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Lenovo's new 2-in-1 ThinkPad improves on one crucial feature that pro users will love

Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 performs well under duress thanks to its Meteor Lake chipset and long battery life, but it may be inaccessible outside an enterprise context.
Written by Cesar Cadenas, Contributing Writer
Cesar Cadenas/ZDNET

ZDNET's key takeaways

  • The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 is the brand's latest convertible laptop aimed primarily at enterprise users, and starts at around $2,500.
  • Its lightweight body, comfortable stylus, and long battery life make it a great companion for professionals on the go.
  • Unfortunately, the high price tag may limit its accessibility.

Lenovo has redesigned multiple flagship laptops in 2024. In March, the company revamped its ThinkPad X1 Carbon, and this spring, the company refreshed its latest ThinkPad X1 2-in-1, the ninth generation of its respected enterprise line, with its fair share of small yet impactful changes.

Also: Lenovo's latest ThinkPad has new features that will make professionals jump for joy 

Unlike the Carbon, the convertible ThinkPad X1 has a very specific audience in mind. Almost every design aspect of this laptop makes it clear that it's meant primarily for business professionals. It's a solid computer, but its price point and modest hardware could make it a tough sell for the everyday user.

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The ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 and the X1 Carbon have some obvious physical similarities. For example, the keyboards on both feature nicely-rounded keys that alleviate typing stress, and both allow the user to double-tap the TrackPoint to open a quick menu for certain functions, like activating the microphone.

Here's where the two differ. The keyboard on the ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 sits quite low on the laptop's body, resulting in a rather small trackpad. I found myself running out of space when moving the cursor vertically. Horizontal movements weren't a problem since the trackpad is wide enough to compensate for the short height. Still, people with large hands may find this design uncomfortable.

Also: One of the longest-lasting laptops I've tested is not a MacBook or Asus

The Lenovo Slim Pen is an optional accessory for this device, but one that I recommend. For starters, the Slim Pen is much larger than the pen found on the eighth-generation model, which basically felt like a toothpick; the Slim Pen is way more comfortable. Plus, it houses a pair of programmable buttons and a twist-off tip that can be swapped out for another. 

Due to its size, Lenovo installed a pair of magnets onto the right-hand size of the ThinkPad for storage: one next to the keyboard, the other next to the display. The magnet on the lower half is surprisingly strong; you won't have to worry about the stylus dislodging while housed there. The only problem with this placement is that it obscures one of the USB-A ports and the headphone jack. You can use the other attachment magnet next to the display, but that one isn't nearly as strong.

My test unit came with a 14-inch 1920 x 1200 resolution WUXGA touchscreen, but you can also opt for a 2.8K OLED. The display is decent; it's not quite as vibrant as an OLED, but it does cover the entire sRGB color gamut. Refresh rate peaks at 60Hz, however. It would've been nice if the touchscreen ran at 120Hz for faster response times and smoother animations, but that's not an option.

Battery life is one of this machine's shining features. No matter what power mode you choose, it lasts quite a while. On Best Performance, it lasts about 7.5 hours on a single charge -- that's pretty much the whole work day right there. While running on Best Power Efficiency, the laptop pole vaulted over that time to 10.5 hours before needing a charge. Keep in mind that these runtimes are with Battery Saver disabled.

Cesar Cadenas/ZDNET

The ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 performs well in most cases, although it's not necessarily a powerhouse. My review unit housed an Intel Core Ultra 7 155U processor, an integrated Intel graphics card, and 16GB of RAM. The machine was able to easily handle over 50 open tabs across multiple browser windows without missing a beat.

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It also did well on the benchmark tests I ran, even outperforming the Intel Core i9-9880H. I'm very familiar with the Ultra 7, so I expected solid performance. Indeed, it is because of this familiarity that I was surprised to see this model's price. 

ZDNET's buying advice

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 offers decent hardware performance, a hi-res touchscreen, and a long battery life. You may be thinking that there are many non-enterprise users out there who would appreciate a computer like this, and normally I would agree, but its starting price of $2,531 is hard to justify beyond the enterprise context, even if it is a convertible.

Additionally, keep in mind that adding options like an OLED screen and hardware upgrades will boost the price up to over $3,000. Lenovo's X1 Carbon, by comparison, costs about $1,600 and offers a similar experience. For alternative convertible laptops, I recommend Lenovo's latest Yoga 9i laptop. It has a better display and goes for much cheaper.

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