Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2014, A Fantastic Revision - HotHardware

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2014, A Fantastic Revision

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In terms of brand recognition, Lenovo's ThinkPad probably has some of the best "brand equity" of just about any notebook line in the history of Windows PCs.  A favorite among IT managers for their rugged reliability, especially in business environments, Lenovo's ThinkPad brand, previously acquired from IBM, helped propel the company towards the number one PC market share position that it enjoys today.  Over the years, the ThinkPad has evolved dramatically as well, shape-shifting from squarish, utilitarian designs of the past, to new innovative, mechanically-gifted incarnations like the ThinkPad Yoga we recently reviewed. 

And while even these newer ThinkPads are usually "dressed for business," it could be said that Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Carbon series cuts through the stuffy facade, offering something for the conference room or coffee shop with a sleeker physique and sports car-like good looks.  The original ThinkPad X1 Carbon was initially released back in 2012 and at the time, its carbon fiber-infused chassis offered a rare combination of build quality and light-weight durability that Lenovo could still call a "ThinkPad" but with a style and feel all its own.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Ultrabook
Totally Revamped For 2014 - Lenovo's 14-Inch ThinkPad X1 Carbon Ultrabook

New for 2014, Lenovo has completely revamped the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, from the 4th generation Intel Haswell Core series processor under its hood, to its new higher density carbon fiber-filled polymer skins, a higher resolution display and even some major upgrades to the keyboard area.  The previous generation ThinkPad X1 Carbon scored itself a HotHardware Editor's Choice award. Let's see if the new ThinkPad X1 Carbon has what it takes to earn that accolade again. 

First, we'll go hands on with a video preview and then we'll dig into design, software and performance specifics in our full detailed review on the pages ahead...



Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2014
Specifications & Features
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Integrated Communications: 
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Intel Core i5-4200U (3MB Cache - 1.6 - 2.6GHz)
Windows 8.1 Pro
Intel HD Graphics 4400
8GB DDR3L 1600MHz
14-inch IPS WQHD (2560X1440) with mutli-touch, 300nits
720p HD camera
128GB SSD
Intel Centrino Wireless-AC 7260 + Bluetooth 4.0
USB 3.0 (x2), mini-HDMI 1.4, Ethernet
4-in-1 card reader
Lenovo OneLink
Volume and display lock
Headphone/mic jack
5-row with Trackpoint plus Adaptive backlit Keyboard keys
2 x 1 Watt Dolby Home Theater v4
8 Cell 45 Watt-hour - up to 9 hours battery life, Rapid Charge
Top: Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer
Bottom: Magnesium Aluminum Alloy
Lenovo Companion, Lenovo Support, Lenovo Quick Control
Lenovo ThinkVantage Tools, Lenovo QuickSnip
QuickCast, rara music, Zinio, Hightail, eBay
Microsoft Office trial
Desktop Toasts ForCriticalUpdates
Nitro Pro 8, Skitch Touch
Absolute Data Protect, Reading List, Norton Internet Security
2.8 lbs (Non-Touch), 3.15 lbs. (Touch Screen)
Starting at $1299 - $1579 as configured and tested 

Scanning through the high level specs, you'll note the new ThinkPad X1 Carbon has been upgraded with Intel's latest Core i5-4200U Haswell dual-core with integrated Intel HD 4400 graphics.  This change alone offers the machine significantly better graphics performance, power efficiency and battery life.

Lenovo now also offers a high resolution 2560X1440 multitouch IPS WQHD display in this 14-inch machine, in addition to the standard 1600X900 display option.  We of course opted for the WQHD version panel which also has brighter output at 300nits.



Lenovo also offers 128GB or 256GB SSD options as well as 4GB or 8GB DDR3 1600MHz configurations for the ThinkPad X1 Carbon.  In addition, you also get the latest Intel Centrino 7260 Wilkins Peak 2 AC wireless and Bluetooth 4.0 radio in this new ThinkPad, along with a native RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet dongle.
 

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If I were in the market for a new mobile workhorse, I think this would have to be it. I truly can't find too much to complain about. The lack of an SD slot would kill me, but that can still be worked-around easily enough.

And that screen... makes the 1200p main monitor I use for my desktop seem weak.

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I do really like this notebook. It's built so well and is the perfect size for me. Well done Lenovo!

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Sure...

Battery not user-replaceable

RAM soldered to the motherboard

Slow and unresponsive Function Key rows.

No good support for Linux (Specially for that new Function key row)

Removal of the *very* useful Thinklight

(And this is a very personal one) No physical mouse buttons.

Yeah, a "fantastic" revision.

Seems like I already have my last Thinkpad. These "Thingpads" are not for professionals anymore.

EDIT: Oh, and NO INSERT KEY!!!!! I'm guessing that Lenovo technicians spends all day on Twitter and Facebook and not using _real_ applications at all.

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