Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Extreme Gen 1 VS Gen 2 – So last year, I reviewed the Lenovo X1 Extreme. I gave it a useful review I said it was my favourite laptop from Lenovo because it was light, portable and had a dedicated GPU. Which was perfect for more intensive applications. Now this here we got the second generation of it, and there’s not a lot of difference aesthetically, but there are a lot of internal improvements to make it a better experience.
Now to tell the difference between the first generation and the second generation is by looking at the lid. On the first generation, we had your typical black matte rubberised texture that felt very grippy. But also attracted a lot of fingerprints. This year you get the same sort of feel but instead of just a blacktop. You get a carbon fibre look which adds a little bit of character to the laptop. Port setup is precisely the same tons of IO for any sort of function or situation. You have your power connector to USB Type-C Thunderbolt 3 ports, HDMI, you have your network jack. But you have an SD card slot, 2 USB-A ports and of course a Kensington lock on another side.
So internally the layout is exactly the same as the first generation the main takeaway though is that you do get a faster swappable Wi-Fi card. This is Wi-Fi 6. So if you have access to a router that can take advantage of it technically, you should get better speeds. You still have the extra spot for another SSD. This one is quite fast. You have two slots for RAM upgradeable to 64 gigabytes, and you have an 80-watt hour battery.
Now because this is using the 4K display. I’m only getting three hours and 30 minutes before needing to charge. The other area of improvement is the display. You have the option to buy with a 4K matte display. Not this, Matt!. I don’t come with the laptop. I’m talking about a matte screen that prevents reflections from happening when you’re around a lot of light.
The downfall to having a matte display is that it no longer touches like you can’t interact with your fingers with this display. Colour accuracy, brightness is identical to the first generation Xtreme. The other area of improvement is the webcam. The webcam is still the same quality, but you are now getting is a ThinkShutter. So, speakers, keyboard and touchpad are exactly the same. There’s no difference compared to the previous model. However, I do like the fingerprint scanner. It is definitely an update to the earlier version. I’m just getting it a lot more accessible to set up, and it’s also a lot quicker to log in.
Now the unit I have here is the i7 9850H paired with 32 gigabytes of RAM and the brand new GTX 1650 Max Q. If you’re looking for a big performance jump from last year’s model, you’re not gonna find it here. Especially when you’re doing CPU related tasks. This is using an Intel processor, it just gets really really hot for a form factor this thin.
That means the laptop has to work really hard to keep it cool a powerful processor to make sure things stay in line. That also means when you’re rendering a file, and it’s utilising the CPU at a hundred per cent. It’s going to have to drop the frequency from anywhere between 2.5 and 3.5. Which means you’re going to get the exact same CPU speeds from last year’s model. Now, if you’re doing anything GPU related, you will see a 10% or 10 to 15% performance increase compared to last year’s 1050 TI Max Q. Besides that heat, fan noise everything is pretty much similar to the previous year.
The only significant difference is this year, they improve the fan curves to give you more of a balanced system. I’ll be honest with you. If you have last year’s version, you have nothing to be jealous about. Because you’re not gonna see that much of a performance improvement. If you are buying a brand new Lenovo X1 extreme and you can get a good deal on the second generation, you will get a lot of refinements. You get the updated Wi-Fi card a slightly better processor, even though you might not see it. You’ll still take advantage of it doing simple things like loading up a web page quickly or anything that does not task intensive.
You have a slightly more beautiful design, a better fingerprint scanner, and of course the think shutter to help with privacy. It’s tough to really push the performance of these laptops until we get better Intel processors. The 14-nanometer architecture is stale. And we need to reduce that to see efficiencies.