For almost a decade, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon has been the corporate’s most iconic skinny & mild, and we’re reviewing the ninth era 2021 model this time. The brand new options that caught my consideration embrace the 16:10 UHD show, the improved Dolby Atmos speaker system, and the 11th Gen Intel Core computing platform.

As examined, our laptop computer unit has this configuration: Intel Core i7-1165G7 (+ Iris Xe built-in graphics), 16GB of RAM, 512GB SSD (OPAL), and a 4K UHD non-touch show. We’ll go over different configuration choices beneath, however “as examined”, this configuration prices $1865 on

Nonetheless, you will get the similar benchmark efficiency with the 8GB RAM and 256 GB SSD configuration price $1540, and that’s the baseline worth we are going to use for efficiency/worth ratios.

Industrial Design

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen9’s design presents core applied sciences which might be enticing to many customers because it has a 2.49Lbs weight (solely 14.9mm thick), superior sturdiness, and a very good performance-to-weight ratio.

These traits are fascinating to street warriors and executives who can’t afford to expertise failure or downtime throughout enterprise travels.I had laptop computer failures a few occasions whereas overseas, and it’s depressing whenever you don’t even have the choice of shopping for a laptop computer with a QWERTY US keyboard.

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon’s sturdiness is constructed throughout a number of layers. First, the chassis/outer shell is made from very powerful carbon fiber and magnesium materials, therefore the identify. The chassis makes it very inflexible and protects the inner elements.

Nonetheless, the inflexible chassis would possibly nonetheless carry shockwaves generated by a drop or tough transportation. That’s why the design additionally considers vibrations and is licensed to cross the army transport MIL-STD-810G certification.


Lastly, the keyboard is spill-proof, and that’s an enormous benefit over different laptops that don’t provide the identical safety. Spills are probably the most widespread laptop computer killers, and this characteristic is the primary line of protection.

The brand new single-hinge design would possibly assist with the general robustness of the show/chassis, however we don’t have information or checks that may show it. It does look neat, for certain.

Keyboard and Trackpad

The ninth gen X1 Carbon keyboard has all of the hallmarks of a ThinkPad keyboard and is exceptionally snug to sort on. The curved keys, ample spacing, and lengthy key journey make lengthy working hours extra tolerable.

The keys floor coating has the correct quantity of friction in order that your fingertips gained’t slip, nevertheless it’s not abrasive both. I lately typed on a barely slippery keyboard, and it was not an amazing sensation.

The glass trackpad has grown in measurement and is 10% bigger than final yr’s mannequin. The ThinkPad bodily trackpad buttons are my favourite (trackpad) characteristic as they’re much extra exact and correct than a trackpad “faucet.” Should you do a whole lot of click on & drag, you’ll love them too.


For a 2.49 Lbs skinny & mild, the ports assortment is phenomenal. Individuals are used to only having a few USB-C ports, however right here Lenovo means enterprise, examine the port choice:

2x USB Sort C, Thunderbolt 42x USB Sort A, three.2 Gen11x Commonplace HDMI 2.01x Anti-theft slot (Kensington)1x nano-SIM tray for 5G (elective)1x three.5mm audio connector

The USB-A and full-size USB are implausible choices as you might be much less more likely to require a dongle that gained’t be there whenever you want it probably the most. Thunderbolt four is a big improve for individuals who need a number of 4K displays, and naturally, the full-size HDMI video output is super-convenient for boardroom projectors.

The anti-theft lock will allow you to assault the laptop computer to a desk or espresso desk. Given the alarming enhance in laptop computer theft in some cities, this straightforward (however uncommon) safety possibility may prevent fairly a bit of cash.


The safe webcam unlock is my first possibility, but when your organization asks to maintain the digicam lens closed, the fingerprint sensor is a good backup and doubles as the facility button. I most popular the big and spherical button present in different Lenovo laptops, however there’s in all probability not sufficient room on in chassis.

Observe that it’s potential to arrange the pc to make use of fingerprint authentication to occur pre-BIOS, not only for Home windows authentification. That’s yet one more layer of safety that rivals won’t have.


Lenovo makes use of upwards-firing audio system now

The quad-speaker sound system works very effectively, and it’s nice to see Lenovo repeatedly enhance the sound high quality of the X1 Carbon. Only a few years in the past, the ThinkPad audio wasn’t almost pretty much as good, and the ThinkPad design groups delivered audible outcomes from the person (and reviewers) suggestions.

The sound is obvious and distortion-free. Though not as highly effective as Lenovo’s soundbar designs, the audio system are loud sufficient to comfortably watch a film and even music clips in a resort room.


The 4K show is greatest for Inventive customers, however FHD’s high quality is excellent tooThe dearer UHD show will get a visual carbon fiber weave sample. Neat!

The swap to a 16:10 side ratio offers a slight increase in productiveness, and we’ll quickly overview the ThinkPad X1 Titanium, which has a three:2 side ratio (my favourite for work).

Our unit has the UHD (3840×2400) decision, 500 NITs of brightness, and glorious shade copy. Lenovo has 4 show choices, together with one with the “ThinkPad Privateness Guard” characteristic that stops individuals from glancing at your show’s content material from the facet.

Lenovo additionally has a webcam characteristic to detect if somebody is taking a look at your display screen from behind you. In line with pc safety consultants, it’s a widespread method for data to leak out.


Most individuals should select based mostly on two issues: contact (or not) and FHD+ vs. UHD+. FHD+ laptops may have higher battery endurance, and that’s the primary purpose to contemplate that selection.

Visually, the UHD+ show is healthier, and we’d suggest that one in case your work requires very correct colours. That mentioned, the FHD colours are largely correct sufficient for internet improvement, for instance. General, that’s an amazing array of show choices.

FHD+ 400-nit, low blue lightFHD+ 400-nit multi-touch, low blue mild (75% DCI-P3)FHD+ 500-nit with ThinkPad Privateness GuardUHD+ 500-nit, low blue mild, and Dolby Imaginative and prescient (100% DCI-P3)

The webcam is comparatively normal and on par with different laptops inside this worth vary. Most mid-range smartphones’ selfie cameras would do higher, however a cellular display screen isn’t nice for convention calls through which you share screens, and so on.


A detailed-up view of the underside cooling vent and followers

Efficiency-wise, the Intel 11th Gen Core i7-1165G7 brings a really good increase for single-thread and graphics efficiency over the 10th era. Consequently, the brand new Carbon X1 Gen9 sees an considerable enhance in “pace for the worth” and “efficiency per Lbs” in contrast with earlier generations.

In the true world, it signifies that upgrading from a two years previous laptop computer of the identical class will yield noticeable computing enhancements and responsiveness. For workplace purposes, you’ll be able to maintain your 2020 laptop computer and wait it out a bit longer till an improve is price it.

Though the X1 Carbon will not be designed to be a “Inventive” laptop computer, its PCMark 10 Inventive rating is kind of good, particularly in comparison with a 2020 hardware platform just like the Dell XPS 13 9300, one other iconic laptop computer within the skinny & mild section.

The truth is, the X1 Carbon’s Inventive rating isn’t removed from the 2020 ThinkPad P1, which is a full-on cellular workstation. It’s potential to configure this pc with 32GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD storage: a lot energy in a 2.four Lbs chassis.

The brand new Intel built-in graphics yields a close to 100% graphics efficiency enhance and is suitable for informal gaming, however that is no “Gaming laptop computer.” In 2021, Lenovo is getting severe with GPU efficiency, and the brand new ThinkPad P1 and X1 Excessive laptops are good examples of that. Keep tuned for these opinions.

Spectacular CPU efficiency for such a lightweight pc. Not a gaming rig, however with sufficient graphics settings, you ought to be tremendous

Battery Life

Because of the bigger 57 Wh battery (vs. 51 Wh beforehand), the Lenovo X1 Carbon’s battery life can vary from 9 hours in case you have an FHD show to barely beneath 6 hours for the 4K UHD model.

As standard, we suggest that street warriors go for an FHD show as a result of that’s a really vital distinction in battery life. Then again, if you happen to primarily work from an workplace or resort room, the upper visible high quality of the UHD show is price it, particularly with small textual content.

The X1 Carbon comes with Lenovo’s small 65W energy adapter, which is considerable because it takes about half the house of older fashions.

As standard, the X1 Carbon options quick charging, and the pace is according to different Lenovo laptops. This unit can attain 80% of cost in 60mn, which is first rate however not distinctive.


The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen9 stays a reference within the enterprise skinny & mild market section. It stays almost unchallenged in crucial facets resembling sturdiness, safety, and connectivity (ports) within the 2.5 Lbs class.

These sides of the X1 Carbon design make it a must have for a lot of enterprise customers, and the user-input high quality alone is likely to be a “killer” sway issue too.

The brand new X1 Carbon is extraordinarily enticing by many goal metrics and it isn’t merely defending its nook of the market. With a lot improved audio and nice visible high quality, the X1 Carbon can simply appeal to prospects contemplating different 13” or 14” choices inside the similar worth vary.

Filed in Critiques. Learn extra about Editorspick, Laptop computer Critiques, Lenovo and Lenovo opinions.

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