Review: ThinkPad X1 Carbon, best one ever

Review: ThinkPad X1 Carbon, best one ever

Summary: The ThinkPad line of laptops has long been the standard for business. The latest model is the best of the lot, by far.


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  • Magnesium aluminum alloy on the bottom

    Carbon fiber is used on the top of the X1 Carbon, and a magnesium aluminum alloy on the bottom casing. The combination is what makes the laptop so durable, while keeping the weight down.

  • Left side ports

    The ThinkPad X1 Carbon has a surprising number of ports given its thin profile. On the left side of the laptop:

    L-R: Power/dock; HDMI; mini-DP; USB 3.0; Audio

  • Right side ports

    The ports on the right side of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon:

    L-R: USB 3.0; Ethernet

Topics: Mobility, Laptops, Lenovo, Reviews

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  • Tablets all remain fancy toys; better to get a good phone and slim computer

    We trialed tablets (and Windows Phone) over a year ago. Maybe useful for sales or real estate, but just ended up being an added cost and employees still preferred laptops for real work. We went back to BlackBerry, choice Q10 or Z30 now, axed the poor quality Windows Phone, stopped buying new tablets, and everyone is much happier with majority of messaging and all email on BlackBerry 10, and rare presentation, research etc with new Windows 8 laptops, which we still don't like (BlackBerry much faster boot up obviously) but Mac just so darn expensive and not real business option. Everyone may criticize BlackBerry for boring products - I say functional - I just wish BlackBerry made a laptop, so I wasn't reliant on Windows for anything!
    • Tried the same

      We ditched the tablets and kept the Windows phones.
    • tablets?

      Why the comment about tablets? This is a laptop.
      • I think...

        its the touch screen and flexibility to "tilt" the screen 180 deg.

        The X1 Carbon is a good touch laptop due to that screen, which looks gorgeous. The touch feature really comes into play when you push the display back 180 degrees and rotate to portrait orientation. Setting it down on a table this way yields a particularly good way to review documents.
    • Just wait

      When the M1Fuse is out, you can use your Z10 as a laptop.
  • Totally agree

    I like my tablet, its a nice thing, but I don't need it, the way I need my smartphone and laptop.
  • People are still making proprietary docks...?

    A third-party USB3.0 dock will likely provide all of that additional functionality, be more flexible, and cost less too.

    The funky keyboard with the missing CAPS lock key would have been a deal-breaker for me. Looks like a nice piece of kit otherwise though!
    Brian Steele (2014)
    • Thin Sucks

      While I admit a 3-inch thick laptop is a Bad Idea, I suggest that ultra-thin isn't such a good idea either. When a device gets so anorexic you need a docking station to hold the "fat connectors" it's time to say: Enough Already.

      From what I've seen on devkits, the thickest [talllest?] connector tends to be Ethernet, closely followed by full-size DVI.
  • docking station

    We have several of those USB 3.0 docks. Only drawback is that it won't charge the laptop. That is where a proprietary dock is superior.
    • i5

      i5 seems to be a bit underpowered for a business laptop. surprised to find that wasn't a negative for this laptop.
      • RE: i5

        I would think the vast majority of business would work just fine on an i5. Rather think the i7 would be overkill for the vast majority of business applications. Don't forget this Lenovo is using a SSD rather than a conventional HDD and data access is generally more important than pure processing power in typical business applications.
        The Heretic
      • i5

        Please elaborate?
        Whilst the $1200 price tag might warrant an i7 and 8GB ram, what do you think the average business user can't accomplish with an i5 chip?
  • Comparison to previous model andpros/cons on that for those considering

    I have the predecessor in its i7 edition (Type 3460-AQG) and have had it for more than half a year.

    Good to see that CTRL now again is outmost bottom left. I still have not gotten quite used to it being second to the left on my model and the X200 before that.
    The move of keys on the new model looks like introducing issues, but hard to tell unless it has been tried.

    Same poor dock design it seems. No power through dock and plug in cables and the dock wont stand but lies down and slides around on desk. That was a downer but you'll learn to live with it.

    The touchpad on mine in its default setting and after many attempts of configuration is not close to that of macs and some other windows machines. I cannot pinpoint what it is, but have turned it off because the red trackpoint does a great job. However it keeps turning itself on after updates.

    Funny though that the trackpoint on current model and previous model some times moves by itself and I find my self appliying pressure to keep it in one spot - let go and mouse moves by it selv for a second. I hope this has been fixed - other users report it too.

    Worst issue on mine (not on X200) is that the (touch)screen touches the keyboard just enough to pick up grease from the keys. So even when I quite haven't found use of the touchscreen capability and therefore do not touch the screen, then it still is greased from touching my keys. If you use the tuchscreen its probably wasn't an issue as you would be cleaning it often, but I do hope a bit more distance is introduced on the new model.

    Is the SIM card slot still getting pushed by opening the screen or is it just mine? The screen when opening often pushed the lid of the sim card slot. Not a big deal but I worry it will eventually fall off.

    I am missing VGA as one always has to bring it when moving around the office for meeting (and RJ45 for the first time yesterday). At the office we have found an HP Folio with nearly the same slim factor but with VGA and decided for that to be the standard requirement.

    On my I7 and after adjusting battery settings the battery on this pre-aswell model has been near great. Better than expected but wrong settings or alowing software to run wild really can drain it fast. So after getting used to how it works it is quiet impressive.

    Other than those ups and downs the X1 Carbon is a very fine machine and none seem to be perfect. I did get it with touch to validate that but wish no I could remove the very slightly thicker screen as I assume thats what makes the grease on the keys touch the screen.
  • Too Much for Too Little

    Thinkpad Laptops are Nice. But they all come with a paltry 4GB of RAM and small Hard Drives. Unacceptable for a $1200 Laptop. Even Dell which is also overpriced gives more RAM. The TrackPoint and aesthetics are nice but not worth the cost.
  • Kill CapsLock - Great idea

    I hate CapsLock - in fact it is one of the first things I remove on a new computer. I use Sharp Keys to change it into an extra LeftShift key so that I don't accidentally turn it on. If I need acronyms I use the Shift key, or press Shift F3 twice at the end of the word. Great idea Lenovo!
  • Some points James missed...

    The BIG news with this new version is that you can get the high res IPS screen withOUT the touchscreen. Which means a nice matte display without all the touch BS and I presume this also prevents the screen making contact with the keys issue, but can't be sure. It just looks all around better without the touch screen in my opinion.

    However, I am disappointed that Lenovo went to the unified trackpads on the X1 series, and really all of their laptops beginning in 2013. No one that I know of has yet matched Apple on the unified trackpad and so it just becomes an annoying mess.
  • The one thing I hate

    The one thing I hate would be physical button less touchpads. Not having physical buttons makes everything a nightmare for me personally.
    Pollo Pazzo