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Computing

Zenbook Fold 17 vs. ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2: foldable fun

Are you looking for innovative, experimental tech that’s pushing the industry forward? Well, look no further than laptops with foldable screens.

We now have two out in the wild: the Asus Zenbook Fold 17 and the ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2. The two devices share a lot in common, even beyond the fact that they both have a screen that can fold in half. But which is the best representation of what this form factor can be?

Specs

  Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2 Asus Zenbook Fold 17
Dimensions 6.9 x 10.87 x 0.68 inches 14.90 x 11.32 x 0.51 inches
Weight 4.19 pounds (including keyboard) 3.31 pounds (including keyboard)
Processor Up to Intel vPro with 12th-generation Intel Core U9 i5 and i7 Processors Intel Core i7-1250U
Graphics Intel Iris Xe Intel Iris Xe
RAM Up to 32GB LPDDR5 16GB LPDDR5
Display 16.3-inch (2024 x 2560) OLED, 600 nit HDR/400 nit SDR 17.3-inch, 2560 x 1920 OLED, 500 nit HDR
Storage Up to 1TB PCIe 4 SSD 1TB M.2 PCIe 4.0 SSD
Touch On-cell Touch with Pen support Yes
Ports 2x Thunderbolt 4, 1 USB-C 3.2 Gen 2, Nano-SIM card tray, 3.5mm combo audio jack 2x Thunderbolt 4
3.5mm combo audio jack
Wireless Wi-Fi 6E 802.11 AX (2×2), Bluetooth 5.2,  5G Sub 6 (optional) Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5
Webcam 5MP RGB+IR, with Intel VSC option 5MP with IR
Operating system Up to Windows 11 Pro Up to Windows 11 Pro
Battery 48 watt-hour (optional additional 16-watt-hour configurable) 75-watt-hour
Price $2,500 $3,500

Two forks in the road

The Zenbook Fold 17 in laptop mode.

The Zenbook Fold 17 and ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2 both build upon the design of the original ThinkPad X1 Fold. They both have larger foldable displays, a wireless keyboard, a kickstand, and multiple modes for using it.

But the two devices take different paths in terms of the form factor and design. The Zenbook Fold 17 actually shares more in common with the original ThinkPad X1 Fold, using a similar faux-leather “binding” to cover the hinge. The X1 Fold Gen 2 has an entirely new look, with woven fabric on the outside and a more streamlined look. We prefer the X1 Fold Gen 2, which doesn’t try as much to resemble a folded-up notebook.

Also, the ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2 has a completely removable kickstand this time around rather than building it right into the device itself. This also allows it to lay completely flat on the table, which is impressive. The Zenbook Fold 17 still can’t quite do this.

The 2022 ThinkPad X1 Fold in landscape mode attached to a keyboard.

Both the Zenbook Fold 17 and ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2 can be used as tablets, albeit very large ones. They can also both be used in desktop mode, where the screen is held up by the kickstand and the keyboard is removed. You may prefer to use the devices like this, as it allows you to take full advantage of the larger, unfolded screen.

Both devices also support a laptop mode, where the keyboard magnetically attaches to the bottom half of the folded screen. The Zenbook Fold 17 has a slightly larger screen, though, which comes in handy in both modes. One of the issues with the original ThinkPad X1 Fold was the small screen, which made this laptop mode feel pretty unusable. But now, both the Zenbook Fold 17 and the ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2 feel like capable laptop replacements, regardless of which mode you’re in.

The ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2 in portrait mode.

The ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2 benefits from an additional portrait mode, largely thanks to the odd aspect ratio of the device. Portrait mode might look strange with the keyboard connected to it, but it gives you a vertical view of your content that could be handy for those wanting to stack multiple screens, or just to get a taller view of your spreadsheets, websites, or word documents. It’s not the most practical thing in the world, but it is a neat addition to what this device can already do.

Of course, the detachable keyboard comes bundled in with the device in both cases. And fortunately, they’re both quite good. We’ll need to spend more time with the ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2 to get a final verdict on usability, but both keyboards feature full-size layouts that most people will be comfortable with.

The Zenbook Fold 17 did suffer from some issues with the touchpad, though, which is something we’ll be looking to test more on the X1 Fold Gen 2 when we get it out for review.

Display

The ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2 unfolded on a table.

The size is the most obvious difference in displays between these two devices. The Zenbook Fold 17 is a full inch larger diagonally, and Asus managed to do that without adding too much extra weight to the overall package. That makes the benefits of having a foldable device even more noticeable, allowing for an excellent screen to work on when out and about. That extra screen real estate really does feel wonderful to use.

We haven’t tested the screen of the ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2 in detail yet, but I’d expect the two screens to perform quite similarly. They’re both using a version of LG’s FOLED (foldable OLED) panels, which bring excellent contrast and color to these devices.

The screens themselves both have a protective layer that makes the display look cheap. They’re highly reflective and have a different texture to them than what you’re typically used to, which was something we noticed particularly on the Zenbook Fold 17, especially in comparison to foldable smartphones. Impressively, though, the ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2 does a better job of hiding the crease down the middle of the screen, whereas it can still be seen on the Zenbook Fold 17.

Performance

The Zenbook Fold 17 in desktop mode on a table.

You’re going to see very similar performance from both of these devices. They both use a low-wattage 12th-gen Intel processor, up to a Core i7. In both cases, they should represent a significant step up from the original ThinkPad X1 Fold, which suffered from using a low-powered Intel Lakefield chip.

These two new foldables are capable laptop replacements, even if they’re on the slower end of the spectrum. Interestingly, the ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2 is fanless, which means it’s completely silent. The Zenbook Fold 17, on the other hand, has an active cooling system with fans that spin up. How will this impact performance comparisons? We’ll have to wait and see until we can test the X1 Fold Gen 2 out more.

The other main difference is that the ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2 comes in a vPro model, which comes with specific business-centric features and security enhancements.

The X1 Fold Gen 2 also has more configuration options, letting you opt for up to 32GB of RAM down to lower storage options. The Zenbook Fold 17, on the other hand, only offers a 16GB model with 1TB of storage.

We haven’t tested the ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2 in full yet, but the Zenbook Fold 17 has a larger 75-watt-hour battery. The result was OK battery life, but certainly nothing to write home about. The ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2 has a smaller 64-watt-hour battery, with an even smaller 48-watt-hour battery in the base configuration.

Foldables are heating up

Open Asus Zenbook Fold 17 seen from the top down.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Zenbook Fold 17 is a great step up from the original ThinkPad X1 Fold, most notably due to the extra size, improved keyboard, and significantly better performance.

The ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2, however, feels more like a true second generation of this product design. We’ll wait until we spend some more time with it to make a final verdict, but it seems to use some improved display technology that irons out some of the wrinkles that still made it into the Zenbook Fold 17.

It also comes in many more configurations, allowing for a cheaper starting price of $2,500. That makes it feel like a more accessible product for those who want to give these foldable laptops a try.

Neither laptop is available for purchase at this exact moment, but both should be available in the coming months.

Editors’ Choice




Repost: Original Source and Author Link

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Computing

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2 hands-on review: a sleek redo

The 2022 ThinkPad X1 Fold is the second generation of Lenovo’s foldable line, which the company says is now bigger, more powerful, and more versatile.

After having launched the foldable PC category in 2020 with the original ThinkPad X1 Fold, Lenovo took what it learned from the first generation to make a more streamlined and modern-looking product that should appeal to a wider audience. After spending some time with the ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2 myself, I came away impressed by how Lenovo has moved the design forward.

Specs

  Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2
Dimensions 10.87 x 13.6 x 0.34 inches (unfolded), 6.9 x 10.87 x 0.68 inches (folded)
Weight 2.82 pounds
Processor Up to Intel vPro with 12th Gen Intel Core U9 i5 and i7 Processors
Graphics Intel Iris Xe
RAM Up to 32GB LPDDR5
Display 16.3-inch (2024×2560) foldable OLED 600 nit HDR/400nit SDR, DCI P3 100%, Dolby Vision
Storage Up to 1TB PCIe Gen 4 SSD
Touch On-cell Touch with Pen support
Ports 2x Thunderbolt 4, 1 USB-C 3.2 Gen 2, Nano-SIM card tray3.5mm Combo Audio Jack
Wireless Wi-Fi 6E 802.11 AX (2×2), Bluetooth 5.2,  5G Sub 6 (optional)
Webcam 5-megapixel RGB+IR with Intel VSC option
Operating system Up to Windows 11 Pro
Battery 48-watt-hour (optional additional 16-watt-hour configurable)
Price $2,500

Design

The ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2 is an intricate device with many moving parts, no pun intended. There is so much to consider in terms of its design — the 16.3-inch display itself — its external parts, its internal parts, and its accessories.

Customers had to buy the accessories for the original ThinkPad X1 Fold, such as its keyboard and folio stand separately. This model sells with its magnetic attachable keyboard and kickstand included. When not in use, you can fold the ThinkPad X1 Fold into its 12-inch form and snap both accessories onto the PC for easy carrying without needing an additional case.

The two outer layers of the ThinkPad X1 Fold are made of woven fabric panels that are reinforced with carbon fiber and graphite. Internally, the PC has a fanless design but includes a graphite and copper heat sink as its cooling system to spread heat to protect the most important components in the device.

The hinge has a hidden design so that the two panels wrap around it as the device opens and closes. Lenovo explained that when folded the design creates a bell shape for the display that never fully creases the screen, but rather helps to keep it protected from damage.

Display

The star feature of the ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2 is surely its display, which is a 16.3-inch, 2024 x 2560 resolution, foldable OLED screen with 600 nits brightness in HDR mode and 400 nits brightness in SDR mode, plus a DCI P3 100% RGB color space.

The on-cell touch display also supports Dolby Vision and Pen support, with a Wacom stylus as its tool of choice. The accessory snaps magnetically to the side of the chassis for easy carrying. The grated speakers on the sides of the frame also support Dolby Atmos and Dolby Voice.

The sheer size of the product allows you to imagine it a lot less as a basic tablet and a lot more as it is intended — a foldable PC with several possibilities for its setup and use. At first glance, the OLED colors really pop, as can be expected from this panel type. In addition to its primary 16.3-inch and 12-inch form factors, the ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2 can be melded into different positions with or without the help of its stand and trackpad accessories.

When unfolded, you can use the 2022 ThinkPad X1 Fold in either portrait or landscape mode, with the display automatically adjusting to fit the different orientations. The portrait mode is the new option, which basically gives you an extremely tall vertical display. This is also something this laptop’s primary competitor, the Asus Zenbook Fold 17, doesn’t have.

Then you can fold the new ThinkPad X1 Fold into its clamshell mode, which allows it to be used as a traditional laptop. The foldable features an onscreen keyboard, of course, though the attachable accessory keyboard is what most people will want to use.

The 2022 ThinkPad X1 Fold in portrait mode.

The foldable PC includes a front-facing 5-megapixel IR RGB camera, which powers such built-in AI features as, lock-on-leave and wake-on-face. As described the device can be set to lock automatically when eyes are no longer detected by the camera and to wake again when you are present at the screen once more. Like the older model, this foldable PC also sticks to one camera.

You can also toggle the display to set up several panels, columns, or areas to bring up different browsers, apps, or programs. This is a great option for multitasking and can be configured into a number of unique configurations. Perhaps you need a side-by-side productivity use case that is ideal for the landscape mode. You can do columns in portrait mode and split one column in half still, adjusting the size as you need. There are so many possibilities.

2022 ThinkPad X1 Fold

Lenovo also made improvements over its first-generation ThinkPad X1 Fold, which has a gap at the fold, by ensuring the 2022 model folds completely flat. This not only provides a seamless look when viewing the display but helped in creating narrow bezels for the screen.

There is some bumpiness along the folding point of the display, but I can’t imagine that impedes the look or performance of the display in any way. It’s just something I noted. It could potentially be a result of the hidden hinge, as explained previously.

Lenovo claims the durability of the foldable display exceeds the life cycle of the PC, projecting that the screen could last up to 10 years, as per the results of robust open and close folding tests on the product.

Keyboard and trackpad

Accessories for the 2022 ThinkPad X1 Fold now come included with the foldable PC and are light and magnetically attachable. The ThinkPad TrackPoint Bluetooth keyboard is a full-sized peripheral that is modeled after the ThinkPad X1 Nano keyboard. It includes track point buttons, a haptic trackpad, and a fingerprint reader that supports Windows Hello.

The 2022 ThinkPad X1 Fold in landcape mode.

When not already attached, you can use the keyboard separately from the display while connecting to Bluetooth. Additionally, you can place the keyboard on top of the flat part of the foldable PC in clamshell mode or still use the keyboard attached or separately.

Similarly, the accompanying stand snaps onto the 2022 ThinkPad X1 Fold magnetically and adjusts well for easy use. You can place the device in landscape or portrait mode and adjust the fold to your preference.

Fortunately, many of the problems with the layout of the original ThinkPad X1 Fold’s keyboard have been resolved. No missing keys or surprises — everything’s right where you’d expect on a standard ThinkPad laptop. That’s largely thanks to the larger size, no longer needing to compromise to fit all the keys in.

Performance and battery life

With its professional-grade internals, Lenovo is promising major performance improvements with the 2022 ThinkPad X1 Fold over the prior model based on its own internal testing. The foldable PC offers 12th Gen Intel Core U9 vPro i5 and i7 Processor options, LPDDR5 memory up to 32GB, PCIe Gen 4 SSD up to 1TB, and Intel Iris Xe Graphics.

2022 ThinkPad X1 Fold

Several configurable options are available at Lenovo.com, including five i5 and i7 vPro and non-vPro processor options, storage options including 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB. Additionally, the device ships with Windows 11 Home, and can be upgraded to Windows 11 Pro or downgraded to Windows 10 Pro based on user preference.

The device comes also with a standard 48-watt-hour battery, which can be configured to add an additional 16-watt-hour battery. Together Lenovo promises a battery life of up to 11 hours for the 2022 ThinkPad X1 Fold, which is a boost of up to three hours as per reviews of the prior model.

2022 ThinkPad X1 Fold

The 2022 ThinkPad X1 Fold includes three USB-C ports, two of which support Thunderbolt 4, allowing you to dock external devices. You can connect up to three external monitors to the foldable PC, two 5K, and one 4K.

Additionally, the device includes a nano-SIM card tray for its LTE connectivity. It also comes with Wi-Fi 6E support standard and optional 5G Sub 6 support.

Price and availability

The price of the 2022 ThinkPad X1 Fold notably remains unchanged from that of the original foldable PC that was released in 2020. The new model starts at $2,500 and its expected availability starts in November 2022.

Editors’ Choice




Repost: Original Source and Author Link

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Computing

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 review: all business

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10

MSRP $1,680.00

“The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 isn’t a performer, but excels in battery life and security.”

Pros

  • Solid build quality
  • Dizzying array of display options
  • Excellent keyboard
  • Above-average battery life
  • Good business support

Cons

  • Touchpad is too small
  • Expensive for the performance

A laptop should be fairly refined by the time it’s hit its 10th generation. That’s particularly true with one as iconic as the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon, the company’s marquee business-oriented thin and light laptop.

Lenovo didn’t mark the X1 Carbon’s 10th generation with a spectacular reworking. Instead, it further refines the celebrated design with a few small but meaningful refinements, as it’s been doing in every generation since its launch.

These small tweaks, alongside an update to Intel’s 12th-gen CPUs, leave this premium business laptop at the top of its game, even if its price still doesn’t make it a particularly realistic mainstream consumer option.

Price and configurations

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 rear view showing lid and logo.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

I reviewed a $1,680 configuration with a Core i7-1260P CPU and a 14-inch 16:10 UXWGA (1920 x 1200) low-power IPS display.

Of course, Lenovo provides several other configuration options with the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10. CPUs range from the 28-watt, 12-core/16-thread Core i5-1540P to the 28-watt 14-core/20-thread Core i7-1280P with vPro. As we’ll see in the display section below, there are a dizzying number of display options that make it possible (if challenging) to dial in precisely the desired efficiency and display resolution and quality.

Regarding pricing and using Lenovo’s configurator, things start at $1,320 for a Core i5-1540P, 8GB of LPDDR5 RAM, a 256GB PCIe SSD, and a 14-inch 16:10 WUXGA (1920 x 1200) low-power, anti-glare IPS display. At the high end, you’ll spend $2,595 for a Core i7-1280P with vPro, 32GB of RAM, a 2TB PCIe 4.0 SSD, 4G LTE, and a 14-inch 16:10 WQUXGA (3840 x 2400) anti-reflective, anti-smudge touch display.

These are steep discounts from the retail prices, and they aren’t out of line for the business audience that’s likely to be most interested in the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10. In terms of price, it’s less expensive than the more powerful Apple MacBook Pro 14 and around the same price as a similarly configured Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7.

Design

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 front angled view showing display and keyboard deck.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 enjoys the same thin and light chassis as before, constructed of magnesium alloy in the chassis and carbon fiber in the lid. It’s subjected to the usual military testing for robustness as all ThinkPads. Still, like most laptops with magnesium and carbon fiber, there’s some bending in the lid and flexing in the keyboard deck.

In the ThinkPad’s case, though, it’s very minor and most people won’t notice it, but it doesn’t quite live up to the standards of more solid machines like the Dell XPS 15 and the MacBook Pro 14. The hinge is perfectly balanced, light enough to open the lid with one hand but stiff enough to hold the display in place.

The magnesium and carbon fiber do bring a meaningful benefit in terms of the ThinkPad’s weight, which comes in at just 2.48 pounds. It’s also thin at 0.60 inches, with larger bezels for a modern laptop and thus more width and depth than some.

What can I say? The latest ThinkPad X1 looks precisely like a ThinkPad.

By comparison, the solid aluminum MacBook Pro 14 with a 14.2-inch display weighs 3.5 pounds and is 0.61 inches thick, while being just slightly thinner and shallower in spite of the larger panel. The MSI Prestige 14, on the other hand, is a little wider and a little shallower while weighing a whopping 4.64 pounds and coming in at 0.63 inches thick. The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 is one of the lighter 14-inch laptops around while being reasonably sized in all dimensions.

Aesthetically, what can I say? The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 looks precisely like a ThinkPad — all-black chassis, minimalist lines and angles, red LED do on the stylized ThinkPad X1 logo on the lid and red TrackPoint nubbin in the middle of the keyboard. It’s a conservative, iconic design that’s recognizable from a distance. Ultimately, it’s more striking than simplistic machines like the Prestige 14 and Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7, while being less elegant than the MacBook Pro 14. But nobody will be embarrassed taking it into a business meeting.

Ports and connections

Connectivity is mostly solid for a 14-inch machine, with two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4 support, two USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports, a full-size HDMI 2.0b port, and a 3.5mm audio jack. There’s no SD card reader, which is disappointing.

Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 provide the latest in wireless connectivity, and a Nano SIM slot is optional supporting 4G LTE WWAN.

Keyboard, touchpad, and webcam

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 top down view showing keyboard and touchpad.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10’s keyboard has slightly changed from the standard ThinkPad version. The keycaps are squared off, giving a more streamlined appearance and, in my opinion, a better feel. The switches seemed a bit lighter than many ThinkPads I’ve tested, and that’s an improvement in my book. I’ve usually found ThinkPad keyboards to require too much force. There’s still plenty of travel and a precise, snappy bottoming action, making it an excellent keyboard for long typing sessions. Lenovo also built air intake holes into the keyboard to improve thermal performance, and waterproof seals maintain the keyboard’s spill resistance. The layout remains the same, including the odd swapping of the left Fn and Ctrl keys.

The touchpad is wider than previous models and still hosts two buttons to support the red TrackPoint nubbin in the middle of the keyboard. That makes the touchpad slightly larger than in the past but still smaller than you’ll find on many competitive 14-inch laptops. Its glass surface is smooth and provides reliable support for Windows 11 multitouch gestures. And the TrackPoint works as well as ever for those ThinkPad diehards who prefer it.

Windows 11 Hello passwordless support is provided by a fingerprint reader built into the power button embedded in the deck above the keyboard. The power button’s placement helps avoid accidentally pressing the wrong key, and the fingerprint reader worked quickly and reliably in my testing.

Finally, the webcam is Full HD (1080p) and has a webcam privacy shutter. The webcam provides excellent video quality in normal and low-light environments and should meet anyone’s videoconferencing needs. There are options for a Full HD webcam with infrared for facial recognition and another with Lenovo’s Computer Vision technology.

Performance

Intel’s 12th-gen Core i7-1260P is our most-reviewed CPU over the last several months. It’s popular among thin and light laptops like the Carbon X1 Carbon, and we’ve seen some stratification in the chip’s performance. As a 28-watt, 12-core (four Performance and eight Efficient), 16-thread processor, the Core i7-1260P has provided at least solid productivity performance, but some laptops have performed better than others. The Acer Swift 3 2022 and MSI Prestige 14 are two laptops that provided overall superior performance than the average, while the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 is among those providing significantly less performance.

That’s not a surprise given how previous models in the line have handled performance. This ThinkPad was particularly slow in our CPU-intensive benchmarks compared to competitors, including video encoding in Handbrake and the 3D rendering benchmark in Cinebench R23. The laptop’s PCMark 10 Complete result, a measure of a mix of productivity, multimedia, and creative tasks, was also lower than the average and even fell behind the 9th generation model with a Core i7-1165G7.

Performance didn’t live up to this CPU’s potential.

Oddly enough, I used Lenovo’s thermal management utility, and it performed worse in some tests in performance mode than in balanced mode.

Despite having a higher wattage chip inside, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 7 performed more like the Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 with a 15-watt, 10-core (two Performance and eight Efficient), 12-core Core i7-1255U. I can’t say that the ThinkPad suffered from any unusual issues with throttling, at least no more than the rest of the thin-and-light field, but it didn’t perform up to this CPU’s potential.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you’ll notice. It’s still a fast enough laptop for demanding productivity tasks, and it’s faster than Intel’s 11th-gen equivalents in most cases. But the ThinkPad’s ability to handle heavier tasks in creative applications is significantly less than with some other competitive machines.

Geekbench
(single / multi)
Handbrake
(seconds)
Cinebench R23
(single / multi)
PCMark 10
Complete
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10
(Core i7-1260P)
Bal: 1,531 / 8,209
Perf: 1,580 / 8,342
Bal: 133
Perf: 138
Bal: 1,538 / 6,993
Perf: 1,538 / 6,783
4,982
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9
(Core i7-1165G7)
Bal: 1,327 / 5,201
Perf: 1,556 / 5,490
Bal: 170
Perf: 190
Bal: 1,469 / 4945
Perf: 1,463 / 4,968
5,147
MSI Prestige 14
(Core i7-1260P)
Bal: 1,505 / 10,041
Perf: 1,477 / 10,604
Bal: 114
Perf: 97
Bal: 1,553 / 8,734
Perf: 1,567 / 10,450
6,201
Acer Swift 3 2022
(Core i7-1260P)
Bal: 1,708 / 10,442
Perf: 1,694 / 10,382
Bal: 100
Perf: 98
Bal: 1,735 / 9,756
Perf: 1,779 / 10,165
5,545
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7
(Core i7-1260P)
Bal: 1,650 / 8,080
Perf: 1,621 / 8,544
Bal: 116
Perf: 120
Bal: 1,587 / 7,682
Perf: 1,611 / 8,078
5,537
MSI Summit E14 Flip
(Core i7-1260P)
Bal: 1,485 / 7,732
Perf: 1,472 / 10,276
Bal: 152
Perf: 94
Bal: 1,536 / 6,793
Perf: 1,536 / 9,124
4,910
Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1
(Core i7-1255U)
Bal: 1,703 / 6,520
Perf: 1,685 / 6,791
Bal: 153
Perf: 141
Bal: 1,729 / 6,847
Perf: 1,773 / 7,009
5,138
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
(Ryzen 7 6800U)
Bal: 1,417 / 6,854
Perf: 1,404 / 7,223
Bal: 112
Perf: 111
Bal: 1,402 / 8,682
Perf: 1,409 / 8,860
5,647

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 utilizes Intel’s Iris Xe graphics, and it was an average performer in both the 3DMark Time Spy benchmark and Fortnite at 1200p and epic graphics. You’ll want to limit your gaming to older titles and esports.

3DMark
Time Spy
Fortnite
(1080p/1200p Epic)
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10
(Intel Iris Xe)
Bal: 1,816
Perf: 1,820
Bal: 17 fps
Perf: 16 fps
MSI Prestige 14
(RTX 3050)
Bal: 4,438
Perf: 4,451
Bal: 23
Perf: 26
Acer Swift 3 2022
(Intel Iris Xe)
Bal: 1,967
Perf: 1,967
Bal: 19 fps
Perf: 19 fps
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7
(Intel Iris Xe)
Bal: 1,899
Perf: 1,886
Bal: 17 fps
Perf: 16 fps
MSI Summit E14 Flip
(Intel Iris Xe)
Bal: 1,740
Perf: 1,959
Bal: 15 fps
Perf: 19 fps
Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1
(Intel Iris Xe)
Bal: 1,492
Perf: 1,502
Bal: fps
Perf: fps
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
(Radeon graphics)
Bal: 2,110
Perf: 2,213
Bal: 19 fps
Perf: 19 fps

Display and audio

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 front view showing display.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Lenovo offers a mind-boggling assortment of display options for the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10. There are seven 14-inch 16:10 panels to choose from, differentiated by an alphabet soup of acronyms. First, there are three WUXGA (1920 x 1200) LP (low-power), AG (anti-glare) panels, one non-touch and two touch-enabled. One of the WUXGA displays with touch includes Lenovo’s Privacy Guard feature. Next is a 2.2K (2240 x 1400) AG IPS screen, followed by a 2.8K (2880 x 1800) OLED AGARAS (anti-glare, anti-reflection, anti-smudge) display. Finally, there are two WQUXA (3840 x 2400) IPS displays, one LP AG non-touch and one LP AOFT (Add-on Film Touch) AGARAS touch.

Whew.

My review unit was equipped with the WUXGA LP AG touch display, which seemed fine during my testing. It was plenty bright, colors seemed dynamic without being oversaturated, and blacks were deep for an IPS panel.

My colorimeter confirmed my subjective experience. The display hit 411 nits of brightness, which is well above our 300-nit threshold and more than bright enough for any indoor lighting condition you’re likely to face. Its contrast was also excellent at 1660:1, well about the 1000:1 we like to see in premium displays. That resulted in true blacks, for example, text that pops on a white background (my personal standard) and plenty of detail in dark images.

Colors hit the premium laptop average of 98% of sRGB and 76% of AdobeRGB, although I’ve seen more displays lately falling in the 80s for AdobeRGB. Color accuracy was okay at a DeltaE of 1.96, below the 2.0 mark that’s the minimum for creative work but still higher than I like to see. The MSI Summit E14 Flip and Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 had wider and more accurate colors.

This is an excellent display for productivity workers and media consumers, but it falls short of what creators are looking for. However, Lenovo offers so many display options that certainly anybody can dial in a display that will meet their needs.

Brightness
(nits)
Contrast sRGB gamut AdobeRGB gamut Accuracy DeltaE
(lower is better)
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10
(IPS)
411 1660:1 98% 76% 1.96
MSI Prestige 14
(IPS)
317 1820:1 97% 72% 3.67
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7
(IPS)
386 1900:1 100% 81% 0.78
MSI Summit E14 Flip
(IPS)
516 1320:1 100% 89% 1.10
Lenovo Yoga 9i 14 Gen 7
(OLED)
406 28380:1 100% 95% 0.87
Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon
(OLED)
397 27590:1 100% 96% 0.88

Two downward-firing speakers put out a surprising amount of volume, and the quality was better than I expected. Along with clean mids and highs without distortion, I heard a touch of bass. The speakers were strong enough for Netflix binging sessions and informal music listening, although a good pair of headphones will still provide the best quality.

Battery life

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 side view showing lid and ports.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

My review unit used a 28-watt CPU and a low-power WUXGA (also known as Full HD+) display. Its 57 watt-hours of battery capacity is a little light for a 14-inch laptop, especially compared to the Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 7 with its 75 watt-hour battery. I wasn’t expecting all-day battery life.

After running our suite of battery benchmarks, I came away mostly impressed. Its 7.5 hours in our web browsing test that cycles through a series of complex websites is about half an hour less than we like to see, but it was competitive among our comparison group. The Yoga 9i Gen 7 lasted longer, as did the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 (with 71 watt-hours) and the AMD-equipped Asus ZenBook S 13 OLED with a power-hungry display. Even so, the ThinkPad did okay. In our video test that loops a local Full HD Avengers trailer, it lasted for 14.5 hours, a strong score likely thanks to its low-power display. And finally, in the PCMark 10 Applications test that’s the best indication of productivity battery life, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 made it to 10.75 hours, an above-average result.

Overall, the ThinkPad’s battery life is pretty good, promising a full day’s work unless you push the CPU. You’ll get less out of some of the available higher-resolution displays as well as the OLED option, but stick with this display and you won’t need to carry your charger with you.

Web browsing Video PCMark 10
Applications
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10
(Core i7-1260P)
7 hours, 39 minutes 14 hours, 34 minutes 10 hours, 42 minutes
MSI Prestige 14
(Core i7-1260P)
5 hours, 11 minutes 6 hours, 2 minutes 7 hours, 2 minutes
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7
(Core i7-1260P)
10 hours, 10 minutes 16 hours, 12 minutes 10 hours, 33 minutes
MSI Summit E14 Flip
(Core i7-1260P)
7 hours, 23 minutes 9 hours, 0 minutes 7 hours, 54 minutes
Lenovo Yoga 9i 14 Gen 7
(Core i7-1260P)
9 hours, 10 minutes 12 hours, 45 minutes 8 hours, 32 minutes
Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1
(Core i7-1255U)
6 hours, 42 minutes 11 hours, 6 minutes 8 hours, 43 minutes
 Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
(Ryzen 7 6800U)
8 hours, 4 minutes 13 hours, 13 minutes N/A

Our take

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 is a well-built and highly configurable laptop with options for the kind of management and security that businesses crave. For that audience, it’s a solid offering at a fair price.

For anyone else, the ThinkPad’s performance is lacking and it doesn’t offer as much to justify its high price. ThinkPad fans will love it, but other mainstream buyers should do their shopping first.

Are there any alternatives?

Dell’s Latitude 7430 is a likely alternative for the business market, offering similar management and security and a similar pricing scheme. It doesn’t offer the same breadth of display offerings as the ThinkPad.

Lenovo’s Yoga 9i Gen 7 is a strong competitor for the mainstream market, offering a more stunning design, the flexibility of a 2-in-1, better performance, and similar battery life. It costs a bit less as well.

Finally, Apple’s MacBook Pro 14 is a compelling option that’s exceptionally well-built and offers superior performance and battery life. It offers just one display option, but it’s as good as anything Lenovo has to offer. You’ll spend a bit more at the high end, though.

How long will it last?

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 is well-built and should last for years of typical abuse. Its components are fully updated and will keep Windows 11 humming along. I’m glad to see the three-year warranty, which should be included with all business class and premium laptops.

Should you buy it?

Yes, if you’re a businessperson who will benefit from plugging into an enterprise environment or a ThinkPad fan who’s looking for the latest and greatest.

Editors’ Choice




Repost: Original Source and Author Link

Categories
Computing

Qualcomm Takes on Apple M1 With Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3

Qualcomm is ready to step up and strengthen the ARM-based side of the PC market. At its annual Snapdragon Tech Summit, the company announced the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 compute platform.

This is a new ARM-based mobile system on chip (SoC) that should take on Apple’s M1 processor and bring new experiences to a potential new wave of laptops in the year 2022.

There’s a couple of big advancements with the new 8cx Gen 3. The most notable is that it’s built on the 5nm PC platform, something that Qualcomm’s rival Intel has yet to accomplish. That means more performance in a smaller CPU die, but the similar power efficiency and consumption remains the same as previous-generation Snapdragon PC-based chips.

In addition, Qualcomm claims that, thanks to new prime cores, the 8cx can deliver an up to 85% generational performance uplift and up to 60% greater performance per watt in Geekbench 5 multi-thread testing when compared to a traditional unnamed x86 processor.

But what about the integrated GPU? According to Qualcomm, advances in the Adreno GPU account for a 60% improvement over the last generation, with the game Big Rumble Boxing being able to run at full HD at 120 frames per second. Outside of gaming, there are some additional features supporting better teleconferencing. That includes including improved camera start-up time (15% faster), support for auto focus, auto white balance, and auto exposure, as well as noise cancellation.

Qualcomm says this is possible through A.I. acceleration, for which the SoC supports 29+ computing operations in a single second. Note that the 8cx Gen 3 also supports 4K HDR cameras, up to 4 cameras, and up to 24-megapixel web cameras.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 platform.
Andrew Martonik / Digital Trends

Another feature in the new 8cX Gen 3 chip is the support for the Microsoft Pluton TPM chip. This should securely store sensitive data such as credentials, personal data, and encryption keys directly on the SoC. In other areas of security, there’s support for Windows Hello, and a new “Dedicated Computer Vision processor,” which can determine user presence and lock the system as someone steps away from it.

Of course, the benefit of Qualcomm mobile compute processors is always-on connectivity. This year’s 8cx Gen 3 sports lightning-fast speeds of up to 10 Gbps, in addition to Qualcomm FastConnect 6900 to enable the fastest Wi-Fi 6/6E speeds available.

To line up with the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3, Qualcomm also announced the Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3 Compute Platform This 6nm SoC aims to bring up to 60% faster CPU performance, 70% faster GPU performance, and 5G connectivity to a new range of entry-level Windows PCs and Chromebooks.

Editors’ Choice




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Computing

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 Review: An E-Ink Experiment

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 2

MSRP $1,696.00

“The Lenovo ThinkPad Plus Gen 2 is just fast enough for productivity users and has adequate battery life, but its e-ink display stands out as a unique and useful feature.”

Pros

  • Innovative e-ink panel
  • Excellent IPS main display
  • Very good keyboard and touchpad
  • Good build quality
  • Thin and light

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Performance is lacking
  • Inadequate connectivity

If you’re an avid reader, as am I, e-ink is magic. You likely appreciate how e-ink makes reading more pleasant while producing far less eye fatigue and taking a minuscule toll on battery life.

But is there an application beyond basic e-readers? Lenovo has been on the forefront of experimenting with e-ink, and it’s latest creation embeds a 12-inch e-ink display right on the lid of a laptop known as the ThinkBook Plus Gen 2. The laptop is an enhanced version of the thin and light ThinkBook 13x, a device aimed toward small businesses.

I reviewed a high-end configuration of the ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 with a Core i7-1160G7 and a 13.3-inch 16:10 WQXGA (2,560 x 1,600) display that sells for a premium price of $1,696. Like the ThinkBook 13x, it’s a bit overpriced for a basic business laptop. The e-ink screen, though, might be worth the premium for anyone who wants to read e-books, write notes on a more comfortable display, or take lots of notes without the battery running down.

E-ink display

The Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 in e-ink mode.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

We’ll start with the e-ink display because, of course, that’s what sets this laptop apart. It’s a 12-inch panel compared to the 10.8-inch version in the previous generation — it takes up more of the lid’s available space, with large bezels that would have looked normal on a standard display just a few years ago. The e-ink screen is 16:10 like the main display, and it’s sharp at the same WQXGA resolution.

It’s also not backlit, and so like all such e-ink screens, you can only use it with direct lighting. There will be more on that in a bit, but it’s generally a good thing. It’s designed to save your eyes from the blue light that standard displays emit and make it theoretically less fatiguing to use for long reading sessions.

To comfortably use the e-ink display, I needed to have lots of ambient lighting.

The e-ink display works just like the ones you’ll find on the Amazon Kindle and other dedicated e-book readers. Its image is created from tiny black-and-white particles that electronically align in the right direction to create a grayscale image. As such, the display is fixed until it’s refreshed, which takes noticeable time and causes the typical warping effect you get with the technology. That makes the display suitable for things like viewing documents and other information, reading e-books, and taking notes. It doesn’t work well for watching videos or anything else that requires a fast refresh rate.

When the laptop is asleep or turned off, the static image provides some personalization — you can choose your own background image, which becomes the lid’s aesthetic. When it’s turned on, you’re presented by default with a set of panels providing customization information, like your Outlook calendar (if configured), the weather, a sticky notebook, and customizable buttons to open supported applications.

I was able to add and run any application that I had installed on the laptop, including the full suite of Office apps, Google Chrome, and the Kindle reader for PC, although not every application will work well with the e-ink technology. Certainly, gaming is out of the question, and you’ll want to avoid apps that require immediate response to input.

If I were to buy the laptop, I’d upgrade to Windows 11, join the Windows Insider Program, and install the Android version of the Kindle app. That would give me a huge e-book reader that’s as good as a Kindle, minus the lighting.

The e-ink display on the Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 while in tablet mode.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

And for me, there’s the rub. To comfortably use the e-ink display, I needed to have lots of ambient lighting. My home office, which is usually lit by some indirect sunlight, didn’t have enough light by default. I needed to actively turn on a lamp directly above the ThinkBook Plus Gen 2’s e-ink display to gain a clear view of the image. It’s the same with my Kindle Paperwhite with its lighting turned off and not a knock against the e-ink display itself. It’s just that the technology requires good lighting conditions, and that limits its usefulness.

At the same time, if you want something to take to the beach (inside a plastic bag or something to keep it protected from the sand), then the display looks fantastic under direct sunlight. In fact, that’s one of the greatest strengths of the e-ink display. It gives you something to use when you’re outside or in any unusually bright environment. Standard laptop displays are rarely bright enough to overcome the Southern California sun, and I can see myself using the e-ink display on such occasions for things like triaging email, web browsing, and — of course — e-book reading.

Design

Closeup on the Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 2's webcam.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 shares an almost identical chassis to the ThinkBook 13x, a thin and light sibling to the ThinkBook 13s Gen 2. All three small business-oriented laptops share similar builds, including aluminum in the lid and aluminum-magnesium alloy in the chassis. The ThinkBook 13s is a little more solid than the other two, which have slight bending in the lid, while the keyboard deck and bottom chassis are solid. That bending is a little more concerning in the ThinkBook Plus Gen 2, given its e-ink screen.

The Dell XPS 13 is one example of a more robust 13-inch laptop, as is the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano. The ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 benefits from the same military testing for durability as all ThinkBook and ThinkPad laptops.

In terms of size, the ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 and ThinkBook 13x are the same width and depth thanks to identical 16:10 13.3-inch displays with small bezels. The ThinkPad 13x is slightly thinner at 0.51 inches and lighter at 2.49 pounds, compared to the ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 at 0.55 inches and 2.56 inches — likely due to the e-ink display. The ThinkBook 13s is just slightly thicker yet at 0.59 inches and heavier at 2.78 pounds.

The XPS 13 is a bit smaller in width and depth and comes in at 0.58 inches and 2.8 pounds, while the ThinkPad X1 Nano is slightly thicker at 0.68 inches and the lightest of all at 2.14 pounds. If you’re going to stick an e-ink screen on a clamshell laptop, the ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 is a reasonably thin and light candidate.

The ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 sports an almost identical aesthetic to the ThinkBook 13x, with lightly tapered edges along the sides and a rounded rear edge on the chassis. It’s the darker Storm Gray color compared to our Thinkpad 13x review unit’s more silver Cloudy Gray, and it has a comfortable soft-textured coating on the keyboard deck that the ThinkPad 13x lacks. Overall, the design is tasteful and straightforward, following a recent trend I’ve noticed toward minimalist designs.

Of course, the ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 doesn’t share the two-tone lid enjoyed by the ThinkBook 13x, having the e-ink display instead. The XPS 13 is sleeker and more elegant, but the ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 stands out even more thanks to its unique lid.

Just like the ThinkBook 13x, the ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 is connectivity challenged. There are two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4 and a 3.5mm audio jack, and that’s it. Its the same unfortunate compromise in connectivity that’s needed to produce a thinner chassis. Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 provide wireless connectivity. One interesting option that’s available on certain models (and not my review unit) is wireless charging. Those versions come with pogo pins on the bottom of the chassis that connect with a $200 wireless charging kit — just set the laptop on the pad and you can charge without plugging in. That’s a nice convenience.

Performance

Like the ThinkBook 13x, the ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 equips a low-power 11th-gen Intel Core CPU, in this case, the Core i7-1160G7. It, too, runs at up to 15 watts compared to the 28-watt Core i7-1165G7 that’s more popular in thin and light laptops. That promises longer battery life but slower performance. I didn’t notice any slowdowns during my testing, but then again, my review process isn’t very demanding. The 16GB of RAM and fast 512GB SSD helped things move along, and so I found the ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 quick enough for most productivity workers.

My benchmark results weren’t impressive. The ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 finished third to last in Geekbench 5, ahead of just the ThinkBook 13x and the ThinkPad X12 Detachable. Its Handbrake result, reflecting how long it takes to encode a 420MB video as H.265, was dead last, although when I used the Lenovo utility to go from default to performance mode, the results improved to 206 seconds from 303 seconds — faster, but still behind the pack.

The ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 finished second to last in the Cinebench R23 test, beating only the ThinkPad X12 Detachable, and its multi-core test increased from 3,949 to 4,254 when I engaged performance mode. The ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 was more competitive in the PCMark 10 Complete benchmark, coming in third place. Its scores were decent in both the Essentials and Productivity portions of the benchmark and not so competitive in the Content Creation portion.

Overall, the benchmarks supported my subjective experience: The ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 is fine for a reasonable productivity workflow, but demanding users and particularly creative pros will want to look elsewhere for their primary laptop. As with the ThinkBook 13x, Lenovo chose a low-power CPU to better fit the thinner chassis, and it was a poor compromise.

Geekbench (single/multi) Handbrake
(seconds)
Cinebench R23 (single/multi) PCMark 10 3DMark Time Spy
Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 (Core i7-1160G7) 1396 /  5115 303 1377 / 3949 4861 1580
Lenovo ThinkBook 13x (Core i5-1130G7) 1337 / 4863 271 1282 / 4037 4590 1363
Lenovo ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 (Core i5-1135G7) 1406 / 5379 178 1357 / 5502 4668 1511
Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable (Core i5-1130G7) 1352 / 4796 185 1125 / 3663 4443 926
Dell XPS 13 (Core i7-1185G7) 1549 / 5431 204 1,449 / 4,267 3,859 1,589
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 (Core i7-1165G7) 1327 / 5201 170 1469 / 4945 5147 1776
Samsung Galaxy Book (Core i5-1135G7) 1401 / 5221 175 1361 / 5391 4735 1584
Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 (Ryzen 7 5700U) 1184 / 6281 116 1287 / 8013 5411 1247

The ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 did surprisingly well in the 3DMark Time Spy test. That didn’t translate to our Fortnite test, though, where it managed just 18 frames per second (fps) at 1200p and Epic graphics. This isn’t a gaming laptop.

Main display

I’ve mentioned that the ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 and ThinkBook 13x are almost identical outside of the former’s e-ink display, and I noticed that similarity the minute I started working with the main 16:10 IPS display. It sure looked the same to me, with the same high resolution, the same dynamic and natural colors, and the same deep contrast (for an IPS display). I couldn’t tell the two apart when I looked at them side by side.

The ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 enjoys an excellent IPS display that can serve creative types in a pinch.

According to my colorimeter, these are indeed the same panels. The ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 was bright at 418 nits, had slightly above-average color width at 76% of AdobeRGB and 100% of sRGB, very accurate colors at a DeltaE of 1.03 (1.0 or less is excellent), and a strong contrast at 1,440:1. The ThinkBook 13x came in at 417 nits, the same color width, a DeltaE of 1.04, and contrast at 1,430:1. Lenovo chose an excellent display for both machines, to its credit. The Dell XPS 13’s 4K display was equally good at 420 nits, 79% of AdobeRGB and 100% of sRGB, accuracy of 1.3, and contrast at 1,360:1.

The ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 enjoys an excellent IPS display.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 enjoys an excellent IPS display that can serve creative types in a pinch. It doesn’t have wide enough colors to be a full-time creative laptop, but the colors are accurate and the contrast is high enough that less demanding creators can do some work. It’s more than good enough for productivity users, and its Dolby Vision high dynamic range (HDR) support makes for excellent Netflix and Amazon Prime Video bingeing.

Two downward-firing speakers provide audio duties, and I found them a bit louder in the ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 than the ThinkBook 13x — but not by much. Mids and highs were nice and clear with zero distortion, but the bass was lacking. Headphones would be preferred for bingeing Netflix and listening to music, but the sound quality was fine for the occasional YouTube video.

Keyboard and touchpad

Closeup on the Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 2's keyboard and stylus.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Lenovo has two keyboards it uses on most of its laptops, the iconic version on the ThinkPad line and the equally recognizable but not quite as famous version on laptops like the IdeaPad and ThinkBook. The ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 has the latter keyboard, of course, and it enjoys the same sculpted keycaps, copious key spacing, and snappy switches that provide a comfortable bottoming action. There’s not a ton of travel, though, which makes the keyboard a little less suitable for long typing sessions than the keyboards on the HP Spectre and Dell XPS lines.

The Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro has an improved version of the same basic keyboard with even snappier switches, and it’s unfortunate that it didn’t make it into the ThinkBook Plus Gen 2. The three-level backlighting is bright and consistent at all but its lowest setting, and the keyboard is spill-resistant with call buttons for videoconferencing — two nods to small business users.

The touchpad is just large enough to be comfortable, with a grippy surface that made for sensitive and precise swiping. It’s a Microsoft Precision touchpad, meaning that all Windows 10 multitouch gestures are supported. The display was touch- and pen-enabled, supporting the Lenovo active pen that comes with the ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 and docks in a slot on the right-hand side of the chassis. The pen isn’t so comfortable to use on the main display, but it works well with the e-ink panel and allows for taking notes that look a lot more like ink on paper.

Drawing a line on the Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 with the pen.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Windows 10 Hello password-less login support is provided by a fingerprint reader embedded in the power button. It worked well during my testing, and it supports waking the laptop and logging in when the lid is closed, activating the e-ink display. Note that a dialogue box pops up on the e-ink panel offering to continue working or put the laptop to sleep when you close the lid. It’s a nice touch that makes it easy to switch to e-ink mode.

Battery life

The e-ink display on the Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 2.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 packs in 52 watt-hours of battery life, slightly down from the 56 watt-hours in the ThinkBook 13s and another compromise made in favor of a thinner chassis. There’s a low-power processor inside but a high-resolution display, so I wasn’t sure what battery life to expect. My impressions were also colored by the results I saw on the equally configured ThinkBook 13x, which were decidedly mixed.

In our web-browsing test that cycles through a series of complex websites, the ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 lasted for 7.75 hours, about 40 minutes less than the ThinkBook 13x. That’s not a terrible score, but we see more thin and light laptops exceed 10 hours in this test. The ThinkBook 13s managed 9.3 hours, and the Dell XPS 13 4K was worse at 6.3 hours.

In our video test that loops a local 1080p movie trailer, the ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 made it to just 12.75 hours, less than the 15.57 hours the ThinkBook 13x achieved and more than the Dell XPS 13’s 10.5 hours. Note that the ThinkBook 13x played very choppy video during the test, indicating that perhaps it wasn’t powered up enough to make for smooth video and thus unfairly extended its score. The ThinkBook 13s lasted for 13.4 hours in the video test.

I also used the PCMark 10 Applications battery test to see how the ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 performs as a productivity machine. It hit 9.25 hours, which is a good score that’s close to the 10 hours we like to see on this test. The ThinkBook 13x lasted for 8.5 hours, while the ThinkBook 13s hit 11.5 hours and the XPS 13 4K made it to 8.7 hours. In the PCMark 10 Gaming battery test, which shows how hard a laptop is working while unplugged, the ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 went for 2.25 hours, less than the ThinkBook 13x’s 2.75 and around the same as the ThinkBook 13s. The XPS 13 4K hit 3.5 hours, indicating that it throttles down quite a bit during the test, but I didn’t notice any choppiness in its video.

All in all, the ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 had decent battery life for a thin and light laptop. It should get you through a full day’s work, which is the standard we like to see. Of course, if you use the e-ink display, you’ll get significantly longer battery life, although our suite of benchmarks isn’t geared toward testing that display technology.

Our take

Judged as simply a thin and light laptop, the ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 lacks any compelling feature to recommend it. It’s a lot like the ThinkBook 13x in that respect — yes, it’s slightly thinner and lighter than its larger sibling, the ThinkBook 13s, but it’s also slower, has less battery life, and lacks the connectivity of the larger machine. Those are unfortunate compromises for just a tiny bit less thickness and weight.

Toss in the e-ink display, though, and that changes the dynamic. It’s not for everyone, but if you’re an e-ink lover and want to be able to use your laptop in bright lighting environments while giving your eyes a break, then it’s a great feature. It adds just enough value to make the ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 a standout laptop for those who will take advantage of this unique feature.

Are there any alternatives?

If you don’t care about the e-ink display, then the ThinkBook 13s is a better choice. It’s less expensive while offering the same small business features, it’s faster with better battery life, and it has better connectivity. There are two versions to choose from, with the Gen 2 running either Intel or AMD or the slightly upgraded AMD-only Gen 3 model.

Again, if you don’t care about the e-ink panel, then the Dell XPS 13 remains a better alternative. The XPS 13 is no more expensive while offering a superior and better-looking build, it’s faster and longer-lasting depending on the display, and you get the option of an incredible 3.5K OLED display.

If a convertible 2-in-1 is more up your alley — and, again, you don’t care about the e-ink display — then HP’s Spectre x360 14 makes for a good option. It’s even better-looking, has an excellent 3K OLED display in the preferred 3:2 aspect ratio, and it’s built better. You’ll spend the same kind of money, but get more value.

How long will it last?

The ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 has a good enough build quality that you can be confident that it will last for years, and its components are up to date. The one-year warranty is always disappointing, and you’ll want to be careful with the e-ink display.

Should you buy it?

Yes, if you will benefit from the e-ink panel for prolonged reading and note-taking sessions. It’s a competent thin and light laptop with some compromises, but the e-ink display tips it over the top.

Editors’ Choice




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Categories
Tech News

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 4 arrives with NVIDIA GeForce RTX graphics

Computers are getting smarter and more powerful and the demands on workers who use them are also growing. Long gone are the days when computers, even laptops, were just glorified typewriters and everyone can always use some powerful specs that these devices have to offer. Of course, not everyone has the same needs or budget, and Lenovo’s newest models for its ThinkPad line of laptops and ThinkVision monitors try to offer the combination of features that will meet your needs and resources.

At the top of the line is, of course, Lenovo’s ThinkPad Extreme, now at its fourth generation. The Thinkpad X1 Extreme Gen 4 packs not only Intel’s most powerful Core i9 mobile processor but also manages to crap NVIDIA’s latest GeForce RTX graphics for laptops. The 16-inch laptop can go up to a 4K display and 64GB of DDR4 RAM for any content creation or consumption need, while its suite of security features, from a fingerprint reader to a camera shutter, makes it perfect for confidential professional work.

Not everyone, however, might need all that power and the newest members of the Lenovo ThinkPad L family try to offer a middle ground. The ThinkPad L13 Yoga Gen 10 brings an AMD Ryzen processor to the company’s convertible laptop line for the very first time and can team up with an optional Integrated Pen to utilize that power for creating digital content. The ThinkPad L13 Gen 2 offers a more traditional laptop experience that boasts no-frills productivity with 10.8 hours of battery life.

If one laptop screen isn’t enough, the Lenovo ThinkVision M15 mobile monitor can go with you anywhere, and its USB-C ports make cable management a breeze. For your home or office workstation, the 23.8-inch FHD ThinkVision T24m-20 expands your virtual workspace while reducing the need for extraneous hubs with its built-in USB-C docking solution.

The ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 4 goes for sale in August to a whopping 2,099 EUR ($2,500). The ThinkPad L13 Yoga Gen 2 and ThinkPad L13 Gen 2 will also join it that month with starting prices of 749 EUR ($890) and 649 EUR ($770), respectively. In the third quarter of the year, Lenovo will launch the ThinkVision M15 Mobile Monitor for 229 EUR ($270) and the ThinkVision T24m-20 for 299 EUR ($360).

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Categories
Tech News

Intel reveals flagship 11th Gen thin-and-light CPUs and a 5G laptop modem

Intel has added two new 11th Gen Core processors for thin and light Windows notebooks, along with is first 5G modem for PCs as high-speed embedded cellular connectivity gains traction. The Intel Core i7-1195G7 and Core i5-1155G7 will both offer Iris Xe graphics along with up to 5 GHz clock speeds.

That, Intel says, is a first in the industry for high-volume thin and light laptops, not to mention a claimed 25-percent performance bump for the new Core i7 over AMD’s Ryzen 7 5800U. It’s not just raw power, either; Intel says its new chip can handle up to 8x faster transcoding and up to double the video editing speed with AI acceleration, compared to AMD’s processor.

Power, of course, is only part of what most laptop buyers are looking for these days. Connectivity is equally important, and Intel will be including WiFi 6E (Gig+) as a result. That supports routers using the 6 GHz band. There’ll also be Intel Optane memory H20 – with solid-state storage – support.

The Intel Core i7-1195G7 has four cores and eight threads, plus 96 graphics CUs and 12MB of cache. It supports DDR4-3200 and LPDDR4x-4266 memory, and has a 12-28W operating range. The base frequency is 2.9 GHz, or up to 5.0 GHz under single core Turbo (or 4.6 GHz for all-core Turbo).

As for the Intel Core i5-1155G7, that too has four cores and eight threads, plus 80 graphics EUs. It has 8MB of cache and supports the same memory types as the Core i7, plus the same 12-28W operating range. Base frequency is 2.5 GHz, or up to 4.5 GHz in single core Turbo; all-core Turbo is 4.3 GHz.

Intel says that we can expect more than 60 designs based on the Core i7-1195G7 and Core i5-1155G7 by the holidays. Acer, ASUS, Lenovo, and MSI will have models on sale this summer.

Intel 5G Solution 5000

Intel’s first 5G M.2 modem doesn’t exactly have a snappy brand, but that doesn’t mean it’s not something Windows PC-makers – and buyers – haven’t been calling out for. The new embedded modem offers almost five-times the speed of a Gigabit LTE connection, the comply says.

It relies on Intel’s partnership with MediaTek and Fibocom: MediaTek provides the modem firmware, and Fibocom the module itself. There’s eSIM for easier provisioning, and support for sub-6 5G though not mmWave.

Still, you’re looking at up to 4.7 Gbps downloads or 1.25 Gbps uploads, network depending, and the ability to fall back onto LTE Cat 19 when outside of 5G networks. It’ll work with Windows, Chrome, and Linux machines.

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Tech News

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 gives entry laptop chip a speed boost

Qualcomm is launching a new version of its chipset for laptops, with the Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 promising more performance for affordable Windows notebooks and Chromebooks. The successor, as you probably guessed, to late-2019’s Snapdragon 7c, this second-generation chipset keeps the multi-day battery life and embedded LTE, but throws in more performance and a boost to multimedia.

The octa-core Kryo 468 CPU now runs at up to 2.55 GHz, and is paired with an Adreno GPU and Spectra 255 image signal processor. Figure on up to QHD 2560 x 1440 at 60Hz external display support, while Qualcomm’s 5th Gen Hexagon 692 AI engine delivers over 5 TOPS of performance.

That should mean more grunt for things like real-time video upscaling and processing, useful if your laptop has a fairly pedestrian webcam. They’ll also be tapped for better on-device voice recognition.

For connectivity, Qualcomm has integrated the Snapdragon X15 4G LTE modem. That means always-on cellular data alongside WiFi, though the company claims that even in an always-connected standby state, notebooks based on the Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 will still last for weeks on a charge. Otherwise, there’s WiFi 802.11ac along with Bluetooth 5.0.

Superlative battery life has been one of Qualcomm’s big pitches, contrasting its smartphone-honed silicon’s frugality in comparison to x86 processors from Intel and AMD. Once again, that’s a key area for the Snapdragon 7c Gen 2. Qualcomm says that notebooks using the chipset could see over 19 hours of continuous use on a single charge. Plug in, and you could add up to 9 hours of use from a 30 minute charge.

This is, of course, Qualcomm’s chipset for entry-level segments: think K-12 classrooms, first-line workers, and general consumers. The Snapdragon 8c and Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 will stick around to cater for the mid-tier and flagship categories, respectively. For context, Chromebooks running the original Snapdragon 7c are currently launching with prices starting at around $349.

The first device based on the Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 is expected to go on sale this Summer. Qualcomm hasn’t said which of its partners will be responsible for that, nor given any other specs of the notebook – including whether it’ll run Windows 10 or Chrome OS – or indeed an expectation on pricing. It seems likely that it could be the handiwork of Lenovo, though, which has said today that it will launch Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 devices later in 2021.

Snapdragon Developer Kit aims to supercharge Windows 10 app-makers

As for apps to run on those Windows 10-based Snapdragon laptops, there Qualcomm is hoping to spur coders to embrace the platform with a new Snapdragon Developer Kit for Windows 10. Created in collaboration with Microsoft, the box – which looks a little like an Apple TV – will be a more affordable way to get started on building Arm-compatible Windows 10 apps.

It’ll come preloaded with everything from .NET 5.0, Visual Studio Code, and FFMPEG, to Chromium and App Assure, so that developers have access to the OS, tools, frameworks, libraries, and installers they need from the get-go. Exact specifications – and indeed pricing – haven’t been shared yet. Qualcomm says it expects the Snapdragon Developer Kit to go on sale this summer, and will share more details closer to its release at the Microsoft Store.

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Computing

Intel’s 12th Gen Alder Lake Chips May Have New Release Date

Intel’s 12th Gen Alder Lake-S platform could arrive on your desktop by the holidays. The chipmaker has told its partners that 10nm Alder Lake-S could launch in November, Wccftech reported, noting that the timeline could change. The platform featuring up to 16 cores and 24 threads was previewed earlier this year at the virtual CES conference, and it’s unclear if the global semiconductor shortage will still have an impact on Alder Lake’s expected November launch. Intel previously stated that chip supplies will remain constrained into 2022.

Alder Lake introduces big changes to Intel’s processor architecture design. With Alder Lake, Intel is using a heterogenous core design, mixing big Sunny Cove cores with smaller Gracemont cores. Intel’s change mirrors what Arm has been doing for smartphones and tablets for years, and the move is expected to boost performance while also driving power efficiency by combining high-efficiency cores with high-performance cores.

Previously, a leaked Intel slide revealed that Alder Lake’s architectural change is expected to deliver up to 20% single-thread performance improvement, thanks to the Golden Cove cores and an enhanced 10nm SuperFin design, and up to a 2x multithread performance gain with Gracemont cores.

The platform is aimed at supporting exciting new features, like the new PCIe 5.0 standard, as well as faster DDR5 memory. According to the latest leak, PCIe 5.0 will be supported on all boards, but DDR5 may not be available on all motherboards. If DDR5 isn’t supported by the motherboard you want, Alder Lake will default to DDR4. It’s believed that less expensive boards will support the DDR4 memory standard, while more premium motherboards will roll out with DDR5 support. It’s also unclear at this time if memory makers will have enough DDR5 modules available when Alder Lake launches given the memory shortage at present.

And as we had previously reported, Alder Lake will require a new LGA 1700 socket, so those looking to Alder Lake will need to choose a new board. Wccftech reported that the new socket will require coolers. Though this will be a costly upgrade — you’ll need to buy both the chip and motherboard to update your gaming rig, along with potentially new memory — the good news is that Intel is mulling a new socket strategy.

Like rival AMD, Intel is exploring a more platform-agnostic strategy for its socket design, though this hasn’t been confirmed. This means that future processor generations could utilize the same socket. The change in design philosophy could be more eco-friendly and cost-effective for gamers and creators compelled to upgrade once a new chip generation launches.

On mobile, Alder Lake’s heterogenous mix of cores could help Intel achieve the power efficiency needed on laptops to compete against Apple’s M1 silicon. The high-efficiency cores are expected to deliver a big boost in battery life.

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Computing

You can finally buy a 10th gen laptop: Dell’s XPS 13 2-in-1 hits the shelves

The long wait for Intel’s 10nm CPUs officially ended Wednesday, when Dell’s XPS 13 2-in-1 went on sale on Dell.com. Once ordered, the company says the first wave of product should be ready by late August.

As the first laptop (that we know of) to go on sale with Intel’s 10th-gen processor, Dell’s XPS 13 2-in-1 7390 ushers in a new era. Well, the first real era, anyway. Intel actually “sold” small numbers of its first 10nm Cannon Lake CPUs earlier this year, but that doesn’t really count.

We actually got  an early hands-on with Dell’s XPS 13 2-in-1 7390 at Computex in Taipei. It isn’t just a sequel to the current XPS 13 2-in-1 9365 model—it’s a major upgrade. The new model’s standout features are its use of the 10th-gen, 10nm Core i7-1065G7 CPU, along with LPDDR4X memory and one thing that will anger some: a soldered-on SSD.

As we saw in our performance preview of the 10th-gen CPU, it’s likely to be significantly faster than its predecessor, which tops out with an 8th-gen Core i7-8500Y. That’s essentially a dual-core, low-power 8th-gen Amber Lake CPU running in a fanless mode. With two fans in the newest XPS 13 2-in-1 along with a vapor chamber, with think the quad-core 10th-gen CPU will likely hit its claim of 2.5X performance improvement.

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 10th gen Core i7 Ice Lake Adam Patrick Murray

The newest XPS 13 2-in-1 eschews the fanless design  for a dual-fan cooler.

The XPS 13 2-in-1 is available with CPU options ranging from 10th-gen Core i3 to 10th-gen Core i7. Memory options range from 4GB to 32GB of LPDDR4X/3733.

Storage options range from 256GB to 1TB of PCIe SSD. In a break from the previous model, which used an M.2 drive that can in theory be replaced, Dell will pull an Apple and solder the SSD onto the motherboard. That’s raised some eyebrows, but the company said it prioritized saving a bit of space over accommodating the relatively rare need to upgrade storage. 

The battery is a decently sized 51 watt hours. Dell says the laptop will run nearly 17 hours on a charge. 

Plenty of 8th-gen and 9th-gen laptops will still be sold while the 10th-gen laptops trickle in. If you’re wondering whether you should wait for a 10th-gen laptop, we go over the pros and cons for you in that linked story.

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