Lenovo launches 14-inch carbon-fiber ultrabook

There’s a new ThinkPad on the way. There are quite a few new ones on the way, actually, but the ThinkPad X1 Carbon is undoubtedly the most eye-catching of them: a 14-inch ultrabook with an uber-slim carbon-fiber chassis and a look that reminds one of business laptops from decades past (sort of).

Touted as the “lightest 14-inch Ultrabook in the industry,” the ThinkPad X1 tips the scales at less than three pounds. According to the official teaser page, it features built-in 3G wireless and a “RapidCharge” battery, which can charge to near full capacity in only 30 minutes.

According to The Verge, which gleaned a few extra details from Lenovo’s presentation, the system also has a backlit keyboard, USB 3.0 and DisplayPort connectivity, a 1600×900 display with 300 cd/m² brightness, and of course, an Ivy Bridge processor. That last feature probably explains why the X1 isn’t due out until the summer. The first dual-core, ultrabook-bound Ivy Bridge derivatives with 17W thermal envelopes aren’t out yet, and they aren’t expected to break cover until next month.

Comments closed
    • Mourmain
    • 7 years ago

    Too bad it doesn’t have an ethernet port, or VGA. I was actually considering it.

    At least they’ve done away with the silly glossy Gorilla glass, which has no place in a corporate laptop.

      • yogibbear
      • 7 years ago

      Wouldn’t a docking station have the ethernet and VGA ports? Paint me a picture where you need an ethernet port and won’t have a) wireless b) access to a usb->ethernet adapter.

      If you do need to get VGA out then a display port adapter is all you need.

      Yes I can understand the need for the adapter is dumb, but most cases where you’d plug into ethernet you’d also be able to have the docking station. (think of a work environment)

        • Stranger
        • 7 years ago

        plenty of hotels only have ethernet and no wifi.

        like wise at most conferences i go to the projectors have VGA and not HDMI hook ups. although that’s starting to change.

    • helix
    • 7 years ago

    One positive point not mentioned yet is that there seem to be no ports placed in the front half of the sides. Some previous thinkpads have had that, and it would have made it impossible to use a mouse.
    Lenovo is ticking off a lot of requirements and wish-list items here.

      • Voldenuit
      • 7 years ago

      That’s not implemented across the range. For instance, the X230 has ethernet, USB and SD card slots in the front right corner, but that’s mostly due to space constraints on the small chassis:

      [url<]http://www.notebookreview.com/shared/picture.asp?f=64879[/url<]

    • ronch
    • 7 years ago

    This is by far the prettiest Ultrabook<tm> I’ve ever seen. And it’s carbon fiber, not <shudder> aluminum.

    • Bensam123
    • 7 years ago

    And Lenovo with Intel guidance has made something that remotely rivals Apple in terms of style and features. Just needs a touch swivel screen.

    Go get’um Lenovo.

      • sweatshopking
      • 7 years ago

      i don’t like their new keyboard much though… it’s better than apples, but it’s not as good as their old one.

        • Bensam123
        • 7 years ago

        I agree. Lenovos had a particular and very unique keyboard that served as a callsign. They should’ve never changed it. That would’ve most definitely been a welcome addition… or revision.

    • cynan
    • 7 years ago

    Docking station port?

      • dpaus
      • 7 years ago

      I don’t understand the opposition to USB 3.0 ports for docking. Can someone explain?

        • Bensam123
        • 7 years ago

        I’d rather have a PCI-E x16 bridge underneath the docking port plugs into with any sort of PCI-E peripheral in existence dangling off of it all connected by simply dropping your laptop into a docking station.

        Now THAT is a docking station.

        • cynan
        • 7 years ago

        Not opposed to the USB 3.0 docking station port per se. However, I’d think prior Thinkpad Customers with docking stations for their T420, etc, would appreciate the “backward” compatibility.

        And regarding the USB 3.0 breakout brick. Are the DVI ports dual link? Can they support resolutions up to 2560×1600? I know the USB 2.0 -> DVI adapters generally couldn’t.

    • link626
    • 7 years ago

    nice. it opens 180 degrees.

    more laptops should do that.

    • flip-mode
    • 7 years ago

    This is going to be expensive. :frown:

    • demani
    • 7 years ago

    I wonder what the carbon fiber might do to wireless reception. But other than that- yes, this is very slick (though the price might be the big deterrent). And given the presumed large price I would have expected Thunderbolt to be there (it does have the DisplayPort connection, so it wouldn’t need more port space). I know not every one is sold on the utility, but again-this is supposed to be premium.

    But that is picking nits.

      • chuckula
      • 7 years ago

      [quote<]I wonder what the carbon fiber might do to wireless reception.[/quote<] Carbon fiber will have a minimal impact on wireless reception, especially compared to an antenna buried in an aluminum case that can really hurt performance.

        • UberGerbil
        • 7 years ago

        Yeah. In theory, since graphite is a conductor and the spacing between the fibers is less than typical wireless wavelengths, you might think the material would act as a Faraday cage. However, the fibers are not long nor are they reliably connected, and the epoxy matrix is electromagnetically transparent, so interference is generally not a problem. (Aircraft with carbon fiber wings or tails often have antenna mounted internally in those structures that would require an external antenna in a metal airframe)

    • HorseIicious
    • 7 years ago

    I wonder if there will be any possibility of 1920×1080 version? I’m guessing not – which is really too bad… If so this would’ve been the perfect machine to replace my aging T61p (that has a 15.4″ screen with 1920×1200 resolution).

    I know many would consider a 1920×1080 resolution on a 14″ to be unusable – which is fine. But I don’t understand why they can’t just make it a $200 upgrade option or something… For me, 1920 is an absolute requirement (in order to put two regularly sized windows side by side).

    For those of us who want it, the screen resolution/density wouldn’t be a problem. The 13.3″ 1080p Vaio Z pulls it off just fine. I would already own one of them if I could live without the track point…

    PS. And if this doesn’t have a matte screen option it’s also a huge mistake.

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 7 years ago

      [quote<]But I don't understand why they can't just make it a $200 upgrade option or something... [/quote<] I'm not sure that exists. They're stuck with the handful of panels OEMs already make. Being an IPS screen above tablet dimensions, that limits the options to something like a TV panel that's been chopped apart. That will probably become a possibility soon enough, though. TV panel production is going down and high resolution tablet panels are taking over, which are a heck of a lot closer to laptop size than the phones which had very dense screens first. Convertible laptops will actually require them, so it's inevitable, at least in smaller ones.

        • UberGerbil
        • 7 years ago

        I haven’t seen 1920×1200 in that size, but as Horselicious mentions, a 13.3″ 1920×1080 does exist for the [url=http://store.sony.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/SYCTOProcess?catalogId=10551&storeId=10151&langId=-1&LBomId=8198552921666412480&categoryId=8198552921644846498<]Vaio Z[/url<]. There may not be a huge supply of them, though, and it might be a Sony exclusive since they retain a tiny toehold in panel production (I believe they still have a small interest in the JV with Sharp that makes the small panel sizes, though Samsung bought them out of the JV for the larger panels for TVs).

          • OneArmedScissor
          • 7 years ago

          But the Vaio Z isn’t IPS, right? I think we’re missing that the X1 is.

          However, there’s a 13.3″ Zenbook with a 1080p IPS screen coming out, so somebody is making those.

          This might be of more interest to Horselicious, though:

          [url<]https://techreport.com/discussions.x/22784[/url<]

            • UberGerbil
            • 7 years ago

            Good/interesting points.

      • indeego
      • 7 years ago

      I’d like to see text within a nontablet GUI on a screen that small at that resolution. Screenshot?

        • Voldenuit
        • 7 years ago

        You can get a 1080p 13.3″ screen on several sony models. Text can get pretty tiny, though.

        What would be cool is if you had a convertible tablet PC with a high res screen that would automatically (and seamlessly) switch text sizes when you move between tablet mode (where your face is going to be a lot closer to the screen) and laptop mode (where you will be sitting further away).

        On topic, I hope that the new X230T tablets come with higher resolution options than 1366×768 this time. And being able to combine gorilla glass and multitouch would also be appreciated.

        • HorseIicious
        • 7 years ago

        I don’t have any screenshots easily accessible. I’m sure if you google “13.3 Vaio 1080p” you’ll be able to find some.

        As for text being legible… Like I said, I’m sure for most it wouldn’t be unusable. However, for those of us who could actually use it, it would be a wonderful upgrade option to have. I use my 15.4″ 1920×1200 screen on the smallest windows GUI settings, and typically am working on PDF, Word, and Excel docs that are set between 75-90% of original size. For those of us with good eye sight 1920×1080 (or even 1920×1200) on a 14″ screen would be an awesome, and incredibly useful thing.

    • Vasilyfav
    • 7 years ago

    First time in the past 4 years that I’m actually feeling a slight need to upgrade from my previous laptop and that it might actually be worth it. I’m very discriminate when it comes to mobile computing though.
    All the garbage up to this point were nothing but toys for the indiscriminate dilettants.

    Netbooks – extremely slow, overpriced toys with keyboards for children’s fingers. Useless for anything except checking email and very light internet browsing and office work.

    Tablet waves – again, toys with no real keyboards, awful connectivity options. Pretty useful as a Frisbee disk though.

    First wave of ultrabooks – terrible 1366*768 resolutions, overpriced, not enough performance difference over the previous generation.

      • UberGerbil
      • 7 years ago

      “Toys for Indiscriminate Dilettantes” would be a pretty good album title, if bands were still thinking in terms of such things.

    • moop2000
    • 7 years ago

    Excuse me while I be a bit odd, but the change in power-plug form factor is a bit worrying, since it’s different than hundreds of Lenovos we’ve bought at work over the last 6 years!

      • Helmore
      • 7 years ago

      The reason for the change in power plug simple, the old one is simply too big and doesn’t fit on a laptop this thin.

        • Ditiris
        • 7 years ago

        I would think the plug change is to support the rapid charge feature.

          • UberGerbil
          • 7 years ago

          I wonder if they’ll have an adapter or other solution for F500 customers with standardized fleets.

    • sweatshopking
    • 7 years ago

    i want to marry this computer. which one of us gets pregnant though?

      • dpaus
      • 7 years ago

      When you see the price tag, you’ll have your answer.

        • Deanjo
        • 7 years ago

        Once you get into the higher price ranges, I would personally start looking at one of the new rumored MBP with the rumors high density display.

          • dpaus
          • 7 years ago

          Are they more gentle? It’d be his first time with a Mac.

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            no it wouldn’t! well, it’d be my first PURCHASE, but i’ve plenty of mac experience. i like “experimenting”

            still, going with a mac you’d be forced to downgrade to OSX. not something i’d be willing to do. it’s a fine OS, just not as nice as windows. i don’t buy the magic of high res screens either. once you hit a certain threshold, the law of diminishing returns sets in. 900p on a 14 inch screen is not bad. i’d prefer 1080, but i don’t care. I wouldn’t pay for 1080, not unless it was REALLY cheap.

            • Deanjo
            • 7 years ago

            Everytime I’m forced to use Windows it is a downgrade (which is why windows only lives in a vm on my machines). For me, windows is just too limiting when compared to *nix based systems. Plus with a Mac I can run and develop for any major OS. There is a good reason why developers are usually seen with Macs now days.

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            i like linux based systems, but i’m not a huge osx fan. so many of the changes they made to ‘productivity’ make it annoying. I hate the launcher, and the universal menu at the top. NM osx is UGLY.

            Your opinion vs my opinion are both subjective. i like one, you like another. if i need *nix, i’m not going to use osx. I’ll stick to a linux distro.

    • plasticplate
    • 7 years ago

    This looks really nice and different. I have always like the look of the thinkpads and this looks classy. More importantly, i like the 14″ screen size. Its just…perfect to use. Glad to see an original design instead of trying to replicate apple’s laptops like almost every other laptop maker. I might actually buy this for my wife.

    • blastdoor
    • 7 years ago

    carbon fibers are the best thing that’s ever happened marketing-wise to the plastic industry.

      • Thrashdog
      • 7 years ago

      In terms of performance, it’s in a whole different league. Even the cheap chopped-strand-mat fiberglass composites have strengths in the same ballpark as aluminum. A good CF layup will beat the pants off anything else in terms of strength to weight.

      Still feels plasticky, though. :S

        • Squeazle
        • 7 years ago

        Then again… the last time I dropped a laptop, I was much more scared for the interior than the exterior. And it still gets scratched, only it’s more permanent on carbon fiber.

          • travbrad
          • 7 years ago

          Yeah exactly. If you use enough force to break the plastic case on your laptop, there’s probably going to be much bigger problems with the internal hardware (or the display) anyway.

          I have to say I don’t think I’ve ever dropped a laptop though. Anything that large is pretty easy to hold on to, and it’s not the kind of thing I am constantly taking out and putting away either (unlike say a phone or music player)

        • Voldenuit
        • 7 years ago

        [quote<]A good CF layup will beat the pants off anything else in terms of strength to weight.[/quote<] Too true. CF has come a long way, the new matrix/resin combinations are a lot tougher (resistant to fracturing) than the brittle composites that first came to market. When Boeing made the decision to go carbon fiber on a massive scale with the 787, launch partner Air Nippon Airways (ANA) was worried about how the carbon fiber would hold up to impact damage (especially on loading ramps and structures which get banged up in service). In response, Boeing sent ANA a carbon fiber panel and a hammer, and told them to try and smash it. That convinced the Japanese execs. It's still not perfect, some resins are sensitive to UV light, so they have to be painted to protect the material. And they're still very expensive, but they pay for themselves in weight-critical applications.

    • adisor19
    • 7 years ago

    My only gripe with this is that it’s a 14″ laptop instead of a 13″ one.

    Adi

      • lilbuddhaman
      • 7 years ago

      0_o

      • TDIdriver
      • 7 years ago

      14″ is a more traditional size for business oriented laptops. It is a ThinkPad after all.

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 7 years ago

      I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re the exact same size. Cut the bezel down a little bit on a 14″ screen, and it’s the same as most 13.3″ screens.

        • grantmeaname
        • 7 years ago

        It calls itself a 14″ ultrabook. Normally, when they do that, they’ll call it a 13.3″ ultrabook with a 14″-class display.

          • OneArmedScissor
          • 7 years ago

          [url<]http://www.lenovo.com/shop/americas/content/img_lib/products/splitter/notebooks/ThinkPad/x-Series/gallery/X1-2L.jpg[/url<] [url<]http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/17mmwmfdsm8gljpg/original.jpg[/url<]

            • grantmeaname
            • 7 years ago

            What do you think that picture proves? There’s no scale. Yes, the bezel is narrower, but you totally failed to respond to anything I said.

            • OneArmedScissor
            • 7 years ago

            What more scale do you need than 13.3″ vs. 14″?

            Funnily enough, the linked article has the perfect pictures for both you and Adi:

            [url<]http://cdn0.sbnation.com/entry_photo_images/4037068/x1-carbon-2012-05-08_13-12-46-1024_gallery_post.jpg[/url<] [url<]http://cdn3.sbnation.com/entry_photo_images/4037103/x1-carbon-2012-05-08_13-06-53-1024_gallery_post.jpg[/url<]

      • plasticplate
      • 7 years ago

      Actually, 14″ is a more practical size to work and while not being too big. Your only gripe might be that its not made by apple.

    • gmskking
    • 7 years ago

    Booooooooring. Same ole low res screen. Nothing really impressive at all.

      • adisor19
      • 7 years ago

      Umm, no, that’s actually decent !

      Adi

      • UberGerbil
      • 7 years ago

      You are not the entire market. These are not for you.

    • kumori
    • 7 years ago

    I looked at the previous iteration of the X1 when I was shopping for ultra-thin laptops last year. Back then it was under powered and overpriced. I wish this model had been around back then.

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 7 years ago

    Also, from the Lenovo site:

    [quote<] A road warrior’s dream weighing less than three pounds, the ThinkPad X230 laptop features a super-bright 12.5-inch, 300 nit IPS wide-viewing display.[/quote<] So it's now lighter, and IPS standard? And finally, a USB 3.0 dock!

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 7 years ago

      IPS is officially standard:

      [url<]http://www.lenovo.com/products/us/laptop/thinkpad/x-series/x230/[/url<] They're ambiguous on whether or not it's actually lighter, but whatever! Also still has ExpressCard, for us weirdos who can't use "ultrabooks" because of that.

        • Voldenuit
        • 7 years ago

        Also nice to see that the T/X/W/Edge *30 range are getting Rapidboot, which first appeared in the T420s. It significantly speeds up windows booting (and can apparently [url=http://rapidboot.com/us/#/videos<]deploy its own parachute if dropped out of an airplane[/url<]).

    • Dieter
    • 7 years ago

    No 4G/LTE? What are they thinking???

    I’m looking for some slim laptops/ultrabooks for our company. They need good battery life, LTE, and a dock connector (no USB docks!). Any suggestions???

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 7 years ago

      The Lenovo site says the other X and T series models have 4G, and I can’t imagine those have USB docks.

      • Kurotetsu
      • 7 years ago

      Be glad it has any mobile broadband access at all. Its the only laptop I know of that does (that’s built-in at least).

        • Rza79
        • 7 years ago

        Many HP Elitebook models offer the option to built in a WWAN module. The antenna cables are there already. You just need to plug in the module and install the drivers.

        • Voldenuit
        • 7 years ago

        [quote<]Be glad it has any mobile broadband access at all. Its the only laptop I know of that does (that's built-in at least).[/quote<] The Thinkpad X220/X220T/T420 also have mobile WWAN capability. Although I find it more attractive to use the miniPCIE slot for a mSATA SSD than WWAN.

        • Dieter
        • 7 years ago

        Most business class laptops have the option of built-in WWAN. I’d hope that they actually use an LTE-compatible global chip (like Gobi or whatever the 3G equivalent was) and their marketing people are behind.

          • UberGerbil
          • 7 years ago

          That’s certainly possible, but it might be worth noting that the same press release (linked above) goes on to talk about the “platform innovations” in the “Thinkpad portfolio” including this:[quote=”Lenovo”<]Communication becomes simple with the introduction of 4G long term evolution (LTE)/mobile broadband on [b<]select[/b<] ThinkPad laptop models and the introduction of Lenovo’s upcoming contract-free mobile broadband. [/quote<](emphasis mine). Given that the previous paragraph, devoted to the X1 specifically, says [quote="lenovo"<]Other premium features include 3G connectivity for anywhere anytime access, Lenovo RapidCharge for a near-full battery charge in 30 minutes, and Intel vPro technology for manageability. [/quote<]...it certainly looks like 4G isn't even an option, at least initially.

        • d0g_p00p
        • 7 years ago

        The X120e also has baseband access.

      • Bensam123
      • 7 years ago

      You can buy mini-pcie 3g/4g cards if you’re really interested in that. I’m guessing there will be an extra internal port. Most laptops have two and one is populated by a wireless card.

      • dpaus
      • 7 years ago

      [quote<]No 4G/LTE? What are they thinking???[/quote<] They were probably thinking "Since this product will likely have a shelf life of only about a year, let's design it so that as many people as possible can use it, instead of just the lucky few who live in areas with decent 4G coverage. Next time, we'll re-visit where 4G coverage is at."

    • MadManOriginal
    • 7 years ago

    *obligatory ‘holy cow, it’s not 1366×768’ post*

      • Vivaldi
      • 7 years ago

      *obligatory, “it’s still 16:9 AR” post*

      Do not want.

        • DarkUltra
        • 7 years ago

        Me too. Wouldn’t 16:10 ratio expliot more of the vertical space without making the laptop larger? A keyboard and palm rest can only be that short. In the picture it looks like the display is shorter than the base. Even so, awesome with ips and high res!

          • NeelyCam
          • 7 years ago

          16:9 makes the laptop smaller because you can cut the “vertical” dimension. Palm rests are overrated and unergonomic.

            • UberGerbil
            • 7 years ago

            But they provide a place for a touchpad, which many users want (and according to many users, the larger the better). In the smaller notebook form factors, you end up needing a taller aspect ratio than 16:9 in the keyboard side of the laptop, causing the 16:9 screen to have a larger lower bezel than would otherwise be necessary. Thinkpads actually persisted with 4:3 screens in some models after most other makers had jumped to 16:9 exclusively, for this reason (and because corporate customers valued the vertical screen real estate rather than perceived-to-be-frivolous widescreen suited for video watching).

    • WasabiVengeance
    • 7 years ago

    WOW, not bad lenovo! Can’t wait for the reviews to hit.

    • 5150
    • 7 years ago

    Dear Lenovo,

    Here is my credit card.

    Do as you please,

    5150

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 7 years ago

      No kidding. My only concern was that it might not have an IPS screen anymore, but the Verge article says:

      [quote<]Lenovo's promising wide viewing angles.[/quote<]

      • BiffStroganoffsky
      • 7 years ago

      I’m sorry, the card is flagged. Do you have cash?

      • sweatshopking
      • 7 years ago

      no, ignore other poster. my name is lenovo. please forward credit card info through PM to sweatshopking. he’ll forward it on to me, being as i’m lenovo. thank you much,
      Lenovo.

        • 5150
        • 7 years ago

        Yawn!

          • Yawn
          • 7 years ago

          Yes?

            • 5150
            • 7 years ago

            Wake me when this laptop is available.

            • Yawn
            • 7 years ago

            Sorry, I don’t do calendars. I just do ratios.

      • Prion
      • 7 years ago

      Same. Here I was just thinking about getting a new Thinkpad, if this really does have an IPS screen then it would be irresponsible not to buy something so sexy!

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