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BW Businessworld

In Fine Form

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I could tell you that Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon represent the best of the breed of the ultrabooks I’ve seen so far this year, but then again, you already knew that, didn’t you? Here’s the lowdown, as promised, on both of these ultrabooks!
ThinkPad X1 Carbon
What I Liked: ThinkPads have long captivated the imagination of business users, but with the X1 Carbon, the family gets an ultrabook makeover. The design aesthetic is typical ThinkPad, so it either looks a tad dated or comfortably familiar (depending on how you see it!). It’s seriously light at less than 1.36kg yet in no way does it feel flimsy, and the slim wedge-shaped carbon fiber outer shell takes the legendary ThinkPad reliability up a few notches, and this is an ultrabook that’s built for rough use. The keyboard is very comfortable to use, but what I really was impressed with was the excellent gesture-friendly glass touchpad, probably the best I’ve seen outside of Apple. Performance is good, but there seems to be a battery-first approach here, which is perfectly reasonable for the largely business audience who will pick this up. The RapidCharge feature, which lets you perform a super fast 80 per cent charge in 30 minutes is incredibly handy, one wonders why more manufacturers don’t do this.
Where It Lacks: While the 14-inch display with its 1600x900 pixel resolution looks good on paper, in everyday use the display is a bit of a let down, both in terms of sheer clarity and brightness. While connectivity options are good, I found that not having an Ethernet port on board might be a little limiting for the business user, as may the lack of a quick-replaceable additional battery. Plus it’s on the pricey side of things as well. And then there’s the broader question for all existing ultrabooks – what will the launch of the “touch-first” Windows 8 mean for non-touch laptops?
Verdict: Truest to the ultrabook spec, the X1 Carbon is a great option for business-types looking for a solid, reliable companion.
HP Envy Spectre XT

What I Liked
: Look at the Spectre XT from across the room, and the shiny silver ultrabook may fool you to believe it’s something from Apple’s stable. I mean sure, it has a different lid, hinge and trackpad but the overall effect feels crafted to appeal to people who’d want a Mac ultraportable with Windows. That said, there are plenty of things the Spectre XT gets right. The brushed-aluminum body looks lovely and the chassis is rigid and feels durable. The keyboard and trackpad are a pleasure to use as well. Connectivity options are generous – a full sized HDMI port, a USB 3.0 socket, an Ethernet port and a full-size SD card slot, among others. Audio, courtesy the Beats Audio enhancements, is pretty great for a laptop this size. Performance is pretty good, and the capable processor options and fast SSDs ensure things are zippy all round.
Where It Lacks: The Achilles’ heel for the Spectre XT is its lower resolution 1366 x 768 pixel display, which is a dash on the dim side and loses brightness and suffers from images washing out when you move off center. For a laptop that screams high-end in every other respect, it is a let down. Battery life, while not bad, is a bit middling and I managed a little less than five hours of use. And yes, the Windows 8 question applies here as well.
Verdict: Sexy package? Check. Good performance? Check. Screen resolution aside, this one earns a strong recommendation.
ThinkPad X1 Carbon
Price: starts from Rs. 85,000/- (plus taxes)
Envy Spectre XT
Rating: 8/10
starts from Rs. 64,990/- (plus taxes)

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