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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kspirit - Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - linkFolio 1040 is the excellent. It blew everything else away in durability for size and weight when it launched last year. The G2 refresh is underwhelming though. It offers the same battery life as Haswell, which could have been better. I love my 1040 G1 though. Everyone needs to start using the forcepad now.
stefstef - Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - linkdespite the details of the clients of different brands i believe the main specs of these business pcs are not the technical details anymore but the salesmodels behind it. this is described as a 1500 config but for a company buying a couple of thousands this might be a value of maybe 750. same as in the automobile business: buy a 50.000 car for business, use it for say three years (leasing) and after that times it reappears in the market with say about 35.000 miles on it. and ypou already might be able to pick it up at 30% of the price it was purchased. sure after 35.000 miles the cars nowhere new any more but many a miles away from end of usability. i am really waiting for a pc company calculating a price of such a unit including the after business life services like taking the unit back, refurbishing and selling it again. due to the crisis in pc sales they took a lot of privileges and profits backs from resellers. wouldnt wonder if they, just like the car industry, would try to the grip back on the used pc buisness as well.
extide - Wednesday, September 30, 2015 - linkNah dude, cars and PC's are a totally different market. A 2015 PC is WAY better than a 2011 PC, but you can't say the same about a 2015 car vs a 2011 car.
Frenetic Pony - Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - linkNot to mention you might get free malware! Yay Lenopevo
CSMR - Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - linkThe thin ultrabooks don't have 2.5" hard drive support, and if they do it's 7mm. This one takes a 9.5mm hard drive as well as an SSD. You can only get 1TB 7mm HDDs at present but you can get 2TB 9mm ones. Getting to 1TB+ or 2TB+ storage with only an SSD is expensive.
extide - Wednesday, September 30, 2015 - linkYeah, expensive, but doable, Samsung has a 4TB SSD in 7mm now. (850 EVO)
pjcamp - Thursday, September 17, 2015 - linkI've read that the external battery is interchangeable with the high capacity battery from the previous generation T440s, which you can find on line for ~$70. On the T440s, that gave me about 14 hours battery life and it is probably comparable here.
milkod2001 - Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - linkWhat is up with DELL's infinity display presented in XPS13? Is there something special that only Dell can use it? I'd love to see other vendors to use to. Once you see it, all other laptops look like they were designed 10 years ago :) Could at least Dell use it in all its laptop range?
To this laptop:it would be great laptop if sold for $700 max. $950 base model feels like a little too much to ask.
shadarlo - Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - linkThat display on the XPS13 really is revolutionary. I've never been more impressed with any laptop I've ever used than that one. It was so tiny and light and yet still had a huge screen given the minute size of the frame. Everything about the XPS13 is awesome... and it's insane no one else has found a way to use a similar screen yet.
I'm shocked Dell hasn't released XPS11 and 14/15 versions as well.
Zertzable - Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - linkThe fact that a year after release, the XPS13 is still the arguably the best Windows Ultrabook is rather impressive. The battery life and size are, AFAIK, unmatched.