For some products, an annual refresh is expected. One of those products is Lenovo's workhorse productivity laptop, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon. This year marks the 10th generation of the laptop, and the company has made some changes to the core components while keeping the heart and soul of the computer intact.
The important parts of the X1 Carbon are still in place. This includes the always important thinness (coming in at just 0.6 inches in thickness) - a big part of why people love the laptop. Despite the thin body, it still comes with 2 USB-A ports, a full-size HDMI port, as well as 2 Thunderbolt 4 ports. Usually, by going thin, we lose ports, but not with the X1 Carbon.
Another important aspect of the laptop is the keyboard, and Lenovo does not disappoint. The keyboard on the new model has great travel and good spring back on typing. This is important for typing, as it is a physical indicator that the key has been pressed successfully. With the keyboard is the traditional track pointer, for those (like Avram) who love it, and a great trackpad for those who do not.
Some of what has changed is for the best. Some leave us with more questions than answers. But, for sure, there are a number of changes.
One of the biggest and mouse impressive changes comes in the screen. It changes from a standard 16:9 aspect ratio to a 16:10 (or 8:5 for our math friends) aspect ratio. This means there is more vertical real estate on the display than previous models. The core screen has a 1920x1200 resolution with 405 nits of brightness. The model can be customized with a 2K OLED screen or a full 4K display. These upgrades will likely cost you in battery life, though, so that is something to consider.
Another change that affects battery life is the processor. The 10th Gen X1 Carbon comes with a 12th Generation Intel Core processor, either in an i5 or i7 flavor. These Alder Lake processors went in a new direction, moving from the previous u-series processor to a p-series processor. This means that the processor uses more electricity than previous models. The u-series runs at 15 watts, while the p-series uses 28 watts. This is nearly double the amount of power required, meaning that the battery life has suffered.
The previous models of X1 Carbon have averaged in the 12 to 14 hour range, while the 10th Generation is currently clocking in between 7.5 to 8.5 hours. This represents around a 33% decrease in the newest model of computer, which is going to be something to consider. Add to that the extra loss with an OLED or 4K screen, and you could really see a difference form the past.
The Alder Lake processor does give some additional benefits, though. In particular, it has those split cores, with some being for power and some being for efficiency. Unfortunately, even with those efficiency cores, it's still a big downgrade in battery life.
The 10th Generation X1 Carbon is available now starting at $1319.
Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLUGHITZ Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the rhythm game community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bay Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and helping with ROBOTICON Tampa Bay. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors, currently housed at AMRoC Fab Lab.
Avram's been in love with PCs since he played original Castle Wolfenstein on an Apple II+. Before joining Tom's Hardware, for 10 years, he served as Online Editorial Director for sister sites Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where he programmed the CMS and many of the benchmarks. When he's not editing, writing or stumbling around trade show halls, you'll find him building Arduino robots with his son and watching every single superhero show on the CW.