Laptops Lenovo

Which Lenovo ThinkPad should I buy in 2019?

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 7th Gen
Carbon-powered: the 7th Gen ThinkPad X1 Carbon

If you’re in the market for a new Lenovo ThinkPad, be aware: Lenovo has two new ThinkPads coming in mid-2019 which might take your fancy. Here’s the lowdown on the new arrivals announced at CES 2019.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 7th Gen

Looking for a workhorse laptop? You could do a hell of a lot worse than the seventh generation of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon. I bought the first generation of this laptop about seven years ago, and it’s still ticking today, albeit with a busted hinge – Lenovo revised the hinge design about five generations ago to make it much more robust.

So what’s the 7th Gen Carbon got going for it?

It’s got the classic black ThinkPad design, with a textured weave pattern on the lid, which looks fabulous. The keyboard is as superb as ever, with those slightly concave keys that hug your finger, and the trackpoint in the middle of the board for those who remain allergic to trackpads.

The new top-end screen option is a feast for your retinas. A 14in Ultra HD (3,840 x 2,160 pixels) IPS display that makes colours pop like fireworks.

If you want a touchscreen – and it’s debatable whether you do on a 14in laptop that doesn’t flip into a tablet mode (see the Yoga below if that’s high on your priority list) – then you’ll have to take a small hit on brightness and resolution, dropping to WQHD (2,560 × 1,440 pixels).

The laptop will pack various eighth-generation Intel Core processors, up to 16GB of memory, and up to 2TB of solid-state storage – although you’ll pay a hefty premium for such a spacious SSD.

Lenovo were keen to show off the new front-facing speaker grille on the Carbon, which made music distinctly listenable, but there’s a regular 3.5mm headphone jack if you need it. The laptop still has space for a full-size USB port, as well as two Thunderbolt 3 ports.

We’re yet to be blessed with prices, but expect it to be punchy – well over £2,000 for the top-end models, £1,000 upwards for the entry-level Carbon. It will be available in June.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga 4th Gen

When my Carbon struggled to keep pace with modern apps and I started to have serious doubts over the longevity of that wonky hinge, I opted for a first-generation ThinkPad X1 Yoga.

It’s still my day-to-day laptop, despite falling out of my bag from about 5ft and skidding across the tarmac about a year ago. The Yoga shrugged it off, with only a small chink out of the bottom corner of the laptop to show for a drop that would have been terminal for most laptops.

The Yoga was so-called because it flips right over, letting you use it as a tablet as well as a laptop. For some baffling reason, Lenovo now applies the Yoga name to regular non-folding laptops, too. Go figure.

Another Lenovo decision I’m struggling to comprehend is shifting the Yoga from the timeless ThinkPad black to a silver, aluminium casing. It’s by no means offensive, but it’s a needless step in the MacBook direction.

The X1 Yoga has the same screen, processor, memory and storage options as the Carbon above, as well as the same speaker setup. You’d be crackerdogs not to take a touchscreen option on this device, though.

Its 1.35kg weight means it won’t make your arms ache in tablet mode, and it’s one of the few ultraportables to stow the stylus within the laptop itself. I use the stylus on my Yoga all the time, using it to mark-up PDFs, sign documents and occasionally jot notes in meetings. The stylus is thin and fiddly, but just about comfortable to use and charges automatically when stowed in the laptop, so you don’t constantly have to fret about it running out of juice.

It’s worth mentioning the IR camera on the new Yoga, which will allow you to log into Windows with face detection. If you can’t face that, there’s a fingerprint reader too.

Again, there’s no word on pricing, but expect to pay £2,500 upwards for the top spec. It too will show up in June.

Now read this: What is Lenovo Vantage and should I get rid of it?

About the author

Barry Collins

Barry has scribbled about tech for almost 20 years for The Sunday Times, PC Pro, WebUser, Which? and many others. He was once Deputy Editor of Mail Online and remains in therapy to this day. Email Barry at barry@bigtechquestion.com.

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