The Lenovo ThinkPad T450s Review: Bridging The Ultrabookby Brett Howse on September 15, 2015 8:00 AM EST
It is hard to mistake a ThinkPad. They have had a consistent look, and it has served the brand well. At CES in January, Lenovo showed off the 100 millionth ThinkPad, and the brand has always carried a consistent understated look. The T450s does not differ in this regard, and carries the familiar matte black exterior and ThinkPad logo on the lid. The T450s is a 14-inch model just like the ThinkPad X1 Carbon but unlike the X1 it has a thicker body with squared off sides. It is a couple of millimeters thicker than the X1 Carbon and tips the scales at about 3.5 lbs.
The slightly thicker dimensions make a big difference in a couple of features with the T450s. Unlike the X1 Carbon, there is just barely enough room for a RJ-45 port for wired networking, which is very important in a lot of business scenarios. The X1 Carbon has built in wired networking as well but requires a dongle to access it. There is a full assortment of connectivity options, and the T450s includes a docking port for use with the optional ThinkPad Ultra Dock, which offers a large selection of connectivity options, display outputs, and USB.
ThinkPad Docking Port (Bottom)
The biggest benefit to the thicker chassis though is extra travel possible in the keyboard. The ThinkPad brand is well known for their keyboards, and the one fitted to the T450s is really a great one. Key presses are firm and the extra travel makes for a pretty fantastic typing experience. It is likely the best laptop keyboard that I have had the pleasure to use, and with the move to thinner and thinner devices it is great to see one that leverages a thicker design to give a better experience.
As a ThinkPad, it also includes the TrackPoint in the keyboard. This is certainly a love it or hate it concept, but I personally find the TrackPoint to be a much more accurate way to navigate, and you do not have to remove your fingers from the keys to do the navigation. The 2015 ThinkPad models have also returned to actual buttons for the TrackPoint which is going to please a lot of fans. For those that prefer a track pad, the T450s has a very nice one of these as well, but unlike the TrackPoint there are no dedicated buttons for it. You can of course turn to the physical buttons at the top for the TrackPoint as well but it is designed as a clickpad and works well. The ThinkPad T450s really nails down input, offering a fantastic keyboard, the TrackPoint, and a good clickpad. If you are someone who does a lot of typing, this notebook would certainly be one to consider on that point alone.
Normally I don’t dedicate much of the review to the underside of a notebook, because generally there’s not much to say. That’s not the case on the T450s though. Here is where we see Lenovo’s Power Bridge technology in action. At the back of the notebook is the half size removable battery, and it can easily be removed and replaced with another one without having to power down the laptop. We’ll dig into this more in the battery life section. The battery is nestled in close to the docking port and has two latches to remove it and slide in a new battery.
Rear Battery and removal latch
Lenovo brands the ThinkPad T450s an Ultrabook, and it is maybe not as thin and light as most Ultrabooks, but the design itself should not be a detraction because they have not gone as slim and light as something like the ThinkPad X1 Carbon. In fact, by providing a slightly bigger laptop, you gain a lot of advantages that we have kind of lost over the years, including an Ethernet port, and the ability to fit a very good keyboard inside. The design is very much ThinkPad, and people who like the matte black conservative look should really like the T450s. The thin bezels make the T450s feel more like a 13-inch notebook which is nice The integrated fingerprint reader makes login a breeze, and will work with Windows 10’s Hello feature.
Despite the ThinkPad X1 Carbon being what I would consider Lenovo’s flagship ThinkPad, I really like the T450s because of the keyboard, but really the Power Bridge adds the capability to have unlimited battery life (assuming you have enough batteries). A full dock makes this work with a more traditional docking station unlike the X1 Carbon which needs to be connected with a dongle.
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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.