This is really a “concept car” for future ThinkPad iterations as it’s very different from the familiar ThinkPad look and feel we’ve come to expect over the past several decades. The Z13 has polished metal edges, a glass haptic clickpad, and a keyboard that feels very much like a mashup of a deep travel ThinkPad keyboard and something from Lenovo’s general consumer laptops.
The trackpad is much improved over Lenovo’s prior attempt at a haptic device. It anticipates gestures much more effectively and gets closer to Apple’s implementation of the technology.
But for those who are accustomed to the trackpoint nub this new input mechanism will take some getting used to. This is because the trackpad lacks the physical buttons found on more traditional ThinkPads making it very difficult to figure out where to place your thumbs. It works but I think a little bump or something that can help users feel their way around would work better.
Performance and battery life are great on this one thanks to the 6000 series Ryzen processors it ships with. Everything from gaming to video editing performed well for a machine lacking a discrete GPU.
The buried lede with this machine though has to be its USB4 connectivity. USB 4 finally brings Thunderbolt compatibility to Ryzen laptops. This allows for connecting external GPUs and other 40 gigabit per second Thunderbolt 3 & 4 devices. You can see more in my video last week about USB 4 which uses this laptop as a demonstrator.
All in this is another nice laptop from Lenovo. Will ThinkPad users buy enough of them to move the ThinkPad brand in a new direction? That I am sure is what Lenovo will be measuring in the months ahead.