With the ThinkPad X1 Carbon line, Lenovo has a long history of creating light and compact, yet durable and fast laptops for business users. Last year, it introduced the 10th generation of its 14-inch model, and now the 11th generation, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11, is starting to go on sale, traditionally promising improved performance and battery life. Whether this is true or not, I will tell you in this review.
ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11 specifications
|Display||Matte IPS, 14″, resolution 1920×1200 dots, aspect ratio 16:10, 400 nits, frequency 60 Hz|
|CPU||Intel Core i7-1365U|
|RAM||32 ГБ LPDDR5|
|Storage||1 ТБ PCIe4.0 x4 NVMe M.2|
|Graphics||Intel Iris Xe|
|Ports||2 Thunderbolt 4 connectors (with DisplayPort and Power Delivery), two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, HDMI 2.0b, 3.5mm audio jack|
|Wireless modules||Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth 5.1, LTE|
|Audio||4-speaker speaker system with Dolby Atmos support|
|Keyboard and touchpad||Island type keys with protection against liquid spills, s glass TrackPad touch panel 110 mm wide, trackpoint|
|Battery and charging||57W-h, 65W power supply|
|Dimensions||315,6 x 222,5 x 15,36 мм|
|Estimated price||Over UAH 100,000|
The delivery package
Despite its rather high price, the laptop only comes with a 65W power supply and a USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 to Ethernet adapter.
This version’s packaging is simple, but environmentally friendly, as it is made from recycled materials.
Design and materials
The latter is very pleasant to the touch, but it collects hand prints very easily, so it will have to be wiped off periodically. With this generation of the model, Lenovo has brought back a version with a carbon fiber display cover, so that users can choose between a classic and a more modern design.
The lid, like the rest of the model, has a minimalist design with a single element – the ThinkPad X1 logo, in which the letter “i” is traditionally emphasized. Thanks to this, the laptop is very easy to recognize, and I must admit that the classic ThinkPad design still has its own magnetism.
What’s consistent about the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11, besides the design, is the build quality, with all the parts of the body fitting together very well. The screen unit cover can be easily opened with one hand, but don’t let this lightness fool you, the hinge holds the display in any position surprisingly well.
As expected with the X1 Carbon, Lenovo has used high-quality materials, but this time with a focus on sustainability. The top of the laptop is made from 90% recycled magnesium, and the bottom lid is made from 55% recycled aluminum.
Both materials have also allowed the manufacturer to keep the weight relatively low, despite the strength of the structure. For a 14-inch model, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11 weighs only 1.12 kg, which makes it very comfortable to carry around.
All the ports on the laptop are located on the sides. On the left, there are two USB-C Thunderbolt 4, one USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 and HDMI 2.0b.
The right side has a Kensington lock, another USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port, a nanoSIM card slot, and a combined 3.5mm headphone and microphone jack.
Traditionally, Lenovo offers several versions of the ThinkPad, including a version with an OLED display with a resolution of 2.8K (2880×1800 pixels) and a brightness of 500 nits. I tested a simpler version with an IPS display with a resolution of 1920×1200 pixels (16:10) and a maximum brightness of 400 nits.
This is a fairly high-quality panel with good viewing angles, a matte anti-glare coating, and enough brightness to work comfortably indoors and in not too bright sunlight. However, the image clarity at FullHD resolution on the 14-inch screen is no longer sufficient by modern standards, especially considering the high cost of the model.
Nevertheless, despite the resolution, this display is comfortable to work with, and it is obvious that it allows you to load the laptop platform less, thus improving battery life. I’ll talk about this a bit below.
Platform and performanceIntel Core i7-1365U processor with a frequency of 3.9-5.2 GHz and 1 GB of Intel Iris Xe graphics, 32 GB of LPDDR5 RAM, and a 1 TB Kioxia XG8 NVMe SSD drive.
The model uses a Wi-Fi 6E module to connect to the Internet, as well as a built-in LTE modem to connect to cellular networks and a slot for a nanoSIM card. Bluetooth 5.1 is used to connect wireless headphones and accessories.
The capabilities of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11 platform are generally sufficient for comfortable work with office applications. The laptop offers a high level of performance when working with the browser, email and documents, which is generally confirmed in synthetic tests.
Like most modern laptops, the X1 Carbon Gen 11 has several operating modes that can give the user either higher performance or longer battery life with minimal use of the cooling system. In the most energy-efficient mode, the laptop scores 4364 points in PCMark, while at maximum speed it scores 5723 points. This is a very good result for such a compact laptop.
The performance of the Thinkpad X1 Carbon Gen 11 decreases when the charger is unplugged and the system is put into energy saving mode, as shown by the 3146 points in the same PCMark, but this is not noticeable when working with office programs.
The efficient operation of the system is supported by the fast Kioxia XG8 1TB SSD, which provides 6692 MB/s when reading and 3765 MB/s when writing information.
The built-in Intel Iris Xe graphics will not be enough to play modern games comfortably, except with the minimum graphics and resolution settings, if the game supports it. However, the laptop is not designed for such use.
In general, we have a level of performance that is appropriate for the positioning of the model, which will be more than enough for comfortable office use.
Heating and operating stability
The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11 uses an active cooling system, but its operation depends on the selected performance mode.
If you choose the most energy efficient, the fans will not turn on even under load in the AIDA64 stress test. The processor temperature will reach an average of almost 77 degrees Celsius, which is adequate for a U-series chip. However, such quiet operation is ensured by reducing the processor frequency, which averages 1.7 GHz, which is far from the maximum 5.2 GHz possible in the Intel Core i7-1365U.
If you switch to performance mode, you can see the trotting during the first minute of the AIDA64 test, because the utility creates an unrealistic load on the processor cores. After the fans of the cooling system start working, the stuttering disappears, the system starts working stably, and the average processor temperature reaches 77.4 degrees Celsius, with a higher average frequency of 2.4 GHz.
In both cases, the body of the laptop heats up the most in the upper left portion of the topcase, but the keyboard and panels underneath remain barely warm, allowing you to continue working with the laptop at maximum system load.
In general, we can say that the cooling system of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11 does its job perfectly, allowing the user to have both a completely silent mode and a more productive one, but still with quiet operation of the fans and not too much heating of the case.
For a quick login in Windows 11 Pro on ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11, two biometric authentication methods are available at once.
Users can log in using the facial recognition feature, which combines webcam and infrared sensor images for a more reliable scan. However, since the X1 Carbon has a traditional webcam cover, this option may not be suitable for all users looking for maximum security and privacy.
That’s why another way to log in to Windows, besides a password, is through a fingerprint scanner built into your laptop’s power button.
The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11 is equipped with a Full HD webcam that provides mediocre image quality during video calls, especially in low light conditions.
At the same time, the user can use the camera effects built into Windows 11, such as blurring the background, adjusting the gaze, or keeping the focus on the face.
Keyboard and touchpad
The only difference between this keyboard and, say, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme is that the keys are flatter and don’t have an ergonomic curve that tries to follow the shape of your finger. This does not affect typing speed, but it was more comfortable to work with the previous version of the keyboard. However, I note that typing large amounts of text on the ThinkPad X1 Carbon is still very comfortable thanks to the pleasant key travel.
The keyboard has an extended set of function keys, which, in addition to the standard F1-F2 keys, include quick settings and a set of keys for working in a text editor – Home, End, Insert, Delete.
Interestingly, in addition to the standard sound and screen brightness controls, there are also buttons for accepting and rejecting calls in Microsoft Teams, as well as a button that shows the notification panel.
In the Lenovo Vantage program, the user can swap the Fn and Ctrl keys, as well as a number of function keys from quick settings to F1-F12 functions.
In addition to the almost standard ThinkPad keyboard, the laptop traditionally has two ways to control the mouse cursor: via the glass touchpad and the trackpad.
The latter manipulator allows you to control the interface without taking your hands off the keyboard, which will be very convenient for ThinkPad fans, but everyone else can either try the trackpoint or ignore it.
To that end, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11 features a small but comfortable glass touchpad that accurately senses finger position and supports Windows 11 gestures.
There are external speaker grilles on both sides of the laptop’s keyboard, and two more speakers are placed on the bottom edge of the case, giving the laptop four emitters configured for Dolby Atmos surround sound technology. They sound very loud indeed, but there is a lack of power at maximum volume, but the engineers had to make this compromise to maintain a compact body.
However, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11’s speakers are loud enough for video calls, videos and TV shows.
The laptop has a built-in 57 Wh battery, which lasts for a full working day with a reserve, as confirmed by the PCMark 10 battery test, in which the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11 lasted 13 hours and 27 minutes.
The laptop is charged via the USB-C port from the included 65W power adapter, and Rapid Charge support charges the battery up to 80% in 60 minutes.