When I’m looking for a laptop for myself, I value comfort, productivity and portability above all else. I need a laptop with a world-class keyboard so I can type at my fastest and not get sore wrists when I’m using my computer on an airplane tray table. I need a bright, colorful display with lots of real estate for editing documents and code and I need all of this in a lightweight, durable package.
Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon series has long been a favorite of productivity users like me, because of the laptops’ tactile keyboards, accurate navigation, light weight and strong build quality. The laptop series is now in its 10th generation and I own an older, 7th Gen model which has been my daily driver for more than four years now; it’s still going strong, helping me be my most productive self when I’m on the go or on the couch. If I were ready to replace my current system today, I’d get the latest ThinkPad X1 Carbon and I’d buy it now while it was on sale.
For Cyber Monday, Lenovo has deals on a wide variety of ThinkPad X1 Carbon (10th Gen) configurations, including some that start at just $1,069 (opens in new tab). But you shouldn’t and I wouldn’t buy this laptop (or any Ultrabook) with less than 16GB of RAM on board or an SSD that’s smaller than 512GB. Now, you can get a ThinkPad X1 Carbon with 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, a Core i5-1240P CPU and a 1920 x 1200 display for just $1229 after coupons (opens in new tab) (make sure to click the box that comes up at checkout offering a second, HOLIDAYSURPRISE coupon for $60 off).
I reviewed the ThinkPad X1 Carbon (10th Gen) this past September and came away impressed with its bright and vibrant screen, its snappy keyboard and its sharp 1080p webcam. As always, the X1 Carbon 10th Gen is extremely light, tipping the scales at just 2.48 pounds while measuring a mere 0.6 inches thick. It’s so small that it can easily fit in a tiny bag and you won’t even notice the weight.
What I like best about the size and shape of this 14-inch Ultrabook is how well it balances on my lap. During testing and with my old model, I can hold it on my lap for hours without feeling weighed down and it’s compact enough to fit on a coach class try table. Despite its thin size, the X1 Carbon has room for two USB Type-A ports, two Thunderbolt 4 Type-C ports and HDMI out. I never need to pack a dongle.
I love the ThinkPad X1 Carbon’s snappy keyboard, which feels a bit like a mechanical, clicky keyboard, without actually being one or sounding like one. Because of the tactile feel, I can usually touch type at 100 words per minute or more while holding it on my lap. The soft-touch palm rest on both the old and new Carbons keeps my wrists comfortable even if I’m using the laptop for hours.
I also really enjoy using the little red, TrackPoint pointing stick for navigation, because I get such precise movement and I never have to lift my hands off of the home row. If, like most people, you prefer a touchpad, you can use the 4.3 x 2.3-inch glass touchpad and it feels great.
Unlike many other laptops, the 10th Gen X1 Carbon has a 16:10 aspect ratio screen, which starts at 1920 x 1200. When working with my review unit, that gave me 120 more pixels of vertical screen real estate than I get on my old ThinkPad’s 1080p (1920 x 1080) display. That’s 11 percent more text on the screen at a time, which means less scrolling when I’m writing or coding.
The 14-inch display is rated for a luminous 400 nits of brightness, which should make it viewable even if you’re sitting near a window on a sunny day. The review unit I tested had a slightly different screen than the model that’s on sale (it had a touch screen but the sale model is non-touch). However, it managed a strong 406 nits of brightness so the non-touch model is likely to deliver something similar.
The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 is the first X1 Carbon to feature a 1080p webcam and the results were excellent in my tests. Colors such as the blue in my shirt or the turquoise in my glasses were accurately reproduced and details like the hairs in my beard were prominent.
Most of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 configurations, including the one I would buy, use Intel’s 12th Gen P-series CPUs. These processors have up to a 28-watt TDP, but Lenovo configures them down for 20 watts, which is more than the 15-watt TDP on the U-series processors they have used in prior generations (and on a handful of current-gen configs). In theory, this brings more performance, but in practice when we tested with a Core i7-1260P, the X1 Carbon was middle-of-the-pack.
But I wouldn’t buy a ThinkPad X1 Carbon because of how high or low it scores on benchmarks. What matters is how snappy it feels when I’m multitasking: opening a ton of tabs while editing documents and watching videos. In my experience, the X1 Carbon was more than snappy enough with a Core i7-1260P and it would also be with a Core i5-1240P like the one in the sale configuration.
One drawback to the P-series processor is that it seems like it may be holding battery life back. On our battery test, which involves continuous surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits, the Carbon endured for 8 hours and 48 minutes, which is a few hours behind competitors. However, your battery life will vary based on how you use the computer so it’s quite possible you get 10 to 12 hours depending on your work habits and settings.
While it’s not a perfect laptop — I wish the battery life were a little longer on our test — the ThinkPad X1 Carbon is the laptop I’d buy because it just feels great to work with and is light enough to carry anywhere and keep on my lap. At $1,229, this is the productivity laptop to get this Cyber Monday.
You may notice that, if you go to Lenovo.com, the configuration I’m recommending here is listed as $1,289 rather than $1,229. The $1,289 price would be good on its own, but when I went to put it in my cart to see the final total, I saw that Lenovo has a little alert that says you can save an additional $60 by using a HOLIDAYSURPRISE code (see the screen shot below). Be sure to apply that to your order.
If this ThinkPad X1 Carbon is not right for you, check out our list of best Cyber Monday tech deals to find other systems.