Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (8th Gen) review (2020)

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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon price and configuration options

  • Intel Core i5-8350U Quad-core 1.70GHz (Up to 3.60GHz) Processor
  • 8GB RAM, 256GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
  • 14″ FHD (1920×1080) IPS Anti-Glare Display, 300 nits
  • Intel UHD Graphics 620, Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
  • Backlit Keyboard, Fingerprint Reader, HD 720p with ThinkShutter Camera, Bluetooth 4.1 with vPro, HDMI, 2x USB-C (Thunderbolt 3), 2x USB 3.0, 4-in-1 MicroSD card reader

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon design

The X1 Carbon may be a stylish, featherweight laptop that brilliantly balances modern aesthetics with practical features.

Nearly just like the first 7th Gen models, Lenovo made only a couple of subtle tweaks to offer its flagship business notebook a consumer-friendly facelift. a replacement logo on the lid puts an outsized “X1” stamp under the long-lasting ThinkPad brand. don’t be concerned , the “i” still illuminates red.

Lenovo sent us two models to review, the quality version with a matte-black coating and therefore the carbon edition with a carbon fiber weave on the lid that emphasizes the materials used within. the within of both versions may be a solid matte-black with a pearlescent sheen under certain lighting.

Improved resistance to fingerprints is one among the improvements I’d wish to see in future models. The laptop looks great until you touch it and leave behind smudgy fingerprints. Also, the bezels round the X1 Carbon’s display (particularly rock bottom bezel) might be trimmed down a touch .

Despite these minor qualms, the X1 Carbon has one among my favorite laptop designs, rivaled within the business space by only the new HP Elite Dragonfly. i really like the sleek shape and stealthy finishes of the X1 Carbon, but there’s an irresistible allure to its stunning blue rival.

Unlike a number of those competitors, the X1 Carbon feels sturdy. Reinforced with carbon fiber, the X1 Carbon doesn’t flex at the keyboard, creak at the hinges or show a scratch after being lightly brushed.

At 12.7 x 8.5 x 0.6 inches, the 2.4-pound ThinkPad X1 Carbon is about an equivalent size because the ExpertBook B9450 (0.6 inches, 2.2 pounds) and therefore the Elite Dragonfly (11.9 x 7.8 x 0.6 inches, 2.5 pounds). The 13-inch MacBook Pro (12 x 8.4 x 0.6, 3.1 pounds) may be a bargain heavier than these laptops.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon durability and security

Protecting the within of the X1 Carbon may be a dTPM 2.0 chip, which ensures sensitive data is encrypted before being transmitted. The X1 Carbon also features a webcam cover, or ThinkShutter, so you’ll cover your lens without using ugly Scotch tape. it is also nice to ascertain the fingerprint sensor as a default feature, albeit it’s small and blends into the deck.

Optional security protections include an IR camera for Windows Hello login and a ThinkPad PrivacyGuard, a privacy filter for the screen that intentionally reduces viewing angles. you’ll also configure the X1 Carbon with Privacy Alert, which can warn you when someone is watching your screen and switch PrivacyGuard on automatically.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon ports

I knocked Lenovo for removing the SD card slot on the previous X1 Carbon. I’m still bummed about it, albeit i used to be being a touch harsh. For such a transportable laptop, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon features a generous assortment of ports.

On the left side are two Thunderbolt 3 ports, a USB 3.1 port and an HDMI 1.4 input, a headphone/mic jack and network extension for Ethernet and mechanical docking.

On the proper side are a lock slot and a second USB 3.1 Type-A input. If I’m nitpicking, I wish the 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports were split on each fringe of the laptop so you’ll charge from either side.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon display

We reviewed both the 1080p and 4K models of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon. Let me get this out of the way: both 14-inch displays are excellent.

As much as I enjoyed watching videos on the 4K screen, I’d choose the complete HD panel; it is a quality screen and more power-efficient than the UHD option (more thereon later).

If you do not mind being tethered to an outlet and you watch tons of shows or movies on your laptop, accompany the 4K screen or consider the in-between option, a 1440p panel with 300 nits of brightness.

I was surprised by what proportion more vivid the colours were on the 4K panel than on the 1080p screen. Daniel Craig’s eyes burst a radiant aquamarine color on the 4K screen once I watched a trailer for No Time to Die. The blue hue, while faraway from looking dull, didn’t pop the maximum amount on the matte 1080p panel.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon keyboard, touchpad and TrackPoint

If you would like to understand why ThinkPads have a cult-like follow, it starts with the keyboard. I just reviewed the wireless ThinkPad TrackPoint Keyboard II, so my attraction for these keys is not any secret. I’m especially impressed by the ThinkPad X1 Carbon because it delivers a satisfying typing experience in such alittle package.

The keys on the X1 Carbon are snappy and tactile, rewarding you with a weighty bump at the top of every keystroke. My fingers gingerly bounced from one key to subsequent because the springy switches underneath the keycaps assisted them along. I also like having two backlit settings to settle on from and call hotkeys on this new model are a welcome addition; you’ll now quickly answer or reject calls with one tap.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon audio

A major complaint we had with previous X1 Carbon models was their poor speaker quality. Lenovo rectified this issue last year by upgrading to a quad-speaker setup. Now sound comes from dual speakers on the deck and two more underneath the laptop.

The speakers had a tougher time once I listened to Phoebe Bridgers’ “Kyoto.” My ears fought off some piercing upper frequencies and therefore the instruments became a muddy mess during the chorus. The sound quality improved considerably once I dropped the quantity right down to 70%.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon performance

I tested a ThinkPad X1 Carbon with an Intel Core i5-10310U with vPro CPU and 8GB of RAM and a higher-end model with a Core i7-10610U with vPro CPU and 16GB of RAM.

Both performed well, but I experienced more delays on the Core i5 model. there have been some brief slowdowns on the less costly option once I opened twenty-four websites in Google Chrome, streamed music on YouTube Music, and played a pair of 1080p YouTube videos. The occasional stuttering wasn’t too bothersome and therefore the laptop kept putting along as I added even more tabs. The Core i7 model handled this heavy workload with none sluggishness. That said, if you are a computer user , especially if you browse the online using the RAM-hungry Chrome browser, consider spending extra for 16GB of memory.

On the Handbrake video transcoding test, we tasked the ThinkPad X1 Carbon to convert a 4K video clip to 1080p resolution.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon graphics

Don’t attempt to play graphically intensive games on the ThinkPad X1 Carbon. The laptop is just too slim for a correct discrete GPU so it relies on integrated UHD graphics instead.

You’ll be fine running day-to-day programs but once we powered up the Dirt 3 benchmark, the X1 Carbon could only match our 30 frames-per-second threshold, which does not leave any margin for error when you’re speeding around a hairpin turn. For comparison, the ExpertBook B9450 (23 fps, Intel UHD) fared even worse than the X1 Carbon while the Elite Dragonfly (31 fps, Intel UHD) and 7th Gen X1 Carbon (31 fps, Intel UHD) were during a draw .

Sid Meier’s Civilization VI: Gathering Storm was a laggy mess when played on the X1 Carbon; the sport stuttered at an unplayable 8 fps, which is even worse than the uninspired effort put up by the MacBook Pro (18 fps, Iris Plus).

In synthetic tests, the X1 Carbon scored 1,221 on the hearth Strike Ultra benchmark. Again, the ExpertBook B9450 (734 fps) struggled while the Elite Dragonfly (1,125) nearly matched the ThinkPad.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon battery life

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon with a 1080p display lasts a full day on a charge with a runtime of 10 hours and 45 minutes. you will not get an equivalent endurance from the 4K model, but it did an honest enough job on our battery life test (web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits), lasting 7 hours and 23 minutes.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon heat

Our 1080p and 4K units stayed relatively cool under an important workload, although the latter clocked slightly higher temps after playing a 15-minute, Full HD video.

The touchpad on the 1080p and 4K models remained a cushty 73 degrees and 79 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. Our fingers also stayed cool because the center of the keyboard stayed under our 95-degree comfort threshold on both the FHD (86 degrees) and UHD (89 degrees) systems.

The hottest area on the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, the deck near rock bottom display bezel, hit 102 degrees on the 4K model. That’s pretty toasty but not too concerning.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon software and warranty

Lenovo Vantage is that the only branded software pre-installed on the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, and it’s worth keeping around. In Vantage, you’ll download the newest BIOS updates, check your warranty status, and alter your standby and power settings, among other things.

Also taking over space for storing on the X1 Carbon is Miraxmax, an attention-sensing technology that uses the IR camera to sense your face, eyes and gaze. It can auto-lock your screen to guard sensitive documents once you walk off or tell you when someone is glancing over your shoulder. i used to be impressed by the software after using it throughout a full day.

Final Word

If your business laptop is getting sluggish and it is time for a replacement one, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon should be at the highest of your list. it’s an ultraslim yet durable chassis, great display options, the simplest keyboard in its class and fast performance. The X1 Carbon also gets good battery life (on the 1080p model), although rivals just like the Elite Dragonfly and ExpertBook B9450 last even longer on a charge.

So although the ThinkPad X1 Carbon 8th Gen is practically just like the previous version, it maintains its position because the best business laptop on the market — a minimum of , for now.

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