How to set up the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon for working from home
Working from home can give you more flexibility in how you work, making it easier to manage your time, especially if you have other things to do at home. It can also save time and money on commuting. However, it comes with some challenges. For starters, you need a good PC for working from home, but you may also need some extra accessories to make the experience that much more efficient. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 is one example of a great laptop if you’re planning to work from home, and in this article, we’ll show you how you can make it even better.
There are a few specific accessories you’ll probably need if you want to make the most of your laptop. You might need a monitor to expand your working space and be more productive, or a webcam so you can look your best in video meetings, even if you’re not physically there. We’ve rounded up some of the accessories you might need to make the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon an even better laptop for working from home.
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Add a second (or third) screen to your Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
Potentially the most important thing you can do to increase your productivity, no matter where you’re working, is getting a second monitor. Laptop screens are naturally pretty small, but even if they weren’t, having two screens is simply a huge boost to your productivity. With a second screen, you have much more space for your open apps, so you can refer to content on one screen while you write on the other, or compare data on the two screens. You might even want to just close your laptop and use the external monitor by itself to get a bigger screen and a cleaner setup.
There are some great monitors out there, and the Samsung Smart Monitor M7 is one of your best options to get work done, but it’s even more suited for a home environment. As a monitor, it’s a super sharp 4K panel and it comes in either 32- or 43-inch sizes to fit your needs. Plus, it supports HDMI or USB Type-C connections, so it even charges your laptop. You can also connect to it wirelessly. But because it’s a smart monitor, there’s even more to it. For one thing, it can run Microsoft Office apps in the cloud, even without your laptop, and it also supports Samsung DeX if you have a compatible smartphone.
It also brings benefits to home entertainment, though. When you’re done with work, the monitor uses the Tizen operating system so it works just like a Samsung smart TV with all your streaming apps. You can also cast content from your phone to it easily, even including a Tap View feature. It’s a monitor that can do it all, so it’s a perfect fit for those working from home. There’s a new version, the Smart Monitor M8, coming soon, which also includes a webcam built-in. However, it’s a bit pricy.
Another option you might want is to go for an ultra-wide monitor. This is something many people prefer because it gives you even more space – usually in a 21:9 aspect ratio – so you can see even more apps at once. With the Snap Layouts feature in Windows 11, it’s much easier to split your screen and see more apps on the same monitor, so an ultrawide screen can replace two monitors. If you’re interested in one of those, the LG 34WN80C-B is a great option that’s still relatively affordable. It has WQHD resolution (3440 x 1440) and it’s slightly curved for extra comfort, plus it supports HDR. It also supports USB-C connectivity to make it easier to charge your laptop.
4K webcam for better meeting quality
Out of the box, you can configure the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 with a Full HD webcam, including a more advanced MIPI model that supports Computer Vision. This should be a good enough camera for most users, but the thing is, it’s an optional upgrade. If you forgot to choose the Full HD camera, or you didn’t add Windows Hello support, you might still be wishing for something better. Even if you went with a 1080p webcam, maybe you just want the best possible quality, which you can only get with a larger sensor.
That’s where external webcams come into the frame, and there are a few standout models. If you really want the best possible quality, though, the Dell UltraSharp is one of the best choices you can get right now. This is a 4K webcam that uses a Sony STARVIS sensor optimized for low-light performance, and it also supports HDR, autofocus, auto framing, and other features to ensure you look your best during meetings. Plus, it has Windows Hello support built right in, so if you want to use your laptop with a second monitor like the ones above, you can use the webcam alone to sign in.
A similar webcam in terms of specs is the Logitech Brio, but that’s a slightly older model. Officially, it costs roughly the same, but because it’s older, you can find it discounted more often, so you might want to check it out to save some money.
Be more productive with a dedicated mouse and keyboard
To be portable, a laptop has to make certain sacrifices you don’t always think about. The keyboard has to fit in a slimmer chassis, which means it may not be as comfortable to type on – even though the ThinkPad X1 Carbon has a great keyboard for a laptop – and instead of a typical mouse, you get a touchpad. Those are fine compromises to work on the go, but if you’re working at home, you might want the comfort of a full-sized keyboard and a classic mouse.
If that’s the case for you, then you might want a mechanical keyboard like the Das Keyboard 4 Professional. This is a sleek and modern keyboard with a premium build and Cherry MX Brown switches with a soft tactile feel. The top half of the chassis is made of anodized aluminum with a sleek black coating and the keys have a white backlight so they’re always easily visible. The keyboard also has built-in media controls including a large volume knob.
You also get two USB Type-A ports built into the keyboard so it serves as a hub where you can quickly plug in peripherals. It even has a footbar that raises the top of the keyboard for extra comfort, and it doubles as a ruler.
This is a mechanical keyboard, but if you prefer a softer membrane board, maybe consider the Logitech MX Keys, which is one of the best membrane keyboards out there right now. That one is also wireless if you prefer using it that way.
If you also want a mouse, on the other hand, you can’t get much better than the Logitech MX Master 3. The MX Master family is one of the most renowned when it comes to mice, and the latest iteration is excellent in almost every way. For starters, it has a fantastic premium design that’s very comfortable (for right-hand users, at least). It also has a 4,000 DPI Darkfield sensor that tracks on any surface, and a MagSpeed wheel with SmartShift, which can automatically switch between ratchet and hyper-fast scrolling modes as needed. It’s a wireless mouse with USB-C charging, and the battery will last about 70 days on a charge.
If that’s a little too expensive for you, maybe consider the Microsoft Bluetooth Ergonomic Mouse. It still has a premium-feeling design and it comes in more colors to choose from, though it’s not as sophisticated in terms of features.
A headset to keep your sound private
Something else you might need if you’re planning to work from home with the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is a headset for your audio. There are a few reasons why this might be useful. First off, if you have more people in the home, you don’t want your audio to be bothering everyone else. A headset can keep your sound to yourself and make it easier if you have multiple people working in the same space. It works in reverse, too – the headset can isolate other sounds in the background, so you’re not as easily distracted while you’re working.
Another benefit is that you might have better microphone quality by bringing that microphone closer to you. The built-in microphones on the ThinkPad X1 Carbon should be fine, but having a headset can still help filter out noise and make it easier for other people to hear you on a call.
There are plenty of great headsets out there, but one of the best you can buy is the Sony WH-1000XM4. Sony’s audio products are very popular for their fantastic quality and premium design, and this is no exception. This headset has some of the best active noise cancellation you can find anywhere, 40mm drivers for immersive sound, and they have great microphones for calls.
If you don’t like big bulky headsets, getting some earbuds is also a great option. Microsoft’s Surface Earbuds are specifically designed for work, and they have the benefit of being compatible with the Surface app so you can tune them and update them easily without using your phone. They feature integration with some Microsoft 365 apps, too, and they have a fairly unique design.
Add more ports to the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
All of these peripherals – and more, if you have them – are going to do two things. First, they’re going to use up ports on your laptop (unless they use Bluetooth, of course), and then, they’re going to give you trouble if you have to disconnect them all from your laptop if you want to take somewhere, and then connect them again when you’re back. A docking station (or dock) can help address all of this by giving you a bunch of ports in one small package. You can connect all your peripherals to the dock, and then use a single cable to connect to your Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon, making it easy to connect everything when you want to work from home, and disconnect when you don’t.
You can find a few great docking stations out there, but one of the best options is the Anker 777 Thunderbolt 4 dock. This all-metal dock features a wide range of connectivity options, including four USB Type-A ports, Gigabit Ethernet, two HDMI outputs, an SD card reader, a downstream Thunderbolt 4 port, and a standard USB Type-C port to connect your phone or more modern peripherals.
If that’s a little too expensive for you, you can get a more compact hub without the Thunderbolt speeds. The Hiearcool USB-C Hub is a great option that still has HDMI outputs, USB ports, SD card readers, Ethernet, and even VGA. However, you’ll notice the more limited bandwidth if you plug in a lot of devices at once.
And that should be all you need if you want to use the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon for working from home. Of course, you’ll also need a desk – if you don’t have a good one yet, check out our review of the FlexiSpot EG8 Standing Desk.
If you haven’t yet, you can buy the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 below. This laptop comes with Intel’s 12th-generation P-series processors with a 28W TDP, so it’s significantly more powerful than previous generations. It also has new display options, including an OLED panel, and more. Want other options? Check out our list of the best ThinkPads you can buy today.