home CES, News Lenovo announces three new ThinkPad X1 models with Kaby Lake

Lenovo announces three new ThinkPad X1 models with Kaby Lake

Most of the Kaby Lake ThinkPads (13 2nd Gen, L470, L570, T470, T470p, T470s, T570, X270 and Yoga 370) were already announced some days ago. However, Lenovo didn’t announce any new ThinkPad X1 device yet. With today’s announcement of three new flagship devices, they finally made up for that.

Common features

Similar to the other Kaby Lake ThinkPads, the new X1 models have a so-called “Precision Touchpad”. On the one hand, it fulfills certain requirements set by Microsoft regarding size and responsiveness. On the other hand, gestures aren’t handled by a combination of the touchpad firmware and proprietary drivers anymore. Instead, the raw touch input is exposed to Windows. This allows Microsoft to add new gestures or refine the algorithms with new Windows updates.

Furthermore, the new X1 models will be available with a “Windows 10 Signature Edition” preload without third-party bloatware. As already mentioned in my article on the T470 some days ago, there however might be a few third-party apps like Candy Crush Saga as Microsoft “preinstalls” them.

In addition, all new X1 models will have a discrete TPM 2.0 and the X1 Yoga 2nd Gen and the X1 Carbon 5th Gen will be available with infrared cameras for “Windows Hello” facial detection.

X1 Carbon (5th Gen)

Thanks to its all-new chassis, the X1 Carbon 5th Gen is even smaller and thinner than its predecessor.

Dimensions Weight
X1 Carbon 5th Gen 323.5 mm x 217.1 mm x 15.95 mm Starting at 1.14 kg
X1 Carbon 4th Gen (for the purpose of comparison) 333.0 mm x 229.0 mm x 14.95-16.45 mm Starting at 1.17 kg

It also has very narrow screen bezels which make the device very attractive, at least in my opinion. As the comparison chart below shows, it is the smallest Kaby Lake ThinkPad with a 14-inch screen. For comparison purposes, the chart also shows some popular laptops with 13.3 inch screens.

Comparison of the size of different laptops with 13.3 and 14.0 inch screens
Comparison of the size of different laptops with 13.3-inch and 14.0-inch screens



While the X1 Carbon 4th Gen and the X1 Yoga 1st Gen had a very similar design, the X1 Carbon 5th Gen looks more like some older X1 Carbon generations. In my opinion, that’s an advantage as the design of the X1 Yoga wasn’t that great for a regular laptop with a traditional 180° hinge.

The X1 Carbon 5th Gen will be available in silver as well as in black.

Processor

Apart from the new chassis, the X1 Carbon 5th Gen also uses the new Kaby Lake processors from Intel. Similar to the X1 Carbon 4th Gen, it uses CPUs with two cores, four threads and a thermal design power (TDP) of 15 W.

Processor

Cores Threads Base Frequency Max Turbo Frequency vPro
Core i5-7200U 2 4 2.50 GHz 3.10 GHz no
Core i5-7300U 2.60 GHz 3.50 GHz yes
Core i7-7500U 2.70 GHz 3.50 GHz no
Core i7-7600U 2.80 GHz 3.90 GHz yes

Graphics

All above-mentioned processors contain the Intel HD Graphics 620. Apart from being 20 to 30% faster than the HD Graphics 520, it decodes H.265/HEVC Main10 and VP9 (the open video coding format developed by Google, mainly used on YouTube) in hardware. Unlike the X1 Yoga 2nd Gen or some devices by competitors like the 13″ MacBook Pro without Touch Bar, the X1 Carbon 5th Gen isn’t available with the faster Iris Plus Graphics 640. In my opinion, that’s a bit odd and I don’t really understand that decision.

Memory

Similar to its predecessor, the X1 Carbon 5th Gen is available with up to 16 GB of LPDDR3 memory with 1866 MHz. As the memory is soldered to the system board, it can’t be upgraded afterwards. It remains to be seen if there will be versions with Core i5 processors and 16 GB of RAM or if you have to get the i7-7600U if you want 16 GB of RAM.

Display

While the screens used in the X1 Carbon 4th Gen weren’t bad, they weren’t that great either if you take the huge price tag of the X1 Carbon 4th Gen into consideration. Sadly, the X1 Carbon 5th Gen doesn’t seem to be an improvement in that area as Lenovo claims that they’re still using IPS panels with 300 nits brightness. The parts list isn’t available yet, but I guess they’ll use the same panels as in the X1 Carbon 4th Gen. In my opinion, that’s quite disappointing. A flagship device like the X1 Carbon should have a screen with at least 400 nits brightness and full sRGB coverage that matches the huge price tag. Heck, some devices of competitor devices even feature screens with 500 nits brightness and full DCI-P3 coverage!

Resolution Technology Brightness
1920×1080 IPS LCD 300 nits
2560×1440 IPS LCD 300 nits

Storage

The X1 Carbon 5th Gen will be available with a variety of different SSDs. Luckily, it seems that Lenovo doesn’t offer SATA SSDs larger than 180 GB anymore. In my opinion, it doesn’t make sense to offer a flagship device like the X1 Carbon 5th Gen with SATA SSDs at all, but people who want to install an aftermarket SSD will probably be happy that they don’t have to pay the huge premium for an NVMe SSD.

Size Manufacturer Interface Bits per cell Encryption
128 GB unknown SATA unknown
180 GB Intel
256 GB PCIe 3 TCG OPAL 2.0
unknown
512 GB Intel
unknown
1 TB

I/O ports

As the picture below shows, the X1 Carbon 5th Gen has two Thunderbolt 3 Ports. As there is no proprietary DC jack anymore, you will probably have to buy some new power supplies. The X1 Carbon 5th Gen also lacks the proprietary “OneLink+” docking port. Thus, you might have to buy a new Thunderbolt 3-based docking station. Nevertheless, it’s great that Lenovo adopted Thunderbolt 3 as it makes the devices much more versatile and future-proof.

The two Thunderbolt 3 ports of the X1 Carbon (5th Gen)
Both the X1 Carbon (5th Gen) and the X1 Yoga (2nd Gen) have two Thunderbolt 3 ports

Similar to some older X1 Carbon generations, the X1 Carbon 5th Gen will have a proprietary port for an Ethernet dongle. As the Ethernet controller is part of the X1 Carbon 5th Gen, the MAC address is tied to the device and not to the adapter, which can be an advantage in some scenarios.

While the X1 Carbon 4th Gen had three USB 3.0 Type A ports, the X1 Carbon 5th Gen has only two of them. In my opinion, that’s no real disadvantage as you can use one of the Thunderbolt 3 ports instead, but you might need a USB-C to USB-A adapter, a USB hub or a dock if you want to use more than two “legacy” USB devices at once. Furthermore, there is a HDMI port.

Sadly, the X1 Carbon 5th Gen still only has a microSD card reader instead of a full-size SD card reader. The placement of the card reader isn’t perfect either as it’s on the back of the laptop again.

Wireless connectivity

The X1 Carbon 5th Gen will use the Intel Dual-Band Wireless-AC 8265 WiFi module. Some versions will also be available with the Intel Tri-Band Wireless-AC 18265 WiGig + WiFi combo module. I don’t know yet if WiGig and WWAN will be mutually exclusive again, but I’ll add that information once it becomes available.

In America, Europe, Middle East and Africa, the X1 Carbon 5th Gen will be available with the Sierra EM7455 LTE-A module while Lenovo will use the Sierra EM7430 LTE-A-module in Asia-Pacific. You should keep in mind that both those modules don’t support 2G networks as fallback.

Battery

Lenovo claims that the X1 Carbon 5th Gen will have up to 15.5 hours of battery life while they claim a maximum of 11 hours for the X1 Carbon 4th Gen. Sadly, I don’t know yet if they really increased the size of the battery or if they just changed the measuring method.

Price and availability

According to Lenovo, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon 5th Gen starts at $1,349. It will be available beginning in February 2017.

X1 Yoga (2nd Gen)

The X1 Yoga (2nd Gen)
The X1 Yoga (2nd Gen)

In contrast to the X1 Carbon 5th Gen, the X1 Yoga 2nd Gen uses roughly the same chassis as its predecessor. Thus, it has the same large screen bezels. On the one hand, that makes sense because you might accidentally touch the screen while holding the device in tablet mode when the bezels are too narrow. On the other hand, the X1 Yoga 2nd Gen looks a bit aged and boring compared to 2-in-1-devices with narrower screen bezels like the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1.

Dimensions Weight
IPS LCD version 333 mm x 229 mm x 17.05 mm Starting at 1.42 kg
OLED version 333 mm x 229 mm x 17.4 mm Starting at 1.36 kg

The X1 Yoga 2nd Gen will be available in silver as well as in black.

Processor

Similar to the X1 Carbon 5th Gen, the X1 Yoga 2nd Gen uses Kaby Lake dual core processors with a TDP of 15W.

Cores Threads Base Frequency Max Turbo Frequency vPro Integrated Graphics
Core i5-7200U 2 4 2.50 GHz 3.10 GHz no HD Graphics 620
Core i5-7300U 2.60 GHz 3.50 GHz yes
Core i7-7500U 2.70 GHz 3.50 GHz no
Core i7-7560U 2.40 GHz 3.80 GHz Iris Plus Graphics 640
Core i7-7600U 2.80 GHz 3.90 GHz yes HD Grapics 620
Core i7-7660U 2.50 GHz 4.00 GHz Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640

Graphics

While the X1 Carbon (5th Gen) will only be available with the Intel HD Graphics 620, the X1 Yoga (2nd Gen) will also be available with the higher-end Iris Plus Graphics 640 which has 48 execution units and 64 MB of dedicated eDRAM memory, similar to its predecessor. As the models with the Iris Plus Graphics 640 will use 2133 MHz LPDDR3 memory while the models with the regular HD Graphics 620 will use slower 1866 MHz LPDDR3 memory, the performance difference should be even larger.

Display

Again, the mediocre screen brightness was probably one of the main disadvantages of the X1 Yoga 1st Gen. Due to the touch layer in front of the screens, the available IPS screens were even darker than the non-touch screens in the X1 Carbon 4th Gen. Even the expensive OLED screen which was stunning in terms of contrast ratio and color reproduction wasn’t that bright either: the maximum brightness of 300 nits is achieved if there is almost no white content at all.

Apparently, Lenovo either wasn’t able to source brighter screens or they simply didn’t want to as the OLED screen of the X1 Yoga is still advertised with 300 nits while the IPS screens are advertised with 270 nits. As already mentioned above, that’s a bit disappointing. As the OLED screen is glossy, it would greatly benefit from a significantly higher brightness.

Resolution Technology Brightness
1920×1080 IPS LCD 270 nits
2560×1440 IPS LCD 270 nits
2560×1440 OLED 300 nits

Storage

Similar to the X1 Carbon 5th Gen, the X1 Yoga 2nd Gen won’t be available with SATA SSDs larger than 180 GB.

Size Manufacturer Interface Bits per cell Encryption
128 GB unknown SATA unknown
180 GB Intel
256 GB PCIe 3 TCG OPAL 2.0
unknown
512 GB Intel
unknown
1 TB

I/O ports

The X1 Yoga 2nd Gen has three instead of two USB 3.0 Type A ports. Apart from that, it has the same ports as the X1 Carbon 5th Gen: two Thunderbolt 3 ports, HDMI, a proprietary Ethernet port and a microSD card reader.

Wireless connectivity

The X1 Yoga 2nd Gen will be available with the same wireless modules as the X1 Carbon 5th Gen.

Input devices

Both the X1 Carbon 5th Gen and the X1 Yoga 2nd Gen have a slightly modified keyboard layout that was already discussed in our article on the T470. However, the X1 Yoga 2nd Gen will feature an important change: as the pictures below show, there is a completely flat surface in tablet mode as the so-called “Wave Keyboard” recesses and locks the keys. The TrackPoint buttons are entirely flat as well.

X1 Yoga 1st Gen
X1 Yoga 1st Gen
X1 Yoga 2nd Gen
X1 Yoga 2nd Gen
X1 Yoga 2nd Gen
X1 Yoga 2nd Gen



Using the X1 Yoga 2nd Gen in tablet mode will sure be more comfortable due to this change, but I’m not sure if the TrackPoint buttons will be as ergonomic as before.

Battery

Lenovo claims that the X1 Yoga 2nd Gen will have up to 16 hours of battery life while the OLED version will have up to 10.5 hours. Again, I don’t know if they were able to increase the battery size due to the above-mentioned design change or not. Thus, the statement by Lenovo is essentially worthless as their claims are usually greatly exaggerated when it comes to the battery life of their laptops.

Price and availability

According to Lenovo, the ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2nd Gen starts at $1,499. Similar to the X1 Carbon 5th Gen, it will be available beginning in February 2017.

X1 Tablet (2nd Gen)

The X1 Tablet (2nd Gen)
The X1 Tablet (2nd Gen)

While the two other new ThinkPad X1 models feature some noteworthy improvements, the X1 Tablet 2nd Gen is rather boring, at least in my opinion. It uses Kaby Lake Y CPUs (Core m3, Core i5, Core i7) with a TDP of 4.5 W instead of Skylake Y CPUs now. Furthermore, it apparently won’t be available with SATA SSDs larger than 128 GB as all larger SSDs are NVMe SSDs now. In addition, it will be available with slightly newer WLAN and WiGig modules. Apart from that, there are no noteworthy changes. It still uses the same chassis, it apparently uses the same screen and it even has the same ports. However, the X1 Tablet has one advantage compared to the other two new X1 devices: it will only be available in black 😀

Price and availability

Lenovo claims that the X1 Tablet 2nd Gen starts at $949 and that it will be available beginning in March 2017.

Conclusion

Both the X1 Carbon 5th Gen and the X1 Yoga 2nd Gen will be very interesting, at least in my opinion. The all-new chassis makes the X1 Carbon 5th Gen very attractive and the X1 Yoga 2nd Gen shines with its stunning OLED display and the availability of Iris Graphics. However, the mediocre screen brightness is quite disappointing for those flagship devices.

The X1 Tablet 2nd Gen, on the other hand, isn’t interesting at all to me. I have the X1 Tablet 1st Gen and there basically is no reason to upgrade. A slightly larger screen in the same chassis which would lead to smaller bezels would be very nice and I’d love to see at least one Thunderbolt 3 port, but Lenovo sadly missed that opportunity.

What do you think? Please feel free to comment below.

  • Petr Vones

    And the WQHD display still flickers at 220 Hz at a brightness setting of 90 % and below :-/

    “they don’t have to pay the huge premium for an NVMe SSD” – will it boot a NVMe drive ? Remember first P series with beta BIOS, a Lenovo representative admitted later in forums that the NVMe part of BIOS does not work at all.

    • Felix Bohnacker

      And the WQHD display still flickers at 220 Hz at a brightness setting of 90 % and below

      I don’t know yet if they’re using the same Panasonic QHD screen as in the X1 Carbon 4th Gen and the X1 Yoga 1st Gen or if as the parts list isn’t available yet. They might also offer the X1 Carbon 5th Gen and the X1 Yoga 2nd Gen only with the LG QHD screen (which doesn’t seem to use PWM).

      • Petr Vones

        In other words, they absolutely don’t care about the problem. Otherwise there wouldn’t be a single box with flickering display again.

        All displays use PWM, the issue is the default low frequency. It is BIOS/driver bug.

      • Felix Bohnacker

        All displays use PWM

        Not necessarily. In theory, there might also be screens with DC dimming only. However, DC dimming might cause color shifts. That’s why some screen manufacturers combine PWM dimming and DC dimming (see http://www.eizo.com/library/basics/eyestrain/).

      • Petr Vones

        Desktop pro monitors like NEC and Eizo use completely different backlight systems that calibrates the while color etc. I don’t expect anything like that in a tiny laptop screen 🙂 Any PWM frequency over 1000 Hz is safe from my point of view.

  • George Papanikolaou

    if someone look at official page of new x1 carbon in specs says :14.0″ WQHD IPS (2560 x 1440) 300 nits
    14.0″ FHD (1920 x 1080) 300 nits . So for FHD screen doesn’t clearly say ips. I hope it’s wrong !

    • Felix Bohnacker

      That’s yet another error on the Lenovo website, the Full HD screen is an IPS screen as well.

  • MBourdais

    Any rumors/news about when P line will be updated?
    Last year they announced P50 and others at CES.

    • Felix Bohnacker

      The new P series models will be announced in February (see https://www.reddit.com/r/thinkpad/comments/5med1u/p_series_announcements_coming_feb_6th_at/, the author of that post is a (trustworthy) Lenovo employee).

      • MBourdais

        Ok, thanks for info. 🙂

      • Felix Bohnacker

        You’re welcome 🙂

      • MBourdais

        Hi again! Just wanted to ask what you think about the new P51.
        I was looking forward to Kaby Lake + Pascal GPU + 4k multitouch screen. No such luck. Nvidia did not release full range of quadro pascal cards and the only touch display is FHD with 220 nits of brightness according http://www.thinkworkstations.com which is almost unusable. When I first saw those FHD display specs, I thought that Lenovo is using Apple strategy to push their corporate customers towards 4k displays. It’s similar to an entry level iPhone with 16 Gb of storage when the next model is 64 Gb, so most people choose 64 Gb.
        I’m in a silly situation when I really want to buy a new powerful laptop and there is nothing out there that I would gladly spend my money on. Is there any chance that the classic Thinkpad will show up later this year?

  • zylstra