Following Lenovo’s major rebranding scheme on pretty much all of their lineups, we are keen to show you the ThinkPad L15. Ultimately, it is a successor to the ThinkPad L590. Interestingly, apart from the minor processor upgrade, we see nothing too different between the two. However, we’re going to check in more in-depth just to be sure.
One thing is certain, though. The ThinkPad L15 is a laptop that is going to be used in plenty of offices. Its simple and industrial design is definitely one of the features that please companies all over the world. However, the most important of them all is security.
On the other side, many ThinkPads offer supreme safety features, but this is one of the few that provide WiFi 6 and LTE support.
You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/lenovo-thinkpad-l15-gen-1-intel/
What’s in the box?
Since there are no treats inside the package, you’ll only get the laptop, alongside the mandatory paper manuals and the 65W USB Type-C power brick.
Design and construction
Although the ThinkPad L15 is incredibly similar to its predecessor, we can see a slight difference in weight. As it happens, the newer machine has lost around 50 grams for a total of 1.98 kg. This means you can put an extra snack bar in your bag. In terms of rigidity, the entirely-plastic structure is not really helping the chassis strength, with its body flexing with very little force applied. This can be said for the lid as well, but on the bright side, none of this should concern you, since the plastic actually allows for some bend before it snaps.
And if you have the habit to quickly open your device, make sure you don’t do it with this one, because the lid requires the use of two hands. Thankfully, nobody would be able to see your face through the camera, thanks to its ThinkShutter camera cover. Moreover, this device features an optional IR camera, so that your face works for you and you only.
Next, let’s move to the base and take a look at the familiar keyboard setup. Ultimately, it is one of the strongest points of the ThinkPads in general and is something that is satisfyingly consistent between the models. This one is not an exclusion and features spill-resistance, a decent key travel, somewhat clicky but quiet feedback, perfect for offices and libraries, as well as a full-sized NumberPad and a Red “Nipple” (which Lenovo mistakingly calls “TrackPoint”). The latter works in conjunction with the buttons above the touchpad. Now… speaking of the touchpad, we want to note that it is very accurate. However, the coating on the Mylar surface makes it harder to navigate, due to the unpleasant gliding experience – at least that’s what we saw on our retail unit.
Lastly, there is the bottom panel, which has a good amount of ventilation holes drilled in it. Additionally, there are two speaker cut-outs, while the hot air is exhausted from the right side.
The left side of the notebook is home to two USB Type-C ports. Both of them can be used for charging and outputting DisplayPort signal, however, one of them supports 3.1 (Gen. 1) speeds, while the other – 3.1 (Gen. 2). In addition to that, there is a USB Type-A 3.1 (Gen. 1) port, an HDMI connector, a MicroSD card reader. as we, as well as a nano-SIM card slot, and an optional Smart Card reader. Then, on the right, you’ll see another USB Type-A 3.1 (Gen. 1) port, and the 3.5mm audio jack.
Disassembly, upgrade options and maintenance
In order to make changes on the inside of this device, you have to undo 9 Phillips-head screws. They stay attached to the bottom panel even after you unscrew them, which means it would be difficult to lose them. Before starting the prying process, make sure you remove the SIM card tray.
Looking at the cooling solution, we see a long and reasonably thick heat pipe. By the way, our model features only a processor with no dedicated GPU, however, you can clearly see the mounting spot, where it would sit, should you order your laptop equipped with the Radeon 625.
In terms of upgradability, we see two RAM SODIMM slots, which support up to 64GB of DDR4 memory in dual-channel mode. Additionally, our model comes with a single M.2 PCIe x4 slot.
Unfortunately, the 45Wh battery pack in this notebook is glued to the chassis, in addition to being secured by three Phillips-head screws. We don’t really see a point of Lenovo doing so, other than preventing customers change their batteries, should the die after the warranty period ends.
Lenovo ThinkPad L15 is equipped with a Full HD IPS panel, model number Innolux N156HCA-EAB (LEN40BA). 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 a 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).
It has comfortable viewing angles. We offer images at 45° to evaluate image quality.
The measured maximum brightness of 268 nits in the middle of the screen and 250 nits as an average for the whole area, with a maximum deviation of 16% in the bottom right corner. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen is 6940K – colder than the optimal for the sRGB standard of 6500K.
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 very good – 1410:1.
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 ThinkPad L15’s color gamut coverage.
Its display covers only 57% 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 L15 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 = 23 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 ThinkPad L15’s backlight doesn’t flicker at any brightness level. This makes it comfortable for long work periods, without introducing any additional eyestrain 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 – light 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.
Lenovo ThinkPad L15’s display in the configuration we tested has an IPS panel with a Full HD resolution, comfortable viewing angles, good contrast ratio, and a non-flickering backlight. Its main disadvantage, however, is the modest color coverage (57% of sRGB).
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 L15 configurations with 15.6″ FHD IPS Innolux N156HCA-EAB.
*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 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
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.
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.
Lenovo ThinkPad L15’s speakers produce a sound with decent quality. Traditionally, its low tones have some deviations from clarity, but the mids and highs are clear.
All of the drivers and utilities for this notebook can be found here: https://pcsupport.lenovo.com/us/en/products/laptops-and-netbooks/thinkpad-l-series-laptops/thinkpad-l15-type-20u3-20u4/downloads/driver-list
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 device’s 45Wh unit was able to provide up to 10 hours of Web browsing and 10 hours and 55 minutes of video playback.
Since we are focusing on the Intel machine for today’s review, the processors you can purchase it with are the Celeron 5205U, Core i3-10110U, Core i5-10210U, Core i7-10510U, and the vPro versions of the last two – the Core i5-10310U and the Core i7-10610U.
In the general case, the graphics card of choice would be the integrated Intel UHD Graphics. On the other side, you can pick it with an AMD Radeon 625 (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 ThinkPad L15||3.17 GHz (B+98%) @ 95°C||2.73 GHz (B+71%) @ 97°C||2.04 GHz (B+28%) @ 80°C|
|HP Probook 450 G7||2.54 GHz (B+59%) @ 59°C||2.12 GHz (B+33%) @ 67°C||1.81 GHz (B+13%) @ 72°C|
|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|
|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|
|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|
Ultimately, the coin always has two sides. Here, we see a rather high clock speed in the beginning of the test, but this translates to a very hot core temperature. What is interesting here, is that the graphic of the frequency looks exactly like the blade of a saw. This leads to high temperatures of the VRMs, which heat up the outside of the machine.
Comfort during full load
Here, you can see that the area above roughly above the VRMs is heating to more than 48C, in contrast to that directly above the CPU – which reaches just under 42C Thankfully, the noise coming from the fan is very little, resulting in a quiet experience even under heavy load.
Once again, we have to mention that we got the Intel version of this notebook. Ultimately, there should be very little to no difference between the two, but we feel that it has to be mentioned. Especially considering that this laptop is hardly any upgrade over its predecessor. If you need more performance from your workhorse – go for the AMD models. The Comet Lake-U ones are nothing special, to be honest.
However, what we think is on point here is the consistency of Lenovo’s features. Should you come from the E-series, the T-series, or other ThinkPad notebooks, it would always feel familiar. And if we have to give you straight advice – if you own the ThinkPad L590 – don’t bother upgrading to this machine.
Lenovo ThinkPad L15’s display in the configuration we tested has an IPS panel with a Full HD resolution, comfortable viewing angles, good contrast ratio, and a non-flickering backlight. Its main disadvantage, however, is the modest color coverage (57% of sRGB). Which is also 99% similar to its predecessor.
On the bright side, the laptop can fit 64GB of DDR4 memory, fast M.2 PCIe x4 storage, and supports the latest WiFi 6 protocol. Not only that, but you can connect an Ethernet cable for a faster and more stable connection, and you get all of the mandatory security features. Also, the spill-resistant keyboard makes a return, which is good to see, because it is practically one of the best units out in the wild.
Not in the last place, the battery life is on point for a business machine – we got around 10 hours of Web browsing and almost 11 hours of video playback.
So, the bottom line here is that the laptop is not bad, considering it is nothing more than a rebranded ThinkPad L590 with a battery that is very difficult for removal from the consumer’s point of view.
- Pleasant spill-resistant keyboard with long travel and clicky feedback
- Broad I/O connectivity
- Good battery life
- Charges with USB Type-C
- Doesn’t use PWM to adjust its brightness (N156HCE-EAB (LEN40BA))
- Supports up to 64GB of DDR4 memory, as well as PCIe x4 SSDs, and LTE (on some models)
- Basically a mild refresh over the ThinkPad L590
- Plastic body
- No Thunderbolt support
- Covers only 54% of sRGB (N156HCE-EAB (LEN40BA))
You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/lenovo-thinkpad-l15-gen-1-intel/