Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 Review

For almost a decade, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon has been the corporate’s most iconic skinny & mild, and we’re reviewing the ninth technology 2021 model this time. The brand new options that caught my consideration embody the 16:10 UHD show, the improved Dolby Atmos speaker system, and the eleventh Gen Intel Core computing platform.

As examined, our laptop unit has this configuration: Intel Core i7-1165G7 (+ Iris Xe built-in graphics), 16GB of RAM, 512GB SSD (OPAL), and a 4K UHD non-touch show. We’ll go over different configuration choices under, however “as examined”, this configuration prices $1865 on Lenovo.com.

Nevertheless, you will get the similar benchmark efficiency with the 8GB RAM and 256 GB SSD configuration value $1540, and that’s the baseline worth we’ll use for efficiency/worth ratios.

Industrial Design

lenovo thinkpad x1 carbon gen9 review 05

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen9’s design gives core applied sciences which might be engaging to many customers because it has a 2.49Lbs weight (solely 14.9mm thick), superior sturdiness, and a very good performance-to-weight ratio.

These traits are fascinating to street warriors and executives who can’t afford to expertise failure or downtime throughout enterprise travels.I had laptop failures a few instances whereas overseas, and it’s depressing if you don’t even have the choice of shopping for a laptop with a QWERTY US keyboard.

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon’s sturdiness is constructed throughout a number of layers. First, the chassis/outer shell is product of very powerful carbon fiber and magnesium materials, therefore the title. The chassis makes it very inflexible and protects the inner parts.

lenovo thinkpad x1 carbon gen9 review 13

Nevertheless, the inflexible chassis may nonetheless carry shockwaves generated by a drop or tough transportation. That’s why the design additionally considers vibrations and is licensed to move the army transport MIL-STD-810G certification.


Lastly, the keyboard is spill-proof, and that’s an enormous benefit over different laptops that don’t supply the identical safety. Spills are probably the most widespread laptop killers, and this function is the primary line of protection.

The brand new single-hinge design may assist with the general robustness of the show/chassis, however we don’t have knowledge or checks that may show it. It does look neat, for positive.

Keyboard and Trackpad

lenovo thinkpad x1 carbon gen9 review 07

The ninth gen X1 Carbon keyboard has all of the hallmarks of a ThinkPad keyboard and is exceptionally comfy to kind on. The curved keys, ample spacing, and lengthy key journey make lengthy working hours extra tolerable.

The keys floor coating has the correct quantity of friction in order that your fingertips received’t slip, however it’s not abrasive both. I just lately typed on a barely slippery keyboard, and it was not an awesome sensation.

The glass trackpad has grown in dimension and is 10% bigger than final yr’s mannequin. The ThinkPad bodily trackpad buttons are my favourite (trackpad) function as they’re much extra exact and correct than a trackpad “faucet.” When you do loads of click on & drag, you’ll love them too.


lenovo thinkpad x1 carbon gen9 review 01lenovo thinkpad x1 carbon gen9 review 02

For a 2.49 Lbs skinny & mild, the ports assortment is phenomenal. Persons are used to only having a few USB-C ports, however right here Lenovo means enterprise, examine the port choice:

2x USB Kind C, Thunderbolt 4
2x USB Kind A, 3.2 Gen1
1x Customary HDMI 2.0
1x Anti-theft slot (Kensington)
1x nano-SIM tray for 5G (non-obligatory)
1x 3.5mm audio connector

The USB-A and full-size USB are incredible choices as you might be much less more likely to require a dongle that received’t be there if you want it probably the most. Thunderbolt 4 is a big improve for individuals who need a number of 4K screens, and naturally, the full-size HDMI video output is super-convenient for boardroom projectors.

The anti-theft lock will allow you to assault the laptop to a desk or espresso desk. Given the alarming enhance in laptop theft in some cities, this easy (however uncommon) safety choice might prevent fairly a bit of cash.


The safe webcam unlock is my first choice, but when your organization asks to maintain the camera lens closed, the fingerprint sensor is a good backup and doubles as the facility button. I most well-liked the massive and spherical button present in different Lenovo laptops, however there’s in all probability not sufficient room on in chassis.

Be aware that it’s doable to arrange the pc to make use of fingerprint authentication to occur pre-BIOS, not only for Home windows authentification. That’s one more layer of safety that opponents won’t have.


lenovo thinkpad x1 carbon gen9 review 04Lenovo makes use of upwards-firing audio system now

The quad-speaker sound system works very effectively, and it’s nice to see Lenovo constantly enhance the sound high quality of the X1 Carbon. Just some years in the past, the ThinkPad audio wasn’t almost nearly as good, and the ThinkPad design groups delivered audible outcomes from the consumer (and reviewers) suggestions.

The sound is evident and distortion-free. Though not as highly effective as Lenovo’s soundbar designs, the audio system are loud sufficient to comfortably watch a film and even music clips in a lodge room.


lenovo thinkpad x1 carbon gen9 review 14The 4K show is greatest for Artistic customers, however FHD’s high quality is superb toolenovo thinkpad x1 carbon gen9 review 03The dearer UHD show will get a visual carbon fiber weave sample. Neat!

The change to a 16:10 facet ratio provides a slight increase in productiveness, and we’ll quickly review the ThinkPad X1 Titanium, which has a 3:2 facet ratio (my favourite for work).

Our unit has the UHD (3840×2400) decision, 500 NITs of brightness, and wonderful colour copy. Lenovo has 4 show choices, together with one with the “ThinkPad Privateness Guard” function that forestalls individuals from glancing at your show’s content material from the aspect.

Lenovo additionally has a webcam function to detect if somebody is your display screen from behind you. In line with pc safety specialists, it’s a widespread manner for info to leak out.


Most individuals must select primarily based on two issues: contact (or not) and FHD+ vs. UHD+. FHD+ laptops could have higher battery endurance, and that’s the primary purpose to contemplate that alternative.

Visually, the UHD+ show is best, and we might advocate that one in case your work requires very correct colours. That mentioned, the FHD colours are largely correct sufficient for net growth, for instance. Total, that’s an awesome array of show choices.

FHD+ 400-nit, low blue mild
FHD+ 400-nit multi-touch, low blue mild (75% DCI-P3)
FHD+ 500-nit with ThinkPad Privateness Guard
UHD+ 500-nit, low blue mild, and Dolby Imaginative and prescient (100% DCI-P3)

The webcam is comparatively customary and on par with different laptops inside this worth vary. Most mid-range smartphones’ selfie cameras would do higher, however a cellular display screen isn’t nice for convention calls during which you share screens, and many others.


lenovo thinkpad x1 carbon gen9 review 12An in depth-up view of the underside cooling vent and followers

Efficiency-wise, the Intel eleventh Gen Core i7-1165G7 brings a really good increase for single-thread and graphics efficiency over the tenth technology. In consequence, the brand new Carbon X1 Gen9 sees an considerable enhance in “velocity for the worth” and “efficiency per Lbs” in contrast with earlier generations.

In the true world, it signifies that upgrading from a two years outdated laptop of the identical class will yield noticeable computing enhancements and responsiveness. For workplace purposes, you’ll be able to hold your 2020 laptop and wait it out a bit longer till an improve is value it.

Though the X1 Carbon will not be designed to be a “Artistic” laptop, its PCMark 10 Artistic rating is sort of good, particularly in comparison with a 2020 {hardware} platform just like the Dell XPS 13 9300, one other iconic laptop within the skinny & mild section.

The truth is, the X1 Carbon’s Artistic rating isn’t removed from the 2020 ThinkPad P1, which is a full-on cellular workstation. It’s doable to configure this pc with 32GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD storage: a lot energy in a 2.4 Lbs chassis.

The brand new Intel built-in graphics yields a close to 100% graphics efficiency enhance and is suitable for informal gaming, however that is no “Gaming laptop.” In 2021, Lenovo is getting critical with GPU efficiency, and the brand new ThinkPad P1 and X1 Excessive laptops are good examples of that. Keep tuned for these reviews.

thinkpad x1 carbon gen9 bench 01 pcm10thinkpad x1 carbon gen9 bench 03 gb5 mulSpectacular CPU efficiency for such a light-weight pc. thinkpad x1 carbon gen9 bench 04 3dm timespyNot a gaming rig, however with enough graphics settings, you ought to be positive

Battery Life

Because of the bigger 57 Wh battery (vs. 51 Wh beforehand), the Lenovo X1 Carbon’s battery life can vary from 9 hours in case you have an FHD show to barely under 6 hours for the 4K UHD model.

As regular, we advocate that street warriors go for an FHD show as a result of that’s a really vital distinction in battery life. However, in the event you primarily work from an workplace or lodge room, the upper visible high quality of the UHD show is value it, particularly with small textual content.

The X1 Carbon comes with Lenovo’s small 65W energy adapter, which is considerable because it takes about half the area of older fashions.

As regular, the X1 Carbon options quick charging, and the velocity is according to different Lenovo laptops. This unit can attain 80% of cost in 60mn, which is first rate however not distinctive.

thinkpad x1 carbon gen9 bench 05 battery charge


The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen9 stays a reference within the enterprise skinny & mild market section. It stays almost unchallenged in essential elements reminiscent of sturdiness, safety, and connectivity (ports) within the 2.5 Lbs class.

These aspects of the X1 Carbon design make it vital for a lot of enterprise customers, and the user-input high quality alone could be a “killer” sway issue too.

The brand new X1 Carbon is extraordinarily engaging by many goal metrics and it isn’t merely defending its nook of the market. With a lot improved audio and nice visible high quality, the X1 Carbon can simply entice clients contemplating different 13” or 14” choices throughout the similar worth vary.

Filed in Computer systems >Critiques. Learn extra about Laptop computer Critiques, Laptops, Lenovo and Lenovo reviews.

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