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.
ASUS ROG launches Cool for School Promo
Exclusive bundles and discounts!
The start of the new school year in the Philippines is right around the corner. With that in mind, ASUS ROG is offering plenty of devices on their lineup for exclusive bundles and discounts with its Cool for School promo.
Promo duration is from July 15 to August 31, 2021 and features laptops, desktops, smartphones that are available for up PhP 18,000 worth of discounts. Take a look at the bundles below.
ASUS Notebooks and Zenfones
- All ASUS ZenBook — Nespresso Mini Essenza with free Coffee Capsules (PhP 7,500)
- All ASUS VivoBook — Aviche M5 Wearable Air Purifier (PhP 2,500)
- Zenfone 8 and Zenfone 8 Flip — JBL Go 3 (PhP 2,300)
- All ASUS X Series laptops with Intel Core i5 and i7 processors — PhP 2,000 discount
- All ASUS X Series laptops with Intel Core i3 processor — PhP 1,000 discount
- ROG Zephyrus S17 GX701LXS/LV, ROG Zephyrus S15 GX502LXS/LW, ROG Zephyrus M15 GU502LW/LU — Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit 9W, Google Nest Hub (PhP 18,000+)
- ROG Flow X13 SuperNova Edition, ROG XG Mobile GPU with RTX 3080 — ROG Slash Cap, ROG Slash Sling Bag, Xbox Controller (PhP 8,500+)
- ROG Flow X13 — ROG Slash Cap, ROG Slash Sling Bag (PhP 2,500+)
- ROG Zepyhrus G14 GA401IVC — ROG Slash Cap, ROG Slash Messenger Bag, Chromecast 4K TV, Google Nest Mini (PhP 8,500+)
- ROG Zephyrus G15, ROG Zephyrus G14 GA401IV/IU/IH/II — Chromecast 4K TV, Google Nest Mini (PhP 4,500+)
- ROG Strix Scar 17 G732LXS/LWS/LV, ROG Strix Scar G532LWS/LW/LV — ROG Slash Cap, TUF AX3000 router, Xbox Controller (13,000+)
- ROG Strix G17 G712LV/LU, ROG Strix G15 G512LV/LU/LI — Google Nest Mini, Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Bulb 9W (PhP 4,000+)
- ROG Phone 5 Classic — ROG Cetra II Core (PhP 3,300)
- ROG Ranger Backpack (RGB BP3703) — PhP 1,000 Discount
- ROG Ranger Backpack (BP2500) — PhP 500 Discount
ASUS and ROG Desktops
- ASUS Desktop S3401SFF — PhP 1,000 Discount
- ASUS Desktop S500SA — PhP 1,000 Discount
- ROG Strix G35DX-PH009T, ROG Strix G35DX-PH011T — TUF Gaming VG249Q1A
- ROG Strix GD30CI(OPT.)-PH003T — TUF Gaming VG249Q1A
- ROG Strix G15DH-PH014T , ROG Strix G15DH-PH002T — TUF Gaming VG249Q1A
- ROG Strix GL12CM-PH019T — TUF Gaming VG249Q1A
- ROG Strix GL10CS-PH042T , ROG Strix GL10CS-PH040T — TUF Gaming VG249Q1A
- TUF Gaming FX10CP-PH004T — TUF Gaming VG249Q1A
For the complete mechanics and list of participating products and stores, check out https://bit.ly/ASUSROGCoolForSchool2021.
ASUS reveals PCs, laptops that can upgrade to Windows 11
Check if your laptop or PC makes the cut
Windows 11 is official now, and more OEMs are jumping aboard to the new OS. For its part, ASUS is making it easy for consumers to know if their PCs and laptops can upgrade to Windows 11.
Consumers who brought recent ASUS laptop models can rest assured that theirs will get Windows 11. Users who revel on the latest ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED laptop, ZenBook Duo 14, ZenBook 13 Flip OLED, or even the ZenBook 13 OLED can enjoy a much streamlined experience with Windows 11 later this year. As for other laptop lineups, ASUS got their backs too as Windows 11 will come as a free upgrade for ProArt StudioBook, Zenbook, and Vivobook laptops.
Meanwhile, gamers out there will be delighted to find that the new OS is coming to their ROG Strix, Zephyrus, and Flow gaming laptops and desktops as well as TUF Gaming ones. The same goes for business owners of ExpertBook laptops and ExpertCenter desktops.
Of course, there’s a full list of Windows 11-ready ASUS PCs which you may view here.
Ready for Windows 11
Users can download the latest PC Health Check from Microsoft to see if their PC meets all the necessary requirements for running Windows 11. It’s free — and you can download it directly from Microsoft. Compatible PCs will receive the update later once Microsoft rolls it out to the public. Users with these PCs may back up their files to OneDrive for ease and peace of mind.
ASUS PCs with Windows 11 right out of the box are also coming soon. Users may wait for new ASUS PCs later in the year to get the new OS for free and right out the box.
Acer has massive discounts plus freebies on select devices
Get a free Acer tablet with every purchase of select models!
Acer laptops can be your next purchase with its latest “Learn from Home” program. From June 16 to July 18, buyers can get up to PhP 40,000 worth of discounts plus some cool freebies when they shop Acer’s latest devices.
For this program, Acer laptops, desktops, monitors, and projectors now come with PhP 8,000 discount. This is a big deal, especially for higher-end models. But the deal doesn’t stop there. Acer is also giving away a free Android tablet on select models.
Consumer Notebooks & Desktops
SF514-55TA-54J7 — from PhP 59,999 to PhP 56,999 with free Acer tablet
A514-54G-77ZK — from PhP 49,999 to PhP 47,999 with free Acer tablet
A514-54G-51PU — from PhP 37,999 to PhP 35,999 with free Acer tablet
Aspire TC-875 — from PhP 48,999 to PhP 44,999
Aspire XC-830 — from PhP 21,999 to PhP 18,999
Projector and Monitors
X1126AH — from PhP 18,999 to PhP 15,999
32HC5QR Z — from PhP 18,199 to PhP 17,199
Meanwhile, gamers who purchase the latest Predator gaming laptop, desktop, and AOPEN monitor can get up to PhP 40,000 worth of discount. A gaming chair is up for grabs too, provided that they buy the participating models.
PT515-52-73VZ — from PhP 199,999 to PhP 159,999 with free gaming chair and loot bag
PH315-54-723N — PhP 94,999 with free gaming chair and loot bag
PH315-53-5634 — from PhP 79,999 to PhP 64,999 with free gaming chair and loot bag
Predator Orion 3000 — from PhP 69,999 to PhP 59,999
Nitro 50 — from PhP 49,999 to PhP 44,999
Predator XB253Q — from PhP 19,999 to PhP 18,499
Promoting this program are Acer’s ambassadors, Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla. To see the list of eligible models, visit Acer’s website today or shop through one of their stores or authorized retailers. Buyers may also follow Acer on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to day to catch up on the latest program updates.
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