Lenovo X1 Carbon

I am a proud owner of the new Lenovo X1 Carbon 5th-generation laptop. I previously used (and loved) the Dell XPS 15" 9550. It was a powerhouse. It had a gorgeous 4k UHD touchscreen with AdobeRGB color. It had a blistering fast 512GB SSD. And it had a beefy Core i7-6700HQ CPU. It was quite the laptop.

However, it was heavy. It was big. And it was overkill for programming. I began looking for a smaller and lighter laptop.

My criteria

Most of my workday is at my computer, and how I intereact with my computer is very important. Especially typing. I want the tactile experience to be enjoyable and comfortable. I need key travel. I need tactile feedback. This automatically ruled out Apple's newest laptops.

Unfortunately, Apple is (was?) the gold standard for trackpad navigation. That being said, the latest laptops from Microsoft and fellow OEMs adopt Microsoft's own "precision touchpad" drivers. This means modern Windows laptops include touchpads that rival and match Apple's own technology.

On the technological side of things, I need a Core i5 or i7 CPU. I want 16GB of RAM and a fast SSD. I don't need that much disk space for programming; 256GB is plenty of space for me.

My selection

I narrowed my selection to the Dell XPS 13, the Microsoft Surface Laptop, and the Lenovo X1 Carbon. I was able to preview all three side-by-side in my local Microsoft Store. All three were well-built. The XPS 13 was the smallest of the three, but it's keyboard suffered as a result. The XPS 13 laptop was smaller than a standard laptop keyboard, and its keys had barely acceptable key travel with mushy tactile feedback. The keyboard was its downfall. It was otherwise superlative.

Both the Surface Laptop and the X1 Carbon had remarkable keyboards. They were full sized. They had nice and sharp tactile feedback. And both had above average key travel.

The Surface Laptop has a superior screen. There's no comparison. However, I only need a laptop for programming. A high density display is nice, but it is certainly not a requirement. So this was not a deciding factor.

The X1 Carbon (and other Lenovo laptops) are legendary for their keyboards. I believe they may, in fact, be the best laptop keyboards period.

My decision

Ultimately, I found it extremely difficult to make a decision between the Surface Laptop and Lenovo X1 Carbon. Both were amazing laptop computers. It was only when I found a 25% off coupon for Lenovo Thinkpad laptops that I made my decision. That coupon was too hard to ignore. I chose the X1 Carbon, and I don't regret my decision.

The X1 Carbon is a remarkable computer. It was one of, if not the most, perfect keyboards on a laptop, period. It has a very nice trackpad that uses Microsoft Precision touchpad drivers. Its screen is a 1080p matte display; it's perfect for programming, but it doesn't begin to compete with the Surface Laptop display.

I hope to receive a loaner Surface Laptop from Microsoft soon so I can write a more in-depth review and comparison of the Surface Laptop. More on that soon.