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First look at the 2016 Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon redesign and new features

The Lenovo X1 Carbon is one of those legacy devices for business users that keeps on getting better (well, ever since the 2015 revamp that fixed so many wrongs). For 2016, Lenovo is going further in making the Carbon the go-to laptop for enterprise users who want a traditional Ultrabook but also want some bragging rights.

The biggest hardware change is the inclusion of Intel Skylake Core i5 and Core i7 processors. With lower heat production, less power consumption and smaller size the changeup is completely expected and also welcomed.

The display options also changed. The 2016 X1 Carbon is now all non-touch as Lenovo has separated the touch variant into the new X1 Yoga line. I think that makes sense and makes the Carbon a more laptop-only device for those who do not need a 14-inch touch screen. Additionally, the new displays are also better looking than last year's, which were washed out and uninspiring. Options still include Full HD (1080p) or WQHD for those who want more pixels.

ThinkPad X1 Carbon

ThinkPad X1 Carbon

Like the X1 Yoga the new 2016 X1 Carbon has a revamped fingerprint ID reader that relies on the touch input rather than swipe. It's a subtle change, but one that makes a big difference as you will be using that feature a lot to unlock Windows 10.

Also, users can now buy a preconfigured version with up to 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD, which is rather impressive (most of the drives are sourced from Samsung, in case you were wondering). For ports, you're looking at:

  • 3 x USB 3.0
  • OneLink+ (RJ45)
  • MiniDP
  • HDMI
  • microSD
  • 3.5mm headset jack
  • LTE modem (optional)

The beauty of the 2016 X1 Carbon is all of it fits in a package that weighs just 2.6lbs (1.18 kg). Battery life is claimed to be 11 hours, but since that is based on video playback that unfairly bumps numbers, we'll have to see what that is like in real life.

The 2016 X1 Carbon is looking to be a real winner for those in business who want all work, but some style too. Look for the X1 Carbon to hit the market in February starting at $1299. The only question we have is X1 Yoga or X1 Carbon?

More Lenovo hands-on at CES

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

19 Comments
  • Happy New Years Everyone!!! First Comment.  
  • No one cares
  • When can we start to expect new laptops to all come with USB-C ports...pretty surprised to only see it mentioned on the X1 Tablet.
  • What for?? There's nothing that utilizes them at the moment....
  • That's not exactly true. The 950 & XL, the Nexus 5x & 6p, the OnePlus 2, and  a handful of other phones. I image that this yaer many more will jump on board.
  • Yup Posted via the Windows Central App for Nexus 5x
  • how do phones affect laptops? there are no laptop accessories using usb-c yet. you can still plug those phones into the laptop since the other end of the cable is a regular usb.
  • It makes more sense to continue to use standard 3.0 when possible due to broader compatibility
  • Type C is useless on laptops. It may be somewhat useful on ultra portables like Mac Book skinny but not really.
  • Smaller, lighter, and (maybe) cheaper isn't useless even if the goal isn't to hit ultraportable status. I know the market isnt there yet with compatibility of other devices but that is a chicken or the egg scenario, and thus I asked "when". I also thought more laptops would use them to charge. So, I still think it is a matter of when, not if...sooo...1 year? 3? When will this become a typical feature on standard laptops.
  • no touch model? i guess i wont be upgrading my current x1 carbon touch in the next year.
  • Nice! Great to see the Touch ID finally making it's way into Laptops, wonder why Apple didn't bother implementing it on their Laptops all this years...
  • I have an x1 carbon and it creaks when I apply mild pressure to the base. Does it still do this?
  • what are the differences between this and the yoga variant? just the touch screen?
  • Microsoft said it wanted to raise the bar of hardware and software with windows 10. I think with this x1 tablet Lenovo has just raised the bar for microsoft. Microsoft already showed that they were working on an inking api for outlook mail. Now I see images of Lenovo already having implemented inline ink-to-text recognition in their custom email app. And now Lenovo is getting even more creative with their keyboard board, making it accessible for an extra battery pack, real sense camera option, pico projector and keyboard. Why isn't microsoft exploring the accesory market more for their surface device. They were off to a good start with the type, touch, dj and power cover. Then everything seemed to just be the surface device. Battery life is always an issue with the tablet. I would love to see the comeback of a powercover 2.0 or a powercover protective case or something for the surface device.
  • If those things would just have the Lenovo Docking Port like my t420.   
  • The docking method has changed for Lenovo laptops since then
  • Seems really nice. I wonder why MiniDP and HDMI on the same device, while not going with USB Type-C?
  • Why a microSD reader?
    I think it is much more useful an SD reader, more or less all the camera use that kind of SD.