Oct 13 2020

Review: The New Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Engages Remote Learners

This 7th-generation notebook is loaded with technologies rarely combined in ultraportable designs.

With remote, online and blended learning continuing across higher education, many universities are providing loaner laptops to students who cannot purchase their own devices. But finding the right notebook computer to equip masses of college students and faculty members isn’t easy.

Higher education coursework often requires a speedy processor, lots of RAM and large screens. The new Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon, however, provides mobility, power and features that rarely accompany such a portable design.

The Features that Matter

Lenovo’s Carbon line has always featured ultraportable offerings. The new X1 models offer a thinner and lighter case and an enhanced battery life.

Everything from business applications to multimedia learning tools ran well during testing, which was unsurprising given its Core i7 processor and 16 gigabytes of speedy SDRAM. Even demanding programs like Adobe Photoshop opened quickly. The 512GB solid-state hard drive adds even more speed by eliminating disk-based bottlenecks.

In a clever nod to user choice, Lenovo created three distinct displays to support different needs. The unit I tested had a 14-inch LED touch screen, which was highly responsive. Another has a brilliant 4K display, one of the first ­ultraportable units to feature it. The third has a polarized display that can only be viewed head-on — nosy­ ­neighbors see only black.


 Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Engages Remote Learners


Security Features: Keep It Confidential

Not only is the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon a powerful and portable notebook computer, but it also comes packed with robust and layered security features. This can be critical for protecting personal student records, along with things like answer keys and lesson plans.

The protection begins with the discrete Trusted Platform Module (dTPM) chip, which encrypts data to keep it out of the hands of unauthorized users. To validate the owner’s identity, the dTPM works with Windows 10 security and, optionally, with Windows Hello. When using Windows Hello, the system recognizes its owner using facial recognition and logs them in automatically. Users can instead combine biometrics-based access with a password for easy two-factor authentication.

MORE ON EDTECH: Learn how to increase college success for underserved students.

More Is Better — Three-Factor Authentication

There is also a fingerprint reader for yet another layer of biometric security alongside Windows Hello. Users who combine a password with facial and fingerprint recognition have a solid three-factor authentication process, which is a higher standard than most government agencies require.

The camera also has extra security elements. For one, there is a hard lens cover called a ThinkShutter that, as a physical barrier, can’t be bypassed by remote hackers. Students and professors can easily activate the camera during learning while physically disabling it whenever they want privacy.

There is also an optional security feature for the camera called Privacy Alert. When activated, it puts the X1’s infrared camera into scanning mode. If the camera detects that someone has crept up behind a user, which would give them a clear view of the screen, an alert pops up. This works exceptionally well with the ThinkPad model that comes with the privacy screen monitor that blocks all viewing past the center of the notebook’s screen.

MORE ON EDTECH: Learn how to prepare for campus readiness while cutting costs.

Rugged and Ready: Heat and Water Resistant Tech

The ThinkPad Carbon X1 is designed to resist heat, cold and even damage from taking a tumble onto a hard surface. Units have even survived the punishing testing regimen used by the military to evaluate ruggedness.

The new Carbon X1 notebooks provide workstationlike power in an extremely lightweight and ultraportable format that nonetheless stands up to the rigors of daily use. All of that makes the new line of seventh-generation Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon notebooks a great choice for on-the-go students (and the faculty and staff members who work with them). 


DISPLAY: 14-inch LED touch screen
PROCESSOR: Intel i7-8665U
HARD DRIVE: 512GB solid-state drive
DIMENSIONS: 12.7x8.5x0.6 inches
WEIGHT: 2.4 pounds


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