Lenovo Thinkpad Carbon Touch Ultrabook Review (Part 3)

3/10/2013 9:12:04 AM

We are not so naive to expect not to find spam software on a business PC, but we expect them to come with fewer pre-installed programs than your typical consumer laptop. For sure, Lenovo was pretty easy on the floating software although it took the opportunity to cram in a plenty of programs. Starting with Metro-style apps, you have Skype, Skitch, Evernote, Amazon Kindle, and the streaming service

Other software includes Intel's AppUp app store, Microsoft Office, a trial version of Norton Internet Security and Lenovo Cloud, which is powered by SugarSync on the backstage. Like most other Ultrabooks, X1 Carbon Touch also has Intel's Wireless Display built-in technology, which allows you to transmit 1080p content to a screen or HDTV, as well as reflect your desktop. As ever, that requires a small third-party adapter, which you'll need to buy separately.

Starting with Metro-style apps, you have Skype, Skitch, Evernote, Amazon Kindle, and the streaming service

Starting with Metro-style apps, you have Skype, Skitch, Evernote, Amazon Kindle, and the streaming service

Lenovo also packed a several own apps, most of which are designed to provide a little built-in support, especially for businesspersons who don't have an IT staff to call. The most useful out of these is Lenovo Support, on which you'll find a Live Tile on Start Menu. You might also highly appreciate Lenovo's Solution Center, which has a shortcut pinned to the Taskbar on the desktop. There, you'll find tools that are related to security, system settings and troubleshooting. There's also Lenovo Companion, but with tiles for Lenovo Blog, a "product showcase" and additional apps, it's quite alike a self-promotion center. Lenovo smartly includes a shortcut button above the keyboard that lets you access lots of important hardware and software settings in one place.

X1 Carbon Touch has a standard one-year warranty, including support via phone and repair service via post. (To compare, HP EliteBook Folio starts at a price of 1,049 with a three-year warranty although that doesn't have a touchscreen that may be an important technical spec for you). However, if you like, though, throughout the configuration process you can extend the warranty time up to 4 years, as well as accidental damage and on-site repairs insurance.

Configuration options

Though in technical field, the X1 Carbon Touch has a starting price of $1,499, it currently costs $1,319 on with instant savings. The basic configuration is similar to the one we have tested, with a Core i5 microprocessor, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. In any case, that basic configuration comes with Windows 8 Home Premium, but you can upgrade to Pro with an extra $50. You can also upgrade to a 180GB SSD, which is what we have tested. It'll cost you an extra $70. If you want more capacity, you can buy a 240GB drive ($230) which is made by Intel or a 256GB disk ($280). In addition, Lenovo says it will soon release X1 Carbon-series laptop line with i7 processors and 8GB of RAM although a company representative refuses to say how much the upgrade will cost.

The X1 Carbon Touch has a starting price of 1,499 USD.

The X1 Carbon Touch has a starting price of $1,499.

Of course, finally, if the touchscreen seems to be overrated, you can always choose the regular X1 Carbon, which has a lower starting price of $1,249 (currently $1,099 or over on


We supposed that it depends on who you are and why you like ThinkPad. If you're interested in this because you're looking for a business machine, we have to say that you’ll find fewer privileges. We don't know much about Ultrabooks for businessperson, especially high-class ones such as these. One ultrabook we can recommend is HP EliteBook Folio 9470 (from and over $1,049), which provides similarly fast performance, along with an extra 1 hour of battery life. Our main complaints are that it has a lower-resolution 1,366x768 screen. It isn't also provided a touchscreen, if that important to you.

HP EliteBook Folio 9470

HP EliteBook Folio 9470

Meanwhile,  let’s take a look over the Dell XPS 13 ($1,000 or more) and XPS 14 ($1,100 and up), which offer business-oriented features like TPM, asset tagging, corporate images and custom BIOS - with a significantly lower starting price. Particularly, XPS 14 delivers relatively strong graphics performance and good battery life although we like the design and comfortable keyboard.

But what will happen if you're just looking for the best touchscreen Ultrabook? In that case, we're afraid ThinkPad X1 Carbon doesn't have all that much opponents. The reason: no other laptop has a better keyboard than this, and while the battery life here is somewhat poor, it is popular on every touchscreen laptop we've tested lately. And as we said, they're equally fast, both in test scores and as well as the more usual metrics such as startup times. So until there is something better, the playing field is mostly even, for a few important factors: keyboard, trackpad, display quality and the overall design (weight, thinness, etc.).

Is there anything else? You want us to name another option? Okay, fine. The standout touchscreen Ultrabook so far is the IdeaPad Yoga 13 also made by Lenovo. That costs about $1,000 and more and has a similarly good keyboard, along with a 1,600x9,000 screen and slightly longer battery life. If you can stand a smaller screen size, we're also fans of Dell XPS 12 ($1,200 and more), which has a comfortable keyboard, fast performance, a lovable 1080p IPS display and slightly long battery life (for a touchscreen Ultrabook).

IdeaPad Yoga 13

IdeaPad Yoga 13


It's a pity that every touchscreen Ultrabook we've tested has such stingy battery life. It forces us to recalibrate our expectations, and not necessarily in a good way. One of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon's biggest shortcomings is that its built-in battery only lasts 5 hours. That's a disappointment but once again, we don't know many touchscreen laptops that do better.

Move battery life aside, we focus on things like the keyboard, trackpad, performance and build quality - all areas where X1 Carbon stands out. Starting with secured design and productivity, this has one of the best keyboard/touchpad combinations we've ever seen on a laptop, that doesn’t even count that special red pointing stick. We also love the design: apart from being well-made, X1 Carbon Touch is also remarkably thin and light for a 14-inch machine, especially the one with a touchscreen. The display is not our favorite, with the narrow viewing angles, but at least the 1,600x900 resolution is nice and vibrant.

Therefore, there's no need to debate whether this is a stable laptop. Yes, an imperfect laptop, but a stable choice. The only remaining problem is the price. At $1,499 ($1,319 with instant savings), this isn't a cheap price for an Ultrabook with a Core i5 microprocessor, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of capacity. It doesn't even have a three-year warranty to help plead for the cost. It's just an expensive laptop - expensive even for a high-class Ultrabook. If money is not a problem, we'd suggest you buy X1 Carbon Touch over the regular, non-touch X1 Carbon, but due to the big gap in price, we understand if you chose the older version. You may also want to check out Dell XPS 12 ($1,200 or more) and Lenovo's own IdeaPad Yoga 13 ($1,000 or more), both of which have high-resolution touchscreens, fast performance, comfortable keyboards and quite long battery life. Or, you can wait for Lenovo to reduce the price. It's only a matter of time, isn’t it?


·         Product name: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch

·         Price: $1,499


·         Solid, lightweight design for a 14-inch laptop

·         Excellent keyboard and trackpad

·         Fast performance


·         Expensive

·         Narrow viewing angle


·         X1 Carbon Touch is among the currently best Windows 8 Ultrabooks, with comfortable keyboard, fast performance and super lightweight design.

·         However, it’s expensive, even for a high-end ultraportable.




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