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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon vs. Lenovo ThinkPad T490


Lenovo has a couple of courses of ThinkPad laptops, every aimed toward several types of folks. The X1 Carbon is an instance of a ThinkPad aimed toward jet-setters who respect skinny and lightweight laptops, whereas the T490 is for many who see ThinkPads as strong, reliable, and — let’s face it — barely extra pedestrian laptops.

We pitted the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 towards the ThinkPad T490 to see whether or not the upper value of the previous is justified over the strong reliability of the latter.


Person typing on Lenovo laptop.

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 seems and feels similar to the slim Gen 7 mannequin, sustaining its mixture of magnesium alloy and carbon fiber making up the chassis. In the event you purchase the model with the 4K show, then you definately’ll love the woven carbon fiber sample adorning the lid. Apart from the thinner design, the X1 Carbon seems loads just like the T490, each of which spotlight the same old iconic black chassis with purple accents as adorns nearly all of ThinkPads. Each additionally benefit from the soft-touch really feel that makes carrying and utilizing the everyday ThinkPad so comfy. The T490, nonetheless, is constructed of plastic with glass fiber backing.

By way of their keyboards, you may think each laptops to get pleasure from similar ThinkPad high quality. That’s not the case, although, because the X1 Carbon Gen 9 has a barely shallower keyboard because of its thinner chassis. It nonetheless feels nice, however in order for you the standard ThinkPad keyboard, then the T490 is the higher selection. Each provide backlit and non-backlit variations.

Each laptops sport the everyday purple TrackPoint nubbin in the course of the show with an additional set of buttons above the touchpad. Each touchpads help Microsoft’s Precision touchpad drivers for glorious Home windows multitouch gesture help, however the X1 Carbon Gen 9 does have a wider pad with extra room to your fingers. Each laptops additionally help Home windows Whats up password-less login through quick and correct fingerprint scanners, with a ThinkShutter privateness panel that slides over the webcam for some additional privateness.

Show choices are the place the 2 laptops significantly diverge. The X1 Carbon presents a number of show choices, from full HD (1920 x 1080) panels with low-power or anti-glare contact help, as much as a 4K (3840 x 2160) show with 500 nits of brightness, and Dolby Imaginative and prescient high-dynamic vary (HDR) help.

We will attest to how glorious the latter show is, with nice colours, brightness, and among the finest Netflix HDR help you’ll discover on a laptop computer. The T490 is extra restricted, with HD or full HD shows however few different choices and no UHD mannequin — it’s not a very powerful consideration for a 14-inch display the place the additional pixels gained’t be missed as a lot, nevertheless it’s noteworthy for many who need full 4K.

Lastly, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon has higher connectivity, with two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4 help, an Ethernet/docking station connector (that sadly requires an non-compulsory adapter), two USB-A 3.2 ports, and HDMI 2.0. The T490 solely has two USB 3.1 ports, a USB-C 3.1 Gen 1 port, and a USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 port with Thunderbolt 3, plus an HDMI 1.4 port.

Each laptops may be upgraded to Intel’s Wi-Fi 6 card with Bluetooth 5.0, no less than on these variations with Intel’s Tenth-generation CPUs (extra on this beneath). You can even configure non-compulsory WWAN SIM slots.


Lenovo laptop sitting on white table.

The X1 Carbon Gen 9 line has solely Eleventh-gen Intel Comet Lake processors, starting from the four-core i7-1135G7 to the four-core i7-1185G7. These Eleventh-gen processors are among the quickest round, in accordance with our checks, and a very good selection for a efficiency improve if you happen to haven’t purchased a brand new laptop computer in a couple of years (there’s additionally a mannequin with built-in Linux compatibility if you happen to choose that working system).

The T490, however, presents primarily Eighth-gen Intel processors, beginning with the four-core i7-8665U. Probably the most superior T490 model does include a Tenth-gen i7-10510U chip, nevertheless it’s presently out of inventory, and that requires the utmost improve for the T490. It is a compromise that the T490 makes to stay the extra reasonably priced laptop computer, however it’s a notable lower in energy.

On the GPU entrance, the T490 presents built-in Intel UHD graphics, whereas the X1 Carbon Gen 9 makes use of the extra superior Intel Iris Xe graphics for an improved expertise.

Each fashions additionally provide choices for as much as 1TB PCIe solid-state drive storage. However relating to RAM, the T490 is restricted to 16GBs, whereas the X1 Carbon Gen 9 has choices as much as 32GB of RAM.


Man typing on Lenovo laptop.

The X1 Carbon is a a lot lighter, smaller, and thinner laptop computer than the T490. It’s simpler to toss right into a backpack and carry round. The X1 Carbon is considerably smaller than the T490 regardless of each laptops utilizing 14-inch shows.

The T490 is wider (12.95 inches versus 12.71 inches) and deeper (8.94 inches versus 8.54 inches) than the X1 Carbon, thanks primarily to thicker show bezels, and it’s thicker at 0.70 inches versus 0.58 inches. Lastly, the X1 Carbon weighs 2.49 kilos, virtually a full pound lighter than the T490 that is available in at a beginning weight of three.23 kilos (as much as 3.56 kilos with the PrivacyGuard show). That makes the X1 Carbon a extra fashionable and engaging design.

The T490 comes with a 50Whr battery rated as much as 16.11 hours, whereas the X1 Carbon comes with a 57Wh battery rated as much as 16.7 hours. Nevertheless, the processor and shows selections you make will even have a big effect on battery life, so take these specs into consideration alongside different selections.

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon is the extra fashionable ThinkPad iteration

Using Lenovo ThinkPad laptop at work.

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 is little question the extra pricey laptop computer. The bottom mannequin begins at $2,321 (right down to $1,392.60 with Lenovo’s computerized coupon), and relying on what upgrades you need, that value can climb as excessive as $3,889 (right down to $2,333.40 with the coupon). If you’ll find these sorts of offers, then you definately actually don’t have any excuse to not make the leap and purchase the brand new ThinkPad X1. 

The ThinkPad T490’s present pricing places it inside a really comparable value vary regardless of the slower efficiency. The bottom mannequin begins at $2,409 ($799.99 with offers) and might attain as much as $2,859. You could find totally different options and upgrades to this mannequin, such because the Tenth-gen CPU, however you’ll need to analysis what the worth might be for that.

There’s no denying that the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 is the superior product attributable to an upgraded processor and 4K choices. That stated, if you happen to’re on a decent funds, then the T490 presents respectable specs at an reasonably priced value. In case your funds permits some wiggle room for upgrades, then the X1 Carbon is what we advocate. General, it’s a superior machine, and present offers imply that there’s solely a slight value distinction between the 2 choices, and with that in thoughts, we extremely advocate the Gen 9 Carbon mannequin.

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