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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 Laptop Review: Big 16:10 upgrade with Intel Tiger Lake

WQUXGA-ThinkPad. 16:10, two fans, a bigger battery and a 4K UHD+ screen - Lenovo has made a lot of changes to the new ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9. While doing so, Lenovo unfortunately also made alterations to the ThinkPad keyboard that are not necessarily positive. Find out why in our comprehensive review!
Benjamin Herzig 👁 (translated by Benjamin Herzig), 🇩🇪 🇫🇷 ...

Back in the year 2012 when Lenovo released the ThinkPad X1 Carbon for the first time, it was not certain that there would be an X1 Carbon Gen 9 nine years later. Since May 2012, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is the flagship model of the ThinkPad series. Lenovo has mostly opted for an evolutionary approach, apart from the X1 Carbon Gen 2 with its experimental keyboard. The last really impactful update happened in 2017 with the X1 Carbon Gen 5 and the move to a smaller footprint. The 2019 ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 7 introduced a better speaker system, but otherwise, this design was just a small update.

With this in mind, the new Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 is one of the biggest updates of the series. Lenovo makes many changes, in the inside and on the outside. These alterations go hand in hand with the update to Intel Tiger Lake. Today's review unit contains a Intel Core i7-1165G7, 32 GB RAM, a 1 TB NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSD and a 4K-UHD+/WQUXGA LCD.

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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G9-20XWCTO1WW (ThinkPad X1 Carbon G9 Series)
Processor
Intel Core i7-1165G7 4 x 2.8 - 4.7 GHz, 36 W PL2 / Short Burst, 28 W PL1 / Sustained, Tiger Lake UP3
Memory
32768 MB 
, LPDDR4X-4266, on-board, Quad-Channel
Display
14.00 inch 16:10, 3840 x 2400 pixel 323 PPI, MNE007A1-2, IPS LED, glossy: yes, HDR
Mainboard
Intel Tiger Lake-UP3 PCH-LP
Storage
Samsung PM9A1 MZVL21T0HCLR, 1024 GB 
, M.2 2280, NVMe PCIe 4.0, 845 GB free
Soundcard
Realtek ALC3306
Connections
2 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 2 USB 4.0 40 Gbps, 2 Thunderbolt, USB-C Power Delivery (PD), 1 HDMI, 2 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: 3.5mm Audio, 1 Fingerprint Reader
Networking
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 (a/b/g/h/n = Wi-Fi 4/ac = Wi-Fi 5/ax = Wi-Fi 6), Bluetooth 5.1
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 14.9 x 315 x 221.6 ( = 0.59 x 12.4 x 8.72 in)
Battery
57 Wh Lithium-Polymer
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 720p w/IR & ThinkShutter
Additional features
Speakers: 2x 2 W, 2x 0.8 W, Dolby Atmos, Keyboard: 6 row Chiclet w/1.5mm travel, Keyboard Light: yes, 65 W USB C Charger, Lenovo Commercial Vantage, 36 Months Warranty
Weight
1.156 kg ( = 40.78 oz / 2.55 pounds), Power Supply: 332 g ( = 11.71 oz / 0.73 pounds)
Price
2520 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

possible competitors for the comparison

Rating
Date
Model
Weight
Height
Size
Resolution
Best Price
90 %
05/2021
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G9-20XWCTO1WW
i7-1165G7, Iris Xe G7 96EUs
1.2 kg14.9 mm14.00"3840x2400
90 %
07/2020
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020-20UAS04T00
i7-10510U, UHD Graphics 620
1.1 kg14.9 mm14.00"1920x1080
89 %
07/2020
Dell Latitude 7410
i7-10610U, UHD Graphics 620
1.4 kg19.3 mm14.00"3840x2160
91 %
03/2021
HP EliteBook x360 1040 G7, i7-10810U
i7-10810U, UHD Graphics 620
1.4 kg16.5 mm14.00"1920x1080
91 %
12/2020
Apple MacBook Pro 13 Late 2020 M1 Entry (8 / 256 GB)
M1, M1 8-Core GPU
1.4 kg15.6 mm13.30"2560x1600

Chassis: A ThinkPad laptop with a hump

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9

Some basic ThinkPad design attributes of the X1 Carbon remain untouched - the black chassis color, the wedge-shaped base and of course, the red ThinkPad TrackPoint. With the lid closed, a difference to the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 8 is apparent: The lid has a barely visible hump. This is due to the change to 16:10 screens. There is not enough room for the LCD controller beneath the screen, so it is placed behind the panel. Apart from this subtle difference, most changes happen in the palmrest area: The two upward-firing speakers are moved to the side of the keyboard, while the power button is now placed above the keyboard. Also, the new hinge design is reminiscent of the ThinkPad X1 Extreme. New is the X1 logo on the palmrest - a bit too on the nose for us, though it is certainly a matter of taste.

Despite the print on the bottom that says "Carbon + Magnesium Chassis", the bottom plate is made out of aluminum, with a carbon screen cover and a magnesium palmrest. The materials are hidden from the user though, as the entirety of the X1 Carbon is covered under a rubberized layer of black paint. In terms of stability, the material-mix is excellent. The LCD panel is shielded from pressure well by the carbon fiber cover, and the keyboard cover can barely be depressed in the middle by exerting a lot of pressure. Overall, the base is pretty stiff, while the thin LCD cover is naturally more flexible. The X1 Carbon Gen 9 exhibits no build quality issues and the black coating feels very nice to the touch - though it still is susceptible to fat stains.

The wide one-bar hinge allows for an opening angle of more than 180 degrees. The screen can be opened with one finger and the hinges hold the screen securely without any wiggling.

Unusual for an X1 Carbon: The ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2021 is actually heavier than the preceding model. The difference is small, but so far, the new X1 Carbon was usually lighter than the older model. Maybe this has something to do with the release of the ThinkPad X1 Nano, which is even lighter. Compared with the competitors, the X1 Carbon is still noticeably lighter.

With the change to 16:10 screens, the width of the chassis is reduced. On the other hand, the X1 Carbon G9 is slightly longer. The much smaller screen bezel beneath the screen does look much more modern.

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Size & weight comparison

321.4 mm / 12.7 inch 208.7 mm / 8.22 inch 19.3 mm / 0.76 inch 1.4 kg3.19 lbs323.5 mm / 12.7 inch 217.1 mm / 8.55 inch 14.9 mm / 0.587 inch 1.1 kg2.39 lbs319.3 mm / 12.6 inch 202.7 mm / 7.98 inch 16.5 mm / 0.65 inch 1.4 kg3 lbs315 mm / 12.4 inch 221.6 mm / 8.72 inch 14.9 mm / 0.587 inch 1.2 kg2.55 lbs314.4 mm / 12.4 inch 223 mm / 8.78 inch 15 mm / 0.591 inch 1.4 kg3.1 lbs304.1 mm / 12 inch 212.4 mm / 8.36 inch 15.6 mm / 0.614 inch 1.4 kg3.03 lbs292.8 mm / 11.5 inch 207.7 mm / 8.18 inch 16 mm / 0.63 inch 946 g2.09 lbs

Connectivity: Lenovo PC keeps USB A and HDMI

Lenovo only makes small changes to the port selection. This is not a bad thing in the year 2021, as USB A ports and HDMI are kept around. New are the Thunderbolt 4 instead of the Thunderbolt 3 ports. Also, the mechanical side-docking port/miniEthernet port is removed. Lenovo still refuses to put a SD card reader into the X1 Carbon.

left: 2x Thunderbolt 4, USB A 3.2 Gen 1, HDMI 2.0
left: 2x Thunderbolt 4, USB A 3.2 Gen 1, HDMI 2.0
right: 3.5mm Audio, USB A 3.2 Gen 1
right: 3.5mm Audio, USB A 3.2 Gen 1

Communication

Lenovo still uses the Intel Wireless AX201 in the ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2021. This is a very powerful 2x2-AX solution, but not the state of the art anymore - that would be the Intel Wireless AX210.

Buyers can get state of the art when it comes to WWAN, as both 5G and 4G cards are available. Our review sample contains neither.

Networking
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G9-20XWCTO1WW
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201
1459 (1241min - 1512max) MBit/s ∼100%
HP EliteBook x360 1040 G7, i7-10810U
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201
1240 (1092min - 1315max) MBit/s ∼85% -15%
Average Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201
  (49.8 - 1775, n=226)
1151 MBit/s ∼79% -21%
Dell Latitude 7410
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201
1030 (815min - 1184max) MBit/s ∼71% -29%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (49.8 - 1614, n=101, last 2 years)
846 MBit/s ∼58% -42%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020-20UAS04T00
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201
813 (333min - 981max) MBit/s ∼56% -44%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 Late 2020 M1 Entry (8 / 256 GB)
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax
649 (611min - 664max) MBit/s ∼44% -56%
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020-20UAS04T00
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201
1658 (1572min - 1712max) MBit/s ∼100% +32%
HP EliteBook x360 1040 G7, i7-10810U
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201
1309 (685min - 1439max) MBit/s ∼79% +4%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G9-20XWCTO1WW
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201
1256 (1036min - 1306max) MBit/s ∼76%
Average Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201
  (289 - 1743, n=226)
1239 MBit/s ∼75% -1%
Dell Latitude 7410
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201
1235 (1149min - 1323max) MBit/s ∼74% -2%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (240 - 1658, n=101, last 2 years)
943 MBit/s ∼57% -25%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 Late 2020 M1 Entry (8 / 256 GB)
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax
757 (378min - 806max) MBit/s ∼46% -40%
1036108611361186123612861336138614361486130112511238126012491247123612381278123312571277128312251280103612501269125312621258128412851259130612791255128912591275130112511238126012491247123612381278123312571277128312251280103612501269125312621258128412851259130612791255128912591275144615121484147414761451145814721435147714011501145114671462147614561476147714661498148714031241146814821469146414401487Tooltip
; iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10; iperf 3.1.3: Ø1256 (1036-1306)
; iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10; iperf 3.1.3: Ø1459 (1241-1512)
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Webcam


ColorChecker
7.5 ∆E
10 ∆E
12.8 ∆E
9.7 ∆E
23.7 ∆E
16.9 ∆E
7.6 ∆E
11.3 ∆E
13.6 ∆E
9.3 ∆E
15.5 ∆E
23.8 ∆E
7.6 ∆E
6.8 ∆E
18.8 ∆E
13.2 ∆E
20.8 ∆E
22.3 ∆E
2.3 ∆E
12.2 ∆E
15.9 ∆E
14.1 ∆E
10.4 ∆E
7.8 ∆E
ColorChecker Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G9-20XWCTO1WW: 13.08 ∆E min: 2.33 - max: 23.77 ∆E

Security

A smartcard reader would be a welcome addition to a business laptop like the X1 Carbon Gen 9. Other than that, it does offer pretty much all the security features you would want - an Infrared camera, fingerprint reader (integrated into the power button), Human Presence Detection, a Kensington Lock and a ThinkShutter. Optional is the ePrivacy screen, which is not present in out review device.

Accessories

Apart from the 65 W charger, there are no additional accessories included in the box.

Maintenance

The chassis of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 is easy to open. The bottom cover is held in place by five captive Phillips head screws, as well as a few clips at the back and sides of the chassis. They are easily released, as is the base plate.

There is not much to do on the inside. Only the SSD is upgradable, Wi-Fi and RAM are soldered down, WWAN is not prepared. The battery is replaceable and users can clean the fans. The USB C ports are soldered on the motherboard, which has to be changed in case of mechanical damage. The keyboard is also not easily exchangeable. The LCD panel can only be replaced as one unit with the hinges and the LCD cover, too.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9: Innards
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9: Innards

Warranty

Ex-factory, the X1 Carbon can either have 12 or 36 months carry-in warranty - in this case, it has 36 months (12 months for the battery). Warranty upgrades like a 5 year warranty, on-site service, a longer battery warranty or accidental damage protection cost extra.

Input devices: Keyboard is compared with the ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020

Keyboard

One of the most important attributes of every ThinkPad laptop is the keyboard. The one in this Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 is made by Chicony and it is a good keyboard: The slightly concave backlit Chiclet keys offer an enjoyable typing feel. However, the keyboard is worse compared with the X1 Carbon Gen 8. Typing feel is a bit lighter. The key travel is the same (1.5 mm), but the key caps are visibly less tall. Lenovo also touched up the keyboard width, the whole keyboard measured roughly 27.5 cm horizontally instead of 29 cm. Overall, the keyboard quality is still on a high level, but no ThinkPad X1 Carbon has had a worse keyboard thus far.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9: Keyboard area
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9: Keyboard area

Touchpad & TrackPoint

Lenovo uses the opportunity of the redesign to make the touchpad wider. With 11 x 5.5 cm, the width is increased by one centimeter. This is the only change - the touchpad still has a smooth, high-quality glass surface with an integrated click mechanism. The mechanism produces dampened clicks that feel great. There is also nothing to criticize when it comes to the touchpad driver, as the cursor control is very precise and it recognizes multitouch gestures perfectly. 

The first alternative to the touchpad is the red TrackPoint in the middle of the keyboard. For this model, it is made by ELAN. Together with the flat, short-travel mouse keys above the touchpad, the mouse can be controlled precisely without having to take off the hands from the keyboard. The X1 Carbon Gen 9 did not exhibit any TrackPoint drift, a problem that the predecessor had.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9: Touchpad
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9: Touchpad
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9: TrackPoint
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9: TrackPoint

Display: X1 Carbon UHD+ still glossy, but no more PWM

subpixel array Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9
subpixel array Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9
barely any backlight bleeding (shown enhanced here)
barely any backlight bleeding (shown enhanced here)

Everything is new in 2021 when it comes to the LCDs of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9. Due to the change to 14 inch 16:10 screens, all panels are novel. The options closely mirror what was available with the predecessor ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 8:

  • WUXGA/FHD+ (1,920 x 1,200), IPS, 400 cd/m², 100 % sRGB, matt, Low Power
  • WUXGA/FHD+ (1,920 x 1,200), IPS, 400 cd/m², 100 % sRGB, matt, Touch, Low Power
  • WUXGA/FHD+ (1,920 x 1,200), IPS, 500 cd/m², 100 % sRGB, matt, Touch, Privacy Guard
  • WQUXGA/UHD+ (3,840 x 2,400), IPS, 500 cd/m², 100 % DCI-P3, glossy, HDR

The screen only reaches the advertised 500 cd/m² as peak brightness. On average, the screen is 488 cd/m² bright. This means that brightness is slightly lower compared with the X1 Carbon Gen 8 UHD LCD. However, the newer 16:10 model has a huge advantage: It does not use PWM to regulate brightness.

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 9713 (minimum: 5 - maximum: 151500) Hz was measured.

504
cd/m²
517
cd/m²
518
cd/m²
467
cd/m²
497
cd/m²
483
cd/m²
449
cd/m²
470
cd/m²
486
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
MNE007A1-2
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 518 cd/m² Average: 487.9 cd/m² Minimum: 12 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 87 %
Center on Battery: 497 cd/m²
Contrast: 1420:1 (Black: 0.35 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 1.2 | 0.59-29.43 Ø5.6, calibrated: 0.9
ΔE Greyscale 1.3 | 0.64-98 Ø5.8
99.78% sRGB (Argyll 1.6.3 3D)
79.37% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 1.6.3 3D)
89.17% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 2.2.0 3D)
99.8% sRGB (Argyll 2.2.0 3D)
95.17% Display P3 (Argyll 2.2.0 3D)
Gamma: 2.16
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G9-20XWCTO1WW
MNE007A1-2, IPS LED, 3840x2400, 14.00
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020-20U9003BGE
NV140QUM-N53, , 3840x2160, 14.00
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020-20UAS04T00
BOE NE140FHM-N61, IPS, 1920x1080, 14.00
Dell Latitude 7410
AU Optronics B140ZAN, IPS, 3840x2160, 14.00
HP EliteBook x360 1040 G7, i7-10810U
BOE08A3, IPS, 1920x1080, 14.00
Apple MacBook Pro 13 Late 2020 M1 Entry (8 / 256 GB)
IPS, 2560x1600, 13.30
Display
-7%
-20%
-15%
-20%
Display P3 Coverage
95.17
82.45
-13%
68.94
-28%
71.78
-25%
66.13
-31%
sRGB Coverage
99.8
99.44
0%
91.62
-8%
99.3
-1%
95.52
-4%
AdobeRGB 1998 Coverage
89.17
82.73
-7%
67.05
-25%
72.37
-19%
68.08
-24%
Response Times
19%
-21%
20%
-11%
6%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
46 (23, 23)
47.2 (20.4, 26.8)
-3%
64.8 (30.8, 34)
-41%
39.2 (20.4, 18.8)
15%
52.4 (26.8, 25.6)
-14%
48 (18.8, 29.2)
-4%
Response Time Black / White *
30 (15, 15)
17.6 (6.8, 10.8)
41%
30.4 (10.8, 19.6)
-1%
22.4 (12.4, 10)
25%
32 (17.2, 14.8)
-7%
25.2 (8.4, 16.8)
16%
PWM Frequency
200 (99)
2404 (50)
122000 (49)
Screen
-99%
-110%
-100%
-74%
-4%
Brightness middle
497
574
15%
422
-15%
388.6
-22%
406.7
-18%
510
3%
Brightness
488
540
11%
395
-19%
365
-25%
382
-22%
491
1%
Brightness Distribution
87
86
-1%
90
3%
82
-6%
88
1%
94
8%
Black Level *
0.35
0.36
-3%
0.27
23%
0.35
-0%
0.28
20%
0.29
17%
Contrast
1420
1594
12%
1563
10%
1110
-22%
1453
2%
1759
24%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
1.2
4.7
-292%
4.7
-292%
4.04
-237%
3.74
-212%
1.3
-8%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
2.1
8.8
-319%
10
-376%
9.2
-338%
5.92
-182%
3
-43%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 calibrated *
0.9
1.4
-56%
2
-122%
1.25
-39%
2.18
-142%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
1.3
7.2
-454%
6.4
-392%
6.4
-392%
4.3
-231%
2
-54%
Gamma
2.16 102%
2.04 108%
2.12 104%
2.3 96%
2.19 100%
2.23 99%
CCT
6690 97%
6886 94%
7106 91%
6957 93%
6781 96%
6933 94%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
79.37
73.8
-7%
59.5
-25%
66.4
-16%
61.6
-22%
88.3
11%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
99.78
99.4
0%
91.5
-8%
99.4
0%
95.1
-5%
100
0%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-29% / -67%
-50% / -82%
-32% / -69%
-35% / -56%
1% / -2%

* ... smaller is better

Colors (target: P3)
Colors (target: P3)
Grey scale (target: P3)
Grey scale (target: P3)
Saturation (target: P3)
Saturation (target: P3)
Colors (calibrated, target: P3)
Colors (calibrated, target: P3)
Grey scale (calibrated, target: P3)
Grey scale (calibrated, target: P3)
Saturation (calibrated, target: P3)
Saturation (calibrated, target: P3)

Lenovo promises an excellent picture quality for the WQUXGA screen. It can fulfill those promises mostly, though the contrast of 1420:1 (measured with CalMan and X-Rite i1Pro 2) is just average for a good IPS panel. The black level is not particularly low (0.35). Apart from that, the picture quality is great. Ex-factory, the panel is already calibrated well and it is suited nicely for photo editing. Lenovo says the panel covers 100 % DCI-P3 - according to CalMan (2D gamut), the panel can display 97.3 % of the wide gamut.

sRGB: 99.78 % (Argyll 3D)
sRGB: 99.78 % (Argyll 3D)
AdobeRGB: 79.37 % (Argyll 3D)
AdobeRGB: 79.37 % (Argyll 3D)
DCI P3: 97.3 % (CalMan 2D)
DCI P3: 97.3 % (CalMan 2D)
Outdoor (shadow)
Outdoor (shadow)
Outdoor (indirect sunlight)
Outdoor (indirect sunlight)
Outdoor (direct sunlight)
Outdoor (direct sunlight)

The glossy screen surface does not render the panel completely unusable outdoors, thanks to the brightness of 500 cd/m². That is bright enough to make the content visible through the reflections. The caveat: This is only true in the shadow, sunlight is too much for the screen.

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
30 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 15 ms rise
↘ 15 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 73 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (24.1 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
46 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 23 ms rise
↘ 23 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 71 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (38.3 ms).

Typical for IPS screens, the viewing angle stability of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 does not disappoint.

Performance: Tiger Lake makes the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 faster

Four different Intel Tiger Lake chips are used in the Lenovo laptop X1 Carbon G9: Core i5-1135G7, i5-1145G7, i7-1165G7 und i7-1185G7. AMD CPUs are not available, same goes for dedicated GPUs - buyers have to be happy with the Intel solution. There is a big improvement when it comes to the memory: Lenovo produces the X1 Carbon with LPDDR4X for the first time. At the same time, Lenovo increases the amount of RAM offered to 32 GB - memory is soldered, so buyers have to choose carefully if they want 8, 16 or 32 GB. A single M.2 2280 SSD takes the job of the mass-storage.

HWiNFO
HWiNFO
GPU-Z
GPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z Caches
CPU-Z Caches
CPU-Z Mainboard
CPU-Z Mainboard
CPU-Z Memory
CPU-Z Memory

Processor

The Intel Core i7-1165G7 is an UP3 processor of the Tiger Lake series with four cores and eight threads (hyperthreading). The CPU has a typical power consumption of 12 to 28 W, with clock rates of 2.8 to 4.7 GHz. Our CPU comparison list can be used for benchmark comparisons.

Lenovo has renovated the cooling system, with two small fans instead of one big fan. Lenovo allows the CPU to consume up to 36 W for short bursts, with 28 W as the power limit for sustained load. The CPU performs much better compared with the X1 Carbon Gen 8. Even the HP EliteBook x360 1040 G7 with the six-core i7-10810U is slower. The ThinkPad T14s is faster in terms of multicore performance, the X1 Carbon wins in terms of the single core benchmark. The MacBook Pro 13 M1 shows in the modern Cinebench R23 that it is faster, especially when all cores are taxed.

When the device is used on battery power, CPU performance is roughly 30 % worse.

493.8563.8633.8703.8773.8843.8913.8983.81053.81123.81193.81263.81333.8884.45858.85851.7843.79839.47836.82832.78832.93828.95828.45826.98831.41826.72824.57823.11825.29831.58831.15827.16828.91824.13824.79828.78827.4827.71731.25678.74667.36516.69593.52667.08515.31606.89668.39493.81597.74660.86504.76611.3600.04535.3636.72583.47525.59630.11601.1516.3624.05556.05537.42546.09547.14546.66539.3546.32528.11547.49546.08545.05545.04548.19546.78545.51547.14544.8546.32544.94547.38544.23512.63521.19519.81533.57546.45543.31545.04541.81546.79544.11545.97547.14546.92546.78546.67546.31545.28547.96546.09543.88545.63546.2546.2547.14544.11546.67546.32547.38544.71545.51541.01772.19768.76759.26761.08766.22764.63763.32760.3775.16769.44764.39763.08773.99770.45765.56772.69755.03768.65769.17761.44768.54771.74767.28759.45760.46767.87760.41758.19768.33769.63768.3763.64761.98767.84761.63765.8763.39768.82766.17759.75767772.74763.32763.15755.34769.62768.62764.07761.76761.921345.671318.831320.311311.051307.231309.971311.991314.281316.221308.561312.161308.431303.991314.711300.61302.631310.41309.761305.231300.941302.971310.321312.081309.371305.1Tooltip
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G9-20XWCTO1WW Intel Core i7-1165G7: Ø834 (823.11-884.45)
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020-20UAS04T00 Intel Core i7-10510U: Ø594 (493.81-731.25)
Dell Latitude 7410 Intel Core i7-10610U: Ø543 (512.63-548.19)
HP EliteBook x360 1040 G7, i7-10810U Intel Core i7-10810U: Ø765 (755.03-775.16)
Lenovo ThinkPad T14s-20UJS00K00 AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 4750U: Ø1311 (1300.6-1345.67)
Cinebench R15: CPU Single 64Bit | CPU Multi 64Bit
Cinebench R20: CPU (Single Core) | CPU (Multi Core)
Cinebench R23: CPU (Single Core) | CPU (Multi Core)
Blender 2.79: BMW27 CPU
7-Zip 18.03: 7z b 4 -mmt1 | 7z b 4
Geekbench 5.3: 64 Bit Single-Core Score | 64 Bit Multi-Core Score
HWBOT x265 Benchmark v2.2: 4k Preset
LibreOffice : 20 Documents To PDF
R Benchmark 2.5: Overall mean
Cinebench R15 / CPU Single 64Bit
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G9-20XWCTO1WW
Intel Core i7-1165G7
217 Points ∼100%
Average Intel Core i7-1165G7
  (199 - 230, n=46)
217 Points ∼100% 0%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 Late 2020 M1 Entry (8 / 256 GB)
Apple M1
208 Points ∼96% -4%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020-20UAS04T00
Intel Core i7-10510U
183 Points ∼84% -16%
HP EliteBook x360 1040 G7, i7-10810U
Intel Core i7-10810U
183 Points ∼84% -16%
Lenovo ThinkPad T14s-20UJS00K00
AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 4750U
181 Points ∼83% -17%
Dell Latitude 7410
Intel Core i7-10610U
177 Points ∼82% -18%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (31 - 228, n=106, last 2 years)
165 Points ∼76% -24%
Cinebench R15 / CPU Multi 64Bit
Lenovo ThinkPad T14s-20UJS00K00
AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 4750U
1346 (1300.6min - 1345.67max) Points ∼100% +52%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 Late 2020 M1 Entry (8 / 256 GB)
Apple M1
1070 (1060min - 1070max) Points ∼79% +21%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G9-20XWCTO1WW
Intel Core i7-1165G7
884 (823.11min - 884.45max) Points ∼66%
Average Intel Core i7-1165G7
  (599 - 1027, n=53)
850 Points ∼63% -4%
HP EliteBook x360 1040 G7, i7-10810U
Intel Core i7-10810U
775 (755.03min - 775.16max) Points ∼58% -12%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020-20UAS04T00
Intel Core i7-10510U
731 Points ∼54% -17%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (82.3 - 1674, n=111, last 2 years)
717 Points ∼53% -19%
Dell Latitude 7410
Intel Core i7-10610U
548 (512.63min - 548.19max) Points ∼41% -38%
Cinebench R20 / CPU (Single Core)
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G9-20XWCTO1WW
Intel Core i7-1165G7
566 Points ∼100%
Average Intel Core i7-1165G7
  (471 - 588, n=51)
554 Points ∼98% -2%
Lenovo ThinkPad T14s-20UJS00K00
AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 4750U
468 Points ∼83% -17%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020-20UAS04T00
Intel Core i7-10510U
441 Points ∼78% -22%
HP EliteBook x360 1040 G7, i7-10810U
Intel Core i7-10810U
424 Points ∼75% -25%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (73 - 591, n=101, last 2 years)
414 Points ∼73% -27%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 Late 2020 M1 Entry (8 / 256 GB)
Apple M1
406 Points ∼72% -28%
Dell Latitude 7410
Intel Core i7-10610U
349 Points ∼62% -38%
Cinebench R20 / CPU (Multi Core)
Lenovo ThinkPad T14s-20UJS00K00
AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 4750U
3050 Points ∼100% +50%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 Late 2020 M1 Entry (8 / 256 GB)
Apple M1
2109 Points ∼69% +4%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G9-20XWCTO1WW
Intel Core i7-1165G7
2033 Points ∼67%
Average Intel Core i7-1165G7
  (1285 - 2657, n=51)
1956 Points ∼64% -4%
HP EliteBook x360 1040 G7, i7-10810U
Intel Core i7-10810U
1821 Points ∼60% -10%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (110 - 3839, n=102, last 2 years)
1570 Points ∼51% -23%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020-20UAS04T00
Intel Core i7-10510U
1428 Points ∼47% -30%
Dell Latitude 7410
Intel Core i7-10610U
1271 Points ∼42% -37%
Cinebench R23 / CPU (Single Core)
Apple MacBook Pro 13 Late 2020 M1 Entry (8 / 256 GB)
Apple M1
1513 Points ∼100% +2%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G9-20XWCTO1WW
Intel Core i7-1165G7
1478 Points ∼98%
Average Intel Core i7-1165G7
  (1263 - 1534, n=30)
1423 Points ∼94% -4%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (424 - 1525, n=27, last 2 years)
1301 Points ∼86% -12%
HP EliteBook x360 1040 G7, i7-10810U
Intel Core i7-10810U
1155 Points ∼76% -22%
Cinebench R23 / CPU (Multi Core)
Apple MacBook Pro 13 Late 2020 M1 Entry (8 / 256 GB)
Apple M1
7811 Points ∼100% +38%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G9-20XWCTO1WW
Intel Core i7-1165G7
5671 Points ∼73%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (1230 - 9164, n=30, last 2 years)
5333 Points ∼68% -6%
Average Intel Core i7-1165G7
  (3773 - 6862, n=35)
5096 Points ∼65% -10%
HP EliteBook x360 1040 G7, i7-10810U
Intel Core i7-10810U
4754 (4702.18min - 4754.06max) Points ∼61% -16%
Blender 2.79 / BMW27 CPU
Average of class Subnotebook
  (4.2 - 6277, n=86, last 2 years)
912 Seconds * ∼100% -52%
Dell Latitude 7410
Intel Core i7-10610U
812 Seconds * ∼89% -35%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020-20UAS04T00
Intel Core i7-10510U
769 Seconds * ∼84% -28%
Average Intel Core i7-1165G7
  (468 - 958, n=50)
619 Seconds * ∼68% -3%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G9-20XWCTO1WW
Intel Core i7-1165G7
601 Seconds * ∼66%
HP EliteBook x360 1040 G7, i7-10810U
Intel Core i7-10810U
571 Seconds * ∼63% +5%
Lenovo ThinkPad T14s-20UJS00K00
AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 4750U
367 Seconds * ∼40% +39%
7-Zip 18.03 / 7z b 4 -mmt1
Average Intel Core i7-1165G7
  (4651 - 5507, n=50)
5226 MIPS ∼100% +3%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G9-20XWCTO1WW
Intel Core i7-1165G7
5069 MIPS ∼97%
Dell Latitude 7410
Intel Core i7-10610U
4625 MIPS ∼88% -9%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020-20UAS04T00
Intel Core i7-10510U
4521 MIPS ∼87% -11%
HP EliteBook x360 1040 G7, i7-10810U
Intel Core i7-10810U
4498 MIPS ∼86% -11%
Lenovo ThinkPad T14s-20UJS00K00
AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 4750U
4467 MIPS ∼85% -12%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (1653 - 5507, n=88, last 2 years)
4207 MIPS ∼81% -17%
7-Zip 18.03 / 7z b 4
Lenovo ThinkPad T14s-20UJS00K00
AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 4750U
39649 MIPS ∼100% +68%
HP EliteBook x360 1040 G7, i7-10810U
Intel Core i7-10810U
25244 MIPS ∼64% +7%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G9-20XWCTO1WW
Intel Core i7-1165G7
23657 MIPS ∼60%
Average Intel Core i7-1165G7
  (15556 - 27405, n=50)
22772 MIPS ∼57% -4%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (3267 - 44827, n=88, last 2 years)
20204 MIPS ∼51% -15%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020-20UAS04T00
Intel Core i7-10510U
18187 MIPS ∼46% -23%
Dell Latitude 7410
Intel Core i7-10610U
17095 MIPS ∼43% -28%
Geekbench 5.3 / 64 Bit Single-Core Score
Apple MacBook Pro 13 Late 2020 M1 Entry (8 / 256 GB)
Apple M1
1740 Points ∼100% +14%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G9-20XWCTO1WW
Intel Core i7-1165G7
1529 Points ∼88%
Average Intel Core i7-1165G7
  (882 - 1595, n=51)
1518 Points ∼87% -1%
Dell Latitude 7410
Intel Core i7-10610U
1237 Points ∼71% -19%
HP EliteBook x360 1040 G7, i7-10810U
Intel Core i7-10810U
1224 Points ∼70% -20%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020-20UAS04T00
Intel Core i7-10510U
1211 Points ∼70% -21%
Lenovo ThinkPad T14s-20UJS00K00
AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 4750U
1149 Points ∼66% -25%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (293 - 1740, n=91, last 2 years)
1147 Points ∼66% -25%
Geekbench 5.3 / 64 Bit Multi-Core Score
Apple MacBook Pro 13 Late 2020 M1 Entry (8 / 256 GB)
Apple M1
7590 Points ∼100% +31%
Lenovo ThinkPad T14s-20UJS00K00
AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 4750U
6444 Points ∼85% +12%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G9-20XWCTO1WW
Intel Core i7-1165G7
5773 Points ∼76%
HP EliteBook x360 1040 G7, i7-10810U
Intel Core i7-10810U
5553 Points ∼73% -4%
Average Intel Core i7-1165G7
  (1821 - 5926, n=51)
5152 Points ∼68% -11%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (591 - 7590, n=91, last 2 years)
4183 Points ∼55% -28%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020-20UAS04T00
Intel Core i7-10510U
4122 Points ∼54% -29%
Dell Latitude 7410
Intel Core i7-10610U
3731 Points ∼49% -35%
HWBOT x265 Benchmark v2.2 / 4k Preset
Lenovo ThinkPad T14s-20UJS00K00
AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 4750U
9.55 fps ∼100% +55%
HP EliteBook x360 1040 G7, i7-10810U
Intel Core i7-10810U
6.45 fps ∼68% +5%
Average Intel Core i7-1165G7
  (1.39 - 8.47, n=50)
6.27 fps ∼66% +2%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G9-20XWCTO1WW
Intel Core i7-1165G7
6.15 fps ∼64%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (0.65 - 11, n=84, last 2 years)
5.19 fps ∼54% -16%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020-20UAS04T00
Intel Core i7-10510U
4.85 fps ∼51% -21%
Dell Latitude 7410
Intel Core i7-10610U
4.55 fps ∼48% -26%
LibreOffice / 20 Documents To PDF
Average of class Subnotebook
  (12.9 - 281, n=74, last 2 years)
70.9 s * ∼100% -62%
HP EliteBook x360 1040 G7, i7-10810U
Intel Core i7-10810U
60.6 s * ∼85% -38%
Lenovo ThinkPad T14s-20UJS00K00
AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 4750U
60 s * ∼85% -37%
Dell Latitude 7410
Intel Core i7-10610U
57 s * ∼80% -30%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020-20UAS04T00
Intel Core i7-10510U
51.7 s * ∼73% -18%
Average Intel Core i7-1165G7
  (21.5 - 88.1, n=49)
48.3 s * ∼68% -10%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G9-20XWCTO1WW
Intel Core i7-1165G7
43.8 s * ∼62%
R Benchmark 2.5 / Overall mean
Average of class Subnotebook
  (0.544 - 2.21, n=80, last 2 years)
0.759 sec * ∼100% -27%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020-20UAS04T00
Intel Core i7-10510U
0.679 sec * ∼89% -13%
HP EliteBook x360 1040 G7, i7-10810U
Intel Core i7-10810U
0.667 sec * ∼88% -11%
Dell Latitude 7410
Intel Core i7-10610U
0.657 sec * ∼87% -10%
Lenovo ThinkPad T14s-20UJS00K00
AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 4750U
0.616 sec * ∼81% -3%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G9-20XWCTO1WW
Intel Core i7-1165G7
0.599 sec * ∼79%
Average Intel Core i7-1165G7
  (0.552 - 1.002, n=50)
0.591 sec * ∼78% +1%

* ... smaller is better

Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
884 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
102 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
97.8 %
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
217 Points
Help

System performance

The good results in the PCMark 10 match our experiences in everyday use. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G9 is a fast Lenovo PC.

PCMark 10
Score
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G9-20XWCTO1WW
Iris Xe G7 96EUs, i7-1165G7, Samsung PM9A1 MZVL21T0HCLR
5038 Points ∼100%
Average Intel Core i7-1165G7, Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7 96EUs
  (4531 - 5454, n=29)
4946 Points ∼98% -2%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020-20UAS04T00
UHD Graphics 620, i7-10510U, Samsung SSD PM981a MZVLB512HBJQ
4527 Points ∼90% -10%
HP EliteBook x360 1040 G7, i7-10810U
UHD Graphics 620, i7-10810U, Samsung SSD PM981a MZVLB512HBJQ
4459 Points ∼89% -11%
Dell Latitude 7410
UHD Graphics 620, i7-10610U, Toshiba XG6 KXG60ZNV512G
4348 Points ∼86% -14%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (790 - 5890, n=100, last 2 years)
4012 Points ∼80% -20%
Essentials
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G9-20XWCTO1WW
Iris Xe G7 96EUs, i7-1165G7, Samsung PM9A1 MZVL21T0HCLR
10127 Points ∼100%
Average Intel Core i7-1165G7, Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7 96EUs
  (8997 - 11505, n=29)
10072 Points ∼99% -1%
HP EliteBook x360 1040 G7, i7-10810U
UHD Graphics 620, i7-10810U, Samsung SSD PM981a MZVLB512HBJQ
9544 Points ∼94% -6%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020-20UAS04T00
UHD Graphics 620, i7-10510U, Samsung SSD PM981a MZVLB512HBJQ
9524 Points ∼94% -6%
Dell Latitude 7410
UHD Graphics 620, i7-10610U, Toshiba XG6 KXG60ZNV512G
9376 Points ∼93% -7%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (2544 - 10492, n=100, last 2 years)
8211 Points ∼81% -19%
Productivity
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020-20UAS04T00
UHD Graphics 620, i7-10510U, Samsung SSD PM981a MZVLB512HBJQ
7676 Points ∼100% +12%
Dell Latitude 7410
UHD Graphics 620, i7-10610U, Toshiba XG6 KXG60ZNV512G
7540 Points ∼98% +10%
HP EliteBook x360 1040 G7, i7-10810U
UHD Graphics 620, i7-10810U, Samsung SSD PM981a MZVLB512HBJQ
7172 Points ∼93% +5%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G9-20XWCTO1WW
Iris Xe G7 96EUs, i7-1165G7, Samsung PM9A1 MZVL21T0HCLR
6856 Points ∼89%
Average Intel Core i7-1165G7, Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7 96EUs
  (6158 - 7136, n=29)
6748 Points ∼88% -2%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (1304 - 9410, n=100, last 2 years)
6119 Points ∼80% -11%
Digital Content Creation
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G9-20XWCTO1WW
Iris Xe G7 96EUs, i7-1165G7, Samsung PM9A1 MZVL21T0HCLR
4998 Points ∼100%
Average Intel Core i7-1165G7, Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7 96EUs
  (4083 - 5495, n=29)
4838 Points ∼97% -3%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (405 - 5945, n=100, last 2 years)
3557 Points ∼71% -29%
HP EliteBook x360 1040 G7, i7-10810U
UHD Graphics 620, i7-10810U, Samsung SSD PM981a MZVLB512HBJQ
3517 Points ∼70% -30%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020-20UAS04T00
UHD Graphics 620, i7-10510U, Samsung SSD PM981a MZVLB512HBJQ
3446 Points ∼69% -31%
Dell Latitude 7410
UHD Graphics 620, i7-10610U, Toshiba XG6 KXG60ZNV512G
3156 Points ∼63% -37%
PCMark 10 Score
5038 points
Help

DPC latency

LatencyMon
LatencyMon
LatencyMon Drivers
LatencyMon Drivers
DPC Latencies / LatencyMon - interrupt to process latency (max), Web, Youtube, Prime95
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020-20UAS04T00
UHD Graphics 620, i7-10510U, Samsung SSD PM981a MZVLB512HBJQ
774.73 μs * ∼100% -69%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G9-20XWCTO1WW
Iris Xe G7 96EUs, i7-1165G7, Samsung PM9A1 MZVL21T0HCLR
459.2 μs * ∼59%

* ... smaller is better

Mass-storage

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 is the first laptop of the ThinkPad series that we can test with an NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSD. The Samsung PM9A1 used here has a capacity of 1 TB and it is especially fast when it comes to sequential read operations - great when copying huge amounts of data.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G9-20XWCTO1WW
Samsung PM9A1 MZVL21T0HCLR
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020-20UAS04T00
Samsung SSD PM981a MZVLB512HBJQ
Dell Latitude 7410
Toshiba XG6 KXG60ZNV512G
HP EliteBook x360 1040 G7, i7-10810U
Samsung SSD PM981a MZVLB512HBJQ
Average Samsung PM9A1 MZVL21T0HCLR
 
CrystalDiskMark 5.2 / 6
-24%
-34%
-27%
19%
Write 4K
171.3
185.02
8%
133.4
-22%
133.1
-22%
215 (171 - 242, n=3)
26%
Read 4K
80.52
50.61
-37%
51.29
-36%
57.68
-28%
88.4 (80.5 - 93, n=3)
10%
Write Seq
2700
1543.05
-43%
1897
-30%
2159
-20%
3732 (2700 - 4301, n=3)
38%
Read Seq
3233
1509.27
-53%
2202
-32%
2495
-23%
3647 (3233 - 4474, n=3)
13%
Write 4K Q32T1
513
488.83
-5%
384.9
-25%
423.3
-17%
614 (513 - 672, n=3)
20%
Read 4K Q32T1
478.4
579.21
21%
318.7
-33%
369.3
-23%
650 (478 - 750, n=3)
36%
Write Seq Q32T1
4524
2985.8
-34%
2866
-37%
2984
-34%
4884 (4524 - 5198, n=3)
8%
Read Seq Q32T1
7098
3554.6
-50%
3122
-56%
3556
-50%
7089 (7065 - 7103, n=3)
0%
Samsung PM9A1 MZVL21T0HCLR
CDM 5/6 Read Seq Q32T1: 7098 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Write Seq Q32T1: 4524 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Read 4K Q32T1: 478.4 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Write 4K Q32T1: 513 MB/s
CDM 5 Read Seq: 3233 MB/s
CDM 5 Write Seq: 2700 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Read 4K: 80.52 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Write 4K: 171.3 MB/s

Sustained load read: DiskSpd Read Loop, Queue Depth 8

1178.21508.21838.22168.22498.22828.23158.23488.23818.24148.24478.24808.25138.25468.25798.26128.26458.21178.181203.031380.81396.141408.121416.11597.241597.661600.341612.371618.251623.931624.351631.071631.911826.51828.61829.651845.21845.831846.881848.985972.076133.756409.116485.026494.466506.26506.836513.966514.596515.226519.426522.146524.246526.346528.226529.6965326532.216532.636534.16534.526538.56552.026553.396559.266562.26564.516566.18Tooltip
: Ø4343 (1178.18-6566.18)

GPU

With the Intel Iris Xe Graphics, the GPU performance of the Lenovo X1 Carbon G9 increases substantially. The new LPDDR4X memory helps, as the iGPU without its own RAM profits from the faster system memory.

Unfortunately, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 has the same problem we observed with the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 6: When GPU and CPU are used at the same time, GPU performance occasionally drops down a lot. In games, the FPS counter often hits 5 FPS for a few seconds, before returning to normal. For such applications, the X1 Carbon 2021 is useless with the 1.24 UEFI firmware.

Different from the CPU, we did not detect any GPU performance degradation on battery power.

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G9-20XWCTO1WW
Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7 96EUs, Intel Core i7-1165G7
6591 Points ∼100%
Average Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7 96EUs
  (4841 - 7090, n=43)
6381 Points ∼97% -3%
Lenovo ThinkPad T14s-20UJS00K00
AMD Radeon RX Vega 7, AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 4750U
5399 Points ∼82% -18%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (410 - 12199, n=97, last 2 years)
3843 Points ∼58% -42%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020-20UAS04T00
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-10510U
1978 Points ∼30% -70%
HP EliteBook x360 1040 G7, i7-10810U
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-10810U
1959 Points ∼30% -70%
Dell Latitude 7410
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-10610U
1951 Points ∼30% -70%
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Average Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7 96EUs
  (3229 - 5909, n=49)
4942 Points ∼100% +2%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G9-20XWCTO1WW
Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7 96EUs, Intel Core i7-1165G7
4830 Points ∼98%
Lenovo ThinkPad T14s-20UJS00K00
AMD Radeon RX Vega 7, AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 4750U
3593 Points ∼73% -26%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (313 - 8743, n=100, last 2 years)
2634 Points ∼53% -45%
HP EliteBook x360 1040 G7, i7-10810U
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-10810U
1444 Points ∼29% -70%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020-20UAS04T00
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-10510U
1366 Points ∼28% -72%
Dell Latitude 7410
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-10610U
1338 Points ∼27% -72%
2560x1440 Time Spy Graphics
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G9-20XWCTO1WW
Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7 96EUs, Intel Core i7-1165G7
1493 Points ∼100%
Average Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7 96EUs
  (1032 - 1670, n=50)
1439 Points ∼96% -4%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (116 - 3276, n=80, last 2 years)
921 Points ∼62% -38%
HP EliteBook x360 1040 G7, i7-10810U
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-10810U
441 Points ∼30% -70%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020-20UAS04T00
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-10510U
432 Points ∼29% -71%
Dell Latitude 7410
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-10610U
413 Points ∼28% -72%
3DMark 11 Performance
7054 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
4246 points
3DMark Time Spy Score
1638 points
Help
low med. high ultra4K
Battlefield Hardline (2015) fps
The Witcher 3 (2015) 71.2 47.3 25.5 fps
Dota 2 Reborn (2015) 86.3 61 38.9 39.6 18 fps
X-Plane 11.11 (2018) 44.4 36.4 31.1 16.3 fps
Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018) 36.9 17.8 fps
F1 2020 (2020) 70.7 36.3 26.9 fps

Emissions: Fans of the Lenovo laptop stay quiet

Noise

While idling, the fans of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 stay turned off permanently. Under load, they reach a maximum of 34.3 dB(a). The cooling system runs a little bit louder when compared with the predecessor, but not by much.

We did not detect any coil-whine here.

Noise Level

Idle
23.6 / 23.6 / 23.6 dB(A)
Load
33.5 / 34.3 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Earthworks M23R, Arta (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 23.66 dB(A)
dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2021.321.921.921.32520.2212120.23120.521.821.820.5401918.818.8195018.717.617.618.76316.416.716.716.48015.216.116.115.210015.315.415.415.312516.119.619.616.116016.616.316.316.62001713.413.41725018.911.411.418.931522.210.110.122.240024.911.811.824.950025.411.411.425.463025.810.710.725.880024.79.59.524.7100022.510.810.822.5125019.3101019.3160021.810.510.521.8200021.111.211.221.1250021.9121221.9315023.212.112.123.2400022.612.312.322.6500022.412.212.222.4630020.712.212.220.7800019.911.911.919.91000019.8121219.81250015.711.911.915.71600015.211.411.415.2SPL34.323.723.734.3N2.10.50.52.1median 21.1median 11.9median 11.9median 21.1Delta2.10.70.72.129.230.930.428.627.6272729.127.729.629.43128.330.63131.427.12727.528.723.624.92426.424.824.424.125.224.123.923.626.423.523.523.223.223.521.722.722.623.122.122.522.822.321.921.422.522.121.72121.421.721.320.420.421.320.720.121.120.720.61921.120.920.218.719.920.719.918.320.221.620.117.72122.820.517.222.323.320.516.722.523.420.616.323.223.520.516.123.423.620.316.123.421.218.216.221.117.916.816.117.816.416.51616.31616.21615.915.91615.915.715.415.915.715.533.931.929.533.51.91.61.31.9median 21.7median 20.5median 17.7median 21.12.31.72.81.6hearing rangehide median Fan NoiseLenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G9-20XWCTO1WWLenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020-20UAS04T00

Temperatures

Stress test (Prime95 + FurMark)
Stress test (Prime95 + FurMark)

Unusual: The maximum chassis temperature of 51.5 degrees Celsius / 125 F was measured at the top of the deck. Laptops often run hotter at the bottom of the system. Luckily, the maximum temperature we measure here (45.3 degrees Celsius / 114 F) is not critically hot and the palmrest stays completely cool.

How does Lenovo do it? In the stress test, we record the same behavior as in the game tests: The performance constantly breaks down. This firmware problem can only be resolved by Lenovo with a UEFI update.

Max. Load
 51.5 °C
125 F
45.7 °C
114 F
30.2 °C
86 F
 
 43 °C
109 F
35.1 °C
95 F
26.3 °C
79 F
 
 28.1 °C
83 F
24.6 °C
76 F
24 °C
75 F
 
Maximum: 51.5 °C = 125 F
Average: 34.28 °C = 94 F
29.8 °C
86 F
39.4 °C
103 F
45.3 °C
114 F
27.5 °C
82 F
31.5 °C
89 F
37.4 °C
99 F
25.6 °C
78 F
27.5 °C
82 F
28.6 °C
83 F
Maximum: 45.3 °C = 114 F
Average: 32.5 °C = 91 F
Power Supply (max.)  46.5 °C = 116 F | Room Temperature 21 °C = 70 F | Fluke 62 Max+
(±) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 34.28 °C / 94 F, compared to the average of 30.6 °C / 87 F for the devices in the class Subnotebook.
(-) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 51.5 °C / 125 F, compared to the average of 35.7 °C / 96 F, ranging from 22 to 57 °C for the class Subnotebook.
(-) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 45.3 °C / 114 F, compared to the average of 39.5 °C / 103 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 26.6 °C / 80 F, compared to the device average of 30.6 °C / 87 F.
(+) The palmrests and touchpad are cooler than skin temperature with a maximum of 28.1 °C / 82.6 F and are therefore cool to the touch.
(±) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 28.4 °C / 83.1 F (+0.3 °C / 0.5 F).
Idle (palmrest)
Idle (palmrest)
Idle (bottom)
Idle (bottom)
Load (palmrest)
Load (palmrest)
Load (bottom)
Load (bottom)

Speakers

Lenovo still uses four speakers in the X1 Carbon G9 - two small 0.8 W ones are top firing, two larger 2 W ones are down firing. The sound quality is slightly improved in comparison to the predecessor. The speakers are loud and clear enough to fill a small room with sound. 

External sound devices can be connected via 3.5mm or Bluetooth.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs F(Hz)02025.525.524.22525.125.119.73121.221.222.24031.531.5295038.938.936.963222219.78025.325.318.610036.636.624.912542.142.124.716046.846.819.2200575720.225060.960.921.131566.966.92640069.169.120.950065.565.521.163068.868.824.480074.374.325.51000727218.11250656513.5160068.768.712.5200070.270.213.4250068.768.713.1315064.864.813.1400067.367.312.4500066.766.712.3630064.564.512.3800061.561.512.11000061.961.9121250062.262.2121600060.260.211.4SPL80.480.430N50.150.11.2median 65median 65median 13.5Delta4.34.34.627.529.429.728.624.127.824.728.222.629.722.433.422.137.42242.720.546.120.547.920.150.220.953.419.85619.958.618.96218.863.817.368.617.168.116.868.916.267.815.563.615.462.915.262.715.154.11562.214.965.114.760.514.657.714.454.514.449.928.476.81.139.1median 16.8median 60.52.14.9hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseLenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G9-20XWCTO1WWLenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2019-20QE000VGE
Frequency diagram (checkboxes can be checked and unchecked to compare devices)
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G9-20XWCTO1WW audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (80.36 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 14% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (13.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 4.2% away from median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (7% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 2.1% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (3.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(+) | overall sound is linear (11.8% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 10% of all tested devices in this class were better, 5% similar, 86% worse
» The best had a delta of 7%, average was 19%, worst was 50%
Compared to all devices tested
» 6% of all tested devices were better, 2% similar, 92% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 65%

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, 3% similar, 86% worse
» The best had a delta of 8%, average was 21%, worst was 51%
Compared to all devices tested
» 14% of all tested devices were better, 4% similar, 82% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 65%

Energy Management: High resolution costs ThinkPad X1 Carbon G9 battery life

Power consumption

Lenovo claims to have lowered the power consumption of the X1 Carbon Gen 9 4K LCD. Our energy measurements show that the 4K UHD+ screen still drives up power consumption a lot. Especially the minimal consumption while idling is too high.

The 65 W charger delivers enough energy to the Lenovo laptop to keep the battery from draining, despite the peak consumption of 67.5 W - power consumption drops quickly under load, as the CPU does not operate on peak performance for long.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.29 / 0.49 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 5 / 10.2 / 11 Watt
Load midlight 51.7 / 67.5 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Currently we use the Metrahit Energy, a professional single phase power quality and energy measurement digital multimeter, for our measurements. Find out more about it here. All of our test methods can be found here.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G9-20XWCTO1WW
i7-1165G7, Iris Xe G7 96EUs, Samsung PM9A1 MZVL21T0HCLR, IPS LED, 3840x2400, 14.00
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020-20UAS04T00
i7-10510U, UHD Graphics 620, Samsung SSD PM981a MZVLB512HBJQ, IPS, 1920x1080, 14.00
Dell Latitude 7410
i7-10610U, UHD Graphics 620, Toshiba XG6 KXG60ZNV512G, IPS, 3840x2160, 14.00
HP EliteBook x360 1040 G7, i7-10810U
i7-10810U, UHD Graphics 620, Samsung SSD PM981a MZVLB512HBJQ, IPS, 1920x1080, 14.00
Apple MacBook Pro 13 Late 2020 M1 Entry (8 / 256 GB)
M1, M1 8-Core GPU, Apple SSD AP0256, IPS, 2560x1600, 13.30
Average Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7 96EUs
 
Average of class Subnotebook
 
Power Consumption
25%
23%
38%
42%
18%
29%
Idle Minimum *
5
2.96
41%
3.7
26%
1.6
68%
1.67
67%
4.25 (2.5 - 9.5, n=41)
15%
3.7 (1.67 - 10.7, n=103, last 2 years)
26%
Idle Average *
10.2
5.9
42%
6.2
39%
4.5
56%
6.7
34%
7.69 (4.8 - 16.4, n=41)
25%
6.76 (4.6 - 13.6, n=103, last 2 years)
34%
Idle Maximum *
11
9.1
17%
7
36%
5.2
53%
7.4
33%
9.43 (5.9 - 16.9, n=41)
14%
8.74 (4.4 - 15.7, n=103, last 2 years)
21%
Load Average *
51.7
42.1
19%
43.2
16%
41.7
19%
28
46%
39 (26.2 - 54.3, n=41)
25%
34.9 (8.6 - 79.2, n=104, last 2 years)
32%
Load Maximum *
67.5
65.1
4%
68.6
-2%
70.8
-5%
47.5
30%
58.6 (34 - 80.5, n=41)
13%
47.2 (14 - 101, n=103, last 2 years)
30%

* ... smaller is better

Battery life

charging time: 113 minutes
charging time: 113 minutes

With the X1 Carbon Gen 7, Lenovo lowered the capacity of the battery from 57 to 51 Wh - the X1 Carbon Gen 9 returns to a 57 Wh battery. In the reviewed model with its high-res WQUXGA LCD, the bigger battery does not help much. Battery life improves only slightly compared with the ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020 UHD.

Battery Runtime
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3 (Edge Chromium)
7h 22min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3 max Brightness (Edge Chromium)
5h 00min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
9h 19min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 34min
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G9-20XWCTO1WW
i7-1165G7, Iris Xe G7 96EUs, 57 Wh
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020-20U9003BGE
i7-10510U, UHD Graphics 620, 51 Wh
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2020-20UAS04T00
i7-10510U, UHD Graphics 620, 51 Wh
Dell Latitude 7410
i7-10610U, UHD Graphics 620, 68 Wh
HP EliteBook x360 1040 G7, i7-10810U
i7-10810U, UHD Graphics 620, 78.6 Wh
Apple MacBook Pro 13 Late 2020 M1 Entry (8 / 256 GB)
M1, M1 8-Core GPU, 58.2 Wh
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano-20UN002UGE
i7-1160G7, Iris Xe G7 96EUs, 48.2 Wh
Average of class Subnotebook
 
Battery Runtime
-12%
25%
67%
205%
142%
35%
39%
H.264
559
450
-19%
770
38%
1152
106%
925
65%
727 (376 - 1312, n=48, last 2 years)
30%
WiFi v1.3
442
422
-5%
604
37%
661
50%
1128
155%
1223
177%
596
35%
600 (262 - 1223, n=111, last 2 years)
36%
Load
94
95
1%
172
83%
334
255%
98
4%
143 (65 - 369, n=63, last 2 years)
52%

Pros

+ high-quality chassis
+ color-accurate 16:10 UHD+ LCD without PWM
+ very good system performance
+ 32 GB RAM in the X1 Carbon for the first time
+ Legacy port
+ Thunderbolt 4 and PCIe 4.0
+ good input devices
+ very good speakers

Cons

- stability problem while playing games
- glossy screen
- not WWAN ready
- keyboard is worse than before
- bad webcam
- no SD card reader
- shorter battery life because of UHD+ LCD

Verdict: X1 Carbon Gen 9 overall better than the predecessor

in review: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9
in review: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 is supposed to be a big step forward. In many ways, it is just that, especially when it comes to the 16:10 screen format. On the other hand, the keyboard sadly takes a step backwards. This is too bad, as keyboards are usually the biggest strength of the ThinkPad series. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G9 has a good keyboard, but a worse one than in the predecessor X1 Carbon Gen 8.

Apart from that, there are luckily no other regressions. Instead, we see many small and big improvements. The 4K UHD+/WQUXGA LCD unfortunately still has a glossy surface, but it is not plagued by PWM anymore. The battery life still suffers from the high-res panel - which is why the Low Power FHD+/WUXGA display will probably serve most users better. A review of this variation is planned.

Intel Tiger Lake helps the X1 Carbon to be more competitive in terms of performance. The firmware however has an annoying problem - GPU performance instability - which makes the X1 Carbon unsuitable for games. Of course, gaming is not really a priority for a business laptop like the X1 Carbon Gen 9. In terms of the touchpad/TrackPoint, the port selection and the lightweight, high quality chassis, Lenovo does not make any significant changes. In these areas, the ThinkPad laptop has its strengths. We do find it a bit sad that WWAN is not upgradable here. On the other hand, it is great that Lenovo finally offers 32 GB RAM in the X1 Carbon.

Except for the slightly worse keyboard, Lenovo delivers a strong continuation of its ThinkPad flagship series with the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9

All in all, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 earns our recommendation as well as a "very good" verdict of 90 %. The WQUXGA variant is most suited for users who want the best screen quality and do not use their device in battery mode that often.

Download your licensed rating image as SVG / PNG

Pricing and availability

The reviewed variation is a custom model only available through the Lenovo store. There, the X1 Carbon Gen 9 currently costs $2,646 in this configuration.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G9-20XWCTO1WW - 05/07/2021 v7
Benjamin Herzig

Chassis
90 / 98 → 92%
Keyboard
89%
Pointing Device
95%
Connectivity
67 / 75 → 89%
Weight
73 / 20-75 → 97%
Battery
78%
Display
91%
Games Performance
59 / 78 → 76%
Application Performance
92 / 85 → 100%
Temperature
89%
Noise
97%
Audio
84 / 91 → 92%
Camera
22 / 85 → 26%
Average
79%
90%
Subnotebook - Weighted Average

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Benjamin Herzig
Editor of the original article: Benjamin Herzig - Managing Editor - 899 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2016
I was an ardent reader of Notebookcheck’s laptop reviews even back in school. After writing reviews as a hobby, I then joined Notebookcheck in 2016 and have worked on device reviews and news articles ever since then. My personal interest lies more with laptops than smartphones, with business laptops being the most interesting category for me. Technology should make our lives and work easier and good laptops are an essential tool for that to happen. This is why laptop reviews are not just my work but are also my passion.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 Laptop Review: Big 16:10 upgrade with Intel Tiger Lake
Benjamin Herzig, 2021-05- 9 (Update: 2021-05- 9)