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Lenovo Thinkcentre X1 review: All-in-one design done right

Jon L. Jacobi | July 18, 2016
Sleek, minimal, and quick are how an all-in-one should be.

lenovo thinkcentre x1 front 12

The ThinkCentre X1’s ports are perfectly arranged and situated, though we wish the always-on USB port (not shown) weren’t the same yellow as the power jack.

My one complaint about the ports is the color-coding used by Lenovo. The X1 uses a power connector that’s very close in size and shape to a USB connector, and it’s yellow. So is the always-on USB port. I get it—power equals yellow. Still, I tried to plug the power connector into the USB port first time out. Arguably, I could have first consulted the user’s guide, but realistically speaking, my instinct won’t be outside the norm.

One potential drawback is the lack of height adjustment. Taller users might want to opt for an arm mount—the Thinkcentre X1 weighs only 8.8 pounds, which even stylish lightweight arm-mounts can handle. You will need to buy a VESA mount, however. Lenovo’s low-profile option for the X1 is $18.

One other thing I should mention is that the arm of the stand is so thin, you’ll likely be able to see the cords, especially as it’s chrome. Black might have been better choice for the wire-haters out there.

Components and performance

Inside the ThinkCentre X1 are an Intel Core i5-6200U processor, 8GB of DDR4/2133MHz RAM, a 256GB SATA SSD, and an Intel Wireless-AC 3165 card for dual-band 1x1 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2.

As expected with this choice of components, the ThinkCentre X1 is as fast as most people need for everyday tasks, like word processing and web browsing. In PCMark 8’s Home Conventional benchmark, which runs web browsing, writing, casual gaming, photo editing, and video chat workloads, this all-in-one machine scored 2,615. While processors with more cores and more power do outpace it, the X1 should feel plenty quick for basic tasks.

PCMark 8 Home Conventional benchmark results

The ThinkCentre X1 also performed as expected in our Handbrake encoding test, which involves converting a 30GB MKV file into a smaller MP4 using the program’s Android Tablet preset. For machines using a thermally constrained CPU, Handbrake is more of a soak test than a measure of performance: We use it to see how well the machine holds up under long, intensive tasks.

The ThinkCentre X1 isn’t the fastest machine using a Core i5-6200U, but it’s still within the expected range. The Dell XPS 13 still comes out ahead likely due to fan speeds, whereas the Samsung Notebook 9 lags incredibly far behind because its processor’s clock speed drops (throttles) under prolonged heavy load. That said, the ThinkCentre X1 isn’t the machine you want for regular content creation, as you can see when compared to our PCWorld Zero Point machine, which is a standard desktop tower with a full socketed part (and three years old, at that.)


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