Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 Review: AMD Ryzen 7 Pro

The Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 is powered by the latest AMD Ryzen Pro U-series processors and offers a sleek design with options for black recycled vegan leather. It features an edge-to-edge keyboard and a 120-millimeter haptic force pad. With up to 32 gigabytes of LP DDR5 RAM and up to one terabyte of PCIe Gen 4 SSD storage, it provides ample performance and storage capabilities. Additionally, the Z13 boasts an infrared Full HD camera with an e-shutter, along with Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, and optional 4G LTE connectivity. It’s clear that Lenovo is targeting a similar market as the XPS 13 Plus with the Z13.

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Specs

Display13.3″ inch (1920×1200) IPS, 400 Nits Touchscreen
CPUAMD Ryzen 7 Pro 6850U Processor
GraphicsIntegrated AMD Radeon 680M Graphics
Memory16GB LPDDR5 6400MHz (Soldered)
Storage512GB PCIe SSD Gen 4
BatteryUp to 18.3 hours (MM 18), 51.5Wh
WirelessWiFi 6E” 802.11AX (2×2)
55″X11.59″ X 7.86″
WebcamIR & 1080p FHD Hybrid
WeightStarting at 1.26kg / 2.78lbs
Dimensions13.99mm x 295mm x 200mm
Specifications

Design And Build Quality

Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 Gen 1 Design

The design of the Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 stands out as one of its key features, seamlessly blending elements from various laptops into the ThinkPad Z13. The option of a black vegan leather cover adds a stylish touch, though there’s also an all-metal version available.

Additionally, the ThinkPad Z13 undergoes rigorous military-grade testing, ensuring exceptional durability even in extreme conditions. Despite its robust build, it remains highly portable, weighing just 1.26 kilograms or 2.78 pounds. This lightweight design makes it ideal for those frequently on the go, easily fitting into a bag for effortless portability. With its premium aesthetics and portability combined, it emerges as an excellent choice for a sleek and lightweight ultraportable laptop.

Ports and Connectivity

On the left side of the Lenovo ThinkPad Z13, you’ll find a USB-C 4.0 port that delivers full functionality, supporting data transfer, charging, and display output. This port allows connection to external 4K monitors, docks, and even an external GPU. On the right side, there’s another USB-C 4.0 port, also offering full functionality. Additionally, you’ll find the power button and a 3.5-millimeter microphone/headphone combo jack. While the port selection may not be the most extensive, the inclusion of USB-C 4.0 and the ability to connect to external GPUs, docks, monitors, and more provide comprehensive functionality in that aspect.

Display and Speaker

Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 Ryzen 7 Pro Display

The Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 offers both a Full HD Plus touchscreen option and an OLED option. The OLED display provides better color gamut coverage and accuracy but consumes more battery life. Conversely, the Full HD Plus display offers deep blacks, vibrant colors, good contrast, and a low Delta E score of 0.86, indicating excellent color accuracy. It covers 100% sRGB, 80% Adobe RGB, 81% DCI-P3, and 75% NTSC color gamuts, making it suitable for tasks like Lightroom, Photoshop, and video editing.

Additionally, the display is flicker-free, with no detected issues during testing. While the glossy display may cause glare and reflections, it features an anti-reflective coating to mitigate this. Despite claiming 400 nits brightness, it measured above that at around 405 nits. The touchscreen is responsive and works well for navigating the operating system, although it does not support a pen.

Overall, the Full HD Plus option is recommended for most users, but those prioritizing color accuracy may prefer the 2.8K OLED option, despite its impact on battery life.

Moving on to audio, the Dolby Atmos speaker system delivers surprisingly good sound quality, with impressive mids, volume, and even some bass.

Keyboard

Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 Keyboard and Force Pad

The screen of the ThinkPad Z13 ultraportable laptop can be easily tilted back and opened with just one finger, providing convenient accessibility. The keyboard stands out as a favorite feature, despite its slightly shallow key travel, it offers decent feedback and familiar tactility characteristic of Lenovo ThinkPads. It remains comfortable even during extended typing sessions, with no sensation of bottoming out. Additionally, features a multi-stage backlight that effectively illuminates keys in dark environments. The spill-resistant keyboard adds durability, offering protection against accidental spills like coffee or water.

Furthermore, the device boasts a highly responsive glass haptic force pad for scrolling, which functions seamlessly without any issues. It’s considered one of the best trackpads seen on a Windows laptop, providing excellent performance.

Additionally, the inclusion of a trackpoint offers dual functionality, allowing for precise navigation or quick access to communication features via a double-tap. This quick menu grants users access to various settings such as camera, brightness, microphone profiles, and Microsoft dictation, catering especially to business needs. Advanced settings allow for customization of the haptic force pad’s functionality, enhancing its versatility. Overall, the double-tap quick access feature proves particularly convenient and innovative.

Webcam and Fingerprint Scanner

The ThinkPad Z13 is equipped with a 1080p IR camera for its webcam, enabling convenient Windows Hello login functionality. Setting up the IR camera for Windows Hello was straightforward, and it has been functioning effectively. Additionally, a fingerprint scanner located on the keyboard provides another method for Windows Hello authentication, which was also easy to set up and works seamlessly with fingerprint recognition. Moreover, a physical key on the keyboard serves as a shutter switch, allowing users to disable the camera for enhanced security and privacy.

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Upgradeability Options

Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 Gen 1 Upgrade options

Upon opening it, it’s evident that the SSD is user-upgradable. However, it’s worth noting that the chipset supports only PCIe Gen 3 speeds, unlike some other laptops from 2022 that offer Gen 4 speeds. Despite this limitation, the SSD’s read and write speeds are generally fast enough for most users, with no encountered issues thus far. While it would have been preferable to have Gen 4 speeds given the chipset’s capabilities, the SSD is replaceable, allowing for future upgrades to faster speeds and greater storage capacity.

Although the RAM is soldered onto the motherboard, the ThinkPad Z13 can be configured with up to 32 gigabytes of LPDDR5 RAM, operating in dual-channel mode. My review unit features 16 gigabytes of RAM, which has been functioning smoothly.

The inclusion of Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2, both soldered onto the motherboard, ensures reliable wireless connectivity. While these components cannot be swapped out in the future, they have been working flawlessly thus far. Additionally, for frequent travelers, there’s an optional 4G LTE capability available, although the modem is not present in my review unit. However, it can be configured with the 4G modem during the checkout process. As for 5G capability, there is currently no official information available, making it unavailable for the ThinkPad Z13 laptop at this time.

Performance and Gaming

PCMARK 105,753
GEEKBENCH 5 (Single Core1,531
GEEKBENCH 5 (Multi-Core)8,775
CINEBENCH R20 4,688
CINEBENCH R151,961 cb | 125.42 fps
CINBENCH R23Single-Core 1,495 | Multi-Core 9,402
3DMARK Time Spy2,284
3DMARK Fire Strike5,342
6850U Benchmark Score

The Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 runs on the AMD Ryzen 7 Pro 6850U, featuring eight cores and sixteen threads. It delivers solid performance, particularly excelling in everyday tasks like Microsoft Office, email, and web browsing. Media consumption is smooth and efficient, as confirmed by benchmark results. The chipset proves itself to be highly capable and efficient.

In terms of Cinebench R23 scores, the single-core performance is average compared to competitors. However, it secures an impressive second place in the multi-core score, trailing only behind the HP Pavilion. This achievement is significant, considering the heavy sustained workload considered, which accounts for any thermal throttling. In the Geekbench 5 test, its single-core performance isn’t the best but remains respectable. Similarly, in the multi-core test, it ranks in the middle of the pack compared to other laptops of 2022.

GamesLow (1080p)High (1080P)
The Witcher 380 FPS27 FPS
F1 202153 FPS22 FPS
Dota 2 Reborn94 FPS40 FPS
Gaming Performance Scores

In summary, the ThinkPad Z13 performs admirably for everyday tasks such as office work, web browsing, and media consumption, operating flawlessly on this ultraportable laptop. Regarding the integrated Radeon graphics (680M), Time Spy and Fire Strike scores suggest satisfactory performance. However, it’s essential to acknowledge that the ThinkPad Z13 isn’t designed as a gaming laptop, as most users are aware. Nonetheless, by adjusting settings, you can achieve playable frame rates in some popular titles. An advantage is its inclusion of USB-C 4 ports, which support external GPUs. This feature allows users to enhance graphics performance if desired.

Thermals and Surface Temperature

ThinkPad Z13 Thermals and Temperature

The thermals performed quite well during the Prime95 stress test, assessing performance under heavy load. While some throttling was observed during sustained heavy workloads, the clock speeds remained relatively stable, which is commendable. Surface temperatures revealed a few hot spots, particularly noticeable on the bottom where it can become quite warm, as illustrated by the specific hotspot visible in the image.

Regarding fan noise, in performance mode, it peaked at around 45-46 decibels, whereas in all other modes, it maintained a relatively quiet operation.

Related: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9

Battery Life

The Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 comes with a 51.5 watt-hour battery. In my continuous web surfing test over Wi-Fi at 115 nits, it lasted for 11 hours and 39 minutes. In real-world mixed usage scenarios, you can anticipate around eight to nine hours of battery life. However, it’s essential to recognize that individual usage patterns may vary, influencing actual battery life. Moreover, if you choose the 2.8K OLED option, expect shorter battery life.

For charging, a 65-watt USB-C power adapter is provided, supporting rapid charging. In my testing, it took approximately one hour and 25 minutes to fully charge the laptop. Overall, this charging time is reasonable.

Conclusion

It boasts a premium ThinkPad design and runs on the Ryzen 6000 series processor, fulfilling a demand many users have been eager for.

The option of the K-OLED display is appealing, although the Full HD Plus touch display stands strong on its own, offering enhanced battery life. The edge-to-edge keyboard stands out as a remarkable feature, and the haptic force pad functions excellently. The sleek and modern design, particularly with the vegan leather cover, adds to its appeal.

I also appreciate the inclusion of faster LPDDR5 RAM and the optional PCIe Gen 4 SSD support, despite the observed Gen 3 speeds. Having two fully functional USB-C 4 ports is a valuable addition, enabling connectivity to multiple 4K monitors, external GPUs, and docks for comprehensive functionality. The optional 4G LTE Cat 16 modem is another advantageous feature, especially for business users frequently on the move.

The IR Full HD 1080p webcam delivers satisfactory performance, and the battery life meets expectations. I must acknowledge the overall efficiency of this Ryzen chipset, which is impressive. However, there are a few drawbacks to consider, such as the soldered RAM, limiting upgradability. Additionally, it can be pricey, and the keyboard deck tends to attract fingerprints.

The ThinkPad Z13 boasts a black vegan leather cover that adds a premium touch to its design. It feels excellent and has proven to be durable during the few weeks I’ve been using it. The edges sport a sleek and boxy look, reminiscent of iPhone design, contributing to an overall high-end design language that successfully emulates the style of the XPS line.

In terms of ports, the Z13 is somewhat limited. It includes a headphone jack and two USB-C 4 ports. These USB-C ports are full-function, supporting data transfer, charging, and display output. They also boast sufficient throughput to accommodate external GPUs, marking a significant advantage. Unlike previous AMD devices lacking external GPU support, the Z13’s USB-C 4 standard offers expanded capabilities, a notable improvement and a commendable decision by Lenovo.

The Z13 features an all-metal design and comes with soldered RAM, typical for thin and light ultraportable devices. While the SSD is upgradable and supports PCIe Gen 4, the achieved speeds are not at Gen 4 level. Nevertheless, users can upgrade the SSD themselves if desired. The device is also equipped with Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth, both of which perform well.

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