Lenovo Thinkbook 14 Review

Lenovo’s Thinkbook brand is aimed at the SMB market – it’s as close to being a ThinkPad without being an actual ThinkPad, and the price reflects it.

The Thinkbook 14 follows up from the Thinkbook 14s (compare on Lenovo’s site here) which I saw while I was at Lenovo Tech World and was the first time I’d even heard of the Thinkbook brand. A few months later, I managed to get my hands on one as a trial unit from Lenovo to have a play with the hardware, as it was at a price point that I was looking at, and above the minimum specifications I needed.

Let’s start with the hardware, and then I’ll dive into what I liked/disliked about the laptop:

ProcessorUp to 10th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-1065G7 Processor (1.30GHz, up to 3.90GHz with Turbo Boost, 4 Cores, 8MB Cache)
Operating systemWindows 10 Pro
Display14″ FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS, anti-glare, 250 nits
GraphicsIntegrated Intel® UHD GraphicsIntegrated Intel® Iris Plus Graphics
MemoryUp to 16GB DDR4 2666MHz
StorageUp to 512GB SSD PCIe-NVMe M.2
BatteryUp to 9 hours* with 45Wh battery* Based on testing with MobileMark 2014. Battery life varies significantly with settings, usage, and other factors.
AudioStereo speakers with Dolby® Audio™Dual-array mic, Skype for Business certified
PortsUSB 3.1 (Gen 2, USB-C + DisplayPort + Power Delivery)USB 3.1 (Gen 1, USB-C)USB 3.1** (Gen 1, Type-A, always-on)USB 3.1** (Gen 1, Type-A)Hidden USB 2.0 (Type-A)HDMI4-in-1 card reader (SD, SDHC, SDXC, MMC)Headphone / mic comboRJ45Power DC
Connectivity 802.11AC (2 x 2)Bluetooth® 5.0
Camera720p HD
Dimensions326mm x 230mm x 17.9mm / 12.83″ x 9.06″ x 0.7″
WeightStarting at 3.3 lbs (1.5 kg)
KeyboardFull-sized keyboard with backlightOne-piece touchpadHot Keys for Skype for Business****Requires Skype for Business account, not pre-installed by Lenovo
SecurityThinkShutter Camera CoverSmart Power Button with Fingerprint ReaderActive Protection System (APS)Trusted Platform Module 2.0 (firmware)
ColorMineral Grey
What’s in the boxThinkBook 1465W AC adapter3 Cell Li-Cylinder 45Wh internal batteryQuick start guide

Tech Specs Source: Lenovo

As you can see from above, this isn’t a low end laptop. Processor wise, I only need an i5 CPU rather than an i7 which is fine for my requirements (I went with the i5-10210U), and it’s running the latest 10th GEN Intel CPU.

Display again I only need a 1080p screen, this isn’t a laptop designed for 4K video editing (although possible with a 4K screen attached) and for business requirements, most people want a 1920 x 1080 screen.

The older Thinkbook 14s only supported up to 8GB of RAM, but this supports 16GB which is what I promote as the standard you should aim for these days, which Chrome/New Edge using a lot of the RAM in our web driven world.

Storage, battery, webcam etc are all standard good specs and nothing notable there.

The keyboard is backlit which I always like. The inclusion of Skype for Business keys is a little strange with Skype for Business Online ending in July 2021, leaving only on-premises users; and if you’re running Skype for Business yourself as a phone system you’re probably a medium sized company or bigger, and this is a SMB laptop. Regardless, I personally am a fan and still use Skype for Business so it’s great for my use case, and I expect future models will instead have Microsoft Teams buttons. Maybe these buttons work with Teams anyway – I haven’t tested that yet. The buttons are secondary functions on the ‘print screen’ and ‘insert’ buttons, so worst case you can easily ignore them as they aren’t intrusive in any way, and there’s no dedicated buttons to Skype for Business.

Here’s some side shots of the Lenovo Thinkbook 14:

Front: Looks nice, not much else to see here!

Lenovo Thinkbook 14 Front

Back: No ports here either!

Lenovo Thinkbook 14 Back

Left Side: From left to right we have an RJ45 ethernet port which opens up when needed – seemed solid enough that it wouldn’t snap off easily, full sized HDMI, USB 3.1 with always on, USB-C, USB-C + DisplayPort + Power in, audio jack.

The one complaint I have is that the power in USB-C is the more front of the two ports, where every other Lenovo laptop I’ve had it’s been the one closer to the back. I initially plugged in the wrong one for power and wondered why it wasn’t charging! A minor issue though.

Lenovo Thinkbook 14 Left Side

Right Side: USB 2.0, card reader, USB 3.1, Power.

Yes, behind that little panel is a hidden USB 2.0 port, more on that below. You can also use the older rectangle shaped charger on this laptop, and it’s in it’s rightful place at the back.

Lenovo Thinkbook 14 Right Side

Base: nice long rubber stoppers to stop the laptop sliding around on a desk.

Lenovo Thinkbook 14 Base

Hidden USB 2.0 Port:

This seems like such a simple idea, yet I’ve never seen it before: a port that’s great for your wireless keyboard/mouse dongle, which is recessed into the laptop and has a cover. You’ll no longer have that awkward dongle sticking out of the laptop, asking to be knocked and bent out of shape. All laptops should have this!

Other notable features are the camera shutter so you can avoid feeling like someone’s watching you, and the ‘Smart Power Button’ which has a fingerprint reader, but also briefly ‘saves’ your fingerprint when turning the laptop on, to use when logging in. This means you can turn on and login to the laptop at the same time, getting to your desktop quicker. Another feature that seems simple and hopefully we see more of in other models.

There’s also two Dolby Audio speakers and dual array microphones, as one of the use cases for this is to be a reliable audio/video calling device without needing a headset.

The laptop feels solid and sturdy enough, but not as nice as a high end ThinkPad. You can feel the join where the top and bottom halves of the laptop were joined together, as one layer is on top of the other – but how often are you gently caressing the case of your laptop? Only every few days if you’re me.

Overall I’m very impressed with the ThinkBook 14 for the price point I can see at the time of writing with promotions applied. You won’t get military-spec testing, but you’ll still get a decent laptop fit for SMB.

Lenovo claim that “ThinkBook undergoes stringent tests to withstand spills, bumps, drops, dust, and extreme temperatures.” but I have yet to test the hardyness myself – maybe I will inadvertently.

Although Lenovo provided a demo unit, this was a trial only and the unit returned.

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