The Lenovo ThinkPad X13s is a compact notebook with a 13.3 inch, 1920 x 1200 pixel display, a fanless design, and a body that measures just 0.53 inches thick and which weighs just 2.35 pounds.
Verizon offers a 16GB/512GB model for $1450 when you pay full price, or $1350 when you sign up for a 2-year contract. But if you don’t want to make that commitment, you might be better off ordering directly from Lenovo.
Lenovo’s prices start at around $1300 for a WiFi-only model with 16GB of LPDDR4x-4266 memory and a 512GB PCIe Gen 4 SSD or $1385 for a similar configuration with a Qualcomm Snapdragon X55 5G cellular modem. There are also a few other options including a 32GB/512GB/WiFi-only model for $1440 and a 16GB/1TB/WiFi + 5G model for $1570.
At the heart of the ThinkPad X13s is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx gen 3 processor. That’s Qualcomm’s latest laptop processor, and it features:
- 4 x ARM Cortex-X1 CPU cores @ 3 GHz
- 4 x ARM Cortex-A78 CPU cores @ 2.4 GHz
- Adreno 69x graphics
- Spectra 395 ISP
Qualcomm says the processor brings up to an 85% improvement in CPU performance and up to 60% better graphics than the previous-gen Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2, which could make this the chip that comes the closest to allowing Qualcomm-powered Windows laptops to compete head-to-head with models powered by Intel and AMD processors in performance rather than just efficiency.
As NotebookCheck points out, synthetic benchmark scores seem to confirm Qualcomm’s assertion: the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 scores 85% higher in the GeekBench multi-core performance test and nearly 40% higher in single-core performance. But while this is Qualcomm’s fastest laptop processor to date, it’s not the fastest ARM chip around – Apple’s M1 processor scores considerably higher in GeekBench performance, and the new Apple M2 chip comes out even further ahead.
Apple has also optimized macOS for ARM chips since most new Macs ship with Apple Silicon. Windows on ARM, meanwhile, still often feels like a second-class citizen, with many applications and games lacking native support for ARM architecture. You can still run many of those applications thanks to Microsoft’s emulation technology, but that means non-native applications may run slower than those which are compiled specifically for ARM.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X13s has a 5MP front-facing camera with AI-based automatic framing (to keep you centered in a video chat even as you move), an IR camera for facial recognition so you can login to the laptop by looking at it, and a 3-microphone array that can be used for noise suppression during calls. There’s also a fingerprint sensor.
Less impressive is the port selection: the notebook has just two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C ports and a headphone jack.
The ThinkPad X13s also has optional support for 5G (sub-6 GHz and mmWave) connectivity as well as WiFi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2.
But the key thing setting this laptop apart from other members of the Lenovo ThinkPad family is its processor. ARM’s secret sauce has long been low power consumption though, and Lenovo says the Thinkpad X13s can get up to 28 hours of battery life during local video playback from its 49.5 Wh battery. That’s a best-case scenario and real-world battery life will likely be much lower if you’re actively using the notebook for just about anything but watching videos. But the fact that you can literally watch movies while flying from New York to Auckland without stopping to charge the battery is pretty impressive.
Using a low-power ARM-based chip also helps when you’re developing a fanless thin and light notebook. Lenovo also used 90% recycled magnesium for the top and bottom covers of the laptop and 97% recycled plastic for the printed circuit board cover and battery frame.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X13S is available now for around $1300 and up, with entry-level configurations featuring 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. There’s also optional support for cellular connectivity, with the laptop supporting AT&T and Verizon’s 5G networks.
This article was first published February 28, 2022 and most recently updated July 26, 2022.