Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2014, A Fantastic Revision

Performance Summary and Conclusion

Performance Summary:

From purely a performance standpoint, the new Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon does not disappoint.  The model we tested, with a more modest configuration of Intel's Core i5-4200U (you can configure a system with up to a Core i7-4600U) performed very well, ranking near the top of the pack in most tests, even in more strenuous game testing.  The Samsung SSD on board the new ThinkPad X1 Carbon ranks among the fastest on the market currently and boot times, as well as application load times, are "don't blink, or you'll miss it" kind of fast.  So the numbers are good, but what really sets the new ThinkPad X1 Carbon apart is usability, premium build quality and an overall premium experience.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (2014) Ultrabook
If you're partial to Lenovo ThinkPad design cues, with its dark, slate gray color palette, accented with an occasional flash of "Think" red, then you'll most likely love this latest Lenovo design.  Even if the looks of traditional ThinkPads turn you off, you'll most likely be thoroughly impressed if you get a chance to lay your hands on one of these machines. Yes, it's built that well.

In addition, the adaptive function key row that resides above the keyboard area, is a nice evolution beyond the legacy F-key layout.  The feature ads both an attractive aesthetic flare but also useful functionality that can even fill in some of the gaps that users migrating from previous generations of the Windows OS might experience the first time with Windows 8.  These functions are there of course without Lenovo's new adaptive function row, but in some spots it offers quick shortcuts that come in handy.

Though the new ThinkPad X1 Carbon isn't perfect, it's about as close to perfect as we've seen from ultrabook yet.  We wish Lenovo included a micro-SD card slot and we wish the display was just a touch brighter, but these were very minor drawbacks in our estimation.  All told, and we don't toss this word around casually, we really love this machine.  Personally, Lenovo's new ThinkPad X1 Carbon is by far the nicest ultrabook I've had the pleasure of working with to date. This machine strikes a perfect balance of both a light weight but durable feel that inspires confidence.  Its 14-inch touch display is gorgeous at 2560X1440 and we think it's a well-placed upgrade when configuring a build-out of the machine. And its keyboard, as is common with many ThinkPad designs, is top-shelf with an easy learning curve.

The main caveat for most consumers considering this machine will be its price tag.  Starting at $1299 and working up from there, the new ThinkPad X1 Carbon as we tested it retails for $1579.  Regardless, this is also one of those rare times you get what you pay for.  This notebook has an original design and build quality that rivals premium products from the absolute best of breed out there.  If you're looking to invest in a notebook that looks great, performs flawlessly, and offers one of the best experiences you can get right now from a Windows machine, look no further than the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon.

  • Beautiful design
  • Superb build quality
  • Gorgeous 2560X1440 display
  • Great performance
  • Useful adaptive function row
  • Best keyboard in the business
  • No SD card slot
  • Pricey

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