Review Index:

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Review: Finally, A Great Ultrabook Keyboard

Author: Matt Smith
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Lenovo

Performance - Gaming, Conclusion

Performance – Gaming

The Lenovo ThinkPad Carbon X1 comes with Intel HD 4000. I could post all our benchmarks and carefully explain the performance of each, but I’d be wasting your time and mine. Why? Because the X1 performs exactly like all the other Intel HD 4000 parts I’ve tested in the past. There’s no notable variation at all. Yawn.

Still, you need a general jest of things, so here are the benchmark graphs. I’m just not going to detail each individually.

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The Carbon isn’t much of a gamer. It’ll run an older title like Dawn of War 2 and it can run Diablo 3 at acceptable framerates if you turn down the detail, but a graphically demanding game like Civilization 5 or Battlefield 3 is going to give the Carbon fits. Expect to run at minimum detail, and even then there may be some chop in gameplay.


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Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon has a wonderfully engineered foundation. The laptop is thin and light yet also practical and functional. It's an ultrabook a serious typist could use all day without complaint, yet it's also thin and light enough to attract consumer attention.

There are, however, a couple not-so-small problems. One is the display. It’s fine, but it’s  behind the quality of the HP Envy 14 Spectre and way behind the ASUS Zenbook Prime UX31A. The high dot pitch is a strange and ugly downside, and the panel doesn’t make up for this problem by excelling in any other area.

Another issue is the battery. It’s short even for an ultrabook. While home users will have no complaints, serious business travelers – the Carbon’s alleged target market – will find it a problem. A traveler can pack this laptop without sacrificing performance, but they’d best not stray far from an outlet. The integrated nature of the battery only makes this problem worse because it eliminates the possibility of an extended battery.

I must admit that I personally like the Carbon. After all, I write for a living, so a great keyboard wins me over. But I have a hard time figuring out a reason why I would recommend it over the HP Envy 14 Spectre or Zenbook Prime. Neither is as suitable for travelers, but truth be told, the Carbon is also a poor choice. A serious traveler should buy a T430s or X230 and deal with the added weight. That leaves consumers, who will prefer the Envy 14 Spectre’s better display and far more attractive exterior. And while the keyboard is not as good, it’s not bad either.

The high-end ultrabook you should buy will depend a lot on your needs, but I think the Carbon is the most niche of the (good) ultrabooks on the market thus far. ThinkPad fans will love this laptop. But if you’ve never understood why people spend a lot on ugly black bricks, go buy a Spectre.

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September 7, 2012 | 01:39 PM - Posted by Annoyingmouse (not verified)

If it meant we could have quiet cooling, RAM slots, and perhaps a low end discreet graphics card, I'd be happy to let the manufacturers have a few more mm of thickness.

September 7, 2012 | 03:20 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

How fast can it backup to NAS!

September 7, 2012 | 05:05 PM - Posted by genomad (not verified)

I want this laptop. But its kinda sad that thinkpads haven't had killer screens since 15" sxga+ ips "Flexview" line from the t4x and t6x series.

I actually still use my t42 frequently because i love the keyboard and is awesome IPS screen.

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