New Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon hints at new 2024 trend: AI laptops

by NEW YORK DIGITAL NEWS


I’ve seen AI injected in countless gadgets this year, from indoor security cameras to the buzzworthy Humane AI Pin. And now, with the launch of the new Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 12, AI is set to make a splash in the laptop industry, too.

No, the presence of AI in laptops isn’t new per se. However, what is novel is that AI will take center stage — more than ever — with PCs in 2024, starting with the ThinkPad X1 Carbon refresh.

New era of ‘AI PCs’

As I mentioned at the outset, we’ve had AI in PCs, but the concept of an “AI PC” — as in AI being the absolute star of the show — is the new trend. For example, I recently reviewed the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2, right? It had this AI-powered “Windows Studio Effects” feature, which allowed the webcam to do cool things, including following your every move. (See GIF below.)

What propels this feature to work is something called an NPU, a processor that handles AI and machine-learning tasks. The webcam inside the Surface Laptop Studio 2 can detect my presence because of the AI-capable NPU packed inside.

Now, the laptop industry wants to take it one step further. Why confine AI to an app like Windows Studio Effects? Hell, why rely on the cloud to power ChatGPT, Copilot, Bard, and other popular AI chatbots if there’s a better way?

The powers that be (i.e., popular chipmaker Intel) want to, instead, launch a new era of PCs that run AI locally, meaning you’re not just relying on the cloud — your laptop is powering it all. And ideally, the NPU would be doing a lot more than just facilitating a semi-fun, stalker webcam feature. This is where the new Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 12 comes in, powered with brand-spankin’ new internals that make it a so-called “AI PC.”

The new ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 12

The new ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 12 is refreshed with Intel’s next-generation AI-capable chips called Intel Core Ultra processors, which feature an NPU (in addition the CPU and GPU), that’s capable of “inferencing,” a fancy way of saying that it helps AI make predictions.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 12 on a table

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 12
Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable

Other specs that come with the new ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 12 include the following:

  • 14-inch display

  • Up to a 120Hz, 2.8K OLED touch panel

  • Up to 64GB of DDR5 RAM

  • Up to 2TB of SSD storage

  • Up to Intel Arc graphics

  • Up to Wi-Fi 7

  • Two Thunderbolt 4 ports, two USB Type-A ports, HDM 2.1, and a headset jack

It’s worth noting that Lenovo substantially upgraded the webcam. The best you could get with the previous-generation model is an FHD shooter (1080p). Now, you can snag a configuration with an 8-megapixel camera, so you’ll likely get a lot of “Holy smokes, which webcam are you using?” on Zoom calls.

What can do the new AI-powered ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 12 do?

Now that the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 12 has an NPU, you may be wondering, “OK, what does this mean for me? How does it benefit my workflow?”

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 12 on a table

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 12
Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable

According to Lenovo, this AI laptop now gets a boost to the following tasks:

This list isn’t exhaustive, but it gives you a glimpse of how the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 12 can possibly improve your work routine. I’m skeptical, of course, so until I get the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 12 to Mashable’s lab, it’s difficult to say whether the new NPU does, in fact, benefit users’ workflow.

Wondering about the price? The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 12 has a starting price of $2,989 and has limited availability in December (yes, this month), but its official release is March 2024.

If that’s too pricey for you, Lenovo is also coming out with a ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 Gen ($2,639) 9 and an IdeaPad Pro 5i ($1,149).





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