Head-To-Head: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Vs. Dell Latitude 7390

Face Off

At the CRN Test Center, it's sometimes pretty tough to return a laptop we've been testing for several weeks. Getting to use the latest and greatest that top PC makers have to offer is, often, a real delight.

That's especially the case with two of our recent laptop tryouts: Lenovo's latest ThinkPad X1 Carbon (6th gen) and Dell's Latitude 7390, two powerhouse business laptops that are aimed at providing strong productivity and portability.

Which of the two laptops is the better fit for your needs? In the following slides, we compare the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 6th gen vs. the Dell Latitude 7390 on specs and price.


For users interested in a larger screen, Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Carbon has the size advantage at 14 inches versus 13.3 inches for the Dell Latitude 7390 screen. The colors on both displays looked good on our tryout models, though with FHD resolution (1,920 x 1,080), they aren't the crispest displays you'll find on the market. That does, however, help with battery life as we'll see later in this comparison. For X1 Carbon users that are looking for enhanced display quality, there is a WQHD (2,560 x 1,440) model available as well. On brightness, both laptops offer a respectable 300 nits, though the X1 Carbon offers a high-end model with 500 nits of brightness (which also supports Dolby Vision HDR).


In terms of design, we prefer the black carbon-fiber look of the Latitude 7390 -- we think it's a notch above Lenovo's black ThinkPad design in terms of aesthetics. The X1 Carbon is also available in silver. Both laptops feature minimal bezels on the left and right sides of their displays, which helps to keep down the overall size of the laptops.


As premium devices, both laptops feature a major emphasis on portability. We found that both notebooks were terrific for using while traveling. The Latitude 7390 is very lightweight, at about 2.6 pounds, and thin, at 0.66 of an inch thick. However, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon comes out slightly ahead in both measurements. The X1 Carbon weighs just 2.5 pounds -- which is especially impressive since its display is actually larger. Meanwhile, the X1 Carbon is a bit thinner, as well, at 0.62 of an inch thick.


Both laptops provide excellent performance, thanks in part to having processors from Intel's eighth-generation "Kaby Lake R" series. We found heavy multi-tasking to be no problem at all with either laptop. Both are available with chips up to the Core i7-8650U, which is a quad-core processor with a clock speed of up to 4.2Ghz. Eighth-gen Core i5 chips -- which are also quad-core -- are available for both notebooks, as well. Users can count on either laptop for helping to get seriously productive.

Battery Life

We try to gauge battery life based on real-world scenarios, by testing laptops with heavy usage over the course of a day. Some combination of using PC apps, web browsing and video streaming is involved. We think this gives us a real-world feel for how a laptop performs on battery life. Using our method, with the brightness set to 75 percent in both cases, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon provided better battery life -- nine hours of usage after a full charge. The Latitude 7390, by contrast, gave us 7.5 hours of battery life on a charge.


The Latitude 7390 has a good selection of ports with two USB-A, one USB-C, HDMI and two card slots (SIM and SD). But the X1 Carbon has even more to offer in terms of port connectivity, with two USB-A ports, two USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports, a microSD card reader, HDMI and a docking connector for native Ethernet.

Price & Bottom Line

Dell's Latitude 7390 is priced to include a three-year on-site warranty, as well as faster memory (DDR4) than the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon--which comes with a one-year mail-in warranty and slower DDR3 memory (DDR4 is not available on the X1 Carbon). That makes a direct apples-to-apples comparison difficult on price. What we can say is that for models with the Core i5-8350U processor and Windows 10 Pro, the X1 Carbon is priced at $1,479 and the Latitude 7390 is priced at $1,669--though one can assume pricing would be more comparable if the warranties and memory technologies utilized were the same.

Ultimately, though, while the performance and display quality are similar on the two laptops, the advantages around battery life and portability would still make the ThinkPad X1 Carbon our choice over the Latitude 7390.