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  • Posts: 2595
  • Registered: ‎04-17-2014
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Battle of the ThinkPads: X1 Carbon Gen 6 vs X1 Yoga Gen 5

2020-06-30, 20:11 PM

Disclaimer: I am a Lenovo advocate; I'm a volunteer; I don't work for Lenovo. All opinions are my own. 


Note: Photos are limited and have been compressed on this post.  To view more high quality photos that accompany this post, click here: https://ibb.co/album/4sNSwg


Clamshell or convertible?  It's one of the biggest questions of many prospective laptop buyers.  The ThinkPad X1 Carbon and ThinkPad X1 Yoga are both phenomenal machines that differ by that question. 

In this comparison, I am comparing the X1 Yoga 5th gen and the X1 Carbon 6th Gen.  The X1 Yoga 5th gen shares largely the same design as the X1 Yoga 4th gen, and the X1 Carbon 8th gen shares largely the same design as the X1 Carbon 7th gen, and a very similar design to the X1 Carbon 6th gen which I am using in this comparison.



Unlike my comparison of yesteryear between the 6th gen X1 Carbon and the 2nd gen X1 Yoga, the laptops in my comparison this year are nearly identical in both size and weight.  They both share the same footprint, a footprint of a 13.3 inch laptop in a 14 inch display form factor.  They also both share the same ports, namely two USB 3.0 Type A ports, two USB 3.0 Type C with Thunderbolt ports, one HDMI, one audio jack, and one ThinkPad Docking port.  And while the X1 Yoga is slightly heavier than the X1 Carbon, the difference isn't too noticeable, especially when carrying it in a bag.  This is a testament to the drastic changes the X1 Yoga has undergone to make the device sleeker and more compact, something I'm a fan of.  

Top: X1 Carbon.  Bottom: X1 Yoga

Top: X1 Carbon.  Bottom: X1 Yoga.


Of course, there are key differences between the two.  Obviously, the X1 Yoga has a 360 degree hinge to allow it to flip from laptop mode to tablet mode.  The X1 Yoga also has a silo on the right side for the included active pen.  

Time to address the elephant in the room: the new CNC aluminum on the X1 Yoga.  Lenovo says this material is just as durable as the carbon-fiber reinforced polycarbonate chassis found on the X1 Carbon (and previous generation X1 Yogas) while being lighter.  This seems to be true as the material isn't easily scratched in my testing.  The aluminum chassis of the X1 Yoga is also less of a fingerprint magnet than the polycarbonate chassis of the X1 Carbon.  The latest X1 Carbon offers a black weave cover design, but is still built on the same carbon fiber reinforced chassis.  

Top: X1 Yoga.  Bottom: X1 Carbon. 




The X1 Yoga's display is rated at 400nits whereas the X1 Carbon's display is rated at 300nits.  The X1 Yoga's display is definitely brighter than that of the X1 Carbon because of the higher nit rating and the glossy finish on the X1 Yoga's display compared to the matte display on the X1 Carbon.  A matte display reduces glare and fingerprints but also reduces clarity and detail.  If you're the type that abhors the look of smudges on the display, the matte option is a better fit.  On the other hand, if you're the type that enjoys the full colors and details offered by the panel, a glossy finish is a better fit. 

Left: X1 Carbon.  Right: X1 Yoga. 


I also want to note that the latest generation X1 Carbon has a 400nit FHD display.  The latest generation X1 Carbon and X1 Yoga share similar display options, from FHD to UHD configurations.  


Keyboard, TrackPad, TrackPoint

The keyboard on both machines is excellent and a joy to type on.  If I had to pick a winner, it would be the X1 Carbon by a margin as the slightly longer key travel makes typing in long sessions more desirable.  I do prefer the X1 Yoga's keyboard backlight as it is a bit more uniform, meaning there is less light bleed in between keys. 

The trackpad on the X1 Yoga feels more smooth and uniform than that on the X1 Carbon.  In addition, the X1 Yoga's trackpad doesn't leave any smudges behind, something that really bothers me with the X1 Carbon.  The trackpoint on both machines are nearly identical.  

Because the X1 Yoga is made of CNC aluminum, it does a better job of not showing fingerprints or smudges when resting my arm on the palmrest.  

Left: X1 Carbon.  Right: X1 Yoga


Performance, Fan & Cooling

Both models share a very similar fan layout where the fans exhaust out the right of the laptop.  The X1 Carbon has a 8th gen i7 processor whereas the X1 Yoga has a 10th gen i7 processor.  The specs between the two processors are very similar, but the latest generation does get a leg up in max turbo frequency.  In my testing of an hour of mixed AutoCAD use, the X1 Carbon was slightly hotter than the X1 Yoga but I did not notice visible thermal throttling in either machine.  In general, the X1 Yoga is slightly quieter with its automatic fan cooling mode on.

The CPUs offered in the latest generation X1 Carbon and X1 Yoga are identical (10th generation i7 processors), and they are powerful enough for everyday tasks and even some low-end gaming. 

X1 Carbon

X1 Yoga



One of the most major differences between the 6th gen X1 Carbon and the 5th gen X1 Yoga is the speakers.  On the X1 Yoga, there are two speaker sets: a pair of downward facing speakers and a speaker bar above the keyboard.  The result is clear fulfilling audio.  The 6th gen X1 Carbon does not have this upgraded speaker system, though the 7th and 8th gen X1 Carbon does.  To hear the difference between the old speaker system and the new one, check out this video I did comparing the 2nd gen and 5th gen X1 Yoga:


Odds and Ends

The fingerprint sensor on the X1 Yoga is faster and more accurate; I seldom get failed reads, something that occurs on the X1 Carbon. 

The X1 Yoga has more microphones built into the lid, which inclines me to think that microphone pickup quality should be better. 

The latest generation X1 Carbon and X1 Yoga both offer an IR camera option with Glance software pre-installed.  Click here to learn more about all this software can do. 



These are both very sleek, powerful, and handsome machines that radiate a sense of business in any room you walk in.  I am particularly impressed by the additional features the X1 Yoga has been able to cram into the same chassis of the X1 Carbon.  

In the past generations, the downsides of getting the X1 Yoga would be carrying a heftier and larger device.  With the new X1 Yoga, that is not the case.  Ultimately, the decision is up to your use case as not everyone needs a 2-in-1, but there is really no sacrifice with getting the new X1 Yoga.  


Check out my 2nd gen vs 5th gen X1 Yoga comparison here!

Eric Xu

I'm a Lenovo forums advocate and brand advocate (Lenovo INsider). I'm a volunteer; I don't work for Lenovo.

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