There are numerous ultra-thin and ultra-light notebook computers available in the market, especially those from Acer, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Sony, among others, but there is something unique about such business laptops—commonly referred to as ultrabooks—from Lenovo. Not only are Lenovo ThinkPads durable and reliable, they are out and out high performance business computers. In fact, I still remember my first purchase of a ThinkPad Y500 laptop back in 2006, a fantastic and rock-solid machine though it was extremely heavy to handle and its Vista operating system was a pain to work upon, compared to the all-too-familiar Windows operating system that we are accustomed to these days. Other than that, the Lenovo laptop left a lasting impression on me as a tough build-quality and easy-to-use computer—a key reason as to why ThinkPad laptops are so popular among the working professionals. The point I am trying to make is this: this Chinese maker, which took over IBM’s PC and laptop business in 2005, has done a good job of maintaining the reputation for the ThinkPad laptops.
Cut to present. Every once in a while, there comes a mobile phone, laptop, tablet or a headphone that is substantially better than the competition. That’s the feeling I got when I started using the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon ultrabook (20BT), which was shipped to me for a product evaluation. It is ultra-thin and ultra-light, built for solid business performance. Put your fingers on its keyboard and you’ll feel an immediate difference. It has well-spaced keys, which are great to type on and are vastly superior to the ones on so many ultrabook keyboards these days. The X1 Carbon has plenty to offer to home users too. More on it later.
Lenovo claims that the X1 Carbon is the lightest 14-inch laptop in the world, and at 1.3 kg it certainly weighs less than many offerings available in the market. The carbon fibre body helps keep it light too, and also adds strength and durability. On top of the X1 Carbon’s screen resides the microphones and the 720p camera. A red coloured TrackPoint pointing stick is placed in the middle of the keyboard and the ThinkPad trackpad and TrackPoint buttons occupy decent space just below the keyboard. There’s a Fingerprint reader too, adjacent to the keyboard.
There are a lot of unique features packed into the X1 Carbon. Its 14-inch display is a touch screen with a very high 2,560 x 1,440-pixel resolution. Our specific system starts with the higher-resolution touch screen, combining it with a Core i7 CPU, 128GB solid-state drive (SSD), and 8 GB RAM for a hefty R1,75,000.
Getting started with X1 Carbon’s Windows 8.1 is simple and hassle-free. Switched on, the Start screen is a simplified interface optimised for touch screens, but equally usable with a mouse or other pointing device. Each tile on the Start screen is associated with an app, website, playlist, person or whatever else you find important.
The Windows 8.1 desktop is similar in appearance and function to the desktop in earlier Windows versions. You can run traditional Windows programs, manage files and access Control Panel settings on the desktop. Functions, such as search and navigation to programs and settings, which were on the Start menu of Windows 7 and earlier versions are now provided by the charms in Windows 8.1.
Like I said before, one of the big selling points is Lenovo’s meticulously crafted keyboard. The X1 Carbon retains the modified island-style keys used in most of the ThinkPad computers. In terms of connectivity, you will get the following I/O Ports: 2 x USB 3.0 (1 with AOU), Audio/Mic Combo, OneLink Dock, HDMI, MiniDP, Ethernet ext. port. You’ll get internal memory of 4 GB/8 GB DDR3L-12800 1600 MHz and Intel HD Graphics 5500.
In my week-long usage, the X1 Carbon performed on expected lines. It is pretty fast with no lag whatsoever. Typing on this Lenovo machine was pleasant and the keys did not feel stiff at all. Its touchpad is equally responsive, making it easy to navigate on the Windows 8.1 programs. Importantly, the machine delivers upto 10.9 hours of power on a single charge so customers can stay focused on their movie or work.
The most important question, according to me: Why buy an expensive ultrabook such as the ThinkPad X1 Carbon?
According to me, this Lenovo machine is perfect for busy, on-the-go professionals with features like Rapid Charge technology and a sleek design. It is totally mobile at just 17.7 mm thin and 1.3 kg light, yet surprisingly durable thanks to advanced carbon fibre construction.
The X1 Carbon is apt for executives and other professionals seeking a premium ultrabook with the latest technology innovations. It will also be a hit with road warriors seeking the right combination of portability, durability, and performance, or good display and great performance. Or, lets just say it, anyone whose lifestyle demands the latest, coolest, most stylish ultrabook.
Without a doubt, one of the the best ultrabooks till date. And highly recommended too, provided one can afford it.
* Display: 14-inch WQHD + (2560 x 1440) Touch Screen (270 nit)
* Processor: Intel Core i7-5500 CPU @ 2.40 GHz, 2.39 GHz
* Operating system: Windows 8.1 Professional (64 bit)
* Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500
* Keyboard: Backlit 6-row Keyboard
* Installed memory: 8.00 GB RAM
* Battery: Upto 10.9 hours MM12 (50 Wh)
* Weight: Starting at 1.304 kg
** Estimated street price: R1,75,000