Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano review: Compact, light, and powerful with decent battery

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Lenovo ThinkPad laptops are the company’s business line. Its flagship ThinkPad X1 comes in different variations, including the tougher Carbon, recently released Fold, and even the Yoga 2-in-1. Earlier this year, the company released a newer, smaller version of the X1.

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Our Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano review looks at a business laptop with a small footprint that still offers a crisp screen, decent battery life, and great performance. Read on for our full review!

Specifications

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano laptop we reviewed has the following features and specifications (configurable when ordering):

  • ThinkPad’s lightest laptop ever, just one kilogram / two pounds
  • Designed on Intel® Evo™ vPro® platform
  • Heavyweight performer in just a 13-inch display
  • Always-on responsiveness
  • Speedy Thunderbolt™ 4
  • Rapid Charge
  • A 16:10 aspect ratio for more screen
  • Built-in ThinkShield security solutions
  • Perfect for the on-the-go or work from home professional
ModelLenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano 20UN-000EUS
Display13.0″ 2K (2160 x 1350) IPS, anti-glare with Dolby Vision™, 450 nits, 100% sRGB (touchscreen available)
Processor11th Gen Intel Core i7-1160G7 @ 1.20GHz (2.11 GHz) (Up to 11th Generation Intel® Core i7-1180G7 Processor with vPro (2.20 GHz, up to 4.60 GHz with Turbo Boost, 4 Cores, 8 Threads, 12 MB Cache) available)
GPUIntegrated Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM16GB LPDDR4x 4266MHz (Soldered)
Storage512GB Western Digital PC SN530 NVMe SSD (Up to 1TB available)
CameraHybrid infrared (IR) / 720p HD with webcam privacy shutter and (optional) Human Presence Detection
AudioDolby Atmos Speaker System with 4x 360-degree mics
ConnectivityWLAN: WiFi 6 AX201 802.11AX (2 x 2), Bluetooth® 5.2
Ports2 x USB4 Thunderbolt™ 4 (Power Delivery), 3.5mm headphone/mic combo
KeyboardSpill-resistant, backlit with white LED lighting
BatteryUp to 13 hours 48Wh with Rapid Charge
Security• Discrete Trusted Platform Module (dTPM) 2.0
• Human-presence detection with Windows Hello & IR camera
• Match-on-chip fingerprint reader
• Webcam privacy cover
MaterialCarbon Fiber + Magnesium Chassis
Operating systemWindows 10 Pro (Windows 10 Home available; Windows 11 compatible)
ColourBlack
Dimensions292.8 x 207.7 x 13.87-16.7 mm (11.53 x 8.18 x 0.55-0.66 inches)
Weight2.14 lb (969 g)

What’s in the box

  • Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano laptop
  • 65W USB-C power adapter
  • Quick Start Guide
What's included with the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano business laptop
What’s included with the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano business laptop.

Design

As the name implies, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano is a very compact laptop. As far as dimensions are concerned, it’s just over 11 1/2-inches in width, just over 8-inches in-depth, and between 0.55 and 0.66-inches thick. This laptop is relatively light as well, coming in at just over 2 pounds. It fits easily in a sleeve, bag, or backpack for working on the go.

In typical ThinkPad style, the lid of the X1 Nano is matte black with the ThinkPad X1 logo, and red LED dot above the “i” in the upper left corner and the Lenovo logo in the lower right corner. Lifting the lid, and you’re greeted with a 13-inch screen with relatively thin bezels. The side bezels are roughly 1/4 of an inch, the top about 7/16th of an inch, and the bottom just under 1/2 an inch. The top houses the front-facing and IR cameras, as well as a privacy slider. The X1 Nano wordmark sits on the far right of the bottom bezel, barely noticeable as it is stamped in black on the black bezel.

Above the keyboard are two rectangular grilles. I couldn’t tell if they were for ventilation or sound, but I’ll get to that later. The backlit keyboard offers five full-sized rows with a half-height row at the top for your function keys. These included function keys to start or end calls quickly in Microsoft Teams or Skype. The familiar TrackPoint mini joystick is sandwiched between the G, H, and B keys. As a result, these keys have a slight rounded corner or edge around the joystick, and the B text is slightly lower than the rest of the row. On the far right of the keyboard, under the shift key, is your arrow key and PgUp/PgDn keys — all half height to accommodate the smaller footprint. Below the space bar are the three trackpad buttons with a roughly 4-inch by 2 1/4-inch trackpad. The fingerprint scanner sits just to the right of the trackpad. Finally, the ThinkPad logo is embedded in the lower right of the palm rest. As far as the keyboard is concerned, once again, the left Fn and Ctrl keys are swapped, so it takes a bit of getting used to. Fortunately, there is still a dedicated PrtSc key sandwiched between the right Alt and Ctrl keys.

As for ports, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano is pretty light on them. All located along the left side, there is a 3.5mm audio headphone/microphone combo jack near the back and two USB Type-C Thunderbolt 4 (Power Delivery) ports. The right side of the laptop is where you’ll find the power button near the back. In front of this is a grille for airflow.

The ports on the left edge of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano business laptop
The ports on the left edge of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano business laptop.

Finally, the bottom of the laptop has four rubber-like feet nubs, one in each corner. A square griller provides airflow from the bottom, and the two speaker grilles are near the front.

As mentioned in the headline, the ThinkPad X1 Nano is pretty light. Weighing a mere 2.14 pounds, the laptop is easy to carry around, and you don’t even notice the extra weight in your backpack.

Display

On the display side of things, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano laptop has a 13″ 2K (2160 x 1350) IPS, anti-glare with Dolby Vision™ screen. It is pretty bright at 450 nits and has 100% sRGB coverage. A touchscreen version is also available, although our review unit did not have this option.

A 2K display is pretty high resolution for a 13″ laptop, and I had to set the Windows scale to 125% to read the text. That said, it is very crisp and great for all sorts of productivity tasks, including basic word editing, photo editing, and general web browsing. Its Dolby Vision support is also great for consuming media and streaming videos from streaming services for those down times.

At 450 nits, it is brighter than many other offerings and makes the laptop useable in more lighting conditions. I had no issues seeing the display inside or out, even on sunnier days when on the back deck or sitting near a window.

The display on the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano business laptop.
The display on the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano business laptop.

Software

With Windows 10 Pro installed, many extra apps and games usually installed with Windows 10 Home aren’t present. Only Lenovo Vantage, Lenovo Commercial Advantage, Lenovo Quick Clean, and the McAfee antivirus suite are installed.

Windows 10 Pro runs just fine on the system, and Lenovo Vantage (and Commercial Advantage) provides quick access to security, updates, warranty, and system information. Lenovo Quick Clean is a new one I’ve encountered, and it “allows healthcare professionals to lock keyboard and mouse input so the laptop keyboard can be wiped down to sanitize the device.” Very useful, especially given the circumstances over the past year. Curiously enough, it is listed as not being supported anymore by the company on its website.

Performance

Our review unit was pretty beefy. With an 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1160G7 @ 1.20GHz (2.11 GHz), 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD drive, the ThinkPad X1 Nano could easily handle just about any office task I threw at it. I had no issues with word processing, spreadsheets, web browsing, web editing, or similar tasks. Even with its Integrated Intel Iris Xe Graphics card, it handled Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom just fine. I did try a bit of video editing, and while acceptable, you’ll want a system with dedicated graphics if you plan on doing a lot of that.

The system also handled basic games like Microsoft Solitaire and even Asphalt 9: Legends just fine, but anything other than that understandably struggled. This is a business laptop, after all.

Sound Quality

As mentioned in the design section, there are two speaker grilles on the laptop’s underside towards the front. There are also two rectangular grilles above the keyboard. Again, I’m not sure if these are for ventilation or audio as I can’t tell if audio is, in fact, coming out of them.

That being said, the audio is nice and loud and doesn’t sound like it’s just coming from under the laptop. With Dolby Atmos support, depending on your content, it does seem to fill the soundstage more than other laptops. As is the case with most laptops, especially business class ones, there is not much bass here, but the speakers on this system are more than suitable in a pinch.

The keyboard on the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano business laptop
The keyboard on the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano business laptop.

Camera

Sadly, the camera on the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano still only has a 720p resolution. Given the amount of remote work these days and the lightness and portability of this business laptop, it’d be nice to see more 1080p webcams on laptops.

It is a Hybrid infrared (IR) camera with optional Human Presence Detection, however. The IR camera allows you to use it for Windows Hello login using facial recognition, which works quite well on Lenovo laptops. The Human Presence Detection feature is a nice one as it can detect when you step away or return to your computer and toggle sleep mode for you automatically.

Battery Life

Lenovo claims the ThinkPad X1 Nano gets up to 13 hours of battery life on a single charge. Being that we had a beefier model, and I usually run on better performance mode, I was able to get about 6 hours of battery life before needing to plug in. With better battery mode, this increased to about 7 1/2 hours, and on the best battery setting, I was able to get just over 10. The best performance mode gets the worst battery life, only about 4 hours on this setting.

While on battery, I performed basic office tasks like word processing, web browsing, some music streaming, and watching the occasional video. All these tasks were performed with the screen set to about 70% display brightness.

Price/Value

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano isn’t exactly cheap. In fact, most systems seem to be climbing in price these days. The ThinkPad X1 Nano starts at US$2,479 and goes from there. Our review unit will set you back $3,151 at the regular price. This is pretty pricey for a laptop but the ThinkPad X1 Nano does perform well and can have decent battery life while having a very small footprint. Unfortunately, at the time of this review, Lenovo doesn’t have their regular sale, so you’ll be paying full price unless you can find it on sale from another retailer like Amazon.

Wrap-up

If you travel a lot for work or find yourself working out of the office frequently, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano is a light, great-performing laptop with decent battery life.

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Last Updated on October 9, 2021.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano

US$2,479+

Design

9.5/10

Display

9.5/10

Software

9.5/10

Performance

9.5/10

Sound Quality

8.5/10

Camera

8.5/10

Battery Life

8.5/10

Price/Value

8.5/10

Nailed it

  • Compact, light design
  • Decent screen
  • Great performance
  • All day battery life, depending on settings
  • Minimal bloatware
  • Camera privacy shade
  • Dual USB-C Thunderbolt ports
  • USB-C charging

Needs work

  • Only has USB-C Thunderbolt ports
  • Short battery if using performance mode
  • 720p camera
  • Fn and Ctrl keys swapped on left side
  • Pricey
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano business laptop
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