Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 review: A fast but flawed version of a great laptop

Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10.
Enlarge / Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10.

Andrew Cunningham

Features at a Glance: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10
Display 14.0-inch 1920×1200 (162 PPI) touchscreen
SE Windows 11 Pro
CPU Intel Core i7-1260P (4 P-cores, 8 E-cores)
RAM 16 GB LPDDR5 5200 (soldered)
GPUs Intel Iris Xe (integrated)
Storage 1TB NVMe SSD
Networking Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.3
Battery 57Wh
Ports Two Thunderbolt 4, two 5Gbps USB-A, HDMI 2.0b, headphones
Cut 8.76 × 12.43 × 0.6 inches (222.5 × 315.6 × 15.36 mm)
lester 2.48 pounds (1.12 kg)
guarantee 1 year
Price as reviewed $1,891

Dell’s XPS 13 has been driving the Windows side of the thin-and-light laptop race for years, ever since it embraced the now ubiquitous ultra-thin display bezel. back in 2015. Dell also had a leg up on the competition a few years ago when it upgraded to a slightly larger screen with a 16:10 aspect ratio, further improving the usability of the design without increasing its size.

But for power users who can afford to spend a few hundred extra dollars, Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon has always been an attractive upsell. It’s a bit lighter than Dell’s ultraportable, but still manages to fit in a larger screen and better selection of ports. Lenovo laptop keyboards and touchpads are almost always best in class. And the ThinkPad’s pedigree as a business laptop means the Carbon’s design still winks at repairability and expandability, even though many of its internals have still been soldered down to save space. ‘space.

This year version of the X1 Carbon– we’re at Gen 10, if anyone’s counting – doesn’t change much on the outside. But it includes new 12th generation Intel Core processors, which, as we have seen in other laptops, can be a blessing and a curse. Performance in CPU-intensive tasks can be faster, sometimes dramatically. But that comes at the expense of extra heat and battery life, and it’s a tough compromise to recommend for a general-purpose ultraportable.

Look and feel

The all-new X1 Carbon features an excellent ThinkPad keyboard and trackpad.
Enlarge / The all-new X1 Carbon features an excellent ThinkPad keyboard and trackpad.

Andrew Cunningham

Last year, Lenovo slightly redesigned the X1 Carbon for the Gen 9 model, replacing the 16:9 display with a 16:10 version and ditching Lenovo’s semi-proprietary docking port in favor of a pair of Thunderbolt ports. The Gen 10 model is nearly identical – the only physical change I noticed was a slightly raised area above the webcam on the screen bezel, likely allowing more room for the upgraded 1080p webcam (the Gen 9 was using a 720p model).

For those of you unfamiliar with the intricacies of the X1 Carbon’s design history, the main thing to know is that it takes the classic black angular style of the ThinkPad and boils it down almost as far as it goes. (I say “almost” because the X1 Nano is one thing). It’s not as square as some of the cheaper L and E series ThinkPads, but it certainly uses the same design language that Lenovo and IBM have been refining for 30 years. It’s both a blessing and a curse – its sturdy frame and soft-touch finish are great to hold and carry, but it’s a hand oil and fingerprint magnet that’s hard to get away with. keep completely clean.

The fingerprint sensor mounted on the power button.  The faintly visible mark of my finger is a testament to how easily the X1 Carbon's finish picks up smudges.
Enlarge / The fingerprint sensor mounted on the power button. The faintly visible mark of my finger is a testament to how easily the X1 Carbon’s finish picks up smudges.

Andrew Cunningham

The most important ingredient in any ThinkPad is a top-tier keyboard and trackpad, and the Gen 10 version of the X1 Carbon has both. A large precision touchpad and a red ThinkPad pointer are both included, and both work as expected. The chiclet-style keys are well-spaced and nicely backlit. The keys aren’t as firm as those on Dell’s current XPS models, and I was intermittently annoyed that the Fn key was on the left left Ctrl key instead of the other way around, although this is a long standing ThinkPad quirk that can be fixed in software if it bothers you. But overall, it’s one of the best keyboards you can get in a laptop right now.

Port selection remains one of the X1 Carbon’s best selling points against the XPS 13 or even a MacBook Air. The Carbon outperforms both in quantity and variety: a pair of Thunderbolt 4 ports, one of which is used to charge the laptop, plus a USB-A port on either side, a full-size HDMI port, and an helmet. The Carbon ditched its microSD card reader several generations ago, which is disappointing, and the XPS 13 puts Thunderbolt ports on both sides of the laptop so you can charge it (or plug it into a docking station). , or other) on each side. Laptops with only Thunderbolt/USB-C ports aren’t as troublesome as they used to be. But having extra ports is convenient and useful for anyone who regularly uses external displays or other accessories.

The X1 Carbon Gen 10's 1920×1200 base display isn't the brightest we've ever tested, but it fits well and the matte finish helps with outdoor visibility.
Enlarge / The X1 Carbon Gen 10’s 1920×1200 base display isn’t the brightest we’ve ever tested, but it fits well and the matte finish helps with outdoor visibility.

Andrew Cunningham

The X1 Carbon can be configured with any of the Seven different display panels, including 4K, OLED, privacy screen and touchscreen variants; choosing one of these will subtly alter the battery life and weight of the laptop. Our Lenovo-supplied review unit uses the 1920×1200 IPS touchscreen, with peak brightness of 396 nits, an impressive contrast ratio of 1744:1, and 98% sRGB and 71.5% DCI-gamut coverage. P3 (all measured by our i1 Display Studio colorimeter). Even the base screen is bright and colorful, and if you’re still using a 16:9 display on an older laptop, you’ll find that an extra 120 pixels of height makes a surprisingly big difference to usability.

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