Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon Review (2021): Portable, Power, and Cost

Lenovo’s X1 Carbon a very good laptop you can buy. At 2.5 pounds, it’s light, thin, and portable. It provides plenty of power for most tasks, all -day battery life, and – unlike its competition – plenty of ports for all your accessories.

We checked the The Linux version of the X1 Carbon last year, and everything in this review also applies to the updated version of the machine as well. The main change in the 2021 X1 Carbon is the transfer of Intel’s 11th-generation processors. Oh, and the new, relatively tall screen, which now has a 16:10 aspect ratio, like Dell XPS 13.

Carbon Core

The new X1 Carbon is not a design revolution. That’s a good thing, though, because the plot has always worked well and doesn’t require a change. It’s lighter than most of the competition, especially business class laptops like the Dell Latitude, and the soft carbon fiber surface is a Thinkpad hallmark at this point. It depends on your own aesthetics, I think, but I’ve always preferred the look and feel of Thinkpad carbon fiber over aluminum and laptop titanium.

All the familiar, and deservedly famous, elements of the Thinkpad are here: Good keyboard; the red pointer nub is between the GH and B keys; and there are three buttons at the top of the trackpad.

There are also many ports. Unlike other ultraportables-I’m looking at you, XPS 13 and MacBook Air—There are two USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports, two USB-A ports, HDMI 2.0 port, headphone jack and Kensington lock slot. The only thing missing is an SD or microSD card slot. However, a dongle is better than the half -dozen you need on other laptops.

The most noticeable change in the Gen 9 X1 Carbon is the new 16:10 screen size. Like I said Dell did same change to XPS, you wouldn’t think it could be much of a deal, but it’s actually noticed in day-to-day work.

That extra half inch of screen means there is more vertical space for documents, web pages and spreadsheets, which means less scrolling and is often made to make life more enjoyable. When I sent the X1 Carbon back to Lenovo, my X250’s 16: 9 screen suddenly felt narrower. The body size and weight difference compared to the 16: 9 model don’t matter, and any extra screen you can get from a laptop is a win for the user.

The model I tested has an FHD + panel (1920 x 1200-pixels), but there is a 4K option available if you want it. The 1080p version has a matte panel though which is a plus if you’re working in bright situations. The light only reaches 365 nits, which isn’t industry leading by any means, but it’s bright enough to sit outside on a hot summer day and do some sunlight chores. Look, there is no OLED screen, which is sad.

Perhaps the most disappointing, other than the missing SD card slot, is the 720p webcam. No Lenovo I’ve used has a unique webcam, but it’s not enough to tell my colleagues how bad it was when I used it for a Zoom meeting. Given the large number of Zoom meetings held by the average corporate worker these days, it seems like a big deal on Lenovo’s part. Even to be fair, no one makes a computer ready to put a decent camera on a laptop, so if you really need high quality video you better than a third-party webcam.

Photo: Lenovo

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