Since 2016, I’ve been deliberately using a MacBook for the creative tasks I do. Back then, I was just a college student who needed to work on plenty of multimedia-inclined projects and publication materials for the student council organization I belonged to. Not to mention, we’ve used iMacs for certain subjects in school. Even as I joined GadgetMatch as an intern and became a part of the team, I’ve continued to use Mac.
After almost five years, I finally have my hands on a Windows laptop again. Although Windows 10 has barely changed ever since its release back in 2015, using one after years felt different because macOS has dramatically changed the way I use a machine — whether that may be through trackpad, keyboard, and the apps I use for multimedia work.
When I was given a chance to review one, I didn’t hesitate to agree and try it. While ThinkPads aren’t aligned for the type of job I do, I came up with an idea of trying it as if it’s my daily driver for my work. But before letting you know how was my experience as a multimedia creative, I’ll introduce the ThinkPad X1 Nano first and how special this laptop is.
ThinkPads have always looked similar over the years
And that’s not a bad thing at all. If some of you can recall, Lenovo announced the ThinkPad X1 Nano last September 2020 — and it looked so much like any other ThinkPad released. The apple obviously doesn’t fall far from its tree.
While I haven’t owned one, I can still remember seeing one from the days when I was just a kid. ThinkPads displayed on magazine brochures, pamphlets, and computer store outlets in malls looked so durable and robust with that heavy “ThinkPad” text branding plastered on its lid and palm rests.
The most iconic part of any ThinkPad is that red dot (some say it’s a nub, I call it a nipple with no malice) but Lenovo’s proper term for it is the “ThinkPad TrackPoint” which actually helps in UI navigation once in a while.
Although I admit, I’d still prefer using its trackpad more especially because it’s fast, responsive, and accurate.
Surprisingly, its screen bezels are thin enough. Usual ThinkPads have thicker side screen edges.
But out of all the common ThinkPad features of this laptop, its main attraction is none other than being a featherweight machine. This slim powerhouse weighs just under 1kg — a great feat considering it’s power-packed with Intel Core i5-1130G7 processor, integrated Intel Iris Xe Graphics, 8GB RAM, 512GB of SSD, and even a speedy Wi-Fi 6 modem.
How ultra featherlight and slim is this laptop?
The main highlight of the ThinkPad X1 Nano is its ultra-lightweight body and super slim form factor. For reference, I compared it to several items and devices.
How it’s like versus a 4TB external HDD…
between a thicc 25,000mAh powerbank…
and even a notebook planner.
and a body comparison to the 2020 M1 MacBook Pro (also with a 13-inch display).
Although the MacBook Air is slimmer than the ThinkPad X1 Nano, lifting it immediately felt heavier especially because of its aluminum unibody. The less than 1-kilogram weight of the X1 Nano definitely won me over.
As a bonus, it’s a lot smaller than the work laptop I use every day (the 2019 15-inch MacBook Pro)
I was even able to lift it with my right index finger without the laptop ever falling from it.
Carbon Fiber and Magnesium Alloy made it super lightweight
But it comes with a caveat…
Its ultra featherweight factor comes with a price. As seen on both photos above, it gets dirty every once in a while. Whether it’s the bottom chassis or the lid, it easily attracts fingerprint smudges.
To make it worse, it’s hard to clean with a regular microfiber cleaning cloth. To avoid any damage, I deferred from using alcohol, water, or any chemical that might ruin the overall look and feel of the device.
Why is this business laptop also a great powerhouse for creatives?
A question I always get a lot from friends, acquaintances, and even complete strangers is a “MacBook alternative” among laptops running Windows. The ThinkPad X1 Nano might just be your next best bet and here are the reasons why it’s a great machine for artists and creatives like me.
1. Lightness and portability
Now that you’ve seen that it’s somehow as thin as a regular MacBook Air but a lot lighter at under a kilogram (versus the Air’s 1.29kg overall weight), the X1 Nano is simply a great Windows laptop to consider. In fact, it holds the title of being the lightest ThinkPad ever.
Having long arms and large hands, carrying big laptops around or over 15-inches isn’t much of a big deal to me. But because the ThinkPad X1 Nano is so small and light, it felt like I was just trying to carry a thin textbook.
Despite the pandemic, there are several instances where creatives have to go to and forth in several locations. Whether that may be for a documentary, wedding coverage, travel vlog, out-of-town projects, or even for shootings on-the-go, this is actually a great investment as you can carry it around no matter where you are.
2. Bright and crisp display
On paper, Lenovo offers two display variants for the ThinkPad X1 Nano. However, the unit I have here has a non-touch 2K display with Dolby Vision. I actually am glad that it wasn’t a touchscreen. Regardless, the first time I’ve seen the display, I was honestly stunned.
It has a matte, anti-glare coating — which is different from the usual glossy screens of MacBooks and any other Windows laptops. That particular material makes it hard for me to work outdoors.
Other than that, the display is bright and crisp. I don’t want to get too technical but its 2K screen resolution and 450 nits of brightness paired with a color accurate panel just makes the creative experience a whole lot better.
One thing that got me confused is the ability of the laptop to lay down its screen as low as 90-degrees — especially that this is the non-touch variant. I’m guessing that it might still be helpful for those who’ll have client meetings and presentations where everyone is required to stand.
3. Excellent audio quality
Usual problems I encounter among any Windows laptop are bad speakers. To my surprise, the ThinkPad X1 Nano was able to make my jaw drop by how great its speakers sound. Upon seeing how they paired it with Dolby’s Atmos sound technology, that made me geek out.
If most of you weren’t aware, the Dolby Atmos system offers loud, full, crystal clear, and immersive audio experience whenever you watch films in select prestige cinemas and theaters. To see such a feature in a small device is a great win for creatives who may rely on speakers — either when watching something or editing videos.
While I have said several times that I completely transitioned to using wireless earbuds and headphones, the inclusion of an audio jack besides its two USB-C ports is a great feat considering most editors and sound engineers who rely on wired ear/headphones to avoid the latency when playing audio in the long run.
Also, if you’re concerned about mic quality, the X1 Nano has four 360-degree microphones so you don’t have to worry when presenting your work during Zoom or Meet calls.
4. Speedy performance
As mentioned, the ThinkPad X1 Nano packs the latest generation of Intel Core i5 under the “Evo” platform meant for ultrabooks like this. It promises improvements in speed while being able to keep the battery running for longer periods than the usual Windows power-hogs.
I’ll admit that whenever I edit videos for GadgetMatch’s YouTube channel, I use the one and only Final Cut Pro — which is the exclusive video editor only for the Mac. While I barely use Adobe Premiere Pro anymore, the layout was still familiar like how I used it in 2013 (yes, back when I was in high school).
I was able to export a 1-minute Full HD/120p video in just under a minute. That took longer to export because of its frame rate. Usual clips run in either native 23 or 29.97fps.
For motion graphics, I use Adobe’s After Effects. This one requires more processing and graphic power than usual video footages in Premiere Pro. In my test, rendering a 30-second 120p MoGraph with several high-resolution assets took almost a minute to render.
For every article I write or the spec sheet comparisons and other graphics needed for all the YouTube videos I edit, I always rely on the one and only Adobe Photoshop. Opening the app was instant. Of course, the layout will be similar. Shortcuts were kinda different (Mac uses Command or ‘cmd‘ and not ‘ctrl’) but I adapted quickly.
For post-processing photos, I usually rely on Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop’s built-in Camera Raw feature. Performing these tasks was a breeze because Intel’s latest processor and its new built-in Iris Xe graphics are powerful enough. As seen above, I was able to hold the laptop one-handed while trying to adjust settings using my other hand.
5. Sufficient battery life
Lenovo promises of up to 13 hours of usage in a single charge. That always has a disclaimer and I wasn’t able to max it that long, the ThinkPad X1 Nano has a decent battery despite its size and ultra-portability.
As usual, there are several power saving modes to preserve your machine’s battery life. With a moderate usage between using those power-intensive Adobe apps and casual browser sessions, it was able to last me around five to six hours — better than the three-hour battery life of my MacBook Pro even if I only use it for apps that has light power consumption.
While we were shooting this outdoors, there was no available charging socket around. Instead, I tried using my 25,000mAh powerbank. Such large capacity powerbanks are capable of charging bigger devices like MacBooks and Nintendo Switches through USB-C Power Delivery that usual powerbanks don’t support. I hooked it up to the X1 Nano and it was able to detect it and even supports fast charging.
While it might be another pricey investment, if you’re the type of creative who’s required to go out every now and then, having a powerbank that supports USB-C PD is very helpful especially if you’re in a middle of a shoot and there are no outlets around your location.
6. Security and Privacy
Finally, one of the most important features in any device nowadays is the ability to have decent security and privacy features.
While having a fingerprint scanner in laptops this 2021 isn’t a new thing anymore, it’s still a great addition if you want it fast and dislike typing passwords or PINs every time you unlock your laptop.
The thing that MacBooks still lack is the ability to unlock it with your face. But with the ThinkPad X1 Nano, you’ll be able to do it with ease.
One dumb experience of mine: I thought the camera was broken as it won’t detect my face through Windows Hello. I completely forgot that it has a built-in switch or a privacy cover on its webcam.
If I had been attentive enough, the light indicator should light up if the webcam is in use. The webcam is covered if it doesn’t light up and the red dot is displayed instead of the camera sensor inside. But hey, at least I felt like I was safe when browsing websites.
What else can you do with the ThinkPad X1 Nano?
My usual work routine includes the access of Google services such as Drive and Docs via web browsers.
While it may not be as shallow as MacBook’s butterfly and Magic keyboards, typing on the ThinkPad X1 Nano was still satisfying for my liking. It’s not hard to press yet not to sticky nor mushy when hitting the keys.
The smooth trackpad was also helpful for navigating and scrolling in group chats in Telegram as well as threads in Slack.
2K resolution on a 13.3-inch display was honestly an overkill that’s why most apps display texts smaller than other 13-inchers. But because of the screen’s crispiness (and me having a clearer eyesight than rest of the population), I barely managed to change and overscale these apps.
While we’re on the topic of its display, I was mesmerized by how great the color reproduction is. As promised on paper, this laptop supports Dolby Vision and has 100% sRGB color accuracy that’s helpful not just for creative tasks, but also great when watching music videos, TV series, and films.
The combination of Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision is a gift from the gods especially if you’re the type who loves to consume a lot of content in Netflix. Most titles support HDR10+ and Dolby Vision natively so you don’t have to worry at all.
If the black bars are bothering you, that’s because its display has a 16:10 aspect ratio, very unusual to the regular 16:9 widescreen. I’m being technical here again but geeks and creatives like me would know that some shows are displayed in an ultra-wide 21:9 aspect ratio to make way for smartphones with unusual ratios like 18:9, 19.5:9, so on and so forth so that they can zoom in and crop the video being played.
To further test out the power of its Dolby Atmos speakers, I tried opening Spotify to play one of my favorite underrated K-Pop songs from four years ago that became Korea’s most-played song today. Upon the first second of the song, I already felt how loud and strong the bass was. Even if we were outside, the song is audible enough even when you stand a few meters away.
While I wasn’t able to try hardcore Windows titles (as this isn’t a gaming laptop at all), I still tried pushing it to its limits.
With the help of the PC-Android emulator Gameloop, I was able to run Call of Duty Mobile (CoDM) without any lags and hiccups. Shooting and aiming with a trackpad and keyboard was kind of weird but looking at its great-looking display made it a great playing experience.
I barely play this game because of work but when I do, I try my best to shoot as much as I can to release stress.
Another game I tried is the ever-popular racing game Asphalt 9. Again, running it on a larger screen felt unusual versus when you play it with a smaller smartphone you hold with your hands.
But because of the immersiveness and control substitutions, I was able to ace the game again. While I’m not a full-blown gamer, I’ve enjoyed playing these games on days when I feel like I need it.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
Priced at PhP 101,999, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano simply isn’t light in the pocket. Although there are other “better” offerings in that price range, one thing you really pay for other than its quality-tested ThinkPad branding are the speedy specs, featherweight build, and slim form factor.
If you care more about premium looks and heavily rely on the Apple and macOS ecosystem, the M1 MacBook Air is just there in the corner with a cheaper price tag and faster M1 chipset. But if you’re that someone who’s used to the Windows 10 system, wants a laptop that’s looks and feels solid, and at the same time, ultra-portable and lightweight, and has several extra features such as Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision, webcam privacy cover, and more, then the ThinkPad X1 Nano is your best pick.
How to balance multiple tasks at work
With the Lenovo Yoga 6
You’re stressed. Tasks are piling up. Deadlines closing in. However, despite bouts of second-guessing, you also know you can handle the tasks. This is a work-life cycle that we don’t really fully grasp until we’re actually in it.
If you’re having trouble taking them on, here are a few quick tips with a special Lenovo Yoga 6 flavor that you can check so you can step back and take a deep breath before another daunting work day.
Nobody starts their day taking on the boss battle. That’s just not wise. Our suggestion is to kick things off by looking at your plate and seeing which ones you should prioritize or not. You can do this on Tablet Mode of the Lenovo Yoga 6. This way, there’s no temptation to suddenly jump into a task since you don’t have immediate access to the physical keyboard.
Your energy will be focused on organizing, which will set you up for a smoother workflow for the rest of the day.
Take on a few mechanical tasks first
Think of it like you’re revving up the car’s engine. You need to warm up first before jumping into heavier, more thought-provoking tasks. Do anywhere between five to seven of these to slowly but surely get your brain to where it needs to be for the more demanding things on your plate.
Some of these may be an extended version of the prioritization you handled earlier on. Perhaps there’s an email you can quickly reply to, or there’s a file you can drag and drop to send to a colleague — these tasks take less brain power and feel smooth to accomplish on the Yoga 6’s keyboard and trackpad.
Move on to something that requires more thought
Now that you’re all warmed up, you can proceed to a task that requires more of your focus and analysis skills. Perhaps there’s a brief you need to review or a few documents you need to digest first.
To eliminate the danger of jumping the gun and smashing the keyboard before you’ve fully formed your thoughts, we suggest switching over to Kiosk Mode so the keyboard is once again away from your typing-hungry paws.
This lets you focus and helps you sort things out in your brain first so you’re ready for the next thing.
Get down and dirty with a heavy task or two
This is the time when you need your maximum focus. Thankfully, you don’t have to worry about the Yoga 6 holding you back. This thing is packing an up to AMD Ryzen 7 4700U mobile processor with Radeon Graphics that enables ultra-fast responsiveness while working. It can go up to 16GB of DDR4 RAM and up to 1TB of SSD PCIe M.2 storage. That’s plenty of power for any and all of these tasks:
Combing through spreadsheets…
Editing and processing presentation decks…
And pretty much most other tasks you’ll likely tackle.
It’s a powerful, portable workhorse that you won’t have to worry about holding you back as you take on the most important projects in your work life.
Take a break
You don’t wanna burn yourself out by jumping into another task right after taking on something that’s boss-level on your to-do list. What you’d want to do now is turn the Yoga 6 into Tent Mode and maybe enjoy an episode of your favorite show.
This mode is perfect for kicking back and just watching for a while. Again, it restricts access to the keyboard to dissuade you from cutting your break short. The speakers are Dolby Atmos-optimized so they’ll do well even if you’re watching without headphones on.
Never feel guilty about taking a break. You deserve it. We all do.
Rinse and repeat
From here, you can just repeat the whole cycle until it’s time to wrap up your day. You can maybe skip a step or two such as the warming up part. But with these tips, you should be able to hold on to your sanity a while longer as the Yoga 6 helps you cope with the working conditions of the new normal.
More Lenovo Yoga 6 details
A few more things about the Lenovo Yoga 6 that you might want to know. It has a fabric-wrapped cover in unique Abyss Blue that feels great to touch and looks so 👏🏼 damn👏🏼 fine 👏🏼.
It has a 13.3” FHD display with 300 nits of brightness. The webcam supports face unlock but you also have a fingerprint scanner for added security.
Ports are as follows: Right side — USB-C 3.2 Gen 1 (DisplayPort), USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 (always on), Power button.
Left side — USB-C 3.2 Gen 1 (DisplayPort & power delivery), USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, Headphone/mic combo.
It comes pre-loaded with Lenovo Vantage, Microsoft Office 2019, McAfee LiveSafe, and Alexa. The Yoga 6 also automatically comes with the 3-Year Premium Care support solution to make your daily grind easier. Lenovo developed the nifty warranty solution to help you make the most out of the Yoga 6 with services dedicated to reduce downtime, increase productivity, and address critical needs, including comprehensive software and hardware support, 24×7 direct hotline to Lenovo technicians, and an Annual PC Health Check for long-term maintenance.
The Lenovo Yoga 6 starts at PhP 49,995. It’s available in Lenovo Exclusive stores, the first Yoga Store in the world located at the 4th floor, Cyberzone of SM City North EDSA Annex, and authorized resellers. It’s also available at the Yoga Flagship store in Lazada.
This feature is a collaboration between GadgetMatch and Lenovo Philippines.
Huawei MateBook 2021 laptops are here and they’re nice
With 11th Gen chips and up to 16GB RAM
We all know Huawei’s struggles in the mobile department, but their other devices are still well-made and leading the charge now are their notebooks. The Huawei MateBook 2021 lineup, in particular, has plenty for people to choose from.
Here are some of what you’re in for.
Huawei MateBook D 15 2021 11th Gen
The Huawei MateBook D 15 2021 features a 15.6-inch IPS FullView display with a TÜV Rheinland Low Blue Light Certification and TÜV Rheinland Flicker Free Certification. It also has a 180-degree hinge and is equipped with DDR4 RAM to support the 11th Generation Intel processors.
In terms of connectivity, the Huawei MateBook D 15 comes with Wi-Fi 6, a USB 2.0 port, a single USB 3.0 port, an HDMI port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a USB type-C port, and Bluetooth 5.1.
Huawei MateBook 14 2021 11th Gen
The Huawei MateBook 14 2021, on the other hand, also comes powered 11th Generation processor, paired with 16GB DDR4 3200MHz RAM and 512GB of internal SSD storage.
This variant has 2K FullView display with 90 percent screen-to-body ratio and TÜV Rheinland Low Blue Light Certification. It also equips a 56Wh battery capacity for 11 hours of long battery life and 65W super-fast charging support.
Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021
MateBook X Pro 2021 is a high-end variant in its lineup. It features 3.9-inches IPS FullView touchscreen display with a 3K resolution, 3:2 screen ratio that creates panoramic viewing effect, and offers remarkable 91 percent body ratio.
The design of MateBook X Pro has a premium metallic lightweight of about 1.33 kg with 14.6mm thickness, brings a fingerprint reader on the power button. Huawei MateBook X Pro is also able to provide up to 11 hours of regular work on a single charge and comes with ultra-light 65 W pocket charger.
All these MateBooks carry legacy smart features like the Multi-screen Collaboration, FreeTouch, and the recessed camera.
Pricing and availability
All three MateBooks are available for pre-order. Customers who will purchase via the Huawei Store, Lazada or Shopee will also get a free Huawei GT 2e (Green) worth PhP 6,990 from April 16 until April 22, 2021.
Pricing are as follows:
MateBook D15 2021
11th Gen 16GB 512 SSD — PhP 52,999
10th Gen 16GB 512 SSD — PhP 42,999
MateBook 14 2021
11th Gen 16GB 512 SSD — PhP 64,999
10th Gen 16GB 512 SSD — PhP 46,999
MateBook X Pro 2021 — PhP 89,999
Microsoft intros Surface Laptop 4 with new AMD and Intel processors
Yet the design remains unchanged
Surface Laptop 4 is now official, but there’s not much to expect aside from new AMD and Intel processors inside. It carries the same design as its predecessor, and still available to purchase in a 13.5-inch or a 15-inch variant.
AMD processors now available for the 13.5-inch variant
Arguably the biggest update to the Surface Laptop 4 yet is the addition of AMD processors for the 13.5-inch variant. Previously, AMD processors are available only for the 15-inch variant. Microsoft is using AMD Ryzen 4000 mobile processors, which may raise eyebrows for some since Ryzen 5000 has long been launched. Do note though that these aren’t just the standard Ryzen mobile processors since Microsoft collaborated with AMD to tweak the performance for its laptops.
For the 13.5-inch variant, consumers can only get a Ryzen 5 4680U processor should they go with AMD. Meanwhile, the 15-inch variant only has a Ryzen 7 4980U as the sole AMD option.
Those who root for Intel can still get their Surface Laptop 4 with an Intel Core i5-1135G7 or i7-1185G7. The Intel Core i5-1135G7, however, is not available for the 15-inch variant. Both processors should give improved performance, especially on the graphics front considering the inclusion of Iris Xe graphics by default.
The availability of an AMD processor to the 13.5-inch variant also marks a much-streamlined configuration option. In the past, only business consumers can get an Intel processor for the 15-inch variant. This is gone now for the Surface Laptop 4, yet configurations for business consumers still remain. For business consumers, the Intel Core i5-1145G7 replaces the low-end Intel processor option, and the Windows 10 Pro comes preinstalled.
Specs beyond the new processor
Beyond the new processors, Microsoft is also adding nifty improvements to the Surface Laptop 4. Microsoft now puts the battery life at up to 19 hours, but that estimate is for the 13.5-inch AMD variant. The company’s conservative estimate is at 16.5 hours for the bigger 15-inch Intel variant. Either way, it is a big improvement over the previous 11.5 hours.
The laptop is also getting Dolby Atmos support, along with updated HD cameras and dual far-field microphones. Microsoft is also touting optimizations to the laptop’s keyboard, which is pretty useful for many work-from-home employees who use their laptops for work.
That’s pretty much the improvements and addition to the Surface Laptop 4. Microsoft kept the design untouched, so the bezels here are to stay. A choice of Alcantara fabric or metal still remains, though there is a new Ice Blue color option. The touch-supported PixelSense display with a 3:2 aspect ratio is also here to stay, promising better productivity than the established 16:9 displays.
The laptop also carries over the selection of ports from its predecessor, for better or worse. To recap, that includes a lone USB Type-C port (no, it is not Thunderbolt), a USB Type-A, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and the proprietary Surface Connect Port.
Price and availability
The Surface Laptop 4 is available to buy now at US$ 999. Business-focused configuration starts at US$ 1,099. Consumers can configure the laptop at up to 32GB of RAM and up to 1TB of storage. Those who purchase it in the US can also get the Surface Earbuds for free until April 15.
h/t: Windows Central
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