Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11 vs. Jan 10: Newer is Faster | Digital Trends

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is the company’s leading thin-and-light business-class laptop and has sometimes appeared in our list of the best business laptops. The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 was a solid option for business professionals, and Lenovo recently updated the laptop with Gen 11.

The new model has switched to low-power CPUs, the only major change to go with a few different display options. You might be concerned that while lower-power CPUs might provide better battery life, there might be a performance hit. Has Lenovo sacrificed speed for longevity?

Specifications and configurations

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11
Dimensions 12.43 inch x 8.76 inch x 0.59 inch 12.43 inch x 8.76 inch x 0.59 inch
Weight £2.48 £2.48
Processor Intel Core i5-1240P processor
Intel Core i5-1250P processor
Intel Core i5-1255U processor
Intel Core i7-1260P processor
Intel Core i7-1270P vPro
Intel Core i5-1280P vPro
Intel Core i5-1335U processor
Intel Core i5-1345U processor
Intel Core i7-1355U processor
Intel Core i7-1365U vPro
Graphics Intel Iris Xe Intel Iris Xe
Screen 14.0-inch WUXGA (1920 x 1200) IPS
14.0-inch 2.2K (2240 ​​x 1400) IPS.
14.0 inch 2.8K OLED (2880 x 1800).
14.0-inch WQUXGA (3840 x 2400) IPS
14.0-inch WUXGA (1920 x 1200) IPS
14.0-inch 2.2K (2240 ​​x 1400) IPS.
14-inch WUXGA IPS with ePrivacy filter
14.0 inch 2.8K OLED (2880 x 1800).
Warehousing 512GB PCIe SSD
1TB PCIe Gen 4 SSD
512GB PCIe Gen 4 SSD
1TB PCIe Gen 4 SSD
2TB PCIe Gen 4 SSD
Touch Optional Optional
You bring 2 USB-C with Thunderbolt 4
2 USB-A 3.2 Gen 1
1 HDMI 2.0b
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
1 Nano SIM slot (on WWAN models)
2 USB-C with Thunderbolt 4
2 USB-A 3.2 Gen 1
1 HDMI 2.0b
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
1 x NanoSIM slot (on WWAN models)
wireless WiFi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2
Optional 5G WWAN
WiFi 6E and Bluetooth 5.1
Optional 5G WWAN
Webcams 1080p with infrared camera for Windows 11 Hello 1080p with infrared camera for Windows 11 Hello
Operating system Windows 11 Windows 11
Drums 57 watt hours 57 watt hours




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It’s been a few generations since the ThinkPad X1 Carbon received a design update, and the Gen 11 model remains identical to its predecessor. That means the same magnesium alloy frame and carbon fiber lid, which shows some slight flex, as does the keyboard. It’s not that the laptop doesn’t feel sturdy, but aluminum machines like the Dell XPS 13 Plus are stiffer. But it’s that combination of materials that makes the ThinkPad X1 Carbon so light at just 2.48 pounds and 0.59 inches thick, both excellent for a 14-inch laptop.

The black-on-black ThinkPad aesthetic with red trim also remains on display. Unlike other models, such as the ThinkPad X1 Yoga, Lenovo hasn’t spoiled the iconic ThinkPad look with the X1 Carbon. It’s all black, with just a few touches of red like the dot above the i in the ThinkPad logo on the lid and the red TrackPoint protrusion in the center of the keyboard. If you like the design of the ThinkPad, the Gen 11 will make you just as happy as the Gen 10 model.

The keyboard also remains the same, with deep, sculpted keys and tons of key spacing. The switches remain a bit stiffer than on other premium laptops, which might appeal to some people. Personally, I prefer the lighter switches on the Dell XPS and Apple MacBook lines. The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11 also enjoys the same TrackPoint nubbin and touchpad, the latter of which remains smaller than it could be due to the TrackPoint buttons. It works fine, though.

Connectivity is identical, with a good mix of modern and legacy ports. Wireless connectivity is up to date and there is the option for 5G WWAN for always connected internet.

Finally, the webcam remains a 1080p version with great video and still supports an infrared camera for Windows 11 Hello support. There’s a physical slider for the webcam to provide some privacy and a fingerprint reader built into the recessed power button.


Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

A major shift from the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 to the Gen 11 model is from Intel 12th Generation P-series 28 watt CPUs to Intel 13th Generation U series 15 watt processors. You can still get Intel vPro if you’re buying for a business that can use the additional management and security features. However, on paper, the move to low-power CPUs looks like a potential drawback.

In our benchmarks, however, the Gen 11 performed well. With a Core i7-1355U with 10 cores (two Performance cores at 5 GHz and eight Efficient cores at 3.7 GHz) and 12 threads, the latest model was faster than the Gen 10 with the Core i7-1260P, a processor at 12 cores (four Performance cores at 4.7GHz and eight Efficient cores at 3.4GHz), 16-thread CPU.

Both laptops offer great productivity performance, but the Gen 11 is a bit faster, at least in performance mode. Fan noise with things turned up wasn’t blatant, so not too bad of a trade-off. While the synthetic benchmarks gave the Gen 10 model an edge in balanced mode, the Gen 11 did better in the more realistic PCMark 10 Complete benchmark which was run in balanced mode.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10
(Core i7-1260P)
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11
(Core i7-1355U)
Geekbench 5
Bal: 1.531 / 8.209
Performance: 1,580/8,342
Performance: 1,810/6,074
Performance: 1,852/8,484
Bal: 133
Performance: 138
Bal: 184
Performance: 121
Cinebench R23
Bal: 1.538 / 6.993
Performance: 1.538/6783
Bal: 1.626 / 5.728
Performance: 1,833/8,122
PCMark 10 completed
(The higher the better)
4,982 5,338


Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Both the Gen 10 and Gen 11 models we tested use a 14.0-inch 16:10 WUXGA (1,920 x 1,200) non-touch IPS display, and their colorimeter results were very close. The Gen 11s panel was more accurate and had slightly better color width, but for all intents and purposes the displays are identical. Both are fine for productivity users but won’t thrill creators.

Lenovo has changed the display options with the new model, offering a privacy panel for the Gen 11 model, but dropping the option of a UHD+ IPS display. Creators will want to opt for the 2.8K (2,880 x 1,800) OLED display for the best colors and contrast.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 10
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 11
411 nits 420
AdobeRGB gamut 98% 100%
sRGB gamut 76% 76%
(DeltaE, lower is better)
1.96 1.15
Contrast ratio 1,660:1 1,690:1

As before, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11 uses two downward-facing speakers to deliver sound, and they were fine. There was plenty of volume, with clear mids and highs, and some bass. You’ll need some headphones for the best music and streaming quality, but you’ll be fine with just speakers for most uses.


Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11 remains as thin and light as its predecessors. Lenovo has up to no good with this update.

At the same time, the main benefit of switching to low-power CPUs is, at least in theory, longer battery life. And indeed, we see the Gen 11 last much longer in each of our tests. You’re much more likely to get full days’ work with the newer model than the previous generation.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 10
(Core i7-1260P)
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 11
(Core i7-1355U)
surf the Internet 7 hours and 39 minutes 9 hours and 43 minutes
video 14 hours and 34 minutes 18 hours and 23 minutes
PCMark 10 applications 10 hours and 42 minutes 14 hours and 19 minutes

At similar prices, the Gen 11 wins

As long as you can get a Gen 11 ThinkPad X1 Carbon for around the same price as the Gen 10 model, then you’ll definitely want to opt for the upgrade. It’s faster and has better battery life, while enjoying identical experiences in terms of build quality, keyboard, touchpad, and display.

The newest model solidifies the ThinkPad X1 Carbon as the first business-class machine in the lineup. It is worth its price and the previous generation should be offered at a very significant discount to make it more attractive.

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