Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Review: Lenovo's 7th Gen Flagship Impresses

ThinkPad X1 Carbon 7th gen: Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Lenovo's 2019 iteration of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon is a sleek, powerful ultraportable laptop. It packs in the very best Intel currently offers in a 15-watt TDP with its Core i7-8665U CPU, though no doubt Ice Lake variants should be just around the corner. When paired with 16 GB of system memory and a full terabyte of extremely fast NVMe storage from Samsung, that quad-core CPU has plenty of grunt to get you through all but the very most demanding multi-threaded tasks. The thin display bezels and overall small footprint make it one of the lightest 14" PCs we've tested, and despite the diminutive size, it's also among the fastest. The X1 Carbon's new 500-nit 4K IPS display looks gorgeous, too. 
ThinkPad X1 Carbon open flat
If that summary seems glowing, that's because the new ThinkPad X1 Carbon did very little to disappoint. It came out of the box with very minimal bundled software, was running the latest feature update for Windows 10, and had a lot of little hardware touches that make the system stand out. The ThinkShutter privacy guard for its integrated webcam, lots of external connectivity via USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt 3, and even the carbon fiber finish with its adorable red-dotted "i" endeared this system to us. The only fault we could really find is the lack of an SD card reader in the port array. Sure, you could just add a USB card reader, but on a $1,250 notebook (entry price) it seems like it should be standard. The 2019 X1 Carbon's battery life was also only mediocre, but with a lower resolution display option (1080p or 1440p available) you might eke more life from its 50 watt-hour power plant. 

Performance of this machine was also pretty great. In every CPU-limited test, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon 7th Generation placed at or near the top of the charts. From NVMe storage read and write speeds to web browsing to productivity benchmarks, the X1 Carbon handled everything we threw at it. Four cores and eight threads is the order of the day in a system this size, and Lenovo did a good job cooling that processor so that it would consistently run at pretty fast turbo boost clocks without blowing out your ears. 

ThinkPad X1 Carbon track pad logo

It's hard not to like Lenovo's latest ThinkPad, and this system is cost-competitive with its contemporaries. Maxed out, Dell's latest XPS 13 will run you around $1949 - $1999, depending on color, with similar specs to what Lenovo offers here but with the ThinkPad X1 Carbon you also get a 4K HDR display for that price. While this price is still nothing to sneeze at and hardly an impulse buy, the new Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 7th Generation's offers a solid mix of performance, premium build quality and cutting-edge features at reasonably competitive price points.  

Compared to last year's model, the new generation of ThinkPad X1 Carbon is more evolution than revolution, but last year's system was pretty great. Of course, most folks aren't replacing their $2,000 laptop annually, either. However, if you've been clinging to an older business-class laptop and didn't just jump straight to the conclusion of this review, you probably already know what we're going to say. If you want a no-compromise ultrabook, you can confidently pick up a 2019 Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon and not look back. 

  • Best-of-class performance and specs 
  • Excellent, bright 4K IPS display
  • Fantastic keyboard
  • Great looks and premium build quality
  • Thoughtful features like ThinkShutter
  • Minimal bloatware
  • Middling battery life with 4K display option
  • No SD card reader??

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