Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon gets new coat of paint, better speakers for 2019
The X1 Carbon will finally get a great display and fantastic audio, but it won't come cheap.
Lenovo is addressing some lagging concerns over its popular business-themed X1 Carbon. The new seventh generation of the ultra-light and rugged laptop is set to hit store shelves later in June and with it comes a bevy of changes.
Here's what's new with the 2019 model:
- New woven carbon fiber finish.
- Thinner than previous generation at only 14.95 mm.
- Light at less than 2.5 pounds (1.11 kg).
- Bright, colorful display options with Dolby Vision and HDR400 certification (500 nit 4k, 400 nit FHD).
- New Intel 8th Gen processors.
- New RGB & IR camera with ThinkShutter.
- New Dolby Atmos four-speaker sound system.
- Four far field mics for 360-degree voice recognition.
- Full range of ports.
There is also the predictable processor jump to the latest 8th Gen Intel Whiskey Lake architecture, but that's probably the most uninteresting upgrade.
Lenovo X1 Carbon (2019) tech specs
When it comes to specifications, Lenovo is giving a lot of the old with a bit of the new.
|Category||Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (7th Gen)|
|Display||14-inch 10-bit UHD IPS LCD, HDR400, 500-nit brightness|
14-inch WQHD IPS LCD, 300-nit brightness
14-inch FHD IPS LCD, ePrivacy filter, 400-nit brightness
14-inch FHD IPS with touch, 300-nit brightness
14-inch FHD IPS, HDR400, 400-nit brightness
|Processor||8th Gen Intel Core processors|
|Graphics||Intel UHD graphics|
|RAM||8GB or 16GB LPDDR3|
|Storage||up to 2TB PCIe SSD|
|Ports||USB-C Thunderbolt 3 x2, USB 3.1 x2, 3.5mm audio jack|
|Audio||Dolby Atmos Sound System, 2 top-firing speakers, 2 bottom-firing subwoofers|
|Camera||Windows Hello IR camera|
|Dimensions||12.71 in x 8.54 in x 0.58 in (323 mm x 217 mm x 14.95 mm)|
|Weight||2.46 lbs (1.11 kg)|
|Price||starting at $1,709.99|
New carbon fiber finish
While the X1 Carbon has always been made from, well, carbon fiber, Lenovo is adding a woven finish to the outside for the first time. The change is mostly cosmetic but it reaffirms that idea that this is a premium carbon fiber machine versus generic plastic or other materials that are found in other Lenovo laptops. The change adds some fancy but subtle flair to the X1 Carbon, but the move also means there is no longer a silver model of the X1 Carbon.
Banging speakers and killer display ... for work?
It's no secret that the distinction between work and personal usage for computers has disappeared. Lenovo is finally getting on board with this change by improving the speakers and screen – which have been traditionally mediocre to terrible for the X1 Carbon line.
Lenovo is now offering a 4K display – up from the previous WQHD resolution – and even options for its new "ePrivacy" technology that lets users mask content on the screen from onlookers. There is also the option for Dolby Vision with HDR and up to 500 nits of brightness on the 4K model.
The audio now follows the consumer Yoga line with dual-speakers above the keyboard for highs and dual speakers underneath for mid and lows, giving it a more robust and a richer sound profile. Hearing the new X1 Carbon compared to last year's model you can immediately notice the vast improvement.
Lenovo X1 Carbon closing argument
The X1 Carbon is a go-to premium laptop for enterprises and those who need to get work done. The classic lineup of ports, which thankfully doesn't change here, keeps the X1 Carbon with one foot in the past, but its other foot in the future (yes, that's full 4x PCIe Thunderbolt 3).
Lenovo's changes to the seventh generation of the X1 Carbon are all welcomed. Previously having to choose between a PrivacyShutter (web camera cover) or Windows Hello infrared (IR) was lame. Now, users can have both. LTE is still an option for those who want 4G networking. The new display options – including 4K HDR with Dolby Vision – along with vastly improved speakers, makes the X1 Carbon ideal for working in Excel or watching the latest UHD Marvel movie on the flight home. Sure, the new X1 Carbon is also a smidge lighter but at 2.46 pounds (1.11 kg), who's counting. The new four far-field microphones on top of the display are also great for conference calls or even talking to Cortana when the lid is closed.
Overall, Lenovo is doing what we all want the company to do: listen to user feedback. The new X1 Carbon keeps all the parts that worked but also fixes all the things that needed improvement and, really, that's all we look for when we cover these devices. The changes this year seem to address most of our complaints from the 2018 model.
The seventh generation Lenovo X1 Carbon should be available this June with a starting price of $1,700.
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.