Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (2017) Review: Optimized Mobility

ThinkPad X1 Carbon (2017) Review Summary

ThinkPad X1 Carbon Performance

Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Carbon is significantly more optimized than the previous generation in a number of ways, as we noted at the outset of this review, not the least of which is performance. While the previous gen X1 Carbon offered competitive performance for its weight class, the 2017 ThinkPad X1 Carbon stepped out in almost every test we ran with top-shelf scores for an ultrabook class machine. From CPU and graphics workloads to storage sensitive tasks, this laptop handled our benchmark gauntlet with aplomb. The X1 Carbon also chalked-up very strong battery life numbers, whether under the duress of Battery Eater or kicking back with some HD video. 

ThinkPad X1 Carbon Display Win10 Home Screen
Find the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (2017) at Amazon

With the rest of this new ThinkPad's optimizations, Lenovo has brought efficiency to the table in several areas. The 5th gen ThinkPad X1 Carbon is dramatically smaller than the previous versions and its display bezel is much thinner all around as well. What's interesting about these size reductions are that they don't come at the cost of comfort and build quality. In fact, the machine feels even more rigid and stronger (MIL-STD 810G environmental stress certified) than the previous-gen and its typing deck is every bit as comfortable, along with its more spacious trackpad and flatter-black exterior coating. Everything about this machine's industrial design is better than the previous gen, save for its hard to access microSD/SIM card slot door. At least there is a slot now on this version, however, as it was one of our main gripes for omission in previous X1 Carbon machines.  

ThinkPad X1 Carbon Top Back

Beyond that and the fact that you have but one display type and resolution to pick from (1080p FHD IPS non-touch), the new ThinkPad X1 Carbon is one fantastic 14-inch laptop. Some prospective customers may have reservations about a non-touch display these days, when they are so common, but for a traditionally business-class machine, it shouldn't be a deal-breaker. It also contributes to the X1 Carbon's excellent battery life numbers. Pricing, on the other hand, doesn't reflect the machine's more mid-range display choice. For $1335 as tested (starting at $1175), this flagship ThinkPad notebook brings with it a premium cost of entry as well. 

ThinkPad X1 Carbon Power Button

Regardless, going into a decision to pick up the 2017 ThinkPad X1 Carbon with these caveats in mind, we think most users will love this new Lenovo laptop for its great performance, excellent battery life, superb usability, and portability. Lenovo also continues to deliver the best laptop keyboard designs in the business, in our humble opinion. They're a refreshing, professional-grade departure from the all-too common and often uncomfortable chiclet style keyboard found on so many machines. The ThinkPad name has always meant "business," but also for the mainstream user that wants a well-built, high performance premium ultrabook, you can't go wrong with the new 5th generation Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon.  

hothardware recommended

  • Excellent, compact premium design
  • Great build quality and materials
  • Excellent performance
  • Fantastic keyboard and trackpad
  • Great battery life
  • Only non-touch display options
  • Premium price point
  • Awkwardly placed SIM/microSD slot

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