If there's one so-called "business laptop" brand that keeps its customers happy time and again, that would be ThinkPad. The once IBM-owned brand has remained strong under the wings of its Lenovo acquisition and its latest 2017 product, the X1 Carbon, is a notable upgrade over previous models that hurls this ThinkPad into the stratosphere. Indeed, it looks like one of the best business laptops that money can buy.
At first glance the trim bezel around the 14-inch screen looks rather Dell XPS-esque by design. The ThinkPad isn't quite as trim to the edges to our eyes, but it's a far cry from the chunky bezel of old. It means a 14-inch screen can fit into a typical 13-inch laptop form factor.
And that form factor is a gorgeous thing to behold. Ignore the retro silver "ThinkPad" logo to the inside corner (ok, we know it's a staple, but it could do with a refresh) and the flat, matte finish has an almost spongey feel to it. Ideal for long wrist-wearing sessions at the keys. Interestingly the 2017 X1 Carbon is available in black or silver finishes.
The backlit keyboard is full size, has the necessary degree of travel and, but of course, features the classic red "nipple" mouse control to the centre. It's not something we use, but legacy users will want this ThinkPad staple to remain. It looks rather distinctive. The trackpad has proper buttons flanking its main touchpad too.
The 14-inch screen is a 2560 x 1440 resolution (WQHD+) panel, with 300-nit brightness, ensuring it looks crisp, bright and colourful. It's not a touchscreen, so no greasy fingerprints to be seen here - if you're after that then the X1 Yoga product is more suitable.
When it comes to specification there's no corner cutting (only bezel-cutting). Spec it out and 7th Gen Intel Core i7 processors, 16GB RAM and 1TB SSD can be specified. Expect the price to hurtle over the £2,000 mark quickly after that.
For on-the-go use there's a Micro SIM slot for 4G LTE connectivity, if wanted. This is placed discreetly around the rear, in the same pin-opened microSD card slot. We would rather have a separate full-size SD card - something we use all the time on our generation-old MacBook - but can't have it all.
All this in a near-1.1kg shell under 16mm thick, with dual Thunderbolt 3 support alongside full-size USB 3 and, well, we can't think of a straight-up Windows laptop that we'd rather own. Good job.