Lenovo ThinkBook 14s First Impressions

Posted on October 14, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Hardware, Mobile, Windows 10 with 4 Comments

Last week, I lauded the ThinkBook 13s for its reasonable pricing, attractive design, and more, but noted that I’d prefer a 14-inch version. Ask and you shall receive: Here’s the 14-inch ThinkBook 14s, which offers the same desirable mix of pricing, design, components, and expansion, but with a larger, 14-inch display.

As you should expect, the two laptops are very similar. So let’s start with the differences.

The most obvious, again, is the larger display. But that’s not the only difference: It’s rated at a relatively dim 250 nits, vs. 300 for the 13s, though in my initial testing it seems just fine. And Lenovo doesn’t note an anti-glare coating, as with the 13s. Beyond (I’ll confirm) that, the IPS display is the same as on the 13s, with a Full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution, a 16:9 aspect ratio, and thin 5.3 mm left and right bezels. And like the display on the 13s, the 14s display can lay flat.

The ThinkBook 14s is likewise bigger and heavier than the 13s, which makes sense. It measures 12.7 x 8.77 x 0.65-inches, vs. 12.11 x 8.52 x 0.63-inches. And it weighs 3.35 pounds, compared to 2.95 pounds on the 13s.

Internally, all ThinkBook 14s models include AMD Radeon 540X 2 GB, whereas that’s optional on the 13s, and my review unit did not include that. Those graphics, plus the larger display, likely contribute to the slightly lower battery life rating of 10 hours, vs. 11 for the 13s.

Finally, there’s a small price difference as well. Where the ThinkBook 13s starts at about $630, the ThinkBook 14s starts at a bit under $650. Built out like the review unit, which features an 8th Generation Intel Core i5-8265U processor, 8 GB of RAM, and 256 GB of fast M.2 PCIe-based SSD storage, the ThinkBook 14s would cost a reasonable $730. (A ThinkBook 13s with the same basic specs is about $713.)

Aside from these differences, everything else is identical to the ThinkBook 13s. And as I noted in my review of that laptop, that’s a good thing and pretty much across the board.

With the ThinkBook 14s, you get the same professional and attractive-looking design, with Lenovo’s signature branding highlights and the unique ThinkBook Mineral Gray color, all of which I like quite a lot.

You get the same modern components, with 8th-generation Core processors, up to 16 GB of RAM, and up to 512 GB of SSD storage. You also get a nice ThinkShutter cover for the 720p webcam, and the same 802.11AC (2 x 2) and Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity capabilities.

You get the same expansion. In addition to the proprietary power connector (and its 65-watt power supply), there’s a full-sized HDMI 1.4b port (for video-out) and a single USB-C port (without Thunderbolt 3) on the left, plus a headphone jack.

And on the right, you’ll find two full-sized USB-A ports.

You get the same crisp scalloped keyboard, with the same unique (and sometimes weird) keyboard features, like the dedicated Skype calling keys, the correctly-placed CTRL and FN keys, the weirdly-connected PGUP/PGDN and Enter/I keys. Plus two levels of backlighting.

You also get that killer glass precision touchpad, which I liked so much on the 13s.

You get the same fingerprint reader integrated into the power button, which allows you to wake up the PC and sign-in to Windows simultaneously, a nice touch. (Pardon the pun.)

And you get the same Dolby Audio-backed 2-watt stereo Harman speakers, which work quite well.

From a software perspective, the ThinkBook 14s ships with Windows 10 Home, a minimal set of Lenovo utilities, a RealTek audio utility, and, unfortunately, McAfee LiveSafe, which started trying to scare me about viruses within minutes of opening the lid. I’ll be deleting that soon.

Overall, the ThinkBook 14s appears to be exactly what I expected, hoped for, and wanted, and I’ll verify that, and its real-world battery life for my final review. More soon.

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