My Love-Hate Relationship with the Lenovo X1 Carbon

After 3 years of use and it dying on me twice during a presentation I decided to retire my trusty HP laptop. Since I have always admired how thin and slim Macbooks were but not being able to overcome my dislike of Mac’s, I started to look for laptops with equal slim shapes and low weight.

There were a few candidates out there, but I finally narrowed down my choices to two:

  • the Lenovo X1 Carbon
  • and the Dell XPS (with a choice of 13” or 15” screens)

Markus made the choice easy for by deciding we should get both, one for him and one for me.

A couple weeks later we both had shiny new laptops. I ended up picking the X1 Carbon, Markus the Dell XPS 15. As far as form and weight goes, I was instantly in love with my Carbon. It is thin and very light and simply feels good.
So I turned it on. And immediately noticed a very bright spot at the bottom of the screen which looked like something had dented the touch screen.
Given how much the thing costs, we called Lenovo support and complained. They promised to send a replacement.

As these things go, it took a couple more phone calls and a few weeks for the replacement to arrive. During that time I was already using the laptop and testing it out.

Plus points I discovered:

  • It was super light and convenient to use sitting on the couch or carrying it around with me in my backpack
  • It made nearly no sound at all. The fan – if it comes on – is very quiet. And the hard drive is a SSD and makes no sound at all.

Minus points I discovered:

  • Windows f***ing 8.1
  • Worst Windows version ever

But I did not bother installing anything else, since I was getting a new laptop anyway.

On the day the new laptop arrived, I started it up and was immediately greeted by the Windows update telling me about important updates I had to run. Which I did.
And which ended in the laptop bluescreening and taking a few attempts to get it to start again.
Thinking this is Windows being Windows I spent the next few days installing things, hooking my e-reader up, setting up the VPN client for work etc. Then the Windows update pops up again. I need to run important updates immediately.
So I did.
Swearing and name-calling unfortunately did not help much. But eventually Markus managed to go through all the recovery options and get it back to booting. Where – surprise, surprise – all my installations were gone and it had restored to the initial state in which I received it.

This pattern repeated itself a couple more times till we decided that I should no longer run any Windows update.
After that I had a few peaceful and quiet weeks till it happened again. This time Markus decided to re-image the laptop with the recovery partition that came with it. Something that should have been straightforward also took over a day, since it crashed a few times halfway through. When it was finally done and working again – yes, Windows update.

After the first round of updates and the obligatory restart – no Wifi connection possible, not even a Wifi adapter visible. The DeviceManager showed it with an error and the message that the device could not be started. The only way to get it to work was to disable the device, then enable it again.
More swearing and name-calling followed. But for the next few weeks at least it seemed stable, even though after every reboot I had to do the wifi-adapter routine.

Then just shortly after Christmas it bluescreened again. So I reluctantly called Lenovo support hoping they might actually agree to test my laptop or replace it again. Instead I spent the next 7 weeks with pointless calls and emails which culminated in them finally agreeing to check the laptop.
Then it took another week in which they cancelled my service and opened a new case, sent me two return boxes, agreed to a pick-up time and did not show up and more phone calls.

When I finally got it back, all they had done was re-image the hard disk again. At this point I was past being frustrated, since after the first Windows update the same Wifi adapter problem reappeared.

By then I was very reluctant to even use it again, fearing that anything I might install again would be lost a few days later with the next blue screen.
So far I had one more blue screen after installing the work VPN client and trying unsuccessfully to connect. But at least it restored back to before the last Windows update but after my installs.

And from today on I will shun Windows and only use Linux to see, if it is more stable then. If not, then I send it back again, given that I still think that it actually has a hardware problem.
At least I have a network connection now when I boot up.