LAS VEGAS—The ThinkPad is going aluminum.
At CES 2019, we got a hands-on look at refreshed versions of some of our favorite business laptops, including the ThinkPad X1 Yoga and ThinkPad X1 Carbon. Along with some new features and updated internals, the convertible X1 Yoga received a dramatic visual overhaul while the X1 Carbon flaunts more subtle design changes.
Both devices will be available in June 2019, with the X1 Carbon starting at $1,709 and the X1 Yoga going for $1,929.
|Row 0 - Cell 0||ThinkPad X1 Yoga||ThinkPad X1 Carbon|
|Display||14-inch, 1080p/1440p/4K||14-inch, 1080p/1440p/4K|
|CPU||Up to Intel Core i7||Up to Intel Core i7|
|RAM||8GB, 16GB||8GB, 16GB|
|Storage||Up to 2TB||Up to 2TB|
|Ports||2 USB 3.1, Thunderbolt 3, HDMI, headphone||2 USB 3.1, 2 Thunderbolt 3, HDMI, headphone|
|Size||12.7 x 8.6 x 0.6 inches||12.7 x 8.5 x 0.6 inches|
|Weight||3.1 pounds||2.46 pounds|
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga
It's hard to tell the new X1 Yoga is related to last year's model. That's because the 2-in-1 shed its carbon fiber for aluminum, a first for the ThinkPad lineup. The Iron Gray chassis is more compact and lightweight this year, coming in at 0.6 inches thin and just 3.1 pounds. Lenovo says the new version is 17 percent smaller and that the display bezels were reduced by 11 percent.
Port selection on the X1 Yoga is good for such a slim device. You'll find two USB 3.1 ports, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, an HDMI and a headphone jack. The side of the laptop also has a stylus slot.
Several different displays will be offered on the ThinkPad X1 Yoga starting with a 1080p touch screen. From there, you'll be able to upgrade to a WQHD panel (2560 x 1440 resolution) or an 4K HDR screen rated at 500 nits of brightness.
Privacy is a major concern among business users. To give them peace of mind, Lenovo is offering what it calls an ePrivacy display. Similar to HP's Sure View tech, the display has a built-in privacy filter that greatly reduces viewing angles to protect your sensitive info from snooping eyes. On top of that, the X1 Carbon and X1 Yoga have a ThinkShutter to block the standard IR camera when it's not in use.
The X1 Yoga comes equipped with the components you'd expect from a premium laptop: the latest 8th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU, Up to 16GB of RAM, up to 2TB of SSD storage and UHD graphics.
One change I'm really excited about is the X1 Carbon's improved audio. Lenovo added two tweeters to its deck to go along with the dual speakers on the laptop's undercarriage. The new X1 Carbon sounded notably crisper and clearer than its predecessor in a brief demo Lenovo gave us.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
The ThinkPad X1 Carbon -- one of few laptops to earn our 5-star rating -- has long donned a carbon fiber chassis. Now it will flaunt that material with a weaved finish. Lenovo essentially stripped the matte black paint off the laptop's lid to reveal an interlacing texture underneath. If you're familiar with the Dell XPS line, which has a carbon fiber deck, then you've seen the texture before.
Lenovo trimmed down the X1 Carbon's chassis, bringing the thickness to just 0.58 inches (compared to the 0.62-inch 2017 model). While that size reduction didn't have a major effect on the laptop's weight, the 2.5-pound ThinkPad X1 Carbon remains extremely portable.
Despite its slim chassis, the X1 Carbon still offers two USB 3.1 (Type-A) ports along with two Thunderbolt 3 inputs, an HDMI and a headphone jack.
The 14-inch X1 Carbon will also be available with numerous display options, including a 1080p (non-touch or touch) panel, a 2560 x 1440-pixel (non-touch) display, and a new 4K HDR display for pixel-peepers. Like the X1 Yoga, the X1 Carbon features a 1080p ePrivacy display and comes standard with ThinkShutter to cover the IR camera from snooping eyes.
The ThinkPad X1 Carbon also has a four-speaker setup this time around, so it should sound a lot better than its predecessor. Unsurprisingly, the keyboard on the prototype I demoed felt fantastic, which is par-for-the-course with ThinkPad laptops.
Professionals who need to run demanding programs will appreciate the new 8th Gen Core i7 CPU powering the latest X1 Carbon. Other components inside the X1 Carbon include either 8GB or 16GB of memory and up to 2TB of PCI SSD storage.
Last year's X1 Carbon floored us with its exceptional 11 hours of battery life. Lenovo rates the latest model at 15 hours, however, you should take that ambitious claim with a grain of salt.
Of course, we won't know for sure how the laptop performs until we get in a review unit. Until then, stay tuned for more CES 2019 coverage.
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Phillip Tracy is the assistant managing editor at Laptop Mag where he reviews laptops, phones and other gadgets while covering the latest industry news. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Phillip became a tech reporter at the Daily Dot. There, he wrote reviews for a range of gadgets and covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity. Prior to that, he wrote for RCR Wireless News covering 5G and IoT. When he's not tinkering with devices, you can find Phillip playing video games, reading, traveling or watching soccer.