Lenovo ThinkPad X13s Gen 1 review

We honestly didn’t think that Lenovo would come with a more interesting laptop than its ThinkPad Z-series for this year. However, we were wrong. We got our hands on a ThinkPad X13s Gen 1.

What’s so special about it? Well, as Lenovo puts it in its own words – it provides a smartphone experience with PC performance. The reason for that is the ARM-based Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 SoC on the inside.

This changes every perspective of the laptop – the battery life, and the device’s chassis. Even the cooling setup is now completely silent. This is because the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 has a TDP of only 7W.

What makes this possible, however, is the ARM integration within Windows 11. It has finally matured enough to be offered with a high-profile business machine like the ThinkPad X13s Gen 1.

By the way, the display and the camera are nothing short of impressive, too. The latter is a 5MP shooter, which produces very compelling video calls. We have a ton of tests on the display, so you’ll learn more about it shortly.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/lenovo-thinkpad-x13s-gen-1/

Contents


Specs Sheet

Lenovo ThinkPad X13s Gen 1 - Specs

  • HDD/SSD
  • up to 1000GB SSD
  • RAM
  • up to 32GB
  • OS
  • Windows 11 Home
  • Battery
  • 49.5Wh
  • Dimensions
  • 298.7 x 206.4 x 13.4 mm (11.76" x 8.13" x 0.53")
  • Weight
  • 1.06 kg (2.3 lbs)
  • Ports and connectivity
  • 2x USB Type-C
  • 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps), Power Delivery (PD), DisplayPort
  • Card reader
  • Ethernet LAN
  • Wi-Fi
  • 802.11ax
  • Bluetooth
  • 5.1
  • Audio jack
  • 3.5mm Combo Jack
  • Features
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Web camera
  • 5.0MP with E-camera shutter, fixed focus
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Microphone
  • Triple Array Microphone, far-field
  • Speakers
  • 2x 2W Stereo Speakers, Dolby Audio
  • Optical drive
  • Security Lock slot
  • Kensington Nano Lock

All Lenovo ThinkPad X13s Gen 1 configurations

#CommissionsEarned

What’s in the box?

Inside the package of this device, we found a 65W USB Type-C charger and some paperwork. Some optional accessories include a USB Type-C to LAN port adapter and a USB Type-C port replicator.


Design and construction

Once you take this laptop in your hand, you will feel its petite dimensions. It has a profile of only 13.4mm and weighs 1.06 kg. Truly remarkable if you ask us. And what is even scarier, is that it actually has a pretty strong chassis, and the lid shows almost no flex when you twist it.

Lenovo uses a magnesium-aluminum alloy and glass-fiber reinforced plastic for the build of the device. The company is also proud of its environment-friendly approach with 90% of the magnesium being recycled, as well as 30% of the battery pack, 97% of the speakers’ enclosure, and 90% of the power adapter.

Interestingly, the lid cannot be opened with a single hand. Nevertheless, the matte screen features thin bezels all around it. The top one has a notch that houses the 5MP Web camera and the optional IR face recognition scanner.

Move to the base, and you’ll see a pill-shaped power button, which doubles as a fingerprint reader. Of course, at 13.4mm overall thickness you can’t expect a keyboard with long key travel. However, it is surprisingly good with the clicky feedback doing the heavy lifting in terms of comfort.

In addition to that, the unit is spill-resistant, has a backlight, and comes with a TrackPoint. The latter works together with a trio of buttons placed above the Mylar-surfaced touchpad. By the way, other Lenovo laptops also come with the same material, but we found the one on the ThinkPad X13s Gen 1 to be smoother than ever.

This might be because of the soft-to-the-touch finish on both the lid and the base. Interestingly, the speakers are placed on either side of the keyboard and fire toward the user.

Since there is no fan, and the speakers are facing upward, the bottom panel is home to nothing. It is a bit weird that there isn’t any ventilation, or convection-based cooling, despite the passive approach.

Ports

Unsurprisingly, the port situation here is unimpressive. On the left side, there are two USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 2) ports. They both support Power Delivery 3.0, DisplayPort 1.4a, and data transfer, which is great. On the right, respectively, there is a security lock slot, as well as an optional Nano SIM card tray, and an Audio jack.


Disassembly, upgrade options, and maintenance

There are 6 captive Phillips-head screws you need to undo to get inside this device. Also, you have to pry the bottom panel with a plastic tool.

This laptop sports a 49.5Wh battery pack. It lasts for 14 hours of Web browsing, or 21 hours of video playback on a single charge. To take it out, unplug the battery connector, and undo the three Phillips-head screws.

Here, the memory is soldered to the motherboard. There are configurations of up to 32GB of LPDDR4x RAM, working at 4266 MHz. As for the storage, there is one M.2 PCIe x4 slot, which fits Gen 4 SSDs with a size of 42mm.

Lenovo uses a passive cooling setup, which comprises one long heat pipe.


Display quality

Lenovo ThinkPad X13s Gen 1 uses a WUXGA IPS touchscreen panel, model number AUO B133UAN02.1 (LEN41A6). Its diagonal is 13.3″ (33.8 cm), and the resolution – 1920 x 1200. Additionally, the screen ratio is 16:10, the pixel density – 170 ppi, and their pitch – 0.15 x 0.15 mm. The screen can be considered Retina when viewed from at least 51 cm (from this distance, the average human eye can’t see the individual pixels).

Viewing angles are comfortable. We have provided images at 45 degrees to evaluate quality.

Also, a video with locked focus and exposure.

The maximum measured brightness is 433 nits (cd/m2) in the middle of the screen and 412 nits (cd/m2) average across the surface with a maximum deviation of 9%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen and at maximum brightness is 6390K (average) – slightly warmer than the 6500K optimum 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) – White level = 141 cd/m2, Black level = 0.08 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 – 1790:1.

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 on HDTV and on the web. As for 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 X13s Gen 1’s color gamut coverage.

Its display covers 100% of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976.

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 the Lenovo ThinkPad X13s Gen 1 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.

After that, we test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “Gray-to-Gray” method from 50% White to 80% White and vice versa between 10% and 90% of the amplitude.


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 X13s Gen 1’s backlight doesn’t use PWM for brightness adjustment. This makes it comfortable for long periods of use.

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.

Gloss level measurement

Glossy-coated displays are sometimes inconvenient in high ambient light conditions. We show the level of reflection on the screen for the respective laptop when the display is turned off and the measurement angle is 60° (in this case, the result is 59.0 GU).


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 X13s Gen 1 configurations with 13.3″ AUO B133UAN02.1 (LEN41A6) (FHD, 1920 × 1200) IPS.

*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 [email protected]

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 X13s Gen 1’s Dolby Audio speakers produce a sound of good quality, but not very high maximum volume. On the bright side, the low, mid, and high tones are clear of deviations.


Drivers

All 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-x13s-type-21bx-21by/downloads/driver-list

Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests with the 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. This device’s 49.5Wh battery pack lasts for 14 hours and 16 minutes of Web browsing, or 21 hours and 7 minutes of video playback.

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


CPU options

The ThinkPad X13s Gen 1 comes with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3. It has four Kryo Prime cores, working up to 3.00 GHz, and four Kryo Gold cores, that clock up to 2.40 GHz.


GPU options

Graphics-wise, the SoC features the Adreno 690.

3DMark Wildlife Extreme
Lenovo ThinkPad X13s Gen 1 3125
Apple MacBook Air (M2, 2022) 5683
Apple MacBook Pro 13 (2022, M2) 6840
Apple MacBook Pro 14 M1 Pro (8C/14C) 9142
Dell XPS 15 9510 [RTX 3050 Ti (45W)] 8633
MSI Sword 15 [RTX 3050 Ti (60W)] 10618

Gaming tests

cs-go-benchmarks

CS:GO HD 1080p, Low (Check settings) HD 1080p, Medium (Check settings) HD 1080p, MAX (Check settings)
Average FPS 60 fps 59 fps 38 fps

DOTA 2 HD 1080p, Low (Check settings) HD 1080p, Normal (Check settings) HD 1080p, High (Check settings)
Average FPS 64 fps 43 fps 37 fps

Temperatures and comfort

Max CPU load

In this test, we use 100% on the CPU cores with the Cinebench R23 stress test. It runs for 30 minutes, and it tests the stability of the performance.

Stability

Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 First run Middle run Last run Amount of runs Score
Lenovo ThinkPad X13s Gen 1 3652 2984 2326 7 2993

The passively cooled ThinkPad X13s Gen 1 didn’t maintain its performance too well. In 30 minutes it has lost a third of its performance

Comfort during full load

Obviously, the lack of a fan results in a completely silent experience during extreme workload. Gladly, there is no coil whine or any other distracting noise, which is essential. On the other hand, you can see the only disadvantage of such a solution – the top part of the keyboard reaches 50°C. The bottom panel is quite warm too.


Verdict

You see, even though Windows 11 supports ARM SoCs, it still does that by emulating most of the apps. This is why we couldn’t get good scores on the majority of the tests we went through. However, our 3DMark Wild Life Extreme result was better than that of all Intel-based integrated graphics cards.

We are pretty sure that the technology will mature even more, which will make the ThinkPad X13s Gen 1 better over time. For now, however, we can focus on some of the good aspects of the device. Arguably the best one is the user experience. You just open the laptop and it’s on. We even had to peek through the gap between the lid and the base to see if the screen ever turns off. It does.

In addition to that, the battery life is absolutely stellar. We got more than 14 hours of Web browsing or 21 hours of video playback on a single charge. This is definitely in a multi-day territory. What is even more surprising, is that the machine does come with a pretty capable display.

Lenovo ThinkPad X13s Gen 1’s IPS panel has a WUXGA resolution, comfortable viewing angles, and a very good contrast ratio. Its backlight doesn’t use PWM for brightness adjustment, which makes the display comfortable and safe for long periods of use.

Moreover, it covers 100% of the sRGB gamut. This not only results in an attractive image output but also in pretty good color accuracy. Especially if you install our Gaming and Web design profile.

So, you can basically use the laptop for color-sensitive work, while you are out… in the mountain, for two days in a row. With the only distraction being the wind and the wild goats, you can do whatever you want. Put your SIM card inside and enjoy 5G internet.

Yes, it sounds a bit like an ad, but this is the reality. You definitely shouldn’t get the laptop if you are in for a super powerful device, or you want the best performance in every app.

Instead, the ThinkPad X13s Gen 1 is an everyday notebook, that has a fantastic security package, a blazingly fast user experience, one of the best 13.3-inch displays out there, and a camera that will make your pimples pretty visible in conference calls. Add the IR face recognition scanner and the fingerprint reader, and you might, just might, have the laptop of every iPhone and Android user’s dreams.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/lenovo-thinkpad-x13s-gen-1/

Pros

  • Super slim and strong chassis
  • Blazingly quick user experience
  • Turns on immediately
  • 100% sRGB coverage and accurate color output (AUO B133UAN02.1 (LEN41A6))
  • No PWM (AUO B133UAN02.1 (LEN41A6))
  • Fantastic battery life
  • Great keyboard and touchpad
  • Wi-Fi 6, and optional 5G support
  • Completely silent under any load


Cons

  • Poor upgradeability
  • Limited port selection
  • Very warm under heavy load
  • Windows is still not optimized for ARM

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