Reviews

Lenovo X1 Carbon Gen7 Evaluation (2019)

Like clockwork, Lenovo introduced a brand new ThinkPad X1 Carbon collection earlier this 12 months and with the lineup now available on the market, together with upcoming fashions with Intel’s 10th Gen processors, there isn’t a finest time to publish a evaluation.

Specs Highlights

14” IPS LCD Show (a number of choices)Intel Core i5, i7 (Gen8 or Gen10)256GB to 1TB SSDPriced at $999+ (i5-8265U, 8GB, 256GB)

Configuration as examined: Intel Core i7-8665U (+Intel UHD 620), Home windows 10 Professional, 16GB RAM, 1TB Samsung MZVLB1T0HBLR-000L7 SSD. 4K 3840×2160 show IPS LCD

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon will be configured in so some ways, we’ll get again to totally different CPU and show choices as we progress within the evaluation.

Industrial Design: ultra-light manufactured from Carbon Fiber

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon design has made a reputation for itself by combining ultra-portability and toughness, two attributes which might be often mutually unique.

As such, this mannequin has rapidly change into an expert and IT group darling, due to its 2.45 Lbs weight and MIL-STD 810G Mil-Spec certification (12 checks), amongst many different issues (reminiscent of vPro administration and extra).

Such Mil-Specs certification implies that it might face up to what military undergo throughout battlefield storage and transport on the entrance line. Learn our What’s MIL-STD-810G article for an entire rationalization, or you’ll be able to test Lenovo’s leaflet to see the 12 checks particulars.

There are totally different methods to realize such light-weight. Most use Magnesium, however the X1 is manufactured from carbon-fiber (dearer), apart from the detachable backside, which is magnesium alloy.

“THE THINKPAD X1 CARBON HAS MADE A NAME FOR ITSELF BY COMBINING ULTRA-PORTABILITY AND TOUGHNESS”

In 2019, new ultra-portable rivals are coming, and we’ll should see how new choices from Samsung and LG compete within the sub three Lbs house. For the time being, Lenovo retains a singular benefit of getting a 14” show with a 4K choice (extra on that later) whereas rivals typically have 13.three” shows principally with FHD decision.

Traditional rivals such because the Dell XPS 13 2019, the HP Spectre X360 2019 have aluminum chassis which might be considerably heavier, regardless that these computer systems could also be extra compact. Actually, the XPS 13 has a 33% smaller footprint than the X1 Carbon, however weights 11% extra.

The 4K show even will get a carbon-weave sample within the again, which highlights the truth that Lenovo’s X1 is made out of Carbon. It seems fancy however stays subtle-enough as a result of company prospects like holding issues low-key.

The design is mostly similar to final 12 months’s version, which had seen an enormous discount in show bezel measurement. The resistant mushy paint seems and feels the identical as properly. In fact, there are small variations, such because the ~6% extra thinness, nevertheless it’s not that apparent at first sight.

Keyboard and Trackpad

As regular, Lenovo nailed the keyboard and enter designs. There’s no motive to alter a successful components, and the ThinkPad keyboard has been racking up awards for greater than 25 years, and surprisingly, no-one has challenged that design.

The 1.3mm key journey is just about optimum for typing consolation and velocity, however that’s a matter of preferences. Maybe Lenovo can win over many MacBook customers who grew dissatisfied with their zero.6mm MacBook key journey and its tendency to get caught with small grime particles.

This keyboard has a U-shape key design, which implies that the keys are usually not flat, however curved downwards within the center. This makes the downward push power naturally push the fingertip in direction of the middle, thus serving to keep away from typing errors.

“LENOVO NAILED THE KEYBOARD AND INPUT DESIGNS”

Along with being comfy, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon keyboard can be spill-proof and could have no drawback surviving a espresso cup being dropped on it, nor little crumbs falling between the keys.

I personally don’t use Lenovo’s TrackPoint (sorry!), that little purple dot above the “B” key, however some folks swear by it, and that provides further stickiness to Lenovo’s enter system.

With a trackpad floor of ~eight.eight Sq.-inches, the trackpad is commonplace. When in comparison with the competitors, this measurement will not be notably large and you will discover a lot bigger trackpads in computer systems like Macbook Execs and others.

Like another touch-interface, the dimensions of the trackpad in relation to the gestures issues. On laptops, most individuals use scroll and pinch & zoom motions. Extra superior usages require as much as 4 fingers, and round gestures are usually extra comfy with a bigger floor. Verify the Home windows 10 gestures.

Ports

1x USB Sort-C Thunderbolt 32x USB Sort-A, three.1 Gen11x Customary HDMI1.41x Ethernet, Proprietary1x three.5mm audio1x Anti-theft slot, Kensington

For such a lightweight laptop computer, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen7 has a surprisingly massive variety of ports. That stems from the truth that it doesn’t attempt to be absolutely the smallest/thinnest design. In spite of everything, as soon as it’s in your bag, it’s the burden that counts, no?

The USB-C Thunderbolt three can be the Energy port (65W charging) and can be utilized to hook up with an exterior monitor. The complete-size HDMI port is helpful for projectors and older screens, no dongle wanted.

Since Thunderbolt three gadgets will be daisy-chained, you will get by with a single port if you’re a bit cautious.

Two USB-A (full-size) can be utilized with legacy gadgets reminiscent of printers, USB-keys, safety keys and all types of issues that also use that format. Most 13.three rivals could have not less than one USB-A port, however each the Macbook Professional and Macbook Air solely characteristic USB-C in the intervening time.

Sound

The audio high quality was one of many weaknesses we noticed within the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Gen6 (2018), and the excellent news is that Lenovo has vastly improved upon final 12 months’s X1 Carbon mannequin with a quad-speaker setup (2-tweeter going through high, 2-woofers going through down).

“LENOVO HAS VASTLY IMPROVED THE SOUND QUALITY AND POWER”

The 4 audio system, together with Dolby Atmos sound processing, create a strong sound with extra “physique”. There’s a little bit of sound distortion with the tweeters at most quantity, however general, that is getting near the Huawei MateBook X Professional, which stays the reference for skinny & gentle audio high quality.

Observe that many laptops don’t include Dolby Atmos, and we seen that it may make a big distinction, particularly now that Atmos’ software program has a “dynamic” setting that you just solely should allow as soon as.

Show

Our evaluation unit was geared up with the 4K IPS LCD choice, which meant that it has a particularly excessive pixel density and coloration accuracy (~140% sRGB). We measured its brightness at 544 NITs, which is ~10% greater than the 500 NITs specification. This show can be licensed for Dolby Imaginative and prescient HDR.

Show choices

14″ WQHD (2560 x 1440) 300 nits, IPS, anti-glare14″ FHD (1920 x 1080) 400 nits, IPS, low energy, anti-glare14″ FHD (1920 x 1080) 400 nits, IPS, PrivacyGuard, anti-glare14″ FHD (1920 x 1080) 300 nits, IPS, anti-glare, multi-touch14″ UHD (3840 x 2160) 500 nits IPS, shiny, dolby imaginative and prescient™ HDR 400

For prospect consumers, Lenovo has an enormous array of choices that embrace 1080P FHD with varied resolutions, brightness and safety choices. The 4K show is shiny, 1080p variations have a matte “anti-glare” end.

The ample selections enable Lenovo to focus on vastly totally different use circumstances going from pure workplace work to some slice of the artistic (and profitable) market the place folks want extra correct colours, together with greater brightness.

On our 4K show, the brightness setting is not linear, and once you go from 100% to 90% by urgent the keyboard key, the brightness diminishes by ~50% (!!) which is a bit bizarre as a result of there are many conditions the place you’ll need brightness between 250 and 500 NITs.

For reference, the 1080p show would get one thing like 350 NITs and 110% of sRGB coloration protection. It’s possible you’ll discover barely higher 1080p shows (though 13.three”) with Dell and HP, however the Lenovo 4K choice has greater brightness and sRGB protection than its 4K rivals.

In contrast to the Lenovo X1 Yoga 2019 (evaluation coming quickly…), the X1 Carbon display will be prolonged to 180-degree, however not 360. Additionally it is an ideal match with the transportable Lenovo ThinkVision M14 we lately reviewed.

Webcam

There are two attainable webcam choices, relying in your show selection. They encompass the plain webcam and the opposite one with the secondary infrared (IR) sensor to securely unlock the pc utilizing a 3D scan of your face.

Though the fingerprint-unlock works properly, I actually like having the face unlock choice as properly. All X1 Carbon webcams embrace ThinkShutter, a bodily shutter that blocks the digicam lens to guard your privateness. That is a part of ThinkShield, a Lenovo safety initiative that covers totally different laptop safety elements.

Laptop computer webcams are usually not a defining issue, and Huawei claims that solely a small fraction of laptop computer customers really use the digicam regularly. Like most such webcams, the X1 Carbon has a 720p sensor and might seize video and photographs at 1280×720: that is very a lot commonplace.

The microphone setup might be the largest webcam change since final 12 months, with a greater Four-microphone array that works in all types of conditions, from single chat to having a number of members within the room.

Audio recording works properly out of the field, however Lenovo factors out that you could choose particular use circumstances within the (Microphone Settings) reminiscent of having a number of folks within the room or voice recognition to get additional recording optimizations.

Efficiency

The Thinkpad Carbon X1 Gen7 comes with Intel’s eighth or 10th era processors, and that’s not less than 6 CPU choices in whole (4xGen8 + 2xGen10).

We’ve examined the Intel Core i7-8665U (eighth Gen), because the 10th era CPUs aren’t configurable (but) on Lenovo.com. Nonetheless, we are able to have a look at the efficiency of the Dell XPS 13 7390 with Core i7-10710U to pinpoint generational CPU variations. You possibly can count on a equally configured X1 Carbon to behave comparably.

CPU choices

Core i5-8265U Processor (Four Cores)Core i5-8365U with vPro (Four Cores)Core i7-8565U Processor (Four Cores)Core i7-8665U with vPro (Four Cores)Core i7-10510U Processor (Four Cores)Core i7-10710U Processor (6 Cores)

Geekbench reveals that if you would like greater ranges of efficiency, it’s best to configure the X1 Carbon with the brand new Intel 10th era processors, identical to the XPS 13 7390.

One of many advantages of the 10th era Intel Core is the elevated graphics efficiency on the high-end. Alternatively, it’s possible you’ll get a greater efficiency “for the value” by choosing a 10th-gen Core i3 processor, in the event you don’t want peak efficiency.

In an workplace surroundings, the additional horsepower isn’t making as a lot of a distinction as one might imagine, however for Artistic work (video-editing, photoshop…) it undoubtedly would.

* Efficiency numbers are from testing in 1080p mode in order that we get constant metrics throughout laptops. Decision can affect some benchmarks reminiscent of PCMark eight Dwelling or PCMark eight Work the place 4K scores have been ~15% decrease.

Total, the multi-thread CPU efficiency of the 10th Technology is greater, together with drastically higher graphics efficiency. Intel’s new Iris Plus built-in graphics current within the 10th Technology Core processors virtually doubles the graphics efficiency, and that’s an important takeaway.

In case you do intensive multi-core computing reminiscent of artistic apps or GPU-driven apps, it would be best to get the newest 10th era CPUs. For workplace duties, you’ll be able to keep on with the eighth era, and you may even purchase the X1 Carbon Gen 6 in the event you discover an incredible deal, as a result of workplace duties aren’t a lot quicker than on final 12 months’s X1 Carbon.

One added advantage of the Intel 10th era platform is that it ought to include WiFi-6, which improves practically each facet of WiFi, from velocity to effectivity. However you want a WiFi-6 router to learn from all that.

Optionally, it’s attainable to get a 4G LTE CAT9 built-in modem (Fibocom L850-GL 4G LTE CAT9) to remain related always.

Battery Life

On the subject of battery life, we suggest wanting on the battery capability (in Wh or Watt-hours) as the first issue for any given CPU/GPU/Show combo. These are the first power-consumers on any laptops and similarly-configured techniques have a tendency to attract energy in the same manner.

The 51Wh battery capability of the 2019 X1 Carbon is lower than the 57Wh if final 12 months’s X1 nevertheless it matches the 52Wh of the Dell XPS 13 and is a little more than the 49Wh of the Macbook Air (2019).

You’ll find 13.three” techniques with 60Wh (+17%) batteries just like the HP Spectre X360 13t, however that one is 17% heavier, so it has the identical battery capability “per Lbs” than the Lenovo X1 Carbon has. Basically, Lenovo might improve the battery capability, however that might induce further weight. For prime battery-capacity test the Lenovo X1 Yoga!

That stated, customers can rapidly replenish their battery utilizing Lenovo’s RapidCharge at a velocity of 47Wh per hour, which is 13% quicker than final 12 months’s mannequin, in line with our lab checks.

Lenovo’s 65W charger will not be unusual within the PC world, however some producers do use 45W, and Apple has 61W (MacBook Professional) and 30W (MacBook Air) chargers that aren’t as highly effective/quick.

Lastly, take into account that 4K shows have a tendency to make use of considerably extra energy (30%-40% extra), so if battery longevity is your major concern, decide one of many 1080p/FHD choices. In some checks, the battery lifetime of the FHD mannequin will be 2X longer when in comparison with the 4K mannequin.

Our 4K configuration obtained 06h03 mn of battery life within the PCMark eight Work battery benchmark (PCM8WB). It is best to get considerably extra with a 1080p show choice.

PCM8WB might be probably the most consultant of what you’ll get in the actual world and is a lot better than “custom-made” shopping checks that browse pretend websites.  Video-playback checks are attention-grabbing for that particular use-case, however they aren’t consultant of basic laptop use.

Conclusion:  distinctive and really versatile providing

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen7 (2019) is a superb ultralight laptop computer that’s configurable to compete at any efficiency or worth level within the high-end 13” to 14” laptop computer market.

The 4 or 5 show choices can accommodate many sorts of consumers, together with those that have distinctive safety necessities (Lenovo PrivacyGuard) or wish to select between matte and shiny finishes.

It’s totally different from nice rivals such because the Dell XPS 13 and HP’s Spectre X360 as a result of it’s gentle and constructed for bodily endurance. It’s a uncommon laptop computer in that ultralight market to have a spill-proof keyboard and go Mil-810-STD checks.

The X1 Carbon can be the Ultralight laptop computer that has probably the most ports, particularly in the event you examine it with the MacBook Professional which doesn’t have a single full-size USB and weighs 23% extra.

In fact, there are issues that Lenovo might enhance upon, reminiscent of having smaller bezels, a bigger trackpad, and a extra compact form-factor. There are alternatives on the market if you would like one or two of these items however general, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen7 is a hell of a laptop computer.

Total product score: 9.5/10

Filed in Computer systems >Critiques. Learn extra about Editorspick, Laptop computer Critiques, Lenovo and Lenovo critiques.

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