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Product Spotlight: Lenovo X1 Carbon

In 2012, Lenovo released the original ThinkPad X1 Carbon. This new laptop replaced the ThinkPad X1. Some of the changes in the Carbon were that it has a solid-state drive rather than a hard drive like its predecessor, at least four gigabytes of memory, and a base-level 128 gigabyte SSD. The top model boasted a Core i7 processor and a 256 gigabyte SSD.

 In 2015, the then-latest X1 Carbon came with a 2560 x 1440 resolution and included mouse buttons under the TrackPoint. The 2015 edition also included a fingerprint reader on the right of the keyboard that could be used to log into Windows. The fourth generation of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon was released at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2016.


Overall, since its inception in 2012, reviews for the Carbon X1 have been well above average. The biggest criticisms of the Carbon are regarding its appearance, and after a decade or more, people seem to understand that Lenovo ThinkPads have a signature style. They are simple, and some say a little clunky looking, but they tend to perform better than most laptops. So, the simple black design is becoming less important to consumers with every passing year. People want reliable laptops, and Lenovo ThinkPads deliver.

One reviewer for TheVerge called Lenovo’s signature look “boring and frumpy,” but did sing praises for its durability and reliability. This reviewer had been using MacBooks, which he liked for their sleekness and long battery, but the 2017 ThinkPad X1 Carbon seems to be a combination of the two computers.

2017 X1 Carbon Specs

For the 2017 model:

  • Intel Core i5-6300U
  • The operating system is Windows 10 Pro
  • 8GB RAM
  • 256 GB HDD
  • 2.6 lbs. weight; dimensions of 13.11” x 9.02” x .65 inches”


The base-model display has a 1920 x 1080 resolution and is getting average reviews, while the higher resolution model is 2560 x 1440 and gets higher ratings for contrast and better overall picture than the model with lesser resolution.

The speakers on the computer are bottom mounted. Laptopmag reports that the speakers provide accurate audio that is loud enough to fill a mid-sized living room, and that the quality of sound is great. The computer comes with preloaded Dolby Audio software, meaning that there is a manual graphical equalizer and presets for different activities like music, games, movies, and Skype chatting.


For most uses, a good keyboard is paramount and laptop keyboards have been inferior to standalones for years. The X1 Carbon has come a long way. Previous iterations of the machine had keys that were described as mushy, shallow, and awkward. The new keyboard feels better to the typist, including good key spring-back. One thing that people who are used to typing will like about his keyboard is that the keys can travel 1.8mm, which is more like a desktop keyboard. This compares to other keyboards like the Dell XPS 13, which has 1.2mm travel and MacBook Air which has 1mm travel. 

When discussing millimeters of travel when pushing on a key, .8mm difference may not seem like a lot. However, less travel means that you are more likely to make mistakes when typing, and it can make a big difference. Retyping and correcting errors can make a job feel unfinishable, and frustration and low morale can be the result of an inefficient keyboard.


The ThinkPad X1 Carbon has a port for almost every use, so there is no need to carry multiple adaptors to give you access to everything you need. However, the two special ports this model of the X1 Carbon does not have include an Ethernet port, and a full-sized SD card reader. Otherwise, the 2017 X1’s standard ports are sufficient for nearly every job.

Web Cam

The webcam has been described as sufficient, if not great. Colors can come off as somewhat duller than real life. The advantage of this webcam is that it can brighten the image in an otherwise dim room, which many built-in webcams cannot do.

The Verdict

With a battery life in the 8 to 9-hour range, and a rapid charge option that can charge up to 80% in an hour, the 2017 X1 Carbon seems to be popular with people who have already bought. Most reviews are positive, and many recognize that it has all the power that most professionals will need. It has been described as a laptop with a brilliant screen, a long battery life, a well-above-average keyboard, and at 2.6 pounds, it is light enough to haul around.