Lenovo Just Made the Best Budget-Friendly ThinkPads Even Better

Lenovo Just Made the Best Budget-Friendly ThinkPads Even Better
Image: Lenovo

Lenovo just refreshed several of its more budget-friendly ThinkPad models, and one, in particular, is worth keeping a close eye on.

Cheaper than many of its business laptop siblings, the ThinkPad X13 and X13 Yoga are ultra-portable laptops complete with everything you’d expect from a ThinkPad. That includes signature styling consisting of an all-black chassis with red trim, a red rubber pointing stick nestled in the keyboard, and an illuminated “i” in the ThinkPad logo.

The success of these business laptops can be attributed to the consistent look and feel Lenovo has maintained for more than a decade. That much hasn’t changed with these new entries, though the company is, for better or worse, starting to come out of its black/red shell. To that end, the X13 is also available in Storm Grey, a dark silver tone that contrasts starkly against the other traditional colour option. These may look the same as the previous versions, but Lenovo says the touchpad is now 15% larger.

Lenovo ThinkPad X13 (Image: Lenovo)Lenovo ThinkPad X13 (Image: Lenovo)

The X13 is more of a portable budget-friendly laptop than a 13-inch version of the X1 Carbon (that’s where the X1 Nano comes in), so its 0.7-inch, 1 kg chassis isn’t as sleek or slim as the pricier model. However, the extra space leads to a generous selection of ports, which includes two Thunderbolt 4 ports (AMD has non-Thunderbolt USB-C), two USB Type-A 3.2 inputs, an HDMI 2.0, a headphone jack, and a SIM slot for 5G (sub-6Ghz over eSIM) or 4G LTE connectivity. The former connectivity option is joined by Wi-Fi 6E in making these newest ThinkPads futureproof.

One of the few complaints I’ve had with previous models was that the displays were dim, dull, or both. I’m hoping the 13.3-inch, 2560×1600-pixel (16:10) screen on the new X13 models fixes these past flaws. These are Dolby Vision certified and get up to 400 nits of brightness, which should be fine even in brighter environments. Lenovo also makes claims about “narrow bezels,” though it seems to think we’re in another decade because the thick frame bordering the X13’s screen reminds me of Ralphie’s glasses in A Christmas Story.

Moving to performance, the X13 comes in Intel and AMD flavours. Processor options include up to a 12th Gen Intel Core i7 vPro chip for the Yoga while the clamshell model gets AMD Ryzen Pro 6000 CPUs. Memory goes up to 32GB and up to 2TB of PCIe SSD storage. As expected, the X13 relies on integrated graphics only, so you’re looking at Iris Xe or Radeon 600M.

Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Yoga (Image: Lenovo)Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Yoga (Image: Lenovo)

The X13 and X13 Yoga are straightforward updates to the previous models, but there are a few hybrid work-friendly enhancements beyond the upgraded wireless support. These two laptops now come with “up to” a 1080p webcam with IR, and while the increased resolution doesn’t guarantee good image quality, it should mean an improvement over most 720p cameras.

Also new this year are Dolby Voice for better microphone performance and a larger 54.7Whr battery option in addition to a stock 41Whr battery. Lenovo didn’t make any runtime claims for the X13 but it says the 57Whr cell in the X13 Yoga gets it up to 13.6 hours of battery life.

The Lenovo X13 Gen 3 and X13 Yoga Gen 3 will go on sale in June starting at $US1,369 ($1,900) and $US1,179 ($1,637), respectively, for the Intel models. The X13 with AMD will launch alongside the others but cost a bit less at $US1,119 ($1,553). Lenovo also refreshed its ThinkPad L13, L14, L15, and L13 Yoga laptops, which will go on sale in April and May.