Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Extreme G5 is too expensive and does not offer enough GPU power
The X1 Extreme is sitting at the top of the ThinkPad lineup and is supposed to be a powerful 16-inch notebook. In addition to the X1 Extreme, you can also get the similarly constructed ThinkPad p1, which is equipped with professional Nvidia GPUs. The spec sheet looks promising: Lenovo uses a powerful Vapor Chamber cooling solution, up to 8 TB SSD storage, 5G connectivity, modern Alder Lake CPUs and Nvidia's RTX GPUs all the way up to the RTX 3080 Ti.
The first problem, however, is that you cannot combine all these options since there are once again two base models. Two SSDs and the optional WWAN module are only available when you get the X1 Extreme G5 with the RTX 3050 Ti, which uses a conventional cooling solution with heat pipes. SKUs with more powerful GPUs are equipped with the more powerful and larger vapor chamber cooling including CPU liquid metal cooling, which means there is no room for the secondary SSD or the WWAN module. Customers have to do quite a bit of research of read our reviews to find the differences and limitations. The next problem is the performance level of the graphics cards (max. TGP 95W including Dynamic Boost), but our review unit with the GeForce RTX 3060 cannot even maintain this level of performance. It therefore does not make much sense to offer the RTX 3080 Ti from a performance perspective, but it looks good on paper.
The CPU performance was improved to last year's model, which is a result of the new Alder Lake processor, but also the improved cooling solution with liquid metal. However, it could still be better because the system can only handle about 80 Watts under sustained load. This is a good result within the immediate comparison group, but it is not better compared to the slimmer and lighter Schenker Vision 16 Pro, for example, and it also means it cannot utilize the full potential of the Core i7-12700H. We are already eager to see the performance of the new ThinkPad P16, which is much thicker being a full-fledged workstation and it is also equipped with faster HX CPUs.
Due to cost reasons, Lenovo already changed the keyboard on last year's G4 model and made it worse with a reduced travel (1.8 to 1.5 mm) similar to other ThinkPads, which affects the typing experience. We can understand that Lenovo wants to save space on slim devices like the X1 Carbon or X1 Nano, but not on a big model like X1 Extreme.
All in all, the X1 Extreme is still a very good package, but we think it is too expensive at 3500 Euros considering the specs with the Core i7, 32 GB RAM, and the GeForce RTX 3060. For the next generation of the X1 Extreme, we would prefer only one model that actually offers all advertised features. Lenovo should also put a bigger focus on the GPU performance and we also hope (even though it probably won't happen) that someone at Lenovo picks up an old X1 Extreme and notices how much better the old keyboards were. The manufacturer definitely saves cost at the wrong spot here and we are sure no one cares if the chassis would be half a millimeter thicker in return.
Please see our comprehensive review of the ThinkPad X1 Extreme G5 for more information and all benchmark/measurement results.