Lenovo refreshes its ThinkPad X1 series with 12th-gen Intel processors, new Communications Bar

OLED screens, 5G, and various operating system options are also onboard.

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Lenovo has announced a refreshed lineup of ThinkPad X`1 laptops at CES 2022. The milestone 10th-gen ThinkPad X1 Carbon, 2-in-1 7th-gen X1 Yoga, and thin-and-light 2nd-gen X1 Nano share a lot of similarities in terms of what’s new with each machine, as there aren’t any major design changes year over year beside a few aesthetic upgrades. Rather, Lenovo took last year to work out some upgrades that apply to each new machine.

That starts above the display of each machine. There, you’ll find Lenovo’s new Communications Bar. It’s Lenovo’s way of branding the top row of hardware you typically find on laptops, consisting of an upgraded Full HD webcam with a larger sensor and improved 360-degree far-field microphones. You’ll also find a shutter to cover the webcam if you’re worried about security.

“Communications Bar” seems to be the brand making its way to various Lenovo laptops in 2022, so despite it not meaning much more than the normal attributes of the top bezel of most laptops, it seems to be something the company is double-downing on.

Luckily, it seems that the larger webcam will at least enable new technologies, with one of them being Computer Vision. Lenovo says select ThinkPad X1 models come with a special neural processing unit (NPU) that generates a profile of you based on known recognition and AI algorithm modeling. This allows the laptops to enter sleep mode if it detects you’ve walked away, while also dimming the screen if you look away for a second.

It’s smart enough to only do this with the recognized user, so if a colleague sits in front of your laptop after it’s entered sleep mode, it won’t wake back up. Lenovo says the system is capable of this level of facial recognition despite there being no other sensors onboard to help it out. The company even says it’ll work while wearing a mask.

In addition, the Function keys on each laptop have been updated with some new shortcuts for quicker access to common functions in conferencing apps.

Under the hood, Lenovo includes Intel’s 12th-generation processors across the lineup, with each model supporting up to a 14-core i7 vPro. You also get Intel’s Iris X graphics, up to 32GB of LPDDR5 RAM, and 2TB of PCIe Gen 4 SSD storage. Cooling is also upgraded on the X1 Carbon and X1 Yoga thanks to a new keycap design which allows for better airflow.

The screens on each laptop have also been upgraded, with the highest-end X1 Yoga getting the nicest out of the bunch with its 14-inch 4K OLED display and 500 nits of brightness. The X1 Carbon comes in second with an optional 14-inch 2.8K OLED panel with 400 nits of brightness or a 4K touch-enabled IPS display and 500 nits of brightness. In third slots the X1 Nano and its 13-inch 2K touch screen with 450 nits of brightness. It’s worth mentioning that if overall quality isn’t important to you, the Full HD screen options on the X1 Carbon and Yoga can give you some additional privacy thanks to a Privacy Guard filter.

All three laptops come with Dolby Atmos speakers, fingerprint readers, Thunderbolt 4 ports, Wi-Fi 6E, optional 5G connectivity, and Bluetooth 5.2. In terms of operating systems, the X1 Carbon and Nano can be configured with Windows 11 Pro (downgradable to Windows 10 Pro if need be), Ubuntu, or even Fedora. The X1 Yoga only gets the former two OS options.

Lenovo says the X1 Carbon and X1 Yoga have 57Whr batteries, while the X1 Nano has a 49.6Whr battery. Oddly enough, Lenovo doesn’t provide any battery life estimates, so we’ll have to wait for review units to go out before we get any idea of how long they’ll last on a full charge.

The new X1 Carbon will start at $1,639, the X1 Yoga will start at $1,749, and the X1 Nano will start at $1,659. The Carbon and Yoga will launch in March, while the Nano will be available starting in April.