The ThinkPad X390 was developed as a lightweight business laptop and is a 13.3-inch computer that is significantly more compact than the ThinkPad T4xx series and almost as light as the ThinkPad X1 Carbon.
Do not confuse it with the X390 Yoga or the L390! According to Google data, the X390 is most often compared to the ThinkPad T400 series, the Yoga C930 and the Dell XPS 13. We will use some of these computers as a reference to make some of these popular comparisons.
Technical data highlights and configuration as tested.
Our test configuration had the following key components:
As such, it is not the most powerful configuration. At the time of publication, the Lenovo website had configurations with Core i5-8365U and i7-8665U, including 16 GB versions.
There may be a 32 GB version, but in all cases the RAM is soldered to the motherboard and is not replaceable. Therefore, choose it carefully at the time of purchase.
We also discovered documents (on Lenovo.com) that included 10th generation Intel processors such as the i5-10210U and i7-10510U, both with 4-core and 8-thread designs, but which are not in the Online configurator.
The 10th generation Intel graphics unit (GPU) is significantly faster. So if you want better absolute performance, look for these models. More on that later…
With dimensions of ~ 70 cubic inches (CI), the ThinkPad X390 is between the Lenovo T400 series (we recently tested the ThinkPad T490, 81 CI) and the ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2019 (64 CI, X1 test here).
As a ThinkPad, the X390 has a lot in common with other ThinkPad computers, including the magnesium alloy case, optional fingerprint, and of course the Mil-Spec endurance certification.
Lenovo ThinkPad X390 gallery
The 2.82 lbs weight makes the ThinkPad X390 a "thin and light" device that is ~ 14% lighter than the ThinkPad T490 and is comparable in weight to the Dell XPS 13 (model 9370 or model 7390, which is ~ 5% lighter). The X1 Carbon is 13.5% lighter, so there is a noticeable difference in handling it.
Keyboard and trackpad
The ThinkPad X390 has a typical ThinkPad keyboard that is always a strength for many users because it is very easy to type and the physical trackpad keys are more precise than a trackpad typing or clicking.
The key drop seems to be similar to the usual 1.3 mm of other ThinkPads, and for me it feels very similar to the T490.
The keys (16 x 15 mm) just seem a bit smaller than the T490 and X1 Carbon (16 x 16 mm), but the difference is not very noticeable to me. It really depends on your input as 1mm across several key lines can make a little difference.
The trackpad is 10% smaller than the T490, but 10% larger than the X1 Carbon. Again, the X390 is really something between these two series.
As with any other touch interface, the size of the trackpad plays a role in relation to the gestures. Most people use scroll and pinch & zoom movements on laptops. More advanced applications require up to four fingers, and circular gestures are usually more comfortable with a larger surface. Check Windows 10 gestures
This keyboard is backlit with a monochrome light that is very convenient at night, in bed (you shouldn't) or on a plane. The backlight has 2 brightness levels
- 1x USB Type C, Thunderbolt 3 "Anti-Fry" security
- 1x USB Type A, 3.1 Gen1, always switched on
- 1x USB Type A, 3.1 Gen1
- 1x standard HDMI1.4
- 1x Flash Reader, MicroSD
- 1x Ethernet (requires adapter)
- 1x anti-theft device, Kensington
- 1x 3.5 mm audio
- 1x compartment for microSD and nano SIM (optional) on the back
The ThinkPad X390 has many connections for an ultralight aircraft. This is particularly convenient for business users, as the HDMI or USB-C to USB-A adapter may have stayed in the office or been lost.
This is a situation we often encounter when using ultra-thin laptops that sacrifice port availability for aesthetics. We recently had a briefing that started late because the speaker didn't have a USB-C to HDMI converter.
Sound / audio
The stereo speaker setup produces sound better than last year's ThinkPad in the same category, and that's a good step forward. In absolute numbers, it's still pretty far from Lenovo's entertainment-oriented laptops like the Yoga C930 and Yoga C940 (review coming soon) that have their own soundbar.
For business purposes, let's assume these speakers are more than adequate for movies in the hotel or other relatively quiet location – and for video calls.
Our ThinkPad X390 display is the regular one FHD (1920 × 1080) LCD IPS that has brightness specifications of 300 NIT. With a datacolor Spider X. Monitor calibration device, measured the brightness at 289 NITs and recorded 97% of the sRGB color gamut, which is very good in this category.
The screen has a matte finish, which makes the colors "pop" a little less, but has the advantage that it is brighter because there is less glass and is less reflective when there is a light source behind the user.
Displays developed for creative work can achieve 120% to 130% of the sRGB color gamut, which is excellent.
The X390 display can be tilted up to 180 degrees flat on the table surface, which can be practical depending on the situation. Some laptops have a limited incline of 45 degrees, which is not enough if you are tall or are sitting on airplane or bar seats that are "too high" or "too low" compared to a normal desk.
Lenovo also has a brighter 400 NIT IPS LCD display with Lenovo Privacy Guard, a data protection system that makes it impossible to read the screen when you're not in front of it. This is ideal for airplanes or public areas where you don't know who is near you.
Finally, there is also a cheaper display with HD resolution and TN display technology. With TN, the colors and contrasts are lower.
Webcam with privacy screen
As usual, there is a 720p camera that can record at 720p / 30FPS. Not much to look forward to, but it works well for video calls if you have lighting.
The far-field microphone array can record sounds from all directions and has been optimized for speech. This is ideal for calls, but also if you want to use the laptop with voice commands such as Microsoft Cortana or Amazon Alexa.
For privacy reasons, Lenovo has integrated a physical shutter (ThinkShutter) so that you do not have to use a tape to hide the webcam. The microphone stays connected and may be active as you may need it for non-video apps.
Finally, there is an optional infrared webcam that allows you to scan your face in 3D and enable secure facial unlocking with Windows Hello. We strongly recommend using a secure password for 3D facial unlocking or the fingerprint reader (also optional).
X390 speed and system performance
Although our device is equipped with a Core i5 (Gen 8) processor, it achieves very good results in the classic PCMark 8 benchmark (measures the total system performance), which makes the X390 a good computer for office work and everyday computing.
Geekbench Multi-Thread rather shows the type of performance differences that can occur with CPU-heavy apps. Our charts show that the Intel 10th Gen platform offers more upside potential, and so does the Core i7 (Gen 8) CPU options.
In general, Intel does an excellent job scaling performance with higher-priced CPU models. However, it is up to you to find the best compromise between performance and price, since CPU upgrades can be expensive and the increase in performance is not linear. It depends on what you are doing.
If you don't have CPU-heavy work (video editing, scientific computing, extensive Excel calculations, etc.), Core i5 and 16 GB RAM are a good way. General, We recommend 16 GB and fast SSD storage, since apparently "light computing" apps like browsers can become real memory-eating monsters when many tabs are open.
In terms of graphics / games, our ThinkPad X390 offers slightly better performance than last year's models due to small hardware updates. However, the new integrated graphics of the Intel i7 10710U is almost twice as fast. So if you want a better gaming experience or better GPU performance, keep an eye out for this version of the X390.
Our 3DMark Firestrike diagram shows that discrete GPUs are still the absolute best. Last year's ThinkPad T480s + GeForce MX150 beat the current Dell XPS 13 7390 with the latest mobile GPU from Intel.
The Thinkpad X390 has one Battery capacity of 48 WhThis corresponds to its category (size, price) because the XPS 13 has 52 Wh and the X1 Carbon has 50 Wh.
"One of the fastest LAPTOP fees we've ever seen"
Battery tests show with a robust set of office workloads (at 200 NIT screen brightness) Continuous use of 6 hours and 31 minuteswhich we think is very respectable and fairly realistic.
Note that battery tests are never representative of real use, as app settings, background tasks, brightness status and network conditions are always different. The most important part of battery life is to look at battery capacity (in Wh) and overall system performance baseline (CPU Thermal Design Point or TDP).
The battery life recommended by PC manufacturers is often based on best-case scenarios with low-intensity video playback and a weak screen. The numbers we have are much closer to reality based on our experience.
Charging speed of the battery
We found them in our tests Loading speed of this laptop should be 0.82 Wh / mn (49 Wh / hour), which is very fast for a laptop. Charging can sometimes make up for the raw capacity, and it is very important for anyone who cares about battery life
For example, the ThinkPad T490 was charged at 40 Wh / hour and the X1 Carbon at 47 Wh / hour. So this is one of the fastest laptop loads we've seen so far.
Note that this is the 0-80% loading speed. In addition, charging is noticeably slower. This is the case with practically all computer or telephone batteries and is limited by chemical reactions in the battery cells.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X390 is a great option for users who want something more compact than the X1 Yoga or T400 series ThinkPads, but not as expensive as the X1 Carbon.
Buyers considering the Dell XPS 13 as an alternative will find that the XPS 13 is significantly smaller (40%) at a comparable weight (5% lighter). The XPS 13 screen may also be brighter (500 NIT specs) and has a glossy finish, which may or may not be an advantage.
"WORKS WELL FOR USERS WITH TYPICAL OFFICE PRODUCT APPS"
In addition to the size, the fluctuation factor of the XPS 13 compared to the ThinkPad X390 can be the certified robustness of the ThinkPad X390, which most competitors do not have, the more comfortable inputs and a large number of connections. In short, it's a matter of personal preference.
In our opinion, the ThinkPad X390 is well suited for users with typical office productivity apps (email, web, MS Office, light image editing).
Creative users who can afford it would probably prefer the 14- or 15-inch laptops offered by Lenovo, especially those with discrete GPU, higher memory and better displays (including OLED options) like the ThinkPad Extreme Gen2 or the WorkPad – counterpart ThinkPad P1 Gen2.
Overall product rating: 8.9 / 10
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