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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon GEN 9 Laptop (2021)

MSRP 1429 USDExt score 87%

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Product Overview

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 is the 2021 iteration of Lenovo's high-end business laptop. It now sports a new 16:10 aspect ratio with low blue light feature and is powered by 11th-gen Intel Core processors.
Thanks to the return to the 16:10 form factor, the new ThinkPad X1 Carbon offers a larger display area compared to the Gen 8 model while being more compact. With Intel's 11th-gen processors, the X1 Carbon Gen 9 also brings Thunderbolt 4 / USB 4.0 ports with even faster connectivity compared to Thunderbolt 3.
With a larger battery and improved cooling, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 is geared towards high-performance tasks on the go. This is aided by the optional 5G WWAN.
Alongside the new X1 Carbon, Lenovo also unveiled several other models in the ThinkPad X1 lineup at CES 2021, including the refreshed X1 Yoga and two new models: the X1 Titanium Yoga and the X12 Detachable.

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Ratings

What we found**

Pros
  • Excellent build quality
  • Excellent battery life
  • Excellent keyboard and touchpad
  • Excellent display
Cons
  • Lower-powered Intel CPU is underwhelming

What external reviewers found***

Ext 87% (not directly comparable across industries)
Pros
  • Good performance
  • Good battery runtime
  • Excellent productivity performance
  • Good keyboard
Cons
  • Poor webcam
  • Lackluster speakers
  • Lackluster webcam
  • Lacks a fingerprint reader
  • No Ethernet jack
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Price Comparison (incl. referral links)*

Specifications

4KWUXGA Non-touchWUXGA Touch

Connectivity

Ports2x Thunderbolt 4 + 2x USB 3.2 + 1x HDMI 2.0 + 1x Audio combo
Wireless ConnectivityWiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, NFC, LTE 4G CAT4 / CAT12, 5G LTE CAT20 (optional)

Construction

Battery | Capacity57 Wh
Camera | FrontHD RGB Camera with privacy shutter, HD RGB + IR camera with privacy shutter, or HPD with IR camera
ColorsBlack, optional woven carbon fiber top cover
Form FactorClamshell laptop computer
MaterialCarbon fiber
Microphone4x 360-degree Microphones
SpeakersStereo speakers

Dimensions

Size | Depth221.6 mm / 8.72 inch
Size | Height14.9 mm / 0.59 inch
Size | Width314.5 mm / 12.38 inch
Weight1133 g / 2.49 lbs

Display

Aspect Ratio16:10
Brightness400 nits400 nits500 nits
Display Diagonal14"
Display TypeIPS anti-glare
Gamut100% DCI-P3100% sRGB100% sRGB
ResolutionWUXGA / FHD+ (1920x1200) or 4K UHD+ (3840x2400)

Function

AudioDolby Atmos
Fast ChargingRapid Charge
GraphicsIntegrated Intel Iris Xe graphics
Keyboard BacklightYes
Operating SystemWindows 10
ProcessorUp to 11th-gen Intel Core i7-1185G7 Tiger Lake
SecurityPower-on Touch Fingerprint Reader, Match on Chip Touch Fingerprint Reader, dTPM 2.0 chip, HPD sensor with IR Camera
SIMNano SIM for optional WWAN
Touch ScreenOptional in WUXGA

Performance

Battery LifeUp to 16.7 hours
DurabilityMIL-SPEC 810G
Memory | CapacityUp to 32 GB
Memory | TypeLPDDR4x 4266MHz
Power SupplyType-C 65W
StorageUp to 2TB Gen 4 PCIe SSD

Production

Availability2021-02
Debut2021-01-11 (CES 2021)

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3rd-Party Review Videos

External Reviews

digitaltrends[1]

Sentiment Score 93%
Reviewers from digitaltrends have found the following***:
The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 continues Lenovo's excellent support for business users. Not only is the reviewed display full HD+, but it's also a low-power display. The ThinkPad will last you not only a full day's work but well into the evening. The one-year warranty is disappointing for an expensive business-class laptop.
Find the original article here.
Pros
  • Excellent performance
  • Excellent battery life
  • Great keyboard and touchpad
Cons
  • No detachable detachable keyboard

laptopmag[2]

Sentiment Score 93%
Reviewers from laptopmag have found the following***:
The X1 Carbon with an FHD+ display can easily last a full workday before powering down. Four far-field microphones with Dolby Voice captured the nuisances in my voice. Lenovo put more effort into the mics than it did the camera. The 720p camera is as bad as you think it is.
Find the original article here.
Pros
  • Gorgeous 16:10 display
  • Excellent battery life
  • Comfortable keyboard
  • Excellent performance
Cons
  • Poor webcam
  • No Thunderbolt 3

notebookcheck[3]

Sentiment Score 77%
Reviewers from notebookcheck have found the following***:
Despite the matte surface and the high maximum brightness, the privacy filter visibly restricts outdoor usability. In terms of viewing angle stability, you also quickly see a drop in brightness and contrast. Lenovo has stabilized the performance, but the fans are now louder in return. For most users, we would certainly choose the normal Full HD panel.
Find the original article here.
Pros
  • High-resolution Full HD panel
  • Very good sRGB coverage
  • Decent battery life
Cons
  • No built-in privacy filter
  • Very loud fans

notebookcheck[4]

Sentiment Score 84%
Reviewers from notebookcheck have found the following***:
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 is supposed to be a big step forward. In many ways, it is just that, especially when it comes to the 16:10 screen format. On the other hand, the keyboard sadly takes a step backwards. In terms of the touchpad/Trackpad, the port selection and the chassis, Lenovo has made significant changes.
Find the original article here.
Pros
  • High-res UHD+/WUXGA display
  • Good battery life
  • Good keyboard
Cons
  • Low-res WQUXGA LCD

notebookcheck[5]

Sentiment Score 90%
Reviewers from notebookcheck have found the following***:
The matte display is obviously a big advantage compared to the glossy 4K screen outdoors. You can still use the device comfortably in bright environments as long as you can avoid direct light sources. The additional vertical space is a welcome addition and the overall quality is comparable to the previous generation. All in all, the 9th generation of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon is a very good companion.
Find the original article here.
Pros
  • Matte FHD panel
  • Fast Wi-Fi
  • Good battery runtime
Cons
  • No Thunderbolt 3

pcmag[6]

Sentiment Score 88%
Reviewers from pcmag have found the following***:
All five laptops easily cleared the 4,000 points that show excellent productivity in PCMark 10. Despite having a nominally slower processor than the Dells and Asus, the ThinkPad was the class of the field. The Dell ultraportable's high-res OLED display takes a toll on its battery life.
Find the original article here.
Pros
  • High-res OLED display
  • Excellent productivity performance
  • Good battery life
Cons
  • No Thunderbolt 3 port

pcworld[7]

Sentiment Score 83%
Reviewers from pcworld have found the following***:
The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 features the quad-core Core i7-1185G7 from Intel’s 11th-gen Tiger Lake family of processors. It also supplies 16GB of RAM and integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics. The laptop supports WiFi 6, the latest wireless networking standard. The battery lasted nearly 13 hours on our battery-drain test, which is competitive.
Find the original article here.
Pros
  • Gorgeous 16:10 display
  • Comfortable keyboard
  • Great battery life
Cons
  • Lackluster webcam
  • No Ethernet jack

techradar[8]

Sentiment Score 87%
Reviewers from techradar have found the following***:
The X1 Carbon is about as good as a laptop battery life gets without running an ARM chip – and even then, it's competitive against the newest MacBook Air running the ARM-based Apple M1 chip. We're not yet at the point where 1080p cameras are standard for laptop webcams, so the 720p webcam on the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 carbon Gen 9 is par for the course. There are a host of security features that pretty much come standard with the ThinkPad line, including Windows Hello and fingerprint in and for the sake of future security.
Find the original article here.
Pros
  • Lightweight and light
  • Good battery life
  • Good performance
Cons
  • Mediocre webcam

theverge[9]

Sentiment Score 98%
Reviewers from theverge have found the following***:
The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 has the same beautiful black chassis with all of the signature ThinkPad features. It's unbelievably thin and light (2.49 pounds, 0.59 inches) while still being quite durable. Intel's Core i7-1165G7 delivers some of the best performance you'll find from a laptop of this size.
Find the original article here.
Pros
  • Incredibly thin and light
  • Excellent keyboard and touchpad
  • Excellent battery life
Cons
  • Slightly dim screen
  • Lackluster speakers

tomshardware[10]

Sentiment Score 92%
Reviewers from tomshardware have found the following***:
With its 57 Whr battery, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon delivers epic endurance. Lenovo's ultrabook lasted 15 hours and 39 minutes on our battery test. The 720p webcam delivers solid images that are more than good enough for conferencing. The base model, currently available for $1,106, features a Core i5-1135G7 CPU.
Find the original article here.
Pros
  • Powerful performance
  • Long battery life
  • Comfortable keyboard
Cons
  • No Thunderbolt 3

wired[11]

Sentiment Score 85%
Reviewers from wired have found the following***:
Lenovo's Gen 9 X1 Carbon has a new 16:10 screen size. There's no OLED screen, which is disappointing. The 720p webcam is bad enough that my colleagues commented on how bad it was when I used it for a Zoom meeting. The model I tested featured the i7 chip with 16 gigabytes of RAM, and 512-gigabyte SSD.
Find the original article here.
Pros
  • 16:10 screen is a huge improvement over the 16:9 model
  • Comfortable keyboard and trackpad
  • Great battery life
Cons
  • No SD card slot
  • No OLED screen

wired[12]

Sentiment Score 80%
Reviewers from wired have found the following***:
The X1 Carbon may be the first Lenovo to be certified to work with Linux. Lenovo hardware has almost always been a great choice for the operating system. The main shortcomings of software on Linux is that Microsoft Office and Adobe's design suite won't run. Finally, there's the price of the base model, which is frankly too much for what you get.
Find the original article here.
Pros
  • Fingerprint reader works out of the box
  • Good battery life
Cons
  • Lacks a fingerprint reader

User Reviews

References

1. ^ Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 review: A great laptop made even better. [digitaltrends]. https://www.digitaltrends.com/laptop-reviews/lenovo-thinkpad-x1-carbon-gen-9-review/. 2021-08-16. Retrieved 2021-08-17.
2. ^ Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen 9) review: Flirting with perfection. [laptopmag]. https://www.laptopmag.com/reviews/lenovo-thinkpad-x1-carbon-gen-9. 2021-07-31. Retrieved 2021-08-04.
3. ^ Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G9 laptop review: The ePrivacy screen remains problematic. [notebookcheck]. https://www.notebookcheck.net/Lenovo-ThinkPad-X1-Carbon-G9-laptop-review-The-ePrivacy-screen-remains-problematic.578488.0.html. 2021-11-17. Retrieved 2021-11-19.
4. ^ Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 Laptop Review: Big 16:10 upgrade with Intel Tiger Lake. [notebookcheck]. https://www.notebookcheck.net/Lenovo-ThinkPad-X1-Carbon-Gen-9-Laptop-Review-Big-16-10-upgrade-with-Intel-Tiger-Lake.537905.0.html. Retrieved 2021-05-09.
5. ^ Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 Review: Longer battery runtime with the Full-HD panel. [notebookcheck]. https://www.notebookcheck.net/Lenovo-ThinkPad-X1-Carbon-Gen-9-Review-Longer-battery-runtime-with-the-Full-HD-panel.540209.0.html. Retrieved 2021-05-20.
6. ^ Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 (2021) Review. [pcmag]. https://www.pcmag.com/reviews/lenovo-thinkpad-x1-carbon-gen-9-2021. 2021-07-30. Retrieved 2021-07-31.
7. ^ Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon review: Gen 9 goes to 16:10 . [pcworld]. https://www.pcworld.com/article/559430/lenovo-thinkpad-x1-carbon-review-gen-9-goes-to-1610.html. 2021-12-21. Retrieved 2021-12-22.
8. ^ Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 review. [techradar]. https://www.techradar.com/reviews/lenovo-thinkpad-x1-carbon-gen-9. 2021-08-10. Retrieved 2021-08-12.
9. ^ Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 review: ninth time’s the charm. [theverge]. https://www.theverge.com/22691965/lenovo-thinkpad-x1-carbon-gen-9-review-design-specs-price-features. 2021-09-27. Retrieved 2021-10-22.
10. ^ Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen 9) Review: Even More Productivity Prowess. [tomshardware]. https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/lenovo-thinkpad-x1-carbon-gen-9. 2021-09-28. Retrieved 2021-09-30.
11. ^ Review: Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon (2021). [wired]. https://www.wired.com/review/lenovo-thinkpad-x1-carbon-2021/. 2021-10-11. Retrieved 2021-10-14.
12. ^ Review: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Linux Edition). [wired]. https://www.wired.com/review/lenovo-thinkpad-x1-carbon-linux-edition/. 2021-02-22. Retrieved 2021-10-14.

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