A ton of notebooks was released at CES 2021. The majority of them – meant for gaming, and sporting the latest and greatest from NVIDIA and AMD. However, in order to keep ourselves in check (and while we wait for most of the aforementioned laptops to become available), we will take a look at the ThinkPad E15 Gen 2. Ultimately, it is a notebook, that aims at the budget business laptop crown, fighting with the HP ProBook 450 G8, and the Dell Latitude 15 3510.

In order to achieve that, Lenovo is sporting the Tiger Lake processors from Intel, which finally deliver both CPU and GPU performance to the business market. Wherever you look at them, they are a significant improvement over the Comet Lake and Ice Lake architectures.

Additionally, you get to choose if you want to stick with the integrated graphics or go for the dedicated GeForce MX350, or MX450.

Thankfully, this year, you can only purchase the laptop with a 1080p panel, which means no 768p nonsense! However, keep an eye for the impostor in the face of the TN panel – you wouldn’t want that either.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/lenovo-thinkpad-e15-gen-2-intel/

Contents


Specs Sheet

Lenovo ThinkPad E15 Gen 2 (Intel) – Specs


M.2 Slot


1x 2280 +1x 2242 M.2 PCIe x4 slot


OS


Windows 10 Pro, No OS, Windows 10 Home


Dimensions


365 x 240 x 18.9 mm (14.37″ x 9.45″ x 0.74″)


Body material


Plastic / Polycarbonate, Aluminum

Ports and connectivity

  • 1x USB Type-A 2.0
  • 1x USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • 1x USB Type-C Thunderbolt 4, Power Delivery (PD), DisplayPort
  • HDMI 1.4b
  • Displayport mini
  • Card reader
  • Ethernet LAN 10, 100, 1000 Mbit/s
  • Wi-Fi 802.11ac/ax
  • Bluetooth 5.0/5.1
  • Audio jack 3.5mm Combo Jack

Features

  • Fingerprint reader
  • Web camera HD
  • Backlit keyboard optional
  • Microphone Dual Array Microphone
  • Speakers 2x 2W, Dolby Audio
  • Optical drive
  • Security Lock slotKensington Lock
  • Compartment for Wireless Earbuds

What’s in the box?

The package contents here were a bit modest – we only found some paper manuals, a 65W power brick with a USB Type-C power connector, and the laptop, itself.

Design and construction

Well, this notebook’s design looks familiar, yet fresh. The second-generation ThinkPad E15’s changes over last year are more abstract than anything. This includes a different location of the speakers (although they still remain on the bottom panel), as well as a slightly altered shape of the bottom plate, and perhaps the most impressive one – some weight reduction. Despite the fact that the 18.9mm thickness is retained, this year’s laptop has shaved some 200 grams of its weight – down to 1.70 kg. And while we observed some flex to the chassis, we feel that it is inside the boundaries of acceptable, especially since the body is made out of plastic. Also, Lenovo state that their device has passed the MIL-STD-810H strength tests.

The lid, which can’t be opened with a single hand, however, is aluminum and feels cool to the touch. Also, the ThinkPad logo protrudes slightly above the surface, and there is the standard illuminated dot on the “i”. On the downside, the bezels around the matte display are a bit thick in our opinion. However, you will find an HD camera with a privacy shutter, and some models feature an IR face recognition system.

Next, let’s take a look at the keyboard. No surprises here – one of the best business keyboards on the market. It has long key travel, clicky and quiet feedback, a NumberPad portion, as well as a backlight and spill-resistance. So far – so good. It also packs a fingerprint reader inside of the Power button, and the mandatory Red Nipple, paired with a set of its own buttons above the touchpad.

The touchpad, itself, features a mylar surface with a matte finish. The gliding is okay, but we had some issues with the drivers (or the lack thereof), so we weren’t able to make any gestures work.

Then, turn the laptop upside down, and you will see the ventilation grills, as well as the speaker cutouts. As far as the heat exhaust goes, there is a vent on the back – in between the base and the lid.

Ports

On the left, there is a Thunderbolt 4 connector, also used for charging, and DisplayPort 1.4 output. Then, there is a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, an HDMI 1.4b connector, and an audio jack. Then, on the right, there’s the security hole, and an archaic USB Type-A 2.0.

Disassembly, upgrade options, and maintenance

Similarly to previous years, this notebook’s bottom panel is held in place by 8 captive Phillips-head screws. After you undo them, pry the panel with a plastic tool, and lift it away.

The cooling solution consists of two heat pipes, a cooling bracket for the power delivery, a medium-sized heat spreader, and a fan.

Here, we have two M.2 PCIe x4 slots, one for 42mm, and one for 80mm drives. As for the RAM, there is one SODIMM slot, which supports up to 32 GB of DDR4 memory, working at 3200MHz.

For the battery, it has a 45Wh unit.

Display quality

Lenovo ThinkPad E15 Gen 2 comes with a Full HD IPS panel, model number LG LP156WFC-SPD1. Its diagonal is 15.6″ (39.62 cm), and the resolution – 1920 х 1080p. Additionally, the screen ratio is 16:9, the pixel density – 142 ppi, their pitch – 0.18 x 0.18 mm. The screen can be considered Retina when viewed from at least 60 cm (from this distance, the average human eye can’t see the individual pixels).

The viewing angles are good. We offer images at different angles to evaluate the quality.

The maximum measured brightness is 319 nits (cd/m2) in the middle of the screen and 285 nits (cd/m2) average across the surface with a maximum deviation of 18% (inappropriate). The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen and at maximum brightness is 6700K (average) – slightly colder than the 6500K optimum for sRGB.
In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from a uniformity perspective. The illustration below shows how matters are for operational brightness levels (approximately 140 nits) – in this particular case at 65% Brightness (White level = 142 cd/m2, Black level = 0.15 cd/m2).
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 (a maximum tolerance of 2.0 ). The contrast ratio is decent – 950:1.

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 on 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 ThinkPad E15 Gen 2’s color gamut coverage.

Its display is limited just to 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 ThinkPad E15 Gen 2 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 = 26 ms.

Health impact – PWM / Blue Light

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 ThinkPad E15 Gen 2’s backlight does not use PWM at any brightness level. This ensures comfort to the eyes in this aspect.

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.

Conclusions

Lenovo ThinkPad E15 Gen 2’s IPS panel has a Full HD resolution, comfortable viewing angles, good contrast ratio, and a non-flickering backlight. Unfortunately, the display is a budget-level one, which means you get modest color coverage (about 51% of sRGB), and in this case – high nonuniformity of the luminance across the area of the screen.

Buy our profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for Lenovo ThinkPad E15 Gen 2 configurations with 15.6″ LG LP156WFC-SPD1 (FHD, 1920 × 1080) IPS.

*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

Health-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 ThinkPad E15 Gen 2’s speakers sound good enough. The low, mid, and high tones are clear of deviations.

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/thinkpad-edge-laptops/thinkpad-e15-gen-2-type-20td-20te/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 laptop’s 45Wh battery pack lasts for 6 hours and 57 minutes of Web browsing, and 6 hours and 54 minutes of video playback.

CPU options

This notebook comes with one of the following processors: Intel Core i3-1115G4, Core i5-1135G7, or Core i7-1165G7.


GPU options

This means that there are three integrated GPU options – the UHD Graphics, Iris Xe Graphics G7 (80EU), and the Iris Xe Graphics G7 (96EU). Moreover, you can buy the device with a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce MX350, or MX450, both equipped with 2GB of GDDR5 memory.


Gaming tests

cs-go-benchmarks

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 i5-1135G7 (15W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
Lenovo ThinkPad E15 Gen 2 3.35 GHz (B+40%) @ 90°C 3.14 GHz (B+31%) @ 71°C 2.57 GHz (B+7%) @ 64°C
HP ProBook 450 G8 3.73 GHz (B+55%) @ 90°C 2.44 GHz (B+2%) @ 71°C 2.09 GHz @ 64°C
Lenovo Yoga 7 (14) 3.34 GHz (B+39%) @ 94°C 2.97 GHz (B+24%) @ 94°C 2.39 GHz @ 75°C
HP ProBook 650 G8 3.58 GHz (B+49%) @ 92°C 2.44 GHz (B+2%) @ 75°C 2.09 GHz @ 62°C
Acer Aspire 5 (A515-56G) 3.68 GHz (B+53%) @ 83°C 2.25 GHz @ 63°C 2.15 GHz @ 62°C
Acer Aspire 5 (A514-54) 3.54 GHz (B+48%) @ 87°C 2.01 GHz @ 66°C 2.03 GHz @ 67°C

Well, the fact that this is the only laptop that maintains clock speeds above the Base one talks for itself.

Comfort during full load

Interestingly, the temperature on the keyboard didn’t exceed 40°C. This is good, but you have to keep in mind that the fan can definitely be heard of.

Verdict

Usually, the problem with business notebooks, no matter the price tag, is that they just don’t perform on the level of workstations, and workhorse laptops. However, we were pleasantly surprised by the level of juice this device can extract even from the Core i5-1135G7. Surely, this comes at the expense of noise, as the fan is ramping up. This is where the Lenovo Vantage software comes, where you can choose a more quiet experience, instead of a full-power one.

Lenovo ThinkPad E15 Gen 2’s IPS panel has a Full HD resolution, comfortable viewing angles, good contrast ratio, and a non-flickering backlight. Unfortunately, the display is a budget-level one, which means you get modest color coverage (about 51% of sRGB), and in this case – high nonuniformity of the luminance across the area of the screen.

Thankfully, the laptop supports up to 32GB of DDR4 memory, thanks to its single SODIMM slot. Also, there are two M.2 PCIe x4 slots for storage upgrades. While we are talking about the internals, we would like to note that the 45Wh battery pack is not really enough. In our tests, we got under 7 hours of battery life. Both in Web browsing and video playback. This definitely means that you will need the charger before the workday ends.

Of course, you get Wi-Fi 6 support, but the I/O is a bit puzzling. First of all, it is great to have a Thunderbolt 4 connector. However, as we just touched, you will need the power cord for continuous work. And this power cord – is in the form of a USB Type-C connector. Additionally, there are only two USB Type-A ports. One of which, works at 2.0 speeds, which is funny in 2021. To be honest, HP ProBook 450 G8 is far more superior than the ThinkPad E15 Gen 2, especially in terms of I/O. All of its three USB Type-A ports are 3.2 (Gen. 1), and it sports a MicroSD card reader, against no card readers for the Lenovo.

Speaking purely about usability, the ProBook 450 G8 would be a better option. However, if performance is what you need – then, the ThinkPad E15 Gen 2 might be a more sensible choice.

Pros

  • Great spill-resistant keyboard
  • Good performance
  • The display doesn’t flicker at any brightness level (LGD064C)
  • Supports Wi-Fi 6 and two M.2 PCIe x4 drives
  • Optional IR face recognition and fingerprint reader

Cons

  • Covers only 53% of sRGB and not uniform luminance across the area of the display
  • Only two USB Type-A ports, one of which runs at 2.0 speeds
  • No SD card reader

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/lenovo-thinkpad-e15-gen-2-intel/





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