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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 5 vs Dell XPS 15 (2022): Which one is best for you?

In 2022, there’s been no shortage of great laptops being launched, which is generally a good thing. But with so many choices out on the market, it can be hard to choose one the one that’s just right for you. If you’re looking for a powerful work laptop that’s still somewhat portable, you’ve likely come across options like the Dell XPS 15 and the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 5. Both of these are great, but if you’re having trouble picking one or the other, we’re here to help.

In this article, we’re going to be comparing the 2022 edition of the Dell XPS 15 to the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 5. There are quite a few differences, but a very notable one we need to mention right off the bat is price, with Lenovo’s laptop being significantly more expensive across the board. It’s also a business laptop, and those tend to be a bit more pricy considering the specs alone. Still, there are merits to both of these machines, so let’s take a closer look.

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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 5 vs Dell XPS 15: Specs

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 5 Dell XPS 15 (2022)
Operating system
  • Windows 11
  • Ubuntu (Laptop only)
  • Windows 11
CPU
  • Intel Core i7-12700H (14 cores, 20 threads, up to 4.7GHz, 24MB cache)
  • Intel Core i7-12800H (14 cores, 20 threads, up to 4.8GHz, 24MB cache)
  • Intel Core i9-12900H (14 cores, 20 threads, up to 5GHz, 24MB cache)
  • Intel Core i5-12500H (12 cores, 16 threads, up to 4.5GHz, 18MB cache)
  • Intel Core i7-12700H (14 cores, 20 threads, up to 4.7GHz, 24MB cache)
  • Intel Core i9-12900HK (14 cores, 20 threads, up to 5GHz, 24MB cache)
Graphics
  • Discrete:
    • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti (4GB GDDR6)
    • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 (6GB GDDR6)
    • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti (8GB GDDR6)
    • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti (16GB GDDR6)
  • Integrated:
    • Intel UHD Graphics
  • Discrete:
    • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 (4GB GDDR6, 40W)
    • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti (4GB GDDR6, 40W)
  • Integrated:
    • Intel UHD Graphics
    • Intel Iris Xe Graphics
Display
  • 16-inch 16:10 Full HD+ (1920 x 1200), IPS, 500 nits, 100% sRGB
  • 16-inch 16:10 Quad HD+ (2560 x 1600), IPS, 400 nits, 100% sRGB, 165Hz
  • 16-inch 16:10 Ultra HD+ (3840 x 2400), IPS, 600 nits, HDR400, 100% Adobe RGB
  • 16-inch 16:10 Ultra HD+ (3840 x 2400), IPS, 600 nits, HDR400, 100% Adobe RGB, touch
  • 15.6-inch 16:10 Full HD+ (1920 x 1200), IPS, 500 nits, 100% sRGB
  • 15.6-inch 16:10 3.5K (3456 x 2160), OLED, 500 nits, 100% DCI-P3, touch
  • 15.6-inch 16:10 Ultra HD+ (3840 x 2400), IPS, 500 nits, 100% Adobe RGB, touch
Storage
  • Primary SSD:
    • 256GB PCIe SSD
    • 512GB PCIe Gen 4 Performance SSD
    • 512GB PCIe SSD
    • 1TB PCIe SSD
    • 1TB PCIe Gen 4 Performance SSD
    • 2TB PCIe Gen 4 Performance SSD
    • 4TB PCIe Gen 4 Performance SSD
  • Secondary SSD:
    • 256GB PCIe SSD
    • 512GB PCIe SSD
    • 1TB PCIe SSD
    • 2TB PCIe Gen 4 Performance SSD
    • 4TB PCIe Gen 4 Performance SSD
  • 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD (Class 35)
  • 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD (Class 35)
  • 512GB self-encrypting PCIe NVMe SSD (Class 40)
  • 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD (Class 40)
  • 2TB PCIe NVMe SSD (Class 40)
RAM
  • 8GB DDR5 4800MHz
  • 16GB DDR5 4800MHz
  • 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR5 4800MHz
  • 32GB DDR5 4800MHz
  • 32GB (2 x 16GB) DDR5 4800MHz
  • 64GB (2 x 32GB) DDR5 4800MHz
  • 8GB DDR5 4800MHz
  • 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR5 4800MHz
  • 32GB (2 x 16GB) DDR5 4800MHz
  • 64GB (2 x 32GB) DDR5 4800MHz
Battery
  • 90Whr battery, support Rapid Charge
    • 170W/230W charger (depends on configuration)
  • 3-cell 56Whr battery
  • 6-cell 86Whr battery
    • Up to 130W USB Type-C power adapter
Ports
  • 2 Thunderbolt 4 (USB Type-C)
  • 2 USB Type-A (3.2 Gen 2)
  • 1 HDMI 2.1
  • SD card reader (SD Express 7.0)
  • 3.5mm combo headphone jack
  • Optional: Nano SIM slot
  • 2 x Thunderbolt 4 (USB Type-C)
  • 1 x USB Type-C (3.2 Gen 2)
  • SD Card reader
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
Audio
  • Dolby Atmos speaker system
  • 2 far-field mics with Dolby Voice
  • Quad speakers (2x 2.5W woofers, 2 x 1.5W tweeters) with total 8W output, Waves Nx 3D Audio
  • Digital array microphones
Camera
  • 1080p Full HD + IR hybrid camera
  • 720p HD + IR webcam
Windows Hello
  • IR webcam
  • Fingerprint reader in power button
  • IR webcam
  • Fingerprint reader in power button
Connectivity
  • Intel Wi-Fi 6E (2×2), Bluetooth 5.2
  • NFC
  • Optional: 5G Cat20 (Fibocom FM350-GL)
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • Bluetooth 5.2
Color
  • Black
    • Optional woven carbon fiber lid
  • Platinum silver exterior with Black interior
  • Frost exterior with Arctic White interior
Size (WxDxH) 359.5 × 253.8 × 17.9 mm (15.57 × 10 × 0.7 inches)
  • 344.4 x 230.1 x 18.54 mm (13.56 x 9.06 x 0.73 in)
Weight 1.87kg (4.14 lb)
  • Starts at 1.92kg (4.22 lbs)
Price Starting at $2,049 (MSRP) Starting at $1,449 (MSRP)

Performance: You can go further with the ThinkPad X1 Extreme

At first glance, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 5 and the Dell XPS 15 have a lot in common in terms of specs. Both are powered by 12th-generation Intel Core H-series processors, and both have discrete Nvidia graphics. However, there are some differences. For one thing, the Dell XPS 15 starts with an Intel Core i5-12500H, while the ThinkPad X1 Extreme lives up to its name with a Core i7-12700H in the base configuration. That also helps explain the difference in starting price. Otherwise, though, these laptops have very similar processors, and you can expect similar levels of CPU performance, provided you’re choosing the same tier of processor.

Angled rear view of the Dell XPS 15 with the lid open at 60 degrees

The differences start to show up with the GPU, however. The Dell XPS 15 comes with integrated Intel graphics at the base level, and you have the option for either an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 or 3050 Ti, both with 4GB of video memory. These GPUs are limited to 40W of power, which is kind of necessary in order to keep the laptop as compact as it is.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme can go all the way up to an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti.

On the other hand, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon starts with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti, and it can go all the way up to an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti. If you need GPU power, this is a huge difference across the board. The GeForce RTX 3080 Ti has a lot more cores and memory, and it’s just immensely faster. Lenovo doesn’t provide an official power budget for the GPUs it’s using, but according to Nvidia, the minimum power for the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Laptop GPU is 80W, so that’s at least double what you can get from the Dell XPS 15. All in all, if you need GPU performance, whether it’s for work or some gaming, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 5 is for you.

Front right-angle view of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 5

Of course, that comes at a cost, which is power consumption. With a more powerful GPU, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme is going to chew through its battery much more quickly, especially with more intensive workloads. It does have a slightly larger 90Whr battery compared to the 86Whr unit of the Dell XPS 13, but if you opt for a more powerful GPU, you’re still going to feel the battery drain more quickly.

As for storage and RAM, the two laptops are similar, and they can go very far. Both come with up to 64GB of RAM, and for storage, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme can go up to 8TB, while the Dell XPS 15 maxes out at 4TB. However, the only way to get 8TB on the ThinkPad is to stick with RTX 3050 Ti graphics, otherwise, you’re also limited to 4TB.

Display: The Dell XPS 15 has OLED

Generally speaking, these two laptops aren’t too different in regards to the display. However, each of them does offer at least one unique configuration that may make it better for you. The Dell XPS 15 comes with a 15.6-inch panel and a 16:10 aspect ratio, which is fantastic for productivity. The base model comes with a Full HD+ (1920 x 1200) IPS panel, but you can go all the way to an Ultra HD+ (3840 x 2400) panel with 100% coverage of Adobe RGB if you’re into creative work. The real standout, however, is the 3.5K (3456 x 2160) OLED panel, which is not only very sharp, but also has the usual benefits of OLED, like true blacks and a high contrast ratio. Both the OLED and the Ultra HD+ panel options also support touch.

Front view of Dell XPS 15

On the other hand, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme has a slightly larger 16-inch panel, keeping the same 16:10 aspect ratio. It also has a similar base configuration in Full HD+, and a maximum configuration that’s Ultra HD+ with optional touch support. However, the mid-tier option here is a Quad HD+ (2560 x 1600) panel, which also has a 165Hz refresh rate. This opens the door for some more serious gaming, making use of the powerful GPU options we mentioned above. There’s no OLED here, but if you do want to play games in your free time, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme may be a bit more suited to that hobby.

Perhaps a more important distinction is what’s above that display, though. Dell has infamously stuck with 720p webcams for its laptops, even as most of its competitors are upgrading to 1080p with their 2022 laptops. That includes Lenovo, which offers a 1080p camera on the ThinkPad X1 Extreme as the default configuration. If you want to look your best during meetings or video calls, that’s the laptop to go for. Both laptops support Windows Hello facial and fingerprint recognition, so that shouldn’t be a problem either way.

The Dell XPS 15 has a quad-speaker stereo system.

In terms of audio, the Dell XPS 15 is the best of the two. It has a quad-speaker stereo system and it’s very well-known for having some of the best speakers on any Windows laptop, so you can’t go wrong with it. The ThinkPad X1 Extreme has dual speakers and it should be fine for calls or watching videos, but the Dell XPS 15 is going to be more immersive.

Design: Two very different approaches

Now we’re starting to get into the most easily noticeable differences. The design of these two laptops is radically different, and it might play a huge part in your decision. Starting with the more technical stuff, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme is somewhat larger since it has a bigger screen, but it is thinner (17.9mm) and has a lower starting weight (4.14lbs) compared to the Dell XPS 15, which starts at 18.54mm and 4.22lbs of weight. Of course, the ThinkPad is likely to get a lot heavier with GPU upgrades, so that’s something to keep in mind.

The bigger deciding factor is a bit more subjective, and that’s looks. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme is everything you’d expect from a ThinkPad – black chassis, red accents, and features like the red TrackPoint are all here. If you’re into this classic look, then your mind may already be set. Some models come with a carbon fiber weave pattern on the lid, which can give the laptop a more unique look.

On the other hand, the Dell XPS 15 is a much more modern-feeling laptop. It comes in two color options to choose from. One has a darker shade of silver (called Platinum silver) mixed with a black carbon fiber interior. The other one has a lighter silver shade on the outside (called Frost), and the inside uses a white woven fiber glass composite material. Both models come with an interesting dual-tone look that makes it much more unique. Personally, I’m more partial to the white interior, but both options are great. The Dell XPS 15 also feels a bit more premium with the display being covered by glass instead of plastic.

Side view of Dell XPS 15

Ports and connectivity: The ThinkPad X1 Extreme really shines here

Rounding things out with ports, this is one area where the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme absolutely dominates. Business laptops almost always have great connectivity, and that’s certainly the case here. You get two Thunderbolt 4 ports, two USB Type-A ports, HDMI 2.1, a headphone jack, and an SD card reader. That’s plenty of connectivity, on top of already having versatile Thunderbolt ports.

Dell’s XPS laptops are basically on the opposite end of the spectrum here. The company has been reducing the number of ports for some time, and this model includes two Thunderbolt ports, one regular USB Type-C port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and an SD card reader. Dell also ships an adapter from USB Type-C to HDMI and USB Type-A in the box, but it’s not the most convenient approach from a user perspective. You may have to rely on a Thunderbolt dock or USB-C hub if you want more ports.

You can configure the ThinkPad X1 Extreme with cellular network support

On the wireless front, both laptops naturally support Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Oddly enough, Dell doesn’t mention support for Wi-Fi 6E on the XPS 15, so that’s a potential advantage for the ThinkPad. Another major advantage for Lenovo is that since this is a business laptop, you can configure the ThinkPad X1 Extreme with cellular network support, specifically with 5G powered by a Fibocom modem. That means you can stay connected to the internet from anywhere you go, which is great if you can’t afford to be away from your work.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme vs Dell XPS 15 (2022): Final thoughts

As with anything, whether you prefer one laptop or another is up to your personal needs. There are valid reasons to prefer either one here. The ThinkPad X1 Extreme is a more powerful laptop, particularly in terms of the GPU. Plus, it has a high refresh rate display option if you want to get into gaming, in addition to other great panel choices. A better webcam also makes it especially recommended for work, and the wide variety of ports makes it that much more convenient, too.

On the other hand, the Dell XPS 15 has a much more modern and interesting design (though that’s admittedly a subjective matter). It also gives you the option for that stunning 3.5K OLED display, so if you’re watching a lot of content or working in media, it’s fantastic. That’s also helped by the fantastic speaker system. It does have some big downsides, like the below-average webcam and the short supply of ports, but if you don’t need those features, it has some positives.

Perhaps most importantly, the Dell XPS 15 is noticeably cheaper to start with, though that difference becomes less noticeable if you match up the specs on both laptops. Still, you can save some money if you don’t need the insane performance of the ThinkPad X1 Extreme, and get a nicer-looking package to boot.

Personally speaking, I’d probably choose the Dell XPS 15, given that I don’t need that kind of power and I’d rather save some money. I do have a docking station and webcam to work around its shortcomings, though, so I don’t need the features Lenovo offers.

Whether you feel the same or not, you can buy either of these laptops using the links below. If neither of them is speaking to you, you can check out the best Lenovo laptops and the best Dell laptops available right now to see a few more options from each of these companies.

    Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 5

    The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 5 is a powerful business laptop with Intel H-series processors and NVIDIA RTX graphics to handle the most demanding workloads.

    Dell XPS 15 (9520)

    The Dell XPS 15 for 2022 packs 12th-generation Intel Core processors and optional Nvidia graphics. It also comes with an optional OLED display.

The post Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 5 vs Dell XPS 15 (2022): Which one is best for you? appeared first on XDA.

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