Already a category contender with the IdeaPad U300s, Lenovo aims for the executive elite with what it calls the world’s lightest 14-inch ultrabook.
Lenovo had the ultraportable ThinkPad X220 and last year’s Gorilla Glass-screened, business/consumer hybrid ThinkPad X1, but it hasn’t had an all-out, sex-appeal executive status symbol in its product portfolio in a while. that changes this summer with the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, a super-slim ultrabook that combines carbon-fiber roll-cage construction with a 14-inch high-res (1,600-by-900) display.
Weighing in at just 3 pounds—a fraction less than some 13.3-inch ultrabooks, and a whole pound less than the similarly screened HP Envy 14 Spectre, the X1 Carbon has the tapering, skinny-wedge profile seen in the Apple MacBook Air 13-inch (Thunderbolt) and Asus ZenBook UX31-RSL8. Lenovo says it’s 18mm (0.71 inch) at its thickest point, actually meeting Intel’s trademark requirement for ultrabooks with smaller screens—14-inch and larger ultrabooks are allowed to be 21mm thick. (As you’d expect, the Carbon has no optical drive.)
Its backlit keyboard uses Lenovo’s new “precision,” meaning chiclet- or island-style, layout with dedicated Home, End, PgUp, and PgDn keys (albeit with the first two on the top and the latter two on the bottom row) and both a TrackPoint pointing stick and touchpad for cursor control. There’s a single set of mouse buttons—the TrackPoint’s—located between the space bar and touchpad, instead of buttons both above and below the touchpad as on larger ThinkPads. a fingerprint reader adds security.
Under the hood is an Intel third-generation “Ivy Bridge” Core processor with vPro manageability features for enterprise IT departments. while it hasn’t released an estimate of battery life, Lenovo boasts that the ThinkPad X1 Carbon offers Rapid Charge technology that can refill a drained battery to 80 percent capacity in 30 minutes.
According to the company, the glossy 14-inch screen offers 300 nits of brightness, while a 720p webcam with face tracking handles video calls and Dolby Home Theater 4 software enhances the ultrabook’s audio. 3G mobile broadband keeps users connected when no Wi-Fi hotspot is handy.
When we picked up the X1 Carbon with one hand or grasped the corners of its display, we appreciated its firm rather than overly flexible or flimsy feel. We also noted that, like the Dell XPS 13, the Lenovo is a little short on ports, with no VGA or Ethernet ports to be seen. Would-be office networkers will have to rely on Wi-Fi or a USB-to-Ethernet adapter.
But finite connectivity won’t make much difference to users seeking an exceptionally slim and sleek ultrabook with an exceptional screen and keyboard. We’re looking forward to learning the ThinkPad X1 Carbon’s (so far unannounced) price, and to testing a production unit as soon as one’s available.
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