Lenovo ThinkBook 13s Gen 2: A Small Enterprise Laptop computer

Lenovo ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 review: Strong performer at a sound value

“The Lenovo ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 is a strong performer at a sound value.”

Execs

  • Speedy productiveness efficiency
  • Good battery life
  • Strong construct high quality
  • Just a few welcome safety extras
  • Enticing aesthetic

Cons

  • Shallow keyboard
  • Touchpad may very well be bigger
  • Poor graphics efficiency

Lenovo’s first try at constructing a laptop particularly for small companies — the ThinkBook 13s — fell somewhat flat. It was a serviceable 13-inch machine however didn’t supply many tangible advantages for its goal market. Now it’s spherical two, with the corporate pushing out the ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 that goals to deliver this good laptop as much as up to date requirements.

I reviewed a mid-range configuration of the ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 priced at a sexy $819, with an Eleventh-gen Intel Core i5-1135G7, 16GB of RAM, a 256GB PCIe solid-state drive (SSD), and a 13.3-inch 16:10 IPS show working at WQXGA (2560 x 1600) decision.

Lenovo has managed to iron out among the obvious flaws with the unique, making the ThinkBook 13s a strong possibility for consumers searching for a laptop underneath $1,000.

Design

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The unique ThinkBook 13s was a really conservatively designed laptop that lacked any standout aesthetic options — and it appears way more like Lenovo’s client line than its business-oriented ThinkPads. The Gen 2 mannequin has an analogous look, however Lenovo made a few significant adjustments. First, the bezels are a lot thinner, giving a extra fashionable look with the lid open. Second, the lid now has an anodized aluminum portion that creates a lightweight two-tone impact on the highest. It appears good and spices up what’s in any other case a common-looking silver laptop. It’s not as sharp as non-business laptops just like the Dell XPS 13 or HP Spectre x360 14, but it surely has its personal laid-back appeal.

These thinner bezels make for a laptop that manages to be smaller in all dimensions than its predecessor regardless of its taller show, which tends to make a laptop deeper. It’s not as small because the XPS 13, which has even smaller bezels, but it surely’s properly sized for a 13-inch class laptop. It’s additionally thinner this time round at 0.59 inches in comparison with 0.63 inches and lighter at 2.78 kilos in comparison with 2.9 kilos. That’s nearly an identical to the XPS 13’s 0.58 inches and a pair of.8 kilos. The ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 does really feel bigger in hand than the XPS 13, but it surely’s nonetheless a fairly small and lightweight laptop for the category.

One other enchancment over the earlier mannequin is the ThinkBook 13s Gen 2’s feeling of sturdiness. Each handed by means of Mil-spec 810G testing, however the newer mannequin has much less bending within the lid and flexing within the keyboard deck. It’s additionally all aluminum this time round, whereas the unique used aluminum within the lid and an aluminum-magnesium alloy within the base. I discover the ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 to really feel simply as strong because the XPS 13, which is excessive reward provided that the latter has been an ordinary for well-built laptops.

lenovo thinkbook 13s gen 2 review gen2 3

lenovo thinkbook 13s gen 2 review gen2

Lastly, connectivity is a energy, with one caveat. There’s just one USB-C port with Thunderbolt 4 help, and whereas that’s good to have, it’s additionally used to energy the laptop and so can’t be used to connect a peripheral with out a dock of some form. You’ll be able to, although, join an exterior show because of the full-size HDMI 2.0b port, additionally alongside the left-hand facet, and subsequent to that could be a 3.5mm audio jack. On the right-hand facet are a Kensington lock port and two USB-A 3.2 ports.

Total, that’s an enchancment over the XPS 13’s two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4 help. Conspicuously lacking is an SD card reader, which is a shock given such a surplus of connectivity. Wi-fi connectivity is up-to-date with Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1.

Efficiency

The ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 equips an Eleventh-gen Intel Core i5-1135G7 quad-core CPU with eight threads. It’s been a strong performer the few instances we’ve examined it, and the ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 retains up that custom.

Beginning with GeekBench 5, the ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 falls proper the place you’ll count on, barely under laptops with the quicker Core i7-1165G7 and nicely under each the Ryzen 7 5800U and the Apple M1. Be aware that every one the outcomes listed here are with any efficiency tuning utilities set at “regular” mode. Not one of the laptops within the comparability group benefitted a lot from their “efficiency” modes the place such a utility was accessible (aside from the XPS 13 in a single check), a typical trait that, in lots of circumstances, makes me surprise why such utilities exist in any respect.

our Handbrake check that encodes a 420MB video to H.265, the ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 scored very nicely for a Core i5, beating out the Core i7-equipped Dell XPS 13 (which matched the ThinkBook’s rating in efficiency mode). The Asus ZenBook 13 UM325UA was the chief on this check because of its Ryzen 7 5800U, which is extremely quick at processes that make the most of a number of cores. In Cinebench R23, a check that pushes the CPU for an extended stretch, the ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 once more punched above its class, outperforming the XPS 13 and the Porsche Design Acer Base RS that was one other speedy Core i5 machine.

Subsequent, I ran the PCMark 10 Full benchmark, the place the ThinkPad 13s Gen achieved complete rating. The XPS 13 wouldn’t full this check, and the ThinkBook fell behind the Acer Swift 3X with its Core i7-1156G7 — nevertheless, the Acer Swift 3X additionally geared up Intel’s Iris Xe Max graphics that gave it a leg up on machines with the usual Intel Iris Xe graphics (together with the ThinkBook 13s Gen 2). As with many Tiger Lake laptops, the ThinkBook did significantly better on the Necessities and Productiveness parts of the PCMark 10 suite than it did on the Content material Creation portion. The ZenBook 13 UM325UA with its Ryzen chip was the champ right here.

Geekbench
(single/multi)
Handbrake
(seconds)
Cinebench R23
(single/multi)
PCMark 10 3DMark Time Spy
Lenovo ThinkBook 13s Gen 2
(Core i5-1135G7)
1406/5379 178 1357/5502 4668 1511
Dell XPS 13 (Core i7-1165G7) 1540/5432 201 1449/4267 N/A 1589
Lenovo Yoga 7i (Core i5-1135G7) 1357/4246 207 N/A 4565 913
Asus ZenBook 13 UM325UA
(Ryzen 7 5800U)
1423/6758 124 1171/7824 6034 1342
Porsche Design Acer Base RS
(Core i5-1135G7)
1415/5364 181 1380/4973 4682 1504
Acer Swift 3X (Core i7-1165G7) 1551/5847 158 1485/5944 5117 1889
Apple MacBook Air M1 (Apple M1) 1727/7585 N/A 1479/6880 N/A N/A

Total, the ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 is a quick productiveness workhorse that ought to sustain with all however demanding inventive workflows. Lenovo meets the efficiency wants of small enterprise homeowners after which some.

By way of gaming, the ThinkBook scored nicely on the 3DMark Time Spy benchmark. Nonetheless, that didn’t translate to my real-world check utilizing Fortnite. Operating at 1920 x 1200 (I couldn’t get 1920 x 1080 as an possibility), the ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 managed simply 18 frames per second (fps) in excessive graphics and 14 fps in epic graphics. Most Tiger Lake laptops hit a minimum of 30 fps and 23 fps, respectively. I ran the check a number of instances to verify my outcomes, and I don’t know why the ThinkBook carried out so poorly on this recreation.

Show

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The unique ThinkPad 13s used a 13.3-inch 16:9 Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS show that was under common in brightness, colours, and distinction. For the second technology, Lenovo upped its recreation with a taller 13.3-inch 16:10 IPS show at a WQXGA (2560 x 1600) decision that’s extra purposeful for productiveness and fairly a bit sharper, and it improves on the unique in a number of different key areas.

Brightness wasn’t nice at 274 nits — we choose 300 nits or extra to make sure good viewability in any indoor surroundings. The Dell XPS 13 4K show is available in at 420 nits, for instance. The ThinkPad 13s Gen 2 loved wider colours than the unique, at 77% of AdobeRGB (about 5 proportion factors above common) and 100% of sRGB. The unique got here in at 70% of AdobeRGB and 93% of sRGB, whereas the XPS 13 4K was somewhat higher at 79% of AdobeRGB and 100% of sRGB. The ThinkBook 13s Gen 2’s coloration accuracy was good at a DeltaE of 1.65 (lower than 1.0 is great), in comparison with the unique at 1.4 and the XPS 13 4K at 1.21.

The brand new mannequin additionally loved a better distinction ratio at 920:1, near our most well-liked 1000:1. That beats out the unique’s 710:1, which was disappointing and nicely under common, however the Gen 2 fashions nonetheless couldn’t match the XPS 13 4K’s 1360:1. Gamma got here in at 2.1, just a bit bit brighter than the proper 2.2.

All in all, this was a nice show. It’s taller and higher for lengthy internet pages and Phrase paperwork, and its colours had been gratifying with out being oversaturated. The distinction was excessive sufficient that black textual content on a white background popped, and watching the wonderful Dolby Imaginative and prescient HDR help vastly improved Netflix’s excessive dynamic vary (HDR) content material. This isn’t a show for inventive execs who want broad and correct colours, but it surely’s nice for everybody else.

The audio was surprisingly loud, with the twin downward-firing audio system pumping out some critical quantity. Sadly, at 100% there was some distortion that detracted from the expertise. Flip issues down a bit, and you’ll nonetheless get adequate quantity for watching Netflix with out the distortion, and also you’ll get pleasure from strong mids and highs however zero bass. A pair of headphones or Bluetooth audio system are really helpful.

Keyboard and touchpad

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One other space the place the ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 gained’t be mistaken for a ThinkPad is in its keyboard. You’ll discover a model right here that’s a lot nearer to Lenovo’s consumer-class machines just like the Yoga line, in that it has far much less journey and a bottoming motion that’s somewhat jarring. Its key switches are very mild, so in case you choose to not exert a lot strain to depress a key, you’ll prefer it, but it surely’s nearly too mild a contact for me. I didn’t discover it almost as exact because the significantly better keyboards on the Dell XPS 13 and HP’s Spectre line of 2-in-1s. The keyboard has a few particular keys, together with buttons to start out and cease video calls and a devoted button to name up help choices. You can too hit a button to show off the microphone, a plus for privateness.

Regardless of its taller show and comparatively small bezels, the ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 doesn’t have fairly as a lot area on the keyboard deck because the XPS 13. That’s as a result of Lenovo took extra space above the keyboard for the hinge and the facility button. Even so, the touchpad is a good measurement, about the identical because the XPS 13, and it’s a Microsoft Precision touchpad offering dependable and exact Home windows 10 multitouch gesture help. It’s touchpad that matches up with the very best you’ll discover in premium laptops — which is a plus because the ThinkPad 13s Gen 2 is priced significantly much less. As well as, my review unit had a responsive contact show that was welcome.

Home windows 10 Whats up help is supplied by a fingerprint reader constructed into the facility button, and it labored nicely. That’s a significantly better answer than standalone fingerprint readers — on the ThinkBook 13s Gen 2, you’ll be able to merely press the facility button to get up the machine and log in. You’ll additionally discover Lenovo’s ThinkShutter privateness panel for the webcam for some added privateness.

Battery life

The ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 has a 56-watt-hour battery, considerably bigger than the 45-watt-hour battery within the earlier mannequin that demonstrated simply common battery life. Our benchmarks have modified since we reviewed the unique, however we are able to make a few comparisons.

First, in our internet benchmark that loops by means of a collection of fashionable web sites, the ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 managed simply over 9 hours in comparison with the unique’s eight hours. The newer mannequin’s rating is above common and trounced the Dell XPS 13 4K’s 6.3 hours. The Asus ZenBook 13 with the Ryzen 7 5800U managed nearly sixteen hours, and that’s with an OLED show. In our video check that repeats a Full HD Avengers trailer till the battery runs out, the ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 hit nearly 13.5 hours, which is barely above common and a pair of.5 hours longer than the unique. The XPS 13 4K lasted for 10.5 hours whereas the Asus ZenBook 13 made it to fifteen.5 hours.

I’d price the ThinkBook 13s Gen 2’s battery life as superb.

I additionally examined utilizing the PCMark 10 Battery check, which stresses the CPU and GPU (we didn’t use PCMark 10 with the unique mannequin). The ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 barely made it previous two hours, which is under a number of different Tiger Lake laptops together with the XPS 13 4K that just about made it to 3 hours. We didn’t run the Asus ZenBook 13 by means of this check. Lastly, I ran the PCMark 10 Functions check, which is the very best indicator of productiveness longevity, and the ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 lasted for 11.5 hours, the fourth-highest rating we’ve seen. The XPS 13 4K managed about 8.5 hours, and once more we didn’t check the Asus ZenBook 13.

I’d price the ThinkBook 13s Gen 2’s battery life as superb. It’s going to final a full enterprise day of productiveness work in case you don’t stress the CPU and GPU, and also you might need a while left over for some work within the night. That’s a marked enchancment over the unique ThinkBook 13s and makes the newer mannequin significantly better suited to small enterprise homeowners who would possibly must work remotely.

Our take

The ThinkBook 13s gives a lot of the identical safety and help as the unique mannequin, that are particular plusses for its small enterprise goal market. As well as, although, it’s additionally quicker, gives higher battery life, and feels higher constructed, making it a extra compelling enterprise possibility.

It’s not skinny and lightweight sufficient to beat out rivals just like the Dell XPS 13, but it surely’s additionally considerably inexpensive — one other boon for cash-crunched small enterprise homeowners. In reality, it’s a compelling possibility at this value level for any laptop purchaser, together with customers who would possibly profit from a sturdy, quick, and long-lasting machine.

Are there any alternate options?

The Dell XPS 13 is the apparent different, providing the identical 16:10 show in a smaller package deal. Efficiency is analogous between the 2, and also you’ll get higher battery life out of the ThinkBook because of its lower-resolution show — however Dell does supply a Full HD possibility that’s extra aggressive right here. However the XPS 13 can also be lots of of {dollars} dearer.

If you wish to contemplate a 2-in-1, then the HP Spectre x360 14 is a superb alternative. It’s quicker, better-looking, simply as well-built, and it gives a spectacular OLED show with extremely deep blacks, excessive distinction, and broad and correct colours. It, too, is considerably dearer than the ThinkBook 13s Gen 2.

How lengthy will it final?

The ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 is loads strong to present confidence of years of productive service. It helps that the parts are all present as nicely. You get a 1-year guarantee out of the field, however Lenovo gives enhanced providers for the small enterprise proprietor who wants longer protection and extra handholding.

Must you purchase it?

Sure. The ThinBook 13s Gen 2 isn’t essentially stocked with extra business-oriented options than the unique mannequin, but it surely makes enhancements in necessary areas that small enterprise homeowners will recognize.

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