I've Tested Hundreds of Laptops. Here's Why I Bought a ThinkPad X1 Carbon

Status
Not open for further replies.
As another person who hates reflective screens, I've managed to avoid them thus far (don't really use touchscreens). But this upgrade cycle, none of my likely candidates have a matte screen, and the top contender actually gets demerits in reviews for an extremely reflective screen.

Has anyone found an aftermarket solution which works? I've been looking at matte screen protectors - a plastic film you can apply to the screen - but they seem to get poor reviews.
 

michaelahess

Distinguished
Jan 30, 2006
1,711
0
19,780
0
I've got a gen 5, love it! Got it on sale at the end of the model run so a few hundred less than in this article, only downside is dual core i7.

The screen is 2k but not as nice as the new model, but it's Matte which is critical to me.

Battery life with Firefox stinks though, 3-4 hours tops.
 

luckymatt42

Upstanding
May 23, 2018
446
1
360
68
I've always thought I was the only one who used the nipple ("pointing stick"). I've never been able to use a touchpad. Good to know I'm not alone.
 

climber

Distinguished
Feb 26, 2009
325
0
18,780
0
The thing about touch screens which I've found with my Dell XPS 15 circa 2014 is that when your mouse tops working, usually because of a Windows 10 update, but also because the touch pad starts lifting up off the laptop base and you need a mouse, in my case a bluetooth mouse, windows updates can interfere with bluetooth and then you're left with a touch pad that you can't press the button areas to click or right click and a non-functional bluetooth mouse. They only option I've had until I can fix the drivers by reverting back to the original drivers, is to use the touch screen to navigate and click things. I've yet to have an instance where the touch screen stops working.
 

CRamseyer

Honorable
Jan 25, 2015
410
1
10,795
3
This isn't a sponsored review, it's actually the exact opposite. He bought the system!

i swear by my Lenovo notebooks in articles as well. I use a second gen X1 at trade shows, write my reviews on a pair of W530s, and do personal things on a P71, and run two important tests of four Y700-17s. My favorite is still the dual screen model I have tucked away in need of a new battery. Yes, I said two screens!

Reviewers are just like you guys/gals. When we find something we like we use it. Our megaphone is just a larger when we talk about the things we like.
 

geekinchief

Distinguished
Ambassador
Sep 10, 2008
25
0
18,530
0
Thanks. Honestly, I was not inclined to write this article, because I didn't want people to think I was schilling for Lenovo. My colleagues heard about my purchase, including the screen dilemma, and said this would make a good article.

Nobody paid me to have this opinion and, believe me, if they did, I would have gotten the model with the 1TB SSD and the highest-end Core i7! I know my choice is not the same one that everyone would make and, when I review products, I always keep in mind that the audience for a particular system might not be me.

I am a productivity user and this is what I look for. If I wanted to play games or watch movies on a big screen or edit 4K movies, I'd be looking for something else.
 
May 26, 2018
3
0
10
0
As a touch typist I also insist on the rubber pointing stick. In fact, I wish there were two of them, one for each index finger. I hate it when reviewers dismiss it, scared that Lenovo might listen to them. It doesn't matter that trackpads have gotten better. It doesn't matter that we now have touch screens. I don't want to take my fingers off the keys.
 
May 26, 2018
1
0
10
0
I have a hard time recommending specific laptops to other people, because I've learned that there are so many factors people may or may not care about, and it really comes down to personal preference. Its kind of sad that this reviewer had to make so many disclaimers about the laptop that he prefers over all others, because it may be construed as being a shill for Lenovo.
I've owned and used many laptops, and my current laptop is a Thinkpad T440s, and its natural successor would also be a X1 Carbon if my budget permitted it (alas it does not). There is no higher praise when you put down your hard earned cash for a newer model of the same brand that you have been using for the last four years.
 
May 26, 2018
1
0
10
0
I use a Gen 1 and a Gen 3 Carbon.
Both have touch screens, which is extremely helpful in signing documents for those agencies which still refuse to allow electronic signatures.
Both have excellent microphones - you didn't mention that in your review -- and work just fine with Dragon. I don't need a special mike any more to dictate all my office notes.
Before this, my favorite was the X220T -- but these are lighter and battery life is much better. Lack of a pen is marginally troublesome, but I imagine stylus technology adds thickness and decreases battery life.
 

Not on a laptop. Too much RAM will just consume excess power, reducing battery life. The denser (higher capacity) memory modules consume lower Watts/GB (why should favor a single large module instead of two smaller modules in a laptop), but Watts per module still goes up.

The smaller RAM modules are also more readily available in low-voltage (1.3V) modules (vs the normal 1.5V). Since P = V*I this results in about 15% lower power consumption. A laptop SO-DIMM uses about 1.5 W at idle, 3 W under load (this varies with capacity). Call it 2 W, or 4W for two modules. 15% of that is a savings of 0.6 Watts.

The X1 Carbon uses a 57 Wh battery. At a 10 hour battery life under moderate use, that's an average power consumption of 5.7 Watts. Increasing that by 0.6W to 6.3 Watts drops battery life to 9 hours. Increasing it to 6.7 Watts drops battery life to 8.5 hours. Increasing it to 7.7 Watts drops it to 7.4 hours.

The power consumption of the RAM only made 10-20 minutes difference back when laptops were only getting 3-4 hours on battery. But the modern laptops which are pushing 10 hours are extremely sensitive to additional power consumption. You shouldn't get more RAM than you need.


Lenovo's share of the laptop market is about 20%, so just on pure chance alone you'd expect about 1/5th of recommendations to be for Lenovo.

The Thinnkpads are my #1 recommendation for laptops too. The Surface line, while impressive technical feats, are virtually impossible to repair. The Thinkpads are a breeze to fix, both via warranty service or out of warranty. They're made that way because businesses buy them by the truckload, and expect to have their own IT department repair them. Roughly half the laptops I've ever owned were Thinkpads. I'd be using one right now if Lenovo would put anything higher than a 940m / MX150 GPU in them.
 

Crashman

Polypheme
Former Staff
I could write a counterpoint to this article: I'm running an old Asus thin-and-light because it was given to me. There are ZERO notebooks that are worth my money when I'm willing to struggle with whatever I can get for free, and here's the kicker: I'm not struggling yet with the old Asus.

And then there's the 1080p thing. Bravo. More is crap. Seriously, more is a wast of energy. More makes you use upscaled fonts so you can just read the dang thing. And more costs more.
 

Sleepy_Hollowed

Reputable
Jan 1, 2017
128
28
4,610
0
For writers, keyboards, battery life, portability and at least a 1080p (anything higher is of diminishing returns unless you do graphics, text has to be scaled) screen are a must. Like Solandri and others pointed, the reflective screen option is an odd one though, I write a lot as well and I despise reflective screens.

The other alternatives used to be MacBooks, however, their battery life and keyboards are indeed, not great, and Apple hasn't offered non-reflective screens in a long while either.

I found myself browsing through Dell's notebooks, that while their keyboards are not as good, they're good enough, and have non-touch screen options, and non-reflective IPS screens as well.

HP has a good roundup of premium notebooks that might be fine as well if you are looking for writing, but I am not a fan of their keyboards either.
 

darcnes

Distinguished
Aug 11, 2011
1
0
18,510
0
If you're not using The Great Suspender extension (not sure if it's elsewhere besides Chrome), you should definitely give it a shot.

Once a tab is inactive for a while, it defaults to saving the url and forwarding you to an extremely basic default view that uses no CPU and very little memory (and thus hardly any extra battery).

Can also whitelist sites, or opt in to picture previews instead of flat background.
 

CRamseyer

Honorable
Jan 25, 2015
410
1
10,795
3
I love The Great Suspender but it allows me to keep 5 instances of Chrome open with around 100 articles open at one time. Some day I'll get to read everything I have at the ready.

Someone also mentioned component replaceability with the Lenovo systems. One of my W530s is on its 3rd keyboard and the other is on its 4th. It's not that the keyboards are bad, I just type a lot and like the feel of the new keys.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS