Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Ultrabook review: First look

Reviews 25 May, 2012

A sneak peek at the 14in Ultrabook, which will feature a lightweight carbon chassis, Intel vPro support and HD+ display.

Verdict: 
Early indications suggest the X1 could be the best Windows 7 Ivy Bridge Ultrabook especially when it comes to portability and text input. However, concerns remains over the price and the battery life, which have yet to be disclosed.

Lenovo generated a wave of excitement when it announced its 14in ThinkPad X1 Ultrabook would be shipping with a lightweight carbon chassis, HD+ display, Intel Ivy Bridge processors and have the option of integrated 3G.

The X1 has a razor-thin profile (18.8mm) and looks as sleek as the Apple MacBook Air, with a crisp black and white design. The Ultrabook is lightweight too, considering the chassis packs a 14in screen. At 1.35kg, the X1 is the same weight as the smaller 13in MacBook Air.

The X1 looks great and is exceptionally lightweight considering the 14in screen

It takes a moment to realise the keyboard on the X1 is the stand-out feature. The backlit letters are noticeably concave, which makes typing comfortable as your fingers slot into keys like tiny jigsaw pieces. Out of all the Ultrabooks which have shipped to date, including MacBooks, this has the best keyboard. This will make the X1 very attractive to users who are going to be typing and editing reports on a daily basis.

The keyboard has unique concave keys to make typing comfortable

The keyboard is complimented by the large glass trackpad, which your fingers glide across effortlessly. The mouse buttons have been built into the panel. Lenovo has also retained its TrackPoint, which will please business users who have been using the ThinkPad brand.

The glass trackpad is large and responsive

Lenovo will be offering a HD+ display with a crisp 1600 x 900 resolution, a step up from the standard 1366 x 768 resolutions offered on most of the Ultrabooks today.

The core specifications are yet to be announced, but Dilip Bhatia, vice president and general manager of the ThinkPad business at Lenovo confirmed the X1 will be powered by Ivy Bridge processors with vPro functionality. This will make the devices attractive to IT admins as it will simplify the security and management of the machines.

The X1 will ship with 4GB of RAM as standard (upgradeable to 8GB). Lenovo also plans to offer the X1 with an SSD drive. Configurations are yet to be announced, but 128GB and 256GB capacities are expected to be offered. The choice to offer SSD-only models is likely to drive up the price of the device to £1000 and beyond, compared to other Ultrabooks such as the Sony Vaio T13 Ultrabook which is offered with a hard disk and SSD hybrid configuration.