Imagine pulling a laptop out of its box for the first time, only to worry that it may not include a battery due to its insanely light weight. That was my first thought when I retrieved the latest Lenovo X1 Carbon (5th generation) from its box. It’s hard to imagine that this laptop is powered by anything other than thin air, mostly because it’s hard to imagine there’s an entire set of hardware — including a battery, of course — inside this thin and light body. What kind of sacrifices had to be made to produce such a svelte laptop? Surprisingly few, it turns out.
Upon removing the new X1 Carbon from its box, there’s one impression that reigns chief among them all: this is a very, very light and thin laptop. If there’s ever been a laptop that rivaled my MacBook Air — in terms of thinness and weight — it’s the fifth-generation X1 Carbon. According to Lenovo, this model is 0.6-inches thick and has a starting weight of 2.5lbs, making it a very slim option for travelers, road warriors, students and more.
Things get better from there. Open the X1 Carbon’s lid, and it glides smoothly on the hinges to reveal a bright matte display with either a Full HD or a WQHD resolution, depending on which option you choose. The bezels are smaller than average, the top edge being wider than the sides to accommodate the built-in 720p webcam.
The display, of course, is accompanied by the keyboard, which is easy to use right off the bat. Unlike some keyboards that require time to adjust to their unusual layout or spacing, the X1 Carbon’s keyboard feels natural upon first use. The keys are very quiet at normal typing speeds, though they don’t feel soft. When turned on, the backlight glows around the edges of the keys.
The trackpad follows in the footsteps of past X1 Carbon models, being both large and joined by three physical buttons. Those who refuse to use the trackpad still have the TrackPoint (red nub) in the keyboard as an option.
As far as looks go, the latest X1 Carbon laptop is immediately recognizable, but as a refined offering building up the lineup’s foundation to be better than ever. The machine is in no way flashy or gaudy; it is simple, dark, and would fit well in any environment. The exterior texture is smooth to the touch, and there’s only one thing to dislike about it: the material picks up fingerprints easily, but it’s not simple to wipe them off. You’ll have to deal with fingerprints.
Though we have the black version of the X1 Carbon, Lenovo plans to shake things up by offering a light silver version later on this year. With that model, the laptop body and lid is silver, but the bezels around the display are still black, as are the keys. This is a solid step in shedding the (somewhat unfair) public impression that ThinkPads are boring business laptops.