The Lenovo ThinkPad Carbon Touch (2014) makes some bold changes to one of our favorite business ultrabooks, but while it's still a good laptop, not every change is for the better.
There's no denying the portable nature of this thin 'n' light laptop, even if it is undercut in both metrics by a 13.3-inch MacBook Air. The ThinkPad's processor performance is fractionally faster thanks to its 0.1 GHz advantage over the latter, but the overall choice of CPU, operating system and display together compromise the X1 Carbon's battery life to provide less than half that of what's possible. In its favour, the X1 Carbon has better screen image quality and a characterful keyboard that can command a loyal following. Ultimately, the X1 Carbon looks overpriced and more cheaply constructed than the MacBook Air, and moreover loses out against the more affordable MacBook Pro with Retina display.
Almost everything about the new X1 Carbon is better than the original. But the company's engineers should have left most of the keyboard alone. We can also do without its speech- and gesture-recognition.
With a durable, thinner-than-ever build, high-res display and a useful new keyboard feature, the X1 Carbon could have been a great Ultrabook. Unfortunately, the short battery life, cramped button layout and the removal of the SD card slot are all strikes against it.
But despite being lightweight and ultra powerful, the first Thinkpad X1 Carbon's enterprise appeal was hampered by a few issues, primarily its lack of an Ethernet port and slightly poor non-removable battery. Two years on Lenovo has addressed these...