Residing With a Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9

Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon collection has lengthy been a regular in light-weight govt notebooks. It is not the lightest company machine round—the ThinkPad X1 Nano and HP’s Elite Dragonfly Max are each lighter, however the X1 Carbon stays a terrific alternative.

The ninth-generation X1 Carbon does not depart a lot from the earlier variations, although it does include the Tiger Lake era of Intel processors. Earlier within the yr, I checked out this yr’s X1 Yoga, which in some ways is identical wonderful machine as a convertible, although with an aluminum casing. Measuring 0.59 by 12.4 by 8.7 inches, and weighing 2.49 kilos (3.22 kilos with the charger), the X1 Carbon stays among the many lightest 14-inch notebooks available on the market.  And the model I examined has the matte black carbon-fiber and magnesium-alloy chassis that has been the hallmark of the ThinkPad designs for years. 

Although the fundamental look is identical, there are some refined enhancements that stand out. To start with, it now has a show with a 16:10 ratio and smaller bezels, providing you with a bit extra depth on net pages and paperwork. The unit I used had a 1,920-by-1,200-pixel non-touch show rated at 400 nits of brightness, and it regarded fairly good, however there are touch-screen, privateness guard, and three,840-by-2,400 show choices, too.

As well as, the touchpad is a bit greater, which is sweet, although it nonetheless exhibits put on a bit greater than I’d like. It nonetheless has bodily buttons on the touchpad and the traditional TrackPoint pointing stick. I’ve gotten fairly used to ThinkPad keyboards through the years, and that is just about as you’d count on, with perform keys doubling for calling, and a fingerprint reader constructed into the facility key. It stays among the many greatest keyboards available on the market.

closeup of the ports on the side of the laptop

(Photograph: Molly Flores)

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon gives a wide selection of ports. The left aspect has two USB-C/Thunderbolt ports for charging, a USB-A port, and an HDMI port; the suitable aspect has a second USB-A port (one in all which gives energy) in addition to a headset jack.

In fact, for extra ports, you need to use a USB-C dock. I attempted it with each the ThinkPad Thunderbolt Dock 3 Gen 2 and OWC’s Thunderbolt Dock and it labored tremendous with exterior drives, an exterior keyboard, in addition to 2,560-by-1,440 HDMI and FHD DisplayPort exterior displays.

closeup of the ports on the side of the laptop

(Photograph: Molly Flores)

The unit I examined had an eleventh Era Intel Core i7-1185G7 (Tiger Lake), a 4-core/8-thread processor with a nominal pace of 3GHz and vPro help, made on Intel’s 10nm SuperFin course of, with 16GB of reminiscence and a 512GB SSD. Typically, it did barely higher on a lot of the regular benchmarks I ran than different machines with the identical processor (together with the HP Aero 840 G4 and the Dell Latitude 9420).

On my most troublesome efficiency checks, it took 42 minutes to finish a big Excel mannequin with an information desk and Monte Carlo simulations, about the identical as the opposite Tiger Lake machines. It took 47 minutes to execute a posh MatLab portfolio simulation. Once more, these have been just a bit higher than different Tiger Lake-U machines. Lenovo talks about how the rear air flow on this yr’s mannequin improves effectivity, and whereas I’m undecided that’s the rationale, it’s nonetheless good to see.

It has a 57-watt hour battery; I bought over 14 hours on my battery take a look at, an enchancment from final yr’s mannequin. PCMag bought greater than 19 hours in a video playback take a look at, the very best in school.

For video conferencing, I discovered the 720p webcam to be fairly good, if a bit on the darkish aspect. It has a good measurement button that prompts a bodily privateness cowl. 

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With 4 microphones, and audio system on each side of the keyboard plus two down-firing woofers, it sounded fairly good. A Dolby Entry app contains options reminiscent of keyboard noise suppression and a mode that focuses on the speaker, suppressing different noises within the room.

Choices embody 4G and 5G modems; and a digicam with an IR sensor, which you need to use for Human Presence Detection and face recognition. As a substitute, I used the fingerprint reader constructed into the facility button for Home windows Hey, and that labored tremendous.

Lenovo doesn’t embody a variety of additional software program. The Lenovo Business Vantage software program gives fast settings for energy, audio, and show choices, whereas a Fast Clear utility quickly locks the keyboard and touchpad when you clear them. These are good, however unobtrusive.

On the Lenovo web site, pricing begins at $1,332 for a mannequin with an Intel Core i5-1135G7, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. A mannequin just like the one I examined (however with 32GB of RAM) was promoting for $2,099. That’s worth for this class of machine. Total, the X1 Carbon is quick and light-weight, and nonetheless maybe the only option for companies that want light-weight notebooks. 

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 (2021)

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