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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon – Speakers, Performance and Software

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

9

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon - Speakers

Audio is remarkably good for a business ultra-slim. The X1 Carbon’s speakers go pretty loud without too much distortion and manage a reasonable mid-range, though bass is noticeable only by its absence. We probably wouldn’t watch an epic movie on this Ultrabook without headphones, but for lighter fare it’s adequate. Volume, mute and mic mute can be controlled using dedicated buttons above the keyboard.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon - Specs and Performance

High-end ThinkPads have rarely compromised on power, and the X1 Carbon certainly gives you enough to run even the most intensive (non-3D) software. The £1,190 config sports the common Core i5 backed by 4GB of RAM and a 128GB hard drive, while £1,700 will get you a Core i7, 8GB of RAM and a 240GB SSD. Make sure you have enough RAM for your needs as, unlike most ThinkPads (but like many Ultrabooks) you can’t upgrade the amount on the Carbon afterwards.

PCMark 07

General: 4963

Entertainment: 3798

Our review sample ran a dual-core Intel ‘Ivy Bridge’ Core i5-3427U that hums along at 1.8GHz but can Turbo Clock up to 2.8GHz and offers Hyper-Threading for virtual quad-core support. It was backed by 8GB of DDR3 RAM and the 240GB SSD, which is a speedy Samsung model – an excellent choice for performance and reliability.

Gaming

TrackMania Nations Forever (average fps, 720p, Medium Detail)

42.3

S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Call of Pripyat (average fps, 720p, Medium Detail)

26.4

This system happily ripped through most of our benchmarks, with only 3D gaming a relative weak spot thanks to Intel’s integrated HD 4000. With a 26.4fps average at medium settings in Stalker, which is hardly a demanding title by modern standards, only casual gamers need apply – but that goes for most Ultrabooks and the ThinkPad X1 Carbon is, after all, a business machine.

It’s worth noting that the Carbon stays quiet and only slightly warm even when under load, due to some excellent engineering on Lenovo’s part. These are major plus points as many slim Ultrabooks can be both noisy and rather hot when pushed.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon - Windows 8 and Touch

The X1 Carbon comes with Windows 8 by default, but you can switch to Windows 7 Professional for a mere 95 pence. As the Carbon doesn’t come with a touchscreen yet, the older version of Microsoft’s operating system probably makes more sense right now. If you do want touch, to go with Windows 8’s ‘Metro’ style interface and apps like Angry Birds, Lenovo has revealed it will soon be offering a touch screen option on its premium business Ultrabook.

Where other software is concerned, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon comes with a host of Lenovo-specific ThinkVantage bits for wireless and battery management, security, maintenance and the like. Unlike similar apps from some rivals, these are not only slick and user-friendly, but genuinely enhance Windows’ core functionality.

Repelsteeltje

December 4, 2012, 8:02 am

A lot of people seem to complain about a "screen door effect" in the display used for the Carbon X1, and some have returned it because of that.

As I haven't seen the Carbon anywhere yet to check for myself, do you notice this "screen door" or anything abnormal about the pixel spacing – especially with light backgrounds?

TechVegan

December 4, 2012, 11:24 pm

Thanks for your comment. Yes I did notice it, which is why I mention "visible pixel structure" in the review.
TBH this is something you'll see on many laptops and is easy enough to live with. Try checking out other laptops that suffer from the same effect in a store if you want to see it in the 'flesh'.

pgchamberlin

December 13, 2012, 2:46 pm

It seems screens are the only downside to Lenovo machines these days. I've got a U300s which is gorgeous except for its less than perfect display. Sounds like the same is true of the Carbon X1. It's not a deal breaker for me though, I'd love one of these!

Rob

January 23, 2013, 7:15 am

What's the story with the battery when it reaches the end of its service life? Can it be replaced or does the whole laptop get discarded (or returned to the manufacturer for a whole laptop replacement - like the Mac?).

Dom Jolly

February 22, 2013, 2:00 pm

The complaint about the Fn and Ctrl keys being the "wrong" way round isn't really applicable with a ThinkPad - you can map them the "right" way in the BIOS. Obviously the labels will still be wrong, but it's not as big of an issue as with other laptops where that's not an option.

royan naimi

April 12, 2013, 9:09 am

mantap gan, nice info...

Booo

November 7, 2013, 8:29 pm

Really nice laptop aesthetically BUT the sound doesn't work randomly for like no reason and even the IT guys at work can't figure it out - it's a common problem apparently with other machines at work too. Also, I use a USB wireless keyboard and mouse that always worked just fine with my old T41 but now with the x1 carbon the mouse jiggles about like it's running out of battery and when typing, the keyboard misses out letters... Very annoying! The battery isn't running low btw and I've tried changing USB ports etc - it's a commonly reported problem at work too with these laptops. Such a shame as I was expecting so much!

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