Smaller Carbon Copy

ThinkPad X1 Nano (Gen 1)

Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Nano Reco

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ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen 9)

Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon Gen 9

The first-generation X1 Nano is the lightest ThinkPad Lenovo has ever made, but that doesn't mean it skimps on features and build quality. This is everything you love about the X1 line, shrunk down to fit in a 13-inch chassis that weighs just 2.12 pounds (962g).

From 1,150 at Lenovo

Pros

  • Compact, lightweight, and durable
  • 16:10 AR display with 2K resolution
  • 11th Gen Intel Core vPro CPUs
  • IR camera and Human Presence Detection
  • Thunderbolt 4 and optional 5G

Cons

  • Might want a larger display
  • RAM is soldered
  • Expensive

Lenovo has made the move to 16:10 display, 11th Gen Intel Core CPUs, and optional 5G in its ninth-generation X1 Carbon laptops. If you prefer a ThinkPad with 14-inch display that's just a bit larger and heavier than the X1 Nano, the X1 Carbon should be for you.

From $2,819 at Lenovo

Pros

  • 16:10 displays with FHD, UHD resolutions
  • 11th Gen Intel Core vPro CPUs
  • IR camera and Human Presence Detection
  • Better port selection and optional 5G
  • More screen space at 14 inches

Cons

  • RAM is soldered
  • Expensive

These two ThinkPad X1 laptops share a lot of traits, and you should be able to get most of the features you want in either PC. Let's take a look first at some raw specs before moving into design, display, performance, and price.

ThinkPad X1 Nano vs. X1 Carbon tech specs

ThinkPad X1 Nano (Gen 1) ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen 9)
OS Windows 10 Home
Windows 10 Pro
Linux
WIndows 10 Home
Windows 10 Pro
Linux
Processor 11th Gen Intel
Core i5-1130G7
Core i5-1140G7 vPro
Core i7-1160G7
Core i7-1180G7 vPro
11th Gen Intel
Core i5-1135G7
Core i5-1145G7 vPro
Core i7-1165G7
Core i7-1185G7 vPro
RAM 8GB, 16GB
LPDDR4x-4266
8GB, 16GB, 32GB
LPDDR4x-4266
Graphics Integrated
Intel Iris Xe
Integrated
Intel Iris Xe
Storage Up to 1TB
M.2 PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSD
Up to 2TB
M.2 PCIe 4.0 SSD
Display 13 inches
2160x1350 (2K)
16:10 aspect ratio
Low power
Touch, IPS, AR, 450 nits
Non-touch, IPS, AG, 450 nits
14 inches
1920x1200 (FHD+)
16:10 aspect ratio
Low power
Anti-glare
Non-touch, IPS, 400 nits, Low Blue Light
Touch, IPS, 400 nits, Low Blue Light
Touch, IPS, 500 nits, Privacy Guard
3840x2400 (UHD+)
16:10 aspect ratio
Non-touch, IPS, 500 nits, Low Blue Light
Ports Two Thunderbolt 4
3.5mm audio
Nano-SIM (optional)
Two Thunderbolt 4
Two USB-A 3.2
HDMI 2.0
3.5mm audio
Nano-SIM (optional)
Audio Dual 2W woofers
Dual 1W tweeters
Dolby Atmos
Dual 2W
Dual 0.8W
Dolby Atmos
Connectivity Wi-Fi 6 AX201
Bluetooth 5.1
4G, 5G (optional)
Wi-Fi 6 AX201
Bluetooth 5.1
4G, 5G (optional)
Camera Front-facing 720p
IR camera (optional)
Front-facing 720p
IR camera (optional)
Security dTPM 2.0
Fingerprint reader
Webcam shutter
Human Presence Detection (optional)
dTPM 2.0
Fingerprint reader
Webcam shutter
Human Presence Detection (optional)
Battery 48Wh
65W AC adapter
57Wh
45W, 65W AC adapter
Dimensions 11.53 x 8.18 x 0.55-0.66 inches
(292.8mm x 207.7mm x 13.87-16.7mm)
12.4 x 8.72 x 0.59 inches
(315mm x 221.6mm x 14.9mm)
Weight From 1.99 pounds (907g) 2.49 pounds (1.13kg)
Color Black Black

ThinkPad X1 Nano vs. X1 Carbon Design and features

Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Nano HeroSource: Lenovo

When Lenovo announced the ThinkPad X1 Nano in late 2020, many people compared it to the X1 Carbon. These two laptops come from the same family, though the X1 Nano is sized at 13 inches compared to X1 Carbon's 14 inches. The Nano is about a half-pound lighter than the X1 Carbon at just 1.99 pounds (907g), and also shaves about an inch off the width. The Nano is actually a bit thicker than the X1 Carbon at the chunky side of its wedge shape. Both laptops employ a durable carbon fiber top and magnesium alloy bottom, and both have the standard ThinkPad black finish.

The X1 Carbon's extra space is taken up by far better port selection. It has two Thunderbolt 4, two USB-A 3.2, HDMI 2.0, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a Nano-SIM card slot on the WWAN models. The X1 Nano has just two Thunderbolt 4, a 3.5mm audio jack, and the same optional Nano-SIM slot. If you'd rather not use dongles or one of the best laptop docking stations, the X1 Carbon is much more generous.

Both laptops come with Intel AX201 Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1. You can also outfit each with 4G and 5G connectivity if needed, allowing you to keep in touch even when you're outside of Wi-Fi range. Lenovo lists the X1 Nano as having eSIM capabilities, which the X1 Carbon seems to lack, according to reference documents.

Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon 9thSource: Windows Central

The keyboards here are standard ThinkPad fare. That means you can't do much better in modern laptops in terms of key travel, spacing, and overall comfort. Keys are backlit, and each has unified communication controls to make conferencing and video chatting just a bit easier. The Precision touchpad is accompanied by the ThinkPad TrackPoint system, a boon for anyone who prefers the physical mouse buttons and red pointing nub.

Both laptops offer some robust security features, including a fingerprint reader, webcam shutter, and dTPM 2.0 chip on all models. An IR camera for Windows Hello is optional on both PCs, but it'd make a great pairing with Human Presence Detection capabilities (also optional). If you want your PC to automatically unlock when you approach and lock when you leave, this is the way to go. Note that only the X1 Carbon provides a Kensington lock slot.

ThinkPad X1 Nano vs. X1 Carbon Display

Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon 9thSource: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central

A big change to the X1 Carbon is the move to a 16:10 display aspect ratio, something the X1 Nano debuted with. This provides some extra pixels along the top and bottom for more productivity space; a great change all around.

The X1 Nano's 13-inch IPS display has a 2160x1350 resolution (what Lenovo calls 2K), available in touch and non-touch. The Touch version hits 450 nits brightness, 100% sRGB color reproduction, and has an anti-reflective finish to cut down on glare. The non-touch version hits the same 450 nits and 100% sRGB color, but it has an anti-glare finish. Both displays are considered "low power" to help with battery life.

The Nano's displays are quite attractive, but the X1 Carbon is the way to go if you'd rather have FHD+ or UHD+. There are three display options set at 1920x1200, one non-touch and three touch. All have an anti-glare finish, 100% sRGB color, and are considered low power. One also includes a privacy guard to keep unwanted eyes away, as well as 500 nits brightness. The other FHD+ models hit 400 nits and have low blue light output.

The X1 Carbon's UHD+ (3840x2400) display is non-touch, has a glossy finish, hits 100% DCI-P3 color, and has low blue light output. For those who need better coverage of the DCI-P3 color gamut for design or photo work, this is really your only option between the two laptops. And if you prefer an anti-reflective display finish, the X1 Nano is the way to go.

ThinkPad X1 Nano vs. X1 Carbon performance and price

Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon 9thSource: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central

Both laptops are using Intel's 11th Gen Core mobile CPUs with vPro options available. However, the chips aren't quite the same. The X1 Carbon uses the Core i5-1145G7 and Core i7-1165G7 (and their vPro variants), whereas the X1 Nano uses the Core i5-1130G7 and Core i7-1160G7 (and their vPro variants). The CPUs in the Nano are clocked lower but also draw less power. Compared side-by-side, you should get better raw performance from the X1 Carbon.

No matter what, integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics are included for excellent performance up to 80% better than previous-gen integrated GPUs. These are both laptops certified for Intel's Evo platform, so performance is snappy even on battery power. We've yet to test battery life in either laptop, but Lenovo claims about 14 hours in the Nano and 17 hours in the X1 Carbon with MobileMark 2018.

All RAM is soldered in these PCs, so you'll want to get as much as needed from the factory. The Nano tops out at 16GB while the Carbon tops out at 32GB. You can also get more storage (up to 2TB) in the X1 Carbon, as well as PCIe 4.0 compatibility. The X1 Nano's largest M.2 PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSD is 1TB.

Lenovo Thinkpad X1 NanoSource: Lenovo

The ninth-generation X1 Carbon was only recently released, and Lenovo doesn't yet have a wide selection of models available. Pricing is also quite high at the moment, with introductory models sitting around the $2,819 mark. Expect that to drop significantly, especially with Lenovo's frequent in-house coupons and sales.

The X1 Nano has been on the market for a while longer, with models starting at the $1,150 mark. If you'd like one of these laptops today, the X1 Nano should be much easier on the wallet.

Be sure to take a look at our best Windows laptop roundup if neither of these laptops are really what you're looking for.

Smaller Carbon Copy

Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Nano Reco

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano (Gen 2)

Lightweight, powerful, 5G

The X1 Nano is essentially a smaller version of the X1 Carbon. If you value portability and still want many of the same security features, this is the way to go.

14-Inch Business Partner

Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon Gen 9

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen 9)

A proven Ultrabook

The X1 Carbon (Gen 9) brings better port selection, faster CPUs, and up to a 4K display. However, it costs more and isn't as easy to carry around.

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