The Lenovo ThinkPad T450s Review: Bridging The Ultrabookby Brett Howse on September 15, 2015 8:00 AM EST
Lenovo’s ThinkPad lineup needs almost no introduction, being one of the most well known business lineups around. The T series has been around for what seems like forever, and it is the premium lined aimed at the business and enterprise segments. The lineup includes both 14 and 15-inch models, and today we have the ThinkPad T450s which is a 14-inch model. The “s” addendum designates that this is the slim version of the T450.
Lenovo calls this an Ultrabook, and although that definition has expanded over the years, the T450s is not your typical ultra-thin notebook. That is not always a bad thing either as we will see later in the review. The T series sits between the thin and light X series and the mobile workstation P series ThinkPads.
When discussing business notebooks, there are generally a few features added that are not available in your typical consumer grade notebook. These are going to be things like Smart Card readers, Intel’s vPro technology, docking connectors, Ethernet connectivity and a durable chassis. Lenovo offers all of this on even their slim model T450s, which is basically as thin as it can be to still include a RJ-45 Ethernet port.
Durability is something that business wants too, since these devices are going to be used as long as they can be before replacement. Lenovo includes a very strong magnesium chassis and uses carbon fibre on the lid with glass fibre used where the radios are to limit attenuation. The keyboard is spill-resistant, and the T450s has been tested against Mil-SPEC 810G testing on things like humidity, temperature, vibration, radiation, and both mechanical and temperature shock. Durability is of course something that we can’t test, but having passed these standardized tests should mean that the T450s will perform well for employees over the long haul.
Since this is classified as an Ultrabook, it should be no surprise then that it is powered by the Intel Core U series chips, and Lenovo offers the Core i5-5200U, i5-5300U, and i7-5600U models. Memory includes 4 GB of RAM soldered onto the motherboard and one DIMM slot which can handle up to 16 GB of DDR3L-1600 for a total of 20 GB available on this notebook. Display options are 1600x900, or 1920x1080 with either a matte coating or optional touch. A full list of the specifications are below.
|Lenovo ThinkPad T450s|
|As Tested, Core i5-5300U, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, 1920x1080 IPS display with Touch|
|Processor||Intel Core i5-5200U (2C/4T, 2.2-2.7GHz, 3MB L3, 14nm, 15w)
Intel Core i5-5300U (2C/4T, 2.3-2.9GHz, 3MB L3, 14nm, 15w)
Intel Core i7-5600U (2C/4T, 2.6-3.2GHz, 4MB L3, 14nm, 15w)
|Memory||4GB onboard, 1 DIMM, 20GB max DDR3L-1600Mhz|
|Graphics||Intel HD 5500 (24 EU, 300-900 MHz on i5, 300-950 Mhz on i7)|
|Display||14.0" 1600x900 TN
Optional 1920x1080 IPS
|Storage||500GB to 1TB HDD
128GB SATA SSD
180GB or 256GB SATA SSD with Opal 2 Support
512GB SSD SATA
|Networking||Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7265 (802.11ac, 2x2:2, 866Mpbs Max, 2.4 and 5GHz)
Intel Gigabit Ethernet I218-LM
Optional Sierra Wireless EM7345 LTE
|Audio||Stereo Speakers (downfiring) 1 watt x 2
Dual Array Microphone
|Battery||23 Wh Internal Battery
Power Bridge Battery Options:
23 Wh 3 Cell
48 Wh 6 Cell
72 Wh 6 Cell
Up to 95 Wh total
45 Watt charger
|Right Side||USB 3.0
SD Card Reader
|Left Side||2 USB 3.0 Ports
Smart Card Reader Slot
|Dimensions||331 x 226 x 21.1mm (13.03 x 8.90 x 0.83 inches)|
|Weight||1.59 kg (3.5 lbs) with 46Wh Battery|
Backlit Spill-Resistant Keyboard
$2200 Max (Core i7, 20GB RAM, 512GB SSD, 1080p w/Touch, LTE Modem)
As Tested: $1500
The ThinkPad T450s is not yet offered with Windows 10, so this review was done with Windows 8.1 Pro installed. Lenovo has some interesting technology available in the T450s including their Power Bridge technology. This is a very smart setup and includes a 23 Wh battery integrated into the front of the laptop, and a removable battery at the rear. The default option is another 23 Wh battery, but Lenovo also offers both 48 Wh and 72 Wh battery options for the rear model as well, so the T450s can be used with a massive 95 Wh of capacity in one charge. The coolest part of the Power Bridge though is that the rear battery is discharged first, and it can be swapped out with the laptop still running so if you have a couple of extra batteries you would be able to work offline for a very long time.
Storage offerings start with mechanical drives, but you can of course opt for solid state storage as well which is always going to be a better experience. Lenovo also offers Opal2 offerings which is going to be popular with a lot of businesses.
The Thinkpad T450s is aimed right at the heart of business, with plenty of features that businesses look for, a well built chassis, and MIL-Spec tested components. Though it is not as thin and light as a lot of Ultrabooks, including Lenovo’s own ThinkPad X1 Carbon, there is a lot of laptop here which should be interesting to anyone looking for a 14-inch laptop. Let’s start with the design.
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Samus - Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - linkI like the idea of power bridge a lot. I also appreciate they have finally dropped 1366x768 completely (unlike HP) but what the hell is wrong with Lenovo...
The battery life is not competitive and it's really thick. The HP zBook 14 is the same thickness and it has a discrete GPU while meeting all the same MIL STD 810G criteria. Then there's the Elitebook 1040 putting this thing (and the X1) to shame in overall capability and performance is a thin durable chassis.
I appreciate the review of a corporate notebook, keep'em coming, I'd like to see some Dell's and HP's!
close - Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - linkAlso it appears that times are a'changin'. The only way this keyboard feels good and you can say Lenovo "really nailed it" is if you haven't tried the old style keyboard in years. I have the X1 Carbon and it's ok but as soon as I fall back to my old X200 I get all these memories coming back, reminding me what a good keyboard is.
I understand that the old-style keyboard doesn't fit the ultrabook format but I still can't fully agree with the "really nailed input" remark.
Flunk - Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - linkThe X1 has a particularly shallow keyboard due to its thickness. I've used the more recent t series keyboards quite a lot and I find them quite good for a laptop keyboard.
jimpreis - Sunday, September 20, 2015 - linkX1 *Carbon. The X1 was a completely different product.
LoganPowell - Friday, November 27, 2015 - linkthe Lenovo Thinkpad is one of the best laptops on the market in my opinion, but there are still a couple that are higher ranked (see http://www.consumerrunner.com/top-10-best-laptops/ for example...)
Brett Howse - Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - linkEveryone loves the good old days, but the X1 Carbon keyboard is not the same as this one so please don't use it as a reference for this model's keyboard. The T450s is one of the best notebook keyboards that I've used in recent times.
noeldillabough - Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - linkI too was **extremely** pessimistic when they changed the keyboard (X230 days) but I've been using the new keyboards for years now and they're really great.
Now don't get me started on the function keys changes and touchpad fiascos, they've finally come to their senses a bit.
Now Lenovo please make a T460P...I need a new computer.
michaelhouston12 - Saturday, November 14, 2015 - linkIf you're looking for a laptop that can give you best features but affordable, I strongly recommend Acer C720 Chromebook. Found here: http://www.consumerrunner.com/top-10-best-laptops/
chris9000 - Thursday, September 17, 2015 - linkYep. I own the T450s and I have to say that I actually like the keyboard. The IPS screen is also quite nice.
quanta - Wednesday, September 23, 2015 - linkReally? The only thing Lenovo nailed it is coffins to loyal Thinkpad users. Last time I checked, when Lenovo switched to the ill-conceived layouts from the Intel CBB in ThinkPad X1 Carbon and X230, the users resorted to ripping the old Lenovo laptop keyboards to the new models, because it is so bloody awful!