There are laptops, and then there are ThinkPads. Robust notebooks with a soft touch raven black finish and the best keyboard in the business. So when Lenovo releases a ThinkPad Ultrabook, we take notice. The ThinkPad X1 Carbon is Lenovo's first official ThinkPad Ultrabook. Yes, they released the original X1 in May of 2011, but it weighed nearly 4 pounds, had mobile rather than ULV CPUs and didn't go by the then nonexistent Ultrabook handle.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is both thoroughly Ultrabook and ThinkPad. It has the unmistakable look of a ThinkPad and that mil spec solidness that says "go ahead, drop me a few times". It runs on Intel Ivy Bridge ULV CPUs (your choice of Core i5 and Core i7) with Intel HD 4000 graphics and it weighs just 3 pounds. Unlike the small but powerful 12.5" Lenovo ThinkPad X230, the X1 Carbon is one of the thinner machines on the planet at 0.31-0.71 inches.
The ThinkPad X1 Carbon is a 14" laptop with a 13.3" footprint. It has a 1600 x 900 display with wide viewing angles and 300 nits of brightness. And it's a matte display! Lenovo addresses two complaints with the outgoing X1: no high res option and no matte option since it was clad in durable but mirror-like Gorilla Glass. Though the X1 Carbon's display doesn't compete with Asus Zenbook Prime 1080p IPS matte displays, it's one of the better non-IPS displays found on notebooks.
The X1 Carbon has a carbon rather than magnesium alloy roll cage inside (hence the name) and it's passed 8 Mil-Spec tests. The shell is also carbon fiber, and as we've learned from high end Sony notebooks, this allows for a much lighter product. The X1 Carbon has one USB 2.0 port and one USB 3.0 port. It has a mini DisplayPort and a 3.5mm audio jack. Lenovo, like Asus, includes a USB Ethernet adapter in the box. We're honestly surprised Lenovo didn't fit a few more ports in this 14" chassis.
The difficult news? The ThinkPad Carbon X1 starts at $1,399 for the base Core i5-3317U with a 128 gig SSD. The Core i7 2.0GHz with VPro and a 256 gig SSD is $1,849. There are a few configs in between and all start with 4 gigs of DDR3 RAM (8 gigs is max). The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon will be available this month.
Here's our Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon video review. Our full written review will follow in the coming days.