Lenovo’s ThinkPad X13s will be the first ThinkPad to use an Arm-based processor, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3, Lenovo announced on Friday.
ThinkPads represent Lenovo’s most powerful line of laptops and are marketed to businesses and power users. It’s interesting to see that one of the machines forgoes the new 12th Gen Intel laptop chips and AMD Ryzen 6000 to bring Windows 11 Pro up to snuff. We briefly saw the ThinkPad X13s in person, and it had a lighter, cheaper plastic feel but also a textured matte finish.
The 8cx Gen 3 is the first 5nm Windows PC SoC. It features four Arm Cortex-X1 cores clocked at up to 3GHz and four Cortex-A78 cores clocked at 2.4GHz. Qualcomm’s chip enables the ThinkPad X13s’ fanless design and longer claimed battery life. The upcoming ThinkPad is 0.53 inches thick and 2.35 pounds and comes with a 49.5 Wh battery that Lenovo claims can last up to 28 hours based on local video playback.
A Lenovo spokesman told Ars Technica that the company believes it’s time to put an Arm-based chip in a ThinkPad because the performance is now fit for the performance-oriented lineup. The representative said that the expected performance should correspond to an Intel Core i5 CPU. Most importantly for business customers, the security hardware and software features – including ThinkShield, storage encryption, and endpoint security – are the same as Intel- and AMD-based ThinkPads.
Windows apps with native support include Microsoft 365, Zoom and Sophos, while some x64 apps require Windows 11 on Arm emulation. Lenovo’s announcement also noted the “enhanced x64 emulation in Windows 11,” claiming that it would increase the performance of legacy apps and allow independent software vendors to slowly run their apps natively on the operating system via the ARM64EC application binary interface .
The ThinkPad X13s has a 13.3-inch display with a resolution of 1920 x 1200 that uses the larger 16:10 aspect ratio (as opposed to the more common 16:9). All Lenovo ThinkPads this year will use 16:10 screens, which will be standard for future ThinkPads, except for the L series. Lenovo also announced today its first 16:10 portable monitor. A spokesperson told Ars Technica that its business customers are more open to the aspect ratio.
The thinner laptop uses up to 32GB of LPDDR4x memory, while other ThinkPads announced today use desktop-grade DDR5 RAM. Lenovo’s upcoming clamshell also supports up to 1TB PCIe 4.0 SSD.
Ports are limited to two USB-C Gen 2 slots, a 3.5mm jack and a SIM card slot for 5G.
Triple array microphones and a 5 MP infrared camera are housed in a bar on the top bezel.
Leveraging the 8cx Gen 3, the machine should offer better human presence detection, allowing the laptop to take security measures like turning off or dimming the laptop’s brightness when you’re not in front of the camera.
The ThinkPad 13s will start at $1,099 when it releases in May.
New Intel and AMD based 16 inch ThinkPads
In addition to the ThinkPad X13s, Lenovo announced numerous Intel- and AMD-based refreshes for the ThinkPad lineup today at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, with the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 5 being the most expensive.
As the name suggests, this is the strongest of the group; It will feature up to a 12th Gen Core i9 H-series vPro chip. To support a 45W chip, Lenovo overhauled the laptop’s thermal design, introducing dual-intake fans next to the keyboard, liquid metal thermal grease, and a redesigned vapor chamber. Lenovo claims the laptop will have 10 percent better cooling than the previous generation.
The laptop comes with up to an RTX 3080 Ti (16GB) laptop graphics card, 64GB DDR5 RAM and two SSDs totaling 8TB. It has a larger screen than the previous version at 16 inches (vs. 15.6 inches) with a resolution of up to 3840 x 2400.
The port selection is more extensive than on the arm-based ThinkPad; The Intel device features HDMI 2.1, two USB Type-A 3.1 ports, two Thunderbolt 4 ports, an SD card reader, a 3.5mm jack and an optional SIM card slot. At 4.14 pounds and 0.78 inches, it’s heavier and thicker than the fanless X13s.
Lenovo’s extreme ThinkPad will start at $2,049 in June.
Lenovo is also introducing a 16-inch option for the ThinkPad T series. The ThinkPad T16 comes with up to a 12th Gen Intel Core i7 P-series or U-series vPro or AMD Ryzen 6000 Pro-series 20W chip. Specs differ between the Intel and AMD versions, with the Intel laptop offering more RAM (32GB LPDDR5-6400 vs 48GB DDR4-3200) and the option of an Nvidia GeForce MX550 or RTX 2050 graphics card. The AMD laptop screen has a resolution of 3840 x 2400 while the Intel is limited to 2560 x 1600.
The laptops will be available in June and start at $1,299 for an AMD-equipped model.