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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon..Great Ultrabook but short battery life
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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon..Great Ultrabook but short battery life

If you love the classic ThinkPad design , you’ll like the look of the X1 Carbon. At just 0.74 inches at its thickest point and a mere 3 pounds, this is the thinnest and lightest ThinkPad ever. It looks important in its dusky black suit. All dressed up for the 20th birthday of the ThinkPad line

Like all Thinkpads the X1 Carbon looks like the serious business Ultrabook it is but it has a cool looking wedge shape and despite is bigger 14″ screen it weighs the same as or less than most 13″ Ultrabooks. And, it achieves all this while wearing a suit of armour…carbon fiber on both the lid and the roll cage, which sits on the side. The deck and bottom are made from magnesium alloy.

 

Open the cover and again it is all Lenovo.. with some improvements..Instead of a touch pad with separate left and right mouse buttons below, it’s a one-piece click pad with a glass surface,  There is still a second set of mouse buttons above it, and a traditional Lenovo ThinkPad trackpoint nestled between the G, H, and B keys. I liked the feel of the glass surface compared to the normal sluggish feel of so many Windows touch pads, and the overall feel of navigation and multitouch gestures is much more responsive than most.  The glass surface here is surprisingly slick and friction-free.

The keyboard retains the style keys used in the first X1, a look that comes from Lenovo’s consumer line.  It’s also backlit, which is a feature I think every Ultrabook should have. Like other Lenovo keyboards, the individual keys have a slightly convex curve at the bottom. Very comfortable for touch typing. Even on this slim chassis, the keys have excellent depth and solid, tactile feedback. It’s definitely one of the best keyboards around. There is also a fingerprint scanner to the right of the touch pad..It works but I don’ t totally trust them so I prefer to use a password.

Lenovo has ditched the Gorilla Glass from the previous X1 in favour of  a matte 1600 x 900 LED screen that is exceptionally bright   indoors but surprisingly doesn’t seem to have enough oomph to stand up to a bright day outdoors. Inside however it is a delight to work on..and no reflections!  The bottom mounter speakers produced surprisingly good sound at a decent volume. The 720p camera gives good results for video calls.

Lenovo has been a bit stingy with ports, it is equipped with a mini DisplayPort for video out, (the nonly video adapter by the way) a 4-in-1 card reader and an audio jack, but just two USB ports, only one of which is USB 3.0 compatible. For some reason Lenovo made room for a hardware Wi-Fi on/off switch, which just duplicates functionality that’s available in Windows already.

The X1 Carbon is available with a choice of Third Generation Intel Core i5-3417U, i5-3427U, or i7-3667U processor and 4 or 8Gb of SDRAM and a 128Gb Solid State Drive. My trial unit was the middle of the road i5-3427U (1.8GHz up to 2.8 with Turbo Boost. It came with 4BG of SDRAM. I found Performance to be excellent,  startup from sleep is a snappy 4 seconds in fact the only complaint I have about this cool Ultrabook is battery life..I was never able to get more than 4 hours of writing out of it..very low in this competitive league that I guess, is the price you pay for the light weight. The Power app also delivered confusing information showing at times up to 35 hrs of battery life remaining. Wouldn’t that be great 🙂

Overall the Lenovo X1 Carbon is a great Ultrabook if you can plan to be not too far away from a power outlet. Prices are on the high side ranging  from $1249 to $1499.

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Bob Benedetti

Former RCAF Fighter Pilot Bob worked for CTV Montreal as a Reporter, Producer and Executive producer for 35 years retiring in 2004. Bob started reporting on personal technology in 1995 at CTV and continues today at Home Technology Montreal

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