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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon review

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

Lenovo's X1 Carbon delivers the ThinkPad business laptop in a super-slim ultrabook format, without compromising on performance or ruggedness. Like other ultrabooks, it is limited to an internal battery and cannot be docked to a desktop cradle.


Thin and light, rugged carbon-fibre casing, ThinkVantage technologies


Integrated battery, no Ethernet port, no dock connector

Overall Rating:

4 Star Rating: Recommended

Price: £1,275

Manufacturer: Lenovo

Lenovo's ThinkPad laptops have always proven popular with business users, and the latest Thinkpad X1 Carbon offers buyers an ultrabook version of the platform, combining the latest Intel processors into a lightweight design using carbon fibre for durability.

However, ultrabook also seems to be a byword for expensive, and at £1,275, the system we looked at is definitely not for customers on a budget.

For businesses evaluating the X1 Carbon against other ThinkPads, there are other drawbacks. It has no connector for a docking cradle, for example.

As with many other ultrabooks, Lenovo has also followed the lead of Apple's MacBook Air and made the X1 Carbon a sealed unit that cannot easily be upgraded. That means the user cannot carry a spare battery to swap in for extended use away from the mains.

However, for those firms that see low weight and high performance as more important than the above, the X1 Carbon is a great ultrabook choice. First announced by Lenovo in May, the X1 Carbon is the successor to last year's slimline ThinkPad X1 model, but brings Intel's latest Ivy Bridge Core i5 and Core i7 processors. It also trims the weight and thickness to deliver one of the lightest fully specified business laptops available.

Unlike many other ultrabook models, the X1 Carbon features a 14in screen, offering a slightly larger display area for users to work with. But the system feels light at 1.36kg and is just 18mm thick, making it ideal for professionals needing to carry it with them on their travels.


Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

For corporate users, the ThinkPad features Intel's vPro technology for remote manageability, a fingerprint scanner and Trusted Platform Module (TPM) security chip.

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon is unmistakeably a Lenovo system, featuring the distinctive black and red styling that is the hallmark of the ThinkPad brand.

Despite its slim lines, the system feels reassuringly solid, possibly due to the carbon fibre construction employed, which Lenovo claims is as strong as aluminium for just a third of the weight.

It is also well balanced, which means that when using the X1 Carbon on your lap, you can push the screen back as far as you like to reach a comfortable viewing angle, without it feeling like it might tip over.

Opened up, the X1 Carbon shows off the classic ThinkPad configuration of both a touchpad below the keyboard and a TrackPoint controller embedded in the midst of the keys. The latter device enables you to control the pointer without removing your fingers from the keyboard, making it a favourite of many professional users, although it is not liked by everyone. Either one can be disabled via the Windows Control Panel.

Model: ThinkPad X1 Carbon
Display: 14in, 1,600x900
Processor: Intel 1.8GHz Core i5-3427U dual-core
Storage: 256GB SSD
Wireless connections: 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth, optional 3G mobile broadband
Ports: USB 3.0, USB 2.0, Mini DisplayPort, SD Card reader slot, combo audio jack
Camera: 1MP webcam
Dimensions: 331x226x18.8mm
Weight: 1.36kg

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Daniel Robinson

Daniel Robinson is technology editor at V3, and has been working as a technology journalist for over two decades. Dan has served on a number of publications including PC Direct and enterprise news publication IT Week. Areas of coverage include desktops, laptops, smartphones, enterprise mobility, storage, networks, servers, microprocessors, virtualisation and cloud computing.

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