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tech consumer guide

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Vs X1 Carbon – Which One Should You Get?

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The Lenovo X1 Extreme and X1 Carbon are similar yet different. In this article, we compare the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme and X1 Carbon. Here’s everything you need to know about X1 Extreme vs X1 Carbon.

Overview

 
X1 Extreme
X1 Carbon
Design (5)
4
4
Build Quality (5)
4
4
Upgradeability (5)
4
2
Display (5)
5
4
Thermals (5)
4
4
Performance (5)
4
3
Battery Life (5)
3
4
Total (35)
28
25

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme – Pros & Cons

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Laptop, 15.6” 4K UHD HDR (3840 x 2160) Touchscreen, 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8850H 6 core, 32GB DDR4, 1TB Solid State Drive, Windows 10 Pro (Renewed)

Pros

Excellent Performance

Lightweight

Easy To Upgrade

Great Build Quality

Cons

Higher Configurations Are Pricey

4K Display Reduces Battery Life

Runs Hot

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon – Pros & Cons

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 7th Gen 14' Ultrabook - 1920 X 1080 - Core i7 i7-8565U - 16 GB RAM - 512 GB SSD - Windows 10 Pro 64-bit - Intel UHD Graphics 620 - in-Plane Switch

Pros

Solid Performance

Slim & Lightweight

Long Battery Life

Solid Build Quality

Cons

Higher Configurations Are Pricey

Not Upgradeable

Differences Between X1 Extreme And X1 Carbon

Configurations

The Lenovo X1 Extreme is called Extreme for a reason. The laptop has models packed with high-performance processors. Lenovo provides options that have up to 9th Gen Intel Core i9 processors.

The RAM can be upgraded to 64GB and up to 2 TB SSD. This configuration makes it one of the most powerful laptops in the ThinkPad family. It also comes with a dedicated graphics card.

The Lenovo X1 Carbon, on the other hand, has low-power Intel processors. These are less powerful than the high-performance processors in the X1 Extreme.

Some options have up to 10th Gen Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM and 1TB SSD. However, the X1 Carbon doesn’t have a dedicated graphics card. Instead, it makes use of Intel integrated graphics card.

Build Quality & Design

There are not a lot of design differences between the two. Both practically look the same. They both have the same colour and the Lenovo logo is found at the same place. The bottom-right area on the keyboard deck and the top-left corner on the display lid. However, if you look closely you will find a few numbers of differences.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Review

First of all, the X1 Extreme is larger than the X1 Carbon. That’s because the X1 Extreme has a 15.6-inch display and the X1 Carbon has a 14-inch display. And the carbon fibre pattern on the lid is more prominent on the X1 Extreme than the X1 Carbon.

Then there’s the port selection. The X1 Extreme doesn’t have a docking port which the X1 Carbon doesn’t lack. The X1 Carbon also lacks an SD card reader and Ethernet port which the X1 Extreme has. Aside from that, both have the same number of ports.

For the build quality, the X1 Extreme and X1 Carbon use the same chassis material. A magnesium alloy and carbon fibre material with a soft touch. Unfortunately, the X1 Extreme is a serious smudge and fingerprint magnet. You will also have a hard time cleaning it off.

The X1 Carbon also attracts fingerprints but not as much as the X1 Extreme. Both chassis pass the Mil-STD 810G test and so are durable and are resistant to drops and falls.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Review

The X1 Extreme is heavier and slightly thicker. It weighs 4.05 lbs (1.83 kg) and 0.72 inches thick. If the X1 Extreme were to be any thinner. It would have had problems cooling its powerful hardware. The X1 Carbon focuses much more on portability. It’s about 2.4 lbs 1.08 kg) and 0.6 inches thick.

Both are lightweight and are easy to carry around.

Overall, both have excellent build quality. This makes flex and warping almost non-existent. However, there isn’t much difference in the design. Both have a similar design but different insides.

Upgradeability

Both laptops are easy to open. Remove the screws and you have access to the internal components.

In the X1 Extreme, there are a lot of components that can be upgraded or replaced. The RAM is upgradeable up to 64GB. There are M.2 SSD slots that can take up to 1TB each. The Wi-Fi card and battery can be upgraded or replaced.

x1 extreme teardown
Lenovo X1 Extreme Teardown

But, for the X1 Carbon, there is little you can do once inside. The RAM and Wi-Fi card is soldered onto the motherboard. That means if you get an 8GB RAM model. You won’t be able to upgrade it in the future.

The battery also can’t be removed. The only upgradeable component is the SSD slot that can take up to 1TB. The Lenovo X1 Extreme provides more upgrade options than the X1 Carbon.

For the cooling system, the X1 Extreme makes use of two fans and two heat pipes that are shared between the CPU and GPU. The cooling system is great and the laptop will not thermal throttle under demanding tasks often. It will still run at high temperatures though.

The X1 Carbon has a different cooling system. Since it is not a high-performance laptop it makes use of one fan and one heat pipe. X1 Carbons with higher low-power processors – Intel Core i7 – will thermal throttle because of its thin chassis. Because there isn’t adequate airflow.

x1 carbon teardown
Lenovo X1 Carbon Teardown credit mobiletechreview

Undervolting it will at least stop the thermal throttling and reduce the high temperatures to appreciable temperatures.

Display

Both laptops have superb displays. But, the Lenovo X1 Extreme takes the cake.

There are two display options – Full HD (1920 x 1080) and 4K (3840 x 2160). The two options can further be broken down into two. The Full HD has two options under it. A 500 nit display with HDR and 300 nits anti-glare display. They have above-average colour accuracy and viewing angles.

The 4K also has two options. A 400 nit OLED multi-touch HDR display and a 500 nit HDR anti-glare. The OLED display is the best of all the options. It is bright, has great viewing angles and high colour accuracy.

x1 extreme
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme

Only a few displays can compete with it. The downside is that because it a touchscreen it is a glossy display and will have an amount of glare to it. Also, using it in bright lights will cast reflections on it. In addition to that, it drains a lot of battery power.

The X1 Carbon has three display options – Full HD, WQHD (2560 x 1440) and 4K. The 4K is the only glossy display out of all the options. It also has an anti-glare touchscreen option. All the displays are bright, have above colour accuracy and great viewing angles.

And just like always the 4K display beats all of them in all the areas. On a side note, the X1 Carbon doesn’t have an OLED option. If you had to choose between the three options.

The WQHD will be the best. The resolution is great and offers better sharpness and viewing angles than the Full HD. It also doesn’t drain a lot of battery power compared to the 4K option.

All in all, the X1 Extreme has a better display and display options. But, that doesn’t mean the X1 Carbon’s display is not good. It is better than most laptops. However, in this case, it is not.

Keyboard & TouchPad

Both laptops use the same chiclet keyboard. A backlit and spill-resistant laptop that has a good amount of travel. The keys also have a decent amount of key resistance that translates to great tactile feedback.

The keyboards are full-size and so it’s well-spaced. Plus, the keys have decent-size. All in all, both keyboards are great and have a more natural feeling to them. This will delight programmers, typers etc. generally people who type for long periods.

The touchpads are covered with soft-touch coating. This allows the touchpad to feel smooth if you have dry fingers. It also supports Windows Precision and gestures making it responsive whilst adding more functionality.

Lenovo still maintains the Trackpoint in the middle of the keyboard. Overall, both are awesome keyboards and provide great typing experience.

Performance

The X1 Extreme is a high-performance version of the X1 Carbon. It has more powerful processors, can take up to 64GB RAM and has a dedicated graphics card. So no matter how you look at it. The X1 Extreme wins hands down.

You will be able to run far more demanding applications than the low power processors in the X1 Carbon. You will also be able to open several applications at the same time.

When it comes to gaming. The X1 Extreme has a dedicated GTX 1050 Ti or 1650 Max-Q. Both are decent gaming cards that will be able to handle most AAA title games on low to medium settings.

The highest configured X1 Extreme has a 9th Gen Intel Core i9, 64GB RAM, 2TB SSD and GTX 1650 Max-Q. A powerful laptop that can tear through most applications. It is also the most expensive.

x1 carbon
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

The X1 Carbon is pretty powerful but not up to the X1 Extreme’s level. It can multitask and run demanding applications. But, don’t expect levels close to that of the X1 Extreme. The X1 Carbon doesn’t have a dedicated graphics card so you won’t be able to game.

However, the highest configured X1 Carbon (10th Gen Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM and 1 TB SSD) will be able to beat the X1 Extreme base model (9th Gen Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM and 256GB). But, not in gaming. This is to be expected though.

Overall, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme is the more powerful laptop. It has high-performance processors, a dedicated graphics and RAM slots that can take up to 32GB each. Whiles the X1 Carbon has low-power processors, integrated graphics card and soldered RAM that can’t be upgraded.

Battery Life

The battery life depends on the display option and hardware you choose. The Full HD display is going to outlast the higher resolution displays.

For the X1 Extreme which has an 80 WHr battery will be able to last 8-9 hours under normal use. The X1 Carbon which has a 51WHr battery and low-power processor can last more than 10 hours.

If you happen to go with the 4K option the battery life reduces to 6-7 hours for both laptops on medium brightness. The 4K OLED option for the X1 Extreme will even have less battery life about 4-5 hours. OLED display consumes a lot of battery power.

So it all depends on which display option you choose. But, if you want the best battery life then the X1 Carbon with Full HD is the best choice. It has enough power to last close to half a day.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Vs X1 Carbon – Which One To Get?

Fortunately, this is an easy choice.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme is what you get when you put powerful hardware in the X1 Carbon.

A solid option if you are a power or heavy user. The X1 Extreme is powerful enough to handle 4K video and photo editing, 3D rendering, data analysis, etc. Anything that requires substantial computing performance.

If you won’t be doing these things. Then the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is the best choice. You will own a lighter and slimmer device whiles enjoying the amazing battery life it has. That is if you choose the Full HD option.

To sum it all up, the X1 Extreme is for those who want a powerful machine to handle demanding applications. And the X1 Extreme is for those who value a laptop with a decent performance that is slim and lightweight.

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