Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 8th Gen Laptop Review

About Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 8th Gen

With a starting weight of 2.4 pounds and measuring just .59 inch thick, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon is lighter and thinner than many of its competitors. Its 14-inch screen comes in three resolutions: 1920x1080 Full HD (FHD) and has an optional “PrivacyGuard” filter that darkens the screen when seen from the side, 2560x1440 Wide Quad HD (WQHD), and 3840x2160 4K with Intel UHD (Ultra High Definition) graphics. Only the FHD options are touchscreens. A 720p webcam sits above the display, which you can block with a built-in sliding shutter. An optional feature lets it recognize your face, or you can stick with the standard fingerprint reader for biometric authentication.

The Thinkpad X1 Carbon also packs in more connectors than rival laptops: two USB-A ports, two USB-C ports (one of which will sometimes be occupied by its charger), one HDMI video output, and one socket for a proprietary Ethernet wired-networking adapter. Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1, the current versions of each wireless standard, offer further connection options.

The Intel processors under the Thinkpad X1 Carbon’s backlit and spill-resistant keyboard, however, are one generation behind the current 11th-generation chips. Lenovo advertises battery life as “up to 19.5 hours,” but reviewers report about half that in real-world use.

List prices for the Thinkpad X1 Carbon start above $2,000 (although the company routinely offers substantial discounts). Upping memory and storage from the base 8 gigabyte (GB) SSD (solid-state drive) and 256 GB of RAM (random access memory) to a 16 GB SSD and 1 terabyte (TB) of RAM will make this a quite expensive purchase.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 8th Gen

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is a Windows 10 laptop with a long heritage; IBM, which sold its PC business to Lenovo in 2005, shipped the first ThinkPad laptop in 1992. Like its predecessors, the Thinkpad X1 Carbon includes a red TrackPoint in the middle of the keyboard that you can use instead of its touchpad. It also sticks with a traditional laptop design with a screen that doesn't rotate all the way around so you can use the laptop into a tablet. It has a ruggedized design, a wide range of expansion ports, some noteworthy security and privacy features, and long battery life.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 8th Gen

Buy it now on - Amazon or Lenovo

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 8th Gen Review

This Thinkpad earned a second-place standing in our list of the Best Laptops of 2021. Reviewers consistently praise the Thinkpad X1 Carbon’s elegant design, thoughtful feature set, and ruggedness. This is one laptop that should not force you to walk around with a set of USB adapters or an expansion dock, and its real-world battery life also seems good enough to let you leave the charger at home reasonably often.

Reviewers are less enthusiastic about the previous-generation Intel processors in this Thinkpad, battery life that doesn’t meet Lenovo’s advertised figures, the lack of a SD or microSD Card slot. Most current Windows laptops have moved on to Intel’s 11th-generation chips, while Apple’s adoption of its own Apple Silicon has allowed the Apple MacBook Air to run much longer on a charge than the Thinkpad X1 Carbon can.

Is the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 8th Gen Right for Me?

Best for those who:

✓ Are privacy-minded

✓ Have a large assortment of older peripherals they’ll need to plug in

✓ Need a ruggedized laptop

Not recommended for those who:

- Are on a tight budget

- Need maximum battery life

- Want two-in-one functionality

Lenovo markets the Thinkpad X1 Carbon as a high-end model and prices it accordingly. Both home users and those wanting a business laptop can appreciate features like Wi-Fi 6 support, the TrackPoint pointing device, the comprehensive set of USB ports, and the PrivacyGuard screen filter. But their willingness to pay for them may depend more on whether the machine is on sale; when Lenovo offers deals that discount more than half the list price, the X1 Carbon is a much better value.

Other Products Offered By Lenovo

Best Dell Laptops

Lenovo offers an extensive array of Windows computers, including six lines of laptops: ThinkPad, consisting of traditional and two-in-one laptops that are mainly for business users; ThinkBook, which are entry-level business laptops; Yoga, featuring a two-in-one design; Legion, targeted at gamers; IdeaPad, a cheaper, consumer-oriented laptop with an available two-in-one configuration; and the standard Lenovo for the educational market.

How Much Does the X1 Carbon Cost?

List prices on ready-to-ship ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 8 models start at $2,279 and can easily top $3,000 if you opt for more storage, the display with Intel UHD graphics, and built-in mobile broadband. Beyond that, this Dell XPS model can approach $4,000 when custom-configured. Lenovo also charges more than competitors for added memory (going from 8 to 16 GB adds $149) and storage (getting a 512 GB solid state drive instead of a 256 GB SSD adds $268).

How to Buy an X1 Carbon

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 8th Gen

With its wealth of options, including processors, memory, storage, screen resolutions, and various privacy features, customizing a Thinkpad X1 Carbon requires some doing. Just in processors alone, you have a choice of Intel processors, including the i5-8265U, i5-10210U, i5-10310U, i7-8565U, i7-10510U, i7-10610U, or i7-8665U. As a result, you may find it easier to choose a preconfigured model at a third-party retailer rather than designing one yourself on Lenovo's website.

1. Decide your computing priorities. Decide if you want a touchscreen and how much memory and storage you need. Given the extensive and growing support of touch controls in Windows 10, as well as the ability of any computer’s drive to fill up with files, it's probably best to pay a little extra for a touchscreen and a solid state drive bigger than the entry-level model's 256 GB.

2. Compare pricing at Lenovo and competitors. Lenovo often undercuts its list prices with sizable discounts, while prices tend to stay more constant at outside retailers. Check prices at multiple retailers, but make sure you compare models with the same configuration.

3. Buy the laptop.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon FAQ

What Is the Lenovo Warranty?

Lenovo offers a standard one-year warranty. Like many manufacturers, it also sells add-on support packages. A year of “Premier Onsite Support” costs $118, while a year of “Accidental Damage Protection” costs $49 on top of that. Both options cover support and repairs done at your home so you don't have to ship your computer to the company.

How do I contact Lenovo’s customer service?

Lenovo offers tech support via a 24/7, toll-free phone line. The company maintains a forum on its site for troubleshooting and, for some products, offers live chat support.

Can the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon be upgraded?

Lenovo specifies that the memory for this Dell XPS model comes soldered to the motherboard and thus can’t be upgraded. However, some independent websites say you can replace the battery and solid state drive on previous-generation X1 Carbons.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon vs. the Competition

Which Is Better: the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon or the Dell XPS 13?

When Lenovo discounts this Thinkpad aggressively enough, it compares favorably in price to the Dell XPS 13, another laptop built along traditional lines instead of adopting a two-in-one design. The additional input/output ports make the Thinkpad's more accommodating of older gadgets than the XPS 13, while the unique privacy options on the Thinkpad should lend a little peace of mind. But the XPS 13 delivers better battery life according to third-party reviews, and it’s also a lot simpler to configure and buy.

Which Is Better: the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon or the MacBook Pro 16?

The big-screen MacBook Pro is one of relatively few laptops with a list price in the same ballpark as the Thinkpad X1 Carbon – except for when Lenovo offers generous discounts, which Apple rarely does. Even at the same price, however, the Thinkpad offers significantly more utility than the older MacBook Pro: Its available Intel Core i7-8665U processor and some of the other processor options are a generation newer, its battery life is longer, and it offers a wider range of connectors than the MacBook Pro’s four USB-C ports.

Which Is Better: the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon or the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14?

Both of these laptops are on the higher end of Windows laptops, and they're reasonably close in price when the Thinkpad is on sale. Both eschew 2-in-1 flexibility in favor of sticking with a traditional laptop design. The Thinkpad offers significantly better battery life, a much lighter weight, and the option of a touchscreen. The heftier Asus ships with much more storage in every configuration and has better graphics processors.


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