I rarely pay much attention to PC press releases. They’re always a bit… well, suit-and-tie, aren’t they?
But when the press release for the Lenovo ThinkPad X13s dropped into my inbox, there were several soundbites that immediately piqued my interest:
- “Ultra-light fan-less design”
- “Silent, always-on, always-connected”
- “Multi-day battery life rated up to 28-hours”
Announced at the MWC22 conference in Barcelona this week, the ThinkPad X13s is the first Windows laptop to be powered by the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 chip.
I know nothing about Snapdragons, other than the fact that I didn’t get one in my Samsung S22 Ultra because I live in Leamington Spa.
But I do get the distinct impression that this particular Lenovo laptop has its sights set firmly on Apple’s most beloved laptop – a device which just so happens to be my favourite laptop, ever.
So, could the Lenovo ThinkPad X13s make a serious play for the MacBook Air’s crown when it hits the shelves in May?
ThinkPad X13s specs
The second paragraph of Lenovo’s press release for the X13s is devoted entirely to the laptop’s admirable planet-saving antics.
It’s built with 90% certified recycled magnesium, 97% PCC plastic, and heads through a manufacturing process that can reduce carbon emissions by up to 35%. Oh, and the fact that it so rarely needs to be plugged into a power outlet means it’ll have even more reason to shout loud and proud about its green credentials.
But what about the guts of this thing? Well, alongside that fancy Snapdragon chip, it can be configured with up to 32GB of memory, 1TB of SSD storage, and boasts a 13.3 inch IPS display. Thankfully, it’s powered by Windows 11, too.
We’ll have to wait for benchmarks to see how Qualcomm’s guts compare against the M1 platform (or, potentially, the M2 platform by the time of the release), but Lenovo isn’t chest-beating too much about power curves and envelopes – they’re instead pitching this laptop firmly at the mobile crowd.
At 2.35 pounds, it’s a fair bit lighter than the M1 MacBook Air, but Lenovo has one huge trick up its sleeve to make it even more convenient while out and about.
The magic ingredient for mobile workers
Lenovo suggests that the X13s will be perfect for “hybrid workers, global travellers, field technicians, and front-line workers”. So, the perfect device for this new world we’re all wading through at the moment, right?
They do appear to be onto something. The X13s promises to rid mobile workers of something I was acutely attuned to before the M1 MacBook Air – ‘power anxiety’. You know, the constant search for a power outlet before you lose all of your unsaved work.
Thanks to the thermally efficient Snapdragon 8cx, Lenovo’s new laptop can claim up to 28 hours of battery life (for video playback, naturally). That’s 10 hours more than the M1 MacBook Air, and an immediate draw for anyone who’s fed up with crap Windows laptop battery life (which is everyone).
There’s also a ‘communications bar’ on the X13s, which houses a 5-megapixel camera capable of AI-based framing and human presence detection.
But the most exciting item on the spec sheet for me is the inclusion of cellular connectivity. Thanks to that partnership with Qualcomm, the X13s can connect to both 4G LTE and 5G networks.
That’s the magic ingredient.
You can’t connect via cellular on a Mac unless you tether it to your iPhone. And for a great many people, the ability to do so without any faffing about on the X13s will offer some serious quality of life improvements.
Will it smash the M1 MacBook Air?
I’m expecting an X13s review unit in May, and when it arrives, I’ll give it a proper test alongside the MacBook Air (in whatever form that takes at that point in time).
I’m not Windows’ greatest fan. However, my disdain for the platform is nearly always due to a lack of comparative apps for the switch from macOS, or a horrendous blue screen episode.
If the ThinkPad X13s delivers the battery life it claims and provides genuine, always-on connectivity thanks to that cellular connection, it’ll be quite a device for someone who has promised himself that he’ll spread his tech wings this year.