Review

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Titanium review: The new best convertible

When Lenovo refreshed its ThinkPad X1 family back in January, it added a new ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga to its lineup. Honestly, at the time, I didn't know that I should be so excited about it. Sure, it's a ThinkPad X1 Yoga but with titanium materials and a 3:2 screen, right?

But it's so much more than that. This thing is an absolute delight and has quickly become my favorite convertible. In fact, this is part of a larger family of devices from Lenovo that includes the new ThinkPad X1 Nano and the ThinkPad X12 Detachable. For some reason, Lenovo is going all-in on PCs that are just impossibly light.

I've actually been using the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga for about a month and a half now. Lenovo was kind enough to send me a pre-production unit super-early and I've just fallen in love with it. Now that the actual production review unit is here and I can actually write about my experiences, I'm absolutely ready to tell that story.

Specs

CPU Intel Core i7-1180G7
Graphics Intel Iris Xe
Display 13.5" QHD (2256 x 1504) IPS, Anti-Reflective, Anti-Smudge, Touchscreen with Dolby Vision, 201 PPI, 450 nits, 100% sRGB
Body 11.5x297.5x232.7mm (0.45x11.71x9.16"), 1.15kg (2.54lbs)
Memory 16GB LPDDR4X 4267MHz (soldered)
Storage 1TB PCIe SSD
Battery Integrated Li-Polymer 44.5Wh
Ports

(2) USB 4 Type-C with Intel Thunderbolt 4 (DisplayPort, Data Transfer, Power Delivery)
(1) Headphone / mic combo

Connectivity WLAN: Intel WiFi 6 AX201 802.11AX (2 x 2) & Bluetooth 5.1 with vPro
Camera Hybrid infrared (IR) / 720p HD with webcam privacy shutter
Audio

(2) 2W speakers
Dolby Atmos Speaker System
4 x 360-degree mics

Input 6-row, spill-resistant, multimedia Fn keys with Unified Communications controls
TrackPoint pointing device and Mylar surface multi-touch touchpad
Lenovo Precision Pen, magnetically attached to the system
Material Titanium + carbon fiber (top), magnesium-aluminium (bottom)
Color Titanium
OS Windows 10 Pro
Price $2,429.40


This is the specced out model that Lenovo sent me, and with the discounts on Lenovo.com, which fluctuate, the price is $2,429.40. It starts at $1,684.99.

Day one

Design

One of the first things that stood out to me when I took the X1 Titanium out of the box is the striking titanium-colored design. This is most definitely not just another silver laptop. The titanium lid is textured, the even the ThinkPad logo is unlike anything else in the lineup. It's embossed in the lid without any additional coloring, rather than the regular glossy logo seen on most ThinkPad X1 units. Below that is the X1 branding.

Top-down view of the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga

Of course, the second thing that I noticed is just how thin and light it is. It weighs in at 2.54lbs, whereas the ThinkPad X1 Yoga is just under three pounds and made out of aluminum. This is just designed differently. If you want, you can think of the ThinkPad X1 Yoga as a laptop that's designed so it can be turned into a tablet, and you can think of the X1 Titanium as something that's really meant to be more primarily a tablet.

In fact, in using this device as a tablet, I found it to be more comfortable than probably any 360-degree convertible that I've ever used. It just sort of feels natural. A lot of convertibles actually feel hard to use because for one thing, they're heavy. When you add the keys getting in the way of your fingers on the back, it gets awkward. Lenovo actually used to have a feature called the Lift and Lock Keyboard on its convertibles that would make the keys retract so they'd be flush with the deck, but that's way too much to ask for on a machine this thin and light.

It's too much to ask for because, like the ThinkPad X1 Nano that I already reviewed, this is a marvel of engineering. It's so insanely thin and light but without making any kind of meaningful compromises.

Left side view of ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga

One thing that it's missing is USB Type-A, a key reason that this wouldn't be ready to replace the X1 Yoga in the lineup. This is also the case on the ThinkPad X1 Nano, the ThinkPad X12 Detachable, and the ThinkPad X1 Fold, and I'm really happy to see Lenovo not forcing the legacy port on its products. Don't get me wrong. I know businesses need it, and that's why it's still in all of the mainstream products, the X1 Carbon, and the X1 Yoga. But when making cool and innovative new products, Lenovo isn't letting USB Type-A hold it back like Microsoft is with its Surface Pro tablets.

The two USB ports that are there are both Thunderbolt 4, and that's good news. That means that on a single port, you can connect up to two 4K monitors, and believe me, I absolutely did just that. And if it strikes you to do so, you can connect an external GPU on the other one and turn this super-portable PC into a gaming rig.

Right side view of ThinkPad X1 Titanium

On the right side, there's just a power button and a 3.5mm audio jack.

I truly love the design of this machine. Not only is it a great laptop that's super-portable, but it also feels more comfortable at being a tablet than a lot of actual Windows tablets that I've used.

One thing that's lacking, however, is proper pen storage. This is the first ThinkPad convertible that I've used that doesn't have a built-in pen garage. You can magnetically attach the pen to the side of the screen, and the magnet isn't even particularly strong. I'm not a fan of that method, since it easily falls off in my bag. Still, I understand the compromise, since this is such a thin PC.

3:2 display

The Lenovo ThinkPad Titanium Yoga includes a 13.5-inch 2,256x1,504 display, giving it a 3:2 aspect ratio. Indeed, we're taller screens are a trend that we're seeing across the industry. 16:10 laptops are becoming common, even in ThinkPads, and 3:2 was an aspect ratio first seen on Microsoft Surface PCs. It's taller, giving it a larger surface area, so we're seeing it in PCs like this one and HP's Spectre x360 14.

ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga display

In fact, it's notable that Lenovo used a 16:10 display on the ThinkPad X1 Nano and it used a 3:2 display for the ThinkPad X1 Titanium. Taller displays are better for using as a tablet, while wider displays can, in my experience, be better for clamshell laptops because they're better at split-screen apps. There are a lot of smart decisions made here.

ThinkPad X1 Titanium in tent mode

It also supports 450-nit brightness, which I really appreciate. I've seen a lot of PCs that are just 300 nits or so, and they always come up short. At 450 nits, you can use it outdoors, and things are more vibrant. Also helping with that is the Dolby Vision HDR support, which will really make your streaming content pop.

Obviously, it does support pen input, and it feels really natural to write on the glass with the pen. I spent a lot of time with this in OneNote and Microsoft Whiteboard, and I kind of love it.

Close-up of ThinkPad X1 Titanium webcam with privacy guard

The one thing I don't really love about the screen is the bezels. The top and bottom bezels are really big. The top bezel fits a webcam and an IR camera, and sadly the webcam is only 720p in the era of working from home. But back to the bezel size, when you take the tall 3:2 display and the big top and bottom bezels, it feels like the laptop is almost square; it's not of course, at 297.5x232.7mm.

Close-up of ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga speaker

The ThinkPad X1 Titanium has a 2W speaker on either side of the keyboard, which are tuned with Dolby Atmos. Honestly, it's a lot better than what I'd expect from a laptop of this design. The sound is pretty clear, and the volume can get comfortably loud; not uncomfortably loud though.

Keyboard and touchpad

The keyboard on the X1 Titanium is the same as the one on the X1 Nano, and that's a good thing. It's shallower than the ones found on say, the X1 Carbon, as this is 1.3mm instead of 1.5mm. The shallower keys, combined with the premium experience that ThinkPads always offer from keyboards, really gives it an entirely new feel. Let's face it; no one else is putting 1.5mm keys in laptops anymore, so this feels more modern.

Top-down view of ThinkPad X1 Titanium keyboard

I'm absolutely in love with this keyboard on here. But while the keys feel more modern since they're more shallow, one thing that absolutely does not feel modern is the TrackPoint.

Close-up of the TrackPoint on the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga

Yes, that little red nub that can control the pointer is a relic from the days when Windows touchpads were terrible, but Lenovo won't let it go. Keep in mind that the TrackPoint does have its die-hard fans, so it would be a tough thing to kill off. Still, if you don't like it, you can ignore it like I do.

Close-up of ThinkPad X1 Titanium touchpad

Naturally, it uses a Microsoft Precision touchpad, and those physical buttons at the top are for use with the TrackPoint, although you can use them with either one. While I'd love to focus on the silver color of the touchpad and buttons instead of the usual black, I have to talk about how this is a haptic touchpad.

Indeed, if you power this machine down, you'll see that the touchpad doesn't move. The good news is that this one is actually good. Lenovo had a phenomenal laptop with the consumer-focused flagship Yoga 9i, but the haptic touchpad on that one was awful. This one is much better, as it's much more capable of handling complex touch scenarios that mechanical touchpads can do.

For example, if you press on a touchpad and drag something, it's a common interaction to use a second finger to continue dragging the item once you've run out of space on the touchpad. Many haptic touchpads, such as the one on the Yoga 9i are really bad at this. I didn't have this issue with the X1 Titanium, and that's super-important. If you're going to swap out such an important component for something new, that new component can't be almost as good. The user has to not feel as though there's a sacrifice that's been made, and the X1 Titanium accomplishes that.

Performance and battery life

This is something that I've already talked about in my reviews of the ThinkPad X1 Nano and the ThinkPad X12 Detachable, since all three of these are part of a new family from Lenovo. The performance is fantastic for productivity, and just a year ago, something like this would be impossible.

The processor that's under the hood here is an Intel Core i7-1180G7, a quad-core chip from the Tiger Lake family. But this is the part of the Tiger Lake family that's the successor to the Y-series, which was known as Core M even before that. If you've ever heard of Y-series or Core M, you've probably not heard anything good. Those chips were great for producing improbably thin PCs, but there were big compromises to be made in performance.

That's not so much the case anymore. Sure, you're not getting as much power as you'd get from a Core i7-1185G7, but there have been some big improvements since Y-series was a thing. Note that 10th-gen Y-series was supposed to be pretty good, with a higher TDP, Iris Plus Graphics, and double the cores, but I don't think it ever shipped on Windows PCs. Now, Tiger Lake is here with Iris Xe graphics.

Clamshell view of ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga

This is really good. The key is that I don't feel like it's lacking. If you used Amber Lake, which was the last Y-series to ship in most products, it was hard to not feel like you're missing something. You'd feel limited, constantly knowing that if you pushed your PC too far, it wasn't going to do what you wanted to.

With the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga, that's not an issue. If you want to edit videos in Photoshop, you totally can, or you can do some light video editing in Premiere Pro, something that I wouldn't have dreamed of with Amber Lake. It's fantastic.

Battery life is pretty great too. I easily brought the screen brightness down to 33% for indoor use, and put the power slider on one notch above battery saver. Getting eight hours of use was a breeze. It's like this thing runs on magic, and I love it.

For benchmarks, I used PCMark 8, PCMark 10, Geekbench 5, and Cinebench.

ThinkPad X1 Titanium
Core i7-1180G7
ThinkPad X12 Detachable
Core i5-1130G7
Acer Swift 7
Core i7-8500Y
ThinkBook 14s Yoga
Core i7-1165G7
PCMark 8: Home 3,851 3,967 2,440 3,851
PCMark 8: Creative 4,264 4,338 2,427 4,861
PCMark 8: Work 3,686 3,798 2,732 4,083
PCMark 10 4,488 4,286 2,775 5,105
Geekbench 5 1,333 / 4,055 1,299 / 4,446 1,534 / 4,861
Cinebench 1,127 / 2,597 1,147 / 2,860 1,455 / 4,820


Conclusion

Just in case I haven't expressed this enough, I love this PC. It's my new favorite. It's super-portable without making compromises, and that makes it a real pleasure. In fact, aside from missing a pen garage, which would be impossible on something like this anyway, the only thing I'd improve is the bezel size to make the footprint even smaller than it is.

ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga in tent mode

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga has really become my go-to PC for all of my needs. It's a laptop when I'm on the go, it's a whiteboard for when I'm brainstorming, it connects to my monitors for when I'm in my home office, and it has a pretty display for streaming.

I also just appreciate how much engineering went into it. And I know that part of it is Lenovo engineering, while the other part is that Intel is finally making CPUs that can allow for this kind of stuff to happen.

If you want to check it out on Lenovo.com, you can find it here. Still, I hope that this year brings a ton of PCs from a variety of OEMs that are using these chips to make thin and light PCs. It should be super interesting.

 

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