Let’s take another look at Lenovo’s attempt to marry their commercial brand (ThinkPad) and their consumer one (Ideapad). Basically, this is how the history of the ThinkBooks started, and today, we are going to review the Lenovo ThinkBook 15. First, we would like to note that there are two versions of the notebook – the IML and the IIL version. Apparently, the former is equipped with Intel’s 14nm Comet Lake processors and up to a Radeon 620 GPU, while the latter goes for the 10nm manufacturing process, while it includes the slightly more powerful Radeon 630 inside.

In fact, the Radeon 620 is another reason we are excited, as this is the first time we encounter this GPU since we got the IML model. Additionally, the ThinkBook 15 comes equipped with Bluetooth 5.0 and WiFi 6 support (optionally). Now without further ado, let’s get right into this review.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/lenovo-thinkbook-15/

Contents


Specs Sheet

Lenovo ThinkBook 15 – Specs



HDD/SSD

up to
1000GB SSD + up to 1000GB HDD



OS

Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Pro, No OS

Battery

45Wh, 3-cell, 57Wh, 3-cell

Dimensions

364 x 245 x 18.9 mm (14.33″ x 9.65″ x 0.74″)


Body material

Plastic / Polycarbonate, Aluminum

Ports and connectivity

  • 1x USB Type-C 3.1 (3.1 Gen 2), Power Delivery (PD), DisplayPort
  • 1x USB Type-C 3.0 (3.1 Gen 1)
  • 1x USB Type-A 3.0 (3.1 Gen 1), Sleep and Charge
  • 1x USB Type-A 3.0 (3.1 Gen 1)
  • 1x USB Type-A 2.0
  • HDMI 1.4b
  • Card reader MMC, SD, SDHC, SDXC
  • Ethernet LAN
  • Wi-Fi 802.11ac
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Audio jack combo audio / microphone jack

Features

  • Fingerprint reader
  • Web camera HD
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Microphone
  • Speakers 2x 2W
  • Optical drive
  • Security Lock slot

What’s in the box?

Inside the package, we found the laptop itself, some paper manuals and a 65W power adapter.

Design and construction

Upon first sight, this device looks really nice. In fact, despite it has “Think” in its name, it has a lot more in common with the Ideapad series. More precisely – it reminds us of the Ideapad S340 (15) and the S540 (15), although the latter’s base and lid are made out of aluminum, wether the ThinkBook 15 has only a metal lid. Put it on the scales, and you will see it sit somewhere around 1.80kg, while the profile is 18.9mm thick – values that are not bad for a 15-inch notebook.

Sadly, the lid cannot be opened with a single hand. On the bright side, it is quite rigid, when it comes to resistance from twisting. Additionally, there is a hardware shutter for the camera, so that you are comfortable with your privacy at any time.

Next up – the base. There is a fingerprint reader, that is separated from the keyboard deck. Not only that, but embedded into it, you can find the fingerprint reader. It is good to see that it is clearly distinguishable, unlike the one on the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 (13.5), that we pressed as if it was a Party button.

As of the rest of the keyboard – it has good travel and clicky feedback. Another huge benefit is the size of the keycaps. Not only that, but it comes with a backlight and a NumberPad section. Probably the one and only drawback to the board is the layout of the “Up” and “Down” arrow keys.

Below the keyboard, on its traditional location, you will see the touchpad. It is decent, but make sure you install the Serial-IO driver as soon as you install Windows on it. By the way, another weak spot (quite literally) in the design of the ThinkBook 15 is the base. It bends pretty visibly, when you press in the middle, and somewhere on the keyboard. This won’t be a problem for the future but it is certainly annoying.

On the bottom plate, there is a reasonably big ventilation grill, as well as two speaker cut-outs. Hot air is exhausted from in between the lid and the base.

Ports

To say that this laptop has a decent I/O selection would be an understatement. On the left side, you will find an RJ-45 connector, followed by an HDMI connector, a USB Type-A 3.1 (Gen. 1) port, two USB Type-C ports – one 3.1 (Gen. 1) and one 3.1 (Gen. 2). Lastly, there is a headphone jack and a quick reset hole. On the right – there is the proprietory USB-shaped charging plug, a USB Type-A 3.1 (Gen. 1) port, an SD card reader and a hidden USB Type-A 2.0 slot, that might be very useful for Bluetooth peripherals.

Disassembly, upgrade options and maintenance

This notebook’s bottom panel is held in place by 10 Phillips-head screws. After you remove them, just pry the panel with a plastic pick and you will be able to effortlessly lift it out of the body.

Weirdly enough, there is only one, long and thin heat pipe cooling both the CPU and the GPU. This works extremely impotent, but our Temperature tests are going to provide more information.

Memory-wise there is one RAM SODIMM slot that supports up to 16GB of DDR4 memory. Additionally, the notebook comes with either 4GB or 8GB soldered to the motherboard. As far as the storage goes, you can see the M.2 slot just beneath the SODIMM. It fits M.2 2242/2280 PCIe x2/x4 drives. On the other side of the battery, there is a 2.5″ SATA drive slot.

There are two battery options – a 45Wh one and a 57Wh one.

Display quality

Lenovo ThinkBook 15 has a Full HD IPS panel with a model number BOE NV156FHM-N48 (BOE0700). Its diagonal is 15.6″ (39.62 cm), and the resolution 1920 х 1080 pixels. The screen ratio is 16:9, and we are looking at a pixel density of – 142 ppi, and a pitch of 0.18 х 0.18 mm. The screen turns into Retina when viewed at distance equal to or greater than 60cm (24″) (from this distance one’s eye stops differentiating the separate pixels, and it is normal for looking at a laptop).

Viewing angles are comfortable. We offer images at 45° to evaluate image quality.

The measured maximum brightness of 289 nits in the middle of the screen and 273 nits as an average for the whole area, with a maximum deviation of 12%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen is 6000K – warmer than the sRGB standard of 6500K, which is great.
In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from a uniformity perspective. In other words, the leakage of light from the light source.

Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the laptop for color-sensitive work. The contrast ratio is great – 1390:1.

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction to the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.

Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people in HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.

Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.

The yellow dotted line shows Lenovo ThinkBook 15’s color gamut coverage.

Its display covers 51% of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976.

Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.

We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange, etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

Below you can compare the scores of Lenovo ThinkBook 15 with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right).

The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.

The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle, and the surrounding light conditions.

Response time (Gaming capabilities)

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and vice versa.

We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 30 ms.

PWM (Screen flickering)

Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.

Lenovo ThinkBook 15’s display doesn’t use PWM only at maximum brightness. Additionally, the flickerings are with a very low frequency – 300 Hz, which makes the display uncomfortable and possibly harmful for your eyes. Thankfully, our Health-Guard profile fixes that.

Blue light emissions

Installing our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.

Conclusion

Lenovo ThinkBook 15’s display has an IPS panel with a Full HD resolution, comfortable viewing angles, great contrast ratio, and adequate default settings. Its disadvantages include the narrow color coverage (50% of sRGB) and a flickering backlight. Thankfully, our Health-Guard profile completely eliminates the latter.

Buy our profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for Lenovo ThinkBook 15 configurations with 15.6″ FHD IPS BOE NV156FHM-N48 (BOE0700).

*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected]

Read more about the profiles HERE.

In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia’s products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.

Office Work - screen profile

Office Work

Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.

Design and Gaming - screen profile

Design and Gaming

This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.

Health-Guard - screen profile

Health-Guard

THealth-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.

All

Sound

Lenovo ThinkBook 15 produces a rather quiet sound with a not bad quality.

Drivers

All of the drivers and utilities for this notebook can be downloaded from here: https://pcsupport.lenovo.com/us/en/products/laptops-and-netbooks/thinkbook-series/thinkbook-15-iml/downloads/driver-list

Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests with Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with. This notebook is equipped with a 45Wh battery pack.

We got 7 hours of Web browsing and 30 minutes more of video playback.

CPU options

CPU-wise, there are four options for the ThinkBook 15-IML. On the bottom portion of the table sits the Core i3-10110U (2c/4t). Then there are the 4c/8t Core i5-10210U and Core i7-10510U. Lastly, the most powerful option is the 6c/12t Core i7-10710U.


Lenovo ThinkBook 15 CPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the CPUs that can be found in the Lenovo ThinkBook 15 models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which Lenovo ThinkBook 15 model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different CPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / CPU.



GPU options

Its graphics options, however, are a little more limited. Except for the integrated UHD Graphics GPU, there is only one option – the AMD Radeon 620 with 2GB of GDDR5 memory.



Temperatures and comfort

Max CPU load

In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.

Average core frequency (base frequency + X); CPU temp.

Intel Core i5-10210U (15W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
Lenovo ThinkBook 15-IML 3.08 GHz (B+93%) @ 73°C 3.00 GHz (B+88%) @ 82°C 2.55 GHz (B+59%) @ 80°C
Lenovo ThinkPad L13 3.04 GHz (B+90%) @ 97°C 2.10 GHz (B+31%) @ 97°C 2.12 GHz (B+33%) @ 79°C
Dell Inspiron 14 5491 2-in-1 3.45 GHz (B+116%) @ 94°C 2.33 GHz (B+46%) @ 86°C 2.00 GHz (B+25%) @ 74°C
ASUS ZenBook Duo UX481 3.26 GHz (B+104%) @ 94°C 2.77 GHz (B+73%) @ 98°C 2.06 GHz (B+29%) @ 71°C
Lenovo Yoga C640 (13) 2.87 GHz (B+79%) @ 73°C 2.89 GHz (B+81%) @ 85°C 2.23 GHz (B+39%) @ 87°C
Dell Vostro 5590 3.50 GHz (B+119%) @ 94°C 2.68 GHz (B+68%) @ 97°C 2.36 GHz (B+48%) @ 79°C
Lenovo Yoga C740 (14) 3.09 GHz (B+93%) @ 96°C 2.66 GHz (B+66%) @ 97°C 1.96 GHz (B+23%) @ 71°C

We were wrong. The tiny heat pipe actually managed to transfer a lot of heat away from the CPU, to achieve one of the highest clock speeds on a ULV processor after 15 minutes of constant stress.

Real-life gameplay

AMD Radeon 620 GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 2 min) GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 30 min)
Lenovo ThinkBook 15-IML 891 MHz @ 59°C 818 MHz @ 58°C

Interestingly, in the combined load, the temperatures didn’t rise higher, as well.

Comfort during full load

The laptop remains fairly quiet, even under heavy load.

Verdict

Some time ago, we had our hand on the ThinkBook 13s. It is a cute little laptop that made us a great impression. It had both great build quality, decent display and was able to extract the maximum from its hardware. However, ThinkBook 15, is a very different piece of laptop.

First, it feels a lot different, when held. Not only because it is bigger, but perhaps because it has a lesser build quality than its smaller brother. Another key area, where the 15-inch device is being beaten from the ThinkBook 13s is battery life. We got around 7 hours of Web browsing and 7 hours and a half of video playback. Ultimately, this is not a bad result, but it is also not that amusing either.

Lenovo ThinkBook 15’s display has an IPS panel (BOE NV156FHM-N48 (BOE0700)) with a Full HD resolution, comfortable viewing angles, great contrast ratio and adequate default settings. Its disadvantages include the narrow color coverage (50% of sRGB) and a flickering backlight. Thankfully, our Health-Guard profile completely eliminates the latter.

In terms of upgradability, the M.2 PCIe x4 slot and the 2.5″ SATA drive slot work great in conjunction with the single RAM SODIMM slot. Keep in mind that the model has either 4GB or 8GB already soldered to the motherboard, so you can max the device out with a total of 24GB of DDR4 memory. Let’s also not forget the decency of the I/O that includes two USB Type-C ports and a total of three USB Type-A ones, one of which is hidden. Also, there is an SD card reader, which is great for photographers and content creators.

Sadly, the cooling of this device seems a little underwhelming – Lenovo uses a single, thin and long heat pipe to cool off both their CPU and GPU – not the greatest strategy known to mankind. However, if you are a typer, you will love the keyboard, as it has good travel clicky feedback and huge keycaps. Also, let’s not forget the backlight, the NumberPad section and the fingerprint reader, which is embedded into the Power On/Off button.

Despite some minor setbacks, the ThinkBook 15 is a very solid laptop, especially given the modest price tag it carries.

Pros

  • Adequate price tag
  • Supports PCIe x4 drives
  • Has a total of 5 USB ports and an SD card reader
  • The power button is equipped with an optional fingerprint reader
  • Decent keyboard
  • It has comfortable viewing angles and good contrast ratio (BOE NV156FHM-N48 (BOE0700))

Cons

  • Build quality is not the best
  • Lacks Thunderbolt connection
  • Uses aggressive PWM for birghtness adjustment (BOE NV156FHM-N48 (BOE0700)) (our Health-Guard profile deals with that)
  • Covers only 50% of sRGB (BOE NV156FHM-N48 (BOE0700))

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/lenovo-thinkbook-15/





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