Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon (6th Gen) continues its attitude as a premier, admitting pricey, business laptop that weighs as little as some tablets. Absolutely simply, it exudes quality.
Around the actual acceptable 14-inch affectation can be begin a array of ports, including a brace of accelerated Thundert connectors ideal for active alien displays. Array activity is additionally actual good, admitting that’s assisted by the somewhat basal 1080p affectation that accompanied our analysis unit. Beneath the hood, there’s an 8th-gen quad-core Intel Kaby Lake-R processor that accomplishes absolutely abundant for best business tasks. It may be be a few hundred dollars added than the competition, but that hasn’t prevented it from earning our Editors’ Best award. Read on for why.
This analysis is allotment of our best laptops roundup. Go there for capacity about aggressive articles and how we activated them.
According to Lenovo, the Thinkpad X1 Carbon is complete of four layers of carbon fiber, calm with a magnesium admixture roll-cage. In our circadian handling, that meant that it acquainted solid: both ablaze and absolutely sturdy, with nary the aboriginal jerk in the chassis. (It’s asperous abundant to canyon the military’s MIL-STD-810G ruggedized tests, Lenovo says.)
The carbon architecture additionally pays assets in agreement of weight. One of the abstract advantages of a Windows book like the athletic 2017 HP Spectre x2 is its mobility, at 2.48 pounds on our scale. But the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 6th Gen weighs alike less: 2.46 pounds, and it’s far sturdier on the lap. All told, you’ll about absolutely be afraid with how attenuate and ablaze it feels in the hand.
The left-hand ancillary of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 6th Gen boasts a array of ports, including the USB-C and Gen 2 ethernet anchorage that can be acclimated with one of Lenovo’s concrete docks.
Though it’s optionally accessible in silver, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon 6th Gen is best frequently offered in ThinkPad’s signature black. It’s not technically a convertible, but the affectation reclines to a collapsed angle, confined as a autograph apparent if you choose. (Lenovo doesn’t array a stylus with the X1 Carbon, however, nor does it account one amid its accessories.) The Carbon’s annealed articulation additionally resists any movement aback flopping about.
Open the Carbon’s cover, and you’re met with the ThinkPad X1 Carbon’s display, not about one of Lenovo’s acceptable strengths. Four options are available, all 14-inch panels: The 1920×1080 affectation generated 309 nits application our tests. We about analysis with a accuracy amid 250 and 260 nits as a adequate akin for circadian work, and admeasurement array activity accordingly. Hitting that ambition was a acute accommodation on Lenovo’s part, as it maximizes array activity afterwards sacrificing added brightness.
Another USB-A anchorage is tucked on the appropriate of the Lenovo X1 Carbon (6th Gen), alternating with some ample fan vents. There’s a Kensington berth and a headphone jack, too.
Keep in mind, though, that the abject affectation doesn’t action touch. For that, you’ll pay $85 added for a 1080p, 300-nit (rated) display, which was on the archetypal we reviewed. You can additionally pay added for a higher-res 2560×1440, 300-nit affectation (a $138 adder) or $180 added for a 500-nit, 2560×1440 bright affectation boasting the Dolby Vision HDR capabilities. All of the lower-cost panels affection anti-glare coating, which works as advertised.
Maybe I’m aloof acclimated to higher-res panels, but the 1080p 14-inch console looked a little too squished for an everyday, business notebook. And to my eye, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon 6th Gen’s angel affection looked a bit too yellowish, alike aback Lenovo’s software appear a best blush temperature of 6500K. Turning on Eye Care approach (the agnate of Windows’ “night light” settings) aural the Lenovo Vantage account software absolutely dialed bottomward the dejected ablaze (4500K). But, like Windows, you do accept the adeptness to accomplish adjustments via a slider bar.
In agreement of ports, the X1 Carbon offers a accumulation of options. More and added anthology and book makers are affective to USB-C charging, and the ThinkPad X1 Carbon 6th Gen is no exception. One of the nice earlier traditions aural the ThinkPad band was the bendability of its chargers; Lenovo alien us the above 65-watt charger in two altered models of Lenovo notebooks we’re testing.
The left-hand ancillary of the anatomy is area the X1 Carbon 6th Gen includes that USB-C port, which is Thundert 3.0 enabled—meaning that it can accumulation (or receive) power, accommodate USB 3.0 abstracts transfers, and ability up to two 4K monitors at 30Hz brace ante apiece. An HDMI anchorage and a added acceptable USB 3.1 Type A adapter accommodate bequest connections.
Right in the middle, admitting there’s additionally Lenovo’s proprietary advancing connector, which includes a second, Thundert 3.0 anchorage added a appropriate ethernet Gen 2 jack, both physically advised for Lenovo’s 90W Pro Dock, which we didn’t test. It’s all a bit annoying if you don’t buy into Lenovo’s berth vision; the USB-C anchorage is standard, but you’ll about certainly need to buy a dongle to fit the appropriate ethernet adapter, which wasn’t alien with our analysis unit, or artlessly affix wirelessly. In my mind, this is the alone affair that affronted me about the X1 Carbon, admitting an ethernet-to-USB-C dongleRemove non-product articulation is absolutely aloof $25 or so more.
The righthand ancillary of the anatomy includes the added USB-A connector, a Kensington lock, ample fan vents, and the 3.5mm headphone/mic jack.
And don’t balloon about the aggregate SD agenda and WLAN SIM agenda holder, which is tucked abroad aural the hinge, and somewhat aloof unless the laptop is accumbent aloof so. Naturally, you’ll charge to accumulation your own SIM, and the Fibocom L850-GL 4G LTE-A cat 9 agenda that enables it is a $100 option. The Thinkpad X1 Carbon 6th Gen additionally includes a accouterments dTPM (Trusted Platform Module) chip, too, for added security.
The aggregate SD/WWAN aperture on the X1 Carbon (6th Gen) is hidden a the hinge. You’ll charge a pushpin, staple, or SIM bender to aish it.
Two added key appearance were additionally advised with aegis in mind. First, there’s the fingerprint clairvoyant to the appropriate of the trackpad, Lenovo’s best for acceptance users to log in application Windows Hello. We were admiring to acquisition it as reliable as added Lenovo fingerprint readers we’ve used. Lenovo additionally offers an advancement to an IR abyss camera that should acquiesce Windows Hello to be acclimated via the front-facing camera, too, admitting our analysis assemblage lacked that capability.
Here’s a hardly added abnormal aegis feature. Lenovo’s X1 Carbon 6th Gen—for those models afterwards the IR camera—now includes article alleged “ThinkShutter,” a sliding concrete bang that you can close, a nod to those who are anxious that addition may drudge their webcam afterwards their knowledge. I begin the ThinkShutter to be absolutely appealing annealed aback I aboriginal started sliding it aback and alternating application the dent divot, admitting it alone up over time. Aback shut, a red arena surrounds the baby lens, advice you that the camera is obscured.
You can use your barb or a bread to accelerate the ThinkShutter over. But it’s annealed abundant that you may be anxious about breaking a nail.
Any audio propelled advancement by the X1 Carbon’s speakers sounds flattish and somewhat on the bendable side, admitting the the blatant lyrics of Suzanne Vega’s “Tom’s Diner” didn’t assume to lose any accuracy aback played aback over the laptop’s speakers. There’s added than abundant aggregate to ample a acclimatized appointment room, admitting it tends to bellow afterwards a lot of depth.
It’s account acquainted that the X1 Carbon includes the Dolby Atmos audio accessory algorithm, which improves the audio both over the speakers and headphones. Still, alike headphones produced audio that wasn’t all that inspiring, and the aggregate controls didn’t absolutely assume to drag the audio aggregate in the high echelons of the audio controls. Granted, this is a business PC aboriginal and foremost.
Lenovo’s keyboards accept becoming an aristocratic reputation, and the X1 Carbon continues that tradition. The X1 Carbon’s keys feel a bit springier than those of its cousin, the X1 Tablet, anticipation anniversary key is absolutely a bit abate than I expected. Added notebooks such as the Huawei Matebook X Pro abbreviate some of the ascendancy keys and use the added amplitude to access the admeasurement of the main, able keys. There are two levels of backlighting.
Naturally, there’s a acclimatized ThinkPad keyboard beneath the awning of the X1 Carbon.
Again, the added bit of animation may weary some fingers a bit—it did for me, although I acclimatized myself to it in a day or two. Some keyboards acquiesce your fingers to coast over them, acclaim black anniversary key. Another way to attending at it would be to say that the X1 Carbon added approximates a desktop keyboard than added notebooks do.
Depth cameras are great, but this fingerprint sensor on the X1 Carbon 6th Gen anxiously does the job. The baby backbone to the top is an LED, which lights white while you log in, or red to announce that the login failed. The action takes beneath than a second.
As you ability expect, the X1 Carbon additionally includes the the iconic red Trackpoint nub, as able-bodied as the concrete left, appropriate and centermost ons aloft the trackpad. The trackpad feels a little smoother and slicker than those on added Lenovo articles I had handy, but it’s proportionally a bit smaller, too. Don’t balloon about the baby fingerprint sensor to the appropriate of the trackpad, which serves as a acceptable way to log in that’s additionally adjustable with Windows Hello. All of these are archetypal of best Lenovo notebooks. Remember that Lenovo additionally places the Function key in the far left-hand corner, while others assets this for the Ascendancy key. This can be adapted application the Vantage software.
As befitting a business notebook, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon foregoes around all accidental apps, save for what Windows itself provides. Lenovo’s above Vantage software continues to be account perusing, both as a agency to advancement drivers and firmware, as able-bodied as to toggle specific appearance on and off.
By default, Lenovo’s X1 Carbon optimizes its achievement settings to addition achievement aback you charge it. In reality, this agency that the ultrabook’s fan runs absolutely a bit, either in a absolutely revved-up approach or in a array of quiet, accomplishments state. Alike in a quiet appointment with axial heating and air, the X1 Carbon’s revved-up fan babble was agilely annoying. The accompanying Lenovo Vantage software (go to the Accouterments Settings icon, again Acute Settings) allows you to about-face off this automated Intelligent Cooling approach and abode it into a “Cool & Quiet” state. Unfortunately, the X1 Carbon’s fan generally kept agilely yet acutely hissing away.
If you occasionally assignment in a home appointment (and who doesn’t?) be acquainted that I accustomed some aberrant after-effects that I accept were angry to the ambient temperature, due to a adulterated air conditioner. At a balmy abode temperature of 78 degrees, the X1 Carbon’s Cinebench array alone by a abounding 25 percent, and our abiding HandBrake video about-face array fell considerably, too. All of our final numbers, however, represent testing that we performed at PCWorld’s consistently air-conditioned appointment in San Francisco, area the arrangement could use cooler, ambient air to arctic the system.
Still, we noticed that afterwards resuming the X1 Carbon from a abiding beddy-bye state, installing some software, and rebooting (including a Windows update) the X1 Carbon anon began ability throttling to abstain activity over its voltage threshold.
As we commonly do, we abstinent the X1 Carbon 6th Gen’s achievement application our leash of PCMark’s benchmarks: Work, Home, and Creative. Remember, with a quad-core 1.8GHz Core i7-8550U (Kaby Lake-R) dent central it, the X1 Carbon should break through accepted appointment tasks handily, and in our experience, it did so. The Assignment analysis measures Web browsing, alive with Excel spreadsheets, and more. Clearly, its 8th-gen Core dent elevates it to the top of the heap.
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