Review: Lenovo's New ThinkPad X1 Carbon Is A Highly Portable Workhorse


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Not everyone needs a laptop with a touchscreen that can fold every which way. But portability, horsepower and battery life are items on most buyer's wish lists.

And that's what Lenovo delivers with its latest, fifth-generation update to the ThinkPad X1 Carbon. It's a worthy update to Lenovo's popular business-friendly laptop, with well-chosen upgrades over the previous version. Overall, we found the fifth-gen X1 Carbon to be a pleasure to use while trying it out in the CRN Test Center (and we found little to complain about).

[Related: Intel Inside Laptops: Here Are The Top 6 Kaby Lake Notebook Brands In 2017 Q1]

A first big upgrade to mention is that the bezel around the display is almost non-existent, which means this is a 14-inch laptop display on roughly the size of a typical 13-inch laptop. That helps to make the X1 Carbon a small-feeling laptop that still has plenty of screen space to work on.

This is the approach that Dell has taken with the XPS 13, and we think Lenovo has been just as successful with it. It's a welcome improvement.

Lenovo has also placed the webcam above the display where you'd expect it, in contrast to the Dell's awkward placement of the webcam below the display in the corner.

Lenovo has also made the new X1 Carbon 6 percent lighter than the previous model, at 2.5 pounds. That makes it one of the lightest business laptops we've tried out, and it's also pretty thin at 0.63-inch thick. The portability one of our favorite features of the fifth-gen X1 Carbon.

And despite the thin-and-light form factor, the laptop still features the sturdy build that is expected of ThinkPads. The body is reinforced with carbon fiber and magnesium alloy, and the laptop passed a series of military-standard and in-house durability tests, Lenovo said.

Our tryout model included a seventh-gen Intel Core i5 processor and 8GB of RAM, and we were impressed with the speed of the laptop even though it doesn't use the top-level processor. Web pages and video loaded ultra-fast and multi-tasking was no cause for sluggishness on the laptop.

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