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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (6th Gen) Review: The black beauty

Widely considered the best business laptop in the world, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is back in its 6th generation avatar. We’ve had a chance to use it, and here's our review.

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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 4 5
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  • The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon range in India starts at Rs 1,21,000.

  • The laptop features a full carbon fiber chassis, which keeps it durable and light.

  • The X1 Carbon is focused on business productivity, and achieves that well.

Perhaps the most iconic laptop line-up in the world, the ThinkPad series garners respect from practically every laptop user ever. A series that started in 1992 when it was still under the personal computer division of IBM, the ThinkPad range has since seen significant upgrades in terms of features, specifications and form factor. But the philosophy and styling has largely remained the same, and we aren’t complaining.

I’ve had the pleasure of using a Lenovo ThinkPad laptop early in my career, and I remember the reliability and durability of the machine being something I loved. This week, I had a chance to go back to a ThinkPad after many years, when I received our review unit of the new Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon. It’s widely regarded as the best business laptop in the world, thanks to a combination of everything that makes the ThinkPad line-up so good, along with premium specifications and design. Here’s what I think about the new Rs 1,21,000 Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (6th Gen).

WATCH: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon First Impressions

Classic ThinkPad styling

One look at the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (6th Gen) and there’s no doubt of what the laptop is. From the iconic Trackpoint placed between the G, H and B keys to the trackpad and physical mouse buttons, everything about this laptop screams ‘ThinkPad’. Of course, there’s also the trademark branding in case you still aren’t convinced. All of it encased in a single-slab carbon fiber chassis helps the device retain its character and classic black color. The chassis has the typical ‘soft’ feel of carbon fiber, unlike the harder, colder feel of metal. It’s something I rather liked about the X1 Carbon.

There is also a fingerprint sensor just below the keyboard, along with the possibility of using the front camera for face sign-in. There also appears to be a dual-camera setup for the laptop’s camera, with the second camera serving as an IR camera for Windows Hello face recognition. This does work well for biometric security, as does the fingerprint sensor. The power button sits just above the keyboard, and you do of course get keyboard backlighting as well.

The keyboard of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is quite easily among the best I’ve used on a laptop. Everything from the key travel to the physical feedback and feel of tapping on keys is designed for a superior typing experience. Even the key positioning and distance between keys is ideal, and I got used to the keyboard quickly. In fact, this first impressions has been typed out entirely on the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (6th Gen).

Another key advantage of the carbon fiber chassis is that it keeps the weight down. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is among the lightest 14-inch laptops you can get your hands on today, and the intelligent screen and display panel design means that the laptop feels compact even for a 14-inch device. I found it easy to use on my lap, it occupied a smaller footprint on my usually messy work desk, and sliding it into my bag to take home didn’t feel like a load either.

Performance and ease of use

In terms of specifications, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is top-notch as far as productivity and business laptops go. Our review unit is powered by the Intel Core i7 vPro (8th Gen) processor, with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage. There is no dedicated graphics card on the laptop, and a business laptop isn’t expected to have one either considering that users are unlikely to use a laptop like this for any heavy graphical use.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon has a 14-inch full-HD screen that’s also HDR capable. I tried out the laptop with a few 4K HDR clips, and I strangely found the picture to be duller than regular non-HDR clips. However, the colors are definitely more accurate, and on the whole I’m fairly impressed with the laptop’s HDR performance. Of course, the review unit I received had a full-HD screen, and perhaps HDR will perform better on the higher-resolution variants.

I’ve been using the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon as my primary productivity device for the last few days, and it’s suitably served me for all of my use cases. For the occasional video editing I do, I’ve chosen to stick to my Asus ROG GL553V for its dedicated graphics capabilities. For typing, web surfing with plenty of tabs open, multi-tasking and portability, I’ve been well-served by the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon.

The laptop boots up incredibly quickly thanks to its superior innards and SSD storage, and I’ve actually stopped bothering shutting the laptop down at all. Even waking is quick, and having the reliable performance of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon has increased my productivity and ability to get things done. For power users who need to remain connected on the go, would have to work on documents or presentations, and would need to use the laptop in a variety of situations, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon will prove a versatile and capable option.

When to comes to connectivity, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon naturally falls a bit short thanks to its compact form factor. Charging is through the single USB Type-C Thunderbolt-enabled port, which also naturally allows connectivity with compatible devices. You also get two USB Type-A ports, an HDMI port and a 3.5mm jack for audio. Additionally, there’s a proprietary port on the left that allows you to connect the included ethernet and VGA adapters. If you do depend on either of these, you’ll have to carry those adapters around with you.

All-day battery

The battery life on the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon can either be great or average, depending on how you use it. I was able to get a full work day out of the battery with my use, which was primarily running Google Chrome with multiple tabs and videos streaming throughout the day, a bit of photo editing and a lot of typing. But then again, my usage is fairly moderate, and different use cases may see people using the laptop in different circumstances. Heavy graphical loads tend to put additional strain on the battery, and such use will drain the battery quicker.

However, as you do as I did and set the consumption mode to somewhere between efficiency and performance (but closer to the efficiency end), and keep the screen brightness at about 60 percent with the keyboard backlight switched off, you could potentially get a full day out of the battery even with somewhat heavy use. Charging is quick too, thanks to the USB Type-C / Thunderbolt combination and 65W charger. Unfortunately though, the charger is a traditional brick, which doesn’t quite go well with the otherwise sleek image of the Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon, and naturally occupies a big chunk of space in your bag.


Is the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon the best productivity laptop I’ve ever used? Probably. It feels fantastic, looks understated and sophisticated at the same time, and has a set of specifications that is geared around getting the job done. It isn’t a performance beast by any standards; you’ll want a gaming laptop or a fully-geared desktop if you intend to play games or do heavy video editing. But as an everyday machine for the everyday corporate employee, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon (6th Gen) won’t let you down.

Its light weight is a huge advantage, as is its excellent battery life in regular conditions. In conclusion, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (6th Gen) is the ideal business laptop that lives up to the ThinkPad reputation of being the most reputed business laptop line-up in the world. Sure, it’s a bit expensive, but the productivity and efficiency it will give you will make the price entirely worthwhile in my opinion.

  • Published Date: April 12, 2018 4:06 PM IST