1080p display in two flavors

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 (FHD)

Glorious 4K

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 (UHD)

The X1 Extreme's display can be had in two versions of FHD, one with and one without Dolby Vision HDR400, giving you a couple of price points to choose from. You won't be able to get an IR camera with the basic FHD model, but otherwise, all hardware should be configurable with the FHD displays.

From $1,476 at Lenovo

Pros

  • Cheaper than 4K
  • Dolby Vision HDR optional
  • IPS panel for wide viewing angles
  • Up to 500 nits brightness
  • IR camera available with FHD HDR model

Cons

  • No IR camera available with basic FHD model
  • Basic FHD models max out at 300 nits
  • No touch function

The 4K display option adds a few hundred dollars to the price of the X1 Extreme, but Dolby Vision HDR400 and perfect AdobeRGB color reproduction make it a must for design, development, and photography work. You can configure the 4K display with just about any other hardware, but keep in mind you'll see a heavier draw on the battery.

From $1,809 at Lenovo

Pros

  • Dolby Vision HDR available
  • 100% AdobeRGB color reproduction
  • Up to 500 nits brightness
  • IPS panel with wide viewing angles
  • Includes IR camera for Windows Hello

Cons

  • Big price jump from FHD
  • No touch function (yet)
  • Faster battery drain

The three display options — FHD, FHD with Dolby Vision HDR400, and 4K with Dolby Vision HDR400 — are all built into the same chassis and come with the same ports, the same internal hardware options, and the same battery size. The only thing you won't be able to get with the basic FHD display is an IR camera for Windows Hello. Let's take a close look at these three displays to get an idea of which one works best for you.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme FHD vs. 4K tech specs

X1 Extreme (FHD) X1 Extreme (4K)
Display size 15.6 inches 15.6 inches
Resolution 1920 x 1080 3840 x 2160
Brightness Basic: 300 nits
HDR: 500 nits
500 nits
Color 72% NTSC 100% AdobeRGB
Contrast Basic: 700:1
HDR: 1200:1
1200:1
Viewing angle 170 degrees 170 degrees
Touch No No
Pen support No No
IR camera Basic: No
HDR: Yes
Yes
Battery 80Wh 80 Wh
Graphics NVIDIA GTX 1650 Max-Q
4GB GDDR5 VRAM
NVIDIA GTX 1650 Max-Q
4GB GDDR5 VRAM

FHD or 4K display?

The second-generation ThinkPad X1 Extreme from Lenovo has been released into the wild with three display options to choose from, including FHD, FHD with HDR, and 4K with HDR. Resolution is no doubt the biggest difference here, but there are a bunch of smaller things to be aware of when trying to decide between the three. Keep in mind that there is expected to be a touch OLED 4K version released sometime in the future, though there's no exact date.

The basic FHD model will save you the most money, and it's still an OK display if you're mainly using it indoors — 300 nits brightness can be tough to work with in sunlight — and if you don't have any specialized work in mind. It will suck up the least amount of power out of all three displays, so if battery life is high on your list, it might be quite attractive. There's no pen or touch support here just like the other current display options, and it does have the least impressive contrast at 700:1. If facial recognition through an IR camera is important, you'll have to opt for one of the displays with HDR, as the basic model is stuck with a 720p webcam and fingerprint reader.

Stepping things up, you can opt instead for an FHD panel with Dolby Vision HDR400 for about $60 more. That's really not a huge jump in price, and the benefit of 500 nits of brightness for working outdoors and an IR camera for Windows Hello will be worth it for many people. Contrast takes a jump up to 1200:1, which should be noticeable every time you open the lid. There's going to be more draw on the battery, but the tradeoff should be worth it.

Finally, if you have an extra $300 or so in your budget, the 4K display will offer the best picture. It's a sizeable jump in price and battery life will take the hardest hit, but 100% AdobeRGB color reproduction and 500 nits of brightness is a killer combination if you're interested in specialized work.

Note that an NVIDIA GTX 1650 Max-Q graphics card (GPU) is available with all configurations, and if you plan on gaming with the X1 Extreme, it will no doubt feel wimpy trying to keep up with the higher resolution.

Design and features

Aside from slight differences in weight and the lack of IR camera with the basic FHD display, you're going to essentially get the same ThinkPad X1 Extreme no matter which screen you choose.

All models have plenty of ports, including two USB-A 3.1, two Thunderbolt 3, HDMI 2.0, 3.5mm audio, Ethernet extension adapter port, and an SD card reader. You get the same touchpad, same comfortable keyboard, and a fingerprint reader next to the keyboard, even if your laptop includes an IR camera. This allows you to get the performance you need without having to make an unnecessary jump in display tech and price.

The FHD ThinkPad X1 Extreme models will suit a lot of people

Whether you need HDR400 or not, you can grab an FHD X1 Extreme for quite a bit less than a 4K model. You should see better battery life and, if you're gaming, better framerates from the NVIDIA GTX 1650 GPU. If you're getting into specialized work, though, the 4K model's higher resolution and more accurate color will be worth the money.

1080p computing

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 (FHD)

With and without HDR400

You can save hundreds and still get your hands on a powerful ThinkPad X1 Extreme by going with an FHD model.

The 4K ThinkPad X1 Extreme is better for power users

Editors, designers, and photographers will no doubt find much to love in the 4K ThinkPad X1 Extreme, with HDR400 support and perfect AdobeRGB color reproduction. It will suck up more battery and you will pay hundreds more, but pros (and anyone who loves a high resolution) will gladly get in on 4K.

Glorious 4K

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 (UHD)

More money, more pixels

You're going to pay a premium for the 4K display option in the ThinkPad X1 Extreme, but accurate color reproduction and plenty more pixels will be well worth it for plenty of people.

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