Laptop Review – Thinkpad X1 Carbon Gen 9

I needed a new laptop for quite some time as the current one is almost 10 years old. I have been using a 2012 Thinkpad T530 which is very capable and built like a tank. It has survived two drops from 3-4 feets with only minor damage. Unfortunately it weighs like a tank too. The speakers on it were terrible and I had to constantly look for headphones every time I had to attend a meeting.

So after deliberating for some time, I came up wit this list of things which would help me narrow down the choices:

  1. Light Weight, less than 1.5 kg
  2. Long battery life, more than 6 hours
  3. 14’ screen with 1920 x 1200 resolution or more. Touchscreen if possible, because why not 🙂
  4. Good processor with at least 16 GB RAM
  5. Good speakers
  6. Decent webcam
  7. Preferably comes pre-installed with Linux
  8. USB and HDMI ports. I dont like carrying dongle everywhere.

After scanning the forums for a month, I came up with this list of contenders:

  1. Dell XPS developer edition
  2. System 76 Lemur pro
  3. Thinkpad X1 Carbon Gen 8/9
  4. Thinkpad T14

I had and inclination towards thinkpad because the last one worked really well. I went to r/thinkpad to figure out the difference between T14 and X1 Carbon. So both these laptops are very similar except X1 Carbon has better speakers and weighs less.

Finally I ordered X1 Carbon with i7 processor, touchscreen and 32 GB RAM. It came to around 2100 USD after taxes. It came preinstalled with Ubuntu 20.04 which I swapped with Elementary 6 preview.

The good

  • The speakers are the best that I have seen so far on a Non-Apple laptop.
  • It boots under 10 seconds and everything is really fast.
  • Keyboard is very good and and have decent travel unlink MacBook pro.
  • Trackpad is also very good. Pinch-zoom gestures do not work out of the box.
  • Fingerprint login did not work very well on Ubuntu.
  • Touchscreen works very well.

The bad

  • They have placed the fan under the body so you can not place it on the bed for too long.

The Ugly

  • The biggest downside the webcam. It is worse than the 10 year old T530. After reading Lenovo forums I feel like Lenovo decided to put really shitty webcam on a 2000 USD premium laptop. It works well only if you have good lighting in your room and that too the video is not that great.

Verdict

I will still recommend this as a good Linux laptop if the webcam is not a deal breaker for you.


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