The ThinkPad X1 Extreme might be my dream laptop

I’m not the target audience for a “mobile workstation” laptop. I don’t edit video. I don’t run complex simulations. I rarely even edit photos, and when I do, it’s a simple change of aspect ratio in GIMP. Yet two years ago, Lenovo’s ThinkPad P50 seduced me with its combination of simple functionality and incredible power. I spend a lot of time in front of a computer. I use a PC for work, then relax by firing up a PC game like World of Warcraft or Warframe. Lenovo’s ThinkPad P50 handled both without trouble.

Handling the P50 itself, though, was trouble. It weighed 5.6 pounds and was about an inch thick, enough to make hauling it in my usual messenger bag a chore. The problem might’ve been a deal breaker if I were to buy it for my own, personal use.

Lenovo understand my plight, it seems, and now it has a solution: The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme.

Lenovo has wrapped everything I liked about the hefty P50 into a much more portable device.

For those unfamiliar, the X1 lineup serves as the flagship ThinkPads. The ThinkPad X1 Carbon and X1 Yoga are top-tier portable business laptops with one weak spot. They’re not all as powerful, especially in the graphics department. The X1 Extreme fixes that issue — and then some.

I’ll get straight the point. The ThinkPad X1 Extreme comes with Nvidia’s GeForce 1050 Ti Max-Q graphics chip. It’s not god-tier hardware, but we’ve tested plenty of 1050 Ti hardware in the past and have always judged the 1080p gaming performance on the enjoyable side of adequate.

Lenovo’s decision to pick this chip, instead of the workstation-focused Quadro line, is a bit weird given the ThinkPad’s supposed focus on business use. Not that I care. That’s not what I want it for. I’d rather have the GeForce; it moderates the laptop’s price and will offer access to driver updates that focus on gaming instead of CAD.

And here’s the other key point: The X1 Extreme keeps the 15-inch display, but it weighs about 3.8 pounds.

That’s almost half what the P50 weighed. That’s what 13-inch laptops weighed just a few years ago. You can buy a lighter laptop, to be sure, but at 3.8 pounds it’s light enough to not feel like a burden. It even shaves about a half-pound off the weight of Microsoft’s Surface Book 2 15-inch, a device I often tote to and from the Digital Trends office.

I often worry that laptop progress has stalled. I worry that today’s laptops aren’t that much better than those which came a few years ago. But here, I can see and feel the progress. Lenovo has wrapped everything I liked about the hefty P50 into a much more portable device, and they’re not even charging more for it. The X1 Extreme will start at $1,860 – the P50 I loved in 2016 was priced at $2,350.

There’s no doubt I’ll be giving the X1 Extreme a close look, and I won’t have to wait long to do it. The first units will be sold later this month. If you want a Core i9 model you’ll have to wait until December, but if your interest in the X1 Extreme aligns with mine, you can skip that.

As for me, well, I hope to see the X1 Extreme in our lab soon. A World of Warcraft expansion just came out, and I need to put it through its paces.

Product Review

Controversy has dogged the MacBook Pro lately. Is it still a good purchase?

The MacBook Pro is a controversial laptop these days -- and that's unfortunate. Due to some divisive changes Apple made to the functionality of the MacBook Pro, fans are more split. Does the 8th-gen refresh change that?
Product Review

LG Gram 14 proves 2-in-1 laptops don’t need to sacrifice battery for light weight

The LG Gram 14 2-in-1 aims to be very light for a laptop that converts to a tablet. And it is. But it doesn’t skimp on the battery, and so it lasts a very long time on a charge.
Computing

Don't spend a fortune on a PC. These are the best laptops under $300

Buying a laptop needn't mean spending a fortune. If you're just looking to browse the internet, answer emails, and watch Netflix, you can pick up a great laptop at a great price. These are the best laptops under $300.
Deals

From Chromebooks to MacBooks, here are the best laptop deals for January 2019

Whether you need a new laptop for school or work or you're just doing some post-holiday shopping, we've got you covered: These are the best laptop deals going right now, from discounted MacBooks to on-the-go gaming PCs.
Computing

Worried about your online privacy? We tested the best VPN services

Browsing the web can be less secure than most users would hope. If that concerns you, a virtual private network — aka a VPN — is a decent solution. Check out a few of the best VPN services on the market.
Product Review

Origin's Chronos PC is no looker, but it plays games with eye-popping detail

The Chronos is Origin’s smallest PC, but while it occupies less space than most A/V receivers, it delivers the power of a much larger desktop. Its dull exterior design does the system a disservice. Once you turn it on, you won’t be…
Computing

How good are you at spotting phishing scams? Take this quiz to find out

Are you able to discern between a legitimate email and one that's a scam designed to phish for your personal information? Google created an online quiz with tips to help you better understand phishing so you don't become a victim.
Gaming

Can't stand keyboard gaming on PC? Here's how to use a PS3 controller instead

Properly connecting a PlayStation 3 Controller to a PC is no easy task, especially when you opt for third-party peripherals. Thankfully, our guide will help you through the process.
Computing

Zipping files on a Chromebook? Follow these four easy steps

Chromebooks support file compression, though they work a little differently than on Windows or Mac. Here's the step-by-step process to zipping files on a Chromebook, and then unzipping them again for extraction.
Computing

Yes, you can use Android apps on your Chromebook. Here's how

You can now get Android apps on your Chromebook! Google has enabled the Google Play Store app support on its Chrome OS and Chromebook hardware, so to get you started, here's our guide on how to get Android apps on a Chromebook.
Computing

Patent application reveals what’s to come after AMD’s Graphics Core Next

A published patent application from AMD has revealed a new type of graphics processor core which could make a big difference to the capabilities of its GPUs if it finds its way into them in the future.
Computing

Microsoft targets Chrome OS with $189 Windows 10 laptops for education

Microsoft announced seven new low-cost Windows 10 laptops, all priced under $300 to take on Chromebooks and iPads in the education market, along with a new Microsoft Allora stylus for students using the Surface Go tablet.
Computing

Lenovo patent hints at a future tablet with a folding screen

Folding devices are a new trend, and according to a recent patent, Lenovo is considering a foldable 2-in-1 with a hinge mechanism that would allow consumers to bend back the screen on the device. 
Computing

Wifi Porter is a high-tech block of wood that lets you share your broadband

Tired of manually connecting your guests to your home Wi-Fi network? The latest invention from the folks at Ten One Design, the WifiPorter, allow individuals to connect to your Wi-Fi with the tap of their phone, or by scanning an available…