Lenovo ThinkBook 15 review

Lenovo ThinkBook 15 review

Back in the day, Lenovo was the Rolls Royce of business notebooks but the rest of the world caught up. This latest Lenovo ThinkBook 15 wants to be a stylish, all-round, business, productivity tool. But should it be top of your list?

Key specs of the Lenovo ThinkBook 15

15.6-inch, matte, 60Hz, 1920 x 1080 display; 2.4-4.2GHz Intel Core i5-1135G7 CPU; 16GB RAM; 256GB HDD; Intel Iris Xe graphics; 45Wh battery; 1.7KG. SKU: 20VE0028AU, Full specs here.

Design and handling

We’ve become used to the flashy Lenovo Legion gaming laptops’ liveries but while the Lenovo ThinkBook 15 has a far more sober design, it’s still got the family traits… it’s just traded the RGB, rock-and-roll ‘tattoos’ for the equivalent of a law degree instead. The two-tone, “Mineral Grey” Aluminium metal lid is stylish with its Lenovo logo and ThinkBook branding. The 19mm thickness keeps it feeling sleek. The internals are also two-tone silver – but more plasticy – while the lozenge-shaped keys add an interesting design touch.

The Lenovo ThinkBook 15’s 15.6-inch Full HD screen is sharp and well-lit. Colours are muted but it supports 100 per cent of the basic, Adobe sRGB colour space. There can be more-than-normal banding in colour and monochromatic gradients but it’s only an issue in certain movie scenes and you won’t likely watch many on a work laptop. The 60Hz refresh rate and mediocre pixel response time mean it’s not good for fast-and-frantic gaming but it’s fine for work-based applications.

Lenovo ThinkBook 15 front
The Lenovo that went to law school.

The Lenovo ThinkBook 15’s keyboard is generally soft, comfortable and accurate. We always compare it to the velveteen offerings of the ThinkBooks of yore (unfavourably) but we’ve few complaints. There’s a reduced-sized number pad and our only gripe involves the half-height, up-and-down arrow keys. The trackpad is smooth but the buttons require a bit of effort to press. There’s an HD webcam with a hardware-based, privacy slide. The power button doubles as a (responsive) Windows Hello-compatible fingerprint reader and uses a TPM 2.0 chip for additional security.

The dual 2-Watt speakers don’t get particularly loud but offer reasonable fidelity with a hint of bass.

Performance of the Lenovo ThinkBook 15

The quad-core, 2.4-4.2GHz Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor is flanked by 16GB RAM and a (paltry) 256GB hard drive (there’s a slot for a second). They combined to score a modest 4839 in PCMark 10 which is perfectly fine for office tasks. It’s less good at processor-intensive rendering tasks as Cinebench scores of 936 (R15) and 5388 (R23) attest to.

3D performance comes via the integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics. Not surprisingly, it can’t run the complex 3DMark Port Royal, ray-tracing test. In Time Spy it only managed a score of 575, which is an average of just 3fps, while in Fire Strike Extreme it managed just 1438 (6.5fps). In the lesser, Wild Life Extreme test it scored 2306 (average 13.8fps) but a score of 12,503 (67fps) in the lightweight, 3DMark Night Raid test demonstrates that it can, at least, play casual and competitive games.

Even under load it doesn’t make any disruptive noise.

Connectivity of the Lenovo ThinkBook 15

On the left.
On the left are two USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 ports (one is used by the charger). One supports Power Deliver 3.0 and DisplayPort 1.4. The other also supports ThunderBolt 4.0. There’s an HDMI 1.4b port, USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port and a 3.5mm audio jack.
Lenovo ThinkBook 15 right
On the right is a Gigabit Ethernet port, USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port and a full-sized, 4-in-1 media card reader.

Inside there’s Wi-Fi 6 and BlueTooth 5.1.

Portability

The Lenovo ThinkBook 15 weighs an impressive (for a 15-inch laptop) 1.7KG while the power brick and associated cable adds just 350g more. The small(ish) 45Wh battery managed to run PCMark 10’s Modern Office test for an impressive 8hrs 52mins – that’s a full day out of the office. The Aluminium lid and base (plus the solid hinge) are very rigid and feel like they’ll easily survive life on the road.

Lenovo ThinkBook 15 underside
The top and bottom are constructed from rigid aluminium.

Should I buy the Lenovo ThinkBook 15?

At $1391, it’s a good-value work tool. Of course, most purchasers will be getting it on work-related leasing programs. But if you need an no nonsense work laptop for school or university it’s a decent choice.

Lenovo ThinkBook 15 results
  • 2D Performance
  • 3D Performance
  • Ergonomics
  • Stability
  • Portability
  • Value
3.2

Summary

A good all-round business notebook.

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