Product Review: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

We don’t often do product reviews, but since getting this new model of the Lenovo ThinkPad in the office, I thought sharing some of our impressions could be helpful. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is a new generation of business class Ultrabooks. It is intended to compete with the performance of a MacBook Air without compromising some business features that are not found on the Air or many other ultrabooks.

The X1 sports the same classic ThinkPad style, which I think is one of those aspects that you may find appealing or more of a relic. But don’t be mistaken, this is an ultrabook with an impressive design that is incredibly light, well balanced, and thin. With respect to the feel and product design, Lenovo did a good job. Our model came in just at three pounds (Lenovo reports it at 2.99 but we aren’t giving them that hundredth of a pound).

Designed for Windows 8, we found this laptop performs very well with either the rolled back version to Windows 7 or Windows 8. Our preference was for Windows 8 as it enabled some features we really want to explore. If you are a total gear head, you’ll want to try out the Hyper-V virtualization technology available in enterprise versions of Windows 8. It works very well for software compatible with Hyper-V. Whether you care about this feature or not, you’ll want to read on.

The standard X1 Carbon comes with 4GB of RAM. However, it is very important to note that you’ll want to order the maximum amount of RAM (8GB) when you place your order. This can not be upgraded later. Unfortunately, when we placed our order back in November of last year, the additional RAM caused a six week delay in shipping. But we are told that this is no longer a problem.

In terms of speed, we found the X1 to be very fast. As advertised, booting from a solid state drive with 8GB of RAM with Windows 8, made it sing. Whether coming out of sleep mode, booting cold, or just running a multitude of apps simultaneously, the X1 delivered great performance.

We’ve also been impressed with the battery life. Definitely delivering as advertised. Running an entire day on a single charge is possible without losing much.

If there is a down side to this ultrabook, it is not the X1 itself, but the port replicator. At the time of our order, there was only a port replicator and not a full featured docking station. Unlike other ThinkPads that have a dock where you can use your laptop while the lid is closed, this just isn’t possible with a port replicator. You have to lift the screen up, and when running on three monitors, you can imagine how this could be a less elegant way to work form your desk.

All in all, I think you will be happy with the ThinkPad X1 Carbon. It provides the same venerated ThinkPad quality, with best in class performance and features that are worth taking for a spin.