- Processor: Intel Core i5-10210U 4-core
- Graphics card: Intel HD 620
- Memory: 16 GB
- Battery life according to tests: 12.5 h
- Storage: 256 GB SSD
- Screen: IPS 1080p
- Weight: 1.09 kg
The eighth-generation Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon offers the ruggedness and excellent keyboard of a ThinkPad in a thin, lightweight shell that’s easier to carry and store in a bag. Its battery can easily last a day’s work and this model is lighter than most ultrabooks while having a larger screen. Aside from its price, it only has three shortcomings: the memory cannot be replaced by the user, there is no Ethernet port (unlike our other recommendations) and you will have to buy a card reader. external memory if you need it.
Usually, we recommend laptops with 8 GB of RAM, but we recommend that you take the version of the X1 Carbon with 16 GB of RAM instead, even if you are not editing large images and do not work on large spreadsheets or databases. The X1 Carbon is rather expensive, and it would be a shame to find out after a year or two that you need more RAM.
Lenovo Thinkpads’ keyboards and trackpads are renowned for their excellence, and the X1 Carbon lives up to that reputation. It’s slightly scooped, not perfectly square, keys have a satisfying stroke and are firm without being harsh, and their backlighting is bright and even. None of the other business laptops we tested had bad keyboards, but they were all shallower or more spongy than ThinkPad keyboards.
The tested version of the X1 Carbon had a 14-inch 1080p display, brighter than any other best gaming laptop tested. This superior brightness as well as the anti-reflective coating of the screen make the X1 Carbon a more comfortable model outdoors than most of the competition: you can work on the terrace of a cafe for example. Lenovo offers an HDR-compatible 4K definition panel for 200 euros, but the default 1080p IPS screen is sufficient for most users, and be aware that the increased definition reduces battery life.
The choice of connectivity is good, despite the few sacrifices imposed by the compactness of the computer. It has two USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A ports, one on each side (some competitors have three). It has a standard HDMI output, but there is no SD or Micro-SD reader and if you want to use an Ethernet cable, you will need to purchase an adapter and plug it into one of the two Thunderbolt 3 ports it has. also. You can use either Thunderbolt 3 to power the computer or connect modern accessories, such as an external graphics card.
The X1 Carbon is easy to repair and update – just undo five Phillips screws to easily remove the bottom cover and access the battery and SSD. Most of the “laptops” tested openly in a similar way, but the X1 Carbon does not require any plastic tools to unclip the bottom, unlike some competitors. To make the X1 Carbon lighter and slimmer, Lenovo soldered the RAM and Wi-Fi card to the motherboard instead of using adequate ports. The detailed service manual (PDF) can guide you through replacing most other components, in case you need to do out-of-warranty repairs on your own.
The integrated battery of the X1 Carbon is 51 Wh. It lasted 12 hours 30 minutes in our tests, more than any other model tested in 2020, so most users should be able to work all day without recharging it. And unlike most business notebooks (heavier and bulkier than ultrabooks), the X1 Carbon is significantly lighter than the Dell XPS 13, which barely weighs 1.2 kg. The larger screen of the X1 Carbon, however, makes it bulkier than the XPS 13.
The inability to swap out memory modules can be seen as a defect for any business computer, although this is common on other types of laptops, and the ability to switch to 16 GB of RAM greatly limits the problem. If for some reason you need more than 16GB, take a look at the other recommended models and the ones we recommend for video editing and photo editing.