Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2015 – A full-on update
Intel is officially unwrapping its new Broadwell-U processors at CES 2015, so we’re seeing a few new and refreshed laptops this year. Leading the charge is the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon, an update to a popular laptop. It’s not just a basic refresh, however, as Lenovo has ‘fixed’ its leading 13-inch laptop and returned some features it removed in its last refresh.
This means that the dedicated function keys along the top of the keyboard are back, as are the mouse buttons above the the trackpad for use with the TrackPoint. This will no doubt please ThinkPad fans who didn’t like the direction the last version went in. If you’re in that camp, prepare to be very pleased indeed.
The price and release date of the 2015 X1 Carbon are still be confirmed
The basic specs and design of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon are hugely impressive. Like most laptops in the ultrabook class it has a 13-inch screen and it’s very thin and light. It measures just 17.7mm think and weighs a shade more than 1.3kg. This is common knowledge for X1 Carbon fans, but it bears repeating.
But Lenovo has added some important new features to the 2015 X1 Carbon. It now features PCIe SSD storage in a similar vein to the MacBook Air. This is important because you’re now dodging the bottleneck of SATA in favour of the faster PCIe, which means the 2015 X1 Carbon will tap into more of the performance of the on-board SSD. It will ship with up to 512GB drives.
Related: Intel Core M – Everything you need to know
The next thing that warrants mentioning is the screen, which is a sharp, bright and non-glare 2560 x 1440 IPS touchscreen effort. Unlike cheaper laptops, the touschscreen element doesn’t degrade the image quality: it’s bright, colourful and awesome to look at.
Combine this with the traditional strengths of the ThinkPad range and the 2015 X1 Carbon is clear winner. It’s been while since I’ve had my hands on a ThinkPad keyboard and I’d forgotten what a wondrous thing they are. The keyboard on the X1 Carbon has a tactile feel and responsiveness you just don’t find on rival laptops of any creed.
Wireless connectivity includes 802.11ac Wi-Fi and there’s a smattering of USB 3.0 ports and an HDMI output for good measure.
Finally, Lenovo has upgraded the battery to a 50Wh unit. This, combined with the as yet unannounced Intel Core M processor inside, means Lneovo has upped the claimed battery life to 10.5 hours from 8.6 hours. That’ll do.
Related: Intel’s 14nm revolution – Why you should care
I’m rarely disappointed by ThinkPads and the X1 Carbon 2015 is no exception. Fixing the unpopular changes of the last version will please devotees, while all the things that make these laptops great remains. If you’re looking for a laptop upgrade in 2015 then this should be high on your shortlist.