Laptops

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano: An ultra light business laptop for creative tasks?

Can this powerhouse keep up with the expectations of a multimedia creative?

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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.


Here’s also a thinness comparison to the 2020 M1 MacBook Air…

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.

No laptop was harmed in shooting this certain scenario

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.

Identical port selection to M1 MacBook Air and Pro

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.

Now you see it, now you don’t

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?

Productivity

My usual work routine includes the access of Google services such as Drive and Docs via web browsers.

Sorry not sorry, but Microsoft Edge >>>>>>>>>> Google Chrome

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.

Entertainment

Rosé can step on me while I’m ‘On The Ground’

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.

Why does IU look so beautiful even if she has a ‘Flu’?

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.

Kim So-hyun honestly hasn’t aged a bit ever since her entrance on the K-Drama scene

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.

Brave Girls’ Rollin’ has always been this catchy since 2017 #Deserve

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.

Casual gaming

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.

26 kills and an MVP? Well it is what it is 🤷🏻‍♂️

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.

Laptops

The Galaxy Book3 features the best hardware for a notebook

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Everyone has their eyes on the Galaxy S23 series. Given what Samsung launched, it’s no surprise. However, the brand also has another trick up its sleeve. During the same Galaxy Unpacked, Samsung introduced the new Galaxy Book3.

Raw power

Much like the Galaxy S23 series, the Galaxy Book3 showcases the best of today’s hardware. Inside, the notebook boasts up to the latest 13th-generation Intel Core i9 processor and up to a NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 GPU. It can also carry up to 32GB of LPDDR5 RAM and up to 1TB SSD (with a slot for an expansion drive).

For its display, the Galaxy Book3 comes with up to a 16-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display — the same technology used in the brand’s smartphone lineup. It can put out images in 3K resolution and with 120Hz refresh rate. Plus, with VESA ClearMR and DisplayHDR TRUE BLACK 500 certification, the notebook can reproduce images to detailed accuracy.

Pure flexibility

Besides the notebook’s amazing hardware, the Galaxy Book3 uses software to make working seamless between devices. With Microsoft Phone Link, it’s easy to take your work wherever you go. Additionally, Samsung Multi Control allows users to conjunctively use all of their Samsung devices into one seamless ecosystem.

For example, Second Screen converts a Galaxy Tab into a second screen for the Galaxy Book3. Expert RAW automatically transfers high-res images from your smartphone to your notebook.

Price and availability

The Galaxy Book3 series comes in three flavors: Galaxy Book3 Ultra, Galaxy Book3 Pro, and Galaxy Book3 Pro 360.

The top-of-the-line Galaxy Book3 Ultra features all the premium specs. It comes in Graphite.

Meanwhile, the Galaxy Book3 Pro, featuring a thinner frame, will come in Graphite and Beige.

Finally, the Galaxy Book3 Pro 360, with a convertible form factor and S Pen compatibility, will come in Graphite and Beige.

All models will start being available on February 17.

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Deals

ASUS 2.2 OLED Festival sale: Win a Vivobook 13 Slate

Enjoy 10% off on Vivobooks, Zenbooks

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ASUS is celebrating 2.2 early, offering customers the chance to win a Vivobook 13 Slate OLED through the OLED Festival Sale on Lazada and Shopee.

From January 28 to February 5, selected Vivobook and Zenbook devices get up to 10% off. During the promotional period, a purchase of any ASUS OLED laptop entitles customers to a raffle entry.

One (1) lucky winner will be announced on February 10 through ASUS Philippines’ official Facebook page.

Award-winning laptops get more affordable

Participating laptops in ASUS’ OLED Festival Sale include the following:

  • Zenbook 14 Flip
  • Zenbook 13
  • Zenbook 14
  • Vivobook S14X
  • Vivobook S 14 Flip
  • Vivobook 13 Slate 
  • Vivobook Pro 15 
  • Vivobook 15X

The powerful 12th Gen Intel Core and Intel Iris Xe-boosted Zenbook 14 Flip gets a reduced price of just PhP 83,695 from PhP 87,995.

This foldable features ASUS’ 360-degree ErgoLift Hinge technology, a 2.8K OLED HDR 90Hz NanoEdge touch screen display, 16GB of DDR5 memory, and 512GB of PCIe Gen 4 SSD storage.

Meanwhile, both the Vivobook S 14X and Vivobook S 14 Flip retail for PhP 71,295 and PhP 71,245, respectively.

Both laptops are powered by up to 12th Gen Intel Core i7 processors and have 2.8K OLED displays, long battery life, fast-charging technology, and impressive performance.

They come with Microsoft Office for Home & Student pre-installed, as well as a 1-month free Adobe Creative Cloud upon purchase.

Be sure on the lookout for these deals from ASUS, as well as free shipping vouchers of up to PhP 100.

SEE ALSO: ASUS Vivobook Slate 13 OLED: Stay on top of your game

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Entertainment

LG just launched a limited edition NewJeans laptop

It’s pretty… expensive

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NewJeans is continuously making waves both in and out of South Korea. From their ultra-catchy songs, dance moves that are trending in TikTok and Instagram Reels, to reaching top charts in UK and US’ Billboard, there’s no surprise that homegrown tech brand LG Electronics partnered with these power rookies.

Graphics by Vincenz Lee | GadgetMatch

LG just released the gram Style NewJeans Limited Edition! While this is an unfortunate news for Hanni (who is actually an iPhone), it’s actually a big step towards knowing NewJeans past the K-Pop hype (and by that you should stream Hype Boy).

Mini and Big Bunnies

This special edition LG Gram Style is available in two styles: Mini Bunny and Big Bunny.

Graphics by Vincenz Lee | GadgetMatch

There’s actually no stark difference between the two except for — you guessed it — the size of bunny decals on its lid. Either of the two, you will never get wrong choosing the bunny for your personal taste.

Graphics by Vincenz Lee | GadgetMatch

Other than that, the highlight of this laptop comes from its weight. From the brand itself, it’s just 999 grams — actually 23 grams lighter than the 2022 model. It also has the US military-graded MIL-STD 810H standard that passed seven (7) durability tests.

Powerful punch

The LG gram Style NewJeans isn’t slouching in performance. Just like a hopping bunny, it’s quite a powerful device for its size and heft.

Graphics by Vincenz Lee | GadgetMatch

Hardware specifications of these two Bunnies aren’t too far off — at least after making a side-by-side comparison of their spec sheets. Both styles come with an Intel Core i5-1340P under EVO Platform for lightweight ultrabooks plus Intel Iris Xe graphics. It’s then paired with 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 256GB of NVMe 4.0 SSD with an extra PCIe 4.0 slot for expandability.

Graphics by Vincenz Lee | GadgetMatch

Just like NewJeans‘ visuals, you can’t also go wrong with the visuals of this device. It has a 14″ low-reflective OLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate, WQXGA+ resolution (2880 x 1800), a 16:10 aspect ratio for wider screen real estate, and an improved 400nits brightness over last year’s 350.

Moreover, it supports 100% DCI-P3 wide color gamut for color-accurate goodness as well as VESA Certified DisplayHDR TrueBlack 500 for deeper blacks and better contrast ratio. Its 2-watt stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos support make it a full-on entertainment device.

Graphics by Vincenz Lee | GadgetMatch

One more highlight is its “Hidden Touchpad”. Instead of the usual rectangular trackpads, it’s highlighted by two halo lighting on its two sides dubbed as “Aurora White” paired with haptic feedback for that nice feeling when clicking.

Graphics by Vincenz Lee | GadgetMatch

For ports, it has two (2) USB-C plus one (1) USB-A ports, microSD card slot, and a 3.5mm audio jack for headphones, earphones, amplifiers, and other audio peripherals.

Goodies for Bunnies

If you have actually reached this part, you’d know that you are not here for its powerful hardware, rather for the NewJeans styled-laptop. Aside from having that special laptop, there are more goodies that come with this device.

Graphics by Vincenz Lee | GadgetMatch

Being one of the few Bunnies out there since NewJeans’ Attention, I was actually more excited when I saw the list. There’s a notebook pouch, cable strap, posters, sticker and stationery set.

Graphics by Vincenz Lee | GadgetMatch

There’s even a free NewJeans-style mouse with this cute vinyl-like mousepad. These are truly treats for Bunnies! The laptops even come with preloaded wallpapers and four icons in it.

Pricing and Availability

While the LG gram Style is light, the pricing isn’t. It’s a pretty laptop with a pretty expensive price. It retails for around KR₩ 2,700,000 — which is about US$ 2190 / SG$ 2675 / ₱119,513.

There’s no word on global availability but LG will hold a live event in Korea with NewJeans on February 1, 2023 (Wednesday) around 8PM KST (Korean Standard Time).

If you will participate during the live, a comment could help a participant win a specially-signed autograph from NewJeans or three winners of the Limited Edition Goods.

If you plan on buying the NewJeans’ limited edition laptop, there are more benefits other than having the Limited Edition Goods set such as 12 winners of NewJeans autographs.

But if you’re just opting to buy the regular LG gram Style without the NewJeans skin, it will still give you other perks such as a free LG gram mouse, Wiggle Wiggle goods package consisting of a notebook pouch, mousepad, and a cable strap, as well as a free 512GB microSD card.

More advanced purchase benefits are Intel software package, 2023 gram gift pack, and 5,000g Jammy points coupon.

Other common benefits include MelOn one-month free subscription, 10,000 membership points after writing a photo review after purchase, and 20 winners of two Helinox chairs and table set.

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