Lenovo X1 Carbon Touch

A week ago I received my repaired Lenovo (previously I had written about the first setup of Windows 8 and initial load of Ubuntu Linux). Super stoked, I immediately opened up the box and booted it right there on the spot. I wasn’t sure if Lenovo support had completely wiped and loaded the machine or if it was an entirely new machine. I had specifically stated, do whatever you gotta do, I’ll deal with the operating systems when I get it back – you guys just make sure it comes back on! Within seconds, not only did it boot, but it was booting via the same drive. Thus, all of my goodies were exactly where I left them. They had however, obviously reinstalled Windows 8 and allowed it to blow away the boot loader with it’s own. My boot loader, from my previous installation of Ubuntu provided to option of which OS to boot. The Ubuntu install was still there, just hanging out without a boot loader option. I immediately remedied that with a quick reload of the boot loader so that I could boot into Ubuntu Linux as well as Windows 8. After a few days (exactly 3 days now) here’s what I’ve observed so far using….

Ubuntu Linux on Lenovo X1 Carbon

  • Ubuntu Linux, ready for login.
    Ubuntu Linux, ready for login.

    Ubuntu Linux, and one can assume any Linux, loads faster than Windows 8. Ubuntu commonly loads in 6-8 seconds after entering the password and about 10-12 second to present the login. Windows 8 boots in 20-22 seconds until the login screen and then 5-6 seconds from login until the Metro screen displays. Overall, almost 2x faster than Windows 8 on booting. This is with a very minimal installation of Ubuntu and Windows 8.

  • The keyboard under either operating system feels solid in key press, spacing is good. Similar, but not exactly like the chiklet keyboard of an Apple product. The plastic carbon feel of the keys is just like the rest of the product. This is something one might love or hate. I personally like it. The complaint that I have about the keyboard, isn’t so much the keyboard but some of the standard placements for the trackpad, page up and down buttons, and other various buttons and sensitivities that make odd things happen while you’re typing. It is absolutely a keyboard that you have to get used to in order to use well.
  • There is indeed the little red pointer in the middle of the keyboard. This little pointer is something people either absolutely despise with a passion or love like nothing else. I’m in the later camp. I like it. It’s accurate, if you have nimble fingers and get used to it the pointer is quicker than the trackpad, more accurate than the trackpad, and only becomes less so when using an external pointing device.
  • The trackpad sucks. Ok, so it’s actually a massive improvement over the last X years of trackpads. It has double tap and some odd form of triple tap. It’s however oddly sensitive in certain ways and like a curmudgeonly clumsy brute in others. Overall, for a non-Apple trackpad, it’s actually rather good. But seriously, between the hardware and OS-X combo, I’ll be truly impressed when I get hold of a trackpad that is as effortlessly smooth, easy and accurate as an Apple trackpad. This trackpad on the X1 Carbon is spectacular against almost every device out there except that one.
  • The screen is flippantly weird. Scott Hanselman talks about this in his review also too. The chief culprit seems to be this protective cover that Lenovo puts on the screen, but it isn’t really something one removes without an unwelcome dose of difficulty. Overall, the screen is pretty crisp, but it could be slightly better if the cover wasn’t on the screen.
  • The touch capability of the screen. So back to the pointer device topic, the touch capability steps into an entirely new realm of accuracy. When using Windows 8, the touch capability of the screen is obvious – and necessary – for a truly great Windows 8 experience (great? meh, that’s the word I’m using). In Ubuntu however, the touch screen is an interesting way to make the mouse cursor show up on whatever side of the screen. It’s somewhat useful, in some odd ways, but it is very obvious that Ubuntu is not setup for a touch screen. However, it ought to be. Many of the icons, screen position movements and other things are already in good places for that type of interaction, it just needs to know the difference between the mouse versus the touch screen being used. Final rating however, for the touch screen with Ubuntu – irrelevant and useless, don’t get it if you’re going to only use a non-Windows 8 operating system.

So that’s it for now. I’m intending to do a full video and write up at some point, but wanted to get some quick reviews of first observations before I did a full wrap up. Until next time, cheers!

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