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Lenovo's 8th Gen ThinkPad X1 Carbon flaunts refreshed design, privacy display

The best business laptop just got better

(Image: © Lenovo)

Our Verdict

The 8th Gen Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon's tweaked design and new display option could make it a worthy successor to our favorite business laptop.

For

  • Lightweight and durable design
  • New PrivacyGuard display
  • New keyboard layout improves productivity
  • 10th Gen six-core CPU

Against

  • No SD card slot
  • High starting price

The best business laptop just got even better. Unveiled just days before CES 2020, Lenovo's 8th Gen ThinkPad X1 Carbon flaunts a fresh design along with a couple of interesting additions. 

The latest model of this ultraportable business laptop refines a winning formula instead of taking any unnecessary risks. That's fine by us; The ThinkPad X1 Carbon has been the best business laptop for several years now thanks to its portable yet durable design, high-quality components and extensive features. 

None of that changes with the 8th Gen model, and a few tweaks should make this upcoming model more enticing than ever for business users and everyday consumers alike.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon price and availability

Lenovo hasn't said when the 8th Gen ThinkPad X1 Carbon will go on sale, only that it will be available in 2020 with a starting price of $1,499. 

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon design

The 8th Gen X1 Carbon might look identical to the 7th Gen version at first glance, but a couple of interesting design tweaks spice things up a bit. 

The 8th Gen model's lid has a carbon-fiber weave, which accentuates the laptop's durable materials. The new look was introduced on select 7th Gen models, and replaces the traditional flat matte-black aesthetic found on past versions. 

Lenovo also tinkered with the 8th Gen X1 Carbon's branding by moving the X1 Carbon decal from the bottom-right corner of the lid to just below the ThinkPad logo. It's a minor change, but one that puts more emphasis on the storied brand. 

(Image credit: Lenovo)

The 8th Gen X1 Carbon looks otherwise identical to its predecessor. You'll still find red trim on the X1 Carbon's pointing stick and secondary touchpad buttons. The X1 Carbon doesn't have the thinnest display bezels, but that's so they can accommodate an optional IR camera and ThinkShutter webcam cover. 

The ultra-portable machine is 0.6 inches thick and weighs just 2.4 pounds. And while it might not feel substantial, the X1 Carbon retains its MIL-STD spec rating, which means it can withstand extreme conditions.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (8th Gen) ports

(Image credit: Lenovo)

Despite its slim design, the X1 Carbon offers a decent range of ports. On the right side is a USB 3.1 Type-A port next to a Kensington lock. Flip the laptop around and you'll see two Thunderbolt 3 ports, a second USB 3.1 port, an HDMI input and a headphone/mic jack on the left side. There is also a proprietary docking port. 

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (8th Gen) display

The 8th Gen ThinkPad X1 Carbon will be sold with several different 14-inch display options. New this year is a 500-nit FHD touch-screen (anti-glare) panel with PrivacyGuard, or a built-in privacy filter that restricts viewing angles. 

You also have multiple 1080p and 4K options, including 14-inch, FHD touch or non-touch screens with up to 400 nits of brightness and a WQHD (2560 x 1440-pixel) panel with up to 300 nits of brightness. 

(Image credit: Lenovo)

If you value picture quality over battery life, we recommend the 4K (UHD) display with 500 nits of brightness. That pixel-packed panel is Dolby Vision and HDR400 certified, so expect vivid colors. 

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (8th Gen) keyboard and touchpad

We haven't gotten our fingers on the 8th Gen X1 Carbon's keyboard, but we'd be disappointed if it was anything less than best-in-class. 

In fact, the new version promises to improve the keyboard with new UC (Unified Communication) keys, so you can quickly answer and end video conference calls and mute/unmute your mic. 

The X1 Carbon is one of the few laptops that hasn't compromised keyboard comfort in favor of portability. The new model has the same curved keys we've come to love and a generous 1.5 millimeters of travel. 

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (8th Gen) specs

Powering the ThinkPad X1 Carbon are 10th Gen Intel Comet Lake processors. Lenovo didn't say which exact chips would be on tap, but that the X1 Carbon can be configured with up to a six-core Core i7 CPU. If that's the Core i7-10710U CPU, then you can expect blazing-fast performance. 

(Image credit: Lenovo)

Even more interesting is that Lenovo says the X1 Carbon will be available with vPro. Designed for IT admins, Intel's remote management platform isn't currently available on 10th Gen processors, so we're interested to see how this all plays out. Those processors can be paired with up to 16GB of RAM and up to a 2TB PCIe SSD

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (8th Gen) battery life

The 8th Gen ThinkPad X1 Carbon has a 51Wh battery that is rated to last between 10 and 18.5 hours on a charge. Expect runtimes at the lower end of that range during everyday use as the 7th Gen X1 Carbon with a 1080p display lasted for 9 hours and 30 minutes on a charge. 

Outlook

Lenovo isn't reinventing the wheel with the 8th Gen ThinkPad X1 Carbon but a few welcome changes are coming to the 2020 model. Those include a slightly updated design, new processor options, a more functional keyboard, and a privacy screen display. We're looking forward to getting hands-on time with the new X1 Carbon at CES 2020 and will update this article once we do.