Lenovo ThinkPad T14 Gen 2 Review: The workhorse of the ThinkPad family
Known as the workhorse of the lineup, Lenovo’s ThinkPad T14 is the best-selling product in the ThinkPad range. It’s meant to check the right boxes, and not let you down when you need it. It’s dependable, it has MIL-STD-810G durability, and more. Indeed, the Lenovo ThinkPad T14 Gen 2 is the ultimate mainstream business laptop, and it’s a fan-favorite. The main new feature this year is Intel’s 11th-generation processors, so it’s mostly a spec bump.
- Design: The Lenovo ThinkPad T14 looks exactly like you’d expect
- Display and audio: It has a 14-inch 400-nit FHD display, along with Dolby Audio
- Keyboard and touchpad: The Lenovo ThinkPad T14 Gen 2 has a 1.8mm keyboard
- Performance and battery life: It has a Tiger Lake Core i5, along with 16GB RAM
- Conclusion: Should you buy the Lenovo ThinkPad T14 Gen 2?
|CPU||Intel 11th Gen Core i5-1145G7 (1.6GHz)|
|Graphics||Intel Iris Xe Graphics|
|Body||329x227x17.9mm (12.95×8.94×0.70 inches), 1.47kg (3.23lbs)|
|Display||14.0″ FHD (1920×1080), IPS, 400 nits, Anti-glare, 72% NTSC, Low power|
|RAM||16GB DDR4-3200 (soldered)|
|Storage||512GB M.2 2280 PCIe NVMe SSD|
|Ports||2 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 (one always-on)|
2 x Thunderbolt 4 / USB4 40Gbps (data, power, display)
1 x Side Docking connector
1 x HDMI 2.0
1 x headphone / microphone combo jack (3.5mm)
1 x Micro-SD card slot
|Connectivity||Intel Wi-Fi 6E AX210 + Bluetooth 5.2|
|Camera||IR & 720p, with privacy shutter, fixed focus|
|Input||6-row, spill-resistant, multimedia Fn keys, LED Backlit|
TrackPoint pointing device and Mylar surface multi-touch touchpad
|Audio||Stereo speakers, 2W x2, Dolby Audio, Dual-array microphones|
|Security||Discrete TPM 2.0, TCG certified, Match-on-chip FPR|
|Battery||50Wh, supports Rapid Charge (80% in 1 hour)|
|Material||Top: PPS / 50% GF|
Bottom: PC + ABS + magnesium alloy (keyboard cover), PA / 50% GF
|OS||Windows 10 Pro|
The price listed is as configured on Lenovo.com. There are a lot of options too. It starts with a Core i5-1135G7, and there are five display choices. There are two 300 nit FHD panels, which are touch and non-touch, along with a 500 nit FHD privacy display and a UHD option with Dolby Vision HDR. You can have it configured with cellular, optional NVIDIA MX450 graphics, and much more. It’s the everything PC.
The Lenovo ThinkPad T14 looks exactly like you’d expect
Over the years, the ThinkPad T-series has got smaller and thinner, as all laptops have. But honestly, there are zero surprises here, especially if you’ve used one of this PC’s predecessors. Indeed, they’re not hard to find in the wild.
The model Lenovo sent me is black, although it also comes in Storm Grey. It’s made out of a combination of polycarbonate and magnesium alloy, and it has that same boxy shape this particular model is known for. Weighing in at 3.23 pounds, everything about this machine is mainstream. If you want something lighter, go for the ThinkPad T14s, which is sort of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon for everyone else.
It’s also got a wide range of ports. On the left side, you’ll find two Thunderbolt 4 ports. That means you get 40Gbps speeds and support for dual 4K displays or one 8K display on a single port. Thunderbolt 4 is definitely something you’ll want in a laptop, and it’s nice both of the USB Type-C ports have it. One of them also has a slot for mechanical docking.
Also on the left is a USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port for 5Gbps speeds, HDMI 2.0, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a microSD card slot. On the right, you’ll also find Ethernet and another USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port. Like I said, it’s the everything PC. It has all of the ports you will need, lots of configuration options, and more.
It has a 14-inch 400-nit FHD display, along with Dolby Audio
Like I’ve said, there are plenty of configuration options on the Lenovo ThinkPad T14 Gen 2, and that applies to the display as well. The two base options are FHD 300 nit panels, one of which is touch and one of which is non-touch. The one Lenovo sent me is the low-power 400 nit FHD panel. Other options include a 500 nit FHD panel with a privacy display, and a UHD panel with Dolby Vision HDR support.
The screen is, well, fine. It’s nothing to brag about, but it gets the job done. The viewing angle isn’t particularly impressive — it’s not particularly bright, and the color gamut isn’t winning any awards. It’s all pretty much average.
That’s not a bad thing though. The right word for it is ‘functional’, like much of this PC. If you want a screen that is something to brag about, that’s when you go for the UHD panel with Dolby Vision HDR. I’ve reviewed it on past models and it’s quite nice. You’ll end up paying for it in battery life, but that’s the cost of a 4K display on a laptop.
Sadly, Lenovo’s 14-inch ThinkPads aren’t offered with QHD screens anymore, something I always thought was the perfect balance between resolution and battery life.
Another thing to point out is sadly, the screen is still 16:9. The ThinkPad X1 lineup made its way to 16:10 this year, and Lenovo thinks 16:10 is the perfect aspect ratio. Especially since this year’s T14 is mainly a spec bump, it’s worth remembering next year’s model could be a full redesign, and if it is, we’ll almost certainly see a 16:10 display on it.
Sadly, the webcam is still 720p, which is an issue in the era of working from home. It seems like this is something only Dell really was ready for. Its Latitude 7420, the direct competitor to this product, has a 1080p webcam.
The dual 2W speakers are located in a soundbar along the hinge. They’re tuned with Dolby Audio which, like the screen, is fine. Maybe it’s because I review so many PCs, but I can really tell the difference between Dolby Audio and Dolby Atmos these days.
The Lenovo ThinkPad T14 Gen 2 has a 1.8mm keyboard
I really hope you like deep keyboards, because in the modern era, the ThinkPad T14 has one of the deepest keyboards around at 1.8mm. That’s compared to 1.5mm in the ThinkPad X1 Carbon and ThinkPad X1 Yoga, and 1.35mm in the ThinkPad X1 Nano and ThinkPad X1 Titanium. It does decidedly feel like a ThinkPad keyboard though, and the force curve should be about the same. It’s just longer when it comes to distance.
The keyboard is decidedly premium though. Indeed, that’s part of why one buys a ThinkPad; it’s the Cadillac of keyboards. You’ll notice it does have some legacy components though, such as the TrackPoint in the middle of the G, H, and B keys. That’s not going anywhere any time soon. That’s a staple of every single ThinkPad that exists. Maybe one day, Lenovo will at least offer an option to not have a TrackPoint, a relic from the age when Windows touchpads were awful.
Speaking of Precision touchpads, this one is clickable yet still has physical buttons above it. Those buttons are meant for use with the TrackPoint. But while Lenovo used as much real estate on the deck that it could with the touchpad, there’s still a whole bunch of space that’s taken up by those buttons.
Performance: It has a Tiger Lake Core i5, along with 16GB RAM
The model Lenovo sent me includes an Intel Core i5-1145G7, which is the vPro variant, along with 16GB RAM and 512GB of internal storage. While most consumers would probably go with Core i5/8GB/256GB or Core i7/16GB/512GB, this is actually a very common business configuration.
The only thing to remember with the processor is that the Iris Xe graphics, which are still very good, aren’t quite as good as with the Core i7-1185G7. The number next to the G indicates graphics performance, but just because they’re both ‘G7’, that doesn’t mean they’re equal. The Core i5 has fewer execution units and a lower clock speed. It’s fine though. It’s the mainstream chip for a mainstream laptop.
Like I said, everything here is pretty straightforward. The ThinkPad T14 isn’t the flagship of the lineup; it’s the workhorse. This is the dependable ThinkPad that’s available in any configuration you could want. It gets the job done when you need it to. It’s a great machine, but for the life of me, I can’t think of a feature that stands out above the rest. I’m not even sure I’m supposed to be able to.
For benchmarks, I ran PCMark 8, PCMark 10, Geekbench, and Cinebench.
|ThinkPad T14 Gen 2|
|ThinkPad T14s Gen 1|
Ryzen 7 PRO 4750U
|Dynabook Portege X30L-G|
|PCMark 8: Home||4,231||4,298||3,616|
|PCMark 8: Creative||4,615||4,568||3,511|
|PCMark 8: Work||4,108||3,857||3,679|
|Geekbench||1,386 / 4,552||695 / 1,922|
|Cinebench||1,340 / 5,246||489 / 1,480|
As you can see, there are some big improvements over the 10th-gen Core i5 processors that were in business laptops. The process has moved from 14nm to 10nm, and the UHD Graphics have been bumped up to Iris Xe.
As far as battery life goes, I got an average of five hours and change, which isn’t terrifically good. That’s with the screen on about a third brightness and the power slider at one notch above battery saver. You can get six or seven hours out of it depending on how you use it, but don’t plan on going to work without a charger.
Conclusion: Should you buy the Lenovo ThinkPad T14 Gen 2?
To look at the grand scheme of things, you have to also take the HP EliteBook 840 and the Dell Latitude 7420 into consideration. All three of these are fantastic PCs. Lenovo and HP both have the best keyboards, and I think the UHD option of the ThinkPad T14 has the best screen. Dell, unfortunately for Lenovo and HP, got ahead of the game by offering a proper 1080p webcam.
When you think of the Lenovo ThinkPad T14 Gen 2, you should think about something that’s tried and true. There were no risks taken with this product. It’s still got the 1.8mm keyboard, the TrackPoint, and so on. It even has relatively large bezels when compared with the rest. But there are no surprises here, and when it comes to business laptops, that’s super important. There’s a reason the T-series is the best-selling ThinkPad; you won’t regret buying this for your business.
As I’ve said a few times, there are a lot of configuration options. You can get the UHD display with Dolby Vision HDR, you can get cellular connectivity, you can configure it with Intel Tiger Lake or AMD Ryzen 5000 PRO CPUs, and more. All of that comes in a mainstream package. It’s pretty great.