The updated ThinkPad X1 Carbon packs Kaby Lake chips and zero bloatware

Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 laptop has hit its fifth generation, bringing a slew of updates across the entire X1 family to CES 2017. The X1 line hasn't changed much on the outside, undergoing a conservative nip-and-tuck that maintains a familiar design language and mil-spec durability. But don't you doubt that these are all-new inside and out.

The entire ThinkPad X1 line — the X1 Carbon laptop, the X1 Yoga convertible, and the X1 Tablet 2-in-1 — has seen a full internal upgrade, including 7th-generation Intel Kaby Lake processors, up to 16GB of RAM, and SSD options ranging from 128GB to 1TB. They have optional LTE-A Cat 6 (up to 300mbps on compatible networks) via a Qualcomm Snapdragon X7 modem and Intel's WiGig tri-band Wi-Fi. When it comes to security, each one is equipped with a Match-on-Chip touch fingerprint sensor that ensures your prints remain secured.

Oh, and each comes with a Windows 10 Signature Edition installation — there's no trialware or bloatware here!

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon has been an enduring laptop for Lenovo a reason: it's really quite great, and its new fifth generation is better than ever. It's a very familiar design and feel with a refined carbon fiber construction though Lenovo's slimmed it down on all sides. They've trimmed down the bezels around the display to further shrink the footprint, slipping a 14-inch display into the space you'd expect for a 13-inch laptop. There's a new silver color option, or the black that's remarkably soft touch finish.

Speaking of that display, there are two options: FHD or WQHD (2560 x 1440), both 300nit IPS LCD panels. Atop that display is a Windows Hello IR camera for facial recognition log ins. You'll find the iconic ThinkPad keyboard under the display, along with a Microsoft Precision touchpad (with physical buttons, if that's your thing) as well as the only think more iconic than the keyboard: the ThinkPad TrackPoint red nipple in the middle.

Lenovo's jumping on board the Thunderbolt 3 train, packing a pair of the reversible USB-C-compatible 40gbps ports alongside three full-size USB 3.0 ports, Ethernet, HDMI, and a microSD card slot. Those USB-C ports are also how you'll charge the X1 Carbon — Lenovo's dropped both the old blade-style charger and their proprietary dock connector. All of this is crammed into a 2.5-pound chassis with enough battery for an advertised 15-hour life. It's a really impressive package, and it'll be available for a starting price of $1,349 in February 2017.

The 2016 Lenovo ThinkPad X1 (left) vs. the 2017 Lenovo ThinkPad X1 (right).

The 2016 Lenovo ThinkPad X1 (left) vs. the 2017 Lenovo ThinkPad X1 (right).

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga

The X1 Yoga has a lot in common with the X1 Carbon. It has the same ports set; same options for processors, RAM, and storage; the same Windows Hello-compatible IR camera, and even the same battery life. Except that it's a convertible laptop with a 360-degree hinged touch display.

That 14-inch display has wider bezels than the laptop version (it's a thing you'll hold in your hands, some bezels are good for that), and in addition to the FHD and WQHD IPS options, there's a gorgeous WQHD OLED option. The X1 Yoga also comes with an updated ThinkPad Pen Pro. This rechargeable pen has a new soft elastomer tip for "a more natural writing experience" and docks into a silo built into the laptop. Docking the pen also recharges it — 15 seconds for a 80% charge and 8 minutes for a full charge.

Last year's X1 Yoga had a frame that snapped up around the keyboard to lock the keys in place when you put it into tablet mode — you could still feel the keys, but they wouldn't depress as you gripped the convertible. For the new model, Lenovo's flipped that around: when you open the screen all the way the keys drop down into the laptop instead. It also does this when you close the X1 Yoga, allowing for less buffer space required and a thinner closed size overall.

Interested? The ThinkPad X1 Yoga is coming in February 2017 for a starting price of $1,499.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet

Lastly, there's the ThinkPad X1 Tablet. Sporting a 12-inch IPS display at a paper-like 3:2 ratio and a crisp 2150x1440 resolution, the hallmark of the X1 Tablet is its modular expandability. Lenovo offers three add-on options: a ThinkPad take on the Surface keyboard cover (complete with fingerprint reader), a battery pack that adds 5 hours to the base tablet's 10-hour battery life, and the Presenter Module: a mini projector that can put a 60-inch display onto any wall.

The tablet itself is still a full Windows 10 PC and largely unchanged from last year, and it comes equipped with a decent number of ports in its 8.45mm-thick 1.96-pound frame. You'll find a USB-C port that doubles as the charge port, a full-size USB 3.0 port, Mini DisplayPort, and a microSD card slot. It's coming in March 2017 for a starting price of $949.

Derek Kessler

Derek Kessler is Special Projects Manager for Mobile Nations. He's been writing about tech since 2009, has far more phones than is considered humane, still carries a torch for Palm, and got a Tesla because it was the biggest gadget he could find. You can follow him on Twitter at @derekakessler.