Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (2014) Review

March 31st, 2014 - Category - Product Reviews

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon is a superb new entry in Lenovo’s range of high performance, highly portable and durable ultrabooks. Stunning looks, lightweight, hard-wearing design, and a fantastic better than HD display make this a big win for business use.

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon offers a breathtakingly thin design – only 18 mm, and weighing in at under 1.5kg, making it the lightest ultrabook on the market. It won’t leave you with sore shoulders from carrying it around in your bag all day. It is lightweight enough, and not at all cumbersome, that using it on the go is easy. The X1 Carbon is much thinner and lighter than other 14-inch business laptops, such as the HP Elitebook and the Dell Latitude.

lenovo thinkpad x1 carbon

Military Grade Durability

The Thinkpad X1 Carbon is aimed at business users, for use on the move. With that in mind it has been built to withstand more bumps, knocks and scrapes than the typical laptop. Carbon fibre and magnesium make for a lightweight but durable chassis. It’s unlikely that you’ll ever need to use the X1 Carbon in a sandstorm, at extreme temperatures, or high altitude – but it’s comforting to know that it has passed a number of milspec tests (Military Specifications Tests) under these conditions. It even survives a drop test from ceiling height! See here.

The hinge on the lid allows you to open the X1 Carbon to 180 degrees – so even dropping it whilst open and upside down is not going to cause any more problems than a standard drop. It should survive either easily. The 180 degree open function also presents a practical use, as you can lay the X1 Carbon on a surface completely flat – giving you more presenting options.

Excellent Lenovo Keyboard Enhanced by Adaptive Keyboard Row

The Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon also includes an adaptive keyboard row – which is a row of touch sensitive buttons along the top of the keyboard which light up with different symbols depending on what app you’re using. For example, when in the default, home mode, you will have volume, brightness, task switching, snipping tool and other features. When in Web Browsing mode, which it will change to automatically when you’re using a web browser, you will have forward, back, refresh etc. You get microphone and camera controls when in web conference mode (which it will switch to when you’re using an application like Skype). There’s also lay flat mode, which gives you access to the voice and gesture control apps when the lid is opened 180 degrees, and a function mode, which gives you the standard F1 to F12 buttons. You can of course manually switch between all of these modes.

We found the keyboard to be excellent as ever with Lenovo keyboards, offering the perfect level of tactile feedback. The keyboard is also backlit, with an adjustable brightness setting so you can continue working easily in dark locations – a must for laptops designed to be used on the go.

Better than HD touch Display offers perfect viewing, even at wide angles

The 14 inch display is also a point of excellence for the ThinkPad X1 Carbon. The screen offers a very high resolution 2,560 x 1,440 pixel resolution, which displays exceptionally clear and sharp images which look fantastic, even at awkward viewing angles. This is great for when you need people to crowd round to watch a presentation. At full brightness, the X1 Carbon’s screen is brighter than the average for 14 inch laptops, and brighter than Apple’s 13 inch Macbook Air.

The screen is fully touch enabled too, responding to multiple touches and gestures simultaneously, and is coated with Gorilla Glass, ensuring the screen lives up to the same durability standards as the rest of the device.

The audio is also impressive by any laptop’s standards. Even bassy numbers sound good on it, with clear sound at maximum volume and able to easily fill a room. There should be no problems playing presentations and instructional videos to small audiences.

Cool running and high performance

The Thinkpad X1 Carbon stays impressively cool during use. Even after long periods of use, the touchpad and keyboard give off a barely noticeable heat. Performance is impressive thanks to the Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of ram and solid state (SSD) drive which gives a rapid 11 second boot time for Windows 8. The Intel core i5 processor allows you to carry out complex computing tasks in rapid time – such as running thousands of excel formulas simultaneously, which would grind many ultra-portable laptops to a halt.
x1 carbon lay flat
ThinkPad X1 Carbon’s battery can last for seven and a half hours. Considering that this is with continual use, and continual internet surfing over wi-fi, this should be more than enough battery power to last you a business day. Many other laptops in the business ultra portable category come in about 45 minutes behind the X1 Carbon. The battery is also capable of charging to full capacity in just over an hour, so you can dramatically extend your use if you can find a power point, even for a short time.

Verdict

This is a fantastic laptop for business use on the go and in the office. The hardware specifications are high enough to live up to the demands of any business use, and the battery life will keep you going all day – with Lenovo’s RapidCharge technology and added bonus. The extremely high quality screen and audio make this the perfect laptop for presenting and conferencing. All of this comes with Lenovo’s famous durability standards, and at less than 1.5kg, it is the lightest 14 inch ultrabook laptop on the market.

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