Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

The flagship of Lenovo's new lineup of ThinkPad laptops is the ThinkPad X1 Carbon ultrabook. We recently got a closer look at the system at a Lenovo preview event in New York, although with limited hands-on access. Lenovo claims the X1 Carbon is the world's lightest 14-inch ultrabook, at 3 pounds, with a carbon-fiber roll cage (similar to the cagelike construction on other ThinkPads) that keeps the weight down without sacrificing durability. If the X1 name sounds familiar, it's because we reviewed the original ThinkPad X1 laptop almost exactly one year ago. That system was, at the time, the thinnest ThinkPad ever made, and pitched as a business-friendly alternative to the MacBook Air (which is especially notable because this was before the introduction of ultrabooks). The original X1 was a perfectly adequate, but not exactly inspiring, thin laptop, and we said it was "a bit too thick to be a true competitor to a MacBook Air or Samsung Series 9." This new version is different enough that it may deserve a new name, rather than being saddled with the same one as last year's model. While the design is familiar, the X1 Carbon is much thinner than the original X1, and the front tapers to a sharp edge. The keyboard retains the modified island-style keys used in the first X1, a look that comes from Lenovo's consumer line and that is slowly making its way into ThinkPad models as well. It's also backlit, which is a feature every travel-oriented laptop should have.

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