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Review: X1 Carbon Tablet Generation 3 (circa 2018)

X1/X1-Carbon series specific matters only
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w0qj
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Review: X1 Carbon Tablet Generation 3 (circa 2018)

#1 Post by w0qj » Mon Jul 09, 2018 7:02 am

Here's a review on X1 Carbon Tablet Generation 3 (circa 2018):

www.pcworld.com/article/3283644/tablet- ... hoice.html

"...the tablet landed face down from waist height, spurred us to confirm that yes, it uses Corning’s Gorilla Glass 4 to protect it. In all, though, we have no concerns with the ThinkPad X1 Tablet’s build quality."

"3K" display (3,000 x 2,000 option), faster CPU, more RAM, larger SSD option.
Two USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 (power delivery, DisplayPort, data transfer) ports.

What more can you ask? ;)
Daily Driver: X1 Carbon 4th Gen (X1C4): i7 | 16GB | 1TB | IPS WQHD | LTE WWAN | Win7 Pro
Current Thinkpads: X1C4 | X1C3 | X250 | X230 | T410
Retired Thinkpads: T42 | 560 (circa 1996)
~~IBM Thinkpad era computer bag !

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Re: Review: X1 Carbon Tablet Generation 3 (circa 2018)

#2 Post by pkiff » Sat Jul 14, 2018 9:12 pm

I finally broke down and ordered one of these last week. What I really wanted was a modern machine with a classic keyboard and a good screen with some height to it. But there is none. My W520 I think has a CPU that is as powerful as the (non-upgradeable) CPU in the ThinkPad Retro 25. Which made me think, why would I go retro, when it's not any better than the actual classic legacy machine I already have.

The 3rd gen ThinkPad Tablet Carbon X1 hits a lot of the notes I was looking for in a new ThinkPad. Everything really, except the keyboard. And the lack of ports, And the underpowered CPU - though it looks like that i7-8650U may actually meet my needs and not be much different in practice than my current W520 quad-core.

Well, okay, not everything I was looking for. But it offers some innovations as well as a "good enough" in the other areas.

If I'm gonna put up with a crappy keyboard layout, I needed another strong reason to convince me not just to stay with a W520 or something similar. The new X1 Tablet detachable keyboard form factor combined with its 3000x2000 touch and pen-enabled screen may well be that reason. And the fact that you can at least take some of it apart with regular screws.

Crossing my fingers. This is the first new ThinkPad I've ordered in about 20 years. I've always found that I could get a used machine that was just a couple years old that would meet my needs at a quarter or less of the price of a new machine. I guess we'll see.
X1 Carbon Tablet (3rd Gen) · W520 · T60p UXGA · Legacy: X61T SXGA+, X60T, 600X, 770Z SXGA
Nostalgic for: 600X PIII 850MHz in a SelectaDock III with 64MB Voodoo 5 5500 and Sound Blaster Audigy 5.1.

Carbon_Dater
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Re: Review: X1 Carbon Tablet Generation 3 (circa 2018)

#3 Post by Carbon_Dater » Mon Nov 12, 2018 11:51 pm

This is fascinating. I have been drawn to the X1 Tablet (Gen. 3) for the same reasons: I need screen vertical height and a decent keyboard, along with HiDPI.

Could you let us know how you got on with it? Can you use the X1 Tablet for actual productivity tasks? How is the glossy screen?

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My preliminary thoughts

#4 Post by SurrealMustard » Wed Nov 14, 2018 11:28 am

I can't speak for the 3rd generation, but the fourth is more powerful in every way than the base Sandy Bridge chipset in the X230 series. Heck, it even manages to match my Dell Precision M6400, (primary/daily) and that thing has a big dedicated GPU. In short, performance has been nothing short of astounding. This is probably the first ThinkPad I've ever used whose the base model didn't suck.

Absolutely no complaints on the keyboard except for a lack of play/pause/previous/next controls. If you can live with that limitation, it's the best board you'll find on an ultrabook (and it's better than most full-fledged laptops too, for that matter). Apart from price, rattliness of the replacement (weak) cooling fan, and general flimsiness, I'm pretty happy with this one.

Edit: Also, don't forget to use the precision trackpad driver. The stock software sucks profoundly badly.

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Re: Review: X1 Carbon Tablet Generation 3 (circa 2018)

#5 Post by Carbon_Dater » Wed Nov 14, 2018 2:53 pm

Hi SurrealMustard,

The latest iteration of the X1 Carbon Tablet came out around July, if I am not mistaken. That is said to be the 3rd generation (2018).

https://www.neowin.net/news/lenovo-thin ... rface-pro/

Is there a newer version than that? I have not heard of the fourth generation.

In any event, your thoughts are very interesting. I'm glad that your tablet has a lot of horsepower. And the keyboard is really important. If it's comparable to an X1 Carbon laptop, then it must be the best tablet keyboard on the market.

How do you feel about the display? Is it 3000x2000? That is an insanely good resolution. But glossiness is a turnoff for me, and it might make it unusable.

Also, the 'flimsiness' is something I expected. Is it okay to slap this tablet down on a surface like a train table, and it will hold up okay? I just want it to be stable on small surfaces.

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4th generation clarification

#6 Post by SurrealMustard » Wed Nov 14, 2018 6:01 pm

Carbon_Dater wrote:
Wed Nov 14, 2018 2:53 pm
Hi SurrealMustard,

The latest iteration of the X1 Carbon Tablet came out around July, if I am not mistaken. That is said to be the 3rd generation (2018).

https://www.neowin.net/news/lenovo-thin ... rface-pro/

Is there a newer version than that? I have not heard of the fourth generation.

In any event, your thoughts are very interesting. I'm glad that your tablet has a lot of horsepower. And the keyboard is really important. If it's comparable to an X1 Carbon laptop, then it must be the best tablet keyboard on the market.

How do you feel about the display? Is it 3000x2000? That is an insanely good resolution. But glossiness is a turnoff for me, and it might make it unusable.

Also, the 'flimsiness' is something I expected. Is it okay to slap this tablet down on a surface like a train table, and it will hold up okay? I just want it to be stable on small surfaces.
The fourth-generation X1 Carbon is the 2016 model. The upgraded unit has some super-dense resolution, (at the expense of brightness) but the base model is just 1920x1080. Still, that's enough to require 125% interface scaling in Windows (it defaults to 150% actually, but that's just kind of silly). I've never used it on a train table before, but it works great on other tables. I was disappointed with how non-grippy the rubber feet were after just two years though. It tends to slide around on one's lap due to that and the extreme light weight.

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Re: Review: X1 Carbon Tablet Generation 3 (circa 2018)

#7 Post by Carbon_Dater » Wed Nov 14, 2018 6:46 pm

oh, ok.

You're referring to the Gen. 4 X1 Carbon [2016]. That's a different model than the X1 Tablet, which is a separate series, but I am interested in that as well.

You must be talking about the 1440p screen. 2560x1440. I am interested in that. Can you comfortably view two Word documents side-by-side with that at 100%? Even with the taskbar active at the bottom of the screen?

I have word processing needs and other document creation. Vertical space is important to me. I suppose you can view two webpages side-by-side no problem? and A4-sized PDF files?

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Clarification on scaling

#8 Post by SurrealMustard » Wed Nov 14, 2018 7:56 pm

Carbon_Dater wrote:
Wed Nov 14, 2018 6:46 pm
oh, ok.

You're referring to the Gen. 4 X1 Carbon [2016]. That's a different model than the X1 Tablet, which is a separate series, but I am interested in that as well.

You must be talking about the 1440p screen. 2560x1440. I am interested in that. Can you comfortably view two Word documents side-by-side with that at 100%? Even with the taskbar active at the bottom of the screen?

I have word processing needs and other document creation. Vertical space is important to me. I suppose you can view two webpages side-by-side no problem? and A4-sized PDF files?
No matter which screen you choose, you're going to be using the scaling in Windows, so the answer will be based on screen size more than anything at 1920x1080 and higher. (at 125% Windows scaling on the 1920x1080 screen) With the documents zoomed to 100% in Word, there is a horizontal scrollbar, but the documents don't require scrolling in this way unless you have very thin margins set up. Yes, it can be done, but it's not an endeavor I'd be terribly passionate about on anything less than a 15"er. Ditto for webpages - it's doable, but definitely a bit cozy. And if you use the default/"recommended" 150% scaling in Windows, (which I stress is a bit too much) it'd be a no-go.

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Re: Review: X1 Carbon Tablet Generation 3 (circa 2018)

#9 Post by dr_st » Thu Nov 15, 2018 12:47 am

I have grown to be comfortable with 100% scaling in Windows on 14" 1920x1080. I would be a tad more comfortable at 125%. However, for 2560x1440 in the same screen size - I'd have to go to 150%.

For Word/PDF, resolution doesn't really matter, as it scales to whatever physical size you have. Screen size is the only thing that matters.
Thinkpad 25 (20K7), X1 Carbon (20HQ), Yoga 14 (20FY), T430s (IPS FHD + Classic Keyboard), X220 4291-4BG, X61 7673-V2V
T60 2007-QPG, T42 2373-F7G, X32 (IPS Screen), A31p w/ Ultrabay Numpad, A21m 2628-GXU

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Re: Review: X1 Carbon Tablet Generation 3 (circa 2018)

#10 Post by w0qj » Thu Nov 15, 2018 7:22 am

Hi Carbon_Dater,

I'm using my X1 Carbon Gen 4 Laptop computer (circa 2016) with 2560x1440 LCD screen size (non-touch) as my daily driver...
Would you like me to host MS Word screenshots for your perusal?

***I personally think that the 14" LCD screen is physically too small to comfortably host two MS Word windows/documents side by side, whatever the resolution.
Perhaps a X1 Extreme with 15" LCD if budget allows? ;)

Pls note that I'm a regular user of MS Word also--and I only have 1 MS Word filling up my entire screen at the same time.
fyi, I also set my daily desktop resolution down to 1920x1080 with text set to "Medium 125%", for my aging eyes ;)
Hope this helps!
Carbon_Dater wrote:
Wed Nov 14, 2018 6:46 pm
...You're referring to the Gen. 4 X1 Carbon [2016]. That's a different model than the X1 Tablet, which is a separate series, but I am interested in that as well.

You must be talking about the 1440p screen. 2560x1440. I am interested in that. Can you comfortably view two Word documents side-by-side with that at 100%? Even with the taskbar active at the bottom of the screen?

I have word processing needs and other document creation. Vertical space is important to me. I suppose you can view two webpages side-by-side no problem? and A4-sized PDF files?
Daily Driver: X1 Carbon 4th Gen (X1C4): i7 | 16GB | 1TB | IPS WQHD | LTE WWAN | Win7 Pro
Current Thinkpads: X1C4 | X1C3 | X250 | X230 | T410
Retired Thinkpads: T42 | 560 (circa 1996)
~~IBM Thinkpad era computer bag !

Carbon_Dater
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2018 8:42 pm
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Review: X1 Carbon Tablet Generation 3 (circa 2018)

#11 Post by Carbon_Dater » Thu Nov 15, 2018 6:10 pm

Thank-you very much for your comments, everyone. They are very helpful.

I am running a Gen. 1 X1 Carbon since 2013 or so. It's a great machine, but I find the screen very limiting.

It's definitely not enough for word processing. I wasn't sure if it was the screen size or resolution (1600x900), but it turns out it is both.

Ever since laptops became 16:9, it's necessary I think to get a 15.6-inch to do what your 14-inch used to do.

So it's probably X1 Extreme for me! It goes on sale back in Canada soon.

I once looked at a Surface Book screen, and it was a revelation. I could comfortably view a document or webpage. And that was the 13.5-inch version!

So the Carbon tablet has always been very interesting to me. I've been trying to make peace with 16:9 on a 14-inch screen, but I don't think I can.


Although, w0qj, I would be interested in seeing MS Word screenshots!

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