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When I first checked out the Lenovo ThinkPad X13s earlier this year, I was excited about the promise of better battery life with my laptop. Apple’s line of M1 and M2-powered MacBook Air laptops have certainly set the bar with their outstanding battery life performances, but Windows users were missing out.
After spending months of using the Lenovo ThinkPad X13s, I can confidently say for once that Windows has an equal champion that can really live up to the claim of all-day battery life. Prior to this, the laptops I’ve used topped out around five hours at the max. Lenovo’s ARM-based laptop, on the other hand, takes it to the next level.
In our testing, we found that this laptop consistently provided 28 hours of battery life with video playback, a mighty impressive feat. What else does this laptop have to offer? Read on for our full Lenovo ThinkPad X13s review.
Lenovo ThinkPad X13s: At a Glance
- It’s the best battery-life laptop we’ve tested, full stop
- Ultraportable design is great for commuters
- Matte finish gives it a distinct look
- Underpowered processing performance
- Dimensions: 0.53 x 11.76 x 8.13-inches
- Weight: 2.35 pounds
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 Compute Platform
- RAM: 16GB LPDDR4x
- Hard Drive: 1GB SSD
- Display: 13.3-inch WUXGA (1920 x 1200) IPS Display
- Battery Life: Up to 28 hours (video playback)
- Battery Rating: Up to eight months of usage time
What’s Included With the Lenovo ThinkPad X13s
- ThinkPad X13s
- 65W AC Adapter
- Quick Start Guide
Design: Commuter-Friendly Package
Nothing gets me down and tired faster than lugging around a heavy laptop. I used to think three to four pounds was tolerable, but it still added up on top of the other gadgets I would carry during my daily commute.
That’s why I can’t complain about the ThinkPad X13s’ design. Sporting the timeless ThinkPad design that the series is known for, it’s incredibly lightweight at 2.35 pounds. Furthermore, it’s much smaller than most laptops because of its compact size.
Even though the MacBook Air line has a more stylish look, the ThinkPad X13s manages to carve its own distinctive appeal with its all-matte finish. It’s decent at keeping a clean look, but it certainly adds some much-needed grip while handling because of the rubber-like feel. In all fairness, I would argue that it’s an ideal design for the everyday commuter.
As for the keyboard, I like how the keys are spaced far apart, as well as their clicky responses. However, my only complaint is that the directional keys were awfully tiny, so much so that I kept on hitting the wrong ones. The trackpad is also covered in the same matte finish as the rest of the laptop, but I wish it were slicker to make it easier for my fingers to glide over it more freely.
Display: Detailed But Not Too Bright
I will admit that I’m smitten by OLED laptops with glossy screens. You won’t find that here with the Lenovo ThinkPad X13s, which instead packs a 13.3-inch WUXGA (1920 x 1200) IPS Display. Yes, it’s plenty sharp for watching all of my daily YouTube videos to check out, but it’s a bit dim with a peak brightness output of 357 lux. I found it challenging outside when it was sunny out, often impossible to see unless I was underneath shade. At least colors looked realistic.
Nevertheless, I did like that it’s a touchscreen as well, offering more utility beyond your usual trackpad or rubber mouse navigation.
Performance: Good Enough For Daily Tasks
The first ever ARM-based ThinkPad, the X13s is powered by Qualcomm’s power-efficient Snapdragon 8cx Gen 13 chipset. You may not be familiar with this piece of silicon, but let me assure you that it can still put up a decent fight against Intel’s processors.
For basic functions, such as surfing the web, word processing, and sending emails, the Lenovo ThinkPad X13s handles all of them with ease. Multiple windows and apps don’t seem to faze its performance, but when it came to running other processor-intensive tasks, like editing 4K footage, that’s where I saw the X13s struggling the most.
I also noticed a difference while running GeekBench 5, where it put up a multi-core score of 5,582. That’s behind some of its direct rivals, so I wasn’t surprised that it was sluggish at editing 4K footage. Although, it was much better at handling 1080p video.
Regardless, this is the area that may be the deciding factor on whether or not it’s right for you. Take out the 4K video editing from the equation, I found the Lenovo ThinkPad X13s was perfect as an everyday work laptop.
Battery Life: Sets New Benchmark
Full disclosure, I’ve never once had a laptop go more than six hours with a full charge. That’s why I was stoked that the Lenovo ThinkPad X13s got me over nine hours on a single charge. That’s all attributed to the efficiency of the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 13 SoC, which I’m hoping to see in more laptops.
The ThinkPad X13s’ impressive run with my daily usage was achieved by setting it to battery saver mode and keeping the brightness under 50%. Again, it outlasted everything else I’ve tried previously.
In my testing, I did notice that charging while actively using the laptop did cause some heat buildup on the underside. It wasn’t scalding or anything, but the toastier feel did make me take notice of it.
Our Verdict: Should You Buy the Lenovo ThinkPad X13s?
Depending on the configuration, you can find the Lenovo ThinkPad X13s as low as $1,000, but this particular configuration I tested came out to around $1,400. Obviously, its strengths lie in being an ultraportable laptop with exceptional battery life. For longtime Windows users, it’s a refreshing alternative to Apple’s M2-powered MacBook Air.
It’s worth picking up because there’s no other Windows-based laptop that can match its commuter-friendly package and outstanding all-day battery life.