Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 2 vs Dell Latitude 7330 Ultralight: Lightweight business laptop showdown

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 2 vs Dell Latitude 7330 Ultralight: Lightweight business laptop showdown

We’re starting to see more and more laptops show up with Intel’s latest 12th-generation processors, and among them, there are a few ultra-light options. One of those is the aptly named Dell Latitude 7330 Ultralight that Dell recently announced, but another popular choice is the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 2.

These two business laptops are all about being compact and portable, yet they still pack a punch. Despite both being very light, they’re still very different in a few ways, and there are good reasons to prefer one over the other. It’s also worth noting that the Dell Latitude 7330 Ultralight isn’t exactly its own model, it’s more so a lightweight configuration of the Latitude 7330. The Dell Latitude 7330 is available in a 2-in-1 model, but it doesn’t have the ultralight designation.

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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 2 vs Dell Latitude 7330 Ultralight: Specs

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 2 Dell Latitude 7330 (Ultralight)
Operating system
  • Windows 11
  • Ubuntu
  • Fedora
  • Windows 11
  • Ubuntu
CPU
  • Up to 12th Generation Intel Core i7 with vPro, U and P series, up to 14 cores
  • Up to 12th Generation Intel Core i7 with vPro, U series, up to 10 cores
Graphics
  • Intel Iris Xe
  • Intel Iris Xe
Display
  • 13-inch 16:10 2K (2160 x 1350), 450nit, 100% sRGB, Dolby Vision
  • 13-inch 16:10 2K (2160 x 1350) touch, 450nit, 100% sRGB, Dolby Vision
  • 13.3-inch 16:9 Full HD (1920 x 1080), 400 nits, 100% sRGB, anti-glare, super low-power
Storage
  • Up to 2TB PCIe NVMe SSD
  • Up to 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD
RAM
  • Up to 32GB LPDDR5
  • Up to 32GB DDR4
Battery
  • 49.6Whr battery
    • Up to 65W USB Type-C power adapter
  • 3-cell 41Whr battery
  • 4-cell 58Whr battery
    • Up to 90W USB Type-C power adapter
Ports
  • 2 x Thunderbolt 4 (USB Type-C)
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Nano SIM slot (optional)
  • 2 x Thunderbolt 4 (USB Type-C)
  • 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Nano SIM slot (optional)
  • SmartCard reader (optional)
Audio
  • Dolby Atmos speaker system
  • Dual speaker setup with Waves MaxxAudio Pro
  • Dual noise-canceling microphones
Camera
  • 1080p Full HD RGB webcam
  • 1080p Full HD RGB + IR webcam
  • 1080p Full HD MIPI RGB + IR webcam with Computer Vision
  • 720p HD camera
  • 1080p Full HD + IR camera with Express Sign-in and ambient light sensor
Windows Hello
  • IR webcam (optional)
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • IR webcam (optional)
  • Fingerprint reader (optional)
Connectivity
  • Intel Wi-Fi 6E
  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • Cellular options:
    • 5G sub-6 Cat2o
    • 4G LTE Cat16
  • Intel Wi-Fi 6E
  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • Cellular options:
    • 4G LTE Cat16/Cat9
Color
  • Deep Black
    • Optional Carbon fiber weave cover
  • Silver
Size (WxDxH)
  • Non-touch: 293.2 x 208.0 x 14.47 mm (11.5 x 8.19 x 0.57 in)
  • Touch: 293.3 x 208.1 x 14.77 mm (11.5 x 8.19 x 0.58 in)
  • 306.5 x 199.95 x 16.96 mm (12.07 x 7.67 x 0.67 in)
Dimensions Starts at 970 grams (2.13lbs) Starts at 967 grams (2.13lbs)
Price Starting at $1,659 Starting at $1,899

Right off the bat, some big changes pop out in terms of performance and design. Let’s take a closer look at them to see which laptop you should choose.

Performance: The ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 2 has P-series processors

Both of these laptops are shipping with Intel’s 12th-generation Core processors, but that doesn’t mean they’re the same. The ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 2 is a big upgrade from its predecessor, and it comes with Intel’s new P-series processors, which have a 28W TDP. While they use more power, these processors can also deliver that much more performance, and they can have up to 14 cores in total. Lenovo hasn’t specified which processor models will be available exactly, but it has the potential to be faster.

Angled view of Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano

That’s because, unlike Lenovo, Dell is sticking with Intel’s U15 series (previously known as U series or UP3). The new U-series processors also have a hybrid architecture, but they have a lower TDP of 15W, and they max out with 10 cores and 12 threads. That means you should be able to expect noticeably better performance from the ThinkPad X1 Nano, especially in tasks that use multiple cores.

We typically use Geekbench to compare overall CPU performance, though it’s far from telling the full story. It’s the easiest way to visualize overall performance differences, though, so let’s take a look at some examples of how P-series and U-series processors compare:

Intel Core i7-1280P
(see test)
Intel Core i7-1265U
(see test)
Intel Core i5-1250P
(see test)
Intel Core i5-1245U
(see test)
Geekbench 5 score 1,790 / 9,312 1,232 / 6,336 1,522 / 9,142 1,560 / 5,414

Keep in mind these are early tests from individual results, and we’d have a more accurate depiction if average scores were available for these CPUs. It’s still the early days for 12th-gen Intel processors, so those aren’t available yet. Still, you can see how much of a performance advantage the P-series processors have, especially when it comes to multi-core performance. If you want the most speed, that’s certainly the way to go, though you’ll be sacrificing battery life. Graphics performance won’t differ a whole lot between the P and U series, though it’s slightly faster on the P models.

Latitude 7330 Ultralight rear right angle view

Another benefit that the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano has is that it comes with the new LPDDR5 RAM, as opposed to DDR4 RAM in the Dell Latitude 73330 Ultralight. They’re also clocked at very different speeds, 5200MHz in the ThinkPad versus 3200MHz in the Latitude 7330. LPDDR5 may have higher latency, but it should still outperform DDR4. Both laptops go up to 32GB of RAM, so that part is similar. As for storage, you can get up to 2TB on the ThinkPad and 1TB on the Latitude 7330. That’s plenty of storage either way, but you might appreciate the larger max capacity Lenovo offers.

The Dell Latitude 7330 has a bigger battery and a more efficient processor.

One area where the Dell Latitude 7330 Ultralight pulls ahead is the battery, though. You can configure this laptop with up to a 58Whr battery, which is significantly bigger than the 49.6Whr unit on the ThinkPad X1 Nano. One reason for this is that the P-series processors require better cooling, so the thermal solution uses up space that could have housed a bigger battery. It’s a double loss for the ThinkPad X1 Nano, because not only does it have a smaller battery, it has a more power-hungry CPU, so it’s bound to drain its charge more quickly. That can be a big downside for a laptop that’s all about portability.

Display and sound: The ThinkPad X1 Nano has a 16:10 display

Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Nano keeps raking in the points in the display section. The laptop doesn’t offer a ton of configuration options, but it doesn’t need to. It’s a 13-inch display with a 16:10 aspect ratio and what Lenovo calls 2K resolution, or 2160 x 1350. That tall aspect ratio is common in premium business laptops, and it’s great for productivity since you get that much more surface area for content. The only thing you can change about the display is whether it has touch support or not, but that’s fine because the base configuration is already great.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano front view

On the other hand, the Dell Latitude 7330 comes with a more traditional 13.3-inch 16:9 display, and the Ultralight configuration is only available with Full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution and no touch support. That’s still a fine resolution and sharpness, but you miss out on the benefits of the taller display. Plus, some users might appreciate that bit of extra sharpness brought by Lenovo’s 2K display.

The ThinkPad X1 Nano has another advantage in the webcam, which is a Full HD camera by default, with options to add an IR sensor for Windows Hello, or even Computer Vision support. The Dell Latitude 7330 still comes with a 720p webcam in the base configuration, though you can upgrade to a Full HD camera if you want that improved image quality and Windows Hello facial recognition. On that note, both laptops can also have a fingerprint reader if you prefer logging in that way.

The ThinkPad X1 Nano has a 1080p webcam by default.

As for audio, both the ThinkPad X1 Nano and the Dell Latitude 7330 have a dual-speaker and dual-microphone setup driving media consumption and calls. That’s about what you’d expect for a 13-inch laptop, and it should do the job fine.

Design: They weigh almost the same

Dell says the Latitude 7330 Ultralight configuration is the lightest premium commercial 13-inch laptop, which is presumably referring only to laptops that have a 15W processor or higher. At 967 grams, it’s just three grams lighter than the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano, though, and it’s still wider and thicker, so the difference in terms of portability isn’t that big. It’s actually 16.96mm thick, which isn’t all that impressive for a laptop with U-series processors.

Meanwhile, the ThinkPad X1 Nano is almost the same weight, but it’s much thinner at 14.47mm (or 14.77mm, depending on whether you add a touchscreen or not). Considering it’s available with P-series processors, that’s a bit more impressive.

Angled view of laptop keyboard

In terms of looks, neither of these laptops is winning any awards for creativity. The ThinkPad X1 Nano has the classic ThinkPad design with a mostly black chassis and red accents here and there. Despite its small size, it still has features like the red TrackPoint and the duplicate mouse buttons above the touchpad, so it’s ideal if you’re a long-time ThinkPad fan.

The Dell Latitude 7330 Ultralight has more of a modern look, doing away with any accents and featuring a silver chassis. Silver is one of the most common colors in laptops, so it’s equally uninteresting, but it’s well suited for a work environment. Both laptops are, for that matter.

Ports and connectivity: The Dell Latitude 7330 is far more versatile

So far, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano has been the better laptop across the board, but the Dell Latitude 7330 redeems itself when it comes to the ports. Despite its super-light design the Latitude 7330 comes with two Thunderbolt 4 ports, USB Type-A, HDMI, and a headphone jack, plus you have the option for a contacted Smart Card reader. That’s very impressive for a laptop of this size.

Dell Latitude 7330 right side ports

The ThinkPad X1 Nano is a bit more in line with what you might expect from a thin-and-light laptop. It only has two Thunderbolt 4 ports and a headphone jack, so you’re going to be much more dependent on a Thunderbolt dock or adapters of some sort.

Both laptops support Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, and both also offer cellular connectivity options. However, the Dell Latitude 7330 isn’t available with 5G support, only 4G LTE. With the ThinkPad X1 Nano, you can choose either option.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano vs Dell Latitude 7330 Ultralight: Final thoughts

After all of that, it’s fair to say that the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 2 is the better laptop in most ways. It has more powerful processors, newer RAM, a better display, and a better webcam by default. That’s a lot of advantages and they’re hard to overlook. It’s also the only one of the two laptops that gives you the option for 5G connectivity.

The ThinkPad X1 Nano is better in most ways than the Latitude 7330 Ultralight.

The Dell Latitude 7330 has a more modern design, which you may or may not like, and it has a lot more ports. That’s a bona fide benefit, but you’d be hard-pressed to argue that it makes up for its shortcomings. Still, if you do appreciate the extra ports, it may be worth it to you. Plus, you do have the option for a bigger battery, and with a more efficient CPU, it becomes a better option if you want something that lasts all day away from a charger.

There’s also the matter of price, with the Dell Latitude 7330 Ultralight actually starting at a higher price point than the ThinkPad X1 Nano. To be fair, though, we don’t yet know the specs for the entry-level configuration in each model.

Ultimately, it’s up to you which laptop fits your needs the best. Regardless, at writing time, neither of these laptops is available to buy just yet. You can check out the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano below to see if it’s been launched in the meantime. If you can’t afford to wait, maybe check out the best ThinkPads you can buy today, or Dell’s best laptops if you’re more interested in that brand.

    The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 2 is an ultra-light business laptop powered by 12th-generation Intel processors and with optional 5G support.

About author

João Carrasqueira
João Carrasqueira

Editor at XDA Computing. I've been covering the world of technology since 2018, but I've loved the field for a lot longer. And I have a weird affinity for Nintendo videogames, which I'm always happy to talk about.

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