In this article, I give you my Lenovo ThinkPad T14 (Gen 2) review with specs included. The ThinkPad T-line 14-inch is also available as a 15-inch ultrabook for business users, at least that’s who they target.
It’s a bit of a confusing line too. There is also the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, which you might be familiar with, which is a bit more premium, it starts at $150 more. This one starts at $1307 MSRP for a Core i5 with eight GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD.
Lenovo ThinkPad T14 (Gen 2) is also a little bit heavier of course than the carbon which is super light. This is 3.23 pounds, which is around one and a half kilograms so it’s still a pretty easy carry.
But, there’s also, in addition to the Intel version that I have, an AMD version that they released. That one costs more, it starts around $2200 in part because it comes with more RAM and more SSD. So a little bit higher-end configuration. and that’s with the Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 Pro, the 5000 series CPUs.
But, there’s still more. There’s that Thinkpad T14s which has not been updated to Gen 2 and that one’s just a little bit thinner and lighter. So, this is the confusing spot in Lenovo’s lines is what I’m trying to say.
But, if you’re looking for a 14-inch business ultra-portable for working at home or well, working at work then this might be the right choice.
Lenovo ThinkPad T14 (Gen 2) laptop is available in the usual ThinkPad matte black and there’s also a Storm Gray option. That sounds a little bit like something of a romance novel but it looks pretty chill so it’s up to you for those who don’t like that matte black look.
Because this ultrabook has Intel 11th generation U-series CPUs onboard we have Thunderbolt 4. In fact, we have two Thunderbolt 4 ports. One of them you’re going to use with the included 65-watt fast charger.
And, we have a lot of other ports onboard. This is where you make some compromises. With the Carbon model, you get even more ports, here you have two USB-A 3.2 and you’ve got those Thunderbolt 4 ports. Also, you have HDMI and you can have an Ethernet port, something you hardly see on a thin-and-lite ultrabook these days.
There is an optional smart card reader well because it is for business. Headphone jack of course, and besides the fact that we have Wi-Fi 6E on board (that’s an Intel AX210 card) you have optional 4G LTE. It’s Cat 12 so not the fastest 4G we’ve ever seen but well at least it’s there. So if you opt for that you’ll also have a nano SIM card slot.
Lenovo ThinkPad T14 (Gen 2) has Intel Iris Xe graphics which is pretty good for integrated graphics. Now, there is an option for the Nvidia MX450 dedicated graphics card which I don’t have.
That’s an interesting card because it uses the same chip as you would see on a GTX 1650 but with a smaller memory bus, downclocked, and all that sort of thing.
So, this is not a gaming machine though. It’s funny that on Lenovo’s website, they actually mention gaming. But, if you’re playing older games or something like CSGO or something like that it’ll give it an extra kick so you can do at least your 30 frames per second on high settings.
For display options well let’s first mention the bezels. I know that big bezel is supposed to be a thing of the past but this is a bit like 2005 is coming back with its big bezels. Not only that, it’s a kind of plasticky bezel.
Otherwise, it’s really a nicely built machine that seems to catch lint and pet hairs and everything on the edges. The Carbon version is going to look a lot classier when it comes to that sort of thing.
The Lenovo ThinkPad T14 (Gen 2) has undergone a thorough examination, particularly focusing on its display options, keyboard comfort, trackpad functionality, performance metrics, thermals, battery life, internal components, and overall design.
When it comes to the display, the laptop offers several choices, including a full HD option with IPS technology. While some variants feature a matte non-touch screen, there’s also the possibility of selecting a touch screen display, although it’s unclear whether it’s glossy or not. Lenovo’s use of similar language suggests that it might have an anti-glare coating. Additionally, there’s a 400-nit low-power display, a 500-nit privacy screen option, and a 4K UHD IPS display for those seeking a higher-quality visual experience.
The review delves into the display’s performance metrics, noting that while the nominal 400-nit IPS full HD display generally performs decently, it falls slightly short of the advertised brightness level. Color accuracy, while acceptable for most users, might benefit from calibration with a colorimeter, though this laptop isn’t primarily targeted at graphics professionals.
Moving on to the keyboard, the review praises the familiar comfort and tactility of the ThinkPad keyboard, highlighting its 1.8-millimeter key travel and backlighting feature. Similarly, the trackpad is described as functional, offering a typical ThinkPad experience, with the added convenience of the eraser stick pointer for users who prefer this navigation style.
In terms of connectivity and compatibility, the ThinkPad T14 (Gen 2) is lauded for its extensive dock compatibility, catering to business users who may need to retrofit existing accessories. It supports various docking solutions, including Thunderbolt Gen 2 docks, Pro docks, Ultra docks, and even older mechanical sliding docks.
Performance-wise, the laptop meets expectations, equipped with 11th-generation Intel Core i5 and i7 CPUs (with vPro being optional). RAM configurations include soldered onboard memory, with options for 8 or 16 gigabytes of DDR4 3200MHz RAM, along with an additional RAM slot.
However, the single-channel configuration may result in slightly diminished performance compared to dual-channel setups. Benchmark tests demonstrate satisfactory performance, particularly with integrated Iris Xe graphics, though thermal management becomes a concern under heavy workloads, with CPU temperatures nearing maximum limits.
While the laptop’s thermals are described as slightly elevated, leading to increased fan noise during intensive tasks, it remains suitable for typical business usage scenarios such as office work, messaging, and video conferencing. However, prolonged heavy usage, such as gaming or video editing, may lead to noticeable heat and noise output.
Battery life is another aspect under scrutiny, with a 50-watt-hour battery providing adequate but not exceptional longevity. Lenovo’s claim of 10.7 hours of battery life is deemed optimistic, with real-world usage yielding approximately seven hours, especially with the full HD display option. The 4K display variant is expected to further reduce battery life, as would configurations featuring Nvidia discrete graphics.
The review also provides insights into the laptop’s internal design and upgrade options. Disassembly reveals a compact layout, with the 50-watt-hour battery occupying a significant portion of the space. RAM options include soldered modules, with the possibility of expansion via a single RAM slot. Additionally, the laptop features ample ventilation, though the bottom cover removal process is described as somewhat challenging due to sturdy clips.
Overall, the Lenovo ThinkPad T14 (Gen 2) is portrayed as an iterative update, maintaining the brand’s signature features such as deep key travel, comfortable keyboard, and extensive port selection.
However, concerns regarding thermal performance, fan noise, and battery life suggest areas for potential improvement in future iterations. Nonetheless, its solid build quality, versatile connectivity options, and respectable performance make it a viable choice for business users seeking a reliable and functional ultrabook.
- Robust Build Quality: The Lenovo ThinkPad T14 (Gen 2) maintains the brand’s reputation for durability and reliability, making it suitable for daily business use.
- Comfortable Keyboard: The laptop features Lenovo’s signature ThinkPad keyboard, known for its comfortable typing experience and tactile feedback, enhancing productivity during long typing sessions.
- Versatile Display Options: Users have the flexibility to choose from various display options, including full HD, touch screen, privacy screen, and even a 4K UHD IPS display, catering to different preferences and requirements.
- Ample Connectivity: With multiple USB ports, HDMI, Ethernet, and optional Thunderbolt support, the T14 (Gen 2) offers extensive connectivity options, allowing users to connect to a wide range of peripherals and accessories.
- Dock Compatibility: Business users will appreciate the laptop’s compatibility with various docking solutions, enabling easy integration with existing work setups and accessories.
- Solid Performance: Equipped with 11th gen Intel Core i5 and i7 CPUs, along with integrated Iris Xe graphics, the T14 (Gen 2) delivers reliable performance for everyday tasks and multitasking scenarios.
- Upgradeability: While some components are soldered onboard, the presence of a RAM slot allows for potential memory upgrades, providing users with flexibility for future enhancements.
- Security Features: Lenovo’s business-focused security features, such as optional vPro support and a smart card reader slot, enhance data protection and user authentication, ensuring peace of mind for corporate users.
- Decent Battery Life: Despite its compact size, the T14 (Gen 2) offers respectable battery life, making it suitable for on-the-go productivity without frequent recharges.
- Thoughtful Design: The laptop features a thoughtful design with up-firing speakers, wire guides for cable management, and shock-mounted components, enhancing both functionality and longevity.
- Thermal Management: The laptop’s thermal performance is a concern, with elevated temperatures under heavy workloads leading to increased fan noise and potential discomfort during prolonged usage.
- Limited Upgrade Options: While the presence of a RAM slot allows for memory upgrades, other components such as the Wi-Fi card and SSD are soldered onboard, limiting potential hardware enhancements.
- Average Display Quality: While the T14 (Gen 2) offers various display options, including touch and high-resolution panels, the overall display quality may not match the standards set by premium ultrabooks in terms of brightness, color accuracy, and contrast.
- Battery Life Optimization: Despite Lenovo’s claims of extended battery life, real-world usage may fall short of expectations, especially with higher-resolution display options or configurations featuring discrete graphics.
- Bulkier Design: Compared to ultraportable options like the X1 Carbon, the T14 (Gen 2) may feel slightly bulkier and less sleek, potentially detracting from its appeal for users prioritizing portability and aesthetics.
- Moderate Audio Quality: While the up-firing speakers provide decent sound quality and volume, they may not deliver the same level of audio immersion or clarity as external speakers or premium laptop audio systems.
- Limited Graphics Performance: With only integrated Iris Xe graphics available, the T14 (Gen 2) may not be suitable for demanding graphical tasks or gaming, lacking the graphical horsepower of laptops with dedicated graphics cards.
- Challenging Disassembly: The process of removing the bottom cover for internal upgrades may be challenging due to sturdy clips, potentially discouraging users from attempting DIY upgrades or repairs.
- Higher Price Point: Compared to consumer-focused laptops, the T14 (Gen 2) may command a higher price point, particularly when configured with upgraded components or additional security features, potentially limiting its appeal for budget-conscious consumers.
- Limited Availability of 4G Option: While the laptop offers optional 4G connectivity, users need to ensure they select this feature at the time of purchase, as retrofitting may be challenging due to the absence of antennas and necessary components.
Lenovo ThinkPad T14 (Gen 2)