Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10.
Enlarge / Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10.

Andrew Cunningham

Specifications at a glance: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10
Showing 1920×1200 14.0-inch (162 PPI) touchscreen
OS Windows 11 Pro
CPU Intel Core i7-1260P (4P-cores, 8 E-cores)
RAM 16GB LPDDR5 5200 (soldered)
GPU Intel Iris Xe (integrated)
Storage 1TB NVMe SSD
Network Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.3
Battery 57 What
Harbor Two Thunderbolt 4, two 5Gbps USB-A, HDMI 2.0b, headphones
Size 8.76 × 12.43 × 0.6 inches (222.5 × 315.6 × 15.36 mm)
Weight 2.48 lbs (1.12 kg)
Guarantee 1 year
Price according to reviews $1,891

The Dell XPS 13 has been the speed car for the Windows side of the thin and light laptop race for years now, ever since adopting the ultra-thin display bezels that are now ubiquitous. back in 2015. Dell is also one step ahead of the competition a few years ago when it moved to slightly taller screens with a 16:10 aspect ratio, further enhancing the usability of the design without increasing its size.

But for power users who can afford the extra few hundred dollars, Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon always interesting upsell. It’s slightly lighter than Dell’s ultraportable, but still manages to fit into a bigger screen and better port selection. Lenovo laptop keyboard and trackpad are almost always best in class. And the ThinkPad’s pedigree as a business laptop means that the Carbon’s design is still about repairability and upgradeability, even if many of its internal components are still soldered to save space.

This year Carbon version X1—we’re up to Gen 10, if anyone counts—not much has changed on the outside. But that includes the new 12th generation Intel Core processors, which, as we see on other laptops, can be both a blessing and a curse. Performance in CPU-heavy tasks can be faster, sometimes dramatically. But that comes at the expense of extra heat and less battery life, and that’s a hard trade off to recommend for general ultraportable use.

see and feel it

The latest X1 Carbon has an excellent ThinkPad keyboard and trackpad.
Enlarge / The latest X1 Carbon has an excellent ThinkPad keyboard and trackpad.

Andrew Cunningham

Lenovo gave the X1 Carbon a gentle makeover from last year’s Gen 9 model, swapping the 16:9 screen for the 16:10 version and ditching Lenovo’s semi-proprietary docking port in favor of a pair of regular Thunderbolt ports. The Gen 10 model is nearly identical — the only physical change I’ve noticed is the slightly raised area above the webcam on the display bezel, perhaps leaving more room for the upgraded 1080p webcam (Gen 9 uses the 720p model).

For those of you less familiar with the historical intricacies of the X1 Carbon’s design, the main thing to know is that it takes the classic black corner ThinkPad style and sums it up almost as far as possible (I say “almost” because X1 Nano is something). It’s not boxy like the cheaper ThinkPads L and E series, but it definitely uses the same design language that Lenovo and IBM have been perfecting for 30 years. That’s both a blessing and a curse—the sturdy frame and soft finish are a pleasure to hold and carry, but it’s hand grease and fingerprint magnets that are hard to clean completely.

Fingerprint sensor mounted on the power button.  The faint marks visible from my finger are a testament to how easily the X1 Carbon coating picks up smudges.
Enlarge / Fingerprint sensor mounted on the power button. The faint marks visible from my finger are a testament to how easily the X1 Carbon coating picks up smudges.

Andrew Cunningham

The most important ingredients in any ThinkPad are the top-tier keyboard and trackpad, and the X1 Carbon Gen 10 has both. A large, accurate precision touchpad and a red ThinkPad pointing nub are included, and they both work as intended. The chiclet style buttons are well placed and nicely backlit. The keys aren’t as strong as those on Dell’s current XPS models, and I occasionally get annoyed that the Fn key is on left the left Ctrl key instead of the other way around, although this is a quirk of older ThinkPads that can be fixed in software if you’re bothered by it. But by and large it is one of the best keyboards you can get on a laptop today.

Port selection remains one of the best arguments for the X1 Carbon over the XPS 13 or even the MacBook Air. The Carbon excels in quantity and variety: a pair of Thunderbolt 4 ports, one of which is used to charge the laptop, plus one USB-A port on either side, a full-size HDMI port, and a headphone jack. Carbon ditched its microSD card reader a few generations ago, which was disappointing, and the XPS 13 places Thunderbolt ports on either side of the laptop so you can charge it (or plug it into a dock, or whatever) from either side. Laptops with Thunderbolt/USB-C ports are also not as comfortable as they used to be. But having an extra port is convenient and useful for anyone who regularly uses an external display or other accessory.

The base 1920x1200 display on the X1 Carbon Gen 10 isn't the brightest we've tested, but that's OK, and the matte finish helps with outdoor visibility.
Enlarge / The base 1920×1200 display on the X1 Carbon Gen 10 isn’t the brightest we’ve tested, but that’s OK, and the matte finish helps with outdoor visibility.

Andrew Cunningham

The X1 Carbon can be configured with one of the seven different display panels, including 4K, OLED, privacy screen and touchscreen variants; the choice of one of them will subtly change the battery life and weight of the laptop. Our review unit provided by Lenovo uses a 1920×1200 IPS touchscreen, with a maximum brightness of 396 nits, an impressive 1744:1 contrast ratio, and 98 percent sRGB and 71.5 percent DCI-P3 gamut coverage (all measured by our i1 Studio Colorimeter Display ). Even the base screen is bright and colorful, and if you’re still using the 16:9 screen on your old laptop, you’ll find that the extra 120-pixel height makes a huge difference in usability.

By Blanca

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