It’s the Porsche 911 GT3 of the laptop world.
T he review unit as supplied is the full-spec job, and in this guise it truly is a supreme business machine. There’s an all-encompassing aura of luxury about the Carbon X1, which, in a world of nice looking ultrabooks, sets the Carbon X1 above the rest. Like all ThinkPads (past and present), there’s a wonderful fusion of raw utility and premium styling.
There are four models available in the all-new Carbon X1 range, from a 2.2GHz non-touch 128GB version, to the full pack of meat we’re testing today.
The $2669 pricetag is ballpark-average for an ultrabook of this specification, and that buys you a Core i7-5500U CPU (up to 3GHz), 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD which is also Opal 2.0 compatible (for better encryption). The only serious disappointment is that 8GB is the maximum memory configuration. Aside from the beautiful matt black finish, the 14inch IPS screen is the star. It’s razor sharp and its maximum brightness is just right. Visibility is pretty much perfect even from almost side-on, and its boardroom or coffee table party trick is being able to fold all the way flat, so everyone can see.
It’s very thin, with a tapered design that comes to a fine edge at the front (but notably not a razor sharp wrist-cutter like some) feels great to touch (not warm, but not cold like most metal-cased ultrabooks), almost silent – even under load, and the keyboard has the best feel of any I’ve tried in a year or more. Each key has a soft and grippy surface, not too grippy, mind you, but just right for extended accurate typing. Matching it is just about the best trackpad I’ve ever used. It’s large, almost frictionless (a glass surface, but somehow not hard and cold) and the extra large buttons have an action that’s just plain sexy, with a lush and perfectly weighted movement.
If you want an ultrabook that’s going to dazzle you every time you use it, and those around you who set eyes upon it, but has the performance and features to match its fine appearance, then this is your new ride.