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[Review] Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch



Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch

My new primary laptop, I mean Ultrabook, is the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch! This model has an Intel Core i7 processor with a clock speed of 2GHz, 8GB of RAM, 256GB SSD (but only 206GB usable on my one here) and is running Windows 8 Pro. I am currently running it with a dual-monitor setup – a 19″ LCD screen and it is performing like a beast!

Yes, Lenovo has classified this laptop as a “business” Ultrabook, but I think this would suit anyone else wanting a lightweight, powerful, but battery-conservative Ultrabook and only weighs in at 1.55kg!

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch 1

Design, Looks and Feel

A lot of people think the Carbon Touch looks dark-ish and has an old design, but please, please do not underestimate the look for the power that is inside this device. It is made from Carbon Fiber, which is the same material used to create some aeroplanes because of its toughness but 2-thirds less weight than aluminium! Compared to its predecessor the X1 Carbon, it still has that black, soft and smooth finish that feels very pro when holding it. There are not many vents and openings (but airflow still gets through and provides air to the processor inside), and has slightly rounded edges on each side, and because it is not made out of “aluminium”, it is very light and when you rest your palms on the palm rest, it will not be cold to touch, which is nice if you are always typing a lot, especially on an early, cold morning!

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The lid also feels very sturdy as well. When it is closed, it stays closed. If you are opening the lid with two hands, it is very easy to do so. But if you are holding the Ultrabook with one hand and trying to open the lid with the other, it will be harder to open.

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Performance

As I said earlier in the post, this Ultrabook has an Intel Core i7 processor, that is capable of handling demanding tasks such as video-editing. I have edited a few videos using Adobe Premiere Pro and there have not been any lag while clicking around and moving segments of videos around. Adobe Premiere Pro starts up in 4 seconds cold and 2 seconds warm, so it’s pretty darn fast!

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The Windows Experience Index (WEI) shows a base score of 5.8 which isn’t bad, but is let down by the Desktop graphics performance. But I think that a business user will not worry too much about the graphics performance, and just worry about scrolling around PDFs, Word documents, browsing around super fast. The highest score is 8.1 which is from the Disk data transfer rate, and believe me, it is super fast! Copying a 2GB folder with a lot of different sub-folders and files to another folder on the computer literally just took under 10 seconds! Imagine doing this on an old XP computer! This is thanks to its 240GB SSD and is especially useful if, i.e you have a messy computer and decide one day you wanted to sort out all those ‘heavy’ files out.

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Mobility

I still see people with heavy, bulky laptops when on the move and I wonder, how the heck can they carry that thing around with them for the whole day?? The Carbon Touch Ultrabook has proven to be very discrete with its weight. It is very easy to move around with it and will hardly ever tire your arms to death.

Talking about mobility, the Carbon Touch has an integrated 3G Mobile Broadband slot which lets you put in a full-size SIM card to access the internet while you are out and about. Obviously you would need to pay for the internet access from your Telco provider. I will be trying this out shortly when I get my SIM card and will report back on how it goes.

[Update: 7/7/13] Okay, so I have finally been able to test out the 3G mobile broadband capability and it works fine! It uses a regular-sized SIM card, and it is just like plug-and-play! When I plugged in my 2Degrees Mobile (my personal mobile provider) SIM card, it automatically detected the correct network settings and away I went!

Screen

There was quite a stir when people found out that this Ultrabook had a matte screen protector on over the screen. People were annoyed about it and some even sent the laptop back! But it seriously has not bothered me one single bit. To me, the screen looks a bit “better” with the screen protector on. And it also protects your screen from scratches etc! If you really hate the screen protector on, some people have had luck prying it off with a small flat screwdriver object, but I personally wouldn’t want to.

The display is a touchscreen and unfortunately, it is not Full HD but is a 14″ HD+ with a resolution of 1600×900 with 300 NITS. It is also capable of supporting up to 10 fingers on the touchscreen. I would love to try and see if 11 fingers would work, but I don’t have more than 10 fingers! I s’pose I could get someone else to help me though…

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The touchscreen has worked very well for me. You do not need to apply a lot of pressure on the screen when touching, which is good, because then you won’t push the whole laptop over!

Viewing movies and web pages etc on the screen is very nice. Having said that, when you tilt the screen up or down, colours do seem a tiny bit washed out, most likely because of the reflective display used in this screen. Viewing the screen at an angle can still be seen, but not as clear as sitting directly in front of it.

Ports and Buttons

On the left side of the Carbon Touch Ultrabook is a rectangular-shaped charging port (I will talk a little more about this down below), a USB 2.0 with Always-On function and an Airplane Switch Mode. This button switches all radios e.g WiFi, Bluetooth, 3G off and is also a nice and easy way to switch them all off if you want to save battery.

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On the right side you have a Kensington Security Slot, USB 3.0, a mini DisplayPort, a microphone/headphone jack, and a 4-in-1 SD card reader.

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And above the keyboard there are the volume buttons and two mute buttons; one for the sound and one for the mic. Good for when you are on a VoIP call.

Microphone & Webcam

There are decent quality mics (two noise-cancelling HD microphones) on the Carbon Touch; other user over Skype could hear me nice and clearly even from 5-10 meters away.

The webcam is a 720p HD webcam and the quality is not bad, but I would’ve thought a premium laptop like this would have a Full HD (1080p) webcam.. but that is just a want.

Audio

The Carbon Touch Ultrabook has Dolby Home Theater sound quality, which is exceptional. Sounds coming out of the Ultrabook’s speakers were loud and crisp. There was nothing “blocking” the sound from coming through like on some other laptops. If you go into the Dolby Profile app, you will be presented with a range of presets ranging from Movie to VoIP presets. It will also allow you to save your own custom presets as well. Seriously one of the best sounds I’ve heard on a laptop so far! No joke!

Keyboard and TouchPad

Now there has been a lot of praise for Lenovo’s keyboards in the past and I wanted to see what was all the fuss about! Well now I have one right in front of me! In fact, I’m typing up this review with this Lenovo keyboard! Firstly, I’m so glad it is back-lit. I do so much work at night time and sometimes even in very low-light conditions that a back-lit keyboard is a must for me. And kudos to Lenovo for adding a dedicated on-off switch (Fn + Spacebar, if you were wondering as I had trouble finding out how to turn it on as well!) for the back-lit keyboard. Every time you put the computer to sleep, it would automatically switch off the back-light for you, which is nice, but I would have liked for an option to automatically turn back on (if it was previously on) when the computer came out of sleep.

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Also Lenovo claims that this keyboard is also spill-resistant so it won’t damage any of the internals if you accidentally spill something liquidy onto them. I haven’t spilled anything on them yet so can’t tell you if they actually do repel liquid.

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The travel and space of the keyboard is nice and I had no problem adjusting to this from a Logitech Wave keyboard.

On the keyboard has ever so slightly “dipped-down” keys, so that your fingers don’t slip and hit other keys.

If you were wondering if the “classic” red pointing stick, cursor is still there, yes it is. It still works the same as normal.

The UltraNav TrackPoint is now larger and is a glass touchpad! It accepts Windows 8 gestures which include two-finger scrolling, pinch-to-zoom etc.

Wireless Connectivity

The Carbon Touch Ultrabook has a 802.11n MIMO WiFi but no ethernet port, so included was an Ethernet via USB dongle for those people wanting a wired connection.

Bluetooth 4.0 is also on the list of wireless connectivity options.

Other Tid-bits

In other tid-bits, Lenovo added an Integrated Fingerprint Reader which allows for convenient, quick and easy login with one swipe.

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If you are using this Ultrabook for business, it also comes with Intel vPro Technology which enables businesses to manage, protect, repair and locate assets from anywhere in the world.

Battery Life

The battery life of the Carbon Touch has been around 5-6 hours with just light browsing, checking emails, and the occasional listen to music which is stored on the SSD. Note that testing battery life was without using my second external monitor as a second display. Once I was streaming movies and/or TV shows and doing the basics, battery life slipped down to just under 4 hours. I really can’t complain about that and especially how it can charge in less than an hour!

Also new is the charger. The charger is a rectangular-shaped port which is different from what most of you would have for your current laptop. Lenovo has also implemented something called “RapidCharge technology” which charges your battery from 0-80% in just 35 minutes! I have tried this and it went from 10% to 88% in 40 minutes so it is very close to what is advertised!

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Wrap Up

So all-in-all, I would definitely recommend the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch Ultrabook to anyone looking for a new laptop. Despite the steep price, the features and quality of this Ultrabook is well worth the money spent! Also if something goes wrong, Lenovo gives a very generous 3-year warranty with the Ultrabook so you will be covered if something does goes wrong!

Oh and nearly forgot to mention because it was so quiet! Yes, the laptop! Very, very quiet! This laptop is one of the quietest laptops I’ve ever seen, and it doesn’t get very hot as well even when working long hours! So most “mobile” users will be very happy!

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Bottom view of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch

For more information please visit: http://shopap.lenovo.com/nz/en/laptops/thinkpad/x-series/x1-carbon-touch/

Currently, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch is not available in New Zealand just yet (most likely because of a manufacturing delay in parts) but we will update this to let you know when it will be officially available for purchase!

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