Even in 2021, Lenovo’s ThinkPad line-up remains relevant. While there have been quite a few business laptops launched in the recent past, nothing beats the efficacy of the ThinkPad consoles. Then again, if you are looking for aesthetics, this series might not be the one for you. Instead, the ThinkPad series is all about housing durable laptops, capable of doubling down as mobile workstations.
Considering the never-ending craze for the ThinkPad line, we have taken up two of the most popular units and pitted them against each other. In the subsequent discussion, we compare the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon and the ThinkPad X390 across diverse parameters, whilst putting forth our inferences upon supervising the duel.
Before we start the discussion, we need to understand that the ThinkPad X1 Carbon is more of a traditional notebook whereas the ThinkPad X390 is more of your innovative ally.
Configuration and Performance
The ThinkPad X1 Carbon is more beefed-up of the two when processing firepower is concerned. While the ThinkPad X390 maxes out at a U-series i7 processor, hailing from the 8th gen of Whiskey Lake chipsets, the former goes two generations ahead and settles for the 10th gen i7 processor. However, both these units settle for U-series mobile SoCs, making them power-efficient and unsuitable for 3D rendering and simulations.
Besides, the X1 Carbon performs marginally better for single-threaded tasks like photo editing and more. Then again, both the notebooks feature integrated graphic co-processors from Intel, making them good enough only for casual gaming.
Coming to the maxed-out configuration, the new ThinkPad X1 Carbon costs somewhere close to the 2350 dollars, precisely for the i7-10610U chipset, 1TB storage support, and 16GB of sluggish DDR3 RAM!
However, it is the 4K panel that stands out and makes quite an impression. More about the display later in this discussion!
The ThinkPad X390, on the other hand, maxes out at close to 1110 dollars. At this price, you can get hold of the 16GB DDR4 RAM, 512GB solid-state drive, 1080p display, and the i7-8565U processor. As tested by our experts, the featured chunk of system memory associated with the ThinkPad X1 Carbon barely clocks at 2100MHz, making it slower. This minor bottleneck eliminates the minor advantage it has over the ThinkPad X390, owing to the 10th gen processor.
Overall, for the given price point, the ThinkPad X390 is a far better bet, provided the 4K display isn’t a priority. Besides, the SSD performances on either of the gadgets are comparable and don’t depend on the storage space. To sum it up, the files and the concerned Windows OS load as fast as expected.
The X390 is a smallish device and hence the affordable price point. While the panel is restricted to 13.3 inches, the 1080p resolution makes it look brighter than usual. Moreover, while we had the opportunity to review the FHD variant, there is also a 768p model up for grabs that returns pretty average visuals.
The X1 Carbon, on the other hand, offers a 14-inch screen, precisely with the 4K resolution to account for. That said, we are only talking about the premium variant. Regardless of the higher prices, the Dolby Vision support and exceptional brightness levels ensure that X1 Carbon readily wins the display-centric battle.However, as we all seek value for money, the ThinkPad X390 is a more affordable option to go with and you shouldn’t have many complaints if you end up purchasing the high-end, 1080p variant.
Design and Portability
The aesthetics, pertaining to both the models, are comparable if viewed from a distance. While Lenovo doesn’t waver from the red and black accents, both these laptops exhibit MIL-STD durability, making them immune to minor bumps.
However, if you are interested in specifics, the smaller ThinkPad X390 flaunts an aluminum-clad chassis with magnesium accents leading the way. The X1 Carbon, on the other hand, is more reliant on carbon fiber, although it can still take a lot of beating owing to the inclusion of Magnesium alloy.
The red TrackPoint is persisted with, giving an authentic and rudimentary vibe to either of the gadgets. However, we can draw the line when the size and portability factors are considered. The ThinkPad X390 flaunts a smallish screen but feels a lot manageable as compared to the X1 Carbon.
Then again, before we start with the discussion regarding portability, it is necessary to evaluate the connectivity suite of these functional laptops. Touted mainly for business professionals on the move, both these gadgets do not compromise on the port arrangement and stack the important ones, generously.
With X390, you can expect an Ethernet port followed by the HDMI, and USB 3.1 Gen 1 slot. However, it is the Thunderbolt 3 port that makes it one of the more sought-after options. However, the X1 Carbon isn’t a pushover either and offers everything that the X390 can, plus an extra Type-A port.
However, despite being a tad bigger in terms of structural footprint, the Carbon readily outwits the X390 in terms of heft. Surprisingly, the X1 Carbon, at 2.40 pounds is considerably lighter than the more portable X390. Now that’s counterintuitive and puts them on the same pedestal in terms of portability.
Then again, if autonomy is to be evaluated, the X1 Carbon has a slightly bigger battery. However, for the screen-centric trade-offs, the difference feels negligible. However, the battery backup pertaining to both these gadgets, regardless of the expositions, feels middling.
Upon detailed evaluation and using both these notebooks interchangeably for our professional commitments and design-centric tasks, we felt that the X1 Carbon offers a bit more as compared to the X390.
While you get hold of a bigger screen and surprisingly a lighter chassis, the 10th gen processor is certainly one of the better options to consider. Besides, the port arrangement is pretty standard but still gets the better of the X390. However, our only gripe is the sluggish RAM, which takes away a few brownie points and gives them to the X390 that features a 16GB DDR4 unit.
Therefore, if you have the money to spare and gaming isn’t one of your priorities, the X1 Carbon from the ThinkPad lineup is a much better option. However, value seekers can always opt for the X390 if budget is an issue. However, you need to make sure that the 1080p model is invested in, as the HD version doesn’t boast legible sunlight visibility.