Long term Review – 2017 ThinkPad X1 Carbon

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After owning and using a 2017 ThinkPad X1 Carbon, 5th generation for over two

years I wanted to provide some long-term thoughts regarding the device.

Device Specs

The model I purchased in May 2017 is equipped with an Intel dual core i5-7300U

processor, 16GB of DDR3 memory, and a 256GB PCIe-NVMe solid state hard drive.

Display

The display is a 14″ IPS Full HD 1920 x 1080 matte, anti-glare panel. It delivers

good viewing angles and gets relatively bright to 300 nits. If you like to take your

computing device outdoors this may not be the ideal machine for you as 300 nits

will be sub-par in outdoor bright environments for frequent use, but otherwise

the display is suitable for everyday productivity tasks. I am delighted to see that

more recent generations of this laptop model have offered brighter and higher

resolution display options. For example, there is a 4K HDR display option that

delivers 500 nits as an available option on the 7th Generation device that was

recently released earlier in 2019. A matte display may also be a deterrent if your

primary use of the device will be to watch Netflix or other video content, but is a

pleasure to use when creating written content. Outside of the increased brightness

options that Lenovo has delivered across their HD and HDR displays it may also be

beneficial for Lenovo to shift from the current 16:9 aspect ratio to 3:2 for the

business & productivity segment of the market this device targets. I don’t foresee

them making this change, but I would interested in such a device for my particular

use cases.

Speakers

The internal down firing speakers are lackluster. I would recommend using a set

of corded or bluetooth headphones to better your listening experience. Lenovo

has taken user feedback seriously in this regard and the more recent generations

of this device have been upgraded to a more premium listening experience.

Software Experience

Windows 10 runs great on this device as to be expected. I am currently running

1903 and have had nary an issue. I recommend any user running Windows 10 or

really any modern OS today to seriously consider 16GB of system memory as the

minimum. With more work being done in the browser and browsers hogging

system memory, a 16GB upgrade is often worth the dime.

The integrated Lenovo Vantage software also provides a reliable and

consistent interface to install updates to the system BIOS or other systems that

have available updates provided by Lenovo.

Keyboard & Trackpad

The keyboard on this device is simply great. It offer a generous 1.5mm of key

travel. This depth of key travel is nearly unheard of in the Ultrabook segment of

latops available today. This iconic Lenovo keyboard is head and shoulders above

many laptops that run either Windows 10 or MacOS.

When I am not using this device my other daily driver is a base model 2018 15″

MacBook Pro. While I don’t flat out dislike the butterfly keyboard, it does pale in

comparison to quality and overall user experience to the keyboard on this 2017

ThinkPad X1 Carbon.

The glass trackpad support multi-touch gestures and is sufficient in size and

usability. However, it does not quite match up to the trackpad experience on the

MacBook laptops. In fact, when using this device for extended periods of time I will

connect to USB mouse or a bluetooth enabled Logitech MX Master mouse to use as

the primary pointing device. I have never relied solely on the iconic Lenovo

TrackPoint in the center of the keyboard, but I know there are some who swear by

it as the only way to navigate the OS and installed software programs in the most

efficient manner.

Portability

The 5th Generation ThinkPad X1 Carbon is a 14″ laptop, but the weight is a

minimal 2.49 pounds thanks in large part to the Carbon Fiber chassis that is

vigorously tested in Lenovo labs. I am still, after 2+years since the purchase date,

pleasantly surprised at just how light & premium the device feels in the hand

when carrying from one room to another. It has a excellent feel in the hand and it

just exudes confidence that the device is comfortable in its skin and behooves the

user to present in the coffee shop, classroom, or board room.

This 14″ laptop is easy to carry around town and would be a great machine for the

on the go college student whose primary tasks is note-taking and written

assignments, or the frequent jet setting business professional who needs to create

some content while in an airport or flying in the sky.

Connectivity & Ports

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 5th generation device also offers a plethora of

connectivity options that will suit nearly every use case the typical user can toss at

it. With two USB type-C ports, two USB type-A ports, and a HDMI port there are

endless opportunities to connect to many peripherals if you want to use this

machine at a desk and connect to external peripherals and use as a workstation.

Conclusion

The 5th Generation ThinkPad X1 Carbon has been a great laptop that has provided

this user over two years of excellent reliability and satisfaction. If you are in the

market for new Windows 10 laptop this back to school season do not overlook the

7th generation or even last year’s 6th generation series of ThinkPad X1 Carbon

laptop as an option if suitable for your computing needs.

Comments (1)

One response to “Long term Review – 2017 ThinkPad X1 Carbon”

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    Paul Thurrott

    Nicely done, thanks for this.

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