Lenovo ThinkPad X13 (2023) review: It’s all business

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ThinkPad is one of those names that you will never forget. It’s a name that means business, no joke intended. This laptop line has evolved over time, staying loyal to its reputation but adding more features to keep up with peoples’ workflow.

Estimated reading time: 11 minutes

The fourth-generation ThinkPad X13 is Lenovo’s most recent model, and it includes Intel’s 13th-generation CPU, Intel Iris Xe graphics, DDR5 RAM, and other features. That’s simply the tip of the iceberg when you consider how much this laptop can perform. Granted, the design is pretty similar to other ThinkPad models on the market, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s just as nostalgic as the rest. Continue reading to find out what I thought of the ThinkPad X13.

The Quick Take

The ThinkPad X13 is built to amplify business computing for the hybrid workforce. It offers strong performance with up to 13th Gen i7 Intel processors. The 13.3-inch display has slim bezels and up to 2.8K resolution. The 16:10 aspect ratio offers a visual experience more akin to a larger laptop and provides a taller display that’s more optimal for productivity apps. With an expanded scope of up to 5.0MP + IR discrete camera, dual-array microphone and Dolby Audio stereo speakers, users can experience unparalleled visual quality and enriched audio during virtual conferencing. More importantly, the X13 carries on the ThinkPad heritage with its near full-sized keyboard, Mil-Spec testing, and robust security features.

Specifications

The Lenovo ThinkPad X13 we reviewed has the following features and specifications (as provided by the manufacturer and customizable at purchase):

Display13.3″ WUXGA (1920×1200) IPS on-cell touchscreen, antiglare, 16:10 aspect ratio, 300 nits, 100% sRGB
Processor13th Gen Intel Core i7-1365U with vPro (E-Core Max 3.90 GHz, P-Core Max 5.20 GHz with Turbo Boost, 10 Cores, 12 Threads, 12 MB Cache)
GraphicsIntegrated Intel Iris X Graphics
MemorySoldered 16GB DDR5 4800MHz
Storage512GB M.2 PCIe 4.0
ConnectivityIntel® Wi-Fi 6E AX211, 11ax 2×2 + BT5.1
AudioDolby Audio Speaker System certification 2W x 2 Stereo Speakers
Dual array microphones, far-field, Dolby Voice
CameraFHD webcam with privacy shutter
Battery41Wh battery, Rapid Charge (80% charge in 1 hour)
Keyboard6-row, multimedia Fn keys, LED backlight, spill-resistant
SecurityMatch-on-Chip Fingerprint Reader, FHD webcam and Privacy Shutter, Power-on
password, Discrete TPM 2.0, TCG Certified, Kensington Nano Security Lock Slot
I/O1x USB 3.2 Gen 1
1x USB 3.2 Gen 1 (Always On)
2x Thunderbolt 4 / USB4 40Gbps (support data transfer, Power Delivery 3.0, and
DisplayPort 2.0)
1x HDMI 2.1, up to 4K/60Hz
1x Headphone/microphone combo jack (3.5mm)
OSWindows 11 Pro
DimensionStarting at: 301.7 x 214.8 x 15.95mm (11.88 x 8.46 x 0.63”)
WeightStarting at: 1.09kg (2.41 lbs)
MaterialDeep Black Models: Carbon fiber (top), aluminum (bottom)

What’s in the box

  • Lenovo ThinkPad X13 (2023 – Gen 4)
  • 65W AC Adapter
  • Quick Start Guide

Design

I’ve said it before about Lenovo laptops, but their method of maintaining the same design with their gadgets is amazing. The fourth-generation ThinkPad X13 is uncannily similar to prior generations, which is not a bad thing. Sure, there are some refinements here and there, generally for the better.

The ThinkPad X13 is available in Deep Black and Storm Grey, and it meets MIL-STD-810H specifications. Depending on the model, it also contains 95% post-consumer content (PCC), such as recycled plastics, aluminum, and magnesium. On top of that, it has a relatively light starting weight of 2.41 lbs (1.09kg).

Lenovo ThinkPad X13 6-row Keyboard
a 6-row keyboard with minimal key travel for fast typing.

Getting down to business, the laptop’s cover is blank except for the ThinkPad logo, which has a dot in the “i” that lights up, Lenovo’s logo, and X13 across the top in a lip that hangs over the notebook for simple opening. Moving to the bottom, you’ll notice rubber nubs for elevation when used on a desk and air vents. The X13 contains two USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports (one is labelled for power in), a USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 (always on), a headphone/mic combo, and an optional smart card reader on the left side. The right side has an additional USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 connector, an HDMI 2.0b port, and a Kensington Nano Security Slot.

When you open the X13, you’re greeted by a 13.3″ WUXGA IPS display with a webcam above it and a privacy shutter. Underneath that is a six-row backlit keyboard, the well-known ThinkPoint, a decent-sized TrackPad, speaker grills on both sides of the keyboard, and yet another ThinkPad logo.

A word of caution to anyone considering purchasing this laptop: it is extremely sensitive to fingerprints. I don’t have unclean hands, but even after wiping them and returning to the laptop, I could see some smudges or prints on the material. Aside from that, the ThinkPad X13 is identical in build quality to pretty much every other ThinkPad on the market.

Display

When it comes to laptop displays, Lenovo has a pattern. Some may have higher-end screens that go up to 2K or even higher. Our ThinkPad X13 review unit features a WUXGA 1920×1200 IPS display. The 13.3-inch screen has a 16:10 aspect ratio, providing extra screen real estate for vertical work applications. I’m not used to smaller-screened laptops like this one and it did take some getting used to.

Lenovo ThinkPad X13 1920 x 1200 FHD Display
Full look at the display and keyboard.

IPS is what I prefer on laptops, despite OLED giving deeper blacks (not to mention higher prices), but IPS works great with the X13. It is touchscreen-enabled and supports 100% sRGB. On the color spectrum, it’s typical of an IPS display. The colors remain true to the originals while also providing excellent viewing angles. Colors that are bright but not too bright, such as reds, blues, and greens, are easy on the eyes. Darker colors, such as greys and blacks, are acceptable. Black colors are deep but have a grayish tone to them.

Don’t get me wrong, the display is fantastic, but it is a little on the dim side, with just 300 nits of brightness. Aside from that, I had no complaints about Lenovo’s choice of an FHD+ display.

Software

Windows 11 Pro is preinstalled on the ThinkPad X13. Because this is a business laptop, Windows 11 Pro is the ideal option because it has more security measures than Windows 11 Home. Although this is the primary distinction between the two editions of Windows 11, the Pro version retains all of the other capabilities found in Windows 11 Home.

On the Lenovo end, the company has installed some of its own programs. Lenovo Commercial Vantage is identical to the basic Lenovo Vantage. Lenovo View is an application that improves webcam quality. You’ll also get Intel’s Unison, the Connectivity Performance suite, and an Office 365 trial. Thankfully, there isn’t as much bloatware as you’d anticipate, but given that this is a professional notebook, it makes sense.

Performance

As reviewed, the fourth-generation ThinkPad X13 is powered by an Intel Core i7-1365U processor with vPro. It’s a 10-core, 12-thread processor with two Performance cores that peak out at 5.2GHz and the other eight E-cores that max out at 3.90GHz. All of this is paired with 16GB of 4800MHz LPDDR5 RAM, Intel Iris Xe graphics, and a 512GB M.2 SSD. Based on the specifications listed, this business laptop is ready to take on any assignment.

When it comes to demonstrating its multitasking ability, the ThinkPad does not hold back. Depending on what I’m doing, I utilize Alt+Tab to swiftly switch between applications, and the X13 performed admirably. There was no discernible slowing. The laptop became hot at times, but that is to be expected with heavy use. So don’t be surprised if the fans turn on unexpectedly.

Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Fingerprint scanner and power button
The power button also acts as a fingerprint scanner.

While I may not use this laptop in the same way as others would in the corporate sector, I did let my mother test it out and give her feedback on it. She also uses a ThinkPad laptop for work and found the weight and performance were roughly the same. However, she said the display was a little on the small side being that she is used to a 15-inch display.

Overall performance is comparable to that of other laptops that employ Intel’s 13th-generation CPUs, NVMe SSDs, and DDR5 RAM. It’s fast and performs well when multitasking, so don’t be hesitant to let the laptop show you what it’s capable of.

Speakers

To improve sound quality, Lenovo has used a 2W speaker on both sides of the ThinkPad, with Dolby Audio tuning. It also implies that the audio signal is increased without generating distortion, that a virtual surround sound experience is provided, and that an audio optimizer optimizes the frequency response of the built-in speakers.

The sound quality isn’t horrible, but it does get a little tinny at times, even if the volume is on the low side between 25-35%. I did notice that the sweet spot was between 28% and 30%. Again, it sounded tinny, but it was better than other volume levels.

Camera

While this model comes standard with a 720p HD webcam with a privacy shutter, upgrades to a 1080p or 5MP webcam are available. The latter two have privacy shutters as well. This webcam, in particular the 720p model, is suitable for individuals who will be using Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, or other video conferencing services.

Battery Life

The battery has a capacity of 41Whr and comes with a 65W AC adapter. There is an optional 54.7Whr battery, although the battery life is still good on the smaller capacity. Battery life will vary based on how you use the ThinkPad X13, as it does with all battery-powered devices.

As previously stated, the battery life was generally satisfactory. My daily consumption changed depending on what I was doing. One day was spent writing and watching films. Before I had to use the charger, the battery lasted roughly seven and a half hours, starting at 100% and finishing at 20%. On other days, it was the usual online browsing and email checking, which progressively depleted the battery. I then turned off the laptop until I needed it again. Because this laptop may be used in an enterprise environment, it will likely be plugged in most of the time, eliminating the need to worry about the battery dying.

The X13, like all other recent Lenovo laptops, has Rapid Charge, allowing you to charge up to 80% of the battery in around 60 minutes. I didn’t pay attention to how quickly it took to return to a full charge but I hadn’t been away that long and noticed it had charged quickly.

Lenovo includes “anti-fry” technology that monitors and prevents third-party USB-C chargers from transferring erroneous voltages. Although I haven’t previously seen that in other Lenovo laptops, some customers who might have forgotten their first-party charge will find this useful. Of course, this isn’t an excuse to use any old USB-C AC adaptor and you should use the one that came with the laptop at all times or an official Lenovo replacement.

Price

At B&H Photo, the configured model we received for review costs $1618.68. Given that this is, at best, a mid-tier configured device, the price-to-performance ratio is about right. Now, if you want the most basic variant, Lenovo is selling it for a starting price of $1039.35 at the time of writing. In any case, the ThinkPad X13 is unbeatable. Lenovo does have some good offers on this laptop, so keep a watch out if you’re considering getting one.

Wrap Up

As I previously stated, I am not the type of person who would use this laptop as intended, such as individuals who do data input in Excel regularly, host or be on video chats, or even use it for work. But it can handle anything that I tested it with. Business use aside, even college students and those in need of a powerful workhorse laptop will appreciate the ThinkPad X13.

Lenovo ThinkPad X13 4th gen

US$1039.35

Design

10.0/10

Display

9.5/10

Software

10.0/10

Performance

10.0/10

Sound Quality

9.0/10

Camera

9.0/10

Battery Life

10.0/10

Price

9.0/10

Nailed it

  • Light and thin design
  • Windows 11 Pro
  • Excellent performance
  • Long-lasting battery life

Needs work

  • Dim display
  • Ok speaker
  • 720p webcam for base model

Last Updated on November 27, 2023.

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