Lenovo has been a recurring name in the tech industry, and its ThinkPad lineup is a favourite among on-the-go businessmen. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 3 is the third generation premium Ultrabook which has been regarded by its maker as the lightest 14-inch Ultrabook on the planet. The X1 Carbon 3 comes with a “business first” working strategy, as it is one of the lightest laptops to carry around and packs a solid punch with its specs.

Design and Build – Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 3

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 3

Lenovo has ensured that the ThinkPad lineup lives on in the form of the X1 Carbon 3, with all the similar design elements and gorgeous appeal. The X1 Carbon 3 sports a matte black finish, the iconic diagonal logo and the red TrackPoint, so you can identify it immediately as a classic ThinkPad. The chassis of the X1 Carbon 3 has been constructed out of carbon fibre, which takes the credit for its 1.36 Kg weight. 

Don’t let its ultra-light build worry you; the X1 Carbon 3 is built like a tank with actual military-grade specification tests. The laptop has been tested with dust, cold weather, heat, water, vibration, altitude and even fungus, making it one of the toughest ThinkPad ever made. Moreover, the “drop, flex and spill” test by Lenovo ensures that the X1 Carbon 3 is as flexible, spill-proof and formidable as its predecessors.

Lenovo has added the tag of “the thinnest ThinkPad ever” with the X1 Carbon 3, as it measures just 17.7mm. Considering the slim base section (just 9mm thick), Lenovo had to compromise the standard Ethernet port. However, the ThinkPad does come with an Ethernet dongle, which should be appreciated as most Ultrabooks do not come with any Ethernet support at all.

The Display    

The Display

The Lenovo X1 Carbon 3 comes with a 14-inch TN display which offers vibrant visuals. The TN display is not the brightest one among the lot but should fare well unless you are constantly using the Ultrabook under the sun. Nonetheless, the X1 Carbon 3 boasts a sharp display with the standard resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels.

The X1 Carbon 3 delivers a brightness measurement of 300 nits, which is higher than the 252 nits average in its category. The panel shows off 85.5 per cent of the sRGB colour gamut, which is better than most in the Ultrabook category. The flexible design of the X1 Carbon 3 does help out in offering better viewing angles, as you can adjust the hinges the way you want. 

The Keyboard and Trackpad 

The Keyboard and Trackpad

Lenovo made a daring attempt in the previous ThinkPad series with the Adaptive Row Function, which was admittedly confusing. The X1 Carbon 3 brings back the classic Function row, which is a welcoming addition to the X1. The capacitive Function keys above the QWERTY layout have been removed, and the traditional shortcut keys for settings, brightness, volume and task switching have been brought back. 

The keys have been ergonomically designed with just the right amount of space between them for a pleasant typing experience. The backlit keyboard enables you to work tirelessly in low light, but the Numpad has been compromised. Lenovo has been listening to the users, which is apparent as the X1 brings back the dedicated mouse buttons beneath the TrackPoint. 

The X1 Carbon 3 comes with a robust security solution in the form of the fingerprint reader at the far right. The Lenovo Fingerprint Manager Pro software has been bundled with the X1, which enables booting fingerprint security.      

Under the Hood

X1 Carbon 3

The X1 Carbon 3 may be the slimmest ThinkPad yet, but it does not shy away from bringing all the features a mobile computer system needs. The X1 Carbon 3 has been equipped with the Intel Core i5-5200U processor and 4GB DDR3 RAM, which should take care of multiple operations, intensive networking and a whole lot more. The optical drive is obviously missing, which is the case with all the Ultrabooks. 

In regard to the available networking ports, the X1 Carbon 3 is almost perfectly equipped. The X1 comes with a Power + OneLink Connector, and HDMI port, a mini DisplayPort, and headphone/mic jack as well. As mentioned earlier, the X1 comes with an Ethernet extender port for attaching a dongle and 2 x USB 3.0 ports. The X1 does lack the standard SD Card slot, so transferring content from memory cards becomes a hassle. 

The 5th generation Intel Core i5 processor clocks at 2.2 GHz, and is empowered by a 128 GB Solid State Drive. While the SSD will ensure silent and heat-free performance, the 128 GB capacity won’t do the trick for data hoarders. However, the data transfer rate of more than 100MB/Sec and lightning-fast booting does make the X1 Carbon 3 is perfect for business.    

The X1 does not offer anything phenomenal in the graphics department (Intel HD 5500). Since the X1 Carbon 3 is practically a business laptop, expecting the firepower of a gaming laptop would be unfair. The battery life of the X1 Carbon 3 when put to the test, gives 8 hours of runtime at 100 nits brightness when used for casual surfing. 


  • One of the most lightweight with great performance amongst other Ultrabooks in the market.
  • The iconic design and premium built quality makes it look impressive and outstanding.
  • The improved keyboard makes typing a pleasure, along with a fingerprint reader.
  • The flexible hinges enable you to bend the screen and set it at different angles.
  • Considering the size and weight of the X1, it offers a fairly good battery life.


  • Memory (RAM) cannot be upgraded or swapped out.
  • No SD card slot.   
  • The 128GB SSD storage may not be enough for most users.

The Final Verdict

The ThinkPad lineup as existed for a long time now and Lenovo has done a fine job of re-introducing it in the form of Ultrabooks. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 3 is thin, lightweight and boasts the right features that a business laptop needs. 

The X1 may not be the lightest and slimmest Ultrabook in general, but it does offer a robust build quality that most do not. By investing in something, beefing up the storage and adding an SD Card slot, Lenovo could have made the X1 Carbon 3 its best ThinkPad ever. 

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