Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 with i5-1145G7, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, Ubuntu $1673.10 Delivered @ Lenovo

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Have had my eyes on this for a while. Only today I've realised that lenovo offer a $340 discount if you're content with linux over windows. I am, especially now that windows 11 requires a Microsoft account and proton on linux is great for occasional gaming. The only potential upgrade needed would be to 16gb ram. SSD is user replaceable I believe.

I've always loved the X1 Carbon series. IMO the pinnacle of portable laptops. Gen 9 includes a better, bigger 16:10 display, intel tiger lake with much improved graphics, good battery life. Was shocked to see the price, usually over $2k for the cheapest model.

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  • +8

    Good price for a well-rounded device, I wish more manufacturers would give the option to not pay for a windows license. That said, if I was in the market for a new Linux laptop right now the Framework laptop would be pretty tempting.

    • +3

      I wish more manufacturers would give the option to not pay for a windows license.

      I'm surprised that it "costs" $340 here, would have thought the OEMs like Lenovo…etc. are paying like $20 for a license.

      That said, if I was in the market for a new Linux laptop right now the Framework laptop would be pretty tempting.

      Yeah, definitely, but always good to wait a generation or two before committing - so many of these smaller manufacturers come and go. Not to mention that laptop upgradability is already very limited - it's not like you can pop in a new CPU anyway.

      • The win 10 home and win 10 pro versions are listed as being the same price too. Interesting.

      • I'm surprised that it "costs" $340

        Me too. I think Dell had a similar option for a while, and it might have been like a $80 saving or something. $340 makes it a great deal

    • +1

      Cost of Windows is subsidized by all the bloatware that usually comes with a new PC, so its essentially free. Which is why when Dell released Ubuntu pre-installed laptops a while ago they ended up costing more than Windows preinstalled ones.
      I'm pretty sure the $340 discount here has nothing to do with the cost of a Windows license , because the price a large OEM like lenovo pays for Windows is just a fraction of the retail price, which is probably less than $50 (more like $10~$20). And lets not forget the additional costs Lenovo has to bear to support their linux customers, they still need to provide driver and customer support, which is an additional cost. So at the end of the day, bundling Linux is not going to save Lenovo any money, if at all I'd say its going to cost them more.

      • Walmart famously went though a stage of selling eeepc and other Linux computers, same models with Window7 for $50 more outsold them 9:1

    • agreed a ripper price, sadly after my experience with the x1 Gen7, and also the Gen6 I could not recommend Lenovo X1 carbons anymore. Both rock solid (tough), lightweight devices, but duds. Battery life a joke (even after warranty replacement). Sadly iv'e parked the Gen7 and am using a bulkier HP - I never thought I'd go off thinkpads they have been my go to machine for 20+ years - what have Lenovo done?

      • Just curios, what's the setup of your Gen 7, 4k or normal screen, i7 or i5 CPU, etc.?

        And what's the typical applications you're using and how long the battery last?

        • It’s i5, normal screen, 8gb and 256gb SSD
          Battery life is lucky to be 4 hours of standard home office usage
          Browser
          O365 (outlook OneDrive word etc)
          Acrobat
          And it was poor battery life mainly that had me dump the gen6 and try the gen7
          I can’t tell you how much I wish I could praise these machines, I honestly don’t know what is a decent truly portable business grade machine anymore.

          • @rwps: Wow that's interesting to hear. I run basically the same programs for my work on my X1 Gen 9 and easily get 8-9 hours battery life without having a monitor or anything plugged in. Mine is higher spec'd though so maybe it's not putting as much strain on the system?

            i5-1145G7
            32gb RAM
            512gb SSD
            1920x1200 FHD non touchscreen

  • +8

    "content"?
    They pay you $340 to select the upgrade. Fscking ecstatic is more like it.

    Soldered RAM is the big downside.

    • +1

      You can transfer Windows licence from another (older) device. I've done it a couple of times.
      "content" suggests you are OK with getting less provided. Consider that this is 8GB only.
      Some people extol Linux's virtues over Windows - not me, I need to fit in with most people at work.
      And I use both Win and Linux. And use OSX in virtual Machine.

      • +1

        16gb and 32gb options available. Whilst soldered ram isn't ideal, other products in Lenovo's lineup which are less compact offer sodimm slots. Plus, 4266mhz dual channel ram for faster igpu is not manufactured in non soldered form factor.

    • -2

      Agree, I refuse to buy any laptop with soldered ram. Its the whole designed obsolescence thing. There is no good reason for this, when RAM isn't all that much bigger than an m.2 drive.

      • +1

        16gb and 32gb options available. Whilst soldered ram isn't ideal, other products in Lenovo's lineup which are less compact offer sodimm slots. Plus, 4266mhz dual channel ram for faster igpu is not manufactured in non soldered form factor. I have more of an issue with manufacturers that don't offer any upgradeable product. As long as you buy the product with the right amount of ram to begin with, it shouldn't be an issue. Soldering SSD is a much bigger ethics issue imo.

    • +2

      Upgrading to 16gb is only $85 with the discount I believe, not the end of the world. 32gb also an option. I would usually be annoyed if this was a thinkpad t or l series with soldered ram but given this is engineered to be the slimmed and lightest in Lenovo's portfolio I don't see it as unethical as what apple does.

      • I would usually be annoyed if this was a thinkpad t or l series with soldered ram but given this is engineered to be the slimmed and lightest in Lenovo's portfolio I don't see it as unethical as what apple does.

        Agreed - at the end of the day, let's keep in mind that upgrading to 16GB RAM on this costs an extra $95, on a Macbook Air / Pro, it costs $300. I don't mind soldered RAM as long as the cost of upgrading is reasonable. It's clear that Apple absolutely price gouges in the RAM upgrade (I actually own an X1 Carbon and M1 MBA, but I definitely think Apple is ripping off their customers).

        32GB RAM for $380 is again, expensive, but not unreasonable for good RAM (which 4266 definitely is). A standard 32GB kit of 3200 MHz SO-DIMM is around $280 (e.g. https://www.centrecom.com.au/kingston-fury-impact-32gb-2x16g...), so again, the $380 is not the worst.

        • Great reply, I've responded to some others above with similar words.

          I'm pretty sure 4266mhz doesn't get offered in unsoldered sticks. And it should give the laptop a igpu and efficiency upgrade.

          But yeah their ram isn't too expensive and the 10% discount helps.

        • +2

          The lenovo option of 32GB upgrde by customising your build isn't a straight comparison to buying the 32GB, cause you forgot to factor in the original cost of 8Gb you're already paying for. If they let you buy a laptop without any ram to start with then sure, because if it was non soldered then one could sell it and put towards the upgrade to 32GB.
          Just saying difference in my mind would be more than just $100 because I would sell my original ram to put towards upgrade, e.g. What I did with my XPS.

    • +5

      Relax y'all. 16GB Ram is a +$95 upgrade.

      • Also heads up, extends shipping time from ~2 weeks to ~7 weeks

  • +3

    8GB RAM and soldered. Buyers have to choose carefully if they want 8, 16 or 32 GB.

  • +1

    Is there a way to see all laptops that allow for customising and not paying for a Windows license? I randomly tried some and was not an option, only different flavours of Windows

  • +1

    Got the x13 yoga

    Not worth it for 2k

    USB aren't built properly so I have to force in the USB.

    The laptop isn't flat. If I push down on a corner the laptop moves.

    Battery life is giving me 4 hours. Reported at least 8 plus.

    I would accept this for consumer grade stuff.

    Not business grade build.

    • have a x1 yoga (gen3) and absolutely love it.

      also have a x280, good device but too small for every day use

    • You should send it back. I've had in total of 5 thinkpads (both home and work) and never had any build issues with them. I'm typing on a gen 9 now and no build issues.

    • is the yoga meant to be business grade? I assumed it was consumer grade and the business users should go for the T series or the Carbon X1

  • +2

    Be very careful with the USB-c ports on these. Once they get broken (and they will get broken if you plan on using your laptop while plugged in) the repair cost is higher than the original cost of the laptop. They are soldered on with miniscule solder joints and require a motherboard replacement. And the laptop is a brick with no USB-C as that is used for charging.

    Personally I'd advise against Lenovo from personal experience trying to make a warranty claim on said broken USB-C ports.

    • +1

      There are 2 USB-C charging port on this one ;)

      • +2

        Same with the my X1 gen 6. but only one of them is likely capable of running 4K HDR.
        I'm not sure having a 'backup' USB-C port is justification for a design fault that results in a repair that costs more than the device.
        The ports aren't particularly robust, the charging cables wiggle around quite a bit as it doesn't sit all the way in and flush with the case. It will see a lot of abuse from anyone trying to use their laptop while plugged in. Both getting broken is inevitable.

    • Wouldn't that repair pricing be the case for pretty much all laptop manufacturers except perhaps the Framework laptop?

      • It depends - I have an X1 Carbon and an M1 MBA and I can definitely say that the USB-C port feels a bit looser (as in the cable wiggles around) on the X1 vs. the M1 MBA. On the MBA, the cable sits really snug. The hunch that I get is that the frame of the laptop supports the connector, such that it can only go in at exactly 90 degrees, whereas on the X1, the area around the port is "curved" in towards the port, so it doesn't hold the cable as well.

        USB-C ports can be a bit finicky to replace, but it's doable with a hand soldering iron. Obviously it's a 5 minute job with a reflow station, so the fact that Lenovo charges that much is just price gouging.

        • The USB-C port on Lenovo's MB is extremely difficult to fix - I've looked at doing it myself and have done my share of soldering. There is a youtube video from some Russian guru with all the equipment showing what is involved and even he states it's not practical. There's no chance of you or Lenovo fixing it without a replacement.

          The old charging ports used to just plug into the MB and you swap them over. Likewise for USB-A etc.
          I really think USB-C is not a practical option for charging ports given how they are attached and the poor wiggly design Lenovo has. Lenovo should have stuck with a separate charging port, even if it was USB-C form-factor and it only allowed charging (thus could plugin via a wire).

          • @xmail: Damn, that's a real shame. I've replaced ports on computers before and I've never found it to be that difficult.

            The old charging ports used to just plug into the MB and you swap them over. Likewise for USB-A etc.

            This is what I was thinking.

            Lenovo should have stuck with a separate charging port, even if it was USB-C form-factor and it only allowed charging (thus could plugin via a wire).

            To be honest, I don't know of whether this is just a Lenovo issue or more widespread, but I've never had any issues on other devices that charge via USB-C.

            • @p1 ama: Lenovo did also manage to make a mess of the USB-C/Thunderbolt firmware back in the day, where it would slowly destroy itself.
              https://www.notebookcheck.net/Recent-Lenovo-ThinkPad-laptops...

            • @p1 ama: It's definitely an issue with Lenovo's design - the plug does not fit snugly up against the case due to the sloped design, thus it is free to move side to side on the little PCB that forms the connection within the port. It is a design fault that Lenovo refuse to fix or honour under warranty.

              Other devices also are less likely to be used while plugged in as they aren't as power hungry as laptops.

          • @xmail: I had a T470s for approx 3 years, and charged it via USB-C with a Dell Dock. My feeling was that it's a bit tighter than the port on a MacBook Pro.
            Anyway, (luckily?), I didn't have any issue with it after 3 years, and then I sold it :-)
            Now I dream of a X1 Yoga. Is it bad?

            • @Averell: If you're using a dock you're probably fine, you don't have the issue of a loose wire constantly pulling the plug in different directions.

    • +1

      Have to question how you are using it, you sit down, plug in charger, open laptop and use. The only way it gets damaged if you swing around while plugged in.

      I've used three of the X1's since USB-C and zero issues with any of them.

      • Use it while in bed - thus it does get moved around while plugged in. Probably fine if you only ever sit it on a desk - depends how you want to use your laptop and your expectations regarding robust design and warranty. I kind of expect a "lap"-top to be able to be used on your lap. My fault? Maybe, but next time I'll get one that can be used how I want to without it costing me $1500 to fix due to a design fault. The port is definitely not flush and is the main contributing factor to it breaking. The port is supposed to be designed such that misuse results in the cheap cable breaking leaving the expensive port in-tact - but this cannot be said of Lenovos design.

        Actually I have bought some magnet USB-C ports that I have epoxyed the female end into the port - there is no wiggle and any yank on the cable simply results in it disconnecting. Frankly it is how a charging port should be designed and would highly recommend doing the same to any expensive USB-C charged device.

    • Should we be considering HP?

      I find the build quality of even the low end HP machines much better than the post IBM Thinkpads manufactured by Lenovo

  • If not adding Linux, this coupon gives 10% off (including on custom models).

    Is this a good discount? I have no idea how much and how frequently Lenovo discount this model. Is it better to hold on for Black Friday sales?

  • +3

    I use Linux daily at home, usual web browsing, email, little bit of docs/spreadsheets. Perfect and I like it much better than windows.

    This type of laptop would suit a lot of people.

  • Can you only customise the one model? Can't see a way to customise the model with IR camera and fingerprint reader.

  • What's the difference between the G, H and U series from Intel?

    Will the 9th gen H i7 be better than the 11th gen i5 G series?

  • I've customised the based model by adding a 512Gb NVMe, 16Gb RAM, i7 CPU and high resolution display. Price jumped to ~ $3100 and that doesn't include Windows. This is Apple MacBook Pro price level.
    I have an old W520 Lenovo laptop running Linux Ubuntu and looking for a replacement. In this price range, I may as well get the M1 MBP.

    https://www.ozbargain.com.au/node/657290#comment-11203440
    In fact, this MBP looks like a bargain in comparison!

    • Yep, I would never pay Apple prices for a Lenovo given their thoroughly crap customer service and bait and switch dishonest sales tactics

      • +1

        I've experienced that crap customer service that ended up with escalation to Asia Pacific customer service manager. I swore I wouldn't touch Lenovo every again.
        I've never had an Apple laptop before, however, I've experienced Apple warranty process on my iPhone. I would buy an Apple laptop for warranty experience alone!

        • None of my (or the office's) ThinkPads have failed so I can't comment on their warranty, but I've had to get service for a few Surfaces and their service has been fantastic. No need to book an appointment or even go in to a store - just describe the problem on the service portal and you'll receive a link to book a courier. The last one I did was last week - lodged it on Wednesday evening, courier picked it up Thursday morning, MS dispatched a replacement on Friday.
          They all come with 2-year warranties too.

          • @eug: Yes, I had the same experience with MS support. However…. as the replacement Surface is always a refurbished unit, it took two replacement units until I got one without issues. First one had a tiny gap between the screen and case. 2nd unit had a tiny scratch on the case. 3rd unit was of acceptable, as new quality.
            I sent my kid's Surface for repair due a blemish (discolouration) on the screen.

    • How did you manage to select the high resolution 4k display?
      The only 2 display options in the configurator are the standard FHD+ and the FHD+ touch options.

      • Select the base model for customisation and then the upgrade option will become available.

  • +1

    especially now that windows 11 requires a Microsoft account

    Just for clarity, only Windows 11 Home does, the Pro version doesn't.
    On Home, you can switch to a local account after installing it with a (throwaway?) Microsoft account.

  • Seems way underspecced for the price. Is it a super beaut chassis, screen, something?

    • Top of the range screen, build, keyboard, battery life compared to $1000 laptops. Super light and powerful relative to regular ultrathins. Can easily upgrade ram during checkout for not much. SSD is user replaceable. It's Lenovo's version of the MacBook Pro without dedicated graphics. But tiger lake xe graphics are pretty good with the speedy ram.

      If you would like worse battery, performance, display etc you can get plenty of laptops around $1000.

      • This is actually a $1673 laptop, so, $673 more than $1000 laptops.

        • Yes, I was just using $1000 as a reasonable reference point.

    • +2

      Newer??? The X1 Carbon Gen 9 is the current model released Q2 this year, and is still new enough that it is still has first-time reviews coming out as of last month. The ASUS appears to have been out longer.

      And yes, a 15.6" thin-and-light (2.00kg) for the same price will have better performance than a 14" ultrabook (1.13kg). Completely different product.

      • +1

        Ah its a carbon. Was thinking the extreme model

    • +2

      Imagine rocking up to a business meeting with that…

  • I purchased one recently great device ! Loving the 4:3 screen and small bezels, feels very modern but still has the timeless character of a thinkpad.

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