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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano review: This 2-pound laptop is shockingly good

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano is a pricey but quality business laptop

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano review
(Image: © Tom's Guide)

Our Verdict

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano features amazing battery life and a gorgeous display packed into a lightweight design, but it’s pricey and skimps on ports.

For

  • Great battery life
  • Lightweight
  • 2K, anti-glare display
  • Useful software
  • Punchy keyboard

Against

  • Limited ports
  • Dull sound
  • Pricey

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano is one of Lenovo's newest inventions -- they took the business laptop and made it smaller. The newest design offers a great battery life, a 13-inch, 2K display and a punchy keyboard packed into a light and sleek design.

There are a few downsides to consider before making such an important purchase though. The limited amount of ports the X1 Nano offers is quite disappointing, as well as the dull sounding speakers. To make things a little more iffy, compared to its competitor, the Apple MacBook Pro M1, the performance, display, and graphics fall behind.

For $1,847, I would’ve hoped for a little bit more, but this Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano review will show why it's a great choice for business-focused users, especially if you want one of the lightest notebooks around.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano: Price and configuration options

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 comes with a variety of configuration options, with the cheapest starting at $1,349, and the most expensive costing $2,207. The model we reviewed, which costs $1,847, comes with an Intel Core i7-1160G7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, 512GB of SSD, and a 13-inch LCD 2,160 x 1,350-pixel display.

If the review model is a little out of your price range, the base version starts at $1,349 and offers an Intel Core i5-1130G7 CPU, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of SSD, and a 13-inch 2,160 x 1,350-pixel display. If you prefer more upgrades to your Thinkpad, you can pick the $2,207 model, which comes with an Intel Core i7-1180G7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, 1TB of SSD, and a 13-inch 2,120 x 1,350 touchscreen display.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano: Design

Back at it with the classic Lenovo design, the ThinkPad X1 Nano looks similar to all of its predecessors, with a sleek carbon fiber and magnesium chassis. Unlike the others, though, this ThinkPad has a much lighter chassis, weighing only 2 pounds.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano review: Design

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The interior is compact, with the touchpad at the bottom accompanied with discrete buttons for the pointing stick, a fingerprint reader to the right, a nearly edge-to-edge keyboard above and two speaker vents closing in on the corners. The bezels on the display are relatively thin, apart from the top which is thicker thanks to the webcam.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano review: opened up

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The word “Nano” in Greek means dwarf, and so it's appropriate that Lenovo literally dwarfed this laptop’s size down a few notches.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano review: profile shot

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The X1 Nano is a much smaller size at just 12.7 x 8.5 x 0.6 inches than the previous ThinkPads. The Dell XPS 13 (11.7 x 8.2 x 0.5 inch, 2.9 pounds) and the MacBook Pro with M1 (12 x 8.4 x 0.6 inch, 2.8 pounds) may be slightly smaller in size, but the ThinkPad is much lighter in your bag.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano: Ports

I couldn’t help but ask myself: where are all of the ports? There are no USB Type-A ports, which means you’re going to have to carry around a bunch of dongles.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano review: power button

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Located on the left side you will find two Thunderbolt 4 ports, which also acts as the charging port, along with a headphone/mic jack.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano review: ports

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano: Display

The X1 Nano's 13.0-inch, 2K (2160 x 1350-pixel) anti-glare display  is gorgeous.While watching the trailer for Wonder Woman 1984, the wide-shot of the city was vibrant with different hints of colors from the luminescent signs that contrasted well with the eerie fog in the background. Even in the closeup of Diana’s face, the tone of her cheeks, the lipstick on her lips, and the furrow in the brow were all sharp, crisp, and full of color.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano review: Display

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

According to our colorimeter gamut, the X1 Nano produced 101.1% of the sRGB spectrum, which is slightly better than the Dell XPS 13 (97.9%), but did not do as well as the Apple MacBook Pro M1 (110.6%).

Our test also determined that the X1 Nano produces 430 nits of brightness, which falls slightly behind the Dell XPS 13 (469 nits).  The Apple MacBook Pro  M1 (435 nits) is similarly bright.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano: Keyboard and touchpad

Typing is very enjoyable on the X1 Nano, as the keys are very punchy. When testing out the keyboard on 10fastfingers typing test, I was able to type 49 words per minute, which isn't too far off from my 53 wpm average, and I think it's the best I’ve done in a long time. Though the dimensions of the keyboard are a lot smaller than I’m used to, I think the spacing of the keys and the size of the keys really help with the comfortability of typing.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano review: Keyboard

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The X1 Nano’s 2.8 x 3.9-inch touchpad is set up differently from the typical laptop’s layout. The touchpad itself offers a soft and sleek design, and it works well with Windows 10 gestures like two-finger scrolling.

In the lower-center portion of the keyboard you will find the red TrackPoint nubbin, which acts as a  miniature touchpad if you've never used one. It’s pretty small and can prove hard to maneuver, but it has a following among ThinkPad owners.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano: Audio

The X1 Nano’s speakers impressed me with the amount of sound it produced, but disappointed me on quality it wasn’t actually good. While listening to Amber Run’s “I found,” the vocals of the song were so crisp and clear that I got the goosebumps. I can’t say the same about the instruments in the background though. The piano was very dulled out and at times sounded like it had an unintentional echo. The cymbal also sounded muffled, and rather than having a high-pitched chime, it sounded as though someone was clapping.

If you like hearing all parts of the music, you may want to look into the best computer speakers, because the X1 Nano’s speakers dampen all of the background instruments.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano: Performance

I tested an X1 Nano configured with an Intel Core i7-1160G7 CPU and 16GB of RAM, which proved more than speedy and cable. To put that power to the test, I opened 30 Google Chrome tabs and five 1080p YouTube videos, and it handled all of that without an issue.

On the Geekbench 5.3 overall performance test, the X1 Nano scored 5,155. That’s a solid score, but it still falls behind the Dell XPS 13 (11th Gen Intel Core i3-1115G4 processor and 8GB of RAM), which scored 5,254 on the Geekbench 5 general performance test. It also couldn’t touch the score from the Apple MacBook Pro M1 (M1 processor and 16GB of RAM), which scored 7584 on the 5.3 Geekbench test.

The X1 Nano took 16 minutes and 15 seconds to transcode a 4K video to 1080p on our HandBrake benchmark. That ended up being faster than the Dell XPS 13, which took about 18 minutes, but was significantly much slower than the Apple MacBook Pro M1, which took 7:44.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano: Graphics

The X1 Nano comes packed with Intel Iris Xe Graphics, which is the baseline integrated graphics chip that most Intel CPUs come packed with nowadays, so, you may not have any luck getting good frame rates in intensive games.

On the 3DMark Fire Strike test, the X1 Nano scored 4457, beating the Dell XPS 13 which scored 3,598. While running Sid Meier’s Civilization VI: Gathering Storm, the X1 Nano ran the game at 23.3 frames per second, which is better than the Dell XPS 13 which ran it at 15.7 fps. The Apple MacBook Pro M1 flew past both and hit 38 fps, but at a lower resolution of 1440 x 900.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano: Battery life

The battery life is nothing to be worried about when it comes to the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 1. If you need to constantly lug your laptop to and from work, no need to worry about forgetting your charger. Using our battery test, when the Lenovo continuously surfed the web over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness, the laptop was able to last a whopping 12 hours flat.

Compared to its competitors, the Apple MacBook Pro M1 (16:32) surpasses the ThinkPad X1 Nano by 2 hours. However, the ThinkPad X1 Nano just nearly treads past the Dell XPS 13 (11:07), lasting nearly an hour longer.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano: Webcam

For the price of the X1 Nano, I was hoping the webcam would be somewhat decent, but rather it’s extremely blotchy and blurry.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano review: webcam

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Located on the top bezel of the laptop, the 720p camera lacked both color and focus, making the experience quite disappointing. If you plan on using your webcam often, you can look into our best webcams page.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano: Heat

Heat isn’t anything to be overly concerned about with the X1 Nano. After running a 1080p video for 15 minutes, no immediate red flags went off, which is impressive for an ultraportable laptop, as they normally don’t have the greatest ventilation.

The main points of contact on the laptop stayed low and cool, with the touchpad reaching 81 degrees and the keyboard reaching 87 degrees. Meanwhile, the underside of the laptop reached 96 degrees, passing our comfort threshold by 1 degree. Again, it’s not a major concern seeing as the laptop will most likely be on a desk and not on your lap, and it’s only one degree.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano: Software

It’s always nice opening a new laptop and not seeing any bloatware, which is exactly what Lenovo did for their customers. Rather, it comes with software best suited for businesses, such as an app called Commercial Vantage. This app can be used for system updates, to monitor your storage space, check your warranty status, and gain more information on the type of model you own.

In our current state of the world where COVID has changed the standards of cleanliness, Lenovo created another app called Lenovo Quick Clean, which allows "healthcare professionals to lock keyboard and mouse input so the laptop keyboard can be wiped down to sanitize the device." Pretty nifty if you ask me.

The X1 Nano also comes with the average 1 year warranty.

Verdict

This Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Nano review shows how it offers solid performance  for a business laptop, not to mention amazing battery life, a colorful 2K anti-glare display and even some useful software that will help business users. However, when you compare it to other systems, its price seems a little high, especially when it also has limited ports and dull speakers.

Though the X1 Nano offers solid specs, the Apple MacBook Pro M1 offers far better performance, graphics and a more vibrant display. If you’re looking to save $700, take a look at the similarly spec'd Apple MacBook Pro M1. However, it won’t be as light at the X1 Nano.

The X1 Nano excels at what it was designed for: being ultraportable. If you’re looking to get one of the most portable laptops with long battery life, the X1 Nano is a great choice.