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04-25-2008

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ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 8 - short review

2020-06-28, 21:56 PM

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 8 just pulled into formation alongside Gen 7 and Gen 6 in the Lenovo store. SInce I own and use Gen 6's for work and play, and am lucky enough to have Gen 7 and Gen 8 Lenovo loaners, I thought the community might be interested in a short review of the X1C8, and how it sits relative to the previous generation X1C7 and X1C6. It joins in echelon, a row in which each is side-by-side but ahead of the next. So it is with these three. I compared the X1C6 and X1C7 ln this first look last year. This time the focus is on the X1C8.

X1C6, X1C7 with carbon fiber weave lid, and X1C8 on top 
X1C8 SeriesX1C7 SeriesThis X1C8
Up to 10th Gen i7Up to 8th Gen i7i7-10610U
Up to 16GB LPDDR8 RAMUp to 16GB LPDDR3 RAM16GB LPDDR3 RAM
Up to 2TB PCIe SSDUp to 2TB PCIe SSD1TB Toshiba KXG6AZNV1T02

14” FHD IPS (400nit)  

14” FHD IPS Touch (400nit)  

14” FHD IPS PrivacyGuard (500nit)  

14” WQHD IPS (300nit) 

14” HDR400 UHD IPS (500nit) 10 bit

14” FHD IPS (400nit)  

14” FHD IPS Touch (300nit)  

14” FHD IPS PrivacyGuard (400nit)  

14” WQHD IPS (300nit) 

14” HDR400 UHD IPS (500nit) 10 bit

14” FHD IPS Touch (400nit)   
720p HD Camera with ThinkShutter, IR optional720p HD Camera with ThinkShutter, IR optional720p HD + IR Camera with ThinkShutter
4 x 360 degree microphones4 x 360 degree microphones4 x 360 degree microphones
Dolby Atmos SpeakersDolby Atmos SpeakersDolby Atmos Speakers
WWAN LTE Cat9 & Cat16WWAN LTE Cat9 & Cat16None
WLAN Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201WLAN Intel Wireless-AC 9560WLAN Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201
Bluetooth 5Bluetooth 5Bluetooth 5
Black or carbon fiber weave top coverBlack or carbon fiber weave top coverBlack top cover
51Whr battery, 19.5 hours MobileMark 201451Whr battery, 18.3 hours MobileMark 201451Whr battery
Height 14.95mmHeight 14.9mmHeight 14.95mm
Weight starting 2.4lbsWeight starting 2.4lbs2.44lbs on a kitchen scale

See the PSREF for more specification details.

 

First the displays. There are improvements in brightness and contrast ratio, which are always welcome. I've been a bit of a high-resolution snob, and was a bit leery as to whether the X1C8 sample's FHD resolution touch display would do the job next to my bright WQHD and UHD displays. I shouldn't be so picky. It's a great display and the anti-glare coating really helps when bright lights are around, like outside in daylight where I am now. The X1C8 has been great for all this extra video streaming we've been doing all around the house, garage, and yard. The display is big and bright enough for two, and the up-firing 1W tweeters and down-firing 2W drivers (introduced in the X1C7) emit higher quality sound than you would expect.

X1C6, X1C7, and X1C8 on top showing their down-firing speakers

Processor-wise the X1C8 is all 10th Generation Intel Core i5/i7 - Comet Lake-U's. Available benchmarks show performance gains but it's evolution, not revolution. The i7-10610U in this X1C7 picks up and runs snappily, and I've had no performance or throttling issues whilst doing a typical mix of office chores, including driving a 5K2K Thunderbolt 3 monitor or two external FHD ThinkVision M14 USB-C displays (more on that later). I'm really am hooked on the almost instant-on of Modern Standby (Microsoft, Intel, and Lenovo making laptops always on in the background like mobiles) and the X1C8 pulls out of Modern Standby pronto. You can hold down Shift while shutting down to completely turn off, but for those who don't want the background battery use, the old standby is configurable in BIOS.

WiFi 6 (802.11ax) is finally appearing in enough devices that upgrading makes sense, and the X1C8 sports a 2x2 Intel AX201 which supports the faster, better in crowds standard up to 2.4Gbs vs the 1.73Gbps  maximum of the Intel 9560 in the X1C7. My network is still WiFi 5 (802.11ac wave 2) so I wasn't able to compare this.

 

Battery runtime also ekes out some gains here, 7% comparing the published MobileMark 2014 numbers. It's notable that Lenovo now also cites the more achievable in everyday use MobileMark 2018 result, 13.8 hours in this case. 

 

The X1C8's selection and location of input/output connectors is the same as the X1C7.

X1C6, X1C7, and X1C8 on top showing their left-side ports 
X1C6, X1C7, and X1C8 on top showing their right-side ports 

The X1C8 function keys F10, and F11 now support VoIP call answer and hangup if you're in the Microsoft Skype for Business/Teams ecosystem. If you're not, F10 and F11 open Lenovo Vantage (on X1C7 they switch Bluetooth and open Lenovo Vantage). F9 now opens the Windows Notifications pane (on X1C7 WIndows F9 opens Settings).

A surprise inclusion was the new ThinkPad 65W Slim AC Adapter, the smallest USB-C 65W brick from Lenovo yet. It doesn't come with every X1C8 model. It's rounded so you can neatly wrap the USB-C cord around it and use the bright red clip to hold it in place. I like it enough that I already bought an extra to replace the 45W adapter in my backpack. Now I have the advantage of the 80% charge in 1 hour :-). The part number is 4X20V24674.

USB-C 65W Slim AC Adapter on the left, standard USB-C 65W AC Adapter on the right

Something which applies to all the latest four X1 Carbon generations: USB-C with power delivery and alternate video mode is a most excellent thing. Here's my three-screen mobile work from anywhere setup with the X1C8 and two ThinkVision M14 USB-C displays. The wiring simplicity can't be beat when you're moving around the house or traveling. One USB-C power cable to an M14 which passes it on to the X1C8 which also powers a second M14 AND drives the displays - sweet!

ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 8 driving two FHD ThinkVision M14 USB-C displays

TrackPoint caps: For your brand new X1C8, and for all of of you with battle-worn X1C7 TrackPoint caps wondering where to get bright new replacements, they are now available in 10-packs for about $10. The part number is 4XH0X88960, and right now you will find them here on the US web store. For all the latest compatible accessories check out the latest Options Compatibility Matrix.

 

Conclusion:

The X1 Carbon Gen 8 is more refined that its predecessors, an achievement in itself, while retaining all their best qualities. It's a great choice if you're looking for the very latest slim and light laptop for work or personal use. 

 

If you're looking for more X1C8 photos, download the 40MB CES press image set zip file from here. This is my favorite, the frosty X1C8:

And of course, any questions... ask here!

I don't work for Lenovo. I'm a crazy volunteer!
Using Browser Search To Find Answers in the Lenovo and Moto Communities.
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90 Posts

08-28-2016

US

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  • Posts: 90
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  • Message 2 of 2

Re:ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 8 - short review

2020-06-30, 19:30 PM

I had my Gen 8 for about two weeks now. It feels and functions exactly like my Gen 7. No difference whatsoever in speed, keyboard, trackpad feel, etc., except battery life is about 50-70% shorter with the high-res screen I have on the Gen 8. Also, the webcam on the Gen 8 is very fuzzy compared to my Gen 7. Also, I did not get the slim adapter with my laptop, but the standard 65W brick.

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