Lenovo Carbon X1 Gen 9 Evaluation

For almost a decade, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon has been the corporate’s most iconic skinny & gentle, and we’re reviewing the ninth technology 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 eleventh 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 Lenovo.com.

Nonetheless, you will get the similar benchmark efficiency with the 8GB RAM and 256 GB SSD configuration value $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 gives core applied sciences which can be engaging 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 if 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 fabricated from very robust carbon fiber and magnesium materials, therefore the identify. The chassis makes it very inflexible and protects the inner parts.

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 supply the identical safety. Spills are one of the vital 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 assessments 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 received’t slip, however it’s not abrasive both. I not too long ago typed on a barely slippery keyboard, and it was not a terrific sensation.

The glass trackpad has grown in measurement and is 10% bigger than final 12 months’s mannequin. The ThinkPad bodily trackpad buttons are my favourite (trackpad) characteristic as they’re much extra exact and correct than a trackpad “faucet.” In the event you do loads of click on & drag, you’ll love them too.


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

2x USB Kind C, Thunderbolt 4
2x USB Kind A, 3.2 Gen1
1x Normal HDMI 2.0
1x Anti-theft slot (Kensington)
1x nano-SIM tray for 5G (non-obligatory)
1x 3.5mm audio connector

The USB-A and full-size USB are improbable choices as you’re much less prone to require a dongle that received’t be there if you want it essentially the most. Thunderbolt 4 is a major 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 improve in laptop computer theft in some cities, this straightforward (however uncommon) safety choice may prevent fairly a bit of cash.


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

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


Lenovo makes use of upwards-firing audio system now

The quad-speaker sound system works very nicely, and it’s nice to see Lenovo repeatedly enhance the sound high quality of the X1 Carbon. Just some 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 superb too
The dearer UHD show will get a visual carbon fiber weave sample. Neat!

The change to a 16:10 side ratio offers a slight enhance in productiveness, and we’ll quickly assessment the ThinkPad X1 Titanium, which has a 3:2 side ratio (my favourite for work).

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

Lenovo additionally has a webcam characteristic to detect if somebody is your display screen from behind you. In accordance with pc safety consultants, it’s a widespread manner 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 cause to think about that selection.

Visually, the UHD+ show is best, and we’d advocate that one in case your work requires very correct colours. That stated, the FHD colours are largely correct sufficient for net growth, for instance. Total, that’s a terrific array of show choices.

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

The webcam is comparatively commonplace 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 forth.


An in depth-up view of the underside cooling vent and followers

Efficiency-wise, the Intel eleventh Gen Core i7-1165G7 brings a really good enhance for single-thread and graphics efficiency over the tenth technology. Because of this, the brand new Carbon X1 Gen9 sees an considerable improve in “velocity for the worth” and “efficiency per Lbs” in contrast with earlier generations.

In the actual world, it signifies that upgrading from a two years outdated laptop computer of the identical class will yield noticeable computing enhancements and responsiveness. For workplace functions, you may maintain your 2020 laptop computer and wait it out a bit longer till an improve is value it.

Though the X1 Carbon just isn’t 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 & gentle phase.

Actually, the X1 Carbon’s Inventive rating isn’t removed from the 2020 ThinkPad P1, which is a full-on cellular workstation. It’s attainable to configure this pc with 32GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD storage: a lot energy in a 2.4 Lbs chassis.

The brand new Intel built-in graphics yields a close to 100% graphics efficiency improve 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 evaluations.

Spectacular CPU efficiency for such a light-weight pc.
Not a gaming rig, however with enough graphics settings, you have to be positive

Battery Life

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

As regular, we advocate that street warriors go for an FHD show as a result of that’s a really vital distinction in battery life. However, for those who primarily work from an workplace or resort room, the upper visible high quality of the UHD show is value 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 regular, the X1 Carbon options quick charging, and the velocity is in keeping with different Lenovo laptops. This unit can attain 80% of cost in 60mn, which is respectable however not distinctive.


The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen9 stays a reference within the enterprise skinny & gentle market phase. It stays almost unchallenged in crucial points corresponding to sturdiness, safety, and connectivity (ports) within the 2.5 Lbs class.

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

The brand new X1 Carbon is extraordinarily engaging 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 clients contemplating different 13” or 14” choices throughout the similar worth vary.

Filed in Evaluations. Learn extra about Editorspick, Laptop computer Evaluations, Lenovo and Lenovo evaluations.

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