Review Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 PERFECTION

all right so i think it’s time to take a break from gaming laptops and focus on something that appeals to the masses which is been on light laptops now we’ve covered some amazing laptops in the category both from amd and intel speaking of amd finding a zen3u series chip is still like a treasure hunt from region to region even though they offer incredible performance and amazing power efficiency intel on the other hand well you can literally just walk into any retail store and pick up a tiger lake laptop right away it’s just an unfortunate situation at the moment and clearly intel is at an advantage but anyways today we’re taking a look at this this is the thinkpad x1 carbon from lenovo now the thinkbad series has a special place in my heart because i remember the first laptop in the family being a thinkpad uh you know those really chunky ones i can’t really remember the exact model name of it but what i do remember is using dialup internet to access the web and sometimes when the trackpad doesn’t work i would use the track point and the dedicated left and right buttons to navigate through the ui which i believe was windows 95 man those days so the evolution of the thinkpad series is quite remarkable they keep getting thinner and lighter

while offering better performance and durability the x1 carbon has been available for years and we’re taking a look at their ninth generation offering what they’ve done here is they brought a few improvements to the table compared to the aegen x1 carbon a lot of which that i love personally so having used the xps 13 the razer book 13 the zen book 13 oled and a few other thin light laptops does the x1 carbon give those options a run for its money well let’s find out after we take it today’s video sponsor come on it’s easy you just have to catch them man my reflexes suck today i need more speed have no fear 360 hertz is here with the awesome fast ips panel that will make you get good the pg 259 qnr monitor comes with a regular stand and this awesome rog desk mounting kit to free up some real estate has built-in nvidia reflex latency analyzer to give competitor gamers an accurate measurement of system latency wow and of course it’s g-sync equipped to minimize display stutter and input lag get the proper speed to catch all the frames check it out below alright so let’s kick things off with pricing and the different spec configurations that you can opt for so the base model starts at a little over 1400 and for that you get a core i5 1135 g7 with four cores and eight threads eight gigabytes of ram that’s soldered uh 256 gigabytes of storage intel iris xz graphics and a 1200 p ips display the next tier comes with an i7 1165 g7 twice the memory and storage for around 1865.

The sample that i have over here comes with the upgraded display option that’s 4k and brighter for 2 000 and if you want obviously spec this thing out you can get the i7 1185 g7 with 32 gigabytes of ram and a terabyte of storage for an extra 400 now given that this is a lenovo laptop pricing is certainly not the most consistent factor just because there are many sales going around from a month-to-month basis with huge discounts so you could end up picking one up for a really good deal but then again examining their retail value i’ve come to realize that it’s actually more expensive than the xps 13 the razer book 13 and most definitely the zenbook 13 oled so what exactly are you getting for that price well i want to start with the exterior design and the build quality improvements that you get compared to the competition first off this entire chassis is made out of a combination of carbon fiber and magnesium alloy to enhance durability and the thinkpad series goes through a bunch of tests and it results in being able to withstand extreme temperatures mechanical shocks vibrations and a whole lot more in fact the limbo has a whole explainer series talking about their durability aspect of the thinkpad series which is certainly worth reading up it’s built really well and you can sort of feel that the moment you unbox this thing the only thing to watch out for is wear and tear over time because this material especially with the palm rest and obviously a carbon fiber finish is that it picks up finger oil easily so you’ll have to make sure to clean this every now and then to maintain its aesthetics speaking of which i really like it it’s an all-black chassis with the thinkpad logo tucked away in the corner with the red led that indicates the power state the hinge is really smooth and you can open it with one hand it’s a new single hinge design which is an upgrade from previous years and it barely exhibits any wobbles so that’s great news for anyone who loves to type with the laptops on their laps as for size keep in mind that this has a 14 inch display so it’s a little bit bigger than my xps 13 and even the razer book 13.

It’s still very thin coming in at 0.59 inches or 14.9 millimeters and given the carbon fiber and magnesium alloy construction it only weighs around 2.

5 pounds which is the lightest thinner light laptop that i’ve ever come across at least here in the studio so great stuff lenovo the power adapter is also extremely compact it’s a watt charger and it charges a laptop via usb type-c and interestingly this thing has rapid charge which juices up the laptop from zero to 80 in just about an hour that’s actually amazing for people who travel a lot let alone professionals who work most their time away from their workstations i just really hope other laptop manufacturers implement something like this with their devices moving forward the interior space is very similar compared to last gen you get the standard layout with the well-known track point right at the center along with its own dedicated primary left and right buttons if you pay close attention to the function keys you’ll notice that they’ve implemented communication commands that can be linked up to skype and microsoft teams the function and control keys are positioned differently but that’s a thinkpot hallmark so if you really find that annoying you can just go into vantage and switch that up which is definitely a nice option that they offer the power button also acts as a fingerprint reader and it works really well there’s also a separate chip inside that stores the data and of course you also have an ir camera with windows hello support for a simplified and secure login experience the keys themselves are amazing guys i’ve wanted to try one of these for a while because it’s been the gold standard for years and the travel distance is great it gives you a very satisfying feel when you compose sentences on top of that it’s also spill resistant which is a huge bonus i’m actually going to let mike chime in on his experience compared to his older 6th gen x1 carbon because he actually noticed a few interesting observations so that’s definitely worth on mentioning or worth watching they made the trackpad slightly wider and given that it has a glass surface navigating within windows was just a breeze it’s actually a very similar experience compared to the xps 13.

I also have to mention that the integrated left and right buttons are excellent in fact it’s tactile but at the same time also mushy it’s one of the best things that i’ve experienced on a laptop i think i’m going to do a quick sound test just to give you guys a quick idea or just a rough idea on how this thing feels taking a look at the i o i’m actually impressed with what the thinkpad offers considering its low profile design so on the left hand side you get a few thunderbolt 4 ports a usb type a 3.2 gen 1 port an hdmi 2.0 port switching over to the right hand side there’s kensington lock another usb type a 3.2 gen 1 port and a headphone jack i’m actually a little disappointed that they didn’t include usb 3.

2 gen 2 ports because they have twice the bandwidth compared to gen 1.

Um it could be a design limitation but it’s still weird to see on laptop that costs so much money moving on to the display and one of the biggest upgrades from gen 8 to gen 9 is the inclusion of a 16 by 10 screen which gives you more vertical screen real estate so you can have more content filling up your screen i have the uhd plus 60hz non-touch variant and it is an excellent panel with beautiful color reproduction it’s an ips panel and it covers 100 srgb 91 adobe rgb and 99 dcip3 that’s oled level guys which is amazing and on top of that it gets super bright our sample goes as far as 514 hits so whether if you’re a professional photographer or just someone who works on presentations for your company you’re seriously in for a treat my only issue though is it’s a glossy finish and lenovo hasn’t added any anti-reflective coating to cut down the reflections plus this panel doesn’t have the privacy guard feature that disables the view angle from both left and right to protect the content on the screen you only get that feature with the 1200pm matte display option which is 500 nits so just keep that in mind but also another thing to note is that those panels take a slight hit on the color gamut so what i’m going to do right now is let mike chime in with his thoughts on the new x1 carbon so take it away man all right guys eber asked me to jump in front of the camera here because i am a die hard thinkpad user i’ve been using actually this little guy right over here the thinkpad x1 carbon 6 gen for the last three years and it’s been through hell it’s been through rainstorms in taiwan it’s been lost in vegas it’s basically been through everything but it’s still going and i absolutely love it but like a lot of thinkpad users i don’t want there to be any changes to the thinkpad unless it’s absolutely necessary so what are my thoughts about this x1 carbon and i’ve been using this for about a week for the most part the changes that have been made intergenerationally they’ve been for the better for example that 16×10 screen that they’re now using from a

productivity standpoint it’s a huge upgrade now the funny thing for me is that going to that 16×10 screen i didn’t actually realize what i was getting but when i stepped back to my old thinkpad that’s what i realized what i was losing on the other hand i really have to appreciate the fact that they’ve upgraded the finish on it mine you can see the fingerprints and the shmu on there from a mile and a half away the new one it still gets marked up quite a bit but at the same time it doesn’t show quite as much of the junk as the older one the other thing that they really did upgrade or what i think is a downgrade is the keyboard that thinkpad keyboard has always been legendary mine i love the throw distance i love the fact that there’s a little bit of tactile feedback it just feels right the new one it’s really hard to describe this and i’m going to struggle with words here a little bit but it almost feels like they pulled a little bit of the life out of that older thinkpad keyboard in order to make it maybe a little bit more low profile in order to fit upgraded components inside other than that the port selection is the same so you don’t need to go to dongle life like you do with the xps 13 for example lenovo kept all of the ports that were there and upgraded the ones that needed to be upgraded the last thing i wanted to mention is the

webcam because something that i noticed again and again and again over the conference calls that i had in the last week or so so let’s get to that well guys this is the webcam test on the sixth generation x1 carbon and as you can see it’s a three-year-old laptop webcam there’s looks like there’s vaseline smeared over my face there’s a lot of noise going around and auto exposure even though auto exposure is off it looks like it’s still on by all of this flickering going on in the screen now i’m going to switch over to the new x1 carbon to really really hope that it looks a lot better than this one and welcome to the ninth generation thinkpad x1 carbon and what can i say oh my god i in some ways it has actually gotten worse than three years ago so first of all there’s this odd sharpening going on and yes i don’t look like i was smeared with vaseline except now i look like i have craters all over my face or something not only that is that the colors are so subdued it to me it really really doesn’t look good even looking at in this screen right now it

almost looks black and white i’m wondering if the actual recording is going to be like that other than that i mean luckily auto exposure turns itself off completely now so you can really balance that one way or another but otherwise i really want to know what you guys think about this to me it’s a disappointment there’s a professional device and yes you’re going to be seen on on zoom calls so a little little talking head down there but how is it looking like this and what i’ve done here is i’ve gone through the settings to do the best possible capture and this is it guys what do you think so yeah that webcam test didn’t go as well as we thought it would but hey on the positive side they’ve implemented dual front-facing speakers with this generation and it sounds amazing there is good clarity in the high end and the bass response is respectable to be honest i didn’t expect this from a thinkpad but i’m going to take it anyway guys upgradability is pretty limited on the x1 carbon the memory is soldered onto the pcb and the primary nvme ssd is right over here and the drive speeds are really fast specifically with reads however the right performance is average there is a wlan slot which adopts the m.2 interface but it’s strictly meant for networking cards i tried to install my toshiba rc100 ssd but the bios refused it now i’m aware that some gen 6 laptops can take secondary drives but with the gen 9 i’m

not really sure guys but anyways let’s talk about battery life because this thing has a 4k screen which to be honest is pointless in a 14-inch form factor but we were just interested to see how it stacks up with the other thin and laptops that we’ve tested and well first of all if you want the best battery life absolutely avoid the 4k screen and maybe even think about grabbing the i5 instead of the i7 our sample has but even with those two things working against it the x1 carbon actually gets some reasonable numbers at almost 13 hours in the light load test remember that other than the dell xps 13 all the other competitors here have either smaller screens or lower resolutions so with that in mind this is actually pretty impressive and it makes me wonder if the 1200p model would come closer to these zenbook numbers under a heavier load well there’s nothing to complain about here either with the x1 posting the longest battery life of any thin and light tiger lake laptop we’ve seen so far i mean look this class of thingpad isn’t meant for running multi-core loads while being unplugged but if you need to well at least you won’t have to find an outlet every hour but this all leads to something pretty interesting about this laptop and that’s its

performance mode you see lenovo has always targeted the carbon series at professionals who just want to plug in their laptop and start using it day in and day out with minimum amount of fuss so that means no fiddling around with settings or bloatware and most of all nothing that takes away from productivity time anyways that led them to create a really straightforward power plan where the modes are switched through the standard windows power manager in your taskbar there are two auto modes that allow the system to manage surface temperatures cpu speeds and noise while favoring either a balanced approach or a more performance area there’s also a manual performance mode that simply allows the processor to run at higher speeds for longer periods of time you can actually see this quite well with both performance and auto performance delivering really similar power input right up until the four-minute mark of our test then the algorithm lenovo uses in auto mode dials things back to between 12 and 15 watts until surface temperatures are reduced and then it kicks things up again meanwhile performance mode simply runs at 23 watts all day auto balance on the other hand well i’m not sure if you want to be running this for any intensive tasks since it limits the processor to just 7 watts that’s

perfect for most the folks who are looking at the x1 but it’s terrible for anything other than a light workload you can actually see what happens with clock speeds when those three modes are being used balanced barely sticks above one gigahertz while the other two performance modes offer more than double the amount of speed and honestly if you’re in a pension trying to render out a file or get a bit of extra transcoding work done ditching out the out-of-the-box balance mode is the only thing to do that all translates into auto performance and performance hitting just above 95 degrees for shorter amounts of time before the fans pick up a bit of steam and draws things down to a lot more reasonable levels but you can still see how the automatic setting gets quite aggressive for a few minutes before letting its foot off the gas and it lets temperatures spike again it does that over and over again when you look at balance well it’s what you probably expected it’s cool and really well behaved right across the board barely reaching above 50 degrees but good news about all of this is regardless of whatever mode you’re in the thinkpad x1 carbon is one of the quietest machines out here for the professionals and even students who buy these things that’s pretty important since the last thing anyone wants is for a

meeting to be interrupted by a loud laptop and even when running at full tilt surface temperatures are well managed which means working with it on your lap in the airport or in a classroom setting shouldn’t really pose any problems there is a small hotspot on the back but it’s focused in an area that doesn’t usually come in contact with your body now moving on to real world benchmarks in the auto performance mode and the results here are pretty much in line with what we’ve come to expect from the i7 1165 g7 in a thin and light laptop it’ll lose to the amd cpus and multi-threaded benchmarks since they have double the number of processing threads one of the other challenges here is auto performance mode doesn’t run at a constant speed so the results tend to vary a lot but at the same time it gives excellent performance in areas where the x1 carbon is likely going to be used most of the time and that’s likely thread situations like word processing spreadsheets exports and pdf creation the premiere results need a bit of an explanation here because they’re almost too good to be true basically what’s happening here is lenovo’s doing app detection in the auto performance mode we’re using so in this situation the xe graphics gets a bit more juice and operates at about 225 megahertz since premiere is gpu bound that little extra bit of performance makes a big difference in longer

renders like this one now taking a look at gaming performance this is obviously not something that people find themselves using the x1 for but still i know for a fact that when we used to travel to shows mike played civ on his carbon during longer flights i mean it’s a great way to pass time and with the iris xc graphics this generation is actually able to play most basic titles at some pretty decent frame rates unless you get into one of those situations where intel’s drivers end up crashing most of the time i’ve got to say this is one area where amd really needs to step things up because their vega architecture is really really starting to show its age on the laptop side of things so final thoughts on the x1 carbon gen 9 from lenovo and guys i’m seriously impressed with this laptop the first thing that comes to my mind is just how lightweight it is while being extremely durable the 16×10 screen is gorgeous and it’s really bright um the keyboard is still best in class battery life is also pretty good but i would honestly pick up the 1200p option if you want to get a little bit more life out of this thing the performance is also

quite nice as well and most importantly it’s one of the quietest laptops that we’ve tested under heavier load situations now if you look at the price situation it is expensive but what you’re really paying for is something that’s going to last you for years to come ahead and you also get the enhanced security features like a privacy switch an ir camera lenovo self healing bios a dtpm chip that encrypts user data now with the average consumer care about those things probably not in fact it’s really geared towards professionals or people who work in the corporate side where they deal with classified information and i think most likely you might just end up getting one of these through work instead of paying out of your own pocket personally i would pick this over the xps 13 just because it got it’s got more ports and it’s matte black which is my vibe and oh if you do find it on sale and if it fits your budget i would definitely pick this up without even thinking for a second so on that note thank you so much for watching i hope you were able to take away everything that you needed to know about the x1 carbon from lenovo let me know what you guys think about this little thing because um this is my first thinkpad laptop in a while um and i’m seriously impressed i kind of wish i i think i might switch from the xps 13 but i have to send this back so yeah anyways that’s for me guys oh and don’t forget to spend responsibly

Read More: DDR4 vs DDR5 – Gaming Benchmarks with Alder Lake