Lenovo sells a lot of black boxes. At CES 2015, as it announced that it’s sold 100 million ThinkPads, Lenovo also refreshed much of the lineup. The upgrades start with the X1 Carbon, which has been for a couple of years one of the best laptops on the market: the 14-inch laptop now comes with Intel’s fifth-generation processors (the long-awaited Broadwell), plus faster solid-state drives and plenty of new business software. It still weighs less than three pounds, it still has that awesomely rugged body, and it has a brand-new high-res screen. The new model starts at $1,249.
Even as it upgrades the technology inside, Lenovo took the X1 Carbon back to its roots. Gone are the clickable trackpad and the adaptive row of function buttons above the keyboard, replaced by the three buttons and the standard F1-F12 keys we’ve seen for years. Evidently customers want their ThinkPads lighter, faster, and brighter, but they don’t want them different. They want black boxes, and Lenovo is clearly happy to provide what its long-time, hardcore users demand.
Everything about the X1 Carbon percolates down to the rest of the ThinkPad lineup, in slightly less impressive and slightly less expensive ways. They’re all thinner, lighter, Broadwell-powered, and come with high-res dispays (as high as a 3K screen, if you buy the 15-inch T550). A couple have unique features like Intel’s 3D RealSense camera, or discrete graphics. They’re all full of software made for people who fly first class, use phrases like “thought leaders,” and slam their fists on tables in board meetings. They’re black boxes, the best ones Lenovo’s ever made. But they’re still ThinkPads through and through – as they have always been, and as they will ever be.
The new X1 Carbon is out this month, with the rest of the new ThinkPads to follow in February. Get ready to do some Very Serious Business this Q1.