Lenovo's new ThinkPads offer better screens and Ryzen 5000 CPUs

You'll have your choice of Intel or AMD, but only the Intel models will have Thunderbolt.

Credit: Lenovo

Lenovo’s new ThinkPad lineup is downright trendy, offering both the latest in display technology as well as a choice between Intel’s 11th-gen Core or AMD Ryzen 5000 CPUs. Announced Tuesday, the various laptops in the lineup will roll out at different times over the coming months, as detailed below.

The most noticeable change will be in the display for the ThinkPad X13 clamshell and Yoga (360-degree convertible) models: Both variations will have screens with an aspect ratio of 16:10. Taller aspect ratios like 16:10, 4:3, and 3:2 are believed to be a better fit for productivity work than wider ratios like 16:9, which has been the dominant option for many years.

The other big change is inside, where Lenovo will offer the choice of Intel or AMD CPUs in this and other ThinkPad lines. In a name designation doomed to be misspelled, the Intel versions of the laptops will be called ThinkPad X13 Gen 2 i (yes, a space and then an italic ‘i’) and offer the newest 11th-gen Core i7 chips with vPro support to make your IT department happy. The AMD-based models, for which full specs aren’t yet available, will offer AMD’s newest Ryzen 5000 chips, providing more cores than the four in the Intel options. If you go with AMD, note that you won’t get Thunderbolt 4—just plain old USB-C. 

The ThinkPad X13 Gen 2 i will weigh a dainty 2.6 pounds and offer a healthy serving of ports including two USB-A, two Thunderbolt 4, a full-size HDMI, and analog audio port. Wi-Fi options will range from Wi-Fi 6 to the new Wi-Fi 6E (a version of Wi-Fi 6 with more bandwidth), as well as LTE 4G and 5G modems.

Lenovo is also taking a step forward in an area few people prioritized a scant year ago: webcams. The 720p models residing in the vast majority of laptops showed their limitation in a year’s worth of intensive videoconferencing. A 1080p webcam is an option on the ThinkPad X13 Gen 2/2 i, along with Windows Hello biometric support. Battery options include two sizes: 54.7Wh or 41Wh. The ThinkPad X13 Gen 2 i (the Intel version) will go on sale in March with a price starting at $1,299. The ThinkPad X13 Gen 2 (AMD version) will hit the streets in May, with a price starting at $1,139.

ThinkPad X13 Yoga

Like its ThinkPad X13 clamshell cousin, the X13 Yoga gets the taller 16:10 screen with a resolution of 2560x1600. Four touchscreen options will be offered: a low power, low-blue screen at 400 nits, a 500 nit version with privacy guard, and two 300-nit versions.

The ThinkPad X13 Yoga will come with up to 32GB of LPDDR4X RAM and 2TB of storage. Lenovo said the laptop can hit 12.3 hours of run time on its 53Wh battery.

Ports include two Thunderbolt 4, one USB-A, HDMI 2.0, and analog audio combo jack. Networking options include Wi-Fi 6 as well as LTE support. The laptop will go on sale in April starting at $1,379.

11 thinkpad x13 yoga g2 hero tent b Lenovo

The ThinkPad X13 Yoga will on sale in April starting at $1,379.

ThinkPad T14 series

If you need a little more screen size and access to a discrete GPU, you can move up to Lenovo’s updated ThinkPad T14 line. Although this product line will still use standard 16:9 aspect-ratio screens, they will feature Nvidia GeForce MX450 graphics in some models.

The ThinkPad T14 Gen 2 i will feature Intel’s vPro-enabled 11th-gen CPUs with optional GeForce MX450 graphics. The T14 Gen 2 i will offer Wi-Fi 6E, and optional 5G modems with sub-6 support. You’ll also get an IR-enabled 1080p webcam for better video conferencing, and a fingerprint reader. The laptop will offer up to 48GB of DDR4/3200 RAM and 2TB in PCIe storage. That odd RAM spec is likely based on a single soldered 16GB of RAM plus the upgradeable DIMM slot that can accept up to a 32GB module. The laptop weighs 3.2 pounds and offer two USB-A ports, two Thunderbolt 4 ports, a microSD reader, HDMI 2.0, analog combo jack, and LAN port. The 50-Watt hour battery is rated at 10.7 hours using the MobileMark 2018 test.

02 thinkpad t14s gen 2 black hero front facing jd Lenovo

The ThinkPad T14s is lighter than the T14 and will feature a larger battery as well as LPDDR4X instead of DDR4.

Like the ThinkPad X13, Lenovo will offer Ryzen 5000-based versions of the ThinkPad T, which will swap out Thunderbolt 4 ports for standard USB-C. The Intel version of the ThinkPad T14 will go on sale in March starting at $1,379. The AMD version will start at $1,159 when it goes on sale in May.

If you want a 14-inch panel but want more battery life, the ThinkPad T14s Gen 2 is probably for you. It drops discrete graphics and DDR4 RAM, replacing the latter with the more battery-friendly, but non-upgradeable LPDDRX memory. The battery is also larger at 57Wh, for which Lenovo claims about 14.5 hours of life on the Intel version. Like the ThinkPad X13 Gen 2, it’ll come with a Ryzen 5000 CPU version. Both AMD and Intel variants feature two USB-A ports, and two USB-C ports, the Intel versions of which will support Thunderbolt 4. 

Both the T14 and T14s offer several choices in display type, from 14-inch IPS at 300 nits to low-power 14-inch IPS panels at 400 nits, as well as a privacy-guard option and a 4K UHD at 500 nits. The Intel-version of the ThinkPad T14s hits the streets in March starting at $1,499, while the AMD version will follow in May starting at $1,279.

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Gordon Mah Ung

Gordon Mah Ung

PC World (US online)
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