Len­ovo ThinkPad X1 Car­bon (5th gen­er­a­tion)

A su­pe­rior busi­ness-class Ul­tra­book with qual­ity in all the right places – and an ex­cel­lent turn of pace

PC Pro - - November 2017 Issue 277 - NATHAN SPENDELOW

SCORE ✪✪✪✪✪ PRICE £1,418 (£1,702 inc VAT) from len­ovo.com

The X1 Car­bon has been one of our favourite ul­tra­porta­bles since it was in­tro­duced back in 2012, and in many ways this fifth gen­er­a­tion changes lit­tle. It’s slim, un­apolo­get­i­cally black, packs supremely quick com­po­nents and has a price to match its high-end am­bi­tions. We could have said the same five years ago.

But Len­ovo has de­liv­ered im­prove­ments to its flag­ship portable even com­pared to last year’s model, shav­ing a few grams from its weight and slim­ming it down yet fur­ther to 16mm thin – to say 16mm thick seems wrong. Its foot­print is 322 x 216mm, com­par­ing well to the 332 x 229mm Toshiba Te­cra X40 op­po­site.

You now have a choice of 7thgen­er­a­tion In­tel Core pro­ces­sors, along with two Thun­der­bolt 3 USB-C ports. Len­ovo also finds room for two reg­u­lar USB 3 ports, one full-sized HDMI out­put, a dual-pur­pose mi­croSD/mi­cro-SIM slot (tucked un­der the rear hinge) and a 3.5mm head­phone socket. If you want an Eth­er­net con­nec­tion, you’ll need to use the supplied adapter.

You can con­fig­ure the X1 Car­bon on Len­ovo’s web­site. Prices start at £1,380 inc VAT for the In­tel Core i5, 256GB SSD model with 8GB of RAM, while if you want the top-end spec, com­plete with an In­tel Core i7-7600U, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, a WQHD dis­play and Win­dows 10 Pro, you’ll be pay­ing just shy of £2,220.

As you’d ex­pect for that money, build qual­ity is phe­nom­e­nal. Built with a car­bon-fi­bre frame, the X1 Car­bon is clad in a soft-touch, all-black, rub­berised coat­ing. Only the sub­tle ThinkPad logo adorns the right cor­ner of the lid.

Len­ovo’s chi­clet-style key­board is sim­i­larly out­stand­ing. Each in­di­vid­ual key is chunky with a scooped-out top and has a good amount of travel. It’s sen­si­bly laid out, with the one caveat be­ing that the cur­sor keys are a lit­tle small; you may ac­ci­den­tally press the PgUp or PgDn keys that sit next to them.

The red track­point sits proud in the cen­tre of the key­board, with a touch­pad un­der­neath. The lat­ter is reli­able and ac­cu­rate, while the pro­vi­sion of ac­tual phys­i­cal but­tons is a god­send; al­though touch­pads with in­te­grated left and right click con­tinue to im­prove, I pre­fer a but­ton I can see. It isn’t the largest touch­pad in the world, though, and I found that my fin­gers crashed into the sides when car­ry­ing out Win­dows 10’s mul­ti­touch ges­tures.

It’s good to see a fin­ger­print reader built into the wristrest, just to the left of the touch­pad. This comes as stan­dard no mat­ter which SKU you opt for and is Mi­crosoft-cer­ti­fied, so all Win­dows Hello fea­tures work with­out a hitch. Al­ter­na­tively, you can log in us­ing the in­frared we­b­cam, a £26 up­grade dur­ing cus­tomi­sa­tion, which sits above that 14in screen.

Our re­view sam­ple was a Full HD panel, com­plete with anti-glare coat­ing that does a great job of soft­en­ing re­flec­tions. Note that it isn’t a touch­screen. In terms of qual­ity, it im­presses with­out ex­celling. Top bright­ness is a more-than-ad­e­quate 312cd/m2, while sRGB colour gamut cov­er­age hits 82%. De­spite this mod­est score, colours are punchy and

“Len­ovo’s chi­clet-style key­board is out­stand­ing. Each key is chunky with a scooped-out top and has a good amount of travel”

the ThinkPad X1 Car­bon’s dis­play will do the job for 99% of of­fice users.

Our re­view sam­ple came with a dual-core In­tel Core i7-7500U processor clocked at 2.7GHz, com­plete with 16GB of RAM and a 256GB PCIe SSD. The per­for­mance speaks for it­self. In our de­mand­ing bench­marks, the Len­ovo ThinkPad X1 Car­bon reached an over­all score of 52. That’s a great re­sult for such a slim lap­top.

Nor does the ThinkPad X1 Car­bon buckle un­der the pres­sure when it comes to longevity. It lasted 10hrs 20mins in our con­tin­u­ous video play­back test with the screen set to our stan­dard bright­ness of 170cd/m2, which is al­most three hours longer than both the Dell XPS 13 and the most re­cent MacBook Pro.

The dis­play might not boast the best num­bers around, but oth­er­wise this is the per­fect busi­ness ul­tra­book: there are plenty of con­fig­u­ra­tions to choose from, per­for­mance is ahead of its com­peti­tors, it has fan­tas­tic bat­tery life and er­gonom­i­cally it’s prac­ti­cally per­fect. With a three-year on-site war­ranty, and Win­dows 10 Pro rather than Home, it jus­ti­fies the price.

ABOVE Ev­ery­thing a busi­ness user could want, in­clud­ing a fin­ger­print reader next to the track­pad SPEC­I­FI­CA­TIONS Dual-core 2.7GHz In­tel Core i7-7500U processor In­tel HD Graph­ics 620 16GB RAM 14in IPS dis­play, 1,920 x 1,280 res­o­lu­tion 256GB M.2 NVMe SSD 720p we­b­cam 802.11ac Wi-Fi Blue­tooth 4.1 2 x USB-C/Thun­der­bolt 3 2 x USB 3 HDMI 2 mi­croSD card slot Win­dows 10 Pro 57Wh bat­tery 357 x 225 x 17mm (WDH) 2kg 3yr on-site war­ranty

ABOVE Ev­ery year the X1 Car­bon shaves off weight and girth, and 2017 is no dif­fer­ent

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