Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon 7th Gen is less excellent than the 6th Gen. Inside a light chassis with a gorgeous 14-inch 4K HDR screen and a great keyboard, the newest generation of this corporate stalwart have an incredibly beautiful 14-inch 4K HDR screen and superb keyboard, as well as excellent Vantage utility software. The downside is that it doesn’t have good battery life in comparison to the previous versions of this premium business notebook. Lenovo does everything they can to make up for it elsewhere though.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 7th Gen basic features
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 7th Gen is available at B&H for $2,299. Or you can buy it from CDW for $2,352. The only difference between the two laptops is that the one sold by Lenovo has a 1TB SSD (instead of 128GB) and costs more – $2195.40 after an e-coupon. But because the cost of the laptop with a larger SSD is higher, it’s worth getting this laptop instead because you get more storage space.
- CPU: Intel Core i7-8565U Processor
- GPU: Iris Xe
- RAM: 16GB
- Storage: 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD
- Display: 14-inch, 1920 x 1200-pixel 16:10
- Battery: 15:39
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2
- Size: 12.4 x 8.7 x 0.6 inches
- Weight: 2.5 pounds
- Flawless design and engineering
- World-class keyboard
- HDMI and USB-A ports, as well as Thunderbolt 4
- Available 4G or 5G mobile broadband
- Clever, sanitizing-friendly Quick Clean function
- Excellent battery life
- No OLED screen option
- No SD or microSD card slot
The new X1 Carbon has a Thunderbolt connection in addition to many other USB ports, including USB-A, USB-C, HDMI, and Ethernet. You can use two 4K displays with the laptop if you have a Thunderbolt-equipped dock.
Unexpectedly light and sturdy
I picked up the ThinkPad X1 Carbon 7th Gen laptop for the first time without feeling like it would fall out of my hands. It weighed 2.38 pounds, which I liked. The carbon-fiber lid made it feel good to hold, and the magnesium-alloy frame helped, too. But because this laptop has a battery-eating 4K HDR screen, you will need to have an AC adapter with you at all times when using it, which adds about 3 ounces to its weight.
Our test model had a design called “Carbon Weave.” It was textured though it doesn’t look like it. You can feel the texture when you touch it. The newer version of this laptop is also strong and has a certification that makes it resistant to drops, spills, and dust.
Lenovo has made the new ThinkPad 14 thinner than before, but it is still strong. There was no keyboard flexing or a sliding display. I tried to bend the lid, but most people can’t do that much.
The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Extreme is a good laptop. It has a 4K display, HDR400, and Dolby Vision. One day I was looking at the screen when I could have been working on the laptop. The picture of the Oregon coast in late-afternoon sunlight looked very clear and had great color balance.
The brightness of this screen is limited to 464 nits. If you move the slider at the top end, it will become less bright. When you are near zero, it becomes more gradual until it reaches zero. Lenovo says that this is typical behavior. The screen is glossy which might cause glare in bright environments or places where there are a lot of lights like windows or lamps.
An average webcam, but stellar sound
I have spent a lot of words talking about the good sound that Samsung’s Galaxy Book S has. It is loud with a good soundtrack. But Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon 7th Gen has an even higher bar for sound quality. Dolby, who produced the Dolby Vision HDR technology and the Dolby Atmos speaker system, has gone above and beyond what was expected.
The sound quality of the speakers on the laptop is surprisingly good. They are much louder than any computer speaker I have ever heard before. On test clips, there is a distinct sound that comes from each side and also an overall punch and clarity that is uncommon from laptop speakers.
Sure, if you play music on a good set of speakers or even a connected speaker with low bass from the laptop, it won’t sound as good. The music will be distorted when you turn up the volume too loud. Even though this is true, these speakers can go high and produce sounds that few laptops can match.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon has a 720p webcam, which is the same as most laptops. However, it does not take good pictures. There are only one manual light control and no HDR options available. With Lenovo’s Vantage software you can get more webcam choices, but they are difficult to find and use.
The webcam is turned on and ready to use. The ThinkShutter (like previous versions) allows you to block your webcam for privacy. There is also a fingerprint sensor next to the trackpad, and another way of logging in with Windows Hello. Both things are working fine.
The ThinkPad X1 Carbon 7th Gen has a webcam. It can pick up your voice and send it back to you. You can use the control on the keyboard to disable it if you want. It is also helpful when people speak loudly so they can be heard better.
A superb keyboard, as expected
The ThinkPad X1 Carbon 7th Gen is one of the most comfortable and responsive laptops we’ve ever used. Each key is firm and robust, but a bit stiff. With a decent landing pad, typing is very pleasant. Lenovo offers three levels of backlighting, which are enough but not particularly bright.
Lenovo has a button in the middle of the keyboard. It is smaller than a trackpad below the spacebar. The precision trackpad is tiny, smooth, and clickable up to one finger wide on top. If you push down on the button while pushing your TrackPoint upwards or downwards it scrolls down or up respectively.
Some Lenovo computers may be outdated. The Function key is still in the bottom left corner of the keyboard. You can change the Ctrl and Fn keys using Vantage software from Lenovo. But this choice has been taken away so you cannot do it anymore.
Lenovo adds Glance to its Vantage software
One of the few problems with Lenovo’s Vantage software is that it doesn’t have some of the features found in HP TouchPad firmware. The other problem is that its front page dashboard is now full of useless marketing stuff. Ignore those, and you’ll find that Vantage offers a fast way to see what all your system resources are and also how long your warranty lasts.
Lenovo’s system updates are controlled by configurable settings. The menu also gives suggestions for using your computer and allows customizations of certain functions. You can switch off or on USB ports for devices that need to be charged in My Device Settings, you can change the function keys, and even make your shortcuts if you want to go deeper into My Device Settings.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of third-party software on the ThinkPad X1 Carbon. I am not sure I like it. But one piece of software that I do like is Glance by Mirametrix. It uses eye-tracking technology which was developed by Tobii and has transformed into commercial use.
ThinkGeek Glance uses a standard webcam. It can lock your screen when you are not there and notify you if someone is looking at your screen. If you have two monitors, it will blur the side of the other monitor that you are not looking at. This program can also keep track of where your eyes go so that if you look away from one computer to the other, the cursor will transfer to that other computer as long as it sees what your eyes do.
How does the ThinkPad X1 Carbon perform?
The ThinkPad 1 Carbon is a laptop with a long history. It gets good reviews from most people who use it. For most people, the 8th-generation Intel Core processors are enough for everyday tasks. But if you want to do more things on your laptop, like watch videos in 4K, then your performance will be worse.
In the graphs below, we show you how better the new ThinkPad is. The old one has a smaller, less power-hungry screen.
We use the PCMark 8 test to assess performance when performing spreadsheets, video conferences, and word processing.
The laptop’s PCMark Work score was good, but it ranked at the bottom in PCMark 8 Work. The reason is that all the laptops at the bottom have 4K displays and they need lots of processing power.
For testing how fast a laptop’s CPU is, you can use Cinebench. This is a program that tests how well your computer works with its cores. It tests the speed of the computer. The ThinkPad X1 Carbon 7th Gen got one of the best results in this category.
HandBrake is a test that is different than Handbrake: a movie is transcoded for an Android tablet over time. This test looks at how long the CPU in the laptop can last and how effective the cooling system is.
The ThinkPad’s cooling system is aggressive, and it pays off. The Thinkpad X1 Carbon has noisemaking, though it isn’t particularly awful.
The 3DMark “Sky Diver” test is a test that people use to see how good their laptop is. We didn’t think much of it at first, but then we saw that the ThinkPad X1 Carbon was better than other laptops with the same graphics card.
Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon has a 4K screen. This drains the battery fast, but we can use it on Airplane mode and set the brightness to a good level for a computer. We then played one video over and over until the battery ran out.
A laptop that only lasts for 6.25 hours is not good enough. The Lenovo we reviewed came with performance settings on maximum, so we retested it on a lower setting and the battery lasted for 7 hours.
I liked the ThinkPad X1 Carbon 7th Gen. It was fast and reliable, and it made typing easier. When I found out that the audio was nice, I felt happy. The Vantage software is really good, and when I tried the Glance add-on, it made me feel even better about my decision to buy this laptop.
But if you don’t have the power to run it, no feature matters. The stunning 4K display may make up for years of dull, matte ThinkPad displays, and I adore using it while connected. However, the toll 1080p takes on battery life should make you think twice about it, especially if you’re on the road a lot. While we continue to recommend the 7th Gen for our Editors’ Choice award, we’ve lowered its rating from five stars to four stars due to battery life issues.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
Core i7-8565U, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, 14" FHD Display, Backlit Keyboard
Product Brand: Lenovo
Product Currency: USD
Product Price: 1996
Product In-Stock: InStock