Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 3 review compact but lacking freshness.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 3 review compact but lacking freshness.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 3: A Lightweight Laptop with Some Dated Features

ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 3 Mark Coppock / ENBLE

Lenovo’s iconic ThinkPad design has been a staple in the industry for years. However, with the release of the ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 3, it’s clear that Lenovo is starting to move away from the traditional design in favor of a more modern look and feel. While the ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 3 retains the classic design elements, it falls short when compared to its competition in the 13-inch laptop class.

Specs and Configurations

As usual, Lenovo’s pricing and configuration schemes can be a bit confusing, but the starting price for the ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 3 is $1,217. This base configuration includes a Core i5-1340P CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and a 13.0-inch 2K IPS non-touch display. Upgrading to a Core i7-1370P with Intel vPro, a 1TB SSD, and a touch display will cost $1,895. For my review, I had the Core i7-1360P configuration with a 512GB SSD and a touch display, which came in at $1,593. While these prices are on the higher end, they are still more affordable than some other competing laptops, such as the Dell XPS 13 Plus.

Small and Light, but Dated Design

ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 3 Keyboard Mark Coppock / ENBLE

The ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 3 continues to embody the classic ThinkPad look, with its all-black design and red accents. While not necessarily a bad look, it does feel a bit dated compared to more modern laptops, such as the Dell XPS 13 Plus. However, the build quality remains excellent, with a carbon fiber lid and magnesium-aluminum alloy chassis. It’s a lightweight laptop, weighing just 2.19 pounds and measuring 0.58 inches thin. The 13.0-inch 16:10 display is slightly smaller than the competition, but it still provides a satisfying viewing experience.

The ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 3 features the familiar ThinkPad keyboard with its sculpted keycaps and ample key spacing. While the keyboard’s switches have deep travel and a firm action, some users may find them a bit too stiff for longer typing sessions. The touchpad area is small, mainly due to the inclusion of dual buttons for the TrackPoint, but it still offers a comfortable surface and precise button clicks.

Solid Performance, but Not for Gaming

ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 3 Performance Mark Coppock / ENBLE

The ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 3 can be configured with various 13th-gen Intel CPUs. My review unit had the 28-watt Core i7-1360P CPU, which provided solid productivity performance. In comparisons with similar laptops, the ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 3 performed similarly in most benchmarks. While it may not set any speed records in creative tasks, it’s more than capable of keeping up with demanding productivity workflows. However, it’s not suitable for gaming due to the integrated Iris Xe graphics.

Mixed Battery Life

ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 3 Logo Mark Coppock / ENBLE

With a smaller form factor comes shorter battery life, and the ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 3 is no exception. The 49.6 watt-hour battery provided mixed results in terms of longevity. While it performed poorly in web-browsing tests, it fared slightly above average in PCMark 10 Applications tests and average in video-looping tests. The reason for the discrepancy in results is unclear, but it’s safe to say that battery life may not be its strong suit.

A Bright Display, Suitable for Productivity

ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 3 Display Mark Coppock / ENBLE

The ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 3 features a 2K resolution IPS display that offers excellent brightness at 480 nits and a contrast ratio of 1,570:1. The colors are impressive for an IPS display, with 100% sRGB and 76% AdobeRGB coverage. While it may not be ideal for serious creative work, the display is more than adequate for office tasks and streaming media. The laptop’s audio quality from its upward-firing speakers is decent, but not exceptional.

Conclusion: A Lightweight Laptop with Some Trade-Offs

Although the ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 3 has some dated design elements and disappointing battery life, there are still plenty of reasons to consider it. It offers solid performance for productivity tasks and is incredibly lightweight and portable. The display, while not suitable for demanding creative work, is more than sufficient for everyday office tasks. I would recommend it, particularly for its lightweight nature. However, it’s worth noting that there are other viable options available, such as the more modern Dell XPS 13 Plus.