Introducing the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

It shouldn't be surprising to know that AMD, NVIDIA, and Intel (especially Intel) will seed hardware amongst the tech reviewing industry. Most often it goes along with a product launch, but periodically it will be kit that they feel paints their product in a particularly good light. I don't think it's a secret that Ultrabooks and touchscreens have had a little bit of trouble getting off the ground. You could argue that the whole Ultrabook branding scheme, particularly after Intel expanded the definition, was more a way of renaming and redefining the notebook than anything. That it happens to be trademarked by Intel and thus AMD cannot have an Ultrabook is, I'm sure, just a coincidence.

We've had a lot of good Ultrabooks come through, mostly at the 13.3"-and-below scale. The problem the majority suffer from is a a simple one: Intel's initial definition of the Ultrabook basically aped the MacBook Air, and so that design language essentially became the order of the day. Ironically it was really only Dell and HP that had the audacity to tinker with the specs and color around the edges, but with the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, Lenovo has produced something that is unique. It's a 14" Ultrabook, but it hopefully heralds more of the kinds of designs we can look forward to in the 14" and up Ultrabook bracket.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Specifications
Processor Intel Core i5-3427U
(2x1.8GHz + HTT, Turbo to 2.8GHz, 22nm, 3MB L3, 17W)
Chipset Intel QS77
Memory 2x2GB integrated DDR3L-1333
Graphics Intel HD 4000 Graphics
(16 EUs, up to 1150MHz)
Display 14" LED Glossy 16:9 1600x900 Touchscreen
Hard Drive(s) 180GB Intel SATA 6Gbps SSD
Optical Drive -
Networking Intel Centrino Wireless-N 6205 802.11a/g/n 2x2
Bluetooth 4.0
Audio Realtek ALC269 HD Audio
Stereo speakers
Combination mic/headphone jack
Battery 4-Cell, 45Wh (integrated)
Front Side -
Right Side SD card reader
Mic/headphone combo jack
USB 3.0
Kensington lock
Left Side AC adaptor
USB 2.0
Wi-Fi switch
Back Side -
Operating System Windows 8 Pro 64-bit
Dimensions 13.03" x 8.9" x 0.74"
331mm x 226mm x 20.85mm
Weight 3.4 lbs
Extras 720p Webcam
Backlit keyboard
Intel vPro
10-finger touch
Fingerprint reader
Warranty 1-year depot/express warranty
Pricing Starts at $1,319
As configured: $1,556

I understand the enterprise sector often lags a little bit behind the consumer sector; new hotness typically needs to be proven reliable before it can get shipped to the more demanding business environment. For the most part the ThinkPad X1 Carbon is as modern as a notebook can be until Haswell arrives, but there are one or two oddballs.

The Intel Core i5-3427U is a respectable CPU and difficult to find fault with, sporting a healthy 1.8GHz nominal clock that typically bumps up to 2GHz under sustained load, yet Lenovo is stingy with the memory. If you want 8GB of memory, you have to buy their top end $1,759 model; it's not even an upgrade option on the lesser models, where you're stuck with 4GB of memory. 4GB of DDR3L-1333, not DDR3L-1600 like Lenovo's competitors are shipping. Thankfully, while Lenovo's site states the X1 Carbon is limited to one DIMM, the memory is operating in dual channel mode.

Given the X1 Carbon's enterprise aspirations, the SSD is Intel kit; the specific model number isn't readily available, but it supports SATA 6Gbps and features the odd 180GB capacity. Most of what's included with the X1 Carbon is as you expect, though the high resolution display is welcome. Note that while it's listed as being glossy, the glossy coating is actually a mild one; it's too glossy to really be called a true matte display, but it's not the nightmare of reflectivity that most glossy displays are.

Finally, thankfully, wireless connectivity includes 5GHz. It still baffles me how in 2013 anyone can ship a notebook without this.

In and Around the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon


View All Comments

  • Shinobi_III - Sunday, May 19, 2013 - link

    1600*900 is a joke, Lenovo went out when I bought my Zenbook last year just because of that.
    Think the 13 inch one I looked at then, had a laughable 1024x768 res.. My two year old phone has 960x540 for crying out loud.

    The Asus Zenbooks are a lot more bang for the buck here.
  • peterfares - Wednesday, May 15, 2013 - link

    The QS77 chipset natively has 4 USB 3.0 ports and 10 USB 2.0 ports. It really makes no sense as to why they wire up USB 2.0 ports when they haven't even used up all 4 USB 3.0 ports offered by the chipset. Reply
  • jonup - Sunday, May 19, 2013 - link

    not to mention the vizio thin and light that retails as low as $600. Based on the Anandtech review of the 15" model, the screen is superior, you get 2 USB3.0, aluminum body with rubberized bottom. I got the 15" for office (audit) use and I can't be happier. Having two spreadsheets side-by-side on a less than 4lb package, priceless! Reply
  • boe - Thursday, May 16, 2013 - link

    My 3 year old Sony Z has an i7, weighs 3lbs and has a higher resolution screen and a much larger SSD drive. Reply
  • OCedHrt - Thursday, May 16, 2013 - link

    I have a Z too, but it's not 14" ;) Reply
  • OCedHrt - Thursday, May 16, 2013 - link

    The Samsung Series 9 15" is about the same weight with much better specs. Reply
  • imaginarynumber - Friday, May 17, 2013 - link

    But Sony (for example with the Z series) showed that the only tradeoff need to be the price tag. The Z11 series had much higher specs (bar touch screen) but managed to weigh less Reply
  • railhan - Thursday, May 16, 2013 - link

    It's a Thinkpad. It has a clitoris and a great keyboard. Comparison to other brands is irrelevant. Specs are only relevant if you are feeling that your current Thinkpad is slow :).
    Unless someone else starts making good keyboards and a practical implementation of the trackpoint(Toshiba and HP ones are rubbish) there will continue to be only one brand for laptops.
  • synaesthetic - Sunday, May 19, 2013 - link

    I don't see a blue enter key--what "great keyboard?" Lenovo threw away the main thing that made Thinkpads awesome to jump on the Apple-Sony chiclet train.

    I don't get it. This really just doesn't compute to me. Am I just going to start having to carry a full-size mechanical switch keyboard around with me wherever I go just so I can have a decent typing experience on a laptop?

    Nah I'll just use my old X200 until it quits working.
  • Evil_Sheep - Wednesday, May 15, 2013 - link

    1000000 points for making an obscure MaRo reference which only one person will get ;) Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now