolling out in July, starting with Lenovo’s wireless mice. More devices will become available throughout the winter and spring.

Editor’s Note: Stay tuned for local Australian pricing and availability.