back to article 2018's Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon laptop is a lovely lappie

Lenovo has just-about nailed this year’s X1 Carbon laptop, which save for a couple of minor annoyances will impress. I say that having found the 2017 X1 a mixed bag that boasted exceptional battery life, but was glitchy, frustrating and just didn’t feel very robust. This year’s model repeats the battery experience: I was able …

  1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    US$2,579.00

    US$2,579.00???

    Two and half grand??? For a non-workstation class laptop??? With an Intel IGP (where is the holy water and the crucifix)???

    This has a specific type of corporate purchaser written on it - Windows only corp where the hoy polloy serfs are given different laptops to specifically differentiate them from the upper floor private office dwelling demi-gods.

    I do not see how anybody else will fit what is for all practical purposes a "all-day typewriter" into the budget.

    1. zebthecat

      Re: US$2,579.00

      Holy cow that is very expensive indeed.

      I was tempted until I saw the price

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: US$2,579.00

      Agreed. At that price it should be able to accept more RAM, have an RJ45 connector, etc...

      Work laptops should have more USB ports and an RJ45 connector and don't need wifi, bluetooth, speakers, mic, video camera built in. Those are things that can be added as peripherals and carried in your laptop bag. That'd also, potentially, make your laptop a little more secure.

      1. K Silver badge

        Re: US$2,579.00

        @AC - don't need wifi, bluetooth, speakers, mic, video camera built in.

        Your thinking along the right lines, but also it should not be fitted with a battery, as its a fire risk. Also, there should be no keyboard or trackpad, as usage of these, could allow the user to disclose sensitive information. Finally, I think the screen should be static (and left at the office), so there is no chance of somebody looking over the employees should if he attempts to use the laptop whilst out of the office.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: US$2,579.00

        I suspect these are road-warrior laptops. So unless they offer RJ45 connectivity at Starbucks or motorway services, good luck getting that accepted.

      3. mdava

        Re: US$2,579.00

        Work laptops should have more USB ports and an RJ45 connector and don't need wifi, bluetooth, speakers, mic, video camera built in. Those are things that can be added as peripherals and carried in your laptop bag.

        In 2018 work laptops absolutely need wifi.

        Bluetooth you might argue against, but it can always be turned off.

        Speakers, mic and video camera, in the days of ubiquitous Skype, Hangouts, Lync etc are pretty close to essential as well.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: US$2,579.00

          @no camera, mic:

          At work these are actually removed. Physically.

          We get a special camera & mic module to attach to the screen (which also plugs into our phone system).

          1. mankymanningBS

            Re: US$2,579.00

            And after all that do they allow employees to carry mobile phones in their pockets?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: US$2,579.00

              Phones:

              No. Not really.

      4. Dave K Silver badge

        Re: US$2,579.00

        @AC - don't need wifi, bluetooth, speakers, mic, video camera built in.

        Bluetooth is the only one I can agree with. Well, that and more USB ports and an RJ45 port of course.

        For the others, you've obviously never taken your work laptop into a meeting room (hang on, where's my net connection gone), or attended Skype/Jabber calls with one (no mic, camera or speakers)? It's easy to say that headsets solve these, but when I'm working from home, why bother with a headset if I'm in a room by myself? I've also attended conference calls with a group in a meeting room with my laptop - hence speakers and mic become essential.

        If you are worried about the camera, some recent Lenovos have had a mechanical shutter you can close over the camera. This is a far better solution than removing the camera altogether.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: US$2,579.00

          More USB ports so our sysadmins have to work harder disable them all to protect against data loss.

    3. Roq D. Kasba

      Re: US$2,579.00

      I was reading through thinking "Hmmm, well maybe it's time for a new lappy, battery's a bit flakey on this one..." and that thought was cut short with an out loud "fucking hell".

    4. JMcL

      Re: US$2,579.00

      Very spendy alright, especially in light of the fact that a colleague picked up a Dell XPS 13 with very similar specs/performance (probably sports a few less ports) for under €1500 a few days ago. Yes, the X1 is probably all round a nicer laptop but not €1k nicer!

      Some comments bemoan the lack of an Ethernet port, but this would impact on how thin the thing could be made, and I think a USB3 dongle is a perfectly acceptable compromise. When not on the road, it's reasonable to assume that a typical user of one of these will have access to a docking station anyway.

    5. gduk001

      Re: US$2,579.00

      Just got my G6 X1 carbon. It's perfect I work as a Android / Python dev.

  2. Paul

    Any technical information?

    Does it run Linux?

    User replaceable battery?

    Expandable memory or soldered in?

    1. SimonF

      Looooong order period

      I ordered one 3 weeks ago - still not arrived :-(

      RAM soldered

      *should* run Linux - I will let you know shortly!

      Battery - "rapid charge technology" - I don't think it is replaceable

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Looooong order period

        I wish they supplied a separate external battery pack that can be plugged in to supplement the internal battery. Then I could leave the spare to charge while using the other or have both in my bag while travelling and no need to carry the mains converter and mains cable.

        1. d3vy Silver badge
          Alert

          Re: Looooong order period

          "I wish they supplied a separate external battery pack that can be plugged in to supplement the internal battery. Then I could leave the spare to charge while using the other or have both in my bag while travelling and no need to carry the mains converter and mains cable."

          Thats quite a good idea. Kind of like a "Mophie Powerstation AC" but with Lenovo branding? ;)

          Might be worth a look HERE if you are in the market for one.

    2. Tomato42 Silver badge

      Re Paul

      > Does it run Linux?

      all previous models did, it's unlikely it doesn't, especially given that it uses Intel GPU

      > User replaceable battery?

      yes, but it does require undoing the screws – it's not glued in, but I wouldn't suggest my mother to do the replacement

    3. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

      Does it run Linux?

      All the ThinkPads I've owned - IBM or Lenovo - ran Linux without a hitch, and had 3 mouse buttons. TouchPoint + 3 mouse buttons (in addition to the superb keyboard) have been major selling points for me. For years.

    4. Ellipsis
    5. d3vy Silver badge

      @Paul.

      A hands on article normally focuses on what its like to use the machine rather than how many parts you can make it into with the right tools :)

  3. Tomato42 Silver badge

    "Lappie"?!

    I'm sorry, but anything that requires a special converter cable to connect standard RJ45 Ethernet jack is not a laptop.

    It's a keyboard glued to a tablet, not a workstation.

    1. rmason Silver badge

      Re: "Lappie"?!

      All of our travelling types have the X1 units, not one minds having a small dongle for a NIC.

      Around half of the users gave them (the dongle, not the laptop) back to us because they will "never need it".

      I'd be willing to be most of the other half are either in the box still, or occupying space in a desk drawer and nowhere near the laptop in question.

      I can see one from here, still sat on the users desk, still in it's little red baggie.

      The people who want portability and a decent spec, actually understand that its done to make the device thinner and lighter than it could otherwise be, which is what they actually want.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Lappie"?!

        Places with fixed desks will be sporting Thinkpad docks anyway. Those should fit all of your niche cabling needs.

        I for one cannot remember the last time I plugged a network cable into a work laptop.

        1. Stork Bronze badge

          Re: "Lappie"?!

          I can, but only because I needed to access a router. For that I am ok with the dongle .

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Lappie"?!

          "I for one cannot remember the last time I plugged a network cable into a work laptop."

          Come to our office, 1gbs wired. Wireless? Do these come with modems as it will be quicker.

          1. Tomato42 Silver badge

            Re: "Lappie"?!

            Philips Velo 1, a pocket PC, had a RJ11 socket so you whipper snappers don't tell me that a RJ45 socket is "too large" for a supposed laptop

      2. d3vy Silver badge

        Re: "Lappie"?!

        @rmason

        I'm in complete agreement - I bought myself a lenovo ultra book a few years ago because I often travel for work and didnt want to carty more weigh than was really needed. I had a bit of a panic and bought a USB -> RJ45 dongle because I was convinced that I would need it.

        Its not been used, Ive opened it but couldnt locate it now if I tried - it might have made its way up to the spares box in the sky (the loft).

        There are some occasions when Im transferring a big file and the wifi is congested where I think it would be useful but then I think about the hastle of moving to a desk with a spare cable.., Crossing my fingers that its actually patched in and not just a dead socket... then I leave the transfer going via wifi and grab some tea and a biscuit.

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: "Lappie"?!

      I'm sorry, but anything that requires a special converter cable to connect standard RJ45 Ethernet jack is not a laptop.

      People that attempt to assert their own personal redefinition of a term are correct to apologies in the first two words of the sentence.

  4. TheProf
    Unhappy

    Pictures please

    "giant Kit-Kat-sized power adapter"

    This is the bit I found most interesting but you didn't supply a picture.

    Shame on you. Poor journalism, moan, gripe etc.

    1. Blank Reg Silver badge

      Re: Pictures please

      That puzzled me, is it the size of a giant kitkat, or do they think that a standard 4 stick kit kat is big enough to be considered a giant size for a power supply?

      1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Re: Pictures please

        That puzzled me, is it the size of a giant kitkat, or do they think that a standard 4 stick kit kat is big enough to be considered a giant size for a power supply?

        If, as the great hype machine tries to tell us, the great and mighty USB-C port is now a universal charger, then why aren't we seeing a 3rd-party market on alternative adapters? I've thought the laptop/printer/router/etc makers should have pooled resources a LONG time ago and devised a standard set of voltage/amperage adapters (a range of combinations to allow for differing needs). Regardless of the outrageous prices they charge for replacement adapters, they aren't a profit center, so why not make them standardized, and be able to but off-the-shelf components?

        Of course, if USB-C becomes standard, perhaps we'll start seeing charging ports built into wall plates (we're already seeing lower-power USB ports being added to wall sockets now).

    2. Ellipsis
    3. Mike Richards Silver badge

      Re: Pictures please

      This needed a picture of the offending adaptor - with a giant KitKat alongside it for comparison.

    4. Ellipsis
    5. Nier

      Re: Pictures please

      So 1.12in x 1.57in x 3.66in weighing appx 6oz. Not so gigantic.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Pictures please

        Not so gigantic.

        And, really, why would I care if it were? I'm not going to be sticking it in my pocket or anything. I'm not sure this is the feature of a laptop I care the absolute least about, but it's way down on the list.

        Of course, I'm currently suffering the horrible Dell Precision 5520 that IT have bestowed on me, so I'm inclined to look favorably on any Thinkpad with a TrackPoint.

  5. mrfantastic

    Received mine a week ago and it's awesome.

    Linux wise - didn't work too well on latest Ubuntu (no touchpad, a few other issues). With the Fedora 28 beta it was fine after adding a line to the kernel boot menu to set the correct touchpad type. Added TLP and an undervolting script and I got over 11 hours with a mix of Firefox / VSCode etc.

    The keyboard is the best i've ever used on a Ultrabook btw.

    EDIT: One thing I missed is that it doesn't sleep correctly as Linux doesn't properly support the Windows Connected Standby thingy. There is a way of working around this but Lenovo engineers are apparently on the case. I don't care as I rarely sleep the thing anyway.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >One thing I missed is that it doesn't sleep correctly

      There is some work being done by some Intel OSS engineers with regard to suspend/resume, I did read something over at Phoronix:

      https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Linux-Suspend-Resume-Intel

      Having had my own suspend/resume problems and pushed a fix upstream into the Kernel you have my sympathies for a difficult bug to nail.

    2. OtotheJ
      Joke

      Wow, with it being so easy to install, is 2018 the year of Linux on the Desktop?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        >Wow, with it being so easy to install, is 2018 the year of Linux on the Desktop?

        Gates deliberately made ACPI a difficult mess in an attempt to thwart Linux

        "It seems unfortunate if we do this work and get our partners to do the work and the result is that Linux works great without having to do the work"

        "Maybe there is no way to avoid this problem but it does bother me .Maybe we could define the APIs so that they work well with NT and not the others even if they are open. Or maybe we could patent something related to this"

        Source:

        http://antitrust.slated.org/www.iowaconsumercase.org/011607/3000/PX03020.pdf

  6. Lee D Silver badge

    Over £2k for "Core i7-8550U at 1.8Ghz, 16GB of RAM, 14-inch display"?

    Have we gone back in time ten years or what?

    Sorry, I love Lenovo but that's not a viable purchase for anyone without money to burn.

    Honestly, 17" minimum, none of this "up to" junk on CPU speeds, 16Gb RAM MINIMUM, and a decent graphics card... i.e. nVidia. Otherwise you can't even justify £1k, let alone £2k, let alone more than that.

    As a hint, for the same price I can get a top-of-the-line gaming laptop:

    https://www.laptopsdirect.co.uk/msi-gt73evr-7re-titan-core-i7-7820hk-8gb-1tb-512gb-17.3-inch-geforce-gtx-9s7-17a121-850/version.asp

    GeForce GTX 1070 Graphics card

    17.3 Inch Screen

    Intel Core i7 7820HK Processor (which STARTS AT 2.9GHz, twice the speed of the reviewed chip)

    16 GB RAM

    1TB Hard Drive + GB512GB SSD

    Proper sound card

    Killer network card + wifi (okay, I don't care, but it's expensive and the Lenovo doesn't have it)

    5x USB 3

    1x Thunderbolt/USB-C

    There's no way a Lenovo with basic specs should cost as much as the above.

    1. Boothy

      That is not a laptop! You are comparing completely different types of devices.

      The X1s are around 1.2kg, and are designed to be lugged around all day long, and to run comfortably, on your lap (for short periods anyway), on a aircraft, on the train, in a client meeting etc. and to last for the entire day without the need for a power socket.

      The MSI device you linked to is 4.1kg, so too heavy, lasts 3 hours on a change, so less than half of what's needed, and is fitted with irrelevant things like a decent GFX and sound card, which are a waste of time on a device that will be using tools like Office and Skype etc.

      Come back when you can find the same spec as the MSI, that weighs under 2kg, and lasts at least 6 hours on a charge, under load.

      PS: I do think the X1 is way overpriced for the spec though.

      1. Boothy
        Facepalm

        3 hours on a change = 3 hours on a charge. Obviously! (missed the edit window).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Currently have a Dell. The Dell is same spec as this for less than £1,000 and the battery lasts all day. No noise as it's all SSD etc. Think this is over-priced for similar on-the-road thin, light Core i7 machines.

        1. Nier

          Linux okay?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        BS, 1.2kg is a laptop/notebook category, and Thinkpad T4xx series is/was top-notch

        > That is not a laptop! You are comparing completely different types of devices.

        > The X1s are around 1.2kg, and are designed to be lugged around all day long, and to run comfortably

        A T410 14" has 1.2kg too, comes with a nVidia Quadro graphic card, has a 3.4 GHz i7 CPU and a 9-cell battery that lasts 9 hours.

        A T470 14" has also 1.2kg, comes only with i7 onboard graphic (crap), has 3.4 GHz i7 CPU (cripled with Meltdown and Spectre patches), and a 8-cell battery and lasts whopping 15 hours. Obviously little improvements since 2010, but thanks god Thinkpad T4xx still exists, albeit with a little worse HW (incl keyboard) but still good.

        A X1 sounds like a bad deal compared to the Thinkpad T4xx series anyway. (I am not talking about the T4xxs ("s") series).

    2. rmason Silver badge

      @Lee D.

      Yeah, our travelling sales and support types would love that.

      They have a requirement both for a small unit, and a decent spec. That costs unfortunately.

      We find they last well, we get very few (I can't actually remember sending *any* back yet) requiring returns or warranty type intervention. i7, business class laptops are expensive.

      Good luck getting a days work done on the monstrosity you posted if you aren't sat at a desk with power to hand.

      I can't be bothered to check but it also might not have things like TPM, which is a requirement for us, and many other enterprise customers. similarly it will have windows home installed on it. Meaning money being spent of some sort, even if it's just my time.

      1. Lee D Silver badge

        So why does a smaller screen, less capable CPU, less heatsinks etc., no GPU to speak of, less RAM, less built-in features, etc. translate to MORE EXPENSIVE?

        It's not like they've shrunk it down to fit on the head of a pin. It's still a laptop, with the same standard screens and standard processors and standard RAM modules as the one I showed you. They've just put it in a smaller box with a battery that probably isn't anywhere near as powerful as the one in the gaming laptop.

        There's a point at which I say "Yeah, fair enough, different use means an entirely different type of device". But this is just someway between a tablet and a low-end laptop, and should cost LESS THAN HALF what it does. Because for the price it does, I can outmatch it just on every single specification by about double.

        1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

          "It's still a laptop, with the same standard screens and standard processors and standard RAM modules as the one I showed you."

          Nope. Thinner screens, lower voltage processors in the BGA package, RAM soldered on the planar.

          "They've just put it in a smaller box"

          And that happens to be the hard part. Also the most expensive part. That 'just' is in no way justified.

          Granted, I am also wary of that price tag and unnecessary (for me that is) slimming. Not their target customer really. But it's at least conceivable that there are people who appreciate such design and are willing to pay that price.

    3. Stork Bronze badge

      Gaming laptop

      Are they also known as draggable, and come with wheels:-)

  7. alain williams Silver badge

    "who uses a laptop’s speakers these days"

    I do.

    Not very often, but sometimes I come across a video clip that I want to watch, eg off BBC news. For something short I don't want to fish around to find some earphones to plug in.

  8. Ellipsis
    Stop

    > trackpad is pleasingly large

    Aaargh, no! This perceived demand (driven mostly by MacBook users, it seems) for making the touchpad ever bigger is why we can’t have a 7-row keyboard any more…

    1. Dave K Silver badge

      Agreed. I find several HP trackpads to be too large these days and my wife argues the same with her Samsung laptop. Problem is that if the trackpad is too large, you cannot rest your palms when typing without constantly catching the trackpad and moving the cursor/carat around. Result, my wife has her trackpad disabled 95% of the time and has to use a mouse - which renders the trackpad largely useless overall.

      And still a 16:9 movie-friendly screen I see. If Lenovo, HP, Dell or someone could make a nice business laptop like this with a 16:10 or 3:2 matte screen, I'd buy one in a snap! Yes, such screens are more expensive. But then, this is an expensive laptop, so it is annoying to see them penny-pinching over the screen.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "you cannot rest your palms when typing without constantly catching the trackpad and moving the cursor/carat around...."

        You can, if the hardware and/or drivers don't suck. Filtering out unwanted brushes of your palm is the hallmark of a good trackpad.

        1. Cab

          Although given it's a Thinkpad just turn the damned thing off and use the nipple mouse *cough* TrackPoint. Switched the trackpad off on my T470 as soon as I could, I'll use a mouse when I can and the TrackPoint (whatever) if there isn't room.

          1. James Anderson

            Ditto for my T450 -- trackpad is just plain annoying as you cannot help brushing the thing with wrists, sleeves etc when typing.

            Never worked out how to bork it permanently. I just run an xinput disable script on startup.

            1. Cab

              Ubuntu 16.04 just has a little switch (on/off) next to touchpad in the mouse and touchpad settings.

        2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Filtering out unwanted brushes of your palm is the hallmark of a good trackpad.

          That may well be true, but I've never seen one that does an adequate job of it. Certainly the trackpad on my accursed Dell Precision laptop (new as of this year) does not. Nor does the one on my wife's Macbook Air.

      2. Ellipsis

        Yes, the screen ratio is the other bête noire of old-skool ThinkPad fanbois (who admittedly constitute a minuscule proportion of Lenovo’s market). But it’s probably more complex than just penny-pinching: seemingly even the premium business segment is very price-sensitive; Apple and Microsoft have captured the entire supply of 16:10 and 3:2 LCDs; and trying to change the chicken-and-egg supply/​demand status quo is a risk that even the big players are not willing to take.

  9. SimonF

    It gets worse

    After waiting a month, and on the date it should be dispatched I get this:

    We are contacting you in relation to your recently placed order on the Lenovo Online Store. Unfortunately, the Notebook ThinkPad X1 Carbon 6G 20KH ordered is currently unavailable and, as a result, shipping has been delayed. Your new estimated shipping date is 17/04/18. You will receive an email with the shipping confirmation to the email address you specified when placing your order.

    We regret any inconvenience this may cause. If you have any further queries please feel free to contact our Customer Service Team at:

    They are a shambles and Dell are worse.

  10. commonsense

    "Apple has done powerbricks well for years..."

    Really?

    https://www.apple.com/uk/shop/product/MC556B/C/apple-85w-magsafe-power-adapter-for-15-and-17-inch-macbook-pro

    The 1.5/5 reviews would state otherwise.

  11. zaax

    No dvd drive; no keypad; and worst of all Windows 10

    1. Uffish

      No dvd drive; no keypad; and Windows 10

      1: Meh

      2: Good point.

      3: This point should be taken to the International Court of Justice as soon as possible.

      1. doublelayer

        Re: No dvd drive; no keypad; and Windows 10

        Why do people still want DVD drives on laptops these days? I exclude anyone who works with DVDs every day for some reason, but other than that... I have a USB DVD drive that I can connect to my laptop when the need arises and I don't spend much time with optical media. When I need it to install something, write a read-only media for something else, or watch a video on DVD, I can just plug it in. Otherwise, it contributes rather a lot to weight and thickness. It's not like the RJ45 connector, which doesn't take much space and could actually be needed in certain scenarios. I want that space in the case for a bigger battery or an extra drive bay (I know, wishful thinking).

        On the keypad, it's essentially a 13-inch laptop, albeit with a screen that's been extended. I don't know how well you can put a keypad on such a keyboard without cramping the other keys. Maybe you just have to work with a keypad a lot, in which case this won't work for you, but if this were reasonably priced I wouldn't really miss it much.

        As for windows 10, you have my sympathies as I don't want to deal with that either. However, I don't know what you expected. Windows 8.1 is worse, windows 7 will EOL soon enough that it'd probably be considered negligent of them to install it given the possible zero-days, and you can put linux on if you'd like.

        So I'm going to provide my own list of why this is ridiculous:

        1. The price is laughable--when your machine costs more than the comparable one from apple (macbook pro 13-inch, i5 7th gen, 16gb memory for $1999), you may be missing something. Actually, you can get the macbook pro 15-inch, i7 (hq with 4 actual cores), 16gb memory, discrete AMD graphics, high-speed SSD for $2399. Something's definitely wrong.

        2. Actually, that's all. No other points need be made.

  12. Christian Berger Silver badge

    How rugged is it?

    It seems to miss that border around the screen that usually protects it with most old Thinkpads? How hard is it to swap the battery in case it gets weak after a couple of years? Where's the Thinklight?

    Why on earth did they waste so much space on the palmrest?

    1. Ellipsis

      Re: How rugged is it?

      > Where's the Thinklight?

      Gone because everything has to be razor-thin, because MacBook.

      > Why on earth did they waste so much space on the palmrest?

      Because the touchpad has to be vast, because MacBook.

      OK: to be fair, the X1C is competing with the MacBook Air, so thinness is a feature. And a battery big enough to earn you a review like this one has to go somewhere.

  13. Allonymous Coward

    a configuration in search of a useful scenario if ever there was one

    I know someone who likes this particular ThinkPad feature. They do a lot of work up ladders and apparently a screen that folds flat makes this easier. No, I don't know why - easier to hold in one hand maybe.

    I don't think I'd spunk more than £2K on a laptop I was going to take up a ladder though.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does it have the Superfish feature?

    Downvote me to hell, I don't care.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not an Apple

    ...not a chance!

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