Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 Review

For nearly a decade, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon has been the company’s most iconic skinny & gentle, and we’re reviewing the ninth technology 2021 mannequin this time. The model new choices that caught my consideration embody the 16:10 UHD present, 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 present. We’ll go over totally different configuration selections beneath, nonetheless “as examined”, this configuration costs $1865 on Lenovo.com.

However, you’ll get the comparable benchmark effectivity with the 8GB RAM and 256 GB SSD configuration worth $1540, and that’s the baseline price we’ll use for effectivity/price ratios.

Industrial Design

lenovo thinkpad x1 carbon gen9 review 05

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen9’s design offers core utilized sciences which could be participating to many purchasers as a result of it has a 2.49Lbs weight (solely 14.9mm thick), superior sturdiness, and an excellent performance-to-weight ratio.

These traits are fascinating to road warriors and executives who can’t afford to experience failure or downtime all through enterprise travels.I had laptop failures a number of situations whereas abroad, and it is miserable for those who don’t even have the selection of buying a laptop with a QWERTY US keyboard.

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon’s sturdiness is constructed all through various layers. First, the chassis/outer shell is product of very highly effective carbon fiber and magnesium supplies, due to this fact the title. The chassis makes it very rigid and protects the inside elements.

lenovo thinkpad x1 carbon gen9 review 13

However, the rigid chassis might nonetheless carry shockwaves generated by a drop or powerful transportation. That’s why the design moreover considers vibrations and is licensed to maneuver the military transport MIL-STD-810G certification.


Lastly, the keyboard is spill-proof, and that’s an infinite profit over totally different laptops that don’t provide the equivalent security. Spills are in all probability essentially the most widespread laptop killers, and this perform is the first line of safety.

The model new single-hinge design might help with the overall robustness of the present/chassis, nonetheless we don’t have information or checks that will present it. It does look neat, for constructive.

Keyboard and Trackpad

lenovo thinkpad x1 carbon gen9 review 07

The ninth gen X1 Carbon keyboard has the entire hallmarks of a ThinkPad keyboard and is exceptionally comfortable to variety on. The curved keys, ample spacing, and prolonged key journey make prolonged working hours further tolerable.

The keys flooring coating has the proper amount of friction so that your fingertips acquired’t slip, nonetheless it’s not abrasive each. I simply these days typed on a barely slippery keyboard, and it was not an superior sensation.

The glass trackpad has grown in dimension and is 10% greater than last yr’s model. The ThinkPad bodily trackpad buttons are my favorite (trackpad) perform as they are much further precise and proper than a trackpad “faucet.” If you do a great deal of click on on & drag, you will love them too.


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

For a 2.49 Lbs skinny & gentle, the ports assortment is phenomenal. Individuals are used to solely having a number of USB-C ports, nonetheless proper right here Lenovo means enterprise, study the port alternative:

2x USB Sort C, Thunderbolt 4
2x USB Sort 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 unbelievable selections as you could be a lot much less extra more likely to require a dongle that acquired’t be there in order for you it in all probability essentially the most. Thunderbolt 4 is a giant enhance for people who want various 4K screens, and naturally, the full-size HDMI video output is super-convenient for boardroom projectors.

The anti-theft lock will assist you to assault the laptop to a desk or espresso desk. Given the alarming improve in laptop theft in some cities, this simple (nonetheless unusual) security alternative would possibly stop pretty a bit of money.


The secure webcam unlock is my first alternative, however when your group asks to take care of the camera lens closed, the fingerprint sensor is an efficient backup and doubles as the ability button. I preferred the large and spherical button current in numerous Lenovo laptops, nonetheless there’s perhaps not enough room on in chassis.

Remember that it’s doable to rearrange the computer to utilize fingerprint authentication to happen pre-BIOS, not just for House home windows authentification. That’s yet another layer of security that opponents will not have.


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

The quad-speaker sound system works very successfully, and it’s good to see Lenovo continuously improve the sound prime quality of the X1 Carbon. Just a few years prior to now, the ThinkPad audio wasn’t virtually practically nearly as good, and the ThinkPad design teams delivered audible outcomes from the patron (and reviewers) options.

The sound is clear and distortion-free. Although not as extremely efficient as Lenovo’s soundbar designs, the audio system are loud enough to comfortably watch a movie and even music clips in a lodge room.


lenovo thinkpad x1 carbon gen9 review 14The 4K present is best for Inventive clients, nonetheless FHD’s prime quality is great toolenovo thinkpad x1 carbon gen9 review 03The dearer UHD present will get a visible carbon fiber weave pattern. Neat!

The change to a 16:10 side ratio supplies a slight enhance in productiveness, and we’ll rapidly review the ThinkPad X1 Titanium, which has a 3:2 side ratio (my favorite for work).

Our unit has the UHD (3840×2400) resolution, 500 NITs of brightness, and fantastic color copy. Lenovo has 4 present selections, along with one with the “ThinkPad Privateness Guard” perform that forestalls people from glancing at your present’s content material materials from the side.

Lenovo moreover has a webcam perform to detect if someone is your show display from behind you. In step with computer security specialists, it is a widespread method for information to leak out.


Most people should choose based on two points: contact (or not) and FHD+ vs. UHD+. FHD+ laptops may have greater battery endurance, and that’s the first function to ponder that different.

Visually, the UHD+ present is finest, and we would advocate that one in case your work requires very right colors. That talked about, the FHD colors are largely right enough for internet progress, for example. Complete, that’s an superior array of present selections.

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

The webcam is relatively customary and on par with totally different laptops inside this price differ. Most mid-range smartphones’ selfie cameras would do greater, nonetheless a mobile show display isn’t good for conference calls throughout which you share screens, and plenty of others.


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

Effectivity-wise, the Intel eleventh Gen Core i7-1165G7 brings a extremely good enhance for single-thread and graphics effectivity over the tenth technology. In consequence, the model new Carbon X1 Gen9 sees an appreciable improve in “velocity for the price” and “effectivity per Lbs” in distinction with earlier generations.

Within the true world, it signifies that upgrading from a two years outdated laptop of the equivalent class will yield noticeable computing enhancements and responsiveness. For office functions, you’ll maintain your 2020 laptop and wait it out a bit longer until an enhance is worth it.

Although the X1 Carbon is not going to be designed to be a “Inventive” laptop, its PCMark 10 Inventive ranking is type of good, notably compared with a 2020 {{hardware}} platform identical to the Dell XPS 13 9300, one different iconic laptop throughout the skinny & gentle part.

The reality is, the X1 Carbon’s Inventive ranking isn’t faraway from the 2020 ThinkPad P1, which is a full-on mobile workstation. It’s doable to configure this computer with 32GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD storage: rather a lot power in a 2.4 Lbs chassis.

The model new Intel built-in graphics yields a near 100% graphics effectivity improve and is appropriate for casual gaming, nonetheless that’s no “Gaming laptop.” In 2021, Lenovo is getting important with GPU effectivity, and the model new ThinkPad P1 and X1 Extreme laptops are good examples of that. Preserve tuned for these reviews.

thinkpad x1 carbon gen9 bench 01 pcm10thinkpad x1 carbon gen9 bench 03 gb5 mulSpectacular CPU effectivity for such a lightweight computer. thinkpad x1 carbon gen9 bench 04 3dm timespyNot a gaming rig, nonetheless with sufficient graphics settings, you must be constructive

Battery Life

Due to the larger 57 Wh battery (vs. 51 Wh beforehand), the Lenovo X1 Carbon’s battery life can differ from 9 hours in case you might have an FHD present to barely beneath 6 hours for the 4K UHD mannequin.

As common, we advocate that road warriors go for an FHD present on account of that’s a extremely important distinction in battery life. Nevertheless, within the occasion you primarily work from an office or lodge room, the higher seen prime quality of the UHD present is worth it, notably with small textual content material.

The X1 Carbon comes with Lenovo’s small 65W power adapter, which is appreciable as a result of it takes about half the realm of older fashions.

As common, the X1 Carbon choices fast charging, and the speed is based on totally different Lenovo laptops. This unit can attain 80% of price in 60mn, which is first price nonetheless not distinctive.

thinkpad x1 carbon gen9 bench 05 battery charge


The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen9 stays a reference throughout the enterprise skinny & gentle market part. It stays virtually unchallenged in important parts paying homage to sturdiness, security, and connectivity (ports) throughout the 2.5 Lbs class.

These elements of the X1 Carbon design make it important for lots of enterprise clients, and the user-input prime quality alone might be a “killer” sway subject too.

The model new X1 Carbon is awfully participating by many objective metrics and it isn’t merely defending its nook of the market. With rather a lot improved audio and good seen prime quality, the X1 Carbon can merely entice purchasers considering totally different 13” or 14” selections all through the same price differ.

Filed in Pc programs >Critiques. Be taught further about Laptop computer laptop Critiques, Laptops, Lenovo and Lenovo reviews.

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