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Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon Ultrabook Review

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Feb 26, 2007
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Conclusion

Conclusion


Lenovo is one of the few companies which rarely missteps on their products. Nearly every one of them has been well thought out, painstakingly designed and, most importantly, well executed for its intended market. The ThinkPad X1 Carbon carries on the tradition in every respect but that doesn’t mean it is the perfect Ultrabook. Rather, this is a notebook which Lenovo can certainly be proud of but there is still some room for improvement in future iterations.

Taking a look back at my experience with the X1 Carbon, it becomes evident that Lenovo did a great many things right. The razor thin chassis is nothing short of astounding considering the amount of performance packed into its restrictive confines. Due to the extensive use of carbon fiber inside and out, a distinct lack of chassis flex is a defining aspect of this design. The excellent soft-touch exterior coating allows for more even heat distribution than machined aluminum with the added benefit of being extremely durable and nearly impervious to scratches. Some will still prefer the futuristic brushed aluminum look of competing Ultrabooks but for longevity, nothing is better than Lenovo’s approach.

The ThinkPad’s keyboard remains a benchmark setter which all others will be compared against. Its keys are perfectly shaped, well spaced and offer just the right amount of feedback. Granted, I’m not a fan of the button-less trackpad but it responded admirably to most inputs and the ever-present TrackPoint makes for an excellent fallback solution.

Great ideas abound at nearly every corner of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon’s design. RapidCharge technology has the ability to almost completely refill the battery in 15 minutes and will be a game changer for on the go users with limited access to power outlets. The included mobile broadband may not be available in all regions but I can’t think of a better feature for professional notebooks. Software plays a huge part here too as Lenovo has managed to pack in an incredible amount of self-branded yet useful programs.

ThinkPad notebooks have always been aspirational items for mobile users since their pricing typically meant only professionals were granted access. Things should have changed with the Ultrabook generation and indeed the X1 Carbon is clearly more affordable than previous ThinkPad thin and light offerings but that doesn’t mean it is inexpensive. Quite the contrary. It is one of the highest priced Ultrabooks currently available and while the price premium has translated into a bevy of useful features and astounding build quality, it still stumbles in certain areas.

The most egregious error committed this time around is the X1 Carbon’s screen. The matte coating is a dream come true in a world of highly reflective idiocy but a “screen door” effect between individual pixels results in picture quality that borders on embarrassing. Battery life was on the disappointing side as well but that’s likely a byproduct of the X1’s diminutive form factor limiting cell capacity rather than a misstep on Lenovo’s part. The fingerprint reader could have been placed better, another USB port would have been useful, some areas of the chassis get quite hot and there’s some third party software eating up precious storage space but other than the panel issue, there are very few true issues here.

With innovative features like RapidCharge, a spectacular keyboard, extreme portability, a matte screen and a design that will surely have everyone salivating, the X1 Carbon has a lot to offer. Indeed, its beauty is more than skin deep; performance is top notch for an Ultrabook and thermals are relatively well managed. Regardless of its premium price, people will find this new ThinkPad fits their needs perfectly but poor quality screen prevents it from receiving our highest accolades. Should you be able to look beyond that, this is one of the best thin and light notebooks currently available and it brings home our Dam Innovative award.

 
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