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

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Lenovo ThinkBook 13s Gen 2

“The Lenovo ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 is a stable performer at a sound worth.”

  • Speedy productiveness efficiency
  • Good battery life
  • Strong construct high quality
  • A couple of welcome safety extras
  • Enticing aesthetic
  • Shallow keyboard
  • Touchpad could possibly be bigger
  • Poor graphics efficiency

Lenovo’s first try at constructing a laptop computer particularly for small companies — the ThinkBook 13s — fell slightly flat. It was a serviceable 13-inch machine however didn’t provide 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 the laptop computer 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 operating at WQXGA (2560 x 1600) decision.

Lenovo has managed to iron out a few of the evident flaws with the unique, making the ThinkBook 13s a stable choice for patrons searching for a laptop computer underneath $1,000.

Design

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

These thinner bezels make for a laptop computer that manages to be smaller in all dimensions than its predecessor regardless of its taller show, which tends to make a laptop computer deeper. It’s not as small because the XPS 13, which has even smaller bezels, nevertheless it’s properly sized for a 13-inch class laptop computer. 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 virtually equivalent to the XPS 13’s 0.58 inches and a couple of.8 kilos. The ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 does really feel bigger in hand than the XPS 13, nevertheless it’s nonetheless a fairly small and light-weight laptop computer 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 on condition that the latter has been a regular for well-built laptops.

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 computer and so can’t be used to connect a peripheral with out a dock of some sort. You may, although, join an exterior show due to the full-size HDMI 2.0b port, additionally alongside the left-hand aspect, and subsequent to that may be a 3.5mm audio jack. On the right-hand aspect 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 stable 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’d anticipate, barely beneath laptops with the sooner Core i7-1165G7 and properly beneath each the Ryzen 7 5800U and the Apple M1. Notice 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 obtainable (apart from the XPS 13 in a single take a look at), a standard trait that, in lots of instances, makes me surprise why such utilities exist in any respect.

Taking a look at our Handbrake take a look at that encodes a 420MB video to H.265, the ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 scored very properly 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 take a look at due to its Ryzen 7 5800U, which is extremely quick at processes that make the most of a number of cores. In Cinebench R23, a take a look at 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 take a look at, and the ThinkBook fell behind the Acer Swift 3X with its Core i7-1156G7 — nevertheless, the Acer Swift 3X additionally outfitted 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 a lot 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 artistic workflows. Lenovo meets the efficiency wants of small enterprise homeowners after which some.

When it comes to gaming, the ThinkBook scored properly on the 3DMark Time Spy benchmark. Nevertheless, that didn’t translate to my real-world take a look at utilizing Fortnite. Working at 1920 x 1200 (I couldn’t get 1920 x 1080 as an choice), 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 no less than 30 fps and 23 fps, respectively. I ran the take a look at a number of instances to substantiate my outcomes, and I don’t know why the ThinkBook carried out so poorly on this sport.

Show

The unique ThinkPad 13s used a 13.3-inch 16:9 Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS show that was beneath common in brightness, colours, and distinction. For the second era, Lenovo upped its sport with a taller 13.3-inch 16:10 IPS show at a WQXGA (2560 x 1600) decision that’s extra useful 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 want 300 nits or extra to make sure good viewability in any indoor atmosphere. 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 share 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 slightly higher at 79% of AdobeRGB and 100% of sRGB. The ThinkBook 13s Gen 2’s colour 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 the next distinction ratio at 920:1, near our most popular 1000:1. That beats out the unique’s 710:1, which was disappointing and properly beneath 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 net pages and Phrase paperwork, and its colours have been pleasant 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 artistic execs who want huge and correct colours, nevertheless it’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 may nonetheless get enough quantity for watching Netflix with out the distortion, and also you’ll take pleasure in stable mids and highs however zero bass. A pair of headphones or Bluetooth audio system are beneficial.

Keyboard and touchpad

One other space the place the ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 received’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 quite jarring. Its key switches are very gentle, so when you want to not exert a lot strain to depress a key, you’ll prefer it, nevertheless it’s virtually too gentle a contact for me. I didn’t discover it almost as exact because the a lot 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 begin 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 more room above the keyboard for the hinge and the facility button. Even so, the touchpad is a good dimension, 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 most effective 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 evaluation unit had a responsive contact show that was welcome.

Home windows 10 Hey help is offered by a fingerprint reader constructed into the facility button, and it labored properly. That’s a a lot better answer than standalone fingerprint readers — on the ThinkBook 13s Gen 2, you may 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 net benchmark that loops by means of a sequence of common 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 virtually sixteen hours, and that’s with an OLED show. In our video take a look at that repeats a Full HD Avengers trailer till the battery runs out, the ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 hit virtually 13.5 hours, which is barely above common and a couple 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 excellent.

I additionally examined utilizing the PCMark 10 Battery take a look at, 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 beneath a number of different Tiger Lake laptops together with the XPS 13 4K that nearly made it to a few hours. We didn’t run the Asus ZenBook 13 by means of this take a look at. Lastly, I ran the PCMark 10 Purposes take a look at, which is the most effective 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 take a look at the Asus ZenBook 13.

I’d price the ThinkBook 13s Gen 2’s battery life as excellent. It’s going to final a full enterprise day of productiveness work when you don’t stress the CPU and GPU, and also you may 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 a lot better fitted to small enterprise homeowners who may have to work remotely.

Our take

The ThinkBook 13s presents 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 sooner, presents higher battery life, and feels higher constructed, making it a extra compelling enterprise choice.

It’s not skinny and light-weight sufficient to beat out rivals just like the Dell XPS 13, nevertheless it’s additionally considerably inexpensive — one other boon for cash-crunched small enterprise homeowners. In truth, it’s a compelling choice at this worth level for any laptop computer purchaser, together with shoppers who may profit from a sturdy, quick, and long-lasting machine.

Are there any alternate options?

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

If you wish to think about a 2-in-1, then the HP Spectre x360 14 is a superb alternative. It’s sooner, better-looking, simply as well-built, and it presents a spectacular OLED show with extremely deep blacks, excessive distinction, and huge 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 offer confidence of years of productive service. It helps that the elements are all present as properly. You get a 1-year guarantee out of the field, however Lenovo presents enhanced providers for the small enterprise proprietor who wants longer protection and extra handholding.

Do you have to purchase it?

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

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