Posts Tagged ‘Carbon’

Review: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Ultrabook

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

I brought the ThinkPad X1 Carbon along when I went on vacation in Japan in December. Why? Because it was light and slim and promised a long battery life. It did not disappoint. RRP: starts from S$2,349.

Update (7 March, 2013):

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon is on offer during IT Show 2013. For S$3,149, you get a 3rd Gen Intel Core i7-3667U 3G processor with Windows 7 Professional 64 with Windows 8 Pro Recovery DVD.

This configuration comes with 8GB DDR3 SDRAM + 256GB SSD, with Wi-Fi + 3G connectivity.

What’s more, bundled items include a Lenovo Mini-Display Port to VGA monitor cable and a USB 2.0 Ethernet Adapter!

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is the ideal fit for the mobile warrior.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is the ideal fit for the mobile warrior.

Launched back in August as part of the ThinkPad’s 20th anniversary celebrations, the X1 Carbon was the world’s lightest Ultrabook at the time, and still is one of the thinnest and lightest around today (331x226x18.85 mm).

Slim & svelte is the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Ultrabook.

Slim & svelte is the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Ultrabook.

The X1 Carbon weighs less than three pounds, or 1.36kg – that’s less than a 1.5l soft drink bottle – thanks to its carbon fibre construction.

The Ultrabook withstood the physical rigours that we put it through lugging it from place to place.

The X1 Carbon boasted up to 8.2 hours of battery life and one of the best charge times in the industry, with rapid recharge up to 80% battery life in 35 minutes.

Indeed, the battery never once run out on me before I could hit a hotel to recharge, and the recharge was indeed rapid – wall power outlets can be much sought after when you have loads of other electrical devices to recharge at the end of a day.

The unit that I had did not come with 3G, so I had to connect using Wi-Fi most of the time. I didn’t need 3G anyway since I wasn’t data-roaming overseas.

I like the backlit keyboard so I can type in dim light without straining my eyes to locate the infrequently-used keys.

A special hinging mechanism allows the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Ultrabook to be laid completely flat on the table.

A special hinging mechanism allows the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Ultrabook to be laid completely flat on the table.

The multi-gesture glass surface touchpad  also made it easy to get by without having to connect a mouse.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Ultrabook

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Ultrabook

Video conferencing with family and friends at home was a breeze, with the HD face-tracking camera, dual array microphones and Dolby-tuned audio.

In its effort to stay slim and light, I/O ports are limited.

There’re no VGA or HDMI ports, so I can’t plug into my external monitor at home without buying an optional cable for the mini display port.

There’s also no Ethernet ports. You might think nobody needs that since most hotels come with Wi-Fi. Well some of the hotels we stayed in only had wired Internet connections in the room and no Wi-Fi.

My say:

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is a slim and powerful Ultrabook with long battery life and fast recharge – suitable for the mobile warrior – be it for business or on vacation. And it looks svelte and sexy to boot!

So I had to pop down to Best Denki in Kumamoto to buy a Logitec Elecom mobile wireless access point to broadcast the broadband access to the X1 Carbon, smartphones and tablet.

Travel: Planning an impromptu 2-week vacation in Japan – one week before

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

So we decided that there was a 2-week window to grab a quick break. But that’s like one-week away. Is it possible to plan the usual DIY self-drive holiday at such short notice?

Aerial view of Fukuoka, our gateway to Kyushu.

Aerial view of Fukuoka, our gateway to Kyushu.

The answer is yes, with the advent of the Internet. Here’s a recap of what I did for my own holiday.

First the obvious, decide how long you’ve got and where you want to go. In my case, we’ve long wanted to visit Kyushu in Japan, and the window of opportunity available was roughly two weeks.

If you’re thinking of visiting Japan, I recommend this site called It has comprehensive descriptions of popular tourist spots all over Japan, as well as travel tips for Japan.

Even more useful is its forum where vacation planners get their queries answered in detail with advice from a community of fellow travelers, as well as useful links to resources – such as timetables, rates etc – outside of the website.

Next book the air tickets. The availability and price of last-minute tickets usually determine whether your vacation destination will become a reality.

I use to get a feel of the airlines plying Singapore and the possible stops and the price range, then if there’s time, check competing sites or the airline’s website for better rates.

For Kyushu, it was pretty straightforward, only Singapore Airlines fly directly there from Singapore – to Fukuoka. It’s straightforward until you hit the SIA website. For a premier airline, it sure has a terrible website for bookings and reservations – plenty of long waits.

Next is the car rental. I use ToCoo car rental. It helps you check the rates for multiple car rental companies with cars available in the cities where you intend to pick up and drop off the car. But you’ve got to compare rates manually yourself.

Computing on the go

For computing, I’m bringing along the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Ultrabook, a BlackBerry PlayBook, and the Seagate 1TB Backup Plus.

The X1 Carbon is sleek in design, wonderfully thin and light, yet powerful enough for surfing Web and running Photoshop and Dreamweaver CS6 for photo-editing and blogging back in the hotel room.

The 7-inch PlayBook keeps the children entertained with game apps, and serves as an e-book reader. Its biggest bugbear is that it’s the Wi-Fi version and does not have 3G, but I don’t use 3G data in Japan anyway.

To store and back up the 40MB RAW photo files generated by the D800, I brought along the 1TB Seagate Backup Plus Portable Drive. The 2.5-inch plug-and-play drive constantly backs up the hard disk and makes posting photos online a breeze.

Usually, I pick up the car at the airport, drive off to the first destination and return the car at the airport I’m flying off from. If the pick-up and drop-off locations are different, check if a surcharge is levied and how much it is.

Finally, book the hotels. I know some Japanese so I used to browse Japanese booking websites and hotel websites directly, calling them on the phone for enquiries and reservations.

This time round, I discovered that my favourite accomodation-booking website for Europe holidays – – now has quite extensive list of hotels in Japan. Enough to find hotels that fit your budget in most places in Japan.

I like because of its clear information and easy booking. So even if you don’t know ANY japanese, you can still find and book accommodation easily.

Another website that I tried last year – – seems to be only beginning to move into Japan, with poor selection and high prices. I’m hoping there coverage and pricing will improve over time.

Once you’ve gotten the flight, car and hotel bookings out of the way, what remains is the physical packing for the big day.