The ThinkPad line of notebooks from IBM (now owned by Lenovo) has been one of the most reliable and sought out ones out there.Of late, we’ve seen the Ultrabooks movement picking up pace and Lenovo has already launched the ThinkPad X1 Carbon notebook that brings the ThinkPad build to the Ultrabooks.
Lenovo X1 Carbon
The ThinkPad X1 Carbon is powered by an Intel Core i5 3427U processor that runs at a speed of 1.8GHz, with Turbo Boost taking it to a speed of 2.8 GHz. There’s 4GB of DDR3 memory and a 256GB Sandisk SSD onboard. Graphics processing is taken care of by the Intel HD4000, which is sufficient for basic game titles but nothing more. The screen supports a resolution of 1600 x 900, a tad lower than full-resolution displays.
A very thin and slim notebook that's easy to carry around
The power connector is one of the weird things about the X1 Carbon. It’s powered through a rather unconventional connector, something that looks like a USB port. When it comes to connectivity options, there are only two USB ports, one on either side. There is no HDMI or D-Sub port on the X1, but there is a mini-DisplayPort output. We would’ve appreciated more USB ports, considering that the X1 Carbon doesn’t come with any optical drive on it.
Some of the other extras include the wireless network toggle switch on the left side and the fingerprint scanner on the right. There are also dedicated buttons for the volume and muting the microphone.
There are some unique things too, such as the RapidCharge feature, which does charge very quickly indeed.
Design and build quality
The ThinkPad X1 Carbon is built to be like a tank, like most other ThinkPads are. This one’s thin, slim and weighs around 1.36kg, so it’s really light and easy to carry around just like a netbook. The laptop has a matte finish to it, sort of like the rubberised treatment that you find on some gaming mice. While it provides a better grip, scratches from sharp objects are very clearly noticeable. A smoother finish of the same material is used on the insides.
The vent on the side that helps cool the X1
The hinge doesn’t seem too strong, and there’s some wobbling noticeable when you push down on it. Unlike some sturdy laptops from the ThinkPad series and the Latitude series from Dell, it can’t hold the weight of the laptop on the hinge either.
The keys on the X1 are pretty large considering its size. There’s a decent tactile feel with good travel for the thickness of the laptop. The keys aren’t mushy as such. Spacing is just about right and getting used to the layout isn’t much of a problem. The only real problem we have is with the Function key, which is placed at the left bottom corner of the keyboard in place of the Ctrl key. Some keys such as the Pause key aren’t anywhere to be seen either. The Print Screen key is placed at the bottom, right next to the spacebar. These are some of the changes that users will have to get used to.
The audio and mini-DisplayPort connectors on the other side
The trackpad is pretty large for its size, There are no distinct buttons as such, but it’s pretty easy to use. We prefer clear, distinct buttons in place of this arrangement. There’s also a pointing stick that you can choose to use, if you’re used to it. The trackpad itself is quite accurate for the most part.
The notebook needs cooling and the only vent visible is on the left of the notebook. For the most part, it’s calm and there’s a gentle stream of warm air blowing out of it. There are also fine vents at the bottom of the notebook.
While there are few things to complain about the features and build quality of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, there’s nothing much that comes in the way of performance. The Core i5 3427U offers a decent amount of performance, similar to notebooks in the Rs 60,000 range. The overall score for PC Mark 7 is 4371, comparable to other Ultrabooks. Graphics performance is limited due to the lack of a discrete graphics solution.
Typing is a joy, but it has its tiny issues
The area that the X1 excels is at storage. The SSD onboard the X1 ensures it can read data at ridiculous speeds. Reading peaks out at 469MB/s and write speeds peak at 421MB/s. Application loading in general is also swift. No hard drive also means that it’s lighter, more power efficient and quick. The drive onboard is a 256GB one, so you get a reasonable amount of storage space as well.
File compression using 7-zip and video encoding to x264 formats isn’t spectacular. In short, you can do your typical running of photo and video editing as long as you aren’t trying for professional class or speed rendering.
A soft, matte finish, but one that might attract scratches and dents
Battery is an area where the X1 performs well; it easily manages to run the stressful rendering test for just under 2 hours, which is very respectable.
Verdict and Price in India
A no-nonsense Ultrabook – the ThinkPad X1 Carbon
The ThinkPad X1 sells in India for a price of Rs 1,02,000, which might seem like a lot to a regular laptop customer. Add the fact that it’s very light and easy to carry around while still delivering a decent amount of performance and battery life. The price starts to make even more sense when you consider that the X1 is more of a rough, daily-use notebook that will give you company for the many years.
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