Review: Lenovo’s latest ThinkPads and ThinkBook

(Last Updated On: February 28, 2020)

What’s new? What do you need to know? New devices are being pitched at the education market all the time. INTERFACE Editor Greg Adams checks out three new TELA+ offerings from Lenovo.

Looking for a TELA+ device now or soon? Lenovo’s got three new devices available through the TELA+ scheme and we couldn’t resist the chance to have a closer look … and neither should you.

ThinkPad L390 Yoga

This is a rugged device (tested to military specifications, MIL-STD 810G) with a sturdy feel thanks to its tough glassfibre reinforced polymer base and aluminium lid. The hinges are solid, allowing for laptop, tablet, tent and stand modes.

ThinkPad keyboards rarely disappoint and the L390 is no exception. The keyboard is excellent. It’s backlit and the keys have decent travel and clicky feel, which results in a pleasant typing experience. The touchpad is also fast and accurate, with mouse buttons above and embedded beneath it. There’s a full HD, IPS 13.3-inch 1920 х 1080 touchscreen display, two cameras (front and rear facing) and ThinkPad Pen Pro discretely tucked away in the base. Inside is a powerful Core i7 (1.80GHz, 8MB), 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD SATA III.

The L390 comes with a USB Type-C charging brick and plenty of ports (USB-C 3.1 (x2), USB-A 3.1 (x2), HDMI 1.4, Mini RJ45 Ethernet, 3.5mm audio jack, and a microSD card reader). Battery life appeared good enough for a regular day’s use.

With the L390, you’re going to get a reliable, nicely performing machine with a tough build that should serve you well.

ThinkBook 13s-IWL

First thought about the ThinkBook 13s … surprisingly sleek and stylish for a value-for-money laptop device. The 13.3-inch display (1920 x 1080) delivers a crisp, colourful picture; the matte finish provides a good viewing performance free of glare. The keyboard is very comfortable, with satisfyingly responsive keys and trackpad.

The ThinkBook 13s comes with an i5 Intel Core (1.6-GHz, 6MB), 16GB RAM and 256GB PCIe SSD. There are USB-A 3.1 (x2), USB-C 3.1, and HDMI ports. The camera is positioned nicely at the top of the screen and decent enough for video calls. As for sounds, it comes with HARMAN-branded speakers and modern standby allows listening to music while on standby mode. Plus, Smart Power On allows login and unlock in one step with fingerprint, just like a smartphone

Sure, there’s no touch screen and a mid-tier processor but this is a solid, all-round, middle ground machine with long battery life and good display.

ThinkPad T495

For the first time Lenovo is offering an AMD-powered ThinkPad, the T495. It might be thin and light, but it has gone through the usual durability tests to prove its hardiness.

The 14-inch display might not be touchscreen but is impressive nonetheless with 1920×1080 resolution and generally superb colours. As befits a ThinkPad, the keyboard is outstanding, with the perfect amount of travel and its soft bottoming out. Included is the TrackPoint system, with red pointer nub in the middle of the keyboard and physical buttons positioned between keyboard and standard touchpad.

There are multiple ports: USB-C 3.1, USB-A 3.1 (x2), HDMI, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a microSD card reader, and on the right is an RJ45 Ethernet port.

It comes with the latest generation AMD Ryzen 5 PRO Mobile processors (2.10GHz, 2MB), and integrated AMD Radeon Vega graphics, 8GB RAM, and 256GB PCIe SSD – a package that provides more than enough oomph for a busy educator’s laptop. Battery life is fine, and backed by RapidCharge technology, which gives 80 per cent charge in 60 minutes.

The T495 is a versatile and durable option for any classroom.

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© INTERFACE, February 2020

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