Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon review
Lenovo revisits its disappointing X1, and the result is the ThinkPad Ultrabook we’ve all been waiting for
Despite a rich heritage of ThinkPad-branded laptops, Lenovo’s 2011 vision of the ultimate boardroom Ultraportable, the ThinkPad X1, simply didn’t live up to expectations. Now, however, Lenovo has taken the X1 back to the drawing board, trimmed grams off its already slim figure, and attempted to right the ergonomic wrongs of its predecessor. Enter Lenovo’s business Ultrabook: the X1 Carbon.
As the name suggests, Lenovo has whittled down the weight of the X1 by employing lightweight, yet super-strong carbon-fibre in the construction process. A carbon-fibre skeleton keeps the chassis feeling solid and sturdy, while a fibre-clad lid does its bit to protect the LED-backlit panel from harm. In doing so, Lenovo has managed to shave off more than 400g from the original X1 to end up at only 1.36kg, and the chassis’ thickness has also come down from 22mm to 19mm. For a 14in Ultrabook, the X1 Carbon is exceedingly portable.
It isn’t just the materials that have changed, however. The sharply contoured figure of the previous model is a distant memory, with Lenovo introducing a more curvaceous design where every edge softens into a smooth, gentle curve. The result is a chassis that feels every inch the classy, practical business Ultrabook.
Elsewhere, Lenovo has responded to every one of our criticisms of the X1. We couldn’t be more pleased to see the back of the original X1’s glossy, 1,366 x 768 panel. In its place, Lenovo has used a matte, 1,600 x 900 display, and image quality is drastically improved across the board. A maximum brightness of 343cd/m[SUP]2[/SUP] is matched by a contrast ratio of 647:1, and the colour accuracy is good, too, with an average Delta E of four.
Horizontal viewing angles are wide, although tilting the display back and forth to more extreme angles results in the usual contrast shift and colour inversion. There are other mild complaints – namely, the visible pixel structure and slightly bluish tone to images due to the high 7,204K colour temperature – but these are small annoyances.
The X1 Carbon’s touchpad has undergone a radical transformation. Lenovo has stuck with the buttonless design, but the larger touch area and the silky-smooth glass finish feel far more pleasant under the finger. The pad depresses with a solid, confident click, and we didn’t experience any issues with getting the pad to recognise right-clicks, whether by dabbing with two fingers or tapping in the pad’s bottom-right corner. Two-fingered scrolling and zooming gestures work reliably and, as ever, there’s a grippy, responsive trackpoint set into the centre of the keyboard.
|Warranty||3 yr return to base|
|Dimensions||331 x 226 x 19mm (WDH)|
Processor and memory
|Processor||Intel Core i5-3427U|
Screen and video
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,600|
|Resolution screen vertical||900|
|Resolution||1600 x 900|
|Graphics chipset||Intel HD Graphics 4000|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||0|
|Hard disk usable capacity||238GB|
|Replacement battery price inc VAT||£0|
|Wired adapter speed||N/A|
|802.11 draft-n support||yes|
|Integrated 3G adapter||yes|
|Wireless hardware on/off switch||yes|
|Wireless key-combination switch||yes|
|PC Card slots||0|
|USB ports (downstream)||1|
|PS/2 mouse port||no|
|9-pin serial ports||0|
|Optical S/PDIF audio output ports||0|
|Electrical S/PDIF audio ports||0|
|3.5mm audio jacks||1|
|SD card reader||yes|
|Memory Stick reader||no|
|MMC (multimedia card) reader||no|
|Smart Media reader||no|
|Compact Flash reader||no|
|Pointing device type||Touchpad|
|Hardware volume control?||no|
|Camera megapixel rating||1.3mp|
Battery and performance tests
|Battery life, light use||7hr 43min|
|Battery life, heavy use||1hr 51min|
|Overall Real World Benchmark score||0.67|
Operating system and software
|Operating system||Windows 7 Professional 64-bit|
|OS family||Windows 7|