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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch review

Verdict

Lenovo adds multitouch to its business Ultrabook, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, but it’s far from an essential upgrade

Review Date: 10 Apr 2013

Reviewed By: Sasha Muller

Price when reviewed: £1,398 (£1,678 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
3 stars out of 6

Performance
5 stars out of 6

Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon has spent the last few months atop PC Pro’s A-List, and for good reason: it’s the first business Ultrabook worthy of the name, with gorgeous design meshing seamlessly with office-friendly features. Now, however, Lenovo’s added touch to its list of talents.

At first glance, it’s difficult to tell the two models apart. There’s the same silky matte-black finish, and every edge softens into a smooth, gentle curve – it’s just as sleek and smart as ever. Cramming in a touchscreen has swelled the chassis a little, though. Overall thickness has increased from 19mm to 22mm, and weight has increased, too – the X1 Carbon Touch tips the scales at 1.51kg, 151g more than the non-touch model.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch

The display was one of the strongest features of the X1 Carbon, and the addition of touch doesn’t change that. Its maximum brightness of 309cd/m2 is just about bright enough for outdoor use, and the matte anti-glare finish does a great job of fending off reflections. Contrast remains good, too, with a measured contrast ratio of 583:1, and while colour accuracy has slipped a little, the panel still covers the whole sRGB gamut. The touchscreen layer isn’t completely invisible, however: closer inspection reveals an ever-present grain.

Performance is nigh-on identical. Our model’s Core i5 processor and 180GB SSD made for rapid startup and near-instantaneous resume times, and helped the Lenovo to a result of 0.68 in our Real World Benchmarks. The touchscreen takes its toll on battery life, however: in our light usage tests the X1 Carbon Touch lasted 6hrs 35mins – over an hour short of the standard model.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch

In terms of usability, though, the X1 Carbon Touch remains one of the best out there. The keyboard, touchpad and trackpoint are all as good as it gets, and the addition of touch does come in handy on occasion. The more we used the Lenovo, the more often we found ourselves taking advantage of the touch features, whether to scroll through our Outlook inbox, scan around documents or to quickly zoom in and out of densely packed spreadsheets.

Lenovo has done a good job of accommodating a touchscreen without sacrificing the best qualities of the X1 Carbon. Ergonomics, screen quality and performance are all more than up to scratch. The glaring question, however, is whether touch is worth paying a premium for on a business laptop. With the standard X1 Carbon delivering better battery life and twice the amount of RAM for over £200 less, we’re not convinced.

Author: Sasha Muller

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User comments

>whether touch is worth paying a premium for on a business laptop.

And for many people the answer is, of course, "yes". After a few weeks with a Surface Pro used 80% of the time like a laptop, I've actually come to like Windows 8 (even though I don't really see the point of most of the modern apps). I would simply not now buy another laptop without a touchscreen (or potentially a "wave your hands about in the general direction" system that I'd been suitably convinced by). And strongly preferably, a pen.

Shame about the RAM and battery life though.

By bradype on 10 Apr 2013

I think a review like this needs to explain the eye-popping price. It doesn't have a Retina screen, it does have an SSD, but we keep being told that these are now more affordable than ever. I assume it does have the technology to justify the price, but the review doesn't explain that. It just doesn't seem to be competitive with the upscale Macbook Pros without more information. Also I suspect you will never be able to buy it in John Lewis, so who are the main resellers?

By c6ten on 13 Apr 2013

Price for productity

I'll have the non touch one thanks, besides the screen is better.

By acoastwalker on 14 Apr 2013

rip-off again

In the US this is on sale at USD1400 = £912 + vat = £1094. A 60% increase in price for UK buyers.
Even if you take an FX Rate of 1.40 which is the lowest forecast for next 6 months you get £1218.

By Zippy204 on 16 Apr 2013

Why not 1080p - WTF?

I don't mind paying a bit more and call me mad, but I want to watch Full HD videos which I'd quite like to watch *IN* Full HD.

So forget it. I'm not buying a machine with anything less that 1080p resolution.

By ship69 on 24 Apr 2013

Useless and missleading

Bought a top of the range one....had it less than a week before sending it back and getting full refund, battery life was c***, even when fully charged never reported 3.4 hrs never got more than 3 hrs out of it- advertised at 8.2hrs..... has support chap look at it....he was very defensive - seems tobe a known fault. Track pad is terrible too - only worked 60% of the time....useless...scrolling was terrible and very very jumpy....

DO NOT BUY it is a complete rip off and waste of money

Mine was a custome build - had to wait two weeks....on arrival I then spent a couple of hours patching and updating all the drivers.....guess the factory cannot be bothered to do that either.

LENOVO, you are a very very poor supplier....

By jhranger on 11 Jun 2013

@jhranger

It all depends on what YOU'RE running! I'm 100%, beyond any doubt, that you can get over 3hrs of battery life.

Did you tweak the power settings? Were you at least running on balanced? More information is required instead of blindly bashing the machine.

By rhythm on 14 Jul 2013

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