Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 (2022) Review

Okay, we'll come right out and say it: this is the best laptop in the world.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 (2022) Review

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10

PROS
Sleek, robust, and lightest
ports for USB-A and HDMI in addition to Thunderbolt 4 Unbeatable keyboard
Screen options of the highest quality, including OLED and 4K displays
Consistently high levels of both productivity and battery life
CONS
the cost of business class
There is no SD card slot or microSD card slot.
5G option not yet available

LENOVO THINKPAD X1 CARBON GEN 10 (2022) SPECS

Laptop ClassBusiness, Ultraportable
ProcessorIntel Core i7-1260P
RAM (as Tested)16 GB
Boot Drive TypeSSD
Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested)512 GB
Screen Size14 inches
Native Display Resolution1920 by 1200
Touch ScreenYes
Panel TechnologyIPS
Variable Refresh SupportNone
Screen Refresh Rate60 Hz
Graphics ProcessorIntel Iris Xe Graphics
Wireless NetworkingBluetooth, Wi-Fi 6E
Dimensions (HWD)0.6 by 12.4 by 8.8 inches
Weight2.48 lbs
Operating SystemWindows 11 Pro
Tested Battery Life (Hours:Minutes)12:18

After putting the Gen 9 model from the previous year through our testing, we concluded that it performed as well. There was no choice for an OLED display on the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon; if there had been, we would have been inclined to call an end to our review division and declare that the state of business laptop technology had reached an impenetrable plateau. It would appear that the corporation reads all of our reviews: Think you can guess what new feature was included to the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 this year?

Lenovo’s Gen 10 ultraportable (starts at $1,439; $2,249 as tested) effortlessly repeats its perennial Editors’ Choice win and takes the ultra-rare step from a 4.5-star to a perfect 5-star review. As it turns out, we’re going to keep PC Labs open for the time being. However, the Gen 10 ultraportable from Lenovo costs a starting price of $1,439. The only things that aren’t great about the Carbon are its premium price and the fact that it doesn’t have an SD card slot. However, it does have handy HDMI and USB Type-A ports, which aren’t found on the Dell XPS 13, which we’ve described as the Carbon’s only competitor for the title of world’s best laptop. If you can afford one, we envy you.

The Ultimate Business Journal for Executives

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon has been updated to its 10th generation, however the change is not a significant one. It embraces the third edition of the Intel Evo spec for thin-and-light laptops, which mandates 12th Generation Core processors, improved videoconferencing with a 1080p rather than 720p webcam, dynamic background noise suppression, and Wi-Fi 6E. In addition to such tweaks as squared keycaps and a slightly larger glass touchpad, the laptop also incorporates a few other new features.

The Core i5-1240P central processing unit (CPU), 8 gigabytes of RAM, a 256 gigabytes PCIe solid-state drive, and a 14-inch IPS display with a 16:10 aspect ratio and a resolution of 1,920 by 1,200 pixels are included in the base model that costs $1,439. There are no less than seven different screen options available, including non-touch, touch, and privacy-filter versions of the 1,920-by-1,200-pixel panel; an IPS screen with a slightly higher resolution of 2,240-by-1,400 pixels; a 2,880-by-1,800 OLED panel for users who want the blackest blacks, punchiest colors, and highest contrast; and non-touch and touch versions of a 3,840-by-2,400 IPS display with 500 nits of Eyesafe anti-blue-light technology is included in most of them.

Our test unit, which costs $2,249 and has the model number 21CB000CUS, has a touch screen with a base resolution of 400 nits, 16 GB of RAM, a 512 GB solid state drive, and a 28-watt Core i7-1260P processor with 16 threads, four performance cores, eight efficient cores, and Intel’s vPro IT manageability and security technology. Additionally, it comes preinstalled with Windows 11 Pro and a fingerprint reader that is integrated into the power button. However, the reader is quite undersized for the task at hand. It does not have Windows Hello face recognition built into its webcam, but you can purchase face-recognition cameras that are either simple (infrared) or fancy (MIPI interface with computer vision module) if you so choose. Mobile broadband over 4G LTE is also included; the spec sheet indicates 5G as an option, but I haven’t been able to find it in the online configurator that Lenovo provides.

The flagship ThinkPad combines a carbon-fiber cover with a magnesium alloy base, and it has passed the MIL-STD 810H testing for travel hazards like as shock, vibration, and temperature extremes. These tests were performed in the same manner as before. When you hold the screen edges or press down on the keyboard deck, there is almost no flex in the display. The Carbon has dimensions of 0.6 inches by 12.4 inches by 8.8 inches, which are comparable to those of the 14-inch HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 (0.7 inches by 12.7 inches by 8.5 inches), and it weighs 2.48 pounds, which is a fraction lighter than the smaller-screened XPS 13 and the MacBook Air.

Because both the Dell and the Apple rely on Thunderbolt 4 ports for its USB-C connections, you will need an adapter in order to connect an external display, a storage device that uses USB Type-A, or any other peripheral device. On the left side of the Lenovo, there are two Thunderbolt 4 ports; however, in addition to these connections, there is a USB 3.2 Type-A port as well as an HDMI video output. On the right side of the device is a second USB-A port, an audio jack (which is also missing on the Dell), a slot for a nano SIM card, and a slot for a security lock.

A Wall of Sound, Along with Some Snappy Typing

Although there is no room for a numeric keypad due to the key arrangement, the backlit keyboard plays up to the excellent reputation that ThinkPads have earned by providing a quick and responsive typing experience. In place of Fn-key-and-cursor-arrow combinations, it has actual keys for Home, End, Page Up, and Page Down (albeit in the typical ThinkPad arrangement, with the first two on the top row and the latter two at the bottom right), as well as top-row shortcuts for controlling brightness, volume, and initiating and terminating conference calls.

The Fn key and the Control key are physically located next to each other on the bottom left of the keyboard; but, using the software that is given by Lenovo, you can practically switch their positions. The TrackPoint tiny joystick (which has three huge buttons located below the space bar) and the rectangle touchpad both function in a secure and smooth manner. When the appropriate amount of pressure is applied to the pad, a quiet click will occur.

The high-definition webcam is hidden under a minute bulge or ridge in the top bezel of the laptop. This bump or ridge also makes it marginally simpler to open the lid. It also contains four microphones arranged in a quad-array and a sliding privacy screen. The software known as Dolby Voice eliminates background noises coming from both ends of a video conversation. Additionally, it adjusts the microphones so that they are most effective for those speaking around a conference table or for the individual who is seated in front of a laptop. The camera captured a well-lit, sharp, and colorful view of my face as well as my loudest Hawaiian shirt, but it caused a painting in the backdrop to appear slightly blurry.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 (2022) Review
Lenovo

Two speakers that fire upward and two speakers that fire downward provide audio that is so astonishingly loud and clear that I had to conduct my MP3 listening tests with the level turned down to 80 percent instead of the customary 100 percent. Even though there isn’t much bass, the highs, midtones, and overlapping tracks all sound fantastic. It’s also quite easy to make out what’s going on. A Dolby Atmos tool offers a number of settings, some of which are more pleasing than others. These presets include ones for music, movies, gaming, and voice, among others. In addition to that, there is an equalization for making fine-grained modifications to the sound.

The screen has a crisp appearance, with excellent contrast and a wide viewing angle. To get white backgrounds to look completely white, you will need to tilt the screen back quite a little; however, this is not an issue because the display can be rotated through 180 degrees. There is plenty of brightness; the colors do not pop like poster paints (which can be attributed to the use of IPS technology rather than OLED technology), but they are rich and highly saturated. There is no pixelation along the margins of the letters, allowing for clear rendering of fine details.

The Lenovo Commercial Vantage app allows users to change the default settings for the keyboard as well as manage software updates, audio settings, power settings, and cooling settings. A software called Lenovo View improves the quality of webcam photographs, and another utility called Clean Your Device stops all input for a few minutes so that you can clean the keyboard and screen with a cleaning wipe. Although the pricing of our review unit includes three years of on-site service the following business day, the base models of the X1 Carbon only come with a one-year warranty, which we find to be somewhat limited for a laptop designed for professional use. (You have the option of purchasing up to five years.)

Examining the Competiton Between the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 and Other Premium Business Laptops

Test System Configurations
ITEMPROCESSORGRAPHICSRAMSTORAGE
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10Intel Core i7-1260PIntel Iris Xe Graphics16GB RAM512GB SSD
Asus ExpertBook B7 FlipIntel Core i7-1195G7 (2.9GHz)Intel Iris Xe Graphics16GB RAM1TB SSD
HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8Intel Core i7-1185G7 (3.0GHz)Intel Iris Xe Graphics16GB RAM512GB SSD
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7Intel Core i7-1260PIntel Iris Xe Graphics16GB RAM512GB SSD
VAIO SX14 (2021)Intel Core i7-1195G7 (2.9GHz)Intel Iris Xe Graphics16GB RAM512GB SSD

In order to compile our benchmark charts, we evaluated the most recent X1 Carbon in relation to four other 14-inch business slimlines, the specifications of which are detailed in the table that follows. Late in 2021, we put clamshells such the HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 and the VAIO SX14 through our testing. The Asus ExpertBook B7 Flip and Lenovo’s own ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 are also examples of 2-in-1 convertible laptops that were released more recently.

Examinations of Productivity

The primary benchmark that is used in UL’s PCMark 10 mimics a wide range of real-world productivity and content-creation processes. This benchmark is used to measure overall performance for office-centric operations such as word processing, spreadsheet editing, web surfing, and video conferencing. In addition, we utilize PCMark 10’s Full System Drive test to determine how long it takes a laptop’s storage to load and its overall throughput.

In order to evaluate how well a personal computer can handle tasks that need a lot of processing power, three benchmarks concentrate on the CPU and make use of all of the cores and threads it has. Maxon’s Cinebench R23 mimics popular applications such as PDF rendering, speech recognition, and machine learning using the company’s Cinema 4D engine. Primate Labs’ Geekbench 5.4 Pro, on the other hand, renders a complicated scenario using the company’s Geekbench 5.4 Pro software. In the end, we convert a video clip that is 12 minutes long from a 4K resolution to a 1080p resolution using the open-source video transcoder HandBrake 1.4. (lower times are better).

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 (2022) Review
Lenovo

The Creative Cloud version 22 of Adobe’s well-known image editor is used in Puget Systems’ PugetBench for Photoshop to evaluate a personal computer’s performance in relation to the creation of content and the running of multimedia programs. This is our final productivity test. It is an automated extension that executes a variety of general and GPU-accelerated Photoshop tasks such as opening, rotating, resizing, and saving an image as well as applying masks, gradient fills, and filters. These tasks can be carried out in a variety of ways depending on the user’s preferences.

The Carbon performed exceptionally well in all of our CPU tests and breezed through the 4,000-point mark in PCMark 10, which denotes outstanding productivity for commonplace apps. It is not capable of processing datasets at the level of a mainframe, but it is a speedy office PC.

Examinations of Graphics

We evaluate the graphics capabilities of Windows personal computers by running two DirectX 12 game simulations developed by UL’s 3DMark: Night Raid (a more basic simulation that is appropriate for laptops with integrated graphics) and Time Spy (more demanding, suitable for gaming rigs with discrete GPUs).

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 (2022) Review
Lenovo

We also perform two tests from the cross-platform GPU benchmark GFXBench 5, which stresses both low-level procedures like texturing and high-level, game-like image rendering. Texturing is one example of a low-level routine. Both the 1440p Aztec Ruins and the 1080p Car Chase tests exercise graphics and compute shaders by making use of the OpenGL programming interface and, in the case of the Car Chase test, hardware tessellation. These tests are produced offscreen to suit differing display resolutions. The higher the frame rate in terms of frames per second (fps), the better.

There are a lot of poor scores here. Nobody will ever mistake the ThinkPad’s Intel Iris Xe or any other integrated graphics for the specialized graphics processing unit (GPU) of a gaming laptop or, for that matter, the professional GPU of a computer-aided design or CGI rendering workstation. Integrated graphics are a subset of discrete graphics processing units (GPUs). However, it works just fine for streaming movies and playing casual games.

Tests on the Display and the Battery

Playing a locally saved 720p video clip (the open-source Blender movie Tears of Steel) for an extended period of time with the display brightness set to 50 percent and the audio volume set to 100 percent is how we test the battery life of laptops. Before beginning the test, we check that the battery has a full charge and turn off Wi-Fi as well as the illumination on the keyboard.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 (2022) Review
Lenovo

We also make use of a Datacolor SpyderX Elite monitor calibration sensor and its Windows software in order to evaluate the color saturation of a laptop screen. This involves determining what percentage of the sRGB, Adobe RGB, and DCI-P3 color gamuts or palettes the display is capable of displaying, as well as the display’s peak and 50 percent brightness levels measured in nits (candelas per square meter).

The fact that our battery lasted the least amount of time in our test is disappointing, but the fact that it lasted for 12 hours is excellent news for anyone who wants to watch Netflix or YouTube in the evening after a busy day of work or school. The base display on the Carbon is neither an OLED or a premium IPS screen, but it is more than bright enough and colorful enough for work that requires only a moderate amount of creativity.

A Purchase Option That Is Totally Obvious

When it comes to the competition between the greatest ultraportable laptops, it appears that the XPS 13 is winning the title of El Laptop Supremo more often than the X1 Carbon does. We beg to differ: The Dell is wonderful and costs less, but the screen on the Lenovo is a half an inch larger, it weighs a few grams less while being constructed to MIL-STD 810H, and it has six ports instead of two. The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 is the greatest notebook money can buy, provided that you are not interested in purchasing a high-performance gaming machine or workstation.

5Expert Score
THE BOTTOM LINE
A 12th Gen Intel CPU, a sharper webcam, and more display options cement the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon’s place as the finest laptop for business—and likely the finest laptop, period.


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