ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 Review: UHD+ (Core i7) & FHD+ (Core i5)
Everything involved with this laptop – and i got ta say still one of my favorites here for 2021 and i’ll – explain why, in this review? Hey everybody it’s andrew – and this is my review of the lenovo thinkpad x1 carbon gen 9 coming up Music and, as we take a look at the specs in the interest of transparency and full disclosure – i’m not being paid by lenovo i’m, not being sponsored by lenovo. All the opinions are about to hear are my own. Lenovo is not getting copy approval they’re, seeing this video for the first time, just like you now, this review unit was provided by lenovo and once this review is done, i’ll be sending it back now. The core i5 model, with the full hd plus version that i do show in this video as well, was purchased with my own money. I did not receive a review unit from lenovo. Pricing starts at 1402.80 and i’ll leave a link in the description below for more information and where you can buy it now, they will be running sales for memorial day weekend. So make sure you hit that link below to find out the latest pricing. The core i5 model comes with a plain black lid that we normally see with think pads, but if you do opt for that, uhc plus display that comes with a carbon fiber weave, giving a little bit more classy touch, and here they are together.
You can see the weave on the left and the plain black on the right. I think they both look great and just if you want a little bit more pizzazz go with that uhc plus model now on the left is the core i7 model it’s the core. I7, 1165 g7, with integrated iris, xe graphics, running that uhd plus display on the right is the core. I5 1135 g7 that has the full hd plus display we’ll, get into the differences between the two in just a little bit now to put a size into perspective. Here it is with this smaller sibling, the x1 nano that i recently reviewed link will be in the description below for those that didn’t check it out it’s a great portable laptop in its own right. As expected, the x1 carbon gen 9 has a bigger footprint than the x1 nano, but of course, these all pale in comparison to its bigger brother, the x1 extreme gen 3.. Now i went over the ports in the unboxing video, but for those that didn’t see it on the left side, you get two thunderbolt 4 ports benefit of thunderbolt 4. You can drive multiple 4k monitors or one ak monitor. If you want, you also get a usb. A port 3.2 gen, 1 port and finally, an hdmi port to round out all the ports on the left side on the right side is a 3.5 millimeter, headphone microphone, combo jack and a second usba 3.
2 gen1 port and a kensington lock port, and for those wondering Those two thunderbolt 4 ports are also usb 4 ports as well, notably missing, there’s, no microsd card or full size sd card slot. On this laptop now, i was fortunate enough to check out both the core i5 model, which i purchased myself and my review unit sent from lenovo running the core i7. Both 11th gen intel tiger lake processors, with integrated iris, xe, graphics and, as you can see from the benchmarks, the core i7 did, of course better than the koi 5, but the core i5 certainly held its own when it comes to the performance. Now the core i5 model had eight gigabytes of lp ddr4 x ram, whereas my review unit with the core i7 had 16 gigabytes of lpddr4x ram. But of course these are not gaming laptops, but you can play the occasional game. If you lower the settings, i found the sweet spot to be 1080p low settings. You’Ll get playable frame rates on some popular titles and performance was excellent for everyday tasks such as microsoft, office, email, web browsing and consuming media watching netflix, amazon and youtube work. Like a charm on these laptops, but when i ran my prime95 stress test, it would turbo boost up to 3.6 gigahertz with a core temperature of around 98 degrees celsius. Then i would notice you drop down to 2.8 gigahertz with a core temperature of 81 degrees celsius and that’s fine, but every now and then i noticed it would drop as low as ‘9 megahertz and fluctuate between 54 and 60 degrees celsius.
Now it didn’t happen all the time. It would happen every now and then, but hopefully a firmware update can fix this now. I only noticed this under extreme heavy load, my normal everyday task wasn’t affected. Now the fans will kick in under heavy load, but i didn’t notice them to be overly loud. Actually they thought they were pretty quiet. I thought they did a good job when it comes to fan noise and as far as the surface temperatures are concerned, it stayed relatively cool, although you’ll notice, it got a bit warm at the top of the keyboard when it was under heavy load, but otherwise surface Temperatures were actually pretty good. Now i open this laptop up in my unboxing video, but for those that didn’t see it it’s super easy. All you need to do is loosen the captive phillips head screws pop off the bottom plate and you’re in it’s that easy now, once inside, you’ll notice that 57 watt hour battery will get to the battery life and charging times in just a little bit. You’Ll also notice that it has two fans for cooling. If you look at last year’s gen 8, it only had one fan so that’s a little bit of a change. We’Ll talk about thermal performance in just a little bit now, unfortunately, the ram is soldered into the motherboard. You won’t be able to upgrade it, but you can configure this with up to 32 gigabytes of lp ddr4x ram.
But what is upgradeable by the user? Is the ssd now my core i5 model? The entry level model that i purchased had 256 gigs of ssd storage, which had some excellent reads and writes, especially for a 256 gigabyte ssd drive and the review unit that lenovo sent over has 512 gigabyte, ssd drive and here’s. How it did on the reads and writes, as you can see, excellent results once again, it has wi fi six, along with bluetooth 5.1. Now, unfortunately, the wi fi card is soldered into the motherboard. You won’t be able to upgrade that, but the good news is they’re. Both working really well and as you’d expect now there is the optional 5g lte on this and that’s great for the business executive on the all go let’s talk about the display, we’ll start off with that uhd plus display that lenovo sent over it has a resolution Of 3840 by 2400, that means it has a 16 to 10 aspect ratio. One of the great new features here with gen 9.. Now it also has really deep blacks, very vibrant colors, and it is also color accurate, with an excellent 0.63 delta e score and, of course, lower is better meaning. This is a very, very color, accurate display. It also covers the color gamut extremely well: 100 srgb, 90 adobe rgb 95 of the dci, p3 white color gamut and 86 ntsc, making this an excellent choice for content creators to do lightroom, photoshop and, of course, video editing, and here is the full hd plus model That i purchased with a resolution of 1920 by 1200 sporting that same 16 to 10 aspect ratio.
This is also an ips display and it’s also a matte display, so you don’t get any unnecessary glare or reflections and that’s really good when you want to get work done now at 402, knits it’s a bright display in its own right good for both indoor and Outdoor use, it’s got really deep, blacks, very good y points, excellent contrast, and it has a low delta e score of 2.09. I like to see it below two. This is a little bit above, not quite as good as the uhd plus model when it comes to color accuracy, but it does a pretty good job of covering the color gamut in its own right with a 95 srgb, 71 adobe rgb, 71 percent of the dci. P3 wide color gamut and 66 ntsc, making it a pretty good choice for content creators to do lightroom, photoshop and, of course, video editing. Now one thing all these panels have in common is the fact that they have low blue light emissions, meaning you’re less likely to have any eye strain on these monitors and that’s. Always good – and here are the two different models together on the left – is the uhd plus on the right? Is the full hd plus, as you can see, the uhd plus is brighter it’s a little bit more sharp and more vibrant than the full hd plus, which is pretty good in those departments as well, so it’s just a matter of personal preference.
If you want better battery life, of course, go with that full hd plus it won’t draw as much power less pixels to push. So this is the front facing camera on the thinkpad x1 carbon gen 9 here for 2021. This is the uhd plus version that i’m taking a look at, i also looked at the full hd plus model as well. Now as far as this camera is concerned, this is a 720p 30 frames per second webcam. What do you think about it for zoom or for any of your work from home needs for video conferencing? What do you think about the video quality and the audio quality of the internal mics? Now one thing to note: this is also a windows, hello, camera it’s. An infrared camera that means you could log in with windows, hello with face recognition, but i’m curious to know what you think. Let me know in the comment section below now. This has human presence detection, which automatically locks your device. When you move away it automatically logs you in when it detects your presence, this is a great feature to have and it really worked well, and it also has the think shutter switch, allowing you to turn off your webcam, giving you more security and privacy. Now the power button doubles as a fingerprint scanner, and it worked well setup was easy and registered my finger each and every time i used it adding another layer of security.
All right, let’s talk about the battery life. Now this sports, a 57 watt hour battery and the core i5 model, with that full hd plus display, did 14 hours and two minutes on my continuous web surfing test over wi fi at 150 nits, whereas the core i7 model, with the higher resolution display the uhd Plus did seven hours and 48 minutes. So obviously, if you want more battery life, you want more longevity in terms of that endurance, you’re going to want to choose the full hd plus model. Now, of course, your mileage may vary depending on what you’re doing with the laptop, so that will affect battery life. So please keep that in mind now, if you do need to plug in the supplied 65 watt, usbc power adapter does support rapid charge and you’ll get a full charge in around 90 minutes, which is really good and fast, and, as i mentioned in the unboxing video There are some changes when it comes to the keyboard. The speakers are now moved to the sides of the keyboard, as well as the power button now doubles as a fingerprint scanner, and both are really welcome changes in my opinion and for those wondering yes, you can open the lid with one finger now. Let’S talk about the keyboard and i do really like it that’s one of the best features on this laptop and it’s. No surprise think that keyboards are the best in the business.
In my opinion now lenovo claims it still retains a 1.5 millimeters of key travel. Although i felt it a little bit more shallow than i normally would expect on this type of keyboard, it is still excellent. Nonetheless, still my favorite out there, it has great tactile feedback and is very comfortable for typing for extended periods of time, great for productivity work. It is also a spill resistant keyboard, so if you spill water or coffee or whatever on it, you have a chance for this to survive, and you can’t ask for more. In my opinion, with such a nice laptop, expensive laptop, you want to protect your investment and it now has a bigger touchpad over the previous model and it is very responsive. Two finger scrolling is buttery, smooth and all the just as work as you would expect. It’S, a persistent touchpad that is really excellent and, of course, because this is a thinkpad, it has the trackpoint, which is another great, pointing device or great way to navigate through the os. Some people may like it. Some may not and to be honest, i don’t use it as much as i used to but it’s there. If you want it – and it is an inherent part of the thinkpad dna it’s – not going anywhere anytime soon – and i love the ability to put the screen back 180 degrees as you see here. So that gives you the ability to get the best viewing angle.
Each and every time that’s really great and when it comes to the audio, this sports, the dolby atmos speaker system – and it has two upward firing. Speakers, as i mentioned, and two downward firing subwoofers, which give it really good, sound, good, mids, good volume. And there is some bass, one of the best business laptops when it comes to the audio that i’ve seen today, that’s been pretty good. Okay let’s bring it all home. What do i think about the thinkpad x1 carbon gen 9 here for 2021 and i’m? Absolutely loving this laptop it’s, one of my favorite business laptops out there and it retains that title here. In 2021, a nice move to the 16 to 10 aspect ratio, great thinkpad keyboard once again, it’s a spill resistant keyboard, which i absolutely love, love the long battery life, especially out of that full hd plus model. You get 14 plus hours if you’re going to go with a uhd plus you’re, looking anywhere from seven to eight hours. Of course, depending on what you’re doing you get dual thunderbolt 4 usb 4 support optional 5g lte thin and light design easy to take with you on the go. The negatives here ram wi fi are not user upgradable, there’s, no sd card reader, there’s, no lan port. Although you can get all these on a dongle, if you have to do it and of course, that 720p webcam leaves much to be desired here in 2021, we expect better.
We need a minimum of 1080p. Hopefully, the next generation will see an improved webcam, but there are no real deal breakers here. Ladies and gentlemen, this is my editor’s choice for the 14 inch clamshell business laptop here for 2021, making the x1 carbon gen 9 definitely worth your money. So what do you think about the x1 carbon gen 9 here for 2021 got ta, say: love the move to the 16 to 10 aspect ratio, love the fact that he still has a great keyboard, although slightly less travel. In my opinion, although lenovo’s saying it’s, still 1.5 millimeters of key travel slightly less than the previous model, but still great nonetheless, i like the performance out of the core i5, as well as the core i7. Now, as far as the thermals are concerned, everything is fine, but every now and then i noticed it would really dip down. I think a firmware update would remedy that it doesn’t get overly hot as far as the surface temperatures as far as that performance and the core i7 excellent. As you know, with that 1165 g7, the display options are great. On this, i like that full hd plus with that matte display no unnecessary glare reflections and then, of course, you can go with the upgraded uhd plus display for even more color accuracy and more coverage of the color gamut. Those colors on that simply pop off the display it is beautiful. It is excellent as far as the battery life on this.
Obviously, if you need more longevity, go with that core i5 model getting more than 14 hours on my continuous web surfing test, the uhd plus model obviously has more pixels to push takes up more power and that got about seven to eight hours. Of course, that’ll depend on what you’re doing with the laptop, so your mileage may vary. Keep that in mind now i’ll leave a link in the description below for the latest pricing. Now memorial day weekend is upon us. I expect to see sales from lenovo, so you might be able to pick up the x1 carbon gen 9 for a great price, so keep your eyes open to that link below for the latest pricing. So please hit the like button. Please subscribe! Please share this. Video don’t forget to leave a comment in the comment section below. Let me know how i’m doing. Let me know if there’s a device or something out there, you think i should review i’ll do my best to try to make that happen. Don’T forget to check me out on facebook, twitter, instagram and, of course, my website amdtechreviews.com.