We had glimpsed them at the Mobile World Congress 2019 but only now have we been able to try them. I'm talking about the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 ANC, wireless headphones with active noise cancellation designed to accompany the laptop series of the same name but capable of connecting to any device equipped with Bluetooth, obviously including smartphones and tablets.
How do they behave in daily life? We tell you about it in this review.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 ANC review: quality headphones
It is not my habit to dwell on the packaging of a product but this time I would like to make an exception. Yes, because the contents of the box particularly surprised me. Lenovo in fact he decided to include inside a carrying case of these ThinkPad X1 ANC, a case that also houses a card that reminds you of the functions of the individual keys, the USB-C cable for charging and a small label so as not to forget how to properly store the product.
I know, it's not unique. In short, even Bose and Sony - just to name two companies specialized in the sector - are used to resorting to this solution. The peculiarity, however, is the price range. In fact, we are not dealing with a 300/400 euro product but with headphones that cost 149 €. Less than half.
The quality of the case goes well with that of the ThinkPad X1 ANC. Headphones are light, adjustable, made of plastic and characterized by a particular metal finish. The pavilions, on the other hand, are in imitation leather and are quite comfortable even in case of prolonged use. Do they seem extremely compact to you? It's natural: Lenovo's headphones are in fact not over-ear but on-ear. This means that they do not wrap around your ear but lean against your pavilion. A choice that also has consequences on sound and noise cancellation but we will talk about this later.
Before understanding how our test went, let's talk about checks. All the keys you need are located on the back side of the two earpads. On the left we find the switch dedicated to on, off and pairing, but also a button that allows you to call up the voice assistant on duty.
Allow me a little parenthesis about it. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 ANCs use the Bluetooth 5.0 and can be connect to two devices at the same time like a PC and a smartphone. But pay attention to which device you connect first because it will be asked to activate the voice assistant. In short, if you connect our laptop first and then the smartphone, the headphones will consult Cortana and not Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa or Siri.
But let's go back to our keys and move to the right pavilion. Here you have the buttons for managing the volume, the one for activating noise cancellation and finally a small switch to deactivate the microphone.
All these keys can be reached easily and the learning speed is very fast. In short, after a few minutes you will be able to find the right button without having to remove them to check the position of the buttons.
We were four friends at the bar ...
No, I'm not quoting Gino Paoli. A few days ago I was actually at the bar, sitting at the table with my notebook together with three other colleagues. What better time to put the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 ANC's noise cancellation to the test?
On paper this product delivers two levels of active cancellation: the first pressure of the dedicated key triggers Level 1, the second Level 2. Of course, by pressing it a third time you will deactivate this function. Don't worry, you don't have to remember it by heart: the headphones can communicate with you to communicate their status, but also to notify you of the power on, off and battery level.
Let's recap, however, at the bar, surrounded by people talking, the noise of cups and glasses and the constant coming and going. To counteract all of this, all you need to do is press the button. Noise cancellation indeed works fairly well, especially considering the price of these headphones and the choice of on-ear design that does not completely isolate the pavilion. The only flaw in my opinion concerns the two levels. I tried - and above all I tried - the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 ANC to colleagues who were sitting with me at the bar and the opinion was unanimous: the difference between Level 1 and Level 2 is almost imperceptible.
Our first thought was “Maybe they need to be updated“, but how? There is no software and no application, so it is not possible to carry out any type of update or adjustment.
… And at some point the phone rings
We are seated again at our dear bar, I am working on the PC and I get a phone call.
This is where the ThinkPad X1 ANC are at their best. On the one hand, in fact, we have a very good audio performance and the aforementioned noise cancellation which, together, help you to hear the words of your interlocutor without problems. On the other side we have the ENC or the cancellation of environmental noise which allows those on the other end to hear your voice perfectly.
But what happens with music and movies? Also in this case it is difficult not to be satisfied. The volume is really very loud, there is no distortion and the basses, although not prominent, are satisfactory.
All this without losing the advantage of the on-ear models. Yes because, by isolating less than the over-ear design, these headphones they allow you to keep in touch with reality. A vital feature for those who choose to also use them on the road, whether on foot or by bicycle.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 ANC review: buy them or not?
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 ANC headphones clearly aren't for everyone. In fact, if you are looking for a pair of headphones that offer you more pushed active noise cancellation and extreme customization you will necessarily have to move to more expensive models. But if what you need is a versatile, lightweight product to be used at work and capable of holding calls and conference calls even outside the office, then the ThinkPad X1 ANC could really meet your needs.
The price, I remind you, is 149 euros and at the moment you can only buy them on the official Lenovo shop.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 ANC
- Light and comfortable
- Case included
- Good sound quality
- Excellent in calls
- The two levels of ANC are too similar