CES 2021 | Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 & X1 Yoga Gen 6 get huge 16:10 redesign
In the year 2012, the very first Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon led the way in the ultrabook-revolution of the ThinkPad portfolio. Since then, Lenovo has evolved its flagship ThinkPad, though pretty carefully in the last years. The last big update in terms of the design was the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 5 from 2017 with its slim-bezel design. With the 2019 ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 7, Lenovo introduced better speakers, but not many additional improvements.
The relative stagnation ends now: With the new ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2021 and the metal-clad convertible brother ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2021, Lenovo introduces a new design alongside the Intel Tiger-Lake CPUs.
ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 and ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 6 for the first time with the longer 16:10 aspect-ratio
The most important change is the screen aspect ratio. Like many other new high-end laptops, the new Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 and Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 6 adopt the new 16:10 format. The novel 14 inch LCDs are slightly less wide than the old ones, but significantly longer. The screen surface area grows because of this, which results in significantly smaller screen bezels beneath the LCD panel.
One thing that defines business laptops like ThinkPads is choice. Lenovo manages to transition all the screen options offered for the 16:9 models to the new 16:10 ThinkPads. The FHD (1,920 x 1,080) screens are replaced by equivalent WUXGA (1,920 x 1,200) panels, the new premium option is a glossy 4K UHD screen (3,840 x 2,400). All screens reach at least 400 cd/m², the special ePrivacy touch LCD is supposed to reach 500 cd/m². All panels, except for the ePrivacy one, are Low power LCDs.
X1 Yoga 2021 and X1 Carbon 2021: Legacy ports are retained, many design changes
These days, a laptop redesign can often mean "no more ports except for USB C". Not in this case: Different from the smaller ThinkPad X1 Nano, both the ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 6 and ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 retain two USB A ports and HDMI. Only the mechanical side-dockingport / miniEthernet is removed compared with the preceding generation.
While the ports largely stay the same, there are many other design changes. The power button for example is shifted from the right side to the deck above the keyboard. And it functions as a fingerprint reader as well. Two of the four speakers are now placed to the side of the keyboard instead of above and the touchpad of the new 2021 X1 ThinkPads is wider than before. For the ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2021, Lenovo changes the hinge design. On both models, the fan exhaust is also moved from the right side to the back - according to Lenovo, the cooling system is improved with a new dual-fan design.
Batteries grow, but key travel shrinks for the new X1 ThinkPad laptops
While we are talking about the internals, we can mention that the new ThinkPad X1 Carbon and X1 Yoga are going to be available with 32 GB RAM for the first time, thanks to the adoption of LPDDR4X memory. Compared with their predecessors, 5G is new as an option feature as well. Not optional are the new, bigger 57 Wh batteries - up from 50 Wh compared with the predecessors.
Nearly all changes can be seen as positive so far. That might not necessarily be true for the new keyboard, however. Key travel is reduced to 1.35 mm, the same amount of travel like the ThinkPad X1 Nano offers. Also, the keyboard width is slightly reduced. Keyboards are routinly seen as one of the biggest strenghts of the ThinkPad line, so it will be interesting to see if the new models can fulfill the high standard set by other ThinkPad laptops.
Pricing & availability: ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 & ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 6
The new X1 ThinkPads will be available in the USA in February 2021. Of the two, the convertible X1 Yoga is the more expensive one, with a starting price of $1,569. The new Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 starts at $1,429.