Lenovo's 15-inch mobile workstation, the ThinkPad P50, may be the direct successor to the ThinkPad…
Best Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Black Friday Deals 2021
Despite the fact that the Lenovo ThinkPad lineup is targeted at businesses, these rugged, feature-packed laptops enamor a good amount of consumers, too. The most recent ThinkPad X1 Carbon ($1,179 starting price, as tested), dubbed Gen 7, is a prime exemplory case of this crossover. This ultraportable business notebook computer distills the ThinkPad concept to its essence, shedding weight but keeping staple ThinkPad features just like the comfortable keyboard, the iconic red TrackPoint, and copious IT security and manageability features. In addition, it offers as options enthusiast-minded features like face recognition and a stunning HDR-enabled 4K glossy screen, which are overkill for most business users. To its credit, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon manages both business and pleasure with aplomb, earning our Editors’ Choice award for best high-end business laptop.
The ThinkPad X1 Carbon is currently in its seventh generation, but initially, you would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between this generation and the main one before that, the main one before that, etc. Lenovo hasn’t strayed definately not the classic ThinkPad recipe, which demands a strong black chassis, a red silicone pointing device (the TrackPoint) in the center of the keyboard, not to mention the slanted “ThinkPad” emblem externally.
A lot of other ThinkPads continue steadily to follow this recipe too. Why is the X1 Carbon Gen 7 not the same as its ThinkPad X, T, and L siblings is mainly size, weight, and materials. The most recent flagship T-series ThinkPad, the ThinkPad T490, weighs up to 3.7 pounds and measures 0.7 inch thick, and that is after slimming down drastically weighed against its predecessor. The X1 Carbon Gen 7 is in another league entirely, measuring 0.59 by 12.7 by 8.6 inches (HWD) and starting at only 2.4 pounds. The weight varies a smidge according to optional extras.
Not merely do these dimensions fit the X1 Carbon Gen 7 squarely into ultraportable notebook computer territory, nevertheless they also mean that it really is among the lightest for the reason that territory. This is a lot more impressive considering that the X1 Carbon Gen 7’s 14-inch screen is nearly an inch bigger than the 13.3-inch panels of all laptops we consider to be ultraportables.
Despite its light-weight, the X1 Carbon Gen 7’s blend of a magnesium underside and a carbon-fiber display lid lends it a strong feel. A MIL-STD 810G recognition lends some legitimacy compared to that impression, confirming that is definitely as rugged as you’d expect from a ThinkPad. A great many other laptops share these characteristics, but none that I’ve seen is pretty as light. Even the extraordinarily well-designed Apple MacBook Air, the initial trendsetter of the ultraportable notebook computer category, weighs about 2.75 pounds. The practically flawless Dell XPS 13 can be heavier, at 2.7 pounds, also keep in mind that both Apple and the Dell have less screen property.
New Screen and Lid Options
The primary changes to the ThinkPad X1 Carbon in this revision round involve the display and the surface styling of its lid.
The bottom model I’m reviewing, with a complete HD (1,920-by-1,080-pixel) screen, gets the same black display lid as the prior generation. Upgrading to the top-end model, with a 4K (3,840-by-2,160-pixel) screen, gets you a display lid with a unique carbon-fiber weave. It’s a tiny concession to persons who like somewhat of flair on the otherwise very staid ThinkPad. Lenovo describes it for owners to be reminded that their device is manufactured partly of carbon fiber, since it isn’t otherwise obvious. Presumably, the business believes that the same persons who would be considering such bling also want a 4K display. You can view the difference for yourself in the image below.
Among the 4K panel and the base-model 1080p one, Lenovo offers two more screen options. They add a unique 1080p touchscreen with a matte finish, that i found to be very nifty when I tested it from the prior generation. (See that review for additional information on its unique make use of screen technology.) The other display option, new with the Gen 7 model, is a WQHD (2,560-by-1,440-pixel) matte display without touch support.
If you wish the brightest & most brilliant display, consider the 4K version (below right), which includes a rated 500-nit brightness and in addition supports Dolby Vision for high dynamic range (HDR) images and videos.
The bottom model’s display includes a brightness rating of 300 nits, that i find to be correctly satisfactory for viewing text documents in a brightly lit office, though images and videos are somewhat dull.
As Ever, a lavish Typing Experience
Despite its thin chassis, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 7 carries a keyboard that’s at least as comfortable as any I’ve applied to other ThinkPads recently. Its backlit keys are sculpted to provide your fingertips intuitive guidance, and they give extraordinary stability.
Unfortunately, the touchpad isn’t practically as comfortable to use. It’s cramped, its click action is pretty stiff, and it’s not so responsive, taking additional time than Let me register movement. The pad uses the Microsoft Precision Touchpad interface, so adjustments are straightforward, but I came across that increasing the sensitivity doesn’t really help much.
The classic TrackPoint cursor control serves as a consolation prize for the mediocre touchpad. It’s especially useful if you are trying to go the arrow cursor in a cramped environment, as an economy-class airplane seat. It requires some used to, but ThinkPad fans experienced a long time to take action; the TrackPoint ‘s been around since IBM owned the brand, and others, such as for example Dell, have replicated it within their own business laptops.
Lenovo redesigned the X1 Carbon’s speakers because of this generation. It features two top-facing tweeters next to the display hinges and two downward-firing woofers. Overall, the sound is enough for video conferencing, although I don’t think it is to be as robust as the speakers on the MacBook Pro, which uses upward-firing stereo speakers.
The webcam on my test unit can be enough for video conferencing, and it offers a nifty built-in privacy door that one could close if you are not using it. It lacks the infrared sensors that enable you to log into your Windows account using face recognition, something that can be found only on the top-end version of the X1 Carbon Gen 7, the main one with the 4K display. My test unit does have a fingerprint reader, though, which accurately recognized my prints every time I used it during the period of several days of testing.
Get Adaptered-Up for Ethernet
To achieve the most from the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 7’s I/O selection, you will need Lenovo’s proprietary Ethernet adapter. Integrating a full-size Ethernet jack in that thin notebook computer is impractical, therefore the conventional approach is to create a squished jack with a “jaw” hinge that extends as you prepare to plug in the Ethernet cord. The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 7 instead runs on the proprietary Ethernet jack that’s not squished, but requires the purchase of an adapter. This technique is without a doubt more reliable when compared to a hinged jack, though it signifies that Lenovo also reaches rake in profits from sales of adapter cables. The adapter should come bundled.
Other than the initial Ethernet port, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon includes a robust, if rather ordinary, port selection. The chassis has two USB Type-C ports (each which supports Thunderbolt 3 speeds), together with two USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A ports, an audio tracks jack, a full-size HDMI port, and a Kensington-style notch allowing you to connect a physical security cable. Wireless connectivity includes 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0, however, not next-gen Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), nor the choice to include a modem for LTE data.
The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 7 I tested posseses an Intel Core i5-8265U processor, 8GB of memory, and a 256GB PCI Express NVMe SSD. They are satisfactory specs for everyday computing tasks, if you can bump each of these up to another level in competing ultraportables in the X1 Carbon’s cost range.