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Lenovo ThinkPad X390 review

Lenovo ThinkPad X390 evaluate

The ThinkPad collection hasn’t all the time been a development follower, usually bucking fashionable stylings for tried-and-true conventions. However even the ThinkPad couldn’t resist the wave of change that’s skinny bezels. Enter the ThinkPad X390, which equips a bigger 13.Three-inch show and makes use of smaller bezels to suit right into a still-small chassis.

We acquired a ThinkPad X390 configured with a Core i7-8565U, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB PCIe solid-state drive (SSD), and a Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS contact show. Like all ThinkPads, the configuration is priced at a premium, coming in at $1,649 ($1,237 on sale proper now). The bottom mannequin begins at $1,000 for a Core i5, 8GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD, and an HD (1,366 x 768) show.

ThinkPad followers ought to rejoice on the possibility of a smaller laptop computer that provides the standard ThinkPad benefits with out compromising on display dimension. Did Lenovo ship?

Seems and feels identical to each different ThinkPad, solely smaller

The ThinkPad has a really particular look, and the X390 doesn’t do something to vary that. It has the identical all-black aesthetic with the standard angled ThinkPad brand with pink LED dot on one nook of the lid, one other (unlit) brand on the keyboard deck, and the identical pink trim on the touchpad/TrackPoint buttons. ThinkPads stay one of the crucial recognizable laptop computer strains round, and the X390 doesn’t buck that development.

The construct high quality can be glorious, as anticipated. You possibly can bend the lid when you attempt onerous sufficient, however the keyboard deck and chassis backside are rock-solid and exude sturdiness. Lenovo topics its ThinkPads to MIL-STD-810g army certification, and the X390 is bound to have handed with flying colours. The army customary is one thing the laptop computer shares with the Asus ZenBook 13 UX333, though Asus asks a much less premium worth for the posh.

The ThinkPad X390’s construct high quality is great, as anticipated.

The underside portion of the laptop computer’s chassis combines magnesium and aluminum for a very good steadiness between weight and rigidity, with the standard ThinkPad soft-touch really feel to the keyboard deck, and the lid is constructed of polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) plastic. The hinge may be very tight, although, and also you’ll want each palms to open it.

Though that is Lenovo’s ThinkPad entry within the 13-inch laptop computer sweepstakes, there’s no try right here to maintain up with the Joneses. The show bezels are thinner on the perimeters than on the highest and backside than the earlier model, however Lenovo didn’t even attempt to make them as tiny in any dimension because the class-leading Dell XPS 13 and Asus ZenBook S13. That makes the ThinkPad X390 a small however not tiny laptop computer – it’s 12.28 inches large by eight.55 inches deep in comparison with the XPS 13, for instance, at 11.9 inches by 7.eight inches.

The X390 isn’t extraordinarily skinny both. Though it’s 12 p.c thinner than the earlier model at zero.67 inches, it’s bit thicker than the XPS 13 (which is zero.46 inches at its thickest level). The ThinkPad weighs 2.84 kilos (5 p.c lighter), making it simply barely heavier than the XPS 13 at 2.7 kilos. Observe that the marginally bigger 14-inch ThinkPad X1 Carbon is simply zero.62 inches thick and weighs solely 2.49 kilos – that means that the X390 isn’t essentially the most moveable ThinkPad you should buy.

Right here’s what’s attention-grabbing, although: maintain the ThinkPad X390 side-by-side with the XPS 13 and also you’ll actually discover the distinction in dimension and weight. However when merely utilizing the ThinkPad by itself, it’s greater than sufficiently small and gives some benefits in its soft-touch and high-quality supplies. Until dimension and weight are your most vital issues, you’ll in all probability like the best way the ThinkPad X390 feels in hand.

The keyboard borrows from its bigger siblings, and that’s a very good factor.

The marginally thicker chassis does permit the ThinkPad X390 to have a strong number of ports. Alongside the left-hand aspect, you’ll discover two USB-C ports (one with Thunderbolt Three), an Ethernet connection, a USB-A Three.1 Gen 1 port, a full-size HDMI 1.four port, and an audio combo jack. Alongside the right-hand aspect, you’ll discover a USB-A Three.1 Gen 1 port, a Kensington lock connection, and an non-compulsory sensible card reader. A microSD card reader is on the rear of the chassis. An Intel dual-band chip supplies gigabit Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.zero, and an non-compulsory LTE radio and SIM help can be found.

The standard glorious ThinkPad enter choices

The ThinkPad X390 borrows its keyboard mechanism from its bigger siblings (together with the reversed Fn and Ctrl keys that we all the time journey over at first), and that’s a very good factor. We discovered the keystrokes to be deep and to offer a satisfying click on that produced a exact and constant really feel. The keyboard is likely one of the main promoting factors of the ThinkPad line, particularly for these coming from a low-travel keyboard just like the MacBook Professional.

That being mentioned, the mechanism required barely extra strain than we’ve skilled on different ThinkPad keyboards, and much more than the lighter contact on the XPS 13 and the HP Spectre x360 13. Whether or not that’s a very good or a foul factor comes down to private desire, however we do want the keyboard was a bit much less stiff.

Mark Coppock/Digital Tendencies

You’ll discover the standard shiny pink TrackPoint nubbin in the course of the keyboard, together with two buttons on the high of the touchpad that can be utilized with both cursor management possibility. The TrackPoint works as easily as all the time, and when you’re a fan, you received’t be upset. The touchpad fills the obtainable house on the keyboard deck, and it helps Microsoft’s Precision touchpad protocol. As such, Home windows 10 multitouch gestures are exact and an actual productiveness increase.

The contact show was responsive and good to have for swiping by lengthy net pages and tapping the occasional on-screen button. There’s no pen help, as is commonest with clamshell laptops. If that’s one thing you need, then Microsoft’s Floor Laptop computer 2 is likely one of the few that gives it.

Home windows 10 Whats up password-less login help is supplied by two handy strategies. There’s an non-compulsory infrared digicam that gives facial recognition help, and when you desire, an non-compulsory fingerprint reader may be configured. The ThinkPad X390 supplies for webcam safety with Lenovo’s bodily ThinkShutter that slides over to maintain customers protected from prying eyes.

ThinkPad X390’s show is superb and we now have nothing to complain about.

In one other nod to privateness and safety, Lenovo will probably be providing an non-compulsory PrivacyGuard show in the summertime that, like HP’s SureView privateness display, renders the show unviewable from any angle aside from straight on. The privateness panel will probably be augmented by Lenovo’s PrivacyAlert software program that can let you recognize when somebody is trying over your shoulder.

However wait, there’s extra! Lenovo additionally carried out a brand new Look characteristic that can lock the laptop computer after you’ve stepped away for 30 seconds. In the event you’re linked to an exterior show (or extra), then Look also can snap home windows and the cursor to the specified display simply by glancing at it.

We’ll observe that this characteristic requires the webcam to be continuously lively, that means the webcam gentle is all the time on – and it’s fairly shiny. Additionally, Look received’t work when you’ve engaged the ThinkShutter privateness characteristic. The fixed pink gentle is a slight annoyance, however for privateness buffs, they’ll recognize the characteristic.

A mean show drags down this laptop computer’s common

Lenovo gives a number of show choices for the ThinkPad X390: HD (1,366 x 768) anti-glare, Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS anti-glare, and Full HD anti-glare with contact. Our evaluate unit geared up the latter.

We utilized our colorimeter, and the show examined out as utterly common. That is changing into a theme in our opinions: A distinction ratio of round 750:1, a brightness degree of round 275 nits, round 71 p.c protection of AdobeRGB and 95 p.c protection of sRGB are the place a lot of our newest opinions have fallen.

And that’s nearly the place the ThinkPad X390 falls as effectively. Its distinction was 750:1, its brightness was 274 nits, it covers 71 p.c of AdobeRGB and 94 p.c of sRGB. Have a look at our comparability group, and also you’ll see that some shows are higher and a few are worse however for essentially the most half, they fall in the identical vary. Curiously, the least costly ZenBook 13 has top-of-the-line shows right here.

The factor is, the ThinkPad X390’s show is kind of pleasurable in real-life use. It’s loads colourful, its gamma is ideal at 2.2 and so video is neither too shiny nor too darkish, and the show can overcome ambient gentle in most environments. And so right this moment’s common show, of which that is one, is superb certainly and nothing to complain about.


In the event you’re a artistic skilled who wants very correct colours and a large shade gamut, then you definitely’ll wish to look elsewhere. However for productiveness and media consumption, the ThinkPad’s show is superb.

The audio was additionally common, however that’s much less of a praise. Quantity was ample for interacting with Home windows 10 and enjoying the occasional YouTube video, however bass was non-existent, and mids and highs simply barely acquired by. You’ll wish to use headphones for listening to music or having fun with Netflix binges.

Wonderful productiveness efficiency

The ThinkPad X390 is constructed across the more and more common Intel eightth-generation Whiskey Lake Core i7-8565U. This quad-core processor invariably supplies sturdy productiveness efficiency and good effectivity.

First, we ran the Geekbench four artificial benchmark, and the ThinkPad X390 carried out extraordinarily effectively. It scored 5,331 within the single-core check and 17,704 within the multi-core check. These are sturdy scores that beat out the opposite laptops in our comparability group utilizing the identical CPU. For instance, the closest competitor was the Huawei MateBook 13 that scored 5,041 and 17,070.

Subsequent, we ran our Handbrake check the encodes a 420MB video to H.265. The ThinkPad accomplished the check in 274 seconds, which is common. The MateBook 13 accomplished the check in 243 seconds, demonstrating that Huawei did a barely higher job than Lenovo of translating artificial benchmark outcomes to the actual world.

We additionally examined the ThinkPad X390’s storage speeds utilizing the CrystalDiskMark 6 benchmark. It scored 627 megabytes per second (MB/s) within the learn check and 560 MB/s within the write check. This was within the higher tier of our comparability group, falling in second place behind the Huawei MateBook X Professional at 674 MB/s (learn) and 658 MB/s (write).

Mark Coppock/Digital Tendencies

Observe that though the ThinkPad X390 was simply common in our video encoding check, it’s however loads speedy for even demanding productiveness duties. Throughout our testing, we by no means seen it slowing down it doesn’t matter what we threw at it.

One other benefit of the ThinkPad’s supplies is that it does a very good job of conserving warmth away out of your physique components. Irrespective of how onerous we pushed the laptop computer, neither the chassis’ backside nor the keyboard was uncomfortably sizzling. The best temperature we registered throughout our testing was 104 levels F on the underside of the chassis immediately over the CPU/GPU, and that was throughout a 3DMark stress check.

Entry-level gaming is within the playing cards

The ThinkPad X390 is proscribed to built-in Intel UHD 620 graphics. As typical, that meant we didn’t anticipate to take pleasure in enjoying something greater than informal video games or very previous titles.

In line with the 3DMark Hearth Strike check, our expectations had been affordable. The ThinkPad X390 scored 1,173, which was in step with the opposite laptops in our comparability group utilizing the identical built-in graphics.

We then ran Fortnite and recorded the laptop computer’s efficiency. At 1080p and each Excessive and Epic graphical element, the ThinkPad X390 was basically unplayable. You’ll must step as much as a laptop computer just like the Acer Swift Three with not less than the Nvidia GeForce MX150 GPU if you wish to play this or another fashionable title.

Disappointing battery life

Lenovo solely managed to squeeze in 48 watt-hours of battery capability into the ThinkPad X390’s chassis. That’s lower than the smaller XPS 13’s 52 watt-hours, and the HP Spectre x360 13 makes higher use of its personal barely bigger chassis to slot in 61 watt-hours price of battery. The CPU is environment friendly and the show is barely Full HD (versus a extra power-hungry 4K decision), however we weren’t too optimistic concerning the laptop computer’s longevity.

Because it seems, our doubts had been justified. In our most demanding Basemark net benchmark check, the ThinkPad X390 managed simply over three hours. The MateBook X Professional lasted a couple of minutes much less, however the remainder of our comparability group lasted longer.

Switching to our net shopping check, the ThinkPad X390’s efficiency dropped off even additional. It lasted just a bit over seven hours, nearly an hour lower than the 2019 MacBook Air and nearly 5 hours lower than the Spectre x360. The ends in our video check had the ThinkPad X390 lasting for about 11 hours, nearly equivalent to the MateBook X Professional and barely greater than the MacBook Air. The Asus ZenBook 13 UX333, although, lasted for round 13.5 hours whereas the Spectre x360 lasted for a whopping 17.5 hours.

The ThinkPad X390 would have benefitted from a bigger battery. The chassis is sufficiently big, and because it stands, we’re undecided the laptop computer will get you thru a full working day without having to plug in. That’s a disgrace, particularly for the value level the X390 matches in.

Our Take

The ThinkPad X390 is a ThinkPad by and thru. It’s constructed like one, it appears like one, and it’s simply as a lot of a pleasure to work with. In the event you love ThinkPad however desire a smaller model – and the earlier 12.5-inch show didn’t excite you – then the ThinkPad X390 is a good various.

On the identical time, battery life is an actual concern for a laptop computer that’s meant for business-oriented street warriors. And nothing besides the ThinkPad model stands out in comparison with some higher – and cheaper – laptops.

Is there a greater various?

The obvious comparability is the Dell XPS 13. It is a tiny 13-inch laptop computer certainly, and whereas it’s constructed of various supplies, it feels almost as sturdy. You’ll get higher battery life out of the Dell and comparable efficiency, and also you’ll possible pay barely much less relying in your configuration. You’ll pay $1,559 ($1,303 on sale) for a Core i7, 16GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD and a Full HD contact show.

Another choice is the Asus ZenBook 13 UX333. It is a great-looking laptop computer that’s not almost as conservatively designed because the ThinkPad X390, and it sports activities the identical army customary testing. You’ll additionally pay significantly much less, at simply $850 for a Core i5-8265U, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. There aren’t many configuration choices obtainable in North America, although, so your selections will probably be restricted.

Lastly, if MacOS can give you the results you want, then the Apple MacBook Air is an alternative choice. It’s additionally a smaller laptop computer and has its personal rock-solid construct high quality, and it’s additionally fairly premium despite its slower, low-power Core Y processor. The MacBook Air prices $1,400 for a Core i5, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD.

How lengthy will it final?

As typical, the ThinkPad X390 appears like it can final eternally, and it has the parts to match. It ought to final you for so long as you want it to, after which some. The 1-year guarantee is disappointing, although.

Must you purchase it?

Not except you’re a diehard ThinkPad fan. The X390 is a pleasure to make use of, it’s quick, and it exudes sturdiness, however its battery life is an actual concern.

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