Lenovo Slim 7i (2023) vs ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11: First class dukes it out with business class

Both of these high-end laptops can get the job done, but which one is right for you?

Key Takeaways

  • Lenovo has two high-end laptops for business users: the Slim 7i (202
  • and the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11, both running Windows and offering sleek designs and powerful performance.
  • The Slim 7i (202
  • is more affordable, starting at $1,180, with options for touchscreens and a range of specs. The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11 starts at $1,392 and offers more display and connectivity options, including 4G/5G connectivity.
  • While the Slim 7i (202
  • is a good alternative with capable hardware and a great display, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11 is the superior device with its premium features, including a thin design, powerful processors, and optional 4G/5G connectivity.



In the world of high-end laptops for business users, Lenovo has a fan base that is hard to rival. They make some of the best laptops around, from classy ultrabooks to the edgy looks of the ThinkPad range. Two of the latest are the Slim 7i (2023) and ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11. Both are sleek, thin, powerful notebooks running Windows with many similarities.

They do have some major differences, which are alluded to by the disparity in price. Is the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11 worth the premium over the similarly-specced Slim 7i? We’ll get to the bottom of that and help you decide which clamshell fits your needs.

Lenovo Slim 7i (2023) vs ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11: Price, specs, and availability

Lenovo announced the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11 at the end of 2022, while the Slim 7i was announced in early 2023, and they’re both now available at retail. The Slim 7i (2023) is available on Lenovo’s website and B&H, although we expect more retailers like Amazon and Best Buy to have it in stock over time. Pricing starts from $1,180 based on Lenovo’s listings, although pricing could vary wildly, as currently, the Intel Core i7-1360P model with 512GB of SSD and a 1080P FHD IR/RGB camera is $986, a significant discount from the Intel Core i5-1340P model with 1TB SSD which is still at MSRP. Only the touchscreen versions appear to be available, although that is the better of the screen options, and likely the one you should choose.

The 11th-generation ThinkPad X1 Carbon is also available to buy on Newegg or Lenovo’s website. We expect other retailers will carry it eventually, but buying direct from Lenovo is the best bet for getting the specifications you want. As with every Lenovo laptop, pricing fluctuates, with the base model starting from $1,392 currently. That’s for an Intel Core i5-1335U processor, 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM, a 256GB M.2 PCIe 4.0 solid-state drive (SSD), and a 14-inch FHD+ non-touch display. It appears the OLED option isn’t available to buy just yet, and that might be the one worth waiting for. Just know that the battery life will suffer slightly on that option.

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Lenovo Slim 7i (2023) vs ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11: Design

The 2023 version of the Lenovo Slim 7i has a sleek and modern clamshell design, with an aluminum chassis. It’s 0.59 inches thick and starts at 2.91 pounds. That’s actually slightly thicker and heavier than the prior model, but you do get a full-sized HDMI port now, so the trade-off is probably worth it. Having to hunt for a dongle to connect to projectors, monitors, or TVs is a pain.

You also get two Thunderbolt ports, one USB-A, and a 3.5mm audio jack. It comes in only one color, Misty Grey, which is a new shade this year and is a midpoint between the previous Cloud Grey and Storm Grey from the last iteration. Lenovo has a reputation for good keyboards, and we expect the backlit keyboard on the Slim 7i will follow suit. The multi-touch touchpad seems fairly standard, with a buttonless glass surface as seen on most high-end laptops these days.

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon looks exactly the same as the Gen 10 model from last year. That’s no bad thing, as Lenovo got everything right here. It only comes in black, but you do get a choice of matte black or a carbon fiber pattern on the lid in some models. It uses aluminum on the bottom case, with carbon fiber on top to save weight and magnesium inside the chassis for strength. Those combined get it under 0.6 inches in thickness and around 2.5 pounds in weight.

Even with that low weight, you still get a full complement of ports, including a full-sized HDMI 2.1 port, two Thunderbolt 4, two USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, and a 3.5mm audio jack. You also get a quality keyboard with a two-stage backlight and 1.5mm of travel, and the ThinkPad signature TrackPoint with physical mouse buttons at the top. There is also a nano-SIM slot if you opt for 4G or 5G connectivity.

Lenovo Slim 7i (2023) vs ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11: Display

This year, the Lenovo Slim 7i got some display upgrades. Both options are 14-inch IPS panels with a 16:10 aspect ratio. That means wide viewing angles and decent color reproduction are a given. The base model has a 2.2K (2240×1400) resolution display running at a 60Hz refresh rate with 300 nits of brightness and anti-glare coating. The upgraded screen brings touch functionality, 400 nits of brightness, and a glossy coating to a 2.8K (2880×1800) resolution panel running at a 120Hz refresh rate. Both options have an FHD (1080p) webcam with IR and a ToF sensor for Windows Hello use. You also get two 2W speakers for stereo sound and Dolby Atmos audio.

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11 has five display options and four webcam options, depending on which display you go for. The most affordable model is an FHD+ (1920×1200) resolution, 16:10 aspect ratio, an anti-glare IPS panel, 400 nits of brightness, low power draw, and Eyesafe certification. There’s also a touch version of that panel and a second touch option that has 500 nits of brightness and ThinkPad Privacy Guard. The last IPS option is a 2.2K (2240×1400) resolution panel with 300 nits of brightness and TUV low blue light. Then there’s the option you should pick if color accuracy is important to you, the 2.8K (2880×1800) resolution OLED, with 400 nits of brightness and anti-glare, anti-reflection, and anti-smudge coating (AGARAS, as Lenovo sometimes refers to it), with DisplayHDR True Black 500 certification.

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All four webcam options on the X1 Carbon have privacy shutters with a physical sliding cover. There are HD (720p) and FHD (1080p) options, an FHD (1080p) + IR hybrid, and an FHD (1080p) + IR discrete with MIPI and Computer Vision. The IR versions support Windows Hello for biometric authentication, and the Lenovo View app brings software customizability with things like a virtual green screen or posture warnings to fix your midday slump. Audio-wise, you get two 0.8W tweeters on each side of the keyboard and two 2W woofers in the bottom of the case. This also supports Dolby Atmos, and you get four microphones to pick up clear speech, which also has Dolby Voice support.

Lenovo Slim 7i (2023) vs ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11: Performance and battery life

The new Lenovo Slim 7i has 13th-gen Intel Core P-series options for the processor, either in i5 or i7 form. The clock speeds have increased this generation and, based on our testing of other laptops with similar chips, bring noticeable improvements in performance and battery life. The 16GB of 5200MHz DDR5 is plenty for most productivity tasks and is a huge improvement over the 8GB that was included in the previous model. All options have Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics, which is fine for the productivity tasks you’ll typically use a laptop like this for. We haven’t had the pleasure of testing either the 60Whr or 65Whr battery options yet, but we expect it will probably do most of the workday before needing to be plugged in.

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11 has 13th-gen Intel U- and P-series processors, with the base model coming with a Core i5-1335U that has 10 cores (two performance and eight efficiency), 12 threads, and a max frequency of 4.6GHz on the performance cores, and 3.4GHz on the efficiency ones. U-series chips are lower power, with a 15W TDP that can climb to 55W in certain scenarios. The P-series chips have a 28W TDP, with a 64W upper bound if doing heavy workloads. Lenovo also offers vPro options if your company desires those for remote centralized management. You can get up to 64GB of DDR5 memory, which is soldered on, so it is not upgradable after ordering.

Our review unit was equipped with the Intel Core i7-1355U, and our reviewer, Cale Hunt, found “[he] didn’t wish at any time that my review unit had the P-series processor.” That’s partly because it could handle all of his normal computing tasks, but it’s also because our usual advice for thin and light laptops is to go with the U-series chips. The additional heat of the P-series ones is often too much for their cooling solutions, and you end up with throttled performance. We have tested the Gen 11 for battery life, and it manages “most of a workday before plugging in” with the aforementioned i7 U-series processor and the FHD+ display. The PCMark 10 Modern Office simulated test resulted in the laptop lasting 11 hours and 24 minutes while the screen was at 50% brightness. That’s plenty of battery life for most users, although you will still need to have a charger on hand.

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Lenovo Slim 7i (2023) vs ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11: Which is right for you?

Both of these laptops are among the best that Lenovo has to offer. While choosing between the two will depend on your needs and your budget, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11 is the superior device. You also get the option of 4G LTE or 5G connectivity, making it a mobile productivity powerhouse. It’s our favorite business laptop, in no small part because we couldn’t find any faults with it during our time with it, except one – the price. It can become prohibitively expensive, once the CPU and display have been maxed out to their fullest. It’s not for everyone for that one reason, but if you can afford it, or it’s going on the expense account, the X1 Carbon is the business laptop to pick up.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11 Editor’s Choice

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 11 is an uncompromising business laptop with a thin design and tons of power. Using magnesium, aluminum, and carbon fiber to save weight, the company has stuffed loads of high-end features into this notebook. It does get very spendy, though, especially when adding upgrades.

$1275 at Lenovo $1720 at Best Buy $1800 at Newegg

If you don’t need or want the ThinkPad sense of style, or the TrackPoint, the Lenovo Slim 7i (2023) is a good alternative. It has Intel Core P-series processors, so you’re not losing out on power by going with the more affordable option, and the display options are all high-resolution with high refresh rates. Even in the base configuration, you’ll get enough power for productivity tasks, and save a pretty penny to boot.

Lenovo Slim 7i (2023) Good alternative$985 $1232 Save $247

The Lenovo Slim 7i is one of the company’s top-tier laptops with capable hardware, a great 14-inch display, and a wide array of connectivity options. It’s a refinement in every area from the previous model and is a worthy contender.

Operating System Windows 11 CPU 13th-gen Intel Core i5-1340P or i7-1360P GPU Intel Iris Xe Graphics Storage Upt to 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 4 SSD Battery 60WHr or 65WHr battery Display (Size, Resolution) 14-inch 2.2K (2240×1400) IPS, 60Hz, 300 nits of brightness or 2.8K (2880×1800) IPS touchscreen, 120Hz, with 400 nits of brightness Speakers 2x 2W stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos, Dual noise-canceling microphones Color Misty grey Ports 2x Thunderbolt 4 / USB Type-C, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, 1x HDMI 2.1, 1x 3.5mm headphone jack Network Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2 Dimension 12.28×8.7×0.59 inches (312x221x14.9mm) Weight Touch model 1.44 kg (3.18lbs), non-touch 1.32 kg (2.91lbs) Price Starting at $1,179.99 (MSRP) $985 at Lenovo $1049 at B&H

Categories: Reviews
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