Ultrabooks are a dime a dozen, but Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon has always been a soft spot in the heart of the travelling businessman since its debut in 2012. Since then, there’s been a new generation of ThinkPad X1 Carbon ultrabooks with this year’s being the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 5th Generation.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon weighs 1.13 kilogrammes and its dimensions measure 323.5 mm x 217.1 mm x 15.95 mm across, making it 8% smaller than previous generations according to Lenovo. It rests in that beautiful scope of ultrabooks that can be effortlessly carried around in one hand, much like a notepad or a journal which it replaces. Aesthetically, however, it’s more akin to a stealthy and sleek supercar. The black finish (the ultrabook also comes in silver) to the ultrabook’s surfaces exudes productivity and the soft, almost rubbery, texture of the ultrabook repels fingerprints and other blemishes reasonably well. This rubbery texture is felt nearly everywhere on the ultrabook, except for the display, touchpad and keyboard.
While ultrabooks might seem like fragile devices, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon is far from being such a frail device. Durability was an attribute Lenovo had at the forefront when it came to designing the 5th generation of the ThinkPad X1. The four layers of carbon-fiber reinforced chassis and a magnesium alloy roll-cage for added strength give it the ability to handle nearly anything that is thrown its way. According to Lenovo, the ultrabook was tested against a dozen military tests and can withstand more than the normal amount of bumps and drops.
The sunken keyboard of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is placed quite high on the ultrabook, giving you plenty of space to rest your wrists, however, the actual layout might give pause to the average user. The function key is accompanied by the function lock key, meaning that by default you can change settings such as the brightness or volume by simply holding down the control key as opposed to the function key. The keys themselves are responsive with a long travel time but high actuation force, letting you quickly type away memos or reports. Of course, the characteristic TrackPoint pointing stick for maneuvering the cursor can be found near the middle of the keyboard. The touchpad is the same colour as the rest of the ultrabook and is responsive and accurate, with a couple buttons placed above it.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 5th generation comes with a quite a few I/O ports; the left side houses two Thunderbolt 3 ports, an HDMI port, a USB 3.0 port and a native RJ45 port. Meanwhile, the right face of the laptop features the second USB 3.0 port as well as a headphone port. There’s a distinctive lack of SD card slots which is a drawback.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon has a beautiful 14.0″ FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS Anti-Glare display. Thanks to the IPS display, colours are vivid and images are sharp, however, brightness is an issue and while the ultrabook can be comfortably used when indoors, using it outdoors might not be viable, especially on bright days. Trying out the ultrabook outside in the sunshine resulted in me having nearly no work being done and the display transforming into a terrible mirror. However, viewing angles are quite good (assuming you are indoors), letting you see details from a nearly 90-degree angle.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 5th generation comes with a 7th generation Intel Core i7 processor, giving it a lot of power behind its punch. That power is further augmented by 16GB of LPDDR3 RAM, letting you run a multitude of applications without worrying about the system slowing down. The speedy performance is also due in part to the 500 GB Solid-State Drive (SSD) that allows programs, even intensive ones, to be quickly loaded and executed. Running programs like Photoshop are not a problem, as is running multiple instances of performance-heavy browsers. The lag-free experience is also due in part to Lenovo shipping the ThinkPad X1 with Windows 10 Pro, which is bloatware-free.
Consumers will have the option to purchase the ThinkPad X1 with a 1 terabyte SSD.
When it comes to the audio capabilities, the speakers on the ThinkPad X1 Carbon which are located on the bottom of the laptop are more than capable to perform when it comes to consuming multimedia but don’t expect to stream Spotify playlists to large groups of people from it.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is touted to be able to run for up to 15.5 hours according to Lenovo. Whilst using it, I found that it could run for up to 12 hours before needing to hunt for an outlet. Furthermore, thanks to the Thunderbolt 3 charging ports, charging the device from 0 to around 75% took me just under an hour.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 5th generation’s display might not be the brightest out there and while it may lack an SD port, I have to hand it to Lenovo for performing well in nearly every other category I’ve rated this ultrabook in. The design is absolutely wonderful, oozing productivity with every edge while its beautiful display reproduces images and colours accurately and vividly. Meanwhile, it runs most performance intensive programs fantastically (don’t get me wrong, this is not a laptop for gaming) and its battery life is more than enough for an outing during the day.