Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Carbon was once our favorite business Ultrabook -- actually, make that one of our favorite Ultrabooks, period. Still, it's been a long time since we've been able to recommend it: A year and a half after it first went on sale, it's still saddled with a 1,600 x 900 screen and a 2012-era Ivy Bridge processor. Thankfully, Lenovo has finally unveiled a refreshed model, and it brings almost everything you'd expect from a modern machine, including a 2,560 x 1,440 screen option, Haswell processors and longer battery life (up to nine hours, according to Lenovo). If nine hours isn't enough, the X1 Carbon makes use of Lenovo's Rapid Charge tech, which promises an 80 percent charge in under an hour.
Oddly, Lenovo dared to mess with the keyboard -- the main reason some folks have remained loyal to the ThinkPad brand. Here, there's an "adaptive" panel up top, with context-specific controls that only light up when needed. Thankfully, the layout otherwise hasn't changed much, and the red TrackPoint is still there (so is the large buttonless trackpad, but you should be used to that by now). We also got to spend some time on the new keyboard and aside from that top row of adaptive keys, it feels almost identical to the chiclet layout used on its predecessor. In fact, the redesigned keyboard looks cleaner and more modern than ThinkPads past. The fingerprint scanner now sits flush with the keyboard lines, while the touchpad is now a flat plane, more in line with other Ultrabooks and simply more modern.
Elsewhere on the machine, Lenovo added NFC, voice commands (via pre-installed Dragon software) and gesture control, allowing you to swipe through presentation slides and the like by waving your hand.