Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Review - Hi-tech notebook not only for managers

6th September 2020

Notebooks from the ThinkPad model line, backed by the Chinese company Lenovo, do not need to be introduced in any special way. These high-quality workstations excel not only in top-notch hardware, but also in high-quality construction, which can handle above-standard handling. The ThinkPad X1 Carbon is made up of even real carbon fibers.

Since this is a very interesting laptop, we decided to throw the eyelet at the last, ie the 7th generation. Customers have a choice of several versions with different price tags, including a high-end model with an extremely soft and colorful display panel, for which they playfully pay more than 2, 500 euros.

Technical specification of ThinkPad X1 Carbon (7th gen.)

  • Intel Core i7 processor.
  • Intel UHD Graphics 620 graphics card.
  • 14 ″ display, IPS LCD, 4K, HDR.
  • 16 GB RAM.
  • 1 TB SSD.
  • 4 speakers.
  • 4 microphones.
  • webcam with cover.
  • infrared camera.
  • fingerprint sensor.
  • 51 kWh battery.
  • 4G connectivity.
  • Windows 10.

The manufacturer's TOP offer also arrived at the TECHBYTE website, and after more than a week of testing, I have no choice but to praise it, because it is really worth the money. It is only necessary to take into account two minor shortcomings, which we will talk about below.

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I fell in love with carbon fiber and a logo with a luminous punctuation mark

Design and construction

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon looks exactly as I imagine every single notebook in the ThinkPad model line. The construction is dark and consists of  square curves  and  flat edges . In the upper part, however, there is something on the top that you will not normally find there. In addition to the logo with a subtly lit punctuation mark, you can also see the stylish-looking  carbon fibers that make up expensive sports cars or airplanes.

The surface is matte , so I wasn't bothered by any fingerprints or anything like that. If you touch the material on the top of the notebook, where there are carbon fibers, it will remind you of the so-called soft plastic. The area under the keyboard where the palms are placed makes the touch a little harder. However, you will definitely not miss comfort. Not even when writing for a long time.

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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

First-class plastic

If you are a lover of purely metal constructions, I will probably disappoint you now. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is made up of several different materials , including cast magnesium (the main part of the structure) or plastic. But not anything.

  • dimensions: 323 mm x 217 mm x 14.95 mm.
  • weight: 1.08 kg.

The approximately kilogram laptop with compact dimensions has passed demanding physical tests that reflected the military requirements, so it should withstand even non-standard handling. The user will feel more resilient on the keyboard or a solid design, where no crack , nevŕzga nor the Non sagging . This is how I somehow imagine a quality construction. That is, with one exception.

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The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon keyboard deserves considerable praise

The Achilles heel is the touchpad. At first glance, it looks great, but if you use it for a few days, on its dark and matte surface, over time, clearly visible spots will begin to form from a certain angle. You can get rid of them, but it requires regular attention and physical activity, which reduces user comfort.

I also noticed that the lower right button of the touchpad (has the upper one) makes an abnormal sound here and there. The feedback of the compression is normally muffled and silent, but from time to time a louder crack was heard. However, I later found out that the laptop only needed a little run-in , because it was brand new. I haven't heard anything in the last days of testing.

Rugged keyboard

I wrote so well on the ThinkPad X1 Carbon keyboard that I was surprised. No, I did not underestimate him, quite the contrary. After all, it is an expensive piece with a renowned brand. However, the quality of the buttons is so high that it does not disappoint even the most demanding of the most demanding users.

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Iconic red joystick to replace the traditional touchpad.However, it is also equipped

If that's not enough for someone, the keyboard's repertoire includes, among other things, increased resistance to spilled water or an iconic red joystick in the middle, which you can use to replace the touchpad. I would call it a more practical alternative . You just need to get used to it, because it is sensitive and the user uses the buttons above the touchpad with it.

Biometric security

The hardware equipment also includes a biometric sensor that reads your fingerprint. The process is fast and in the vast majority of experiments it went without complications. The only downside is that you have to point your finger in exactly the same position in which you registered it. Otherwise it will not be read to you and you will have to enter the PIN code.

The second option for user authentication is to use the present infrared camera.

Infrared camera

The TOP version of the notebook offers not only carbon fibers, but also a so-called infrared camera, which is located next to the classic one. However, it is not used for video calls, but for something diametrically different. With it, you will be able to use fast face logging (Windows Hello functionality) or it will alert you to prying eyes.

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Right next to the webcam there is an infrared camera that opens the door to reliable face recognition

The infrared camera is an important hardware component of pre-installed software called  ThinkPad PrivacyAlert, and you will appreciate it in public places such as airports or cafes. When active hardware accidentally notices that someone else is interested in your screen, it displays a notification and automatically reduces the viewing angle to complicate it.

However, in the tested 4K version, we did not enjoy the ThinkPad PrivacyGuard function and the associated PrivacyAlert, because the laptop does not offer it . You would have to reach for an alternative with a Full HD display.

Clear and loud sound

The laptop's audio system no longer consists of just two small speakers, as they have been supplemented by two more treble pieces.

The four present outputs offer clear and   loud  sound reproduction, which you will especially appreciate when watching movies or series. A pair of newly added speakers can be found below the display, while the other pair is on the back of the frame. In addition, the original hardware has been replaced by a larger and more powerful alternative.

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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon and its Dolby Atmos audio

SIM card slot

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon has a SIM card slot from a mobile operator. With this technology, it is possible to establish a direct connection with 4G networks , so there is no need to search for Wi-Fi or turn on a hotspot. However, Windows can also combine both types of Internet connections to cover dead spots. If one is not available, it uses the other.

You can even select applications that access mobile data in your operating system settings. The others will not sync until you connect to Wi-Fi.

If you want to be constantly online, you can't exist without this amazing functionality.

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SIM card slot

Practical docking station

Lenovo also offers a practical ThinkPad Ultra Docking Station on the key, which hides up to 135 W of power in the package. The main essence of these accessories are, among other things, additional ports so that the notebook can be turned into an even more capable workstation.

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon notebook consists of a pair of USB C ports through which charging takes place (one is for the docking station), a pair of USB A ports (3.1), HDMI and a port for the 3.5 mm jack from audio accessories. But it is also worth mentioning up to four well-placed microphones that can provide a thorough voice recording.

The docking station contains four USB A ports , a pair of USB C , VGA , HDMI , 2x DisplayPort , 3.5 mm ports and also a port for connecting an Ethernet cable.

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This is what the ThinkPad Ultra Docking Station looks like

As for the mechanism present, it all works very practically . All you have to do is place the laptop on the docking station and it will find its place on its own. When the construction fails, charging will start from then on, including transferring the image to the connected monitor. An ideal thing for people who leave the office frequently.

Display

One of the biggest cherries in the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon hardware is its display. When you reach for the TOP version, the technical specification consists of a 4K panel with HDR capacities (Dolby Vision HDR400), glossy surface, brightness up to 500 nits (Full HD version received 300 nits), 14-inch diagonal , 180-degree position  and thin side frames , thanks to which the laptop has a touch of modern product.

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The 4K display has no error.Such a fine image is dangerously addictive

Looking at such a detailed picture was an experience. However, it is a luxury for which you have to pay a considerable amount. Workstations like this don't need a lot of pixels and even nice colors. That is, only if a designer, graphic artist, photographer or video producer who travels frequently does not show interest in her. In this case, everyone could come to their own.

AMOLED is missing

The display of information is not taken care of by AMOLED, but by the IPS LCD panel , which definitely has nothing to be ashamed of. Although black is backlit, and therefore less real, it is much closer to reality than black on IPS LCD displays in the equipment of more affordable laptops.

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Result in DisplayCal

The DisplayCal application revealed to me that the tested ThinPad X1 Carbon covers almost 100 percent of the sRGB color range (81% Adobe RGB, 85% DCI-P3), which is great. The discreet panel displays realistic-looking and relatively colorful colors without any artificial embellishment. Most of you will no doubt be satisfied.

Multimedia experience

You will enjoy the biggest visual show only when you subscribe to the most expensive offer from Netflix and then play the available 4K video in the supported HDR standard. I have never seen such bright colors, fine details and such rich light or shadows on another laptop screen. You won't be able to break away from it, it's a bomb .

Power

At the heart of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon hardware, which takes care of performance, is the eighth-generation Intel Core i7 processor . On its right side there is 16 GB of RAM and on the left side there is up to 1 TB SSD for change, which means that it can handle any office work. And it is so. You can do even the most hellish multitasking and you won't notice anything cutting or falling.

Integrated graphics

However, gamers will be a little disappointed, as only the integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620 graphics card is available. Games like League of Legends or Heroes of the Storm can handle a unit, but if you run something more graphically demanding on a laptop, weaker characters can get on their nerves very quickly.

While playing, I noticed that the number of FPS dropped significantly out of nowhere. At one point, the screen showed 130 FPS and then only 40 for a few seconds. The problem recurred at irregular intervals - usually after a few minutes. I don't know exactly where the problem was, but it bothered me a lot.

Quiet cooling

Hardware cooling is completely silent under normal circumstances. The present fan will start to be heard only at a higher load on the processor. But this is not a disaster. Personally, I hardly noticed it during the more demanding use. Not even when the game was launched. In such a situation, however, it could be a little more powerful , because the center of the laptop was completely burning.

Battery

A fully charged battery in the bowels of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon was able to operate for approximately 5 hours at Ultra HD, ie 4K resolution and with the power saving mode on (brightness was 60 to 80%). It was a common office job that used a text editor, e-mail client and web browser, so nothing difficult.

However, when I set the Full HD resolution and connected a Razer mouse, including self- powered Hi-Fi speakers, there was a small surprise. The laptop started asking for the charger after 4 hours .

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USB C port through which charging takes place, including ports for the docking station

I therefore repeated the test. After the new one, but without a mouse and external speakers. And the result? After the restart (I had not restarted it before), the laptop showed me on the display that there is about 12 hours of endurance left. However, the joy did not last long. After about an hour of writing, the estimate changed to 4 hours and 30 minutes. At that time, about 83 percent remained until discharge.

I have to admit that my expectations of Full HD were significantly higher. The 13-inch MacBook Air can playfully handle 9 to 10 hours and is about 1, 500 euros cheaper.

It took about 1 hour and 10 minutes to fully charge the battery. In the product package you will find an adapter with a power of 65 W and an increasingly used USB C connector.

Conclusion

Top-of-the-line, top-equipped and top-looking notebook with high-end hardware, on which not only managers or businessmen will enjoy, but also those who work with design, graphics, photography or video. The ThinkPad X1 Carbon from Lenovo is made for everyone who needs a portable workstation with higher durability, higher security and higher reliability. You just need to get used to more regular touchpad cleaning and relatively low endurance.

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Carbon fibers give the laptop a touch of a premium product

Full HD alternative

If 4K resolution is unnecessary for you, the manufacturer offers a Full HD alternative with better durability, anti-reflection coating and ThinkPad PrivacyGuard security technology , which can reduce the angle of view of the display if necessary. You will also save a few hundred, because you will not pay even two thousand for a weaker-equipped version of the notebook.