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Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Nano Sets The Standard On Portable Business Laptops: Review

The CRN Test Center finds the 2-pound weight paired with business-friendly ThinkPad capabilities to be a compelling offering.

With portable laptops continuing to have their moment thanks to work-from-home, Lenovo has delivered a timely device with the ultra-small, ultra-light ThinkPad X1 Nano.

The company didn’t skimp on business-friendly features, either, with just a couple of main trade-offs to be aware of.

[Related: The 30 Coolest Laptops And Tablets Of 2021: The Mobile 100]

In our tryout at the CRN Test Center, we found the portability of the ThinkPad X1 Nano to be pretty stunning. The laptop weighs just 2 pounds — making it the lightest ThinkPad to date. That’s a half-pound lighter than the already very-portable X1 Carbon.

Having a laptop this lightweight is definitely useful for easily moving from room to room while working at home. Picking up the X1 Nano with one hand is no issue at all.

Or, if you’re now a member of the “hybrid” workforce, this lightness will come in handy while toting your X1 Nano between your home and office.

The notebook is also very small all-around. The X1 Nano measures just over a half-inch thick, making it one of the thinnest business laptops on the market.

And the slim bezels around the display allow for a compact overall design. The notebook has a volume of just 51.2 cubic inches, making it even a bit smaller all-around than one of the gold standards for a compact notebook, Dell’s XPS 13.

Speaking of the display, the X1 Nano display looks great with its sharp resolution (2,160 x 1,350) and high brightness (450 nits).

The X1 Nano provides 13 inches of screen space (non-touch), making it slightly smaller than the typical notebook in its size category, which normally is 13.3 inches. However, the use of a 16:10 aspect ratio makes the display taller, providing a greater amount of usable workspace. It’s especially ideal for video meetings when you need to have other windows open on your screen in addition to the videoconference.

Other useful collaboration features on the X1 Nano include a four-microphone array, Dolby Atmos speakers, a 720P IR webcam and three unified communications keys on the function row.

As a ThinkPad, the durability and keyboard on the X1 Nano do not disappoint. Even with the thin and small size of the notebook, the device offers comfortable and deep keys, and doesn’t cut out keys to save space. The keyboard is “near” full-size, according to Lenovo--and a comparison with the latest X1 Carbon keyboard shows that this is indeed the case.

The X1 Nano offers strong performance--our model was outfitted with a high-powered 11th-gen Intel chip (the Core i7-1160G7) and 16 GB RAM--and is up to the demands of typical business work routines with multiple apps and browser windows going simultaneously.

On battery life, we got 7.5 hours in our tryout of the X1 Nano, with full brightness and the “better battery” setting selected. That’s just shy of enough for a typical full workday — and definitely not enough for one of the now-common extended workdays during work-from-home. Choosing the “best performance” setting will also drain the battery even faster, of course.

Still, we don’t think it’s a terrible battery life result for a laptop this portable, which packs in a modest-sized battery (48Whr) as one of its space- and weight-saving measures. The X1 Nano also compensates a bit by offering rapid-charging capabilities, which can provide an 80-percent charge in an hour.

Another trade-off— and this one shouldn’t be a surprise, given the thin form factor — is on ports. The X1 Nano only includes two ports, and both are USB-C /Thunderbolt 4 ports. When connected to power, you’re down to one port. If USB-A and HDMI ports are a must-have, and you don’t want to be messing around with adapters constantly, then you might prefer going with the X1 Carbon.

A few more things worth noting on the X1 Nano: it’s got a lot to offer in terms of enhanced security, both hardware- and software-wise. Along with a webcam shutter, the fingerprint reader offers “match-on-sensor” technology that is more secure because it isolates the fingerprint matching within the reader itself and also includes anti-spoofing technology (Synaptics PurePrint).

Other security features include self-healing BIOS and optional human-presence detection, which detects when you walk away and automatically locks the device. When you return, the X1 Nano wakes back up--and can also log you in automatically if you’re using Windows Hello facial recognition.

All in all, at a time when portable laptops are seeing massive demand, Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Nano stands out in terms of its compact design while still delivering the features that business users expect.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano currently has a starting price of $1,466.

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