Gears & Gadgets

Next-generation ThinkPad X1: More carbon fiber for one, aluminum for the other

We’ve long been fans of Lenovo’s X1 line. The X1 Carbon (a conventional laptop) and the X1 Yoga (a laptop with a 360 degree hinge) have consistently sported solid build quality and classic ThinkPad good looks while being packed with features, albeit at a price. This year’s refreshed models continue this tradition but with a particular focus on the materials they’re made from.

Lenovo (and before that, IBM) has long boasted of the use of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic in many of its ThinkPads; the composite material is strong and rigid, but lightweight. However, to look at most ThinkPads, they appear to be plain plastic. A pleasant-to-touch plastic with a pleasing matte finish—but plastic all the same. In response to this image problem, the new 7th-gen X1 Carbon sports a woven carbon fiber finish; instead of being a uniform black, the system’s lid has a visible weave pattern to it that highlights its composite nature.

Aside from this, the seventh-generation machine contains the usual incremental generational improvements we’ve come to expect. The processor is an 8th-gen Core part (a Whiskey Lake chip) with 8 or 16GB RAM and up to 2TB PCIe SSD. It’s a little thinner than the previous generation, at 14.95mm/0.58 inches, and weighs 1.11kg/2.46lbs. Five 14-inch screen options are available: 1920×1080 400nit, 1920×1080 300 nit with touch, 1920×1080 400 nit with built-in privacy filter, 2560×1440 300 nit, and a 500 nit 4K display with 10-bit per channel HDR. The audio system has also been improved, with a 4-speaker Dolby Atmos system and four far-field microphones for voice recognition.

The system has two USB 3.1 generation 1 ports and two Thunderbolt 3 ports, one HDMI port, and a 3.5mm headset jack. There’s both a camera with infrared support for Windows Hello facial recognition and a fingerprint reader. However, the previous generation’s dedicated Ethernet port (which needed a separate dongle to actually use) has been removed. The battery is also down from 57Wh to 51Wh, though Lenovo estimates that battery life is essentially unchanged.

Pricing will start at $ 1,709.99, with availability in June.

The X1 Yoga, my favorite system of the last few years, has also had a materials-inspired change, but it’s gone in a different direction. The X1 Yoga has hitherto been a close sibling to the X1 Carbon, but in a rather bold move, Lenovo has dropped the carbon fiber entirely in favor of CNC milled aluminum. I’m told that the aluminum would be heavier than the carbon fiber it replaced, but—because Lenovo has also shrunk the system’s dimensions with thinner bezels and a smaller footprint—the overall weight has nonetheless dropped.

The specs of the Yoga largely match the Carbon; the non-touch 1920×1080 400-nit screen is dropped as an option, but touch versions of the other screens are all available, including the 500-nit 4K display. Connectivity is slightly different; for some reason, the Yoga includes one USB 3.1 generation 2 port and one USB 3.1 generation 1 port (as opposed to two generation 1 ports on the Carbon). The Yoga also retains the stylus with integrated pen garage. It’s 15.2mm/0.59 inches thick and weighs 1.37kg/3.09lbs. Everything else—processor, memory, storage, audio, battery, webcam—appears to be identical between the two systems.

Pricing will start at $ 1929.99, again shipping in June.

Lenovo will also start shipping a new monitor: a curved 43-inch beast with a resolution of 3840×1200 that’s essentially equivalent to a pair of 24 inch 1920×1200 screens, just without any border. The refresh rate goes up to 144Hz, and it supports FreeSync variable refresh rates. It has a number of different inputs (USB Type-C, HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.4) and brightness of 450 nits.

The display—called the ThinkVision P44W—will cost $ 1299.99 when it hits the market in April.

Listing image by Lenovo

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Tech – Ars Technica

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