Review: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon a Top Business Ultrabook

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is a stylish ultrabook designed for business executives who demand the best. It's missing Ethernet and VGA ports, but its design, performance and security features more than make up for it.

By Paul Mah
Thu, October 18, 2012

CIO — Billed as a premium 14-inch ultrabook for business users, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon measures just 0.74 inches (18.9mm) thick at its thickest point. According to Lenovo, the X1 Carbon meets and exceeds the specifications laid out for 13-inch ultrabooks and tips the scale at a portable 2.99lbs (1.36kg). This is only slightly heavier than two iPads tablets and lighter than many 13-inch ultrabooks on the market today.

So how does the Lenovo X1 Carbon fare for business? After testing it for about a month in a real-world work environment, here's what you should know.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Specifications

Despite its billing as an ultrabook, the 14-inch display offers 1600 x 900 resolution. Under the hood, the X1 Carbon is powered by a third-generation Intel Core i5 ultra-mobile processor clocked at 1.8GHz. The ultrabook can accommodate up to 8GB of low-voltage DDR3L RAM, though the review unit only came loaded with 4GB. Storage is in the form of a solid-state drive (SSD) with the option of either 128 GB or 256 GB.

ThinkPad X1 Carbon open
The light weight, slim form factor and performance of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon should turn heads.

On the wireless connectivity front, the X1 Carbon comes with 802.11n for Wi-Fi networking and Bluetooth 4.0. Mobile wireless (wireless wide-area network) capability is offered as an option, and the SIM card tray is cleverly located along the back edge. The location is unobtrusive and is effectively hidden from sight when the screen is opened at an angle of 90 degrees or more.

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The X1 Carbon has two USB ports (one USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0), a Mini DisplayPort port and a combination audio port for both microphone and headphone. A handy 4-in-1 SD card reader is located along the side. This is useful because the ultrabook doesn't come with an internal optical disk drive.

ThinkPad fans will find the familiar red TrackPoint pointer located around the middle of the keyboard, while those who prefer a standard touchpad will find the large glass touchpad with dedicated mouse buttons highly appealing. The touchpad is also clickable, providing a satisfying tactile response, and is multi-touch capable. Finally, a 720p HD webcam is embedded along the top of the display.

ThinkPad X1 Carbon flat
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon maintains the ThinkPad's signature TrackPoint and its large mouse touchpad.

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