Lenovo has all kinds of ThinkPads here at CES 2016, but we’re most excited to see a familiar face — the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, which has been a terrific lightweight premium business laptop for a couple years now. Following last year’s return to form by bringing back the classic TrackPoint and tactile trackpad buttons, the 2016 X1 Carbon is pushing forward with a hardware refresh and the addition of wireless docking compatibility.
The 2016 ThinkPad X1 Carbon isn’t much of a departure from last year’s model, which is great, because there wasn’t much wrong with last year’s model. We’re still looking at a 14″ laptop in a carbon fiber chassis, built to meet military durability standards for drops. Unlike last year, when the X1 Carbon got a little heavier, this year’s model is lighter than its predecessor at 2.6 pounds, and is just 16.45 mm thick. And, it still has the classic TrackPoint and tactile buttons on the trackpad, making it a bona fide ThinkPad product.
Inside, there’s been a steady hardware upgrade. The display is the same as last year, with your choice of a 2560 x 1440 or 1920 x 1080 IPS display. It’s now powered by a 6th generation Intel Core processor, up to an i7 with vPro, with integrated Intel 520 HD graphics and up to 16 GB of RAM. Storage options top out at a 1 TB PCIe NVMe SSD. Conferencing is handled by a 720p webcam and a digital array mic. The battery is slightly larger than last year’s model at 52 Whr, which Lenovo says is good for 11 hours of normal use. Ports include three USB 3.0 ports, a OneLink+ port, a mini DisplayPort, an HDMI port, a Micro SD card slot, and a 3.5 mm audio jack. There’s also a fingerprint reader for authentication.
Like last year, LTE connectivity will be an optional feature, this time in the form of LTE-A WWAN connectivity. New to this year’s model is optional WiGig docking compatibility, which allows the X1 Carbon to connect to docks with extra ports wirelessly, including Lenovo’s own ThinkPad X1 WiGig Dock, which has its own DisplayPort, HDMI port, three USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, Gigabit ethernet port, Kensington lock, and combination audio port. The X1 Carbon will also work with a number of other accessories Lenovo is introducing this year, like the ThinkPad 65W Micro Adapter, which is a smaller and more lightweight version of their usual laptop charger. They also have the flat, rechargeable ThinkPad X1 Wireless Touch Mouse that features capacitive touch scrolling and, better yet, keeps the ThinkPad aesthetic going. Lenovo even has their own earphones coming out, which they say have been custom tuned for the Dolby Audio System found in their ThinkPad X1 machines this year.
The X1 Carbon is coming to 2016 a little lighter and with a little more power under the hood, so it’s hard not to be happy with how it turned out. It’ll start at $1,300 ($50 more than last year’s model) when it ships in February.