Mon. Sep 25th, 2023

Key Takeaways

  • The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 3 is a powerful and lightweight laptop, making it an ideal choice for digital nomads and on-the-go professionals.
  • It stays true to the ThinkPad tradition with precise processing and a balance between business-heavy computing power and multimedia capabilities.
  • While it excels in multitasking and speed, it does have a few drawbacks such as a lack of USB-A ports and latency while gaming.

With the muscle of a larger laptop, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 3 packs power into a tiny, lightweight size. Despite minor faults, the X1 Nano Gen 3 is the perfect solution for digital nomads and on-the-go business professionals.

People who want the trustworthy name of ThinkPad won’t find themselves disillusioned with the Nano version. The ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 3 delivers precise processing in the ThinkPad tradition and hearkens back to the ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen 10) I reviewed in 2022. The X1 Nano Gen 3 is indeed best for working professionals, but that doesn’t mean it’s useless with multimedia. There’s a good balance of business-heavy computing power and trusty media sidekicks to keep you entertained on work breaks—within limits. Overall, the ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 3 excels in multitasking power and speed, but a few issues, such as a lack of USB-A ports and latency while gaming, make it less than ideal for those who want it all.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 3 sitting open.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 3 Laptop

$1217.1 $1739 Save $521.9

The Lenovo X1 Nano Gen 3 laptop takes portability to the next level Intel Core i7 and a 2K, anti-reflective touchscreen. With competitive specs, it’s a top choice for digital nomads.

Operating System
Windows 11 Pro

13th Gen Intel Core i7-1360P (18M cache, up to 5GHz)

Intel IrisXe



Integrated Li-Polymer 49.5Wh battery (with Rapid Charge)

Display (Size, Resolution)
13.3in 2K (2160 x 1350) IPS

FHD 1080p + IR hybrid, with privacy shutter, fixed focus

2 x 2W woofers and 2 x 1W tweeters with Dolby Atmos


16GB LPDDR5x-6400 (soldered, not upgradable)

2 x Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports (support data transfer, Power Delivery 3.0 and DisplayPort 1.4), 1x 3.5mm headphone/microphone combo jack

11.55 x 8.19 x 0.58in (293.3 x 208.1 x 14.8mm)

Starting at 2.19lbs (991.5g)



Adaptor and Battery
65W AC adapter, 49.5Wh battery

Full size (10 keyless) backlit chiclet keyboard

2K IPS Multi-Touch screen with anti-glare, anti-reflective, anti-smudge

Realtek ALC3306 codec

Wifi 6E, Bluetooth 5.1

Box contents
1 x Lenovo X1 Nano Gen 3 laptop, 1 x USB-C 64W AC adapter, 1 x quick start guide


  • Powerful business tools like a great webcam and a quad microphone system
  • Excellent 2K touchscreen
  • It’s light as a feather
  • Fast charging speeds

  • Battery could be better
  • No USB-A or HDMI port
  • Speakers have little to no bass

A Compact, Lightweight Design

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 3 laptop open on a workbench.
Hannah Stryker / How-To Geek

When unboxing the ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 3, I felt like I was holding any other ThinkPad—but in the most featherlight form I had ever seen. The X1 Nano Gen 3’s chassis has a familiar, premium feel with a magnesium alloy bottom and carbon fiber top. The top cover features the iconic ThinkPad logo and red indicator light. With the screen open, the ThinkPad X1 Nano houses its webcam in the top bevel and a privacy shutter to the right side of it. The quad microphone array is located at the top edge of the lid, while there’s a sleek “X1 Nano” logo in the bottom-right corner of the cover.

The keyboard and touchscreen layout looked familiar. The two up-firing speakers are nestled right above the keyboard, while the down-firing speakers are on the bottom edge of the laptop. To round out the design, there’s another ThinkPad logo in the right corner across from the Trackpad.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much to discuss in the way of ports. The X1 Nano conserves space by including only two USB-C ports and a headphone/microphone jack on the left side of the device. Yep, this laptop only has USB-C ports. Completely absent of an HDMI port and USB-A ports, most users will want to invest in some USB-A to USB-C adapter cables or a USB-C hub to make plugging in possible.

Inputs: The Touchscreen, Trackpad, and Keyboard

Top view of the keyboard and TrackPad on the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 3.
Hannah Stryker / How-To Geek

Like most ThinkPads, the X1 Nano combines a comfy type-feel with an excellent Trackpad (complete with handy buttons) and a responsive touchscreen to bring you a trio of inputs done right. I found the X1 Nano’s keyboard to have a perfect balance of give and springiness.

The touchpad is still a decent size (2.20 x 4.33in), so I could make precise swipes, double-finger drags, taps, and other gestures without trouble.

Regarding the touchscreen, I used it to drag pages, scroll, tap through browser tabs, and more without a blip.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 3 laptop sitting on a bed playing
Cianna Garrison / How-To Geek

“Detective Pikachu”

From streaming to watching ultra high-definition YouTube videos, the 2K display on the ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 3 offered a pleasing picture with a vibrant contrast of color and detail. In videos, it was easy to see the texture of a knit sweater or the individual hairs on an animal. When I streamed “Detective Pikachu” on Pluto, I found the color contrast particularly immersive, and the textures in animated characters like Pikachu and Bulbasaur were well on parade.

While the screen isn’t 4K, 2K is better than the alternative of even fewer pixels, and in most cases, I found the graphics satisfying. Where I noticed less-than-incredible graphics was more so in gaming resource-heavy titles. But if you’re the average Joe seeking casual entertainment, the X1 Nano does its job.

Performance: A Joy to Work and Play

Person working on the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 3.
Hannah Stryker / How-To Geek

Overall, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 3 laptop met my high expectations of what a ThinkPad should be—a premium laptop for people who work on computers a lot. I also found a lot to love in terms of entertainment and multimedia. While the Nano is not the best of the best for all your entertainment needs, it’s an excellent choice for someone who uses their laptop for light to moderate multimedia consumption. If you work, work, work, and then like to take a quick gaming or Spotify break, the Nano passed that test with flying colors.

In most circumstances, the X1 Nano Gen 3 was capable of multitasking. I regularly enjoyed some music on Spotify or videos on YouTube with close to 20 browser tabs open, in addition to Microsoft Word and Photoshop. My daily grind of work was never interrupted except by my Wi-Fi issues.

The only instances where I noticed a significant dip in processing performance were when I left many browser tabs and a couple of programs running while gaming or when I was gaming while downloading a large game in the background.

Gaming: Satisfies Reasonable Hobbyist Expectations

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 3 laptop playing a scene with a smoking man from the game
Cianna Garrison / How-To Geek

“As Dusk Falls”

While the ThinkPad is the Porsche 911 of laptops, they aren’t gaming laptops, so competitive gamers who want the real deal should look elsewhere. Although the ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 3 isn’t a top-tier gaming device, it does handle itself with most casual gaming experiences. Unfortunately, where it falls short, it does so by a large margin.

I played everything from “As Dusk Falls” to “A Plague Tale: Requiem” while gaming with the X1 Nano, and the consensus was this—I should’ve avoided resource-heavy games at all costs and gone only for the fun indie romps or the casual gamer’s delights. Intel Iris Xe can’t handle a title like “A Plague Tale: Requiem,” which, in my experience, causes multiple issues on most “non-gaming” laptops (see the weird red tint glitch, pictured below).

Games like “As Dusk Falls,” “Coral Island,” and “Disney Dreamlight Valley” performed very well, with zero latency and uninterrupted gameplay. But I encountered problems when playing “Bramble: The Mountain King” and “Life Is Strange: True Colors.” For “Bramble,” the default high graphics settings and infinite frame rate were too much. Whenever I manually adjusted the graphics to a “medium” setting and 60Hz, the game performed well enough to play it.

I noticed similar issues while playing “Life Is Strange: True Colors”—with a latent screen panning that irritated me. I resolved this by closing out my existing internet tabs and pausing another game download to free up some working memory. This smoothed out the gameplay, so if you game with the X1 Nano, you’ll want to close out any resource-heavy programs before you launch your chosen virtual universe. (Also known as that runaway program using all your CPU). When I played again, with no other open programs, it ran beautifully.

The Camera, Mics, and Speakers

Camera on the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 3.
Hannah Stryker / How-To Geek

For its tiny size, the ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 3 brings its game with a 1080P IR hybrid camera that captures plenty of detail and works well in most moderate to dim lighting scenarios. I didn’t have to worry if I looked grainy or overexposed on video calls—each video stream was clear in my office or bedroom.

Meanwhile, the speakers pumped out some good sound, but the system isn’t anything to write home about. It did well enough to watch videos, listen to music, or play games, especially with the assistance of the Dolby Access app.

There wasn’t much bass, so audiophiles will want an external speaker system—whether portable speakers or stationary computer speakers. However, the blend of treble and mid-tones was enjoyable enough to keep listening. On Spotify, I played everything from Little Walter and Fats Domino classic blues romps to grungy alt-rock outfit Citizen and was satisfied with the volume. While gaming, I also got some immersive sound without defaulting to a Bluetooth option.

Speakers of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 3.
Hannah Stryker / How-To Geek

For working professionals, the 360-degree quad microphone array on the X1 Nano is a joy to use for video calls or voice memos. The microphones can clearly pick up your voice, even when you’re speaking quietly. They can also cut out background noise. In my testing, background noises like traffic sounds and light chatter were nearly nonexistent. If you’re speaking at louder volumes, however, you may notice clipping in the sound. I tried recording myself singing with the laptop close by, and the resulting audio was full of cut-off notes.

Microphone Test on the X1 Nano Gen 3 Laptop in a Quiet Environment

Microphone Test on the X1 Nano Gen 3 Laptop in a Noisy Environment

Battery Life and Charging: Average Drain and Gain

The X1 Nano’s battery life was decent but average. The internal battery drained about 0.33% per minute, or 19.8% per hour with moderate usage. This meant I got about 5 hours out of each full charge, with the brightness at around 90 to 100%. When I played games, I watched the percentage drop an average of 45% in about an hour.

As far as charging speed, thanks to Rapid Charge, the laptop gains at a high rate. In one hour, I averaged around 40% charge—and I did see Rapid Charge speeds of up to 70% charge in one hour.

Should You Buy the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 3 Laptop?

Person holding the closed Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 3.
Hannah Stryker / How-To Geek

If you’re in the market for an ultraportable laptop that doesn’t sacrifice power for size, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 3 (starting at $1,217) is one of the best tiny laptops you’ll find. It’s a great solution for digital nomads (even with the lack of ports). However, if you need a laptop that offers more flexibility with gaming, a larger screen, or more ports, you might want to shop around or try the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen) 11.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 3 sitting open.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 3 Laptop

$1217.1 $1739 Save $521.9

The Lenovo X1 Nano Gen 3 laptop takes portability to the next level Intel Core i7 and a 2K, anti-reflective touchscreen. With competitive specs, it’s a top choice for digital nomads.

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