Notebookcheck

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2019 WQHD Live Review: Still the reference among business laptops?

Andreas Osthoff 👁 (translated by Andreas Osthoff), 07/19/2019

Even slimmer and lighter, but the keyboard takes a step in the wrong direction. The ThinkPad X1 Carbon is Lenovo's flagship business laptop and primarily convinced us with its portable chassis in recent years, without sacrificing ports or performance. The 7th generation is even more compact and gets new display options. Is the 2019 ThinkPad X1 Carbon with the WQHD screen as successful as the previous models or is the 2018 model the better choice? Update: Case, input devices, CPU Undervolting

Both the ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2017 and 2018 used the same chassis (except for some visual changes), so Lenovo created a completely overhauled design for the 7th generation of its business laptop. The result is a very portable 14-inch notebook with a weight of just ~1.1 kg, which does not make any compromises in terms of functionality, at least according to the manufacturer.

Our review unit today carries the designation ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2019 20QE000VGE and it features a Core i7 processor, 16 GB RAM, and a 512 GB NVMe-SSD. We have the matte WQHD panel with 2560 x 1440 pixels, which is already familiar from the previous model. The new carbon fiber design on the lid is only available on models with the optional 4K UHD screen; all the other models feature the familiar black design.

We compare the new ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2019 with its predecessor as well as the current ThinkPad T490s/T495s. We are still waiting for the updated competitors, so we will use the HP EliteBook x360 1040 G5 and the Dell Latitude 7490 for now. 

We want to present our initial test results/impressions of the new ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2019 and we will update the article over the next couple of days with all our usual tests. We also plan to test the Linux compatibility, but please leave a comment if you have further suggestions or questions.

We will receive the entry-level SKU of the X1 Carbon with the LowPower 1080p screen (400 nits) next week, but the 4K model is a bit delayed. Lenovo currently has no RRP for our configuration, but a corresponding unit in the online shop of the manufacturer retails for about 2450 Euros.

Changelog:

  • July 20th: Comparison with T490 & T495s, temperatures, fan, battery runtime
  • July 23rd: Display measurements, CPU performance, system performance, speakers, additional battery tests
  • July 25th: Case, comparison with the X1 Carbon 2018, input devices, outdoor pictures, undervolting, additional battery tests

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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2019-20QE000VGE (ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2019 Series)
Graphics adapter
Memory
16384 MB 
, LPDDR3-2166, Dual-Channel, on-Board
Display
14 inch 16:9, 2560 x 1440 pixel 210 PPI, LP140QH2-SPD1, IPS, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel Cannon Lake-U PCH-LP Premium
Storage
WDC PC SN720 SDAQNTW-512G, 512 GB 
, 437 GB free
Soundcard
Intel Cannon Lake-LP - cAVS
Connections
2 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 2 USB 3.1 Gen2, 2 Thunderbolt, 1 HDMI, 2 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, 1 Docking Station Port, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm Stereo, 2 Fingerprint Reader, NFC
Networking
Intel Ethernet Connection I219-V (10/100/1000/2500/5000MBit/s), Intel Wireless-AC 9560 (a/b/g/n = Wi-Fi 4/ac = Wi-Fi 5), Bluetooth 5.0, Fibocom L850-GL 4G/LTE-Advanced Cat 9, LTE
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 14.9 x 323.5 x 217.1 ( = 0.59 x 12.74 x 8.55 in)
Battery
51 Wh, 3321 mAh Lithium-Ion
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 720p ThinkShutter
Additional features
Speakers: Dolby Atmos, 2x 2W, 2x 0.8W, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, 65 Watt PSU, ThinkPad Ethernet Extension Adapter Gen2, Lenovo Vantage, 36 Months Warranty
Weight
1.113 kg ( = 39.26 oz / 2.45 pounds), Power Supply: 366 g ( = 12.91 oz / 0.81 pounds)
Price
2450 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case - New, but still hardly different

Lenovo equipped the ThinkPad X1 Carbon 7th Gen with a completely new chassis. It is lighter and a bit more compact, but to be honest, the differences are very small and you will have a hard time noticing it. In addition to the 2019 X1 Carbon, we also have the predecessor here in our editorial office and it is not easy to spot the new model (in terms of handling), even in a direct comparison. The design is also pretty much the same, because the black surfaces are identical. Only the X1 Carbon 2019 with the 4K HDR screen gets the new carbon fiber lid design, but this is only a visual difference.

X1 Carbon 2019 (top) vs. X1 Carbon 2018 (bottom)
X1 Carbon 2019 (top) vs. X1 Carbon 2018 (bottom)
X1 Carbon 2019 (top) vs. X1 Carbon 2018 (bottom)
X1 Carbon 2019 (top) vs. X1 Carbon 2018 (bottom)

It is good that the slimmer chassis did not really affect the stability or the build quality. The stability and torsion resistance of the lid is identical in a direct comparison with the 2018 X1 Carbon, but the center area of the base unit is slightly more flexible. This won't be a big issue in everyday scenarios, however, unless you type with a lot of force. The display hinges were changed as well and are now a bit firmer (also on the second review unit with the 400 nits display). this means the base will be lifted when you try to open the lid with one hand.

Lenovo unfortunately does not use the surface coating from the ThinkPad T490s for the new X1 Carbon, which was very effective against fingerprints and dirt. This means you will have to clean the surfaces of the X1 Carbon from time to time. Similar to the current ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2019 (where the construction of the base unit is almost identical), Lenovo uses two different versions of the base unit. The microSD card reader was completely removed, so SKUs without an LTE module will be shipped without a SIM tray at the back. We cannot really understand why Lenovo did not keep the old solution where we did at least get a microSD reader, but now uses two different case instead.

In addition to our comparison pictures, you can also see that there is not a big difference between the case sizes of the 2018 and 2019 X1 Carbon in our diagram. You might notice the slimmer case (-1mm), but even that is tricky to spot. Still, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon is once again an extremely compact 14-inch business laptop and the weight in particular is a big advantage here. For comparison: The HP EliteBook x360 1040 G5 has an even slightly smaller footprint, but is about 300 grams heavier. Both the ThinkPad T490s as well as the Dell Latitude 7490 are noticeably bigger and heavier in comparison.

Size Comparison

331 mm / 13 inch 220.9 mm / 8.7 inch 17.9 mm / 0.705 inch 1.6 kg3.44 lbs329 mm / 13 inch 225.8 mm / 8.89 inch 16.1 mm / 0.634 inch 1.3 kg2.8 lbs323.5 mm / 12.7 inch 217.1 mm / 8.55 inch 15.95 mm / 0.628 inch 1.1 kg2.48 lbs323.5 mm / 12.7 inch 217.1 mm / 8.55 inch 14.9 mm / 0.587 inch 1.1 kg2.45 lbs321.4 mm / 12.7 inch 215 mm / 8.46 inch 16.9 mm / 0.665 inch 1.4 kg2.98 lbs

X1 Carbon vs. T495s vs. T490

From top to bottom: X1 Carbon/T495s/T490
From top to bottom: X1 Carbon/T495s/T490
From top to bottom: X1 Carbon/T495s/T490
From top to bottom: X1 Carbon/T495s/T490
From top to bottom: X1 Carbon/T495s/T490
From top to bottom: X1 Carbon/T495s/T490
From top to bottom: X1 Carbon/T495s/T490

Maintenance

It is comparatively easy to remove the bottom cover, which is only secured by five regular Philips screws. The lid pops up a bit after you loosen the screws and you can just lift it up. We are very happy about that, especially after the tricky access to the internals of the ThinkPad T490. Once you are inside, there is unfortunately not much to do. You can access the fan, the battery, the M.2-SSD, and the M.2 WWAN module. The wireless module on the other hand is soldered onto the mainboard and a part of its functionality is handled by the CPU.

Internals ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2019
Internals ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2019

Input Devices - Slimmer chassis affects the keyboard quality

The keyboard of the current ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2019 looks identical from the outside. You still get the typical chiclet keyboard with slightly concave keys and a two-stage white background illumination, which is not completely even though (see picture below). There is unfortunately still no brightness sensor for the illumination. We still praised the input of the 2018 model thanks to its rich typing experience with a comparatively long key travel, which is not a matter of course for a slim device. In combination with the very sturdy base unit, you could enjoy an excellent typing experience with a well-defined feedback.

Because of the slimmer chassis, however, Lenovo had to reduce the key travel from 1.8 to 1.5 mm and the height of the key caps was also reduced from 5.3 to 4.5 mm. To be completely clear: We are moaning on a very high level here, and the keyboard is still very good, especially in comparison with the rivals, but the typing experience was better on the 2018 X1 Carbon. You simple notice the limited key travel and the inputs appear to be slightly more clattery overall.

Input devices
Input devices
White keyboard illumination
White keyboard illumination

Touchpad & TrackPoint

The design of the TrackPoint buttons is another difference. They are now completely flat, which is definitely a matter of taste and it is not necessarily a bad thing. However, the buttons are looser compared to the X1 Carbon 2018, which affects the precision of inputs. The left TrackPoint button of our unit also tends to be stuck in the lower left corner, which is particularly annoying when you want to execute double clicks. Our second review unit (both touchpads/TrackPoints are from ELAN) is better in this respect and the button does not get stuck, but they still have some wiggle room and also produce a louder clicking noise. It is possible that we experience issues of the initial batches (we are reviewing some of the first units), but this should not be an issue for a flagship laptop from a major manufacturer.

The touchpad itself once again works very well and offers good gliding capabilities. You can press it down physically in the lower half, which once again produces a very rich click and it does not sound cheap. A direct comparison between the two generations did not reveal a difference. It is a Windows Precision pad, so there are no problems with the execution of inputs or gestures with up to four fingers.

Touchpad/TrackPoint now with completely flat buttons
Touchpad/TrackPoint now with completely flat buttons

Display - X1 Carbon 2019 with WQHD panel from the predecessor

Subpixel array WQHD panel
Subpixel array WQHD panel

Lenovo offers a total of five different display for the 2019 X1 Carbon. Two of them were already available for the predecessor, the 1080p touch screen with a luminance of 300 nits and the matte WQHD panel from our test unit. The brightness is once again 300 nits, which is darker compared to the default panel (1080p, 400 nits). There is also an optional FHD panel with a privacy filter (also 400 nits, not available yet) as well as the new 4K UHD HDR screen with a rated luminance of 500 nits.

Subjectively, the WQHD panel is a very good screen for a business laptop: colors are rich, the contents are sharp and there are no problems with ghosting due to slow response times (contrary to some of the new LowPower FHD panels). The new screens easily pass the measured average luminance of slightly more than 300 nits though. We are also a bit disappointed by the comparatively high black value, which results in a contrast ratio of just 786:1. This is once again not bad for a business laptop, but it could be much better. Good: There is no sign of backlight bleeding.

316
cd/m²
310
cd/m²
304
cd/m²
315
cd/m²
338
cd/m²
306
cd/m²
315
cd/m²
329
cd/m²
299
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
LP140QH2-SPD1
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 338 cd/m² Average: 314.7 cd/m² Minimum: 3.2 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 88 %
Center on Battery: 337 cd/m²
Contrast: 786:1 (Black: 0.43 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 4 | 0.6-29.43 Ø6, calibrated: 1.7
ΔE Greyscale 6.2 | 0.64-98 Ø6.2
97.8% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 68.1% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.13
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2019-20QE000VGE
LP140QH2-SPD1, , 2560x1440, 14
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS5DU00
LP140QH2-SPB1, , 2560x1440, 14
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G6-20KG0025UK
Lenovo LEN40A9 / AUO B140HAK02.3, , 1920x1080, 14
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
B140QAN02.0, , 2560x1440, 14
Lenovo ThinkPad T490s-20NYS02A00
B140HAN05.7, , 1920x1080, 14
HP Elitebook x360 1040 G5
AU Optronics AUO533D, , 1920x1080, 14
Dell Latitude 7490
AUO503D (D04YD_B140HAN), , 1920x1080, 14
Response Times
-11%
-12%
-60%
-73%
-77%
-29%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
33.6 (16.4, 17.2)
38 (19.2, 18.8)
-13%
40 (18, 22)
-19%
59.2 (28.4, 30.8)
-76%
61.6 (30.8, 30.8)
-83%
70.8 (34.8, 36)
-111%
41.6 (22, 19.6)
-24%
Response Time Black / White *
24 (12.4, 11.6)
26 (14, 12)
-8%
25 (14, 11)
-4%
34.4 (16.4, 18)
-43%
38.8 (21.2, 17.6)
-62%
34.4 (18.8, 15.6)
-43%
32 (16.4, 15.6)
-33%
PWM Frequency
735.3 (100)
Screen
-4%
25%
44%
29%
23%
-1%
Brightness middle
338
316
-7%
298
-12%
578
71%
391
16%
416.3
23%
308.6
-9%
Brightness
315
311
-1%
287
-9%
533
69%
389
23%
400
27%
294
-7%
Brightness Distribution
88
84
-5%
91
3%
84
-5%
87
-1%
89
1%
89
1%
Black Level *
0.43
0.35
19%
0.2
53%
0.38
12%
0.23
47%
0.29
33%
0.23
47%
Contrast
786
903
15%
1490
90%
1521
94%
1700
116%
1436
83%
1342
71%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
4
4.5
-13%
2.19
45%
1.9
52%
3.4
15%
2.69
33%
6.07
-52%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
7.9
10.3
-30%
4.39
44%
3.8
52%
4.7
41%
4.95
37%
10.58
-34%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 calibrated *
1.7
1.6
6%
1.67
2%
0.8
53%
1.1
35%
2.13
-25%
1.67
2%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
6.2
7.7
-24%
1.97
68%
3
52%
4
35%
2.9
53%
7.3
-18%
Gamma
2.13 103%
2.2 100%
2.43 91%
2.14 103%
2.49 88%
2.4 92%
2.061 107%
CCT
6787 96%
6639 98%
6571 99%
6377 102%
6809 95%
6623 98%
7269 89%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
68.1
68.6
1%
62
-9%
88.8
30%
62.4
-8%
60.1
-12%
62
-9%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
97.8
97.9
0%
95
-3%
100
2%
97.4
0%
94.5
-3%
97
-1%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-8% / -5%
7% / 19%
-8% / 28%
-22% / 13%
-27% / 7%
-15% / -5%

* ... smaller is better

CalMAN Grayscale
CalMAN Grayscale
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN ColorChecker
CalMAN ColorChecker

The calibration of the screen could also be better out of the box since there is some potential here. We can determine comparatively high grayscale deviations compared to the sRGB reference color space with our X-Rite i1 Pro2 photospectrometer. There is also a slight color cast towards green/blue, bit you will only notice it if you are used to a calibrated panel.

CalMAN Grayscale (calibrated)
CalMAN Grayscale (calibrated)
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps (calibrated)
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps (calibrated)
CalMAN ColorChecker (calibrated)
CalMAN ColorChecker (calibrated)

Our calibration improves the results considerably, only 100% red is still deviating from the target value (DeltaE smaller 3). However, one drawback of the calibration is the reduced display brightness (~30 nits). Some mobile picture editing is possible thanks to the almost full sRGB coverage, but this is also the case for the new 1080p screens.

vs. sRGB: 97.8%
vs. sRGB: 97.8%
vs. AdobeRGB: 68.1%
vs. AdobeRGB: 68.1%

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
24 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 12.4 ms rise
↘ 11.6 ms fall
The screen shows good response rates in our tests, but may be too slow for competitive gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 34 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (24.9 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
33.6 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 16.4 ms rise
↘ 17.2 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 25 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (39.6 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM not detected

In comparison: 51 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 9279 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

The WQHD panel of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon has a matte surface and can be used outdoors. The brightness is not reduced when you deactivate the adaptive brightness control in the Intel driver. We took some pictures in the bright summer sun and you can still see something even in this worst-case scenario. However, it is much more comfortable when you turn the display.

We also have the review unit with the 400 nits 1080p screen here and wanted to see if you can actually spot the difference between the two panels outdoors. The answer is definitely yes, so you might want tor prefer the X1 Carbon with the 1080p screen if you often use the device in very bright environments or outdoors.

In the sun (with reflection)
In the sun (with reflection)
In the sun (without reflection)
In the sun (without reflection)
Left: WQHD panel; right: 400 nits FHD panel
Left: WQHD panel; right: 400 nits FHD panel

Lenovo uses an IPS display, so there are no problems with the viewing angle stability. You can still see the content very well from wider angles and there is only a minor brightness drop.

Viewing angle stability
Viewing angle stability

Performance

Lenovo Vantage Software
Lenovo Vantage Software

The chapter performance is not that much different from the previous model. Lenovo implements Intel's latest Whiskey Lake CPUs, but still combines them with LPDDR3 memory. All the graphics calculations are handled by the integrated Intel GPU, which is completely sufficient for standard office tasks. So far, Lenovo did not reveal any plans for a ThinkPad X1 Carbon with AMD CPUs.

It looks like the drivers are not perfectly optimized yet, because the PowerLimits (both Burst and longterm) are very high at 51 Watts. This results in heavily fluctuating clocks under load, but we will have a closer look at them in the individual sections. There is another change in Lenovo's Vantage Software. We have now seen multiple new ThinkPads where the software just refers to the standard Windows Performance Slider when you go the item Intelligent Cooling (see screenshot).

There are currently some issues with the latencies, because the tool LatencyMon shows high peaks both with an activated or deactivated wireless connection. The previous model was better in this regard, so we hope Lenovo will address this issue with a update. The first Bios update to version 1.04 did not improve the situation.

 
 

Processor - ThinkPad with vPro Core i7

The 2019 ThinkPad X1 Carbon is available with four different Whiskey Lake CPUs from Intel. All of them are quad-core processors with a nominal TDP of 15 Watts. Besides the regular versions Core i5-8265U and Core i7-8565U, which can also be found on most consumer laptops, Lenovo also offers the two vPro version Core i5-8365U as well as Core i7-8665U. They offer additional management features and manage slightly higher clocks. Our test model is equipped with the fastest CPU, the Core i7-8665U. It can reach a maximum Turbo clock of 4.8 GHz.

Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2019-20QE000VGE
Intel Core i7-8665U
180 Points ∼100%
Average Intel Core i7-8665U
  (143 - 199, n=6)
177 Points ∼98% -2%
HP Elitebook x360 1040 G5
Intel Core i7-8650U
172 Points ∼96% -4%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
Intel Core i7-8550U
168 Points ∼93% -7%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS5DU00
Intel Core i7-8550U
167 Points ∼93% -7%
Lenovo ThinkPad T490s-20NYS02A00
Intel Core i5-8265U
162 Points ∼90% -10%
Dell Latitude 7490
Intel Core i5-8350U
153 Points ∼85% -15%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G6-20KG0025UK
Intel Core i5-8350U
150 Points ∼83% -17%
Average of class Office
  (20 - 199, n=537)
112 Points ∼62% -38%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
Intel Core i7-8550U (undervolted)
708 Points ∼100% +1%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
Intel Core i7-8550U
648 Points ∼92% -8%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2019-20QE000VGE
Intel Core i7-8665U
701 (min: 574.56, max: 701.36) Points ∼99%
Lenovo ThinkPad T490s-20NYS02A00
Intel Core i5-8265U
686 (min: 566.02, max: 686.12) Points ∼97% -2%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS5DU00
Intel Core i7-8550U
653 Points ∼92% -7%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G6-20KG0025UK
Intel Core i5-8350U
631 Points ∼89% -10%
Average Intel Core i7-8665U
  (496 - 701, n=6)
602 Points ∼85% -14%
Dell Latitude 7490
Intel Core i5-8350U
569 Points ∼80% -19%
HP Elitebook x360 1040 G5
Intel Core i7-8650U
534 Points ∼75% -24%
Average of class Office
  (36 - 1050, n=544)
345 Points ∼49% -51%

The ThinkPad x1 Carbon obviously benefits from the high clock when you only utilize one core. The result in the initial Multi test is also very good, even though the maximum Turbo clocks are not reached. This means the new model is a few percent faster than the 2018 X1 Carbon, so the slimmer chassis does not seem to affect the cooling performance.

If you are looking at the performance alone, the Core i7-8665U is certainly not worth the additional price. However, the vPro support plays a role as well and will be interesting for larger companies in particular. The CPU performance is not reduction on battery power. Attention: The Windows performance slider has to be set to Best Performance for the full CPU performance, otherwise the PowerLimits will be reduced (20/15W @Better Performance; 10/7.5W @More Battery Efficiency).

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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2019-20QE000VGE Intel Core i7-8665U, Intel Core i7-8665U: Ø632 (574.56-701.36)
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900 Intel Core i7-8550U, Intel Core i7-8550U; undervolted: Ø657 (651.36-692.5)
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900 Intel Core i7-8550U, Intel Core i7-8550U: Ø606 (601.59-638.02)
Lenovo ThinkPad T490s-20NYS02A00 Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel Core i5-8265U: Ø584 (566.02-686.12)
Dell Latitude 7490 Intel Core i5-8350U, Intel Core i5-8350U: Ø531 (519.92-595.49)
HP Elitebook x360 1040 G5 Intel Core i7-8650U, Intel Core i7-8650U: Ø525 (511.81-563.88)

We simulate sustained CPU load with the Cinebench R15 Multi loop, and here we can see the problem of the high TDP limits. The processor is pretty much close to 100 °C all the time, which sometimes results in performance drops over the course of the test. The average score of 632 points is certainly not bad, but we are pretty sure it could be better with some optimization. We will try to fiddle with the TDP limits and also try to reduce the core voltage , but our initial results were not very successful.

CPU data during the Cinebench Multi loop
CPU data during the Cinebench Multi loop
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
701 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
55.6 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
98 %
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
180 Points
Help

Voltage Reduction via Intel XTU

Intel XTU settings
Intel XTU settings

Besides the adjustment of the TDP limits, you can also reduce the core voltage of the processor. Please refer to our dedicated article for more information. Attention: Every processor behaves differently and the results cannot just be transferred to other systems.

The Core i7-8665U was not the best candidate for voltage reduction, because we could only reduce the voltage by 0.070 Volts for a stable operation. The result is a slightly higher clock at the same temperature, which improves the benchmark scores. However, it does not change the basic behavior and we can still see the fluctuations.

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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2019-20QE000VGE Intel Core i7-8665U, Intel Core i7-8665U: Ø632 (574.56-701.36)
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2019-20QE000VGE  ; Undervolting: Ø651 (559.8-764.58)
CPU data during the Cinebench Multi loop (-0.070 Volts)
CPU data during the Cinebench Multi loop (-0.070 Volts)

System Performance

We can keep it short in this section, because the system runs very well thanks to the fast components and that's what you can expect from a modern and expensive laptop in 2019. We did not encounter any problems so far.

PCMark 10
Digital Content Creation
Lenovo ThinkPad T490s-20NYS02A00
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Intel SSD Pro 7600p SSDPEKKF512G8L
3210 Points ∼100% +3%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2019-20QE000VGE
UHD Graphics 620, 8665U, WDC PC SN720 SDAQNTW-512G
3111 Points ∼97%
Average Intel Core i7-8665U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (2847 - 3506, n=6)
3073 Points ∼96% -1%
HP Elitebook x360 1040 G5
UHD Graphics 620, 8650U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
3069 Points ∼96% -1%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
3062 Points ∼95% -2%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G6-20KG0025UK
UHD Graphics 620, 8350U, Lenovo LENSE20256GMSP34MEAT2TA
3024 Points ∼94% -3%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS5DU00
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
3010 Points ∼94% -3%
Dell Latitude 7490
UHD Graphics 620, 8350U, Toshiba KSG60ZMV256G
2911 Points ∼91% -6%
Average of class Office
  (320 - 3884, n=154)
2655 Points ∼83% -15%
Productivity
Average Intel Core i7-8665U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (6506 - 7281, n=6)
6988 Points ∼100% +2%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2019-20QE000VGE
UHD Graphics 620, 8665U, WDC PC SN720 SDAQNTW-512G
6870 Points ∼98%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
6727 Points ∼96% -2%
HP Elitebook x360 1040 G5
UHD Graphics 620, 8650U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
6670 Points ∼95% -3%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS5DU00
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
6630 Points ∼95% -3%
Lenovo ThinkPad T490s-20NYS02A00
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Intel SSD Pro 7600p SSDPEKKF512G8L
6441 Points ∼92% -6%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G6-20KG0025UK
UHD Graphics 620, 8350U, Lenovo LENSE20256GMSP34MEAT2TA
6140 Points ∼88% -11%
Dell Latitude 7490
UHD Graphics 620, 8350U, Toshiba KSG60ZMV256G
5721 Points ∼82% -17%
Average of class Office
  (1266 - 7964, n=154)
5479 Points ∼78% -20%
Essentials
HP Elitebook x360 1040 G5
UHD Graphics 620, 8650U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
8992 Points ∼100% +10%
Average Intel Core i7-8665U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (8199 - 9790, n=6)
8872 Points ∼99% +8%
Lenovo ThinkPad T490s-20NYS02A00
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Intel SSD Pro 7600p SSDPEKKF512G8L
8361 Points ∼93% +2%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2019-20QE000VGE
UHD Graphics 620, 8665U, WDC PC SN720 SDAQNTW-512G
8199 Points ∼91%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
7849 Points ∼87% -4%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G6-20KG0025UK
UHD Graphics 620, 8350U, Lenovo LENSE20256GMSP34MEAT2TA
7799 Points ∼87% -5%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS5DU00
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
7476 Points ∼83% -9%
Dell Latitude 7490
UHD Graphics 620, 8350U, Toshiba KSG60ZMV256G
7376 Points ∼82% -10%
Average of class Office
  (2683 - 9790, n=154)
6971 Points ∼78% -15%
Score
Average Intel Core i7-8665U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (3847 - 4515, n=6)
4122 Points ∼100% +3%
HP Elitebook x360 1040 G5
UHD Graphics 620, 8650U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
4078 Points ∼99% +2%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2019-20QE000VGE
UHD Graphics 620, 8665U, WDC PC SN720 SDAQNTW-512G
4005 Points ∼97%
Lenovo ThinkPad T490s-20NYS02A00
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Intel SSD Pro 7600p SSDPEKKF512G8L
3985 Points ∼97% 0%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
3905 Points ∼95% -2%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS5DU00
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
3798 Points ∼92% -5%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G6-20KG0025UK
UHD Graphics 620, 8350U, Lenovo LENSE20256GMSP34MEAT2TA
3764 Points ∼91% -6%
Dell Latitude 7490
UHD Graphics 620, 8350U, Toshiba KSG60ZMV256G
3564 Points ∼86% -11%
Average of class Office
  (803 - 4597, n=155)
3270 Points ∼79% -18%
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
Average Intel Core i7-8665U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (4696 - 5195, n=4)
4932 Points ∼100% +5%
Lenovo ThinkPad T490s-20NYS02A00
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Intel SSD Pro 7600p SSDPEKKF512G8L
4927 Points ∼100% +5%
Dell Latitude 7490
UHD Graphics 620, 8350U, Toshiba KSG60ZMV256G
4906 Points ∼99% +4%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2019-20QE000VGE
UHD Graphics 620, 8665U, WDC PC SN720 SDAQNTW-512G
4696 Points ∼95%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
4664 Points ∼95% -1%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G6-20KG0025UK
UHD Graphics 620, 8350U, Lenovo LENSE20256GMSP34MEAT2TA
4600 Points ∼93% -2%
HP Elitebook x360 1040 G5
UHD Graphics 620, 8650U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
4558 Points ∼92% -3%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS5DU00
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
4552 Points ∼92% -3%
Average of class Office
  (1226 - 5428, n=350)
4024 Points ∼82% -14%
Home Score Accelerated v2
Lenovo ThinkPad T490s-20NYS02A00
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Intel SSD Pro 7600p SSDPEKKF512G8L
4244 Points ∼100% +11%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2019-20QE000VGE
UHD Graphics 620, 8665U, WDC PC SN720 SDAQNTW-512G
3823 Points ∼90%
Average Intel Core i7-8665U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (3547 - 4211, n=5)
3818 Points ∼90% 0%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS5DU00
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
3754 Points ∼88% -2%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
3752 Points ∼88% -2%
Dell Latitude 7490
UHD Graphics 620, 8350U, Toshiba KSG60ZMV256G
3723 Points ∼88% -3%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G6-20KG0025UK
UHD Graphics 620, 8350U, Lenovo LENSE20256GMSP34MEAT2TA
3690 Points ∼87% -3%
HP Elitebook x360 1040 G5
UHD Graphics 620, 8650U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
3308 Points ∼78% -13%
Average of class Office
  (1169 - 4770, n=410)
3058 Points ∼72% -20%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3823 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
5120 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
4696 points
Help

Emissions

System Noise

The fan of the new ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2019 is fortunately pretty restrained, because it is usually deactivated while idling or during low workloads. Even shorter peak load is is often handled without the use of the fan (like the installation of an app). The annoying fan burst we on mains we noticed with some recent ThinkPad models is no problem on the new X1 Carbon so far.

It takes a while until you can notice the fan under load. We determined three fans speeds, one at an barely audible 28.6 dB(A), one at 31.5 and one at 33.1 dB(A). The fan noise itself is neither annoying nor high-pitched. Our test model did not have any issues with other electronic noises like coil whining.

Noise Level

Idle
28.4 / 28.4 / 28.6 dB(A)
Load
31.5 / 33.1 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Audix TM1, Arta (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 28.4 dB(A)
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2019-20QE000VGE
UHD Graphics 620, 8665U, WDC PC SN720 SDAQNTW-512G
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G6-20KG0025UK
UHD Graphics 620, 8350U, Lenovo LENSE20256GMSP34MEAT2TA
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
Lenovo ThinkPad T490s-20NYS02A00
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Intel SSD Pro 7600p SSDPEKKF512G8L
HP Elitebook x360 1040 G5
UHD Graphics 620, 8650U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
Dell Latitude 7490
UHD Graphics 620, 8350U, Toshiba KSG60ZMV256G
Noise
-4%
-6%
-5%
-2%
-2%
off / environment *
28.4
30.25
-7%
28.9
-2%
29.4
-4%
28.3
-0%
28.2
1%
Idle Minimum *
28.4
30.25
-7%
28.9
-2%
29.4
-4%
28.3
-0%
28.2
1%
Idle Average *
28.4
30.25
-7%
28.9
-2%
29.4
-4%
28.3
-0%
28.2
1%
Idle Maximum *
28.6
30.25
-6%
32.5
-14%
30.9
-8%
28.3
1%
28.7
-0%
Load Average *
31.5
31.3
1%
35.1
-11%
33.3
-6%
32.6
-3%
29.9
5%
Load Maximum *
33.1
31.3
5%
35.1
-6%
33.3
-1%
36.6
-11%
40.2
-21%

* ... smaller is better

Temperature

The surface temperatures are low across the board while idling and under light workloads. However, the upper center area of the base unit can get pretty warm at 47 °C under load, which is definitely noticeable under load. The bottom stays a bit cooler, but you should not use the device on your lap for longer periods of time in extreme scenarios. The fan exhaust is located at the right side of the chassis, so mouse users (right handers) could get a warm hand.

Our stress test with the two synthetic tools Prime95 as well as FurMark shows a heavily fluctuating performance. Because of the high PowerLimits, the processor constantly tries to reach very high locks, which obviously results in high temperatures. This causes a big performance drop and the loop continues. The CPU does not reach a steady level over the course of the stress test, but the power consumption of the processor fluctuates between 4-51 Watts with an average value of ~21 Watts instead.

Max. Load
 41.3 °C
106 F
47.9 °C
118 F
45.6 °C
114 F
 
 35.4 °C
96 F
43.4 °C
110 F
45.5 °C
114 F
 
 28 °C
82 F
28.6 °C
83 F
30.7 °C
87 F
 
Maximum: 47.9 °C = 118 F
Average: 38.5 °C = 101 F
45.4 °C
114 F
45.9 °C
115 F
39 °C
102 F
40.5 °C
105 F
41.6 °C
107 F
36.2 °C
97 F
30.6 °C
87 F
29.4 °C
85 F
28.6 °C
83 F
Maximum: 45.9 °C = 115 F
Average: 37.5 °C = 100 F
Power Supply (max.)  37.5 °C = 100 F | Room Temperature 21.3 °C = 70 F | Voltcraft IR-900
(-) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 38.5 °C / 101 F, compared to the average of 29.4 °C / 85 F for the devices in the class Office.
(-) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 47.9 °C / 118 F, compared to the average of 34 °C / 93 F, ranging from 21.2 to 62.5 °C for the class Office.
(-) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 45.9 °C / 115 F, compared to the average of 36.4 °C / 98 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 23.9 °C / 75 F, compared to the device average of 29.4 °C / 85 F.
(+) The palmrests and touchpad are cooler than skin temperature with a maximum of 30.7 °C / 87.3 F and are therefore cool to the touch.
(-) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 28.1 °C / 82.6 F (-2.6 °C / -4.7 F).
Idle top
Idle top
Idle bottom
Idle bottom
Stress test top
Stress test top
Stress test bottom
Stress test bottom

Speakers - ThinkPad with Dolby Atmos

The biggest difference between the old and the new ThinkPad X1 Carbon is the speaker system, which is certainly a surprise for a business laptop. The two 1W modules from the 2018 X1 Carbon have been replaced by a total of four speakers and Lenovo advertises a Dolby Atmos system. The two speakers in the front area of the bottom are now more powerful (2W each) and they are supported by two additional modules (0.8W each) above the keyboard.

The result is actually very good, and not only for a business laptop. There is no dedicated subwoofer, but there is still some bass and the sound is much richer in a direct comparison, but voices are still easy to understand. We have watched multiple trailers and listened to different songs, and the improvements are significant. If you are deciding between the 2018 and 2019 X1 Carbon, the sound alone will be reason enough to get the new model for some users.

In addition to the speakers, you also get the Dolby Atmos app, which offers several presets and an individual equalizer. The dynamic preset, which adjusts the sound automatically to the source, works very well and a manual selection is usually not required.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2027.529.42529.728.63124.127.84024.728.25022.629.76322.433.48022.137.41002242.712520.546.116020.547.920020.150.225020.953.431519.85640019.958.650018.96263018.863.880017.368.6100017.168.1125016.868.9160016.267.8200015.563.6250015.462.9315015.262.7400015.154.150001562.2630014.965.1800014.760.51000014.657.71250014.454.51600014.449.9SPL28.476.8N1.139.1median 16.8median 60.5Delta2.14.934.83330.328.135.438.130.332.226.631.825.827.624.725.123.926.524.833.424.141.923.94821.85120.155.318.261.117.366.61770.316.578.416.57515.868.915.770.615.467.615.569.21672.916.268.616.7701771.217.272.217.470.917.365.817.256.228.983.61.258.7median 17.2median 68.61.88.6hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseLenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2019-20QE000VGELenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
Frequency diagram (checkboxes can be checked and unchecked to compare devices)
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2019-20QE000VGE audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (76.8 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 11.2% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (7.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 5.1% higher than median
(+) | mids are linear (5.4% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 2.9% away from median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (9.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(+) | overall sound is linear (14.4% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 11% of all tested devices in this class were better, 4% similar, 86% worse
» The best had a delta of 8%, average was 21%, worst was 51%
Compared to all devices tested
» 13% of all tested devices were better, 3% similar, 84% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900 audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (83.6 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 25.9% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (9.8% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 3.8% away from median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (9% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 2.1% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (4% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (18.3% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 31% of all tested devices in this class were better, 9% similar, 60% worse
» The best had a delta of 8%, average was 21%, worst was 51%
Compared to all devices tested
» 32% of all tested devices were better, 7% similar, 61% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Energy Management - X1 Carbon 2019 with smaller battery

Battery Runtime

The smaller chassis also affects the battery capacity. While the 2018 X1 Carbon was equipped with a 57 Wh module, the new one only gets a 51 Wh battery. We can see the effect in our battery tests. You can expect about 80 minutes under load and our realistic WLAN test (luminance set to 150 nits; 72% for our panel) run for about 8 hours on one charge. This means the new X1 Carbon is beaten by all the models of the previous X1 Carbon and the ThinkPad T490s with the LowPower FHD screen also lasts much longer (+2 hours). The WLAN runtime drops to around 6 hours when you use the maximum brightness.

The performance is a bit better in the video test where we run a loop of the short movie Big Buck Bunny. The luminance is once again set to 150 nits and the ThinkPad X1 Carbon lasts almost 10 hours.

Battery Runtime
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3 (Edge 44.18362.1.0)
8h 13min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
9h 46min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 23min
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2019-20QE000VGE
8665U, UHD Graphics 620, 51 Wh, 2560x1440
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS5DU00
8550U, UHD Graphics 620, 57 Wh, 2560x1440
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G6-20KG0025UK
8350U, UHD Graphics 620, 57 Wh, 1920x1080
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
8550U, UHD Graphics 620, 57 Wh, 2560x1440
Lenovo ThinkPad T490s-20NYS02A00
8265U, UHD Graphics 620, 57 Wh, 1920x1080
HP Elitebook x360 1040 G5
8650U, UHD Graphics 620,  Wh, 1920x1080
Dell Latitude 7490
8350U, UHD Graphics 620, 60 Wh, 1920x1080
Average of class Office
 
Battery Runtime
9%
24%
10%
28%
76%
11%
-6%
H.264
586
657
12%
566
-3%
834
42%
437 (139 - 862, n=184)
-25%
WiFi v1.3
493
537
9%
621
26%
519
5%
607
23%
623
26%
548
11%
417 (105 - 1104, n=355)
-15%
Load
83
111
34%
106
28%
99
19%
187
125%
101 (37 - 259, n=755)
22%

First Impressions

In review: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2019. Test model courtesy of Lenovo Germany.
In review: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2019. Test model courtesy of Lenovo Germany.

Without a direct comparison with the 2018 model, you will hardly notice the size/weight advantage of the 7th generation ThinkPad X1 Carbon to be honest. Both the stability as well as the build quality of the new chassis are great, but the keyboard was better on the old model.

We are already familiar with the screen from last year and the quality is still good (even though you should calibrate it), but considering the brighter entry-level FHD panel, we would have liked to see a brighter backlight for the more expensive WQHD option as well.

The emissions are also good so far; the fan is not annoying and the speakers have been improved.

The battery runtime unfortunately suffers from the smaller battery. We are already eager to find out how the LowPower-1080p screen will perform in this respect.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2019 WQHD Live Review: Still the reference among business laptops?
Andreas Osthoff, 2019-07-19 (Update: 2019-07-25)
Andreas Osthoff
Andreas Osthoff - Senior Editor Business
I grew up with computers and modern consumer electronics. I am interested in the technology since I had my first computer, a Commodore C64, and started building my own PCs after that. My focus here at Notebookcheck is the business segment including mobile workstations, but I also like to test new mobile devices. It is always a great experience to review and compare new products. My free time is filled with a lot of sports, in the summer mainly on my bike.