The 5th-generation X1 Carbon is Lenovo’s latest version of its popular business notebook series. It was launched overseas in early 2017, and is now a common sight in the local market as well.
The X1 Carbon has long been a popular model in Lenovo’s extensive line-up of business notebooks as it’s always decked out in the latest and greatest the tech industry has to offer, with Lenovo’s own touches that push it from “good” to “great”, like its brilliant backlit keyboard and that iconic red TrackPoint nubbin that some prefer to their mice.
But more than that, the X1 combines everything a discerning notebook user wants in their tech: it looks good, packs a potent performance punch, and has the right mix of features to make IT, and the user, very happy working with it on a daily basis.
Fingerprint reader for secure access using Windows Hello’s excellent authentication technology? Check. Thunderbolt ports for super-fast data transfers between the X1 and its accessories? Check. LTE-A connectivity for those times the user is away from their desk? Check. Windows 10 Pro Signature Edition that ships with no bloatware or annoying trial software whatsoever? Check. Enterprise-friendly functionality like BitLocker, Remote Desktop Connection, Client Hyper-V, Microsoft Update for Business, and Domain Join? You bet.
The X1 has always set itself apart with incredible build quality, too, and this year’s model is no exception. It’s as thin and light as we’ve seen from Lenovo, starting out at a mere 1.13kg, which is astounding for a 14-inch notebook; it’s also as strong as ever, thanks to Lenovo’s use of carbon fibre in its super stylish chassis – there’s no flex anywhere to be seen. That’s brilliant for frequent travellers who need a more robust notebook to accompany them on their travels.
And despite packing in some very impressive hardware, Lenovo still somehow manages to keep the new X1 Carbon’s dimensions in the “thin” column – its chassis, for instance, measures just 15.95mm at its thickest point. This is a ridiculously light laptop.
At the heart of the machine, Lenovo has gone with a dual-core Intel processor, the Core i7-7500U, for its excellent performance and conservative power usage. This two-core, four-thread CPU that goes from 2.7GHz to 3.5GHz when Turbo Boosted sips power with a TDP of just 15W. That means great performance while also keeping battery life in mind.
Battery, RAM, Storage
Lenovo says the new X1 Carbon can last for as long as 10 hours on a single charge. Interestingly, the charger uses one of the two Thunderbolt ports on the side of the unit as opposed to a more traditional power connector.
Lenovo also considered power when it came to the system’s RAM: the X1 comes with 8GB or 16GB of low-power DDR3. It’s not upgradeable, however, as the RAM is soldered onto the motherboard, but it’s a good compromise that balances performance, price, and power.
The storage solution Lenovo went with for this particular machine is likely to please fans of speed: the X1 Carbon comes with a generous 512GB PCIe NVMe M.2 hard drive that offers transfer speeds of over 3000MB/s. And yes, that’s megaBYTES per second, thanks to PCIe’s superior bandwidth over SATA. If that’s not enough for you, it can be specced with up to a full terabyte of SSD PCIe NVMe OPAL2 goodness.
This means Windows boots up in record time, and that whatever you do with the machine isn’t hamstrung by a slow storage subsystem. It also helps to keep the laptop thin, as M.2 drives like this are finger-sized cards of RAM chips that take up very little space.
The display is a regular 1080p non-touch screen with a matte anti-glare finish, 300-nit brightness, and a viewing angle of 170°. It’s not the fanciest, and designers aren’t going to get 100% sRGB out of it, but it’s good enough for business purposes, watching the occasional YouTube video, and playing the odd game. Discerning owners can spec the 14-inch screen to WQHD (2560 x 1440).
It even games
Speaking of gaming, while this is a business system that shouldn’t be thinking about games, Intel’s processor and graphics technologies have come so far that the Intel HD Graphics 620 that’s integrated into the Core i7-7500U can still play them. Non-intensive games like Dota 2, League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm, Torchlight II and their ilk all run smoothly, allowing business people to get in a bit of gaming between meetings (and while travelling) if that’s their thing.
To Sum Up
This is exactly the kind of business notebook to go for if performance and ultra-portability are the first two items on your checklist of must-have features. As a bonus you’ll also get ten-hour battery life, that incredible X1 Carbon look and feel, and Lenovo’s amazing keyboard. You really can’t go wrong with one of these babies for work.
- Incredibly sturdy chassis
- So thin and light
- Powerful CPU paired with an SSD = ffffaaaaassssst
- Generous storage
- LTE-A SIM option
- Gigabit WiFi
- Excellent keyboard
- 10-hour battery
- No optical drive
- Not a touchscreen
- ``Only`` 1080p
- CPU is only dual-core