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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 Review (i7-9750H, Nvidia GTX 1650, 500-nit FHD screen)

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Excessive Gen 2 Evaluation (i7-9750H, Nvidia GTX 1650, 500-nit FHD display)

As an ultraportable 15-inch pocket book with Intel’s ninth technology Espresso Lake hexa-core CPUs and Nvidia’s GTX 1650 graphics, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Excessive (Gen 1 assessment right here, P1 Evaluation right here) is likely one of the most in-demand premium notebooks available on the market.

As such, it’s competing head-to-head towards Dell’s XPS 15, and for that cause I will probably be continuously evaluating the ThinkPad X1 Excessive Gen 2 towards the Dell XPS 15 in addition to the first-gen X1 Excessive and P1 (the P1 being basically the identical laptop computer because the X1 Excessive solely with Quadro Graphics as an alternative of GTX). As that is the second technology of this laptop computer sequence, we invite you to learn the above-linked evaluations of the primary technology of the X1E and P1 for a extra full take a look at this sequence.

The X1 Excessive Gen 2 below assessment was bought with my very own funds and has been my very own private laptop computer for the previous two months.

Specs as reviewed

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Excessive Gen 2
Display 15.6 inch, 1920 x 1080 px, IPS, non-touch, matte, 500-nits
Processor Intel Espresso Lake-H Core i7-9750H CPU
Video Intel HD 630 + Nvidia GTX 1650 Four GB GDDR5 (Max-P config)
Reminiscence 16GB DDR4 2666 MHz (2x DIMMs)
Storage Intel 660p M.2 2280 2TB x 2 (4TB custom-configuration; shipped with 256GB M.2 2280 NVMe TLC OPAL)
Connectivity Intel AX200 2x2AX+BT vPro WW, Gigabit LAN (with adapter)
Ports 2x USB-A three.1, 2x USB-C Thunderbolt three, HDMI, SD card, mic/earphone, community extension port, Kensington Lock, non-compulsory SmartCard reader
Battery 80 Wh Four-cell Li-Ion, 135 W energy adapter
OS Home windows 10 Skilled
Dimension 362 mm or 14.2” (w) x 246 mm or 9.7 (d) x 18.7 mm or .72” (h)
Weight Four.05 lbs (1.83 kg) + zero.99 lbs (450 g) energy brick, US mannequin
Extras Backlit keyboard, fingerprint sensor (standalone), HD and Home windows Hey IR cameras, stereo audio system, self-healing BIOS

Look and feature-changes in Gen 2

The X1 Excessive Gen 2 makes use of the identical soft-touch-coated carbon fiber and magnesium chassis from the earlier technology. Which means that smudges and fingerprints will stay the bane of your existence when you’re a perfectionist. The coating appears precisely the identical between Gen 1 and Gen 2, however superior to the considerably flaky coating I noticed on the X1 Carbon Gen 6.

IMG 20190826 172718 2 - Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 Review (i7-9750H, Nvidia GTX 1650, 500-nit FHD screen)

The ThinkPad P1 Gen 1 w/ 300-nit FHD display (left) vs. ThinkPad X1 Excessive Gen 2 w/ 500-nit FHD display (proper).

Trying on the X1E Gen 2 side-by-side by my P1 Gen 1, there have been solely two tells that these have been totally different generations of the units to me. The primary and most blatant change is the IR digicam possibility on the Gen 2, which additionally has a barely higher design and really feel on the change.

The second change may be very delicate: the ThinkPad brand on the appropriate palm relaxation now has a barely slimmed-down debossed space across the “ThinkPad” textual content. You gained’t discover it until you occur to have the 2 generations of units subsequent to one another, but it surely’s an aesthetically pleasing enchancment, for my part.

logos - Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 Review (i7-9750H, Nvidia GTX 1650, 500-nit FHD screen)

A key distinction between Gen 1 and Gen 2’s logos. What am I doing with my life?

DSC 0021 - Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 Review (i7-9750H, Nvidia GTX 1650, 500-nit FHD screen)

You’ll must get used to seeing smudges on the outside of the X1 Excessive.

Display

DSC 0020 e1570165319187 - Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 Review (i7-9750H, Nvidia GTX 1650, 500-nit FHD screen)

The 500-nit FHD display on the X1E Gen 2 is a transparent improve over the 300-nit base panel.

My first-generation P1 got here with a 300-nit FHD matte show with fairly a little bit of bleed, to not point out that neither the backlight nor the set up have been even. I had the display changed by a technician on-site, and I used to be fairly proud of the alternative. My preliminary impression of the 500-nit panel on the X1E Gen 2, nevertheless, is that it’s a transparent and easy improve in each method. Backlight bleed is minimal and the panel uniformity is excellent. Past the truth that there isn’t any FHD/contact possibility, black ranges/distinction are the one weak spot of this panel; the IPS glow seen on darkish backgrounds does make me miss the OLED panel I had on my XPS 15 7590 a bit.

In case you’re considering of which of the three panels to select from (300-nit FHD, 500-nit FHD, or shiny 4K OLED w/ contact), I’d say keep away from the 300-nit panel until you are attempting to save lots of each penny. I’d keep away from the OLED panel personally until you’re going to be plugged-in on a regular basis and most will use it for multimedia: The 80 Wh battery just isn’t cut-out for such a power-hungry display, and as somebody who works with textual content for a dwelling, I don’t like how mild photographs on an OLED panel hassle my eyes after lengthy intervals.

Keyboard and trackpad

The final and largest improve I’ve seen proper off the bat isn’t the competent Nvidia GTX 1650, it’s the fingerprint sensor. I complained in regards to the sensor within the X1 Carbon (sixth gen) and the P1 (1st gen) of their respective evaluations and on YouTube, and I’m overjoyed to see that the brand new fingerprint sensors at the moment are simply as quick and correct as any competitors within the laptop computer world. The sluggish and (successfully) ineffective fingerprint scanner on my X1 Carbon Gen 6 and P1 Gen 1 aggravated and pissed off me day by day and was most likely my largest bug-bear with the laptops.

DSC 0019 - Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 Review (i7-9750H, Nvidia GTX 1650, 500-nit FHD screen)

The fingerprint sensor (proper) on the X1E Gen 2 is far improved.

As normal, the keyboard on the ThinkPad X1E Gen 2 is simply what you need to anticipate from a contemporary ThinkPad, and I’m able to hit my normal vary of 95-115 WPM typing on it. It’s not a 7-row traditional keyboard, but it surely’s nonetheless simply in regards to the nicest keyboard you may get on a contemporary ultrabook. The keys have an excellent throw, the Synaptics touchpad works as a terrific different to the trackpoint occasionally, and I simply don’t have a lot to complain about.

So far as ports go, nothing has modified right here since Gen 1. We’ve got a full home, together with 2 TB3 (4x PCIe), Gigabit Ethernet (w/ adapter), three.5mm audio, HDMI, and AC-in on the left of the chassis. On the appropriate facet, there are 2 USB three.1 (Sort-A), lock port, and SDcard slot. I personally may need appreciated to have only one extra USB-C A port for peripherals (on condition that I all the time have two wi-fi dongles in), however I feel it will likely be loads for most individuals.

, efficiency and improve choices

I’ve seen a few issues evaluating the first and 2nd-gen back-to-back: Firstly, the buck converters within the voltage regulator module (VRM) appear a giant bigger this time. I hoped this could translate to much less throttling within the Gen 2, however we’ll get to that within the upcoming benchmarks part.

IMG 20190826 173415 - Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 Review (i7-9750H, Nvidia GTX 1650, 500-nit FHD screen)

Internals of the X1E Gen 2. Be aware the bigger buck converters within the VRM (above the CPU portion of the heatsink).

 

IMG 20190826 173422 - Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 Review (i7-9750H, Nvidia GTX 1650, 500-nit FHD screen)

Internals of the P1 Gen 1.

Upgradability is superb for a contemporary laptop computer on this class. The 2 PCIe NVMe bays give the X1E a transparent benefit over competitors such because the XPS 15 or Razer Blade 15, and the RAM and Wi-Fi are nonetheless fortunately socketed.

Benchmarks and thermals

Cinebench R15 loop

We ran a 10-loop set of Cinebench R15 64-bit multi benchmarks and plotted the outcomes versus the XPS 15 7590. Undervolted, the X1E Gen 2 performs extra constantly, however at a decrease common. The X1E was set to “efficiency mode” for cooling coverage. Efficiency is pretty customary for a thin-and-light ultrabook with a 6-core Espresso-Lake CPU.

Cinebench R15 64 bit Multi 10 Runs - Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 Review (i7-9750H, Nvidia GTX 1650, 500-nit FHD screen)

I consider efficiency may very well be improved considerably with a extra aggressive fan profile — one thing I’d prefer to see the choice for added to Lenovo’s Vantage software program.

Gaming

Firestrike scores vs the XPS 15 7590 (identical i7-9750H, 16GB DDR4 RAM, GTX 1650 Max-Q

  Hearth Strike (customary)
Hearth Strike (Graphics)
Unigine Heaven Four.zero (primary)
ThinkPad X1 Excessive Gen 2 (i7, GTX 1650 Max-Q) w/ UV 7295 8138 3503
ThinkPad X1 Excessive Gen 2 (i7, GTX 1650 Max-Q) 7298  8175 3455
XPS 15 7590 (i7/GTX 1650) 8068 9018 x
XPS 15 7590 (i7/GTX 1650) w/ UV 8121 9102 3718

No discernible distinction between UV and non-UV outcomes on the X1E Gen 2. Temperatures maxed out at 80 on the CPU and GPU, suggesting that Lenovo is limiting the efficiency of the X1E Gen 2 with a somewhat conservative thermal ceiling of roughly 80C. Extra on this below the “bugs/miscellaneous points” part.

firestrike - Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 Review (i7-9750H, Nvidia GTX 1650, 500-nit FHD screen)

The X1E Gen 2 and its GTX 1650 lag a bit behind the XPS 15 7590’s GTX 1650 Max-Q, fascinating sufficient. Once more, this can be right down to extra conservative fan/cooling profiles on the X1E Gen 2.

firestrike 2 - Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 Review (i7-9750H, Nvidia GTX 1650, 500-nit FHD screen)

The CPU and GPU keep fairly cool (comparatively) on the firestrike benchmark till the “mixed” check, the place the GPU and CPU each hit their throttle factors (78C for GPU, 80C for CPU).

hwinfogamebenchmark - Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 Review (i7-9750H, Nvidia GTX 1650, 500-nit FHD screen)

Throughout a mixed load stress check, we are able to see the CPU has been throttled by a lowered PL1 energy restrict of solely 20W.

Total, efficiency of the X1E Gen 2 is strong, although not on the matter of its class. Fascinating, the Dell XPS 15 7590 with its Max-Q variant of the GTX 1650 performs sooner than the X1E by a large (~10%) margin, as one ought to anticipate the other. I consider that is right down to Lenovo forcing a extra quiet and conservative fan profile even on “max efficiency” settings. I’d a lot want the choice to have followers hit their most speeds and keep larger clocks and decrease temperatures.

Latencymon

Sadly, latency doesn’t appear to be ok in the intervening time for dependable DAW work. I tried a number of runs, every returning poor outcomes inside 5 minutes.

latencymonx1eg2 1 - Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 Review (i7-9750H, Nvidia GTX 1650, 500-nit FHD screen)

X1E Gen 2 latencymon outcomes.

Sound

There isn’t a lot to put in writing right here as I’m certain little of it can come as a shock to these aware of the stereotypical traits of ThinkPads: one way or the other it appears truly worse on the X1E Gen 2 than my P1 Gen 1. The drivers put in for it are literally Synaptics Audio whereas my older P1 makes use of RealTek drivers. I haven’t tried totally different driver variations but, however the X1E Gen 2 sounds considerably quieter and flatter than my P1 Gen 1. Not precisely the type of enchancment I’m certain many people have been hoping for.

Whereas the X1C Gen 7 obtained a pleasant improve through its array of Four audio system (together with 2 upwards going through), that didn’t occur to the X1E this yr. Hopefully that is one thing that Lenovo might add to the third iteration of the sequence transferring ahead.

Battery life

Battery life with the 80 Wh battery and FHD display is mostly fairly good, with a median of eight hours achieved fairly simply, assuming you aren’t operating CPU or dedicated-GPU-intensive processes.

The X1E should not have any hassle lasting for a full day of labor with this configuration, nevertheless, I’ve vital reservations about the identical being true for the 4K touch-enabled OLED show that can be an possibility with this laptop computer.

Bugs/miscellaneous points

I’d like to notice a couple of comparatively minor points I’ve run into with the X1 Excessive Gen 2 over the previous 2 months. The HDMI bug and the 80C bug each have been reported with the P1 and X1E first-gen fashions, so they’re due for some consideration by Lenovo, IMO:

  • Plugging HDMI into output after which unplugging it from each mains and HDMI will trigger the CPU to get caught in C3 (can’t make use of deeper C-states), leading to larger common idle energy drain (~2.5W vs zero.8W). This may be clearly noticed utilizing ThrottleStop and clicking the “C10” button. Disabling the Nvidia GTX 1650 in gadget supervisor and re-enabling it fixes this bug, but it surely’s annoying to have to do that each time you unplug from HDMI to keep away from further battery drain. I believe this may increasingly have one thing to do with video-out being dealt with by the devoted GPU.
  • TB3 eGPU habits is a bit finicky with my Aorus Gaming Field. That is probably a mixture of Lenovo’s BIOSes on the whole not working that effectively with TB3 docks in my expertise (in comparison with say, Dells, which can be as a result of Dell had their Alienware Graphics Amp as an possibility for a few years earlier than TB3 happened) in addition to Gigabyte’s driver assist not being nice on their eGPUs. For instance, the X1E can not boot with the TB3 cable plugged-in because it is not going to POST and hold boot-looping till the cable is eliminated.
  • As famous, I’m experiencing a bug that many others have reported with the primary technology of P1 and X1 Excessive notebooks the place the CPU appears to throttle at 80C. This occurred each with and with out Virtualization enabled in BIOS. I’ve contacted Lenovo about this and they’re trying into it.
  • The battery has occasional incorrectly learn as “100%” cost after being put to sleep and woken at what was round 40%. I’m undecided if this is a matter with the battery in my unit or maybe a BIOS bug, however I’ve noticed it twice now. The issue is resolved by sleeping and waking the pocket book as soon as extra.

Pricing and availability

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Excessive is offered direct from Lenovo within the US with costs beginning at $1,531.58. I ought to point out that Lenovo’s pricing and gross sales appears to be altering on a regular basis recently, and chances are you’ll be shocked by both considerably larger or decrease costs while you verify.

Pricing is a little more constant on Amazon, and that could be considered one of your higher bets to purchase this laptop computer, as Lenovo doesn’t ship to identified forwarding addresses.

Comparability to XPS 15

I’m going to do a really fast comparability between these two machines for these of you who’re caught deciding between them:

If you may be doing extra gaming than work and also you don’t thoughts tweaking, go for the XPS 15 because it has higher efficiency. That is because of the thermal approaches every firm has taken. The X1E appears to throttle efficiency at 80C on the CPU to maintain temperatures low, whereas the XPS 15 is pleased to hit the excessive 90’s. The result’s that the XPS 15 is quicker, however will probably be much less constant if you’re not cautious together with your thermal administration.

If you may be doing extra work than gaming, the X1 Excessive will deal with you proper with its keyboard, trackpoint, and devoted buttons.

If you wish to dock one to a TB3 setup and have it principally stationary and be comparatively easy, go for the XPS 15 as effectively. The TB3 implementation simply appears to work extra stably on the XPS 15 with eGPUs than on the X1 Excessive Gen 2, and I had comparable experiences with the Gen 1 of the X1E and P1 as effectively. I very hardly ever had wake-up connectivity points with my eGPU on the XPS 15 and it’s very a lot plug-and-play. The X1E/P1 works, however you’ll must unplug/wait/re-plug issues occasionally. Given the XPS 15 is heavier, performant, and a bit extra appropriate with docks, I feel it’s a sensible choice for a laptop computer you propose to maintain at house plugged-in more often than not for gaming work.

In order for you most storage (I’ve 4TB of SSDs in my X1E proper now) plan to take your laptop computer with you day-after-day, nevertheless, undoubtedly go along with the X1 Excessive FHD. At three.7 lbs, it’s (I consider) the lightest hexa-core laptop computer round.

Ultimate ideas

The X1 Excessive Gen 2 improves meaningfully upon the primary in GPU efficiency, stability, and QC/construct high quality. Minor points like smudging, ease of eGPU connection, HDMI + C-state bugs, and the decrease efficiency of the CPU and GPU resulting from quieter fan profiles apart, the X1 Excessive Gen 2 is a rattling good laptop computer for both work and play.

When you’ve got the cash, you’d be hard-pressed to discover a higher all-around pocket book you should purchase proper now. My private suggestion for configuration can be the i7/FHD 500/GTX 1650 with the smallest SSD doable. Improve the SSD by yourself to save cash and make use of each these NVMe bays, and really feel content material realizing there’s no cause to go along with a CPU extra highly effective than an i7-9750H in a chassis this skinny.

The X1 Excessive Gen 2 is a laptop computer that ought to hold your proud of work and even reasonable gaming for at the very least a few years.

If there’s something you’d like me to verify for you, please remark under and I’ll make my finest effort to get to it in my testing. Thanks for studying!

Primarily based in Hong Kong, Douglas Black is a veteran editor of Notebookcheck, college lecturer, researcher, and author.

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