Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon, New For 2019, 7th Gen Is The Charm
To start with, this year's model is thinner, lighter, has even more powerful hardware packed under the hood, and boasts an even nicer display. Intel has updated its Kaby Lake R low-power CPUs, so we get Intel's latest here, just prior to the Ice Lake 10nm onslaught that likely won't hit critical mass until well into Q4. Regardless, CPU models both with and without vPro remote management features are available. Lenovo provides a dizzying five choices of display technology, too, including a touch-sensitive 1080p screen, the same 1440p display that last year's model had, and a new, brighter 4K IPS panel. All of that hardware is packed in a chassis that's both thinner and lighter than last time around, too. It's certainly not an inexpensive PC, but with a premium machine, the hope is that you're buying more than just specs. The build quality needs to be excellent and extra features worth paying for need to come along for the ride. Let's see what the latest ThinkPad X1 Carbon has in store for its more premium price point.
|Processor||Intel Core i7-8665U with vPro (1.90GHz, max 4.80GHz, 4 Cores, 8MB Cache) - Tested
Intel Core i7-8565U Processor (1.80GHz, max 4.60GHz, 4 Cores, 8MB Cache)
Intel Core i5-8365U with vPro (1.60GHz, max 4.10GHz, 4 Cores, 6MB Cache)
Intel Core i5-8265U Processor (1.60GHz, max 3.90GHz, 4 Cores, 6MB Cache)
|OS||Windows 10 Pro 64-bit - Tested
Windows 10 Home 64-bit
|Display||14" 4K (3840x2160), 10-bit color, 500 nits, HDR400 certified - Tested
14" WQHD (2560 x 1440) IPS, 300 nits, anti-glare
14" FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS, low power, 400 nits, anti-glare
14" FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS PrivacyGuard, 400 nits, anti-glare
14" Touch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS, 300 nits, anti-glare
|Graphics||Intel UHD 620|
|Storage||Up to 1TB Samsung PM981a NVMe M.2 SSD (x4 lanes) - 1TB Tested|
|Memory||16GB LPDDR3-2133 MHz (Soldered)|
|Audio||Stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos|
|Camera||720p Webcam with infrared sensor; Windows Hello supported and ThinkShutter privacy guard|
|Networking||Intel Wireless-AC 9560 (802.11ac)|
|Ports: Left|| 1x HDMI 1.4
2x Thunderbolt 3 (Power delivery supported)
1x USB-A 3.0
1x proprietary dock connector
1x headphone/microphone combo jack
|Ports: Right|| 1x USB-A 3.0
1x Kensington lock port
|Keyboard||Chicklet-style tenkey-less, spill resistant, white LED backlit|
|Battery||4-Cell Li-Ion (3230mAh 15.36v, 50 Wh)
|Weight||Starts at 2.4 lbs (1.08 kg)|
|Dimensions||12.71 x 8.54 x 0.58 inches (323 x 217 x 14.95 mm)|
|Price||Starting at $1,253.40 ($1999 as configured currently)|
Where multiple configuration options are listed above, we tested the configuration in the bold font. What we've got here is the biggest, baddest X1 Carbon you can buy. You get a full terabyte of Samsung's latest and greatest NVMe SSDs along with Intel's refreshed Core i7-8665U with four cores and eight threads backed by eight megabytes of L3 cache. That CPU tops out at a maximum of 4.8 GHz, which is sure to make a big difference in short bursts. 16 GB of LPDDR3 memory feeds the CPU and acts as a frame buffer for the UHD 620 integrated GPU.
Thunderbolt 3 ports, which also support USB 3.1 gen 2 via their Type-C connectors. The second one is coupled with a proprietary network extension port, and the two jacks together support a variety of ThinkPad docking stations. You'll also find USB 3.0 Type-A, HDMI 1.4, and four-pole headset jacks. Around on the right side, there's another USB 3.0 Type-A port, Kensington lock connector, the power button, and and a vent where the system exhausts excess heat. The only port that's really missing is an SD card reader. While it's probably tough to find room for it in a system this small, it's still a must-have, especially in this price range. Consider us disappointed there.
ThinkPad X1 Carbon are really nice to type on as usual. There's enough travel that the keys feel responsive, and the slight concave shape cradles your fingertips. That's not really any different than last year's ThinkPad, but props to Lenovo for sticking with something that works really well and maintaining what we feel is one of the best laptop keyboard in the business. Speaking of which, as usual, Lenovo's trademark Trackpoint eraser-style nub sits in the center of the keyboard to move the mouse. There's also an adequate (though not overly big) touchpad at the bottom. Multi-touch gestures for scrolling and zooming work as expected, and there are three buttons, as is the ThinkPad custom. To the right of that is a fingerprint sensor for folks who want to get into the system without a PIN or password.
At the top of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon's screen is a 720p webcam with an infrared sensor, which supports Windows Hello for face unlock. The ThinkShutter physical cover for the camera returns from last year's model, which privacy-minded users will really appreciate. Windows cannot access the camera at all while the shutter is engaged. With the shutter open, a white LED indicates when the camera is capturing video. While Lenovo isn't the only company doing this (some of HP's EliteBook systems have this as well), we think the ThinkShutter is a really nice touch.
Next we'll open this baby up and see what's under the hood.