The Best Budget-Friendly ThinkPads Just Got Better

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Image: Lenovo – The X13 and X13 Yoga have been updated with the newest AMD and Intel processors. Lenovo has just redesigned a number of its more affordable ThinkPad models, and one in particular is worth keeping an eye on.

The ThinkPad X13 and X13 Yoga are ultraportable notebooks with all the features you’d expect from a ThinkPad, but at a lower price point. That comprises a black chassis with red accents, a red rubber pointing stick snuggled in the keyboard, and an illuminated I in the ThinkPad logo.

Consistent design and styling from Lenovo has been a key factor in these laptops’ popularity. However, the corporation, for better or worse, has started to emerge from its black/red shell with these new releases. The X13 is also available in Storm Gray, a dark silver tone that contrasts strongly with the other typical color options. Even though these appear to be the same, Lenovo claims that the touchpad has grown by 15 percent in comparison.

Lenovo ThinkPad X13
Image: Lenovo

To put it another way: This isn’t the X1 Carbon, but rather a budget-friendly 13-inch laptop that’s not as elegant or compact as the pricier variant. Aside from Thunderbolt 4 ports (AMD offers non-Thunderbolt USB-C), HDMI 2.0, a headphone jack, and a SIM card slot for 5G (sub-6GHz through eSIM) or 4G LTE, the extra room provides a broad assortment of connections. Wi-Fi 6E joins the previous connectivity option in making these ThinkPads future-proof.

One of the few things I didn’t like about previous versions was how dim or dreary the displays were. I’m hopeful that the new X13 models’ 13.3-inch, 25601600-pixel (16:10) screen fixes these previous issues. These are Dolby Vision certified and have a maximum brightness of 400 nits, so they should be fine even in the most brightly lit places. The thick frame surrounding the X13’s screen reminds me of Ralphie’s glasses from A Christmas Story. Lenovo also says that the X13 has “narrow bezels.”

The X13 is available in Intel and AMD versions, depending on your preference for performance. AMD Ryzen Pro 6000 CPUs power the Yoga, but 12th-generation processors from Intel are available for those who prefer clamshell form factors. Memory can be as high as 32 GB, while PCIe SSD storage can be as large as 2 TB. Iris Xe or Radeon 600M are the only options for integrated graphics on the X13.

Lenovo ThinkPad X13 Yoga
Image: Lenovo

The X13 and X13 Yoga are simple tweaks to the previous models, but there are a few hybrid work-friendly improvements beyond the enhanced wireless capabilities. Both of these laptops now have “up to” a 1080p webcam with IR, which, while it doesn’t guarantee better image quality, should still be an upgrade over most 720p cameras.

Also new this year are Dolby Voice for better microphone performance and a larger 54.7Whr battery option in addition to the stock 41Whr battery. For the X13, Lenovo didn’t make any runtime claims, but the 57Whr cell in the X13 Yoga claims to give it 13.6 hours of battery life.

The Lenovo X13 Gen 3 and X13 Yoga Gen 3 will launch on sale in June for $1,369 and $1,179, respectively, for Intel variants. For only $1,119, you’ll get an AMD-powered X13 in addition to the other options. This spring, Lenovo will begin selling its updated ThinkPad L13 laptops as well as the L14, L15, and L13 Yoga models.