Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (2015) review

This high-end business Ultrabook struggles to sell its price tag

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (2015) review

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The Lenovo X1 Carbon is an impressively thin and light 3.1-pound machine, considering it has a 14-inch screen. But with dimensions measuring 13.03 x 8.94 x 0.73 inches, or 330 x 227 x 18 mm (W x D x H), it has a tough time of slipping into small bags designed for 13-inch laptops. Meanwhile, going with a larger carrying case designed for a 15-inch notebook will have the laptop jostling about while you carry it on your back or against your hip.

While Lenovo managed to shave down its 14-inch Ultrabook into a small frame, Dell has, by some manner of Time Lord science, fitted a 13-inch screen into 11-inch laptop with the XPS 13. Regarded as one of the lightest Ultrabooks currently in existence, the Dell XPS 13 weighs in at 2.8 pounds (1.27 kg) and measures 11.98 x 7.88 x 0.6 inches (304 x 200 x 15 mm).

The 13-inch MacBook Pro, meanwhile, sits in a happy medium between the two competitors, with a 12.35 x 8.62 x 0.71-inch (313 x 218 x 18 mm) frame. However, thanks to a completely aluminum unibody design, it's also the heaviest rig out of this grouping at 3.48 pounds (1.58kg).

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (2015) review

Here is the Lenovo X1 Carbon configuration sent to TechRadar for this review:

Spec Sheet

  • CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7- 5600U (dual-core, 4MB Cache, up to 3.2GHz)
  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500
  • RAM: 8GB DDR3L (1,600MHz)
  • Screen: 14-inch QHD 2,560 x 1,440 IPS Multi-touch with WWAN
  • Storage: 512GB SSD PCIe
  • Ports: 2 x USB 3.0, mini DisplayPort, HDMI, Ethernet, headphone + microphone combo jack, One Link connector
  • Connectivity: Intel 7265 AC Dual Band Wireless + Bluetooth Version 4.0
  • Camera: 720p HD camera
  • Weight: 3.1 pounds
  • Size: 13.03 x 8.94 x 0.73 inches (W x D x H)

For $2,100, you can get a fully loaded configuration of the Lenovo X1 Carbon as you see above. The bumped up price comes with some serious upgrades, including a higher-resolution 2,560 x 1,440 display, top-end processor, the maximum allotment of storage with a 512GB SSD and Windows 8.1 Pro.

Those looking to pick up the a top-end Lenovo X1 Carbon in the United Kingdom and Australia will sadly be stuck looking at SSDs with a maximum storage space of 256GB and a lower-spec 2.4GHz Intel Core i7- 5500U CPU. Meanwhile, the entry-level configuration for this 14-inch Ultrabook comes with a 2.2GHz Intel Core i5-5200U processor, 4GB of RAM and only an 128GB SSD for $1,088 (£1,199, AU$1,799).

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (2015) review

Despite the preconceived stigma of the "Apple tax," a similarly specced 13-inch MacBook Pro is actually more affordable than the priciest X1 Carbon. For $1,799 (£1,399, AU$2,499), you could get a 13-inch Retina display (2,560 x 1,600 resolution), with a 2.9 GHz Intel Core i5 processor, 512GB SSD and superior Intel Iris 6100 graphics.

A decked out Dell XPS 13 comes at an even more affordable $1,449, plus a high-resolution, 3,200 x 1,800 screen. That said, the US model is limited to only an Intel Core i5-5200U processor, which also powers the base-model Lenovo X1 Carbon. The Dell XPS 13 is available in the UK with an Intel Core i7-5500U Processor, a 512GB SSD and all the other top-end specs for £1,299. Interested buyers in Australia have the option of going with an AU$2,498 configuration that includes an Intel Core i7-5600U chip, but is again limited to only 256GB in storage.

Kevin Lee

Kevin Lee was a former computing reporter at TechRadar. Kevin is now the SEO Updates Editor at IGN based in New York. He handles all of the best of tech buying guides while also dipping his hand in the entertainment and games evergreen content. Kevin has over eight years of experience in the tech and games publications with previous bylines at Polygon, PC World, and more. Outside of work, Kevin is major movie buff of cult and bad films. He also regularly plays flight & space sim and racing games. IRL he's a fan of archery, axe throwing, and board games.