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Grow Your Business Technology

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2017 is Shockingly Small and Light

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon / Credit: Brett Nuckles

LAS VEGAS – Lenovo’s new ThinkPad X1 Carbon could be a commuter’s dream machine. The laptop retains the same 14-inch design of last year’s model, but Lenovo managed to shave a few inches from the system’s footprint, and a few ounces off its weight – all without sacrificing performance, security or durability. I went hands-on with it at CES 2017, and it feels ridiculously small and light for a full-size business laptop. The system is scheduled to launch in February starting at $1,349.

The updated X1 Carbon weighs just 2.49 lbs., down from 2.74 lbs. last year. That might not sound like a big difference on paper, but I still came away really impressed by how effortlessly I could lift the system. Workers tired of lugging a hefty laptop back and forth between home and the office will want to give this one a look. Its small size is equally impressive; Lenovo was able to shrink the system down by reducing the size of the bezel around the display.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Credit: Brett Nuckles

Even better, Lenovo says the X1 Carbon’s battery capacity has increased slightly from last year’s model, despite the system getting lighter. Still, we’ll have to wait until we can test it ourselves to see if it can really outlast the 2016 model, which already offered very good battery life, running for a little longer than 9 hours on our battery test.

The keyboard still feels terrific for such a thin-and light system, with good key travel and lots of tactile feedback on each stroke. Plus, the trackpad is now a Windows Precision touchpad, and it feels really precise and responsive.

Security options are strong, with a built-in fingerprint reader and an optional IR camera, which can recognize your face and allow you to log on just by looking at the computer’s screen. Full hardware encryption comes with every configuration of the X1 Carbon, and select models include Intel vPro capabilities, which enables secure manageability options.

Other hardware highlights include a sharp 14-inch display with resolutions up to 2K; and the addition of a Thunderbolt 3 port for charging and super speedy data transfer. And you also get a performance boost thanks to Intel’s speedy new 7th-generation processors. But while last year’s model has an SD card slot to expand the system’s internal storage, that feature was nixed this year to help keep the system compact.

We’ll have to wait to see how the system fares on our performance and battery tests before making any final judgments, but right now the X1 Carbon is looking like the business ultraportable to beat in 2017. Check back for a full review soon, or stick around and check out our top picks for the best business laptops currently on the market.

Brett Nuckles

A former Ohio newspaper man, Brett Nuckles fled the Midwest in 2013. He now lives in Seattle, where he spends his days tinkering with smartphones, tablets and computers. He loves to think about the intersection of technology and productivity, and how to get the most out of new gadgets and apps. He's also a big fan of vegetarian food and digital painting. In his off hours he spends most of his time drawing and painting sci-fi/fantasy scenes on his PC with his trusty Wacom stylus in hand.