Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon: The Ultralight, Semi-Rugged Carbon Fiber UltrabookS

Tablets may be the next big thing in mobile computing, but don't count out ultrabooks just yet. At least not until you've given Lenovo's Thinkpad X1 Carbon—a feather-weight, carbon fiber workhorse a closer look. It's tough, it's light, and you don't have to be an office drone to crave it.

The X1 Carbon it the latest addition to Lenovo's popular X1 series. Despite a spacious 14-inch screen, the X1 Carbon tips the scales at a scant three pounds—making it the lightest rig of its size—thanks to its carbon fiber roll cage. The screen displays at a native 1600x900 resolution. The system supports up to 8GB of integrated DDR3, runs 64-bit windows 7 Pro, and has that Intel Ivy Bridge goodness you've been hearing so much about.

I had a brief moment to handle the X1 Carbon at a recent press demo and I have to say, it's impressive—three pounds on the nose for a system this robust and a screen this large feels like cheating. There's a full Thinkpad keyboard here that's spill resistant and backlit. And the display isn't just big, it's matte, which only Samsung had standard previously. Most impressive, though, was the overall build quality. If the MacBook Air is a porcelain doll, the X1 Carbon is a G.I. Joe strapped with Kevlar.

The X1 Carbon reportedly gets up to 10 hours of battery life, which should translate to nearly a full day of real-world usage. But even if it doesn't, its Rapid Charge feature means it can get back to 80-percent capacity with just 30 minutes of outlet time. Handy when you're stuck in a terminal on a 45 minute layover with a quickly fading laptop.

Other key features include the 720p front-facing camera and Dolby Home Theater v4—good for Skype meetings with your supplier in Boise. The camera employs face-tracking software to follow your movements, so you don't have to sit rigidly front-and-center, while the Dolby system ensures that the mic picks up your voice while filtering out background noise. The X1 Carbon also features 3G connectivity for when you can't find an open Wi-Fi connection.

There's no word yet on pricing but it is expected to ship sometime this summer, although it seems like Lenovo may be making it an online exclusive.