The Lenovo ThinkPad series is well-known for its business appeal. And for the sixth-gen 2018 model it's ramping up design to look even more suave and sophisticated.
It's also crammed in features many other laptops can only dream of, including an ultra-bright High Dynamic Range (HDR) screen with Dolby Vision optimisation. So not only can you look good on the job, you can enjoy premium content too.
- 14-inch HDR IPS LCD, 2560 x 1440 resolution display
- Dolby Vision optimised High Dynamic Range
- 2x USB 3, 1x Thunderbolt 3, 1x 3.5mm jack, 1x SD card slot, 1x HDMI, 1x docking connector
- ThinkShutter camera slide for added privacy
- Embedded fingerprint reader
- 323.5 x 217.1 x 15.95mm; from 1.13kgs
- Blacked-out ThinkPad logo
- Black or silver finishes
It's perhaps slightly odd that Lenovo has chose the ThinkPad series to introduce HDR into its laptops. We'd have thought a more consumer-targeted laptop range might have been the better place for that.
Nonetheless, the ultra-bright screen can output 500 nits of brightness for extra pop and, if you have the relevant HDR content, then you'll get more peak brightness than from many other laptops. Not only that, the lovely matte screen isn't especially reflective at all, so content will look clear even when viewed outside.
Having seen the screen in action at Dolby's CES showcase - which was in far dimmer conditions - we were impressed by the considerable colour. However, the way the screen is illuminated doesn't make for the cleanest view in terms of light bleed, with notable light towards the four corners. So don't expect this laptop screen to compete with a top-end TV, for example.
The screen isn't the only point of note, though. Lenovo has tweaked the X1's design, turning the lights down on the ThinkPad logo by almost blacking it out, so it becomes more a debossed feature than a striking logo. We've often said that the ThinkPad logo looks dated and need a re-work - some would call it a classic, but we think it's a classic in need of a refresh.
There are plenty of ports tucked away around the body, which isn't ultra-thin like, say, the Lenovo Swift 7, but which serves its more businessy purpose. But as the X1 Carbon is carbon constructed, it's still light, at just over 1.1kgs in this 14-inch form.
Among those ports is an SD card slot that we love. Another interesting port is the way the two USB-C/Thunderbolt ports are positioned next to the Ethernet port, used to connect to a separate dock for commercial customers. The ThinkPad no longer connects underneath, but from the side, in a neater fashion.
Even the front-facing camera has a switch, called ThinkShutter, to hide the lens away from view to assure privacy. If you're hacker phobic or hiding from Skype then this is an elegant way to avoid Post-it Notes being stuck on the front!
- Up to 8th Gen Intel Core i7
- Intel UHD Graphics 620
- Up to 16GB LPDDR3 RAM
- Up to 1TB SSD PCIe
- Dolby Premium Audio
- Dual Band Wireless-AC (2 x 2)
- Integrated 4G/LTE (if specified)
Power-wise the ThinkPad X1 Carbon can be specced up as you please, with Intel's latest 8th Gen Core i processors pushing everything along.
The large size means a decent battery, too, with longevity expected to be up to 15 hours per charge. That's the business. That figure might come down if you're using integrated 4G/LTE - but at least there's the option to work while on the go.
We've only used the X1 Carbon 2018 for a short period of time, so can't critically comment on how well it functions over a longer period - something that we'll do when getting the full and final product in for review.
That Lenovo has chosen a business-focused laptop for a PC first - the HDR screen - is perhaps irrelevant, given just how accomplished the sixth-gen ThinkPad X1 Carbon happens to be.
A bright screen, lots of ports, expected solid battery life and manageable weight thanks to the carbon construction show-off just why the ThinkPad is such a legacy device. The 2018 model doesn't come cheap, but it does come very well equipped indeed.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon will launch January 2018, with prices starting from $1709 in the US (around £1250). There will also be convertible Yoga and 2-in-1 Tablet models, with different specs and prices for their respective offerings.