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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Review

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon is another impressive laptop from the Lenovo portfolio. I was a huge fan of the original X1 and liked it so much that I ended up buying one after the company took back our review sample.

The new Carbon version is one of the slimmest business oriented laptop computers we have tested. Lenovo say it is the ‘World’s thinnest and lightest 14″ Ultrabook’ and we wouldn’t argue. Unlike many of the super slim computers available today, the X1 is very rigid and will undoubtedly withstand years of abuse on the road.

The last generation ThinkPad X1 has been my mobile workhorse for almost a year now and it still looks as good as it did the day I bought it. These computers are built to the highest standards and the latest model has a carbon fibre top cover and roll cage, as strong as aluminum but only a third of the weight.

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon has improved on the original design in several key areas. The weight and size reduction will be welcomed by the buying public, but the main talking point will be the new 1600×900 HD+ panel.

The original X1 was let down by the screen quality, which was distinctly average. The latest HD+ panel has wider viewing angles, improved resolution, enhanced colour saturation and sharper definition. Some may yearn for 1920×1080 resolution, but on a 14 inch panel, it really does push the boundaries of legibility. 1600×900 is a good compromise and one that I think makes most sense.

Another year may have passed, but Lenovo still hold the mantle for ‘best mobile keyboard’. The X1 keyboard is so comfortable to use, and the spacing is ideal for people with larger hands who generally find a mobile platform uncomfortable. The new large glass touchpad is also a pleasure to use, although I still prefer to use the red ThinkPad ‘joystick’ when on the move. There are two levels of keyboard backlighting, a feature I am glad they didn’t omit on the new model.

Onboard audio is not particularly impressive, and even though the X1 Carbon can produce a high output level the bass response is weak. Due to the limited physical dimensions of the new Ultrabook, the audio on the previous X1 is slightly superior.

This laptop is not suited for gamers. The onboard Intel HD4000 is fine for acceleration duties and light, low resolution gaming, but it won’t handle the latest Direct X 11 engines, and can struggle to produce smooth frame rates with many games unless the image quality is reduced significantly. For a business user however the reduced heat, and extended battery life will be welcomed. Noise emissions are never intrusive, although they will probably increase if the Core i7 processor option is selected at checkout.

We think this is a fantastic machine with strong points in all the key areas. there are very few weaknesses and the new improved screen quality ensures that this is a serious machine for a demanding executive.

If you are interested in buying one, you can configure one to suit your specific demands on the Lenovo website over here.

Pros:

  • quiet.
  • best laptop keyboard on the market.
  • looks brilliant.
  • extremely light.
  • super thin.
  • HD+ screen quality has improved since the last X1.
  • trackpad is better.
  • backlit keyboard.

Cons:

  • sound quality is weak.
  • Another USB 3.0 port would be nice.
  • battery life could be better.
  • hot spot at the rear of the chassis.

Kitguru says: The ThinkPad X1 continues to impress Kitguru. We love the keyboard.

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Rating: 9.0.

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