Notebookcheck

Review Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch Ultrabook

Sebastian Jentsch (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 03/18/2013

Executive Toy. The perfect plaything for the CEO? Light and slim, equipped with excellent ThinkPad input devices and a high-contrast HD+ screen. We looked closer at the touch version. Does Lenovo use IPS this time?

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch (N3NAQGE): Will CEOs get a first-rate touchscreen for 2000 Euros (~$2591)?
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch (N3NAQGE): Will CEOs get a first-rate touchscreen for 2000 Euros (~$2591)?

For the original German review, see here.

A few months ago we tested Lenovo's long awaited luxury model for the CEO from the executive board. The X1 was and is a very light, slim ultrabook with perfect dual-pointing input devices, long battery runtimes and a decent HD+ screen. Now the manufacturer has enhanced the input devices by a third dimension, so to speak, and installs a multi-touchscreen.

That's reason enough for us to take a second look at the showpiece. Has Lenovo swapped the TN screen for a stronger viewing angle IPS model in the course of the touch upgrade? This has now almost become standard for premium devices over 1200 Euros (~$1554). Asus' 13.3-inch UX31A (FHD) uses this just like Acer's 13.3-inch Aspire S7 (FHD) in the touch version. Samsung's 15-inch Series 9 900X4B relies on a PLS screen similar to IPS and HD+ resolution. 

Talking about the contenders: We have not yet had touch ultrabooks for business in review. Only heavy convertibles like Fujitsu's Stylistic Q702, Lifebook T902, and ThinkPad Twist S230u. The X1 Touch is the first. Therefore, we will also include non-touch devices. HP's Folio 9470m (non-touch) belongs to this as a categorical business ultrabook, but is offside in the screen comparison right away due to an inferior TN screen with HD resolution (small color space, low contrast). The cheaper ThinkPad T430u (approx. 900 Euros, ~$1166) also features a simple TN screen. This is no different in Dell's Latitude 6430u. However, we will soon test the HD+ version. Are the chances good for the X1 to triumph again?

The expectations are still high. After all, the dealers demand at least 2000 Euros (~$2591) for the noble slim device at the cash register (version N3NAQGE: Core i7-3667U & 240 GB SSD). We will not go in-depth about the workmanship, connectivity or keyboard and dual-pointing inputs (touchpad & pointer) and begin directly with the screen. We refer to the review of Lenovo's X1 Carbon for details about these points. We will deal with the performance (Intel instead of SanDisk SSD, Core i7 instead of i5), ergonomics and runtimes as usual.

Display

Capacitive multi-touch
Capacitive multi-touch

Lenovo still exclusively equips its X1 with an HD+ screen. Its 1600x900 pixels make an outdated impression compared with the 1920x1080 pixels of a few consumer ultrabooks from a lower price range. However, the X1 looks good against HP's Folio 9470mDell's Latitude 6430u (HD+ TFT option!) and ThinkPad T430u mentioned in the intro because they all only feature a HD+ resolution. Only Dell offers a HD+ version for its business ultrabook in the meantime.

The screen is fortunately AR coated. This is not a matter of course in multi-touch laptops. Corresponding competitors are all reflective. Fujitsu's T902 (classic tilt and turn convertible) and Q702 (slate PC with keyboard dock) recently proved that touch also works on anti-glare models.

Our test device has a light AR coating, i.e. strong reflections like from a lamp behind the user remain visible. The touch surface not only makes a TFT frame superfluous, it would also impair wiping. Therefore, the X1 features an edge-to-edge screen that covers the entire surface. It is encompassed by a continuous, 3 millimeter wide hard rubber lip that lies on the base when closed. 

Lenovo did not exchange the LP140WD2 TN screen. The contrast of 885:1 and black value of 0.33 cd/m² are however much better. The non-touch predecessor featured a similar brightness, but contrast and black value were not as good (LEN40A2, LG LP140WD2_TLE2: 645 and 0.468).

277
cd/m²
276
cd/m²
267
cd/m²
302
cd/m²
292
cd/m²
287
cd/m²
279
cd/m²
254
cd/m²
263
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 302 cd/m²
Average: 277.4 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 84 %
Center on Battery: 225 cd/m²
Black: 0.33 cd/m²
Contrast: 885:1

The color space does not cover sRGB, which will likely deter professional VDU workers (see ICC screen 1+2). This also applies to the larger AdobeRGB space but to a higher extent. In contrast to the non-touch version, the color space has only shifted marginally. The general, strong yellow characteristic is still seen (screenshot 4). The contenders are not cutting edge in this regard either. HP's 9470m only covers half of the sRGB and Asus' Zenbook UX31A Touch is on a par with the X1. Only Samsung's 900X4B fills a larger space although it does not cover sRGB.

ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch vs. sRGB(t)
ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch vs. sRGB(t)
ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch vs. AdobeRGB(t)
ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch vs. AdobeRGB(t)
ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch vs. HP 9470m HD(t)
ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch vs. HP 9470m HD(t)
ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch vs. X1 Carbon Non Touch(t)
ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch vs. X1 Carbon Non Touch(t)
ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch vs. Samsung 900X4B HD+(t)
ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch vs. Samsung 900X4B HD+(t)
ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch vs. Asus UX31A Touch FHD(t)
ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch vs. Asus UX31A Touch FHD(t)

We measured the screen with a spectrophotometer before and after calibration. The tool CalMAN uses the spectrophotometer xrite i1 Pro for analyzing the color accuracy and gray scales in relation to sRGB (target color space). The results are clearly better in contrast to the X1 Carbon non-touch when we do not compare the factory settings but rather both calibrated screens. The X1 Touch reproduces the gray scales perfectly. Only brighter hues have a DeltaE2000 of three to four. The dark hues no longer show a difference to sRGB gray shades. The white point of CCT 7052 is very close to the ideal of 6500K.

The color accuracy continues this good trend but cannot surpass the X1 non-touch. The predecessor has a measurable but not practical visual advantage. Regardless of that, our test device has a very nice RGB balance that only breaks out slightly in blue and green (DeltaE2000 of five to seven).

This again proves that calibrating the colors of a high-end screen is quite worthwhile. Cyan was wide of the mark and the gray scales had an average DeltaE2000 of ten. We have to note that HP's Folio 9470m, Dell's Latitude 6430u (HD+ TFT option!) and the ThinkPad T430u cannot compete with this color strength. IPS contenders, such as the UX31A Touch (FHD) can match the color saturation but fail in the gray scales (DeltaE2000 of eight).

Uncalibrated gray scale
Uncalibrated gray scale
Uncalibrated color accuracy
Uncalibrated color accuracy
Uncalibrated color saturation
Uncalibrated color saturation
Calibrated gray scale
Calibrated gray scale
Calibrated color accuracy
Calibrated color accuracy
Calibrated color saturation
Calibrated color saturation

On-the-go use was agreeably uncomplicated as we noticed during our trip to the CeBit on the train, at the train station, at the press center and even outdoors. In contrast to all consumer touch-laptops, the screen is not only nice and bright but also AR coatedReflections only occur to a weaker extent (e.g. neon light above the user). The user should not sit in full light in bright daylight because the good brightness fails in this case.

Users who like it really bright will be happy with Samsung's Series 9 900X4B-A01DE: 361 cd/m². HP's Folio 9470m and Dell's Latitude 6430u only manage a poor brightness of 200 cd/m² with their matte screens. The non-disturbing "screen door" effect described by forum users in the precursor's review has been eliminated.

Outdoors, sun, side view, reflections
Outdoors, sun, side view, reflections
Outdoors, sun, front view
Outdoors, sun, front view
Outdoors, side view, background reflected
Outdoors, side view, background reflected
Outdoors, from below, narrow viewing angles
Outdoors, from below, narrow viewing angles

Lenovo dubs the screen 14-inch HD+ "wide viewing" but, like in the non-touch X1, opts for TN technology. Ultrabook contenders with IPS or PLS screens have much better viewing angles especially on the vertical plane (see screenshot). However, only Samsung's Series 9 900X3C or Asus' UX31A Touch (both 13.3-inch anti-glare) can score in the business field.

The viewing angles are largely identical with those of the non-touch X1. It is possible to deviate up to about 70 degrees horizontally. However, the picture does not invert beyond this point. Instead it exhibits a yellowish cast which makes writing and images illegible. The contenders from HP and Dell cannot match that and the picture can no longer be called good at 45 degrees. The already pale colors of the contenders clearly invert beyond this point and almost nothing is identifiable at 70 degrees.

The possibilities of our X1 are limited vertically. The image starts to invert at 15 degrees and writing is no longer well-legible from 40 degrees. However, the wide vertical angle also ensures that a viewer standing at the side can still see the image well.

Viewing angles: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch (TN, HD+)
Viewing angles: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch (TN, HD+)
Viewing angles: Asus Zenbook UX31A Touch (IPS, FHD)
Viewing angles: Asus Zenbook UX31A Touch (IPS, FHD)

Performance

Buyers are not spoiled for choice. The high-end version of the X1 Carbon featuring a 240 GB Intel SSD comes with Intel's Core i7-3667U 2-3.2 GHz (Turbo). That is currently the fastest low voltage processor with a TDP (thermal design power) of 17 watts. It surpasses the 3517U in the Aspire S7. The only CPU alternative is an i5-3427U 1.8 - 2.8 GHz, e.g. in Fujitsu's LifeBook U772ThinkPad X1 Carbon Non-Touch.

The processor sports a DDR3 RAM memory controller alongside an HD 4000. 2 x 4096 MB of RAM is soldered in the test system and makes future upgrade intentions impossible. The X1 does not have maintenance flaps. The SSD inserted as an mSATA module could be replaced after removing the upper plate. Many pictures of the opened X1 can be found in the review of the X1 Carbon.

System info CPUZ CPU
System info CPUZ Cache
System info CPUZ Mainboard
System info CPUZ RAM
System info CPUZ RAM SPD
System info GPUZ HD 4000
System info HWinfo summary
DPC Latency: Idle OK
System information: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch

Processor

Cinebench R11.5 Multi @3.0 GHz stable
Cinebench R11.5 Multi @3.0 GHz stable
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL @1100 MHz stable
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL @1100 MHz stable

We previously saw the i7 processor in the EliteBook 2170p. If it could be cooled sufficiently in an 11.6-inch device without throttling, then it should also work in a 14-incher. We checked whether and to what extent Turbo Boost works using Cinebench CPU benchmarks. As before, when the cooling system can cope with the waste heat, the CPU supplies a stable computing performance with at least the default clock of 2.0 GHz (i7-3667U).

The clock rate during the CPU multi-test was stable at 3.0 GHz (Turbo: theoretically up to 3.2 GHz), which is a pleasing result. The same is true for single-core load. Besides the EliteBook 2170p using the same CPU, it is the best result achieved by this processor until now. The user does not have to waive on performance on battery power. The R11.5 tests, including OpenGL via GPU, finished with exactly the same score.

The GPU's Turbo also ran stably at 1100 MHz. The OpenGL score corresponds to HD 4000 devices using a dual-channel working memory. Samsung's 900X4B and HP's EliteBook Folio 9470m do not feature this and their scores lag behind by 22 to 36%. The identical EliteBook 2170p in terms of CPU and GPU is exactly equal in this test.

Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
5591 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
11387 Points
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
6240 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.33 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
2.96 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
15.52 fps
Help
Cinebench R11.5
OpenGL 64Bit (sort by value)
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch N3NAQGE
15.52 fps ∼13%
HP EliteBook 2170p-B6Q15EA
12.52 fps ∼10% -19%
Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A-C4027H
16.23 fps ∼13% +5%
Samsung 900X3C-A04DE
16.01 fps ∼13% +3%
Dell Latitude 6430u
17.57 fps ∼14% +13%
HP EliteBook Folio 9470m H4P04EA
12.04 fps ∼10% -22%
Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon N3N34GE
15.54 fps ∼13% 0%
Lenovo ThinkPad T430u
14.21 fps ∼12% -8%
Samsung 900X4B-A01DE
9.96 fps ∼8% -36%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch N3NAQGE
2.96 Points ∼17%
HP EliteBook 2170p-B6Q15EA
2.93 Points ∼17% -1%
Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A-C4027H
2.82 Points ∼16% -5%
Samsung 900X3C-A04DE
2.64 Points ∼15% -11%
Dell Latitude 6430u
2.6 Points ∼15% -12%
HP EliteBook Folio 9470m H4P04EA
2.6 Points ∼15% -12%
Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon N3N34GE
2.57 Points ∼15% -13%
Lenovo ThinkPad T430u
2.39 Points ∼14% -19%
Samsung 900X4B-A01DE
2.19 Points ∼12% -26%

Legend

 
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch N3NAQGE Intel Core i7-3667U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Intel SSD 521 Series SSDSCMMW240A3L SFF
 
HP EliteBook 2170p-B6Q15EA Intel Core i7-3667U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Plextor PX-256M5M
 
Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A-C4027H Intel Core i7-3517U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, ADATA XM11 256GB
 
Samsung 900X3C-A04DE Intel Core i7-3517U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Lite-On LMT-256M3M
 
Dell Latitude 6430u Intel Core i5-3427U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Samsung SSD PM830 MZ-7PC128D
 
HP EliteBook Folio 9470m H4P04EA Intel Core i5-3427U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Intel SSD 520 Series SSDSC2BW180A3L
 
Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon N3N34GE Intel Core i5-3427U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, SanDisk SD5SB2128G
 
Lenovo ThinkPad T430u Intel Core i5-3317U, NVIDIA GeForce GT 620M, Toshiba THNSNF128GCSS
 
Samsung 900X4B-A01DE Intel Core i7-2637M, Intel HD Graphics 3000, Samsung SSD 830 Series MZMPC256HBGJ-00000

System Performance

PCMark 7 goes beyond the theoretical computing power and rates the total application performance of Intel's SSD, RAM, GPU and CPU via numerous practical tests. The scores in the laptop-vs.-laptop comparison are very dependent on the installed hard drive's speed. In our case, the new Intel SSD 521 Series is impressive. The storage sub score finished with 5223 points (PCM7/PCMV). This is exactly the same score that the Micro RealSSD achieved in the EliteBook 2170p

Such a high rate always equals a slight boost for the final score. PCMark 7 recorded 5185 points. The following graph shows that we are really dealing with one of the fastest subnotebooks on the market in the form of the X1. Even Acer's Aspire S7 391 with RAID 0 SSDs and an i7 cannot keep up with that. Consequently, the X1 achieves almost the same score of the Latitude E6430s equipped with a standard voltage CPU (+14%, i5-3360M). The X1 Carbon Non-Touch featuring an i5 CPU and SanDisk SSD is on a par in the total score (-1%) but lags slightly behind in system storage (-5%).

PCMark 7
Score (sort by value)
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch N3NAQGE
5185 Points ∼78%
Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A-C4027H
3724 Points ∼56% -28%
Samsung 900X4B-A01DE
3775 Points ∼57% -27%
HP EliteBook Folio 9470m H4P04EA
4168 Points ∼63% -20%
Lenovo ThinkPad T430u
4202 Points ∼63% -19%
HP EliteBook 2170p-B6Q15EA
4256 Points ∼64% -18%
Samsung 900X3C-A04DE
4549 Points ∼69% -12%
Dell Latitude 6430u
5065 Points ∼76% -2%
Fujitsu LifeBook U772
5039 Points ∼76% -3%
Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon N3N34GE
5129 Points ∼77% -1%
Dell Latitude E6430s
5896 Points ∼89% +14%
System Storage (sort by value)
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch N3NAQGE
5223 Points ∼73%
Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A-C4027H
5332 Points ∼75% +2%
Samsung 900X4B-A01DE
5155 Points ∼72% -1%
HP EliteBook Folio 9470m H4P04EA
5281 Points ∼74% +1%
Lenovo ThinkPad T430u
5390 Points ∼76% +3%
HP EliteBook 2170p-B6Q15EA
5033 Points ∼71% -4%
Samsung 900X3C-A04DE
5323 Points ∼75% +2%
Dell Latitude 6430u
5132 Points ∼72% -2%
Fujitsu LifeBook U772
5132 Points ∼72% -2%
Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon N3N34GE
4978 Points ∼70% -5%
Dell Latitude E6430s
5187 Points ∼73% -1%
5.4
Windows 8 Experience Index
Processor
Calculations per second
7.2
Memory (RAM)
Memory operations per second
7.4
Graphics
Desktop performance for Windows Aero
5.4
Gaming graphics
3D business and gaming graphics
6.4
Primary hard disk
Disk data transfer rate
8.1
PC Mark
PCMark 75185 points
Help

Storage Devices

Intel's SSD (521 Series SSDSCMMW240A3L) is swift, but does it really belong to the very best? A look at the first part of the CrystalDiskMark graph surprisingly shows a similar read rate despite different SSD models (Samsung, Toshiba, Micron, SanDisk). Are all SSDs equally good?

Not at all. The results in reading small, random files (4K tests) completely reshuffles the chart. The X1 Carbon (SanDisk SD5SG2256G1052E) and UX31A Touch (ADATA XM11) are at the top. Our 521 Series is apparently not a performance champion although its results are extremely good.

More information about SSDs can be found in our HDD/SSD comparison.

AS SSD: 509 MB/s (sequential read)
AS SSD: 509 MB/s (sequential read)
CrystalDiskMark: 488 MB/s (seq. read)
CrystalDiskMark: 488 MB/s (seq. read)
HDTune: 237 MB/s (seq. read)
HDTune: 237 MB/s (seq. read)
Intel SSD 521 Series SSDSCMMW240A3L SFF
Transfer Rate Minimum: 186.8 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 303.5 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 249.9 MB/s
Access Time: 0.1 ms
Burst Rate: 152 MB/s
CPU Usage: 5.8 %
CrystalDiskMark 3.0
Read Seq (sort by value)
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch N3NAQGE
464.5 MB/s ∼32%
Lenovo ThinkPad T430u
486.3 MB/s ∼33% +5%
Dell Latitude 6430u
449.3 MB/s ∼31% -3%
HP EliteBook 2170p-B6Q15EA
427.4 MB/s ∼29% -8%
Dell Latitude E6430s
463.4 MB/s ∼31% 0%
Samsung 900X3C-A04DE
479.2 MB/s ∼33% +3%
HP EliteBook Folio 9470m H4P04EA
443.5 MB/s ∼30% -5%
Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A-C4027H
488.5 MB/s ∼33% +5%
Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon N3N34GE
444.6 MB/s ∼30% -4%
Read 4k (sort by value)
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch N3NAQGE
19.56 MB/s ∼45%
Lenovo ThinkPad T430u
13.83 MB/s ∼32% -29%
Dell Latitude 6430u
17.08 MB/s ∼39% -13%
HP EliteBook 2170p-B6Q15EA
20.18 MB/s ∼47% +3%
Dell Latitude E6430s
20.37 MB/s ∼47% +4%
Samsung 900X3C-A04DE
21.56 MB/s ∼50% +10%
HP EliteBook Folio 9470m H4P04EA
21.91 MB/s ∼51% +12%
Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A-C4027H
24.39 MB/s ∼56% +25%
Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon N3N34GE
24.57 MB/s ∼57% +26%

Graphics Card

The performance of the HD 4000 graphics is not breathtaking compared with a dedicated entry-level solution. The GT 620M currently often used in ultrabooks exhibits an approximately 75% higher performance in 3DMark 06. There are performance fluctuations seen in the HD 4000 which results from different Turbo clock specifications (i3, i5, i7) and thermal restrictions (form factor). The X1 Carbon Touch can keep up quite well with the low voltage contenders. The 3D benchmarks are in the midfield owing to the dual-channel RAM.

3D Mark
3DMark 06
 1280x1024
5054 points
3DMark 11651 points
Help

Gaming Performance

Gaming is certainly not the traditional field of use for a ThinkPad. Nevertheless, the HD 4000 can render older or less demanding games in minimum settings owing to the dual-channel RAM and high clock. However, games hardly ever ran smoothly in the native 1600x900 pixels. More information about the HD 4000's gaming-suitability can be found in our GPU data sheet.

low med.high ultra
StarCraft 2 (2010) 1262617fps
Anno 2070 (2011) 392214fps
Diablo III (2012) 482924fps

Emissions

System Noise

Lenovo solved the X1 Carbon's fan management (dual fan) well. The active cooling is never disabled in idle mode, but it is almost inaudible with 31 dB(A) even in quiet surroundings. We do not hear the spinning noise from an HDD due to the SSD.

The cooling system increases up to 35 dB(A) in the power user scenario using a lot of CPU/GPU load (stress test comprised of Furmark and Prime95). The 14-incher reached its average maximum level of 32 dB(A) during medium load (3DMark 2006). The noise climbs to only 32.4 dB(A) when playing a game. Unfortunately, the level varied between 32.6 and 35.2 dB(A) during constant load.

Noise Level

Idle 31.1 / 31.1 / 31.6 dB(A)
Load 32.4 / 35.2 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:    Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)

Temperature

A Core i7 in a slim ultrabook lets us fear scorched fingers and melting keys. But the X1 Carbon is not a smelter although the temperatures in the stress test scenario (simultaneous Prime95 & Furmark) selectively come close to 55 °C. In this case, the waste heat also reaches the keyboard. We measured 46 °C in the left center.

The stress temperatures are very different to the (average) idle temperatures. The top's average temperature did not surpass 28 °C. The mentioned stress test (measurement "max load") is not as significant for practical use as the idle assessment. It is to simulate the worst case situation.

Max. Load
 55.6 °C41.3 °C38.6 °C 
 45.7 °C41.5 °C34.4 °C 
 36.3 °C32.6 °C30.5 °C 
Maximum: 55.6 °C
Average: 39.6 °C
41.2 °C55.2 °C54.2 °C
36 °C42 °C48.5 °C
31.5 °C34.5 °C37.3 °C
Maximum: 55.2 °C
Average: 42.3 °C
Power Supply (max.)  41 °C | Room Temperature 23.4 °C | Voltcraft IR-360

This worst case scenario also repeatedly caused a clear CPU throttling to 1.1 GHz. The default clock, without active Turbo, is 2.0 GHz. The CPU's temperature is then 90 °C. Prime95 only provokes 1.9 GHz, which is also minor throttling. The GPU Turbo is not affected. The Furmark test (100% GPU load) calculates stably at 1150 MHz in the HD 4000

This will not affect the user in practical use, as the Cinebench tests above all proved. The clock always worked in a high Turbo range during the normal CPU tests. Even a 3DMark 2006 (@ 1150 MHz GPU) performed directly after the stress test provided the same scores as after a cold start (total: 4976 / CPU score: 3612).

Stress test: 1.0 GHz throttling (simultaneous GPU @100%)
Stress test: 1.0 GHz throttling (simultaneous GPU @100%)
Prime95 solo: 1.9 GHz throttling (GPU @ idle)
Prime95 solo: 1.9 GHz throttling (GPU @ idle)
CB R11.5 OpenGL: 1150 MHz (GPU @ 100%)
CB R11.5 OpenGL: 1150 MHz (GPU @ 100%)

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The slim ultrabook has a low power consumption but is not more energy-efficient than its contenders when idling. The lowest idle power consumption was 6 watts and the maximum idle consumption was 12.6 watts. The contenders are on the same level: Series 9 900X4B: 7-13 watts; ThinkPad T430u: 7-11 watts; EliteBook Folio 9470m: 7.3-10.6 watts. The wireless modules are disabled, the brightness is set to minimum and the battery is fully charged for measuring the minimum power consumption.

The Core i7 and its GPU calculate with its maximum clock during load. However, the aforementioned throttling turns up on the CPU side. It reduces the stress power consumption to 35.5 watts (simultaneous Prime95 & Furmark). The higher, average power consumption of 37.1 watts we measured during the first sequence of 3DMark 2006 confirmed throttling. A lower power consumption while running this benchmark or an increased consumption in the stress test would be normal. For example, 14-inchers without throttling consume 38.7 or 42.4 watts with a 17 watt low voltage processor and integrated graphics (max load X1 Non-Touch or Series 9 900X4B).

The 90 watt power supply seems extremely oversized based on this. But this way it has enough reserves to recharge the battery in just 1:28 hours even under stress. That is very fast in relation to the runtime of a realistic seven hours.

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.1 / 0.4 Watt
Idle 6.1 / 11.3 / 12.6 Watt
Load 37.1 / 35.5 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 960

Battery Runtime

The 14-incher sports a 45 Wh lithium polymer battery. It lasted for almost seven hours in our standardized Wi-Fi test performed with a brightness of 150 cd/m², which is a realistic scenario. The non-touch model was drained a bit sooner: 6:07 h. The 13 and 14-inch business contenders usually supply higher capacities, but do not manage any significantly longer runtimes: Series 9 900X4B: 7:13 h, 62 Wh; ThinkPad T430u: 3:25 h, 47 Wh; EliteBook Folio 9470m: 7:39 h, 52 Wh; Latitude 6430u: 4:34 h, 60 Wh.

Thrifty users can increase the runtime to 8:53 hours by using maximum energy-saving mechanisms (best contenders: Series 9 900X4B: 11:57 h or EliteBook Folio 9470m: 11:34 h). We can exclude a measuring error because this unusually short idle runtime was recorded in the non-touch version (idle: 8:56 h).

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
8h 53min
WiFi Surfing
6h 54min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 55min

Verdict

Lenovo doesn't clear the field without a fight and, in our opinion, again faces the customer with a premium and virtually complete business ultrabook. The competition has failed to release an equal, mobile slim device to date. Neither HP nor Dell offer a touch ultrabook for this demanding target group and other manufacturers are currently only upgrading their midrange or high-end contenders with input devices of the third dimension.

Considering only the screen quality, i.e. resolution, contrast, color space, viewing angles, the HD+ screen upgrade in our X1 Carbon cannot compete against Asus' UX31A, Acer's Aspire S7 391, Lenovo's IdeaPad Yoga 13, Samsung's 900X4C / 900X3C or Dell's XPS 13 consumer devices. An IPS or PLS screen would have looked much better regarding the 14-incher's price. However, the X1 still sports a non-glare screen and no competitor ultrabook featuring touch can afford that. The TN screen's viewing angles easily defeat the (few) real business ultrabooks in this regard (Latitude 6430u & HP's Folio 9470m).

HP's EliteBook 9470m disappoints with a color-weak HD screen, Dell's Latitude 6430u optionally available with HD+, that we have not yet tested. The casing is thicker and the runtime is shorter.

The new SSD that now comes from Intel is state-of-the-art, but it is slightly slower than the SanDisk SSD in the non-touch X1 Carbon in the 4K tests. The Core i7 ensures the best possible computing performance in such a slim ultrabook. We believe most users would be just as satisfied with the cheaper Core i5 version because the performance differences are marginal. 

From the above named contenders, only the 13-inch UX31A (also touchscreen) and Samsung's 14-inch 900X4C / 900X3C can be deemed comparable. They both feature equally good input devices, a very thin and high-end exterior and good runtimes. The customer will not find a DisplayPort or a SIM card slot here either.

Courtesy of ...
Read all 5 comments / answer
static version load dynamic
Loading comments

Comment this article:

In Review: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch, courtesy of:
In Review:  Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch

Specifications

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch N3NAQGE
Graphics adapter
Intel HD Graphics 4000, Core: 1150 MHz, Memory: 666 MHz, DDR3
Memory
8192 MB 
, dual-channel
Display
14.0 inch 16:9, 1600x900 pixel, resistive multi-touch, LP140WD2 TLE2, TN LED, glossy: yes
Mainboard
Intel QS77 (Panther Point)
Harddisk
Intel SSD 521 Series SSDSCMMW240A3L SFF, 240 GB 
Soundcard
HD Audio
Connections
1 USB 2.0, 1 USB 3.0, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm combo, Card Reader: 4-in-1 SD, 1 Fingerprint Reader, ambient light
Networking
Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6205 (a b g n ), 4.0 Bluetooth, Ericsson H5321 gw Mobile Broadband
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 18.85 x 331 x 226 ( = 0.74 x 13.03 x 8.9 in)
Weight
1.516 kg ( = 53.48 oz) Power Supply: 436 g ( = 15.38 oz)
Battery
45 Wh Lithium-Polymer
Price
2050 Euro
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 8 Pro 64 Bit
Additional features
Webcam: 720p HD 1280x720, Speakers: stereo, Keyboard: chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, Microsoft Office Starter 2012 trial, Norton Internet Security, ThinkSlider, Rescue and Recovery, Power Manager, Simple Tap 3.0, 36 Months Warranty

 

[+] compare
Lenovo's German press speaker coined the phrase: The ThinkPad X1 Carbon is an executive toy.
Lenovo's German press speaker coined the phrase: The ThinkPad X1 Carbon is an executive toy.
but the vertical viewing angles of the X1's touchscreen are inferior to some contenders with an IPS screen.
but the vertical viewing angles of the X1's touchscreen are inferior to some contenders with an IPS screen.
To illustrate this, we show the viewing angles of the Aspire V3 571G with a Full HD IPS screen (650 - 850 Euros, ~$842 - $1101).
To illustrate this, we show the viewing angles of the Aspire V3 571G with a Full HD IPS screen (650 - 850 Euros, ~$842 - $1101).
Our X1 doesn't have a chance. The EliteBook 9470m (TN, HD) is even worse.
Our X1 doesn't have a chance. The EliteBook 9470m (TN, HD) is even worse.
Asus' UX31A Touch ultrabook (IPS, FHD) features very wide, vertical viewing angles.
Asus' UX31A Touch ultrabook (IPS, FHD) features very wide, vertical viewing angles.
It is usually possible to view from the sides.
It is usually possible to view from the sides.
Some users will also dislike the frequently present reflections of the UX31A Touch.
Some users will also dislike the frequently present reflections of the UX31A Touch.
This is not the case in the Folio 9470M.
This is not the case in the Folio 9470M.
It is also possible to relax in the sun with the viewing angle weak Folio 9470M contender.
It is also possible to relax in the sun with the viewing angle weak Folio 9470M contender.
The 14-incher does not have maintenance covers on the base plate.
The 14-incher does not have maintenance covers on the base plate.
The entire work surface can be removed though.
The entire work surface can be removed though.
Only a few screws have to be removed from the base plate.
Only a few screws have to be removed from the base plate.
Picture: The lithium polymer battery
Picture: The lithium polymer battery
and the dual heat pipe cooling.
and the dual heat pipe cooling.
Well visible: RAM and CPU are not inserted,
Well visible: RAM and CPU are not inserted,
Quite the contrary is true. The TN screen features a high contrast and good brightness...
Quite the contrary is true. The TN screen features a high contrast and good brightness...
The high price lets buyers expect a perfectly viewing angle stable screen.
The high price lets buyers expect a perfectly viewing angle stable screen.
The touchscreen was the main reason for an update review of the X1 Carbon.
The touchscreen was the main reason for an update review of the X1 Carbon.
A plaything for the board member, Chief Executive Officer or Head of Department. Naturally no company will equip hundreds of employees with a 2000 Euros (~$2591) ultrabook.
A plaything for the board member, Chief Executive Officer or Head of Department. Naturally no company will equip hundreds of employees with a 2000 Euros (~$2591) ultrabook.
Dell, HP and even Lenovo offer more productive computing devices for much less money.
Dell, HP and even Lenovo offer more productive computing devices for much less money.
What's behind the executive toy?
What's behind the executive toy?
The idea: No-one will work with the X1 Carbon all day.
The idea: No-one will work with the X1 Carbon all day.
Creating charts, editing a website's backend or creating Excel lists.
Creating charts, editing a website's backend or creating Excel lists.
These common tasks could be performed on a ProBook or, in the best case, on an E-Series Latitude.
These common tasks could be performed on a ProBook or, in the best case, on an E-Series Latitude.
The CEO only occasionally takes care of such things, if at all.
The CEO only occasionally takes care of such things, if at all.
Writing emails, reading reports, giving documents a once-over and browsing on websites privately.
Writing emails, reading reports, giving documents a once-over and browsing on websites privately.
These are the tasks for the executive toy for which the CEO always has the X1 at hand.
These are the tasks for the executive toy for which the CEO always has the X1 at hand.
Missing docking port? Those who dictate longer texts to the assistant can tolerate that.
Missing docking port? Those who dictate longer texts to the assistant can tolerate that.
It is a matter of representative sobriety. And the X1 features plenty of that.
It is a matter of representative sobriety. And the X1 features plenty of that.
Matte surfaces, excellent input devices in ThinkPad-style proven over years alongside a high runtime.
Matte surfaces, excellent input devices in ThinkPad-style proven over years alongside a high runtime.
And what's more, the slim chassis does not reveal the sophistication of strong performance.
And what's more, the slim chassis does not reveal the sophistication of strong performance.
A screen that can be used swiftly with a finger and which is even AR coated.
A screen that can be used swiftly with a finger and which is even AR coated.
but rather soldered to the circuit board.
but rather soldered to the circuit board.

Similar Laptops

Links

  • Manufacturer's information

Compare Prices

Amazon.com

Show results on Amazon.com

Pricerunner n.a.

Pro

+High CPU and application performance
+Light, rigid casing
+Quiet, even relatively quiet during load
+Big touchpad
+Integrated 3G modem
+Backlit keyboard
+Feedback strong input devices
+Good battery life
+Short battery charge time
+AR coated touchscreen
 

Cons

-Tight viewing angles compared with IPS
-CPU throttling during extreme load
-Few interfaces, no docking port
-High price

Shortcut

What we like

Unobtrusive, handy, very portable and yet as powerful as an ultrabook can be.

What we'd like to see

The matte touchscreen is top-notch compared with direct business contenders. However, some cheaper consumers with a Full HD IPS screen (also matte) make the HD+ TN screen look outdated. 

What surprises us

A matte touchscreen should also go into production among the contender devices.

The competition

Slim business devices: ThinkPad T430uLatitude 6430uHP EliteBook 9470m

High-end consumers featuring IPS/PLS screensAsus UX31A (FHD 13.3-inch), Acer Aspire S7 (FHD 13.3-inch), Samsung Series 9 900X4B (15-inch), Series 9 900X3B.

Rating

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch N3NAQGE
11/11/2013 v4
Sebastian Jentsch

Chassis
85 / 98 → 87%
Keyboard
88%
Pointing Device
85%
Connectivity
74 / 95 → 78%
Weight
91 / 78 → 100%
Battery
90%
Display
84%
Games Performance
67 / 85 → 79%
Application Performance
98%
Temperature
67 / 91 → 74%
Noise
92%
Add Points
+89%
Average
84%
86%
Subnotebook *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch Ultrabook
Author: Sebastian Jentsch, 2013-03-18 (Update: 2013-06- 6)