Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Ultrabook Review: Now the Ultrabook to Beat

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The 14-inch, 1600 x 900-resolution screen also impresses. The matte anti-glare panel isn't glossy and has great viewing angles. When I tilted the display back in my airplane seat I didn't have to readjust it to make out the words or the video on the screen. And because of the matte coating I was able to work outside with the laptop without having to squint.

Performance on the laptop matched other Windows ultrabooks I've tested. My $1,849 unit's Core i7 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 256GB solid state drive added up to a very snappy experience. Programs launched quickly in Windows 7, the system booted up in just 30 seconds, and resumed from sleep in four seconds. Watching a 720p TV episode while simultaneously running Google Chrome with over 10 tabs open, MetroTwit (a Twitter client), and Microsoft Word was no hurdle for the machine. It stayed relatively cool and quiet during heavier use, though the back left side did get a bit warm.

The base $1,399 model has a Core i5 processor, a 128GB drive, and 4GB of RAM. All the configurations are more expensive than most other ultrabooks out there. Dell, Asus, HP, etc. offer the same configuration with their respective ultrabooks for a $999 starting price. (Note: Lenovo says the X1 is Windows 8 ready. Those who buy this laptop now will be able to upgrade to Windows 8 on Oct. 26 for just $20.)

Battery life on the laptop is quite good, though not as good as some others on the market. In typical usage I got close to about five hours of nonstop computing (yes, I spend a lot of time at the laptop without ever leaving). On a video rundown test, which loops the same HD clip with the brightness set at 65 percent, the battery lasted four hours and 28 minutes. That's shorter than the MacBook Air's six and a half hours and the Samsung Series 9's five hours and 34 minutes.

But where the X1 Carbon does top those machines is in battery recharge time. It took 30 minutes to get a totally dead battery up to 80 percent. That's much faster than other laptops out there. However, like Apple's new MacBook with Retina Display, the new X1 Carbon uses a different charging port than previous ThinkPads, so you'll have to invest in all-new chargers.

The X1 Carbon leaves very little to complain about. That is, until you get to its price tag. The $1,399 starting price is more than most ultrabooks out there, but the laptop is also better than most (if not all) the ultrabooks out there.

It has a durable, clean design, one of the best keyboards ever made, a high quality screen, a trackpad that doesn't frustrate, and strong performance. And with that, not only is the X1 Carbon one of the best business laptops of its time, but it's also got mass appeal, which isn't something that first ThinkPad could claim back in 1992.

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