Like all Lenovo products with the ThinkCentre name, the ThinkCentre X1 all-in-one ($845 starting, $1,063 as reviewed) is designed with a laser-focus on the workplace. This strikingly slim desktop will fit seamlessly into your home or work office, and it supports external displays while also doubling as a stand-alone monitor. If you’re a business user, you’ll find plenty to like in the X1’s comfortable keyboard, hideable webcam and dependable Core i5 performance, though it’s not worth splurging for the priciest configuration.
I’m used to Lenovo all-in-ones being a bit bulky, which is why the svelte ThinkCentre X1 is such a pleasant surprise. The ThinkCentre’s all-black aluminum chassis is just 0.43-inches thick, making it slick enough to blend into the office, and attractive enough to sit in your bedroom or living room.
The X1 is more flexible than many all-in-ones of its kind, with a metal stand that allows you to tilt the screen 5 degrees forward or as much as 45 degrees backward. If you’d rather attach the screen to your wall, you can buy an optional $18 VESA mount for the X1 and do that. Unfortunately for as cheap as the piece is Lenovo chose to not include it though in a way not surprising and not really expected.
According to Lenovo, the X1 is designed to survive 10 years of office dust. Although we won’t know if that’s true until 2026, the company claims that the PC ran without any issues inside a testing chamber filled with about 4.4 pounds of dust, which is both gross and impressive.
A further sign of the the X1’s thoughtful design is the arrangement of its ports and switches. Everything you’re likely to leave plugged in connects to the back of the system: gigabit ethernet, Kensington lock port, power jack, a bi-directional DisplayPort 1.2 port, and three USB 3.0 ports. For more daily use, you’ll find two USB 3.0 ports (one of which is always on, for charging purposes), a combination headphone/microphone jack, and a media card slot on the lower left hand side.
On the lower right hand side of the X1 are the power button, mute button for the microphone, and computer/display switch. The latter is there because the bi-directional DisplayPort connector gives the option to drive another display or output to the Thinkcentre X1’s screen from another computer. Of course, if you’re a lefty, you might prefer the side layouts reversed, but the general clustering was a good decision.
My one complaint about the ports is the color-coding used by Lenovo. The X1 uses a power connector that’s very close in size and shape to a USB connector, and it’s yellow. So is the always-on USB port. I get it, power equals yellow. Still, I tried to plug the power connector into the USB port first time out. Arguably, I could have first consulted the user’s guide, but realistically speaking, my instinct won’t be outside the norm.
Mic And Webcam
The X1’s 2-megapixel webcam took crisp and color-accurate photos, making it an ideal companion for conference calls. If you’re paranoid about being spied on, there’s a Privacy Camera Lock at the top that allows you to cover up the webcam.
Like its webcam, the X1’s dual-array, noise-cancelling microphones are designed for the workplace. I tested the mic during a quick Skype call with a co-worker, who said that my voice sounded clear enough for a work chat, though not quite crisp enough for a podcast.
The ThinkCentre’s 23.8-inch, 1080p display isn’t the sharpest I’ve seen on an all-in-one, but it’s still suitable for work and play. The PC’s screen preserved the key details of the colorful trailer for Warcraft, from the film’s fantastical green plains to the battle-damaged faces of humans and orcs. Certainly could have been better, but by all means definitely could have been a lot worse than it is.
The Thinkcentre X1 comes styled in the usual Lenovo charcoal-gray color scheme, with a 23.8-inch, 1920 x 1080 non-touch display featuring an anti-glare coating. Said coating works pretty well, but this particular type reminds me of the haze you get on mirrors. The X1 would be better with a full matte panel, like the one on Toshiba’s Z20t-C2112 laptop. That doesn’t detract from the ThinkCentre X1’s excellent design, though.
The key aspect of such success is the X1’s stand. Its base is so thin that you can treat it as part of the work surface. Yet the X1 gives no feeling of instability, it should withstand being pushed around for repositioning without falling over. Another good thing to note about the stand is the base being so flat that you can actually place and lay things on it if you so desired. A lot of bases on AIO’s like this are a bit bulky, round or whatever and Lenovo really put some thought into the stand for the ThinkCentre X1.
Another two factors are the unit’s wide range of tilt, and the low amount of pressure needed to adjust it. The result is hassle-free access to anything you’ve stored behind the machine, and less frustration when connecting cables or dongles to the rear ports.
The ThinkCentre’s stereo speakers are decently loud for an all-in-one, filling my room completely while listening to Bon Jovi’s Livin’ On A Prayer. While the track’s bass and drums were fairly audible, higher-frequency sounds such as guitars and synths sounded distorted with the volume cranked up.
You can tweak the ThinkCentre’s output with the included Dolby Audio app, which offers presets for movies, music, games and voice, as well as a “dynamic” mode that automatically adjusts to what you’re listening to. There’s also an EQ if you prefer to fiddle with every little setting yourself.
Keyboard And Mouse
As with most Lenovo AIO’s, the ThinkCentre X1 includes a fairly generic wireless mouse and keyboard combo so you can get right to work. The devices aren’t quite as sleek as the thin, silver peripherals that come with Lenovo’s consumer-minded desktops, but, for the most part, I found them more comfortable.
The keyboard’s U-shaped keys are snappy and provide a generous amount of travel at 2.6 millimeters, allowing me to chop away on an online typing test and managing to get 89 words per minute with 97.1 percent accuracy (that’s on track with my 94 wpm average). With a fairly standard actuation (required force) of 58 grams, the keys never felt uncomfortable.
The X1’s included mouse is positively tiny, and it took my big right hand some time to get used to it especially when using the Logitech MX Master as my daily driver for well over 8 months now. I would have preferred something more substantial, but I eventually had no issues clicking between apps or scrolling through web pages. It’s definitely a very accurate mouse and one that I wouldn’t mind using if I didn’t already have a daily driver.
Packing an Intel Core i5-6200U processor with 8GB of RAM, our ThinkCentre X1 proved to be perfectly capable of juggling a full workday’s worth of tasks. I hosted a Skype call, did some work in Google Docs, watched three Twitch streams, ran a full system scan and jumped between 12 browser tabs simultaneously. At no point did I run into any slowdown or crash.
Gaming on the ThinkCentre X1 is slightly below what you’d expect for its integrated HD 520 graphics. In 3DMark’s Cloud Gate benchmark, which is a synthetic DX11 test designed for typical home desktop systems and laptops, the X1 netted an overall score of 4,946. While that’s a little surprising, it again likely has to do with how Lenovo tweaked the fan profiles.
However, even if the X1 had matched other Core i5-6200U systems’ scores, that wouldn’t change the fact that this all-in-one is only good enough for lightweight games. As for video playback, 4K UHD files played quite smoothly, as long they were H.264 and not HEVC (H.265) or 60 frames per second.
The $1,063 ThinkCentre X1 largely delivers on what it promises, offering business users a sleek, office-ready design, solid overall performance and a webcam and microphone suitable for conference calls. The fact that you can hide its webcam is a nice privacy touch, and it doesn’t hurt that the X1’s 23.8-inch 1080p display can double as a stand-alone monitor.
If you’re not specifically seeking something for the office, however, you’re better off spending your money elsewhere. Lenovo’s own $1,099 IdeaCentre AIO is bulkier but far more versatile, offering a rich 4K display, an Intel RealSense camera and discrete Nvidia graphics. If you’re cool with OS X, Apple’s iMac ($1,099 starting) is still king when it comes to design and display brightness. The ThinkCentre X1 fills an important niche in the workplace, but if you decide on one, you should opt for the cheaper $845 model with a bigger SSD unless you just absolutely feel you need the computing power.