Does Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Extreme support Windows Hello facial recognition?
What's so special about Windows Hello facial recognition?
Setting up a password to protect your laptop when you're not around is always recommended, especially if you deal with sensitive information, but manually typing it in each time you sit down at your PC can become a tad annoying. With Windows Hello facial recognition, an IR camera built into your PC instead reads your face and signs you in when it sees a match.
The best part? You can generally depend on a login time that takes less than or about a second. You can even set up a dynamic lock with another Bluetooth-enabled device — like your phone — that will automatically secure your PC when you and the secondary device move out of range. With certain apps that deal with sensitive information, like password managers, facial recognition will also be tapped to ensure it's you at your laptop.
On top of the optional IR camera available with some models of the ThinkPad X1 Extreme, all models include a match-on-chip fingerprint reader built into the chassis next to the keyboard. It also provides quick and secure logins through Windows Hello.
If you do opt for a model with an IR camera, you'll also have access to Glance eye-tracking technology. You can use that to move windows between monitors and to take advantage of easier cursor location, which is handy with the X1 Extreme's multiple external monitor support. However, Glance can also let you know if another set of eyes other than your own is checking out what's on your display. If you often deal with sensitive information, this feature can prove invaluable.
How much extra money is an X1 Extreme model with IR camera?
Prices for a baseline ThinkPad X1 Extreme model start at about $1,476, but you will have to opt for the FHD or 4K display with Dolby Vision HDR400 to get access to the IR camera. Luckily, you can keep all hardware other than the display the same as the baseline model.
For the FHD display with 500 nits brightness and HDR400, you should only see a price increase of about $60 (opens in new tab). For the 4K display with HDR400, the price jump is closer to about $333 (opens in new tab). That's not a bad increase, especially considering the standard FHD display without IR camera hits only 300 nits brightness and does not feature Dolby Vision HDR400 support.
If you don't can't justify the extra cost for an upgraded display in your X1 Extreme and still want to take advantage of facial recognition through Windows Hello, you can always check out third-party camera options that offer IR technology.
Power and durability
Extra security available with fingerprint reader and IR camera
All ThinkPad X1 Extreme models come with a fingerprint reader for Windows Hello, but if you'd like to take advantage of facial recognition with an IR camera, you'll have to upgrade to an FHD or 4K HDR display. Considering the price difference and jump in display quality, this should be worth it for most people.
Cale Hunt is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.
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