Battery life is the bane of many a slim Ultrabook, but again the X1 Carbon acquits itself well. It managed just over seven and a half hours in our standard mixed productivity test – a marked improvement over the original Lenovo ThinkPad X1’s three and a bit, and in line with the best of the rest.
(40 percent screen brightness, wireless radios disabled, mixed productivity)
Mind you, if you use wireless radios (especially 3G) this figure is likely to go down steeply and, unlike for its predecessor, there’s no optional slice battery. Still, with careful use it should last you through a working day, and thanks to Lenovo’s RadipCharge tech, plugging it in for just half an hour will get you up to five hours’ use.
When it comes to value, this ThinkPad holds up pretty well. Sure you pay a premium over the average consumer Ultrabook, but you’re getting superb build quality, unmatched ergonomics, a pretty decent screen, good battery life and a host of essential business features like TPM and V-Pro, along with a class-leading three year warranty.
If buying direct from Lenovo, we would definitely recommend upgrading the screen resolution even if you opt for the ‘base’ model, meaning you’re looking at £1,252. Adding 3G takes this up to £1,320.
Compared to the other big-name 14-inch premium Ultrabook on the market, the £980 HP Envy Spectre 14, you’re getting similar specs, the same screen resolution and at least as much style from the HP. However, it’s a consumer-oriented machine and lacks the ruggedness and hardware/software security features of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, not to mention 3G. It’s also far thicker and heavier, a real fingerprint magnet, and not as nice to use, plus you can’t upgrade it to the same impressive specs.
Another inevitable comparison will be the MacBook Air 13-inch. Again though, the Air is simply not a business machine and, aside from the benefits mentioned above, the Carbon gives you more screen real estate, a superior typing experience, and a more pleasant finish without the sharp edges. If you are after something more consumer-oriented, the Samsung Series 9 is definitely worth checking out.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is everything the original X1 should have been. Though its TN screen doesn’t quite match up to the premium style, build and features of this stunning Ultrabook, in every other regard it’s easily the best business ultraportable around. Its soft-touch chassis is a pleasure to carry or rest your hands on, and despite being stuffed with features, it retains an incredibly slim and sleek profile for a 14-inch machine. The Carbon’s keyboard quite simply offers the best typing experience of any Ultrabook. And though it packs some serious specs, it’s remarkably quiet even under load.