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Lenovo ThinkBook 13s Overview: The place’s the Enterprise?

lenovo thinkbook 13s review 4

“The Lenovo ThinkPad 13s is enterprise laptop computer wannabe that doesn’t provide sufficient to beat out the competitors.”

Strong productiveness efficiency

Attractively priced on the low finish

Good keyboard and touchpad

Strong construct high quality

No contact show

No Thunderbolt Three

Restricted enterprise options

The ThinkPad line — some of the iconic traces of enterprise laptops ever devised — wasn’t sufficient for Lenovo. They needed to invent one more, the ThinkBook, that’s aimed toward small companies fairly than enterprises that purchase laptops in bulk. The ThinkBook 13s is the primary within the line, and it’s aimed toward extra than simply businesspeople – Lenovo clearly hopes that the typical individual may be too.

We have been despatched an entry-level configuration of the ThinkBook 13s, with an Eighth-gen quad-core Core i5-8265U CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB PCIe solid-state drive (SSD), and a 13.Three-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,zero80) show. Lenovo lists the promoting worth at a really engaging $773. Improve to a Core i7-8565U, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD, and also you’ll nonetheless solely spend $1,zero70.

Lenovo needs to seize those that desire a laptop computer for a small or medium-sized enterprise however don’t need to spring for a ThinkPad. Does the ThinkBook 13s give it to them?

Extra IdeaPad than ThinkPad

The ThinkBook 13s takes extra of its design and construct cues from the IdeaPad line (the IdeaPad 730S, specifically) than it does the ThinkPad. Perhaps that’s factor — the ThinkPad’s black-with-red-trim aesthetic is kind of distinct and should not enchantment to everybody. Accordingly, the ThinkBook 13s appears much more like different trendy, all-metal (aluminum and magnesium, on this case) clamshell laptops. Examine the ThinkBook 13s side-by-side with the Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1 and the Lenovo IdeaPad S940, for instance, and also you’ll see comparable forward-sweeping angles (albeit the ThinkBook is a darker “Mineral Grey”). It’s look, however nothing particular.

Equally, Lenovo gave the ThinkBook 13s some however not all the ThinkPad’s vaunted construct high quality. The ThinkBook has anti-spill safety and is examined for publicity to excessive temperatures and vibrations — however there’s no MIL-STD-810G testing as with the ThinkPad line. The hinge is especially rigorously engineered, constructed of a zinc alloy with powdered-metal expertise to endure 25,000 open and shut cycles, and it’s coated with indium and stannum (an archaic title for tin, apparently) for higher corrosion resistance and Wi-Fi reception.

lenovo thinkbook 13s review 3Mark Coppock/Digital Developments

Even with all of that focus, our ThinkPad 13s evaluation unit had some minor flexing within the lid and the keyboard deck, which laptops like Lenovo’s Yoga C930 and the Asus ZenBook S13 (with its MIL-STD-810G testing) don’t. And the hinge was fairly stiff and required each arms to open. Altogether, the ThinkBook 13s is one thing of a tweener when it comes to its perceivable construct high quality – and it appears to imagine that buyers don’t care fairly as a lot as enterprise customers about rigidity.

One factor Lenovo introduced down from the ThinkPad line is the bodily webcam cowl. Slide the change over, and your personal life will keep hidden – visually, at the least – from prying eyes. HP has its digital change on the Spectre x360 13 and the Envy 13 that we favor as a result of it fully turns off the webcam and removes an assault vector, however Lenovo’s answer is nonetheless efficient.

Additionally notable: Lenovo is true there with HP relating to the tiny-bezel motion. That’s, neither firm has totally embraced the notion of packing as giant a show as potential into the smallest potential chassis. The ThinkBook 13s has affordable facet bezels, however its high bezel is fairly giant, and its chin is downright chunky. We dinged the HP Envy 13 for a similar, and admittedly, the ThinkBook 13s is worse – and simply barely bigger. It is available in at about an 80 % screen-to-body ratio, which pales in comparison with the 97 % loved by the Asus ZenBook S13 – which packs in a bigger 13.9-inch show right into a smaller chassis.

Hoping for the ThinkPad’s deep, snappy, and exact keyboard? You’ll be upset.

To spherical out our dialogue of measurement, the ThinkBook is zero.63 inches thick, in comparison with the HP Envy 13 at zero.59 inches and the Asus ZenBook S13 at zero.50 inches. And the ThinkBook is heavier as effectively, at 2.9 kilos versus 2.82 kilos and a couple of.42 kilos, respectively. Merely put, Lenovo didn’t work very exhausting to make the smallest laptop computer round, and it reveals.

Subsequent is connectivity, which issues an incredible deal to the enterprise and possibly – in line with Lenovo – rather less to small enterprise homeowners. There are two USB-A Three.1 Gen 1 ports, one USB-C Three.1 Gen 2 port (which is not going to energy the laptop computer and, regrettably, lacks Thunderbolt Three assist), and a full-size HDMI 1.4b port. You’ll want a dongle for an SD card, although. Wi-fi connectivity is simply high quality, with gigabit 2X2 MU-MIMO 802.11ac Wi-Fi (however no Wi-Fi 6 but) and Bluetooth 5.zero.

However right here’s the place we’re going to ding Lenovo the toughest: The ThinkBook makes use of their very old-school USB-lookalike proprietary energy adapter. We already mentioned the laptop computer gained’t cost by way of USB-C, so you might want to carry this funky adapter round with you and attempt to keep in mind which rectangular port to plug it into. Why, Lenovo, why? We’d like to know.

You’ll miss the ThinkPad keyboard

In case you have been hoping that Lenovo would carry over it’s deep, snappy, and exact keyboard from the ThinkPad line, you’ll be barely upset. We are saying “barely,” as a result of the ThinkBook 13s keyboard is nonetheless completely serviceable. The truth is, if you happen to’ve used an IdeaPad or Yoga shopper laptop computer, then you definitely’ll be very accustomed to this keyboard (aside from the devoted Skype operate keys). It’s not as deep because the ThinkPad’s, but it surely has giant keys which might be snug and supply their very own snappy really feel. We favor the keyboard on the HP Spectre x360 13, however we don’t dislike this one by any means.

The ThinkBook 13s touchpad fills the obtainable area on the keyboard deck (which is a bit bigger than another laptops because of the big bezels), and its plastic floor is snug for swiping round. It’s a Microsoft Precision touchpad, and so multi-touch gestures work completely. We have now no complaints, as we don’t with nearly each Microsoft Precision touchpad we check. The nice touchpad is especially vital right here since there’s no contact show to fall again on.

lenovo thinkbook 13s review 2Mark Coppock/Digital Developments

In yet another departure from the ThinkPad line, you gained’t discover the little purple nubbin, the TrackPoint, buried throughout the keyboard on the ThinkBook 13s, nor the additional set of buttons. In case you depend on that specific enter mechanism, then you definitely’ll must skip the ThinkBook line.

Lastly, the ThinkBook 13s helps Home windows 10 whats up password-less login by way of a fingerprint reader that’s embedded within the energy button on the upper-right of the keyboard deck. It’s correct and quick, and it has a gorgeous inexperienced pulse that permits you to realize it’s ready so that you can give it a contact.

Surprisingly, the show’s distinction and coloration fall wanting common

Recently, we discover our descriptions of premium laptop computer shows to be a bit repetitive. Except a laptop computer makes use of unique panels like the most recent OLED expertise or they’re constructed round superior IPS screens with large and correct colours, there’s a median show that we might have rated as glorious just some years in the past. So, the place does the ThinkBook 13s’s 13.Three-inch show rank?

In keeping with our colorimeter, the ThinkBook 13s’s show ranks barely lower than common. That surprises us, as a result of this laptop computer is supposed to bridge a spot between the finances/shopper IdeaPad line and the high-end ThinkPad. For instance, brightness is suitable at 275 nits (we prefer to see a minimal of 300 nits), but it surely’s definitely nothing particular. One optimistic: It’s a matte show, and in order that helps with vibrant overhead lighting, however after all it makes video and images much less dynamic.

Distinction is available in at 710:1, which is on the low finish of our comparability group. We see increasingly laptops, even together with finances laptops just like the Asus ZenBook 13 UX333, get pleasure from distinction ratios of 1,000:1 or larger, which is superb. Colours are additionally unimpressive, with AdobeRGB protection at 70 % and sRGB at 93 %. Taking a look at our chart, that is once more on the low finish.

lenovo thinkbook 13s review 5Mark Coppock/Digital Developments

Coloration accuracy, although, is a optimistic at 1.four (1.zero or much less is taken into account glorious), and in order that’s a notch within the ThinkBook’s favor. Whereas picture editors who need to see essentially the most colours gained’t be proud of the slender coloration gamut, at the least these colours will probably be correct – one thing that can enchantment to everybody

Don’t misunderstand us. You gained’t be terribly upset with this show in your on a regular basis productiveness work. You’ll discover Netflix and different video to be a bit too darkish because of a gamma of two.four (2.2 is ideal), and also you gained’t benefit from the deepest blacks.

The ThinkBook 13s is a strong performer, and higher but, it stayed pretty quiet.

Like most premium laptops at the moment, the ThinkBook 13s can stream excessive dynamic vary (HDR) video. In contrast to most, although, it formally helps the Dolby Imaginative and prescient HDR customary and thus guarantees a greater general expertise. The show appears good and enhances a few of Netflix’s darker content material (“Sabrina the Teenage Witch,” we’re you), but it surely’s not fairly nearly as good as latest OLED laptops that assist HDR’s full 10-bit coloration area.

Typically, you’ll get your work carried out on this show, and also you gained’t hate the expertise. You simply gained’t like it, both, particularly if you happen to’re a artistic kind who craves large colours.

Audio is supplied via twin 2-watt Harman audio system, and so they get loads loud. The one downside is, they’re additionally a little bit skinny at full quantity, possibly even a little bit distorted. It’s worst on the excessive finish, whereas mids are acceptable. Bass is non-existent. You’ll need headphones or Bluetooth speaker to get pleasure from your Netflix binging or tunes.

A speedy performer for getting your work carried out

Lenovo despatched us the entry-level ThinkBook 13s, which equips a quad-core Whiskey Lake Intel Core i5-8265U CPU. That’s a 15-watt processor that guarantees each good productiveness efficiency and first rate effectivity. A Core i7-8565U is an possibility.

We ran our ordinary benchmarks, and the ThinkBook 13s gave a robust exhibiting. It was common towards our comparability group within the Geekbench four artificial benchmark, the place it scored a four,368 within the single-core check and a 13,184 within the multi-core check. The 2019 Acer Swift 5 was a bit sooner with the identical CPU, whereas the Asus ZenBook 13 UX333 was combined. In fact, laptops with the Core i7-8565U have been a lot sooner on this benchmark because of the upper clock speeds.

In our extra real-world Handbrake check the place we encode a 420MB video to H.265, the ThinkBook 13s was extra spectacular. It accomplished the check in 247 seconds, which is quick for a Core i5 and beat out the HP Spectre x360 13 with its Core i7 (though the HP was operating in a mode meant to maintain warmth and fan noise to a minimal). The Acer Swift 5 took a for much longer 313 seconds to finish the method.

The ThinkBook 13s used a Western Digital SN520 512GB PCIs SSD that we see in additional laptops currently. It’s however not nice performer, and it was slower than ordinary within the Lenovo – it hit 1,093 megabytes per second (MB/s) within the CrystalDiskMark 5 learn check and 406 MB/s within the write check. The learn rating is according to our comparability group, however the write rating is lower than half. We will’t account for the distinction, however we didn’t discover any slowdowns throughout our testing.

The ThinkBook 13s is a strong productiveness performer, and higher but, it stayed pretty quiet throughout our testing and it by no means received so sizzling as to be uncomfortable. The warmest we noticed throughout our stress testing was 114 levels F on the underside of the chassis, which is only a bit toasty, and the keyboard deck hit 102 levels whereas we have been testing Fortnite. Throughout all of our typical productiveness work, the laptop computer stayed good and quiet – be at liberty to take it to the library.

Gaming? Nope

The ThinkBook 13s is restricted to Intel’s built-in UHD 620 graphics, and it’s clocked in line with the Core i5 settings. This isn’t designed to be a gaming laptop computer by any means.

And, in line with our benchmarks, Lenovo didn’t put a lot work into making this even a quick instance of a non-gaming laptop computer. Within the artificial 3DMark Fireplace Strike check, the ThinkBook 13s scored 992, which is on the low finish of our comparability group. Look to one thing just like the HP Envy 13 with at the least an entry-level discrete GPU just like the Nvidia GeForce MX250 if you wish to run a light-weight sport like Fornite.

And talking of Fortnite, the ThinkBook 13s was additionally a gradual performer. It solely mustered 9 frames per second (FPS) in 1080p and excessive graphics settings and 5 FPS at epic graphics settings. That’s decrease than all however the Dell XPS 13 that was operating a Core i3 CPU.

Lenovo continues to place battery life on the again burner

One factor we’ve observed with Lenovo’s laptops currently is that battery life doesn’t appear to be at a lot of a premium. The ThinkPad X390, for instance, would have garnered a better rating if it weren’t for middling battery life. And within the ThinkBook 13s, Lenovo restricted battery capability to simply 45 watt-hours, which isn’t spectacular towards opponents just like the HP Spectre x360 13 with its 61 watt-hours or the Dell XPS 13 with its 52 watt-hours.

In keeping with our battery benchmarks, the ThinkBook 13s suffers for not packing in additional juice. Its battery life isn’t unhealthy, thoughts you, but it surely’s simply not very spectacular in comparison with the competitors. Trying first at our most demanding check, operating the Basemark net benchmark till the battery ran out, the ThinkBook 13s lasted for slightly below three and a half hours. Amongst our comparability group, solely the Acer Swift Three with its Core i7-8550U gave up sooner.

When contemplating our net shopping check that runs via a sequence of standard web pages, the ThinkBook 13s did higher, coming in second amongst our comparability group at simply over eight hours. However that’s behind the Acer Swift Three 14-inch with a Core i7-8565U and a bigger show, that lasted three quarters of an hour longer. After which the HP Spectre x360 13, which isn’t in our chart, lasted for a whopping 12.7 hours because of extra battery and a low-power show.

In our video looping check that runs a neighborhood Avengers 1080p trailer till the battery dies, the ThinkBook 13s fell in the course of the pack at simply over 11 hours. The Asus ZenBook S13 managed 12.75 hours, and the Spectre x360 13 lasted for 17.6 hours. So, that makes the ThinkBook 13s greater than a little bit disappointing.

lenovo thinkbook 13s review 1Mark Coppock/Digital Developments

Will the ThinkBook 13s final you a full working day with no need to hold round that archaic proprietary charger? We’re undecided – it solely is dependent upon what you’re doing. In case you push the CPU, then you definitely’ll most likely fall quick, however if you happen to’re shopping the online and triaging electronic mail, then you definitely may make it a full eight hours.

However the backside line is that there’s probably room in that chassis for larger battery capability. Lenovo ought to think about squeezing in a little bit extra, as a result of battery life issues – particularly to the small enterprise customers that Lenovo is focusing on with the brand new line. And it doesn’t assist that you just’re tied to that proprietary connector and may’t borrow a buddy’s USB-C adapter for a fast pick-me-up.

Our take

The ThinkBook 13s is a bizarre fowl. It performs effectively, has premium (however not fairly top-notch) construct high quality, and it’s attractively priced. However we don’t precisely perceive why it exists. It provides a couple of business-class options, however not sufficient to compete with devoted enterprise laptops, together with Lenovo’s greatest choices. Severely, spend a little bit extra and get a ThinkPad if you wish to make a sound enterprise funding.

On the identical time, as we’ll see in our options under, there’s not a lot of a worth premium over Lenovo’s pure shopper providing, the IdeaPad – at the least on the low finish. In the long run, the ThinkBook 13s simply doesn’t make the reduce.

Is there a greater various?

The Lenovo IdeaPad 730s in Iron Gray prices $730. That worth is for a Core i5-8265U, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and a 13.Three-inch Full HD show. Sound acquainted? It ought to, as a result of it’s virtually the identical worth because the similarly-equipped ThinkBook 13s. The distinction comes on the excessive finish, the place the IdeaPad 730s prices $900 for a Core i7-8565U, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD whereas the ThinkBook 13s prices $1,zero70. And the IdeaPad 730s provides Thunderbolt Three assist.

Subsequent, you can think about the HP Envy 13, which prices $750 for a sooner Core i7-8565U, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and a 13.Three-inch Full HD. It’s nearly as solidly constructed, and it lacks solely the ThinkBook 13s’s spill-proof keyboard and additional testing towards bumps and bruises. You can too spend some more money – a complete of $1,180 — and get an MX250 discrete GPU, 16GB of RAM, 512GB SSD, and a 4K show. That makes the Envy 13 extra customizable and in the end extra highly effective.

Lastly, the Asus ZenBook 13 UX333 is a high quality laptop computer as effectively, coming in at $850 for a similar configuration and providing a extra strong construct and the identical MIL-STD-810g testing that’s afforded Lenovo’s ThinkPad line. You’ll get equal efficiency, higher battery life, and admittedly, we predict the ZenBook is a better-looking laptop computer.

How lengthy will it final?

The ThinkBook 13s might not stay as much as the best requirements of rigidity, but it surely’ll final you so long as you want. You’ll miss out on Thunderbolt Three for connecting to essentially the most superior peripherals, however in any other case, that is an up-to-date laptop computer. The usual 1-year guarantee isn’t any higher or worse than different laptops on this class.

Do you have to purchase it?

No, until you want the few business-oriented options that the laptop computer offers. In any other case, stick to a shopper laptop computer that you would be able to configure with extra highly effective elements – and doubtless for much less cash.

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