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Lenovo ThinkPad X13 review – premium materials but a very familiar execution

A business computer for traveling. This is how Lenovo describes its “new” ThinkPad X13. But ultimately, isn’t every ThinkPad meant for this? So, how would they try to win their customers, and convince them that the X13 is better than the L13, which costs a fraction of the price of today’s model?

Well, first of all, there are the usual security features that pretty much all of the ThinkPad laptops come with. Then, there is the I/O versatility. And not in the last place, the quality of build – we will talk about that in a second.

What hides beneath the bonnet, is a choice of Comet Lake processors, maxing out with the Core i7-10510U (or its vPro variant – the Core i7-10610U). Frankly, a quad-core ULV processor should do the job for a business machine, but you never know. Also, keep in mind that there is the beast of a notebook – Dell Latitude 7390 that today’s device is competing with.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/lenovo-thinkpad-x13-gen-1-intel/

Contents

Specs Sheet

Lenovo ThinkPad X13 review – premium materials but a very familiar execution - Specs

  • AUO B133HAN05.A (LEN4094)
  • Color accuracy  5.1  0.8
  • HDD/SSD
  • up to 2000GB SSD
  • RAM
  • up to 32GB
  • OS
  • Windows 10 Pro, Windows 11 Pro, Windows 10 Home
  • Battery
  • 48Wh, 48Wh, 6-cell, 45Wh, 3-cell, 48Wh, 4-cell
  • Body material
  • Plastic / Polycarbonate, Aluminum, Carbon, Magnesium alloy
  • Dimensions
  • 312 x 217.2 x 16.9 mm (12.28" x 8.55" x 0.67")
  • Weight
  • 1.22 kg (2.7 lbs)
  • Ports and connectivity
  • 2x USB Type-A
  • 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • 1x USB Type-C
  • 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps), Power Delivery (PD), DisplayPort
  • 1x USB Type-C
  • 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps), Thunderbolt 3, Power Delivery (PD), DisplayPort
  • HDMI
  • 1.4b
  • Card reader
  • MicroSD
  • Wi-Fi
  • 802.11ax
  • Bluetooth
  • 5
  • Audio jack
  • 3.5 mm combo
  • Docking Connector
  • Features
  • Fingerprint reader
  • optional
  • Web camera
  • HD and IR
  • Backlit keyboard
  • optional
  • Microphone
  • Dual Array Microphone
  • Speakers
  • 2x 2W, Dolby Audio
  • Optical drive
  • Security Lock slot

All Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 (Intel) configurations

#CommissionsEarned

What’s in the box?

Inside the package, we found a 65W USB Type-C power brick, and some mandatory paper manuals.

Design and construction

Okay, guys, this laptop is made out of a Magnesium/Aluminum combo for the base, and Carbon Fiber (or plastic) for the lid. Interestingly, Lenovo has a neat little table, which shows that the Carbon Fiber lid is only available for Full HD non-touchscreen models. The rest will be equipped with a plastic lid, and there is a chance that the aforementioned display option will also come with a plastic cover. A bit sketchy from Lenovo here. In terms of weight, the laptop starts at 1.22 kg and goes to 1.33 kg, depending on the model. Respectively, the profile thickness starts from 16.5mm for some units and goes up to 16.9mm for others.

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to open the lid of this notebook with a single hand. However, it is quite resistant to bends. By the way, inside the pretty thick top bezel, you’ll find an HD camera and an IR face recognition sensor.

Next in line is the base. As we mentioned it is pretty well built and it is very resistant to flex. Also, the keyboard deck is barely bending when you push on it. Speaking of the keyboard, it is a spill-resistant backlit unit with quick call shortcuts and a notorious nipple. In terms of comfortability, the board is clicky and has a reasonable travel. Our only complaint would be the “Page Up” and “Page Down” key proximity to the Arrow keys.

Similarly to the keyboard, the touchpad is really nice to use, with its fast tracking and relatively smooth gliding. You can also use it with the dedicated keys above it, although they are meant to support all of the three people left in the world that use the Nipple.

And where does this laptop breathe its fresh air from? Yep, the bottom panel, there is no surprise there. Also, this is where our speakers are located, as well. Hot air, on the other side, is exhausted from the right side of the notebook.

Ports

On the left side, you’ll see a USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, used for charging and to output a DisplayPort signal. Next, we have a Thunderbolt 3 port with the same capabilities as the other Type-C port, followed by an Ethernet extension connector, a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, an HDMI 1.4b connector, and an Audio jack. Looking to the right, we see another USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port and a Smart Card reader.

Disassembly, upgrade options and maintenance

Traditionally, the Thinkpads are pretty easy to disassemble. And this laptop is not an exclusion. There are 5 Phillips-head screws you need to undo. Then, start the prying process from the spots beneath the hinges.

Cooling this processor, there are a single medium-sized heat pipe and a rather small fan.

Sadly, all of the memory is soldered to the motherboard. However, the model comes pre-equipped with either 8, 16, or 32GB of memory, but it is frustrating that you can only make this choice before you make the purchase. On the bright side, the laptop has an M.2 slot that supports PCIe x4 drives.

Battery-wise there is a 48Wh unit.

Display quality

Lenovo ThinkPad X13 has a Full HD IPS panel, AUO B133HAN05.A (LEN4094). Its diagonal is 13.3-inch (33.78 cm), and the resolution – 1920 х 1080p. Additionally, the screen ratio is 16:9, the pixel density – 166 ppi, their pitch – 0.153 х 0.153 mm. The screen can be considered Retina when viewed from at least 53 cm (from this distance, the average human eye can’t see the individual pixels).

Its viewing angles are comfortable. We offer images at different angles to evaluate the quality.

The maximum measured brightness is 295 nits (cd/m2) in the middle of the screen and 288 nits (cd/m2) average across the surface with a maximum deviation of 7%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen and at maximum brightness is 7470K – colder than the 6500K temperature for sRGB.
In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from a uniformity perspective. The illustration below shows how matters are for operational brightness levels (approximately 140 nits) – in this particular case at 75% Brightness (White level = 143 cd/m2, Black level = 0.085 cd/m2).
Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the laptop for color-sensitive work (a maximum tolerance of 2.0 ). The contrast ratio is very good – 1690:1 (1340:1 after profiling).

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction to the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.

Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people in HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.

Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.

The yellow dotted line shows Lenovo ThinkPad X13’s color gamut coverage.

Its display covers 96% of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976, which is a prerequisite for a punchy image.

Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.

We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange, etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

Below you can compare the scores of Lenovo ThinkPad X13 with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right).

The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.

The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale, and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle, and the surrounding light conditions.

Response time (Gaming capabilities)

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and vice versa.

We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 25 ms

Health impact – PWM / Blue Light

PWM (Screen flickering)

Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.

Lenovo ThinkPad X13’s display backlight doesn’t flicker, which makes it comfortable for long working periods, keeping your eyes safe in this aspect.

Blue light emissions

Installing our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin, and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.

Conclusion

Lenovo ThinkPad X13’s display has an IPS panel with a Full HD resolution, very good contrast ratio, and comfortable viewing angles. Moreover, it covers 96% of sRGB and it is PWM-free at every brightness level. And while the colors are way off by default, our Gaming and Web design profile manages to extract everything from this panel and drops the Average dE value to 0.9. This makes it pretty useful for color-sensitive work.

Buy our profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for Lenovo ThinkPad X13 configurations with 13.3″ AUO B133HAN05.A (LEN4094) (FHD, 1920 × 1080) IPS panel.

*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at bg.laptopmedia@gmail.com.

Read more about the profiles HERE.

In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia's products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.

Office Work

Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.

Design and Gaming

This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.

Health-Guard

Health-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.

Get all 3 profiles with 33% discount

Sound

Lenovo ThinkPad X13’s Dolby Audio speakers produce a surprisingly loud and crisp sound. Additionally, its low, mid, and high tones are clear of deviations.

Drivers

All of the drivers and utilities for this notebook can be found here: https://pcsupport.lenovo.com/us/en/products/laptops-and-netbooks/thinkpad-x-series-laptops/thinkpad-x13-type-20t2-20t3/downloads/driver-list

Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests with Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits, and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with. We got more than 14 hours of Web browsing and about 12 hours of video playback from this 48Wh battery.

In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.

CPU options

The Intel version of the ThinkPad X13 can be purchased with the Core i3-10110U (2c/4t), Core i5-10210U (4c/8t), Core i7-10510U (4c/8t), and the latter two’s vPro versions – Core i5-10310U and Core i7-10610U, both with four cores and eight threads.

Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 (Intel) CPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the CPUs that can be found in the Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 (Intel) models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Gen 1 (Intel) model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different CPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / CPU.

GPU options

On the other side, the only graphics option here is the integrated Intel UHD Graphics, which comes with all of the aforementioned processors.

Gaming tests

cs-go-benchmarks

CS:GOHD 1080p, Low (Check settings)HD 1080p, Medium (Check settings)HD 1080p, MAX (Check settings)
Average FPS43 fps26 fps– fps

DOTA 2HD 1080p, Low (Check settings)HD 1080p, Normal (Check settings)HD 1080p, High (Check settings)
Average FPS69 fps34 fps– fps

Temperatures and comfort

Max CPU load

In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.

Average core frequency (base frequency + X); CPU temp.

Intel Core i5-10210U (15W TDP)0:02 – 0:10 sec0:15 – 0:30 sec10:00 – 15:00 min
Lenovo ThinkPad X132.59 GHz (B+62%) @ 75°C1.84 GHz (B+15%) @ 74°C1.54 GHz @ 67°C
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 8th Gen2.97 GHz (B+82%) @ 82°C3.05 GHz (B+97%) @ 97°C2.13 GHz (B+33%) @ 81°C
MSI Modern 142.33 GHz (B+46%) @ 61°C2.32 GHz (B+45%) @ 71°C2.07 GHz (B+29%) @ 80°C
Lenovo ThinkPad E152.47 GHz (B+54%) @ 76°C2.50 GHz (B+56%) @ 91°C1.97 GHz (B+23%) @ 79°C
HP Probook 440 G72.68 GHz (B+68%) @ 59°C2.68 GHz (B+68%) @ 67°C2.20 GHz (B+38%) @ 72°C
Lenovo ThinkBook 15-IML3.08 GHz (B+93%) @ 73°C3.00 GHz (B+88%) @ 82°C2.55 GHz (B+59%) @ 80°C
Lenovo ThinkPad L133.04 GHz (B+90%) @ 97°C2.10 GHz (B+31%) @ 97°C2.12 GHz (B+33%) @ 79°C
ASUS ZenBook Duo UX4813.26 GHz (B+104%) @ 94°C2.77 GHz (B+73%) @ 98°C2.06 GHz (B+29%) @ 71°C
Dell Vostro 55903.50 GHz (B+119%) @ 94°C2.68 GHz (B+68%) @ 97°C2.36 GHz (B+48%) @ 79°C

Due to its heavy throttling under extreme load, the temperatures remain in check and the laptop is barely audible. Interestingly, we didn’t see such low frequencies during the Cinebench tests. However, this doesn’t change the fact that the ThinkPad X13 had probably the lowest frequency from all of the laptops we’ve tested with this processor.

Comfort during full load

Interestingly, the temperatures on the outside were just above 40C after 15 minutes of extreme workload. At least, the fan was pretty quiet, as we already mentioned.

Verdict

So, what is wrong with this device? Well, frankly – anything. The execution is great, the materials of use are extremely premium and the performance is …there. Okay, there is still the issue with the soldered memory, which drives us crazy. This is a productivity machine. And it is not cheap. This means you have to deal with it for at least a couple of years. And to do so, it would be extremely helpful if you were able to upgrade it. Instead, Lenovo is providing you with a handful of options, which you can only choose when buying the device. Indeed, you can pick the 32GB option right off the bat and it will do you well for quite a while. Additionally, the 16GB variant is not a bad choice either. However, in our opinion, you should stay away from the 8GB unit – you know better than anyone that most productivity apps are feasting on your machine’s precious RAM.

Additionally, the laptop lacks an SD card reader, and its “Page Up” and “Page Down” keys are placed too close to the Arrow keys, but honestly, these are not issues you can’t deal with.

On the bright side, the ThinkPad X13 comes with a plethora of security features, including a discrete TPM 2.0 chip, the PrivacyGuard, an optional IR face recognition system and a fingerprint reader. Also, there is a ton of encryption passwords here and there, plus the additional vPro functionality of the hardware, should you pick the appropriate processor for the job.

Lenovo ThinkPad X13’s display has an IPS panel with a Full HD resolution, very good contrast ratio, and comfortable viewing angles. Moreover, it covers 96% of sRGB and it is PWM-free at every brightness level. And while the colors are way off by default, our Gaming and Web design profile manages to extract everything from this panel and drops the Average dE value to 0.9. This makes it pretty useful for color-sensitive work.

In addition to the great display, you have a battery that will last you for 14 hours of Web browsing and 12 hours of video playback. Ultimately, this machine is pretty great for travelers, with its 1.22-1.33 kg weight and thin profile. However, you can save some money by going for the slightly older Dell Latitude 13 7390, which is definitely not a worse product.

Pros

  • Thin, light and sturdy Magnesium/Aluminum design
  • Pleasant spill-resistant keyboard with long travel and clicky feedback
  • I/O with docking support and Thunderbolt connectivity
  • Great battery life
  • Charges with USB Type-C
  • Doesn’t use PWM for brightness adjustment
  • Covers 96% of sRGB
  • Extreme color accuracy when our Gaming and Web design profile is applied
  • Optional IR face recognition and fingerprint reader


Cons

  • No RAM upgradability options
  • A bit pricey
  • Hardly any different from its predecessor

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/lenovo-thinkpad-x13-gen-1-intel/