Lenovo ThinkPad X390 Overview: The ThinkPad Expertise, However Smaller

The ThinkPad collection hasn’t at all times 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 obtained 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 gives the standard ThinkPad benefits with out compromising on display measurement. Did Lenovo ship?

Seems to be and feels similar 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 probably the most recognizable laptop computer traces round, and the X390 doesn’t buck that development.

The construct high quality can be wonderful, as anticipated. You may bend the lid for those who attempt arduous 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 value for the luxurious.

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 steadiness between weight and rigidity, with the everyday ThinkPad soft-touch really feel to the keyboard deck, and the lid is constructed of polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) plastic. The hinge could 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 extensive 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. Be aware 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 probably the most transportable 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 definitely discover the distinction in measurement and weight. However when merely utilizing the ThinkPad by itself, it’s greater than sufficiently small and presents some benefits in its soft-touch and high-quality supplies. Except measurement and weight are your most essential issues, you’ll in all probability like the way in which the ThinkPad X390 feels in hand.

The keyboard borrows from its bigger siblings, and that’s 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 gives gigabit Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and an non-compulsory LTE radio and SIM help can be found.

The standard wonderful ThinkPad enter choices

The ThinkPad X390 borrows its keyboard mechanism from its bigger siblings (together with the reversed Fn and Ctrl keys that we at all times journey over at first), and that’s factor. We discovered the keystrokes to be deep and to supply a satisfying click on that produced a exact and constant really feel. The keyboard is among the major 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 or a foul factor comes down to private choice, however we do want the keyboard was a bit much less stiff.

Lenovo ThinkPad X390 review Mark Coppock/Digital Traits

You’ll discover the standard shiny pink TrackPoint nubbin in the course of the keyboard, together with two buttons on the prime of the touchpad that can be utilized with both cursor management possibility. The TrackPoint works as easily as at all times, and for those who’re a fan, you gained’t be disillusioned. The touchpad fills the out there area 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 enhance.

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 among the few that gives it.

Home windows 10 Hey password-less login help is offered by two handy strategies. There’s an non-compulsory infrared digicam that gives facial recognition help, and for those who want, an non-compulsory fingerprint reader may be configured. The ThinkPad X390 gives for webcam safety with Lenovo’s bodily ThinkShutter that slides over to maintain customers secure from prying eyes.

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

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

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

We’ll be aware that this characteristic requires the webcam to be continuously lively, that means the webcam mild is at all times on – and it’s fairly shiny. Additionally, Look gained’t work for those who’ve engaged the ThinkShutter privateness characteristic. The fixed pink mild is a slight annoyance, however for privateness buffs, they’ll respect the characteristic.

A median show drags down this laptop computer’s common

Lenovo presents 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 overview unit geared up the latter.

We utilized our colorimeter, and the show examined out as fully common. That is changing into a theme in our critiques: 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 lots of our newest critiques have fallen.

And that’s nearly the place the ThinkPad X390 falls as properly. 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 probably the most half, they fall in the identical vary. Apparently, the least costly ZenBook 13 has the most effective shows right here.

The factor is, the ThinkPad X390’s show is sort of satisfying in real-life use. It’s a lot colourful, its gamma is ideal at 2.2 and so video is neither too shiny nor too darkish, and the show can overcome ambient mild in most environments. And so immediately’s common show, of which that is one, is excellent certainly and nothing to complain about.

Lenovo ThinkPad X390 review

Should you’re a artistic skilled who wants very correct colours and a large colour gamut, then you definitely’ll need to look elsewhere. However for productiveness and media consumption, the ThinkPad’s show is excellent.

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

Glorious productiveness efficiency

The ThinkPad X390 is constructed across the more and more widespread Intel Eighth-generation Whiskey Lake Core i7-8565U. This quad-core processor invariably gives robust productiveness efficiency and good effectivity.

First, we ran the Geekbench four artificial benchmark, and the ThinkPad X390 carried out extraordinarily properly. It scored 5,331 within the single-core take a look at and 17,704 within the multi-core take a look at. These are robust 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 take a look at the encodes a 420MB video to H.265. The ThinkPad accomplished the take a look at in 274 seconds, which is common. The MateBook 13 accomplished the take a look at in 243 seconds, demonstrating that Huawei did a barely higher job than Lenovo of translating artificial benchmark outcomes to the true 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 take a look at and 560 MB/s within the write take a look at. 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).

Lenovo ThinkPad X390 review Mark Coppock/Digital Traits

Be aware that though the ThinkPad X390 was simply common in our video encoding take a look at, it’s however a lot 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 job of maintaining warmth away out of your physique components. Regardless of how arduous 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 straight over the CPU/GPU, and that was throughout a 3DMark stress take a look at.

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 taking part in something greater than informal video games or very previous titles.

Based on the 3DMark Fireplace Strike take a look at, our expectations had been cheap. The ThinkPad X390 scored 1,173, which was according to 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 have to step as much as a laptop computer just like the Acer Swift Three with at the least the Nvidia GeForce MX150 GPU if you wish to play this or every other 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 take a look at, 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 take a look at, 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 leads to our video take a look at had the ThinkPad X390 lasting for about 11 hours, nearly similar 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 large enough, and because it stands, we’re unsure 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 suits in.

Our Take

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

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

Is there a greater different?

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 practically as strong. You’ll get higher battery life out of the Dell and related efficiency, and also you’ll seemingly 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 practically 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 out there in North America, although, so your selections shall be restricted.

Lastly, if MacOS can be just right for you, 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 regardless of 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 looks like it can final eternally, and it has the elements 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.

Do you have to 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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