The most important characteristic of the X1 is that it boasts the thinnest body in ThinkPad history. (It's about as thick as the ThinkPad T420s when the LCD screen is opened!) Even with this thin design, the high performance, toughness and stylish design with a premium feel are all next generation.
As we discussed in Design Matters | ThinkPad X1: Designing the Ultimate Keyboard, what ThinkPad devotees care the most about is the keyboard.
The X1 is not a traditional 7 row keyboard with a 2.5 mm stroke. Instead, it is equipped with a 6 row 2.0 mm stroke isolation (island) keyboard. As you can imagine, this was a topic of fierce debate within the company, too. Is it really okay to switch the ThinkPad classic keyboard to a 6 row keyboard? Is it really okay to reduce the stroke? In the end, though, we were able to develop with confidence.
The X1 keyboard earned a higher evaluation than the T420s in user research that spanned several months and was done across the world, including in Japan. Many of the people who participated in the test were devotees of ThinkPad, and we were surprised to find that the attachment to 7 row keyboards was not as strong as we had expected. Even I, who have always loved 7 row keyboards, realized that "times have changed".
As we explained in Yamato Thinking | Differentiation of "Isolation", the X1 keyboard incorporates a lot of the feedback from our experience with the ThinkPad Edge keyboard. This keyboard achieves a typing feel identical to the 2.5 mm stroke and the rigidity like the ThinkPad 600. In one article, the thinkpad received high praise, "Putting a ThinkPad X1 at the fingers of a touch-typist is like placing a Stradivarius in the hands of a violinist." and "the best laptop keyboard we’ve ever tested."
If you are one of the people who just can't live without a 7 row keyboard, I encourage you to touch one of these keyboards and find out just how good they are.
Crafting the X1 in the workshop (LOL)