In a not at all surprising twist, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon is getting another round of updates that should keep it the king of the pack in terms of ultraportable. Some  notable updates to this generation of X1 Carbon include:

  • Up to 12th generation Intel® Core™ i7 vPro® U and P Series processors, up to 14-core
  • Up to Windows 11 Pro, Linux Ubuntu, or Fedora
  • FHD Webcamera now standard in a new Communications Bar
  • Up to 32GB LPDDR5
  • Up to 2TB Gen 4 performance PCIe NVMe SSD
  • 57 Whr battery
  • Intel® Wi-Fi 6E (requires Windows 11)
  • Bluetooth® 5.2
  • NFC
  • New screen options, see below for details
A breakdown showing the new FHD webcamera setup. A much needed upgrade.

Ports include:

  • 2x Thunderbolt™ 4
  • 2x USB 3.2 Type-A Gen 1
  • 1x HDMI 2.0b
  • 1x Audio (Headphone and Microphone Combo Jack)
  • 1x Nano SIM
A new range of impressive screens are not available.

More screen options than you can shake a stick at listed below:

  • 14” WUXGA 16:10 (1920×1200) IPS LP AG
    (400nit, 100%sRGB, Eyesafe)
  • 14” WUXGA 16:10 (1920×1200) IPS LP AG Touch
    (400nit, 100%sRGB, Eyesafe)
  • 14” WUXGA 16:10 (1920×1200) IPS LP AG Touch with Privacy Guard
    (500nit, 100%sRGB, TUV ePrivacy Cert)
  • 14” 2.2K 16:10 (2240×1400) IPS AG
    (300nit, 100% sRGB)
  • 14” 2.8K 16:10 (2880×1800) OLED AGARAS
    (400nit, 100% DCI-P3, Eyesafe)
  • 14” WQUXGA 16:10 (3840×2400) IPS LP Glare
    (500nit, 100% DCI-P3, HDR400, Dolby® Vision™, Eyesafe)
  • 14” WQUXGA 16:10 (3840×2400) IPS LP AOFT Touch AGAR

Overall this appears to be a great machine and would likely give me pause if I were buying a new laptop today. If I had the choice between a ThinkPad X1 Carbon or an X1 Nano, I think I’d go with this now that it has the nicer display options.

Lenovo has announced the next generation of ThinkPad X1 Nano with some tasteful updates:

  • Intel vPro® with 12th Gen Intel® Core™ i7 processors
  • up to 32GB LPDDR5 memory
  • a larger capacity 49.6 Whr battery
  • Up to Windows 11 Pro, Fedora, and Ubuntu Linux
  • FHD webcam now standard
  • Up to 2TB PCIe SSD
  • Intel® Wi-Fi 6E (requires Windows 11)
Note the redesigned Communications Bar.

The rest remains unchanged and that is fine by me as I still enjoy my Gen 1 device. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. This should also do some interesting things to the prices of the X1 Nano Gen 1 which is still a fantastic device. I’m happy to see that this line continues as I think more people will appreciate this exceptional thin and light laptop.

Lenovo is bringing back the ThinkPad Z series this year at CES 2022.

Back in the day, the ThinkPad Z series was the first of the ThinkPad line to use the 16:10 screen which was adopted on every other line afterwards. It was also the first time a ThinkPad featured the use of titanium. If you want to learn more about the Z series, see the two videos below where I take a look at the Z61t and hear about the creation from the project manager, Rob Herman.

Aug
19

Rob Herman Interview (Product Manager of i , A, R, Z, P Series and the X tablet)

If you haven’t seen the interview I did with Rob Herman, I will link in directly below. If you’d like to just listen to the interview, here is an mp3 of our talk.   It was really great to speak with Rob and learn about his unique perspective in the creative process. Every person that […]

The original ThinkPad Z series had a slew of multimedia-centric features and it looks like the new generation is following in its footsteps. The ThinkPad Z series is returning in two flavours in a slim 14mm chassis, the Z13 and Z16. Images also show a leather-like cover very similar to the Reserve Edition that was available for the 15th Anniversary. Both new machines feature a bump at the top (called the Communications Bar) that houses the cameras (regular and IR) which are now FHD and include a microphone array. 

The  Z13 will offer a 13.3″ 16:10 setup with two display options. (WUXGA IPS 400nit Low Power (touch option) or WQXGA OLED 400nit, Touch, Dolby Vision, Low Blue Light) The Z13 will house a 50Whr battery. 2x USB-C (4.0) ports and a audio jack are present.

The  Z16 will offer a 16″ 16:10 setup with two display options. (WUXGA IPS 400nit Low Power (touch option) or WQXGA OLED 400nit, Touch, Dolby Vision, Low Blue Light) The Z16 will house a 70Whr battery. 3x USB-C (4.0) ports and a audio jack are present. The Z16 is the only model with an SD Card slot.

These laptops will come in the following colour options:

  • Z13: Black Recycled Vegan Leather/Bronze AL, Arctic Grey Recycled AL, Black Recycled AL
  • Z16: Arctic Grey Recycled AL

Other important features include AMD Ryzen Pro 6000 series CPUs (with an exclusive Ryzen 7 Pro 6760Z) with no Intel option currently announced. The Z16 can also be configured with the AMD Radeon™ RX 6500M discrete graphics card. Memory will be Up to 32GB LPDDR5

Z13 is powered by AMD Ryzen PRO U-Series processors with integrated AMD Radeon graphics plus Microsoft Pluton security processor. Z13 is also available with an exclusive AMD Ryzen PRO 6860Z processor

Z16 is powered by AMD Ryzen PRO H-Series processors with integrated AMD Radeon graphics or optional AMD Radeon RX 6500M discrete graphics, and include the Microsoft Pluton security processor

AMD Ryzen PRO 6000 Series processors with Qualcomm® FastConnect 6900 offer advanced manageability and industry leading Wi-Fi connectivity on Z13 and Z16. Additionally, Qualcomm® 4-stream Dual Band Simultaneousi (DBS) on AMD Ryzen™ PRO 6000 Series processors enables sustained low latency potential of Wi-Fi Dual Station, natively supported on Windows 11

Haptic ForcePad and fingerprint reader on the Z16. The Z13 has a keyboard that goes right to the edge and has a different speaker configuration.

The eagle-eyed users will note a TrackPoint but no dedicated buttons and be concerned. However, this laptop features a similar haptic feedback pad that was released on the X1 Titanium last year. Speaking of the TrackPoint, it can now be double-tapped to access a Communications menu for common microphone and camera settings. This isn’t the first time that tapping the TrackPoint had a function and this is a welcomed return.

ThinkPad Z13 will be available from May 2022, starting from $1549
ThinkPad Z16 will be available from May 2022, starting from $2099

For more information, see the following launch video from Lenovo.

Lenovo, who has partnered with Energysquare has started announcing wireless charging products for your existing laptops. I’ve talked about this technology in an earlier post that I will link below.

Jan
16

Wireless Charging for Laptops and Beyond

One announcement at CES 2021 that in my opinion, didn’t get the discussion it deserves, comes from Energysquare which is a small start-up that wants to make wireless charging in laptops mainstream. Wireless charging is growing more and more common with smaller electronics but in terms of larger ones, the pros and cons are still […]

Just announced is the kit to make just about any 13-14″ laptop be able to charge wirelessly. It will just cost you a USB-C port and only work with laptops that need up to 65W (maximum output of 20V, 3.25A, and 65W to be exact) power delivery. It is a simple accessory that rides on a rail, presumably for fast removal if needed. It comes into contact with the charging panel and makes the connection. This setup adds 3.2mm of thickness to your laptop, which might be a steep trade-off for some.

The kit, part of Lenovo’s new Go line is scheduled to launch in October with a cost of $139.99 USD.

Running benchmarks and tests of this nature aren’t my normal thing since these tests are somewhat theoretical when it comes to real-world usage, but I can appreciate that people like to compare the numbers. For me, the main purpose of these tests was to push the laptop from a thermal standpoint to see how well it did under load.

PassMark Rating

PassMark Software – Display Baseline ID# 1373050

As shown in the Day 12 video update, thermals remained very acceptable, not climbing higher than 35.0C at the CPU underneath the laptop or at the vent exhaust port.

For more information on the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano, if you haven’t seen the first videos in the series, please consider checking them out below. If you’d like to buy one for yourself, please consider visiting Lenovo’s website through the links on my Affiliates page as I can earn a small commission that goes back to supporting the channel.

My first time looking at a modern T series, specifically the T470s, I was struck by a burning question: what was the X1 Carbon doing if we had other ThinkPad series that were this thin and light? It seemed like other ThinkPads in the family were starting to steal the X1’s limelight. Thinness was traditionally a bit more distinct.

X300 internals (BusinessWeek Magazine 2008)

For those that aren’t familiar, the X1 and X1 Carbon lines were created when Lenovo took the X300 and wanted to change it from a halo product that cost thousands of dollars upon its release and make it more affordable without compromising the wow factor. They were successful and the X1 Carbon is seen by many as the flagship for ThinkPad that is often compared against its many rivals from Dell, HP and Apple. The T430s was the first generation to adopt the Precision Keyboard that first debuted on the X1, but this wouldn’t be the last time the Txxxs series borrowed from its popular sibling.

Now the Txxxs line has been around since the very beginning. Lenovo has gotten better and better making the Txxxs line thinner and thinner each generation. The T460s and T470s were 18.8mm thin. The X1 Carbon does remain the thinner (15-16mm usually from model to model) and lighter device, but we are measuring in a few millimetres and grams. Often some of the key differences between the X and T series now is what parts are available for each with the X1 variants having nicer screens either by default or higher-end ones available that aren’t on other models. The main point I’d like to make is there were fewer and fewer reasons to go for the X1 Carbon over the very strong internal competition from within ThinkPads’ own lineup.

Then came along the X1 Nano. Crazy thin and crazy light (13.87-16.7mm and 907 grams for the base non-touch model). Thinner and lighter than the X1 Carbon and only being beaten out by the X1 Titanium announced at CES this year for thinnest yet. Not only is it thin and light, which many laptops are these days, but its default configuration got my immediate attention. While the base model is expensive, it is well justified with all the bells and whistles that come standard.

X1 Nano internals.

Base specs give it a 450nit DolbyVision 2K display with an integrated IR camera for Windows Hello and 8GB of RAM as a minimum. Granted that RAM is soldered on and maxes out at 16GB but as a starting configuration, not too shabby. Intel 11th generation CPUs in i5 and i7 variants are par the course and a 57Wh battery for lots of screentime. News and review sites like notebookcheck.com have already compared it against the MacBook Air like its predecessor, just like in 2008. 

Honestly, if it had AMD options at launch (I have flimsy reasons to believe that an AMD version might be coming one day) I’d be tempted to cancel my custom-built and pick up one of these. I’d be making a few compromises on my original plans for a new laptop, but wow is this thing pretty. Nobody will mistake this for an X1 Carbon or T14. It’s the sort of “rabbit out of a hat” that I love Lenovo and ThinkPad for over the years and I’m glad to see they still have it. Hopefully, these distinctions will bleed down onto the X1 Carbon to make it a more unique choice like the Z61 did for introducing 16:10 to ThinkPad all those years ago.

 

One announcement at CES 2021 that in my opinion, didn’t get the discussion it deserves, comes from Energysquare which is a small start-up that wants to make wireless charging in laptops mainstream.

Laptop with integrated wireless charging. Note silver-coloured electrodes that make contact with the mat.

Wireless charging is growing more and more common with smaller electronics but in terms of larger ones, the pros and cons are still being decided. This hasn’t stopped Lenovo from jumping on board their plan to offer it in their next generation of ThinkBooks. Both the ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 i and ThinkBook 13X i will feature Energysquare’s wireless charging technology as an optional addon. But who will really benefit from wireless charging?

Wireless charging technology from Energysquare will be optional on the ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 i and ThinkBook 13X i
  1. Businesses. Work areas and meeting rooms where plugs are at a premium and playing “kick the cable” is leaving wear marks on your shoes would greatly benefit from this setup. Businesses running older units that don’t have the technology built-in might really like the idea of their “stick-on” solution. It would also reduce cost over time invested in charging cables.
  2. Heavy Home Office. If you do not travel a lot with your laptop, or if it comes home each night to charge then this is a viable option. Having a larger mat like the ones featured in Energysquare’s promotional material would make sense to place your devices on to charge without a mess of cables.
  3. Early adopters. If you sit on the bleeding edge of technology, you probably have considered or have mangled a piece of furniture to hide a wireless charging pad. This would eliminate the need to do so and also as OEMs support the integration of the technology into more devices, provide a sleeker, minimalistic look.

Just like several pieces of technology, however, I think there are some users who are still far away from benefitting from this technology.

  1. Travellers. If you are constantly on the move, taking a wireless charging mat over several chargers may or may not appeal to you. If the charging mat were flexible, lightweight and all of your devices were supported, then it might be a possible solution.
  2. Students. Whether in university or grade school, you are likely going to be surrounded by some dated tech and little personal space, so this might not be the best solution. However, perhaps in the future, there will be smart desks or collaboration tables that include wireless charging for student devices.
  3. The average user. I’m not sure the average person has fully embraced wireless charging yet and may not be until they are forced perhaps with the omission of a charging port from a popular phone brand. The benefits might not be known to the general public or the dwindling list of drawbacks as the technology gets better. Some of the accessories that Energysquare is developing though will make it more attractive and potentially change how we view the technology.
A simple desk lamp that can be placed anywhere on the mat and function could change how we think about wireless technology and our workspaces.

Needless to say, this is one part of laptop technology that I don’t believe is just going to be passing fancy.

Recently I decided it was time to replace my ageing Samsung monitors. I’ve had them for nearly ten years and faint ghosting was starting to occur which was distracting working with white pages or very dark ones. So the hunt began for their successor.

Last summer I had my first experience with a ThinkVision monitor via the M14 Portable Display. That piece of kit literally saved me a week of work. For more information, see my video on it below.

When it came time to pull the trigger, I decided I’d try ThinkVision again and scored two displays for under $500 CDN. The model I settled on was the ThinkVision S27q-10 which is a 27″ display with a 2K resolution. For detailed specs, see this sheet.

Two new ThinkVision monitors on a messy desk.

I have to say my initial impressions are amazing. The 2K screens are sharp and bright without burning holes in the back of my eyes while working in lowlight. They were also absolutely effortless to assemble. I hope to find some time to do a quick little video showing their unboxing and initial impressions. If you are interested in grabbing some for yourself, they can be found here.

By making a purchase through the link above, I may earn a commission through Lenovo’s Allifate program. These monitors were personally purchased and not provided by Lenovo.

Alan Kay, the brain behind Dynabook talked about laptop weight before the word laptop came into common usage. I remember reading in “The Race for Perfect” by Steve Hamm♦ when researching the ThinkPad X300 a story about him testing weight that people would be willing to carry:

“Using a book as a model, Kay taped together a cardboard mockup of what the Dynabook computer might look like, and filled it with lead shotgun pellets until he decided that he
had reached the limit of what people would be willing to carry around. The optimal weight he decided on: two pounds.”

Two pounds for reference is 907 grams or under one-kilogram. It wouldn’t be for decades after Kay’s measurements that computers would be that light.

At CES this year, there are several manufacturers chasing after the one-kilogram laptop. Both HP and Lenovo have put new entries into the ring to challenge the LG gram. Here is a short breakdown of these two challengers.

 

HP Elite Dragonfly Max

Reportedly coming in under one kilogram is the HP Elite Dragonfly Max. Little is currently known about the Dragonfly Max beyond what is in the table below. Out of all of the laptops, it is the only one that hasn’t been released and pricing isn’t currently available. I’ve included the fine print regarding its inclusion into this comparison in the chart below.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano

Not shying away from the lightweight competition is the long-rumoured and awaited X1 Nano. Unlike the HP Dragonfly Max, fully spec’d out only puts it 1g over the one-kilogram mark. While it might lack in ports, it has the nicest screen available between the three models and is also tied for the thinnest on the list. It is also the only one that features Thunderbolt 4 and a touch screen.

The first laptop that most people think of that made the weight part of the branding is of course the LG gram, which I talked about in an earlier article here. The only one that is fair to compare by weight is listed below:

  Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano HP Dragonfly Max LG gram 14
(14Z90P)
Display Size 13-inch 13.3-inch 14-inch
LCD

13.0″ 2K Touchscreen (2160 x 1350) IPS, glossy touchscreen with Dolby Vision™, 450 nits, 100% sRGB

13.0″ 2K (2160 x 1350) IPS, anti-glare with Dolby Vision™, 450 nits, 100% sRGB

13.3-inch HD (1920 x 1080) display WUXGA (1920 x 1200) IPS, DCI-P3 99 percent (Typical)
Aspect
Ratio
16:10 16:9 16:10
Weight
  • Non-touch: 1.99 lb / 907 g
  • Touch models: 2.14 lb / 969 g
  • WWAN non-touch: 2.07 lb / 939 g
  • WWAN touch: 2.21 lb / 1001 g
Under 1kg. Weight will vary by configuration. UHD panel or HP Sure View Reflect, 32GB memory base units, WWAN, 4-cell battery, and 512GB SSD or higher not available on configurations starting at less than 1kg. 999g (2.2lbs)
Size
  • Non-touch: 12.72″ x 8.54″ x 0.55-0.66″ / 292.8mm x 207.7mm x 13.87-16.7mm
  • Touch: 12.72″ x 8.54″ x 0.56-0.68″ / 292.9mm x 207.8mm x 14.27-17.2mm
 Not currently known. 313.4 x 215.2 x16.8mm
(12.34 x 8.47 x 0.66 inches)
Battery 65Wh 4 cell. Not currently known. 72Wh
CPU 11th Gen Intel®
Core™ Processor
11th Gen Intel®
Core™ Processor
11th Gen Intel®
Core™ Processor
GPU Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics
Intel® UHD
Graphics
Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics
Intel® UHD
Graphics
Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics
Intel® UHD
Graphics
Memory 8/16GB
Up to 32GB 8/16GB
(LPDDR4x)
Storage M.2  SSD slot (NVMeTM) 1TB Max M.2 SSD slot (NVMeTM) 2TB Max M.2 Dual SSD slots
(NVMeTM)
Colour Black, Black with Carbon-Fiber Weave on top cover (available on Touch models only) Dragonfly Blue, Black White, Silver, Black
Keyboard Backlit Backlit Backlit
I/O Port

2 x USB4 Thunderbolt™ 4, Headphone / mic combo

USB 3.1 charging port, 2 x USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports,  HDMI 1.4b USB 4 Gen3x2(x2,
USB PD, ThunderboltTM 4), USB
3.2 Gen2x1(x2), HDMI, microSD/UFS, HP-Out
USP Fingerprint Reader, Optional: WWAN LTE 5G / LTE 4G CAT9, WLAN: WiFi 6 AX201 802.11AX (2 x 2), Bluetooth® 5.1, Hybrid infrared (IR) / 720p HD with webcam privacy cover

Optional 5G, 5MP webcamera

Fingerprint Reader, DTS X
Ultra, Wi-Fi 6

Please note I have attempted to leave the text untouched in terms of how it was formatted in the original press releases.

♦Items purchased through this link earn the channel a small commission through the Amazon Affiliate Program.

ThinkPad Announcements at CES 2021

Below find the new ThinkPads joining the lineup in 2021. I might add additional thoughts in future articles.

ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga (13.5″)

360-degree hinge with Titanium construction. Intel Evo CPUs. 3:2 aspect ratio with 2K display.

ThinkPad X12 Detachable (12″)

The long-awaited return of the X1 Tablet. Intel 11th generation CPUs. 1920×1280 (3:2) 440 nit screen with Gorilla Glass. Optional folio keyboard with TrackPoint of course.

ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 6 (14″)

Intel Evo with 16:10 and a wider touchpad to match. A larger battery still makes room for internal pen storage.

ThinkPad X1 Nano (13″)

Starting at $1900 CAD, the lightest ThinkPad yet at 1kg. Intel 11th Gen CPU, TB4, 16:10 screen and IR camera with a 2K screen as standard.

ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 (14″)

16:10 display. Intel Evo vPro and everything you’ve come to like about the X1 Carbon. A wider touchpad and a larger battery are now included.