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Portables Hardware Technology

The ThinkPad Goes Ultrabook — ThinkPad X1 Carbon Tested 278

Posted by Soulskill
from the made-from-charcoal dept.
MojoKid writes "The venerable Lenovo ThinkPad, with its little red TrackPoint nub, has gone the way of the Ultrabook. If there's one small dig ThinkPads have taken with regularity over the years, it's that though there's a ton of quality and substance built into these machines, style was not a hallmark of the brand. The all new ThinkPad X1 Carbon could very well change the utilitarian stereotype of Lenovo's business-backed line-up, however. As the name suggests, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon is built from carbon fiber material throughout its chassis and internal rollcage. Its 14-inch display drives a native resolution of 1600x900, and its keyboard, arguably one of the nicest features of the ThinkPad line, is backlit and even more refined with contoured key caps. Battery life hits a max of about six hours on a full charge, and the machine weighs in at 3lbs and .31-inches at it thinnest dimension."
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The ThinkPad Goes Ultrabook — ThinkPad X1 Carbon Tested

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  • by couchslug (175151) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @01:27AM (#41043309)

    Many customers, self included, prefer it.

  • With apologies: No 7-row keyboard. No docking connector. Lame. :)

  • still do, though its a bit pricey, smaller screen same cpu, half the ram and over twice the price of my shiny new dell that work bought me .... dunno

    • by couchslug (175151)

      Soldered-in RAM and non-user-serviceable battery aren't impressive either.

      • by Alarash (746254)
        No built-in RJ-45 is a show stopper for me. There's no way I want to use a USB dongle for that. But then again I'm a network engineer so that stuff probably matters to me more than it should.
    • But it will probably last twice as long....

      • by Osgeld (1900440)

        yea but I have 16, 20 25 year old laptops ... do I really care

        • by Crudely_Indecent (739699) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @02:34AM (#41043557) Journal

          The day I bought my first thinkpad was the day I stopped replacing broken laptops.

          • My Z61m, bought in 2007 and used for a couple of hours on a typical day since then, is now getting very rickety but still runs fine. I replaced the hinges once two years ago, and now they are getting dicey again. The keys are almost completely worn clean of any clue to the letters, and the little navigation bumps on f and j are long gone. The screen shows wear from five years of cleaning and general abuse. I replaced the fan a year ago and it has started to make noises again (possibly I just didn't get

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @01:29AM (#41043327) Journal

    IBM has offered quite a few thin-and-light optical-drive-removed models over the years, albeit generally at a somewhat uncomfortable premium.

    I have very fond memories of my Thinkpad 570 (stolen, alas) and the X series has more recently occupied the niche.

    The really tragic thing is that Lenovo has been churning out assorted thin-and-lights without trackpoints! If you have to use a touchpad, you might as well just not bother.

    • The really tragic thing is that Lenovo has been churning out assorted thin-and-lights without trackpoints! If you have to use a touchpad, you might as well just not bother.

      Those are probably their IdeaPads or other lines. AFAIK, even the ThinkPad EDGE has the red nub

  • I never got on with Thinkpad keyboards. The "Trackpoint" (I always called it the GHB Clitoris) got in the way.

    • by dwater (72834)

      me too, though I just pulled the rubber off and that solved the problem

    • by Alomex (148003)

      Generally touchpads are much worse if you type with your thumbs to the side or the touchpad is overly sensitive. We have an HP loaner where the touchpad is so sensitive that even hovering near the surface is detected. We loan it out with a mouse and every one who uses it reports turning off the touchpad and using the mouse.

  • by evilviper (135110) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @01:47AM (#41043405) Journal

    If there's one small dig ThinkPads have taken with regularity over the years, it's that though there's a ton of quality and substance built into these machines, style was not a hallmark of the brand.

    That was long ago, when IBM owned the brand. Lenovo kept the quality up to par for a while, but many people who've bought Thinkpads in the past couple years will attest that the quality isn't the best any longer. That they're going for styling now, just further suggests they're completely changing the brand, and it will no longer stand for quality and durability.

    • by WrecklessSandwich (1000139) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @02:25AM (#41043537)
      Who would you suggest has the best build quality now, then? If you say Apple I will beat you silly with a chassis fan because I want to be able to have children, but anything else I'm genuinely curious to hear.
      • by RedBear (207369)

        Who would you suggest has the best build quality now, then? If you say Apple I will beat you silly with a chassis fan because I want to be able to have children, but anything else I'm genuinely curious to hear.

        Nobody you'd want to hear about, apparently.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Apple has made unreliable portable hardware all along. The original Thinkbooks were always failing, you could get broken ones cheap used always because they cost too much to repair. Let's talk about the GPUs snapping off the G3 ibooks when people pick them up with one hand, too.

      • by jo_ham (604554)

        It seems like you already know the answer, but your prejudice is getting in the way.

      • by nojayuk (567177) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @06:26AM (#41044411)

        Panasonic have good build quality even in their business range and their Toughbooks are especially well-built. Not stylish though. Expect to pay for that quality though, 50-100% more than an Apple of similar hardware spec, but when was the last time you saw a laptop advertised as being resistant to disinfectant?

    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      I wouldn't say they were any worse per-se, perhaps they just feel that way due to being even lighter and thinner than before. And you still get their excellent maintenance manuals that explain how to completely disassemble and replace every part of the laptop, complete with part codes so you can easily order the right replacement. There is a reason they use Thinkpads on the ISS.

    • by JAlexoi (1085785)
      I disagree completely. When the first all Lenovo laptops rolled down the line - they were just plain terrible. However, they fixed that and the newer ones are no less durable than the IBM one's(comparing IBM ThinkPad T42 with Lenovo ThinkPad W500 and T430s).
  • by temcat (873475) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @02:03AM (#41043457)

    It looks like this laptop rests on the protruding lid edge when the lid is open instead of lying flat on the base. Not sure I like that design.

  • by itsme1234 (199680) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @02:44AM (#41043607)

    What the heck is wrong with these companies? Are they really getting so much revenue in replacement power supplies that they have to screw everybody and their dog in the process?
    Not only you can't change the (non-removable) battery but you also can't easily use any existent "power pack" (like powergorilla, not that I recommend that one but it's easy to google for and see what I mean). You can't just grab a "generic" laptop power supply (the one that comes with multiple voltages and a bunch of rounded tips) from any shop if you forgot/lost yours.
    Also you can't consolidate on chargers/use your existent one, you can't efficiently charge it from an appropriate DC power supply without going via the inefficient route inverter->original power supply.
    It seems these devices are designed more for executives with more money than sense than for people who actually travel and need the advertised portability.

    • Did you miss the part about where the damn thing charges in 35 minutes to 85%?

      Damn that's sexy. Proprietary adaptor or not.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      I was surprised about the battery because the EU now mandates that they are recyclable, but it seems to be an unfortunately growing trend. Apparently if you can remove the battery for disposal, even destroying the laptop in the process, that is okay under the current rules.

      Hopefully the EU will go a bit further and require user replaceable batteries. It's bad enough having to throw away a perfectly good electric toothbrush after two years because the battery is dead.

  • Thinkad regression (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rduke15 (721841)

    So this new Thinkpad weighs the same as my X200, but has no Ethernet port (with a stupid adapter instead), no swappable/replaceable battery, soldered-on RAM, and a weird keyboard layout which puts the Home/End keys far away from the Page Up/Down keys.

    If that's the new trend for Thinkpads, I'm afraid that after all these years with various X* models, I will I will have to look at other brands.

  • by jones_supa (887896) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @03:00AM (#41043657)

    From the article:

    It might not be the brightest LCD in the lab at 300 nits but it's bright enough [...]

    Actually, 300 nits is damn bright. They probably couldn't crank the brightness high enough or for some reason had a unit with a lower spec screen. Most current laptops at max brightness are in the 200 nits (cd/m^2) ballpark. Notebookcheck.net even has the lab and they indeed confirmed the manufacturer rating in their Lenovo X1 review [notebookcheck.net]:

    Information
    Gossen Mavo-Monitor
    Maximum: 367 cd/m^2
    Average: 330.9 cd/m^2
    Brightness Distribution: 81 %
    Center on Battery: 348 cd/m^2
    Black: 2.8 cd/m^2
    Contrast: 124:1

  • I have a ThinkPad, they are very nice to use, and I'd buy the new one, but it comes with Windows....

  • One of my best friends is drooling over this, but I think the opposite direction makes a lot more sense--try 1.2" thick (really not that bad), in order to get ethernet, removable battery, optical drive (swappable for an extra hard drive, battery, etc), docking connector, etc. Oh, and latches to keep the darn thing shut, thanks. The whole thin==better thing really doesn't lend itself to longevity.
  • by frisket (149522)

    Apart from being wedge-shaped (so they'll get their ass sued by Apple), the moment I looked at the video and saw the huge block of a power charger, it was clear that this isn't the portable Air-slayer that it might have been. I want something I can take away without having to lug half a ton of support equipment with me.

    But the show-stopper is that vertical resolution. 900px is strictly for the brain-dead. Manufacturers think all anyone ever does is watch videos. Some of us need portable computers to do (gas

    • A wedge shape tilts the keyboard to a convenient angle and ensures the weight distribution makes carrying easier. Therefore, a generic wedge shape can never be a design patent. Apple must design patent a very specific shape with sufficient non-functional decoration to make it a "design".
    • by Mattsson (105422)

      Actually, the Apple design-patent regarding their ultrabook laptops is a drop shape, not a wedge shape, so Lenovo should be safe as long as they stick to the excellent Thinkpad tradition of sharp corners.

  • by TeknoHog (164938) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @05:00AM (#41044099) Homepage Journal

    The ThinkPad X1 Carbon is so thin actually, that a standard RJ45 port couldn't be squeezed into its side edge, so Lenovo includes a USB Ethernet dongle with the machine.

    This is starting to be a wider issue, so perhaps a more robust solution is in order. Some tablets apparently have proprietary connectors, where RJ45 can be plugged with a passive adapter. Could we agree on a smaller standard for such an electrically identical Ethernet connector? Maybe while we are starting over, we could avoid earlier design mistakes, like the plastic tongue that breaks off easily.

    • by Mattsson (105422)

      A new industry standard would be one way to go, and probably the best.
      Another solution is to license the XJACK-design [wikipedia.org].
      It's a retractable RJ45-connector with a height of about 5mm.
      Much better solution than idiotic adapters.

      • by TeknoHog (164938)

        Another solution is to license the XJACK-design [wikipedia.org]. It's a retractable RJ45-connector with a height of about 5mm. Much better solution than idiotic adapters.

        Good point, I now remember seeing those back in the day. But they do not look exactly robust to me. I can imagine these breaking off as users unplug the cable in a hurry, and shove the laptop in a case. Adapters can be a hassle, but at least they make it obvious that you still have something plugged in. (One of my professors used to do this with USB memory sticks plugged in; he now carries a short extension cable for these, as they have less leverage for breaking things.)

    • by jbolden (176878)

      Why not just use thunderbolt? And for wires you just use a thunderbolt to ethernet adapter. Those can be made cheap. Thunderbolt is good for up to 10GB / sec (possibly more). It allows you to chain more than one device so you could have one port on the laptop server: mouse, keyboard, screen, ethernet... with a docking station.

      That is essentially Apple's proposal.

  • If they're attempting to compete with Apple, or other decent laptops, shouldn' they have at least a 1920 x 1080 display?

    I'm typing this on a W500 with 1920x1080, so I know they have the technology. It's a high-end laptop, so the price difference isn't that significant. At least offer a good display as a $100 option.

  • FFS, I am only 0.3 inches at my thinnest dimension. And no, it's not where you're thinking.

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