The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano is perhaps one of the lightest laptops we have ever tested, taking away all the spotlight from its X1 Carbon. In addition to its delightfully compact nature, it is a great tool for productivity and business.
Design and build quality
It is no surprise that the X1 Nano sports a fantastic build. All over the machine’s magnesium body, you find a soft-touch matte black finish which gives off a premium appearance and feel. However, this does have one drawback. Especially on the exterior, the X1 Nano easily catches grease and fingerprints. And given the nature of the finish, these can sometimes be hard to wipe down.
In addition to the great build quality, you find MIL-STD-810 protection here. This incorporates 12 methods and 20 procedures for tests in relation to mechanical shock, vibration and humidity protection among many others. We absolutely love how premium the laptop’s hinge feels and how it can open up to 180-degrees. Moreover, there is little to no flex on its deck nor screen. To top it all off, the X1 Nano is only 907g and 16.7mm which is fantastic for everyday use. It rivals some of the most compact laptops out there and becomes a viable choice for on-the-go working lifestyles.
Display and multimedia
Up front, the ThinkPad X1 Nano sports a 13-inch 2K 2,160 x 1,350 IPS panel with Dolby Vision and a 450nit brightness according to Lenovo. In our use, text remained sharp whereas multimedia had a good vibrancy to it, especially with Dolby Vision supported content. But black colors were a bit lacking mainly because this is not an OLED panel.
At its display size, we also like that Lenovo has gone for a 16:10 aspect ratio for its display. This allows for more screen real estate when working at the expense of black bars when watching multimedia content. But in all honesty, the latter does not get in the way of the experience too much.
Pairing with this display are Dolby Atmos powered speakers. When watching content such as sports, these get extremely loud allowing you to immerse yourself in the experience. However, for audiophiles, the level of quality here may be lacking. For example, spoken dialogue is crisp but detail in instrumentals falls noticeably short.
Connectivity and privacy
If there is one area where the X1 Nano is a bit lacking, it is with the amount of ports available to users. On its right edge, you find just a recessed power button and venting. The button is difficult to press but once you are used to it, it should not be a problem. On the left, you find a 3.5mm headphone jack and two Thunderbolt 4 Type-C USB ports, one of which can be used for charging the ultrabook.
Aside from these, you will need to rely on a dongle for ports such as Type-A USB or HDMI. We suspect a dongle with the X1 Nano is a good pairing especially in an office environment. Speaking of this, Lenovo has also ensured suitable security features on the laptop. You find a discrete Trusted Platform Module (dTPM) support to encrypt data, access to a fingerprint reader and an IR 720p camera with a security shutter.
Both the fingerprint reader and camera work well when it comes to security. However, we would have liked to see a better web-camera on the laptop. In an era where communication via video is standard, the botched quality and less than ideal low-light video performance is not something to expect from a high-end business notebook.
Keyboard and trackpad
Usually, smaller laptops like the X1 Nano make sacrifices with keyboard spacing. However, we found the keyboard experience on the ultrabook to be extremely satisfying. Keys have a nice ‘thump’ to them and spacing is great. One annoying aspect about the keyboard though is the placement of its ‘Fn’ key. We are used to ‘Ctrl’ being on the far bottom left of the keyboard which is just a bit difficult to adjust to. For those who love Lenovo’s track-point, you will find that here as well. And as far as keyboard back-lighting is concerned, there are two levels possible.
Underneath the keyboard, you find a good quality trackpad. Lenovo ThinkPad trackpads are known to be satisfying and this is no different. However, when you click multiple times quickly, there is a concerning creak noise that it produces. We are not sure if this is a one-off but it is worth mentioning. Otherwise, its accuracy and ease of use is great, but it would have been even better if it was slightly larger in size to facilitate easy gestures.
Performance and thermal management
Running the show on the ThinkPad X1 Nano is an 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1160G7 processor based on the Evo vPro platform. Alongside the processor, you find 16GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage which clocks sequential read and write speeds of 2,456MB/s and 575MB/s respectively.
For your everyday work and multitasking, you should have no issue with the internals on the ultrabook. We tested its hardware with up to 30 Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome windows, with a few housing up to 6-7 tabs. On top of this, we were running a few 4K videos on YouTube in the background and the laptop seemed to be handling things well.
In addition to regular usage, you also find Intel Iris Xe graphics support here. While this is not enough for hardcore gaming, it certainly does the job when it comes to Adobe Photoshop and Premiere Pro usage. Whether it is editing high-resolution photos or videos, the ThinkPad X1 Nano holds up well. However, when it comes to encoding and rendering, it is slower than the competition such as the new Apple M1 MacBooks or laptops with a dedicated GPU at this price point.
The obvious advantage of the X1 Nano is portability. And despite this slim and lightweight chassis, we were happy with the temperatures it recorded. Its deck felt mildly warm towards the left and right edges whereas at the bottom, it got a bit hotter. Longer usage on a lap may get slightly uncomfortable but otherwise, the X1 Nano holds up pretty well.
There is a 48Wh battery on the ThinkPad X1 Nano which is small on paper but is extremely impressive in practice. On a single charge, the battery will last you anywhere between 10-14 hours. Our usage in this scenario is at 50 per-cent brightness and includes video playback, word processing, heavy internet browsing as well as a bit of photo editing.
The great part about the battery on the laptop is also its charging technology. You find a feature called Rapid Charge which takes the battery on the laptop from 0-80 per-cent in just 1 hour using Lenovo’s 65W proprietary Type-C charger. But you can also use just about any Type-C charger to top up the device which is a great added convenience.
We have nothing but good things to say about the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano. For someone looking for an ultra-portable choice that does little to sacrifice on performance, this is it. Slight annoyances such as the lack of certain ports or underwhelming overall audio performance are not aspects that write off purchasing the ultrabook completely. Because it more than makes up for that with features such as a splendid screen and battery life, on top of its already impressive build.