Designed through 20 years of innovation, the new X1 Carbon fuses the tried and tested stalwart ThinkPad notebook with an Ultrabook to produce a premium solution for business users. Billed by Lenovo as the Premium business-class Ultrabook, but does it live up to the hype?
When I opened the box, I was met by something that looks like the familiar ThinkPad but upon handling, I was immediately stuck by the new lightweight build. The X1 weighs in at just 2.99lbs, making the X1 lighter than most 13” Ultrabooks on the market. The 14” X1 adds an extra inch of screen within the 13” footprint. It’s also incredibly thin, with its widest depth measuring a mere 0.74 inches (18.9mm).
The feel of the X1 is distinctly different to the classic design, instead of the traditional magnesium alloy the X1 is manufactured from carbon fibre, even down to the roll cage. Carbon fibre is a third of the weight of aluminium and 50% stronger for added portability and durability. Although the X1 was on loan to me, the kid gloves were firmly off; I carted this seriously robust Ultrabook back and forth from the office, commuted, worked outdoors and even took it away on weekend trips with no fear of damage. Even the multi-gesture touchpad is constructed from shatterproof glass, and to my surprise, the screen can be opened to the point that the X1 is completely flat. Lenovo informed me that this hinge design innovation prevents stress in the event of a drop.
So how does the X1 perform? I tested out the Intel Core i7-3667U with vPro model, unlike previous ThinkPad versions which employed a standard hard drive; the X1 is equipped with an SSD. Perfect for the most demanding business use, I found it easily handled day to day tasks seamlessly such as file transfers, booting, web browsing, and working on several applications at once without any slowdown in performance and exceeding the speed of previous ThinkPad models and other rival Ultrabooks on the market.
The 14” 1600 x 900 resolution screen matte screen is a vast improvement; I spent hours working on the X1 in direct sunlight with no eye stain whatsoever, a real bonus for those who spend their working life commuting. The only criticism I could find was that the screen colours were prone to distortion if the screen was tilted, other than that, the Intel® HD 4000 integrated graphics produced impressive clarity on high resolution images and video streaming. The speakers are more than adequate for business needs, producing rich sounds and the X1 including Dolby® Home Theater®.
Extensive user research led Lenovo to produce a unique island style keyboard, built for comfort and accuracy but I found, the real cherry on top was the new larger Touchpad that is highly responsive, accurate and the surface texture feels great to touch; making this one of the most pleasurable touchpads I’ve ever come across.
The X1 could be improved by including a VGA , HDMI and docking cradle port but I suspect that these ports have been omitted to make this model lighter and thinner, the X1 does include one each of USB 3.0 SuperSpeed, always-on USB 2.0, Mini DisplayPort with audio, and 4-in-1 SD Card reader.
In summary, the ThinkPad X1 carbon does not disappoint, if you’re looking for a robust, powerful business Ultrabook then look no further.