ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020

This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl.

I was finally able to borrow Lenovo's flagship model ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen 8) , which was announced and launched on May 26, 2020, and I was able to try it out for a short time. I'm more of a VAIO fan than a ThinPad fan, so I would like to share my experience with you from that perspective.

The model we borrowed this time has an Intel 10th generation Core i7-10510U (1.8GHz / up to 4.9GHz) processor, 16GB of memory and 512GB of PCIe NVMe OPAL2.0 compliant SSDs, 14-inch UHD LCD (3840 x 2160 dots) and the graphics are called Intel UHD graphics with a built-in CPU.

ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020
The ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen 8) doesn't notice any difference in appearance from the Gen 7 at a glance.

This time it's Gen 8, but the design, the philosophy and the specifications seem to have been passed down from generation to generation. There have been very few changes from the previous generation (Gen 7). The big change is that the CPUs have moved from Intel 8th generation to 10th generation.

There are four types of CPUs to choose from

  • Core i7–10610U processor

  • Core i7–10510U processor

  • Core i5–10310U processor

  • Core i5–10210U processor

However, the Gen 7 models released this year were available with a 10th generation processor and a choice of 6-core / 12-thread Core i7-10710U processors, which is a troubling specification if you're looking for a more powerful machine. Since you can currently buy the Gen 7. We're hoping to see a Gen 8 model with a Core i7-10710U processor.

ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020
Indicated by the CPU-Z App. Code name is Kaby Lake, but it's actually Comet Lake.

ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020
Indicated by the GPU-Z app. The graphics are internal GPU.

The appearance is virtually unchanged. The carbon style top panel is still intact. This carbon tone is quite nice. It feels a little warm to the touch and I quite like it. VAIO also uses carbon for the top panel, but the carbon feel fades when it's painted. The KACHI-IRO Special Color was a specification that utilized the texture, but it's already been discontinued.

The ThinkPad logo on the top board and the LED on the "i" dot make it easy to see how much of a difference it makes when it's asleep. The author also liked the glowing mechanism. I have a weakness for shiny objects.

ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020
I like the carbon mesh-like top panel, which adds to the carbon feel. I also like the one-point red LED at the "i".

Weights from 1.09 kg (depending on configuration). There are several laptops with 14-inch LCDs, such as the VAIO SX14, that are lighter than this. However, the impression I had was that it was very light. It may come from the size of 323 x 217 mm and the thinness of 14.95 mm. I like compact and light types, but as soon as I held this one, it made me think, "Oh, I'd be fine with this size."

When you open the top panel, you will see the iconic TrackPoint, the symbol of ThinkPad. I often hear that ThinkPad enthusiasts get used to the operation of the ThinkPad and can't get used to it. I have touched it a long time ago when I was still in the IBM days, but it has been a long time since I have met it. However, if you are used to the touchpad, it is a little bit difficult for me to handle the TrackPoint. I feel like it will take some time.

ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020
The red one on the ThinkPad. I hadn't used TrackPoint in a while, and it took some getting used to for me.

ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020
The ThinkPad clickpad is not slippery, but a resistant pad that I personally like the feel of. It's not so bad that the click button is on the upper side.

The touch of the keyboard is perfect, even if you're used to the VAIO keyboard. It can be handled. It's very quiet and you won't mind telecanning while typing on the keyboard. It's very quiet and you won't mind having a teleconference while typing on the keyboard. I have to admit that I'm not used to the Fn key position, but you'll soon find out which manufacturer's group you're in based on your familiarity with this key placement.

ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020
The key pitch and stroke are adequate and easy to type on. The key layout is perfect except for the Fn key. There is a call button on the function key.

What has changed on the outside is the holes for the speakers (tweeters). The Gen 7 had holes on the top of the keyboard on both sides, but this time the holes are only on the part where the tweeter is located. I listened to a bit of J-Pop music, but the sound has depth in combination with the woofer on the bottom, and the sound quality is very easy to listen to because it plays the high range clearly.

ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020
There are holes for tweeters on the left and right, which are compatible with the Dolby Atmos Speaker System. You can feel the breadth of the sound.

The 14-inch UHD LCD has a high brightness, and the colors cover more than 99% of sRGB, and I wanted to use it for photo development work. However, because the graphics are built-in CPU, that is a bottleneck, but it is enough when you need to work in a mobile environment, not to process a large amount of work.

ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020
The screen is a 14-inch UHD DOLBY Vision IPS LCD (3840 x 2160 pixels) with HDR display support. The brightness is high and the color is good. 175% is the best display scale for Windows.

ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020
It also has a color adjustment function and can cut out blue light.

The interfaces are solid and substantial for a thin and light model. There are two USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C ports with Thunderbolt3 support, two USB Two 3.1 Gen 1 ports, an HDMI port, two Ethernet expansion connectors (supports RJ45 jacks with an optional cable) and a microphone and headphone jack. There is no SD card reader, but there is not so much problem because both USB Type-C and A are equipped. VAIO has an SD card reader, but I use an adapter separately because it is not high-speed.

ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020
From the top left side, right side and back. On the left side are two USB Type-C, two ethernet connectors, USB Type-A, HDMI, and a microphone and headphone jack. USB Type-A and power button on the right side. There is a SIM slot on the back.

ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020
The AC adapter is connected to the USB Type-C terminal, and although it is thick, it has a compact design. In addition to the 45W type shown in the photo, a 60W type is available for an additional 1100 yen.

Also, Wi-Fi 6 support has been available since Gen 8. I don't have a product that supports Wi-Fi 6 as a mobile machine, so that alone made it up to my choice of products to buy. LTE supports CAT.16 and 1 Gbps downstream. I want it in this regard as well. For more on the LTE area, see ACCN's review.

Related Article: ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen 8) review - more like a smartphone than a Mac

I've actually tried using Office and Adobe Linghtroom Classic and others. On a 14" UHD display, the standard display scale is 300%. As you would expect, this is too large, so setting it to 175% is just fine. The screen is wide enough to work quite efficiently. The fan spins under load, but it's not so much that it's insanely noisy. Of course, you won't feel stressed when working on it. It has a Core i7 with 16GB memory, so it seems to be able to do a little RAW development.

ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020
The mechanism to physically shutter the camera has changed since Gen 7. This gives me a sense of security.

ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020
The Lenovo Vantage app allows you to do a variety of settings. It's convenient to do many things.

I also took some benchmarks. It is measured with the power on and in the default state. The results are as follows.

ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020
We ran the Cinebench R20, which measures the performance of the CPU. Multi-core 1544pts, single-core 404pts. single-core performance is high.

ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020
CrystalDiskMark 7.0.0 measures storage read/write speeds. Sequential reads are among the fastest for a PCIe 3.0 NVMe compatible SSD.

ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020
The results in PCMark10, which measures app performance. The graphics are a drag, but the office apps perform flawlessly.

After touching it for a short period of time, it makes me want to carry it around with me for mobile work. The red color on the black body shows that it is a "ThinkPad user" even from a distance, and it is different from VAIO or MacBook in that it inspires a desire to own it.

The direct selling price (including tax) of the model used this time and customized similarly is the standard price of 361,900 yen. But if you use the e-coupon discount, the price is 242,473 yen! (As of July 1, 2020) It is discounted by 119,427 yen. Just looking at the price made me feel like I was getting a great deal and I almost ordered it.

As an uncle who loves VAIOs, it's a model with good coloration of the LCD and a traditional design that makes sense to me. It supports Thunderbolt3 and Wi-Fi 6, and the elimination of legacy interfaces (such as D-Sub 15-pin), I found the ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen 8) to be very attractive. I'll talk to my wallet.

This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl. The Japanese edition of Engadget does not guarantee the accuracy or reliability of this article.