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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Soulwager - Saturday, September 19, 2015 - linkI don't think it matters what device the scandal involved, because it fundamentally breaks the trust between the consumer and the company. There simply isn't anything Lenovo can do to regain that trust, except maybe open source all the software and firmware they provide.
Bronek - Thursday, September 17, 2015 - linkI like that they pause charging of the rear battery at 80%. This means that the battery can be disconnected during this period and safely stored for extended period, without the risk of degradation.
BobCollins - Thursday, September 17, 2015 - linkCan you explain your conclusion that "the i5-5300U is a reasonable upgrade over the base offering?"
Every discussion I have read suggested that mid-level processor upgrade was so marginal as to be not worth it.
thisch - Friday, September 18, 2015 - linkOne really bad point though: these T440s / T450s are awfully hard to maintain. Separating the bottom part of the casing from the rest is almost impossible, using a screwdriver will dent the plastic, using one's nails does not work, I spent 15mn trying and was not successful. Compare this to HP for instance (one latch to open, direct access to all the components in 2 seconds)
zhenya00 - Friday, September 18, 2015 - linkThe fact that you neglect to use the correct tools completely invalidates your arguments. With the correct tool you can have the bottom case off in less than a minute. If removing the bottom without damaging it is outside of your skillset, you have no business opening the laptop in the first place.
Top10Ultrabooks - Friday, September 18, 2015 - linkCheckout best selection of ultrabooks with competitive prices at:
topultrabooks - Friday, September 18, 2015 - linkCheckout best selection of ultrabooks with competitive prices at:
zhenya00 - Friday, September 18, 2015 - linkLate to this, but we have been buying the T4x0s models as our standard configuration for years. The T450s is the best one by far. Still, despite the power bridge tech, your battery charts really illustrate the tradeoff that we get by Lenovo's insistence on sticking with traditional removable batteries. 46wHR for a laptop of this size is TINY today, and the run times prove it (the 12" retina MacBook has 40wHR in a 2lb device!) I'm sure there are a *few* users who actually require the ability to continuously trade out batteries, but the reality is that the *vast* majority of users would be far better served by putting in a built-in battery with ~60-70wHR capacity, giving 10+ hours of run time. Only a tiny niche of users can possibly require more battery life than this. It's too bad the rest of us are being held hostage by that vocal minority.
nerd1 - Sunday, September 20, 2015 - linkThat's why you have option to put larger sized batteries I think..
Harry_Wild - Saturday, September 19, 2015 - linkStill not HDMI output but still a VGA output? How stupid is that? Is this a business computer or what? All the big monitors are HDTVs and many monitors have HDMI inputs!