Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 7 evaluation: Pure class
“The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is an improve to an already glorious laptop computer, including a really pretty show into the fold.”
Stable and enticing ThinkPad construct
Beautiful 4K show with HDR
Wonderful keyboard and touchpad
Spectacular sound high quality
No contact help
Show kills battery life
I’ve at all times acknowledge the ThinkPad’s attract — its construct high quality, enterprise acumen, conservative beauty — and so the road’s loyal following has by no means been a shock. However this model of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon — the Seventh technology — is the primary one the place I personally bought it.
Lenovo despatched me a top-end configuration with a Core i7-8665U CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB PCIe solid-state drive (SSD), and a 4K show that I favored nearly as a lot because the AMOLED show on another latest competing laptops. Extra on that show later, as a result of it’s a winner. This configuration runs a major $2,260. You’ll be able to spend “solely” $1,463 to purchase a 1080p show that I’m certain can be superb, whereas dropping the specs a bit to a Core i5, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD.
These are premium costs, little doubt, and the ThinkPad X1 Carbon has a status to stay as much as. So, how does it do?
Essentially the most refined ThinkPad, ever
The X1 Carbon makes an amazing first impression, largely because of the way it feels in hand. It’s stable, gentle, and aesthetically streamlined, with none extraneous strains or angles or cutouts. That’s humorous coming from me, whose general favourite laptop computer design stays the gem-cut HP Spectre x360 line with its complicated design. The ThinkPad X1 Carbon doesn’t do something further to attract consideration to itself — it simply maintains the identical black body with a number of purple accents that scream “ThinkPad!” with out making a sound. Truly, I’ll amend that — the model I’m reviewing with the 4K show has a carbon-fiber sample on the lid that provides some magnificence. That straightforward contact is likely to be why the laptop computer’s look grabbed me from the get-go.
And the ThinkPad X1 Carbon feels stable and cozy in hand as nicely, which makes for a superb mixture. It has that soft-touch floor that makes the ThinkPad line — or most of it, anyway, the ThinkPad X1 Yoga with its aluminum chassis apart — so inviting. It’s fabricated from the same old magnesium alloy blended with carbon-fiber that offers it a light-weight solidity. It’s MIL-STD-810g examined, as at all times, and whereas the lid does bend somewhat beneath stress, it nonetheless exudes an impression of sturdiness that assures you this factor will take no matter you throw at it and provide you with somewhat again. The standard spill-resistant keyboard is on additionally readily available.
The ThinkPad X1 Carbon is light-weight at 2.four kilos — simply barely lighter than the Sixth-gen model and really gentle for a 14-inch laptop computer. It’s additionally zero.58 inches skinny, which can be a millimeter thinner than earlier than. And that comes with some compromises — extra on that later. However in comparison with another enterprise laptops, just like the Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1, it’s lots skinny and light-weight. In contrast to the Dell, although, the ThinkPad doesn’t have notably small bezels, and so it’s not as small in general dimensions. However belief me — you gained’t be straining something while you carry this laptop computer round.
And also you gained’t sacrifice connectivity, both. On the right-hand facet of the laptop computer, you’ll discover two USB-C three.1 ports with Thunderbolt three help, one sitting subsequent to an Ethernet extension (you’ll want to purchase the suitable dongle, nonetheless), a USB-A three.1 Gen 1 port, a full-size HDMI 1.4b port, and an audio jack. Flip the laptop computer round and also you’ll discover a second USB-A three.1 port. An Intel Wi-fi-AC 9560 chip offers 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.zero.
It seems to be and sounds as stylish because it feels
To match the ThinkPad X1 Carbon’s attractive chassis is a stunning 4K UHD show. It’s not simply any previous IPS show, thoughts you. First, it’s very vibrant at 445 nits, which is near the rated 500 nits. It has wider colours than the typical premium laptop computer, sporting 81 p.c of the AdobeRGB shade area. The show can be 4K Dolby Imaginative and prescient compliant with a full 10-bit shade panel and nice help for HDR.
In real-life use, the show is vibrant and colourful, with out being oversaturated. It’s nice for work, although in line with our colorimeter, the colour accuracy isn’t fairly as much as snuff for photographers and video editors. You’ll need to take a look at another laptops such because the OLED Dell XPS 15 or the MacBook Professional 15 for a really color-accurate show and AdobeRGB protection nicely over 90 p.c.
The X1 Carbon makes an amazing first impression.
Watching Netflix can be a deal with because of the Dolby Imaginative and prescient excessive dynamic vary (HDR) help that works in addition to nearly any laptop computer I’ve used. My check for HDR streaming in Home windows 10 is the Netflix present Sabrina the Teenage Witch, which has various extremely darkish scenes which might be unattainable to see on most laptops. The ThinkPad X1 Carbon, no less than with this show, does a outstanding job of exhibiting the entire element in these darkish scenes. It’s no OLED show, nevertheless it will get the job executed.
You’ll benefit from the audio expertise as nicely. Lenovo fully redesigned the sound system, constructing in 4 Dolby Atmos audio system with two tweeters firing up from beneath the show and two woofers firing down. The design places out tons of quantity with minimal distortion, crisp highs, and competent mids, and there’s even some bass so as to add some environment to motion films. You’ll be able to alter the audio utilizing a easy utility, and whereas audiophiles will at all times want their favourite headphones, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon’s sound is sweet sufficient for taking part in absolutely anything else.
It’s a ThinkPad, so you already know the keyboard is sweet
ThinkPad keyboards are among the many greatest round, and that’s been true for fairly a while now. They’re not my favorites — that accolade goes to the keyboards HP makes use of on its Spectre laptops — however they’re proper up there with my private bests. They’ve sculpted keys which might be extremely comfy, a reasonably commonplace format (aside from reversing the Fn and Ctrl keys, which is a hassle), they usually have deep, snappy mechanisms that supply an nearly unparalleled stage of precision. Should you’re a quick typist, you’ll nearly universally love them.
The Seventh-gen ThinkPad X1 Carbon does take a small step again on this regard, although. One of many compromises I hinted at earlier as a result of thinner chassis is that the keyboard is barely shallower this time round. It nonetheless has extra journey than many keyboards in thin-and-light laptops, nevertheless it’s not fairly as deep and satisfying because the keyboard on earlier generations. It’s unlikely to carry you again, however for those who’re searching for the most effective ThinkPad keyboard round, this one isn’t it.
As regular, there are two methods to regulate the cursor. The enduring ThinkPad TrackPoint nubbin is correct there in the midst of the keyboard, together with two buttons on the prime of the touchpad. That takes away some area from the touchpad itself, nevertheless it’s no nice loss. The touchpad is massive sufficient and as a Microsoft Precision laptop computer has dependable and exact help for the complete gamut of Home windows 10 multitouch gestures. The configured show doesn’t help contact, although, which is a disappointment.
Home windows 10 Hi there help is offered by each a match-on-sensor fingerprint reader that’s been enhanced for the Seventh-gen with acceleration for quicker login and further security measures to make it tougher to spoof. There’s additionally an infrared digicam for facial recognition, and it’s good that the fingerprint reader is out there as a result of for those who use the ThinkShutter privateness slider then you definately’ll lose the flexibility to login with simply your face.
It’s not the quickest laptop computer, although
My evaluation unit was outfitted with an Intel Eighth-gen quad-core Core i7-8665U CPU, which is the quickest of that technology’s U-series CPUs and gives the business-friendly vPro functionality that may tie into enterprise administration options. I used to be anticipating the ThinkPad X1 Carbon to be a fast performer, however in line with our benchmarks, the laptop computer was as a substitute a bit slower than common. Geekbench four, particularly, has it nicely behind the pack, scoring as much as 25 p.c lower than, e.g., the Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1 with the identical chip.
Then, once I ran our Handbrake check that encodes a 420MB clip to H.265, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon as soon as once more fell behind the pack. It took 284 seconds to finish the check, in comparison with the Dell that took simply 258 seconds. Word that the ThinkPad X1 Carbon is a really quiet laptop computer, and its chassis doesn’t get too heat, which could assist clarify why efficiency is a bit throttled.
I gained’t spend any time discussing gaming efficiency. Suffice it to say that with this laptop computer’s Intel UHD 620 built-in graphics, you’ll need to restrict your gaming to informal Steam titles solely.
Don’t misunderstand me — this laptop computer was greater than quick sufficient to function my main transportable gadget throughout my testing, and most of the people shall be completely proud of its efficiency over the long run. There’s even a refresh arising with 10th-gen Intel CPUs that ought to assist pace issues up as nicely.
The place’d my battery go?
Lastly, we get to battery life. One other of the compromises from making the Seventh-gen ThinkPad X1 Carbon a tiny bit thinner was apparently its battery capability — this model has 51 watt-hours versus the earlier model’s 57 watt-hours. Toss in that pretty (and power-hungry) 4K show, and all I can say is: This isn’t an all-day laptop computer.
The ThinkPad X1 Carbon managed solely round six and a half hours on our net looking battery check.
The ThinkPad X1 Carbon managed solely round six and a half hours on our net looking check and 7 and a half hours operating our native check video — and the 4K show is clearly the offender right here. That doesn’t bode nicely for having the ability to spend a complete working day with out a charger, and it’s behind many different latest laptops. The ThinkPad X1 Carbon line has by no means been a battery life champion, and so if longevity issues to you then you definately’ll need to remember to choose a special show to squeeze out as many minutes as potential.
As I stated at first of this evaluation, that is the primary ThinkPad that I’d purchase with my very own cash. It has some stiff competitors for certain — I nonetheless love HP’s Spectre lineup, and Lenovo’s 2nd-gen ThinkPad X1 Excessive is wanting fairly sizzling with its OLED show — however I do get why some folks will put this laptop computer on their shortlist. It’s well-built, feels nice in hand, and evokes a ton of confidence that it’ll be able to go to work each time you’re.
Is there a greater different?
There are a number of business-class laptops to select from, and whereas the ThinkPad is likely to be essentially the most iconic, it’s not essentially the most effective. If you’d like a 2-in-1 with spectacular battery life and a stable construct of its personal, then the Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1 is a compelling possibility at nearly the identical value level. Lenovo’s personal ThinkPad X1 Excessive is another choice, with higher efficiency and a few spectacular 15.6-inch show choices. You could possibly additionally go the patron route and select a laptop computer just like the Dell XPS 13 for those who don’t want a full 14 inches.
How lengthy will it final?
I’ve talked sufficient in regards to the ThinkPad X1 Carbon’s construct high quality to make this one apparent: It’ll final for so long as you want it to, after which a number of years longer. This can be a business-class laptop computer and so we’d count on higher than the included one-year guarantee, however Lenovo has loads of business-oriented help upgrades accessible.
Do you have to purchase it?
Sure. The one caveat is to watch out with you show choice if battery life is necessary to you.