Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (2015) Review: Back To Basics With Broadwell

Article Index

Performance Summary And Conclusion

Performance Analysis:

The new 2015 ThinkPad X1 Carbon offered some of the best performance results we've seen from a 13-inch Ultrabook in standard Productivity and Content Creation workloads. In gaming, the new X1 Carbon was also strong, but not quite as strong as we expected, with its slightly beefier CPU configuration. It's an interesting beast to be sure, but Lenovo's 2015 X1 Carbon offers notable upgrades in general performance versus last year's model. Battery life was also very strong as well, though perhaps offering slightly less duration versus the previous generation, in light-duty corner case usage models due to it higher clocks. Overall though, in real world use, it should actually offer longer up-time on a single charge because its Broadwell chip gets work done faster and more quickly gets to an idle state.

TP X1 Carb

In terms of build quality and component selection, the new ThinkPad X1 Carbon has some sorely needed tweaks in all the right places, a compromise or two, and one glaring omission. On the downside, why on earth Lenovo decided to leave out an SD Card slot yet again, baffles and flummoxes me to no end. Apparently, someone in the design team thinks Flash cards are just a fad? Whatever. It's not there, and we won't get over it any time soon. Also, where Lenovo could have selected a display panel with slightly better efficiency and brightness, they appeared to go with a display that offers slightly less output at 270 nits. It's not a big issue for us and in general the new X1 Carbon's display is accurate and gets the job done nicely. Regardless, it sure would have been nice to get a bit more pop, since many professionals we're sure would appreciate it, especially in Content Creation usage models.

On the upside, the 2015 ThinkPad X1 Carbon brings back the beloved traditional Lenovo ThinkPad 6-row keyboard style, with a compact row of Function keys up top that offer all the right controls, right there where you need them. The typing experience with this machine is deluxe and when you want to just bang out your work, you'll be loving life on this notebook. Full disclosure: Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Carbon has been my daily driver for about 5 years now, just for this very reason. It's just that comfortable for me. And can I get an "amen" for bringing back that 3+2 trackpad config? Right-on brother. The ThinkPad is back in the X1 Carbon.  

X1 Carbon 2015

Find Lenovo's 2015 ThinkPad X1 Carbon On Amazon

Lenovo's new ThinkPad X1 Carbon isn't completely without caveats, but it's an excellent balance of ultralight portability, performance and incredible efficiency; efficiency in workspace, weight and battery life. With an MSRP of $1574 as-tested and a base price of $1299, there's a bit of a premium to consider as well, but the 2015 ThinkPad X1 Carbon is easily one of our top picks in business-targeted ultrabooks and definitely recommended Hot Hardware.

hothardware recommended

  • Fantastic build quality
  • Stylish, understated, sleek
  • Great performance
  • Best keyboard in the business
  • Best trackpad in the business
  • Solid battery life
  • Great sounding speakers
  • No SD Card slot, again.
  • Display could be brighter
  • Pricey

Related content