Saturday, September 25, 2021
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Lenovo ThinkPad T15 Gen 2 review – one of the best allrounders in the business world


Lenovo has one of the widest business laptops ranges out there. One of their enterprise notebooks, which are really popular amongst large corporations is the T-series. No, we are not talking about the Indian record label, but for the Lenovo ThinkPad T15 Gen 2.

You know, we are not surprised to see that it comes with Tiger Lake processors. Nor from the optional LTE and Wi-Fi 6 support. In fact, nothing about this device seems groundbreaking. Especially its design. However, it has something that is valued by pretty much everybody in the industry. It is secure, stable, and an all-around finished product.

We will talk about that later, but it’s enough to say that it has all of everything in one package.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/lenovo-thinkpad-t15-gen-2/

Contents

Specs Sheet

Lenovo ThinkPad T15 Gen 2 – Specs

Battery

57Wh, 57Wh, 3-cell

Dimensions

365.8 x 248 x 19.1 mm (14.40″ x 9.76″ x 0.75″)

Ports and connectivity

  • 2x USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • 2x USB Type-C Thunderbolt 4, Power Delivery (PD), DisplayPort
  • HDMI 2.0
  • Card reader MicroSD
  • Ethernet LAN 10, 100, 1000 Mbit/s
  • Wi-Fi 802.11ax
  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • Audio jack 3.5mm Combo Jack
  • Side Docking Connector

Features

  • Fingerprint reader
  • Web camera HD
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Microphone 2x Far-field Microphones
  • Speakers 2x 2W, Dolby Audio
  • Optical drive
  • Security Lock slotKensington Lock Slot

What’s in the box?

Unsurprisingly, the packaging is pretty standard. It only contains some paper manuals and a 65W USB Type-C power brick.

Design and construction

If you are looking for a stylish machine, you should be better of going for a ThinkBook, instead of a ThinkPad. More so, the T15 Gen 2 looks like your traditional device from more than 5 years ago, with the only consolation being the rather thin side bezels. However, it is built like a tank. Its lid is made either from aluminum or plastic/glass fiber combo. Respectively, the base cover is a magnesium alloy, covered with a soft polymer, while the bottom panel is made from plastic and glass fiber. Quite the mashup of materials. Also, the thickness of the device stands at 19.1mm, while the weight goes from 1.75 up to 1.84 kg, depending on the display type and the material of the lid.

Unfortunately, the lid can’t be opened with a single hand. And although the top and bottom bezels are quite thick, the former houses an HD Web camera with a privacy shutter, and an optional IR face recognition sensor.

It is good to see that the Power button is separated from the keyboard. Even further above it, placed between the two hinge covers, there is the speaker grill. Well, the speakers are not as big as the grill, but they are front-firing, which is good.

As for the keyboard, it comes with a backlight and spill resistance. Also, back is the TrackPoint/Red Nipple, but this is not the best thing about it. Of course, what these keyboards are most popular with, is the key travel, feedback, and overall typing experience they provide.

Ultimately, this laptop has a set of three buttons, intended to be used in conjunction with the Red Nipple. Beneath them, you will see the touchpad, which has a Mylar surface and has decent tracking. Its clicking mechanism is good but it won’t register clicks in the top half of the surface no matter how hard you press.

Lastly, there is the bottom panel. It only houses the rather big ventilation grill. Hot air, respectively, leaves the machine from the right side.

Ports

It’s safe to say that this notebook is loaded with I/O. On the left, you will find two Thunderbolt 4 connectors, one side docking connector, a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, an HDMI 2.0 connector, an audio jack, and a MicroSD card reader. Then, on the other side, there is a Kensington security slot, an RJ-45 connector, another USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, and a Smart Card reader.

Disassembly, upgrade options, and maintenance

To take this laptop apart, you have to undo all 8 captive Phillips-head screws. After that, pry the bottom panel with a plastic tool.

It comes with a battery that has a capacity of 57Wh.

About the memory, the machine has either 8 or 16GB soldered to the motherboard. They can be further expanded thanks to the single SODIMM slot up to 40 or 48GB in total. As for the storage, there is one M.2 PCIe x4 slot.

The cooling setup consists of a heat pipe, a heat sink, and a medium-sized fan. Interestingly, Lenovo has provided a cooling element for the VRMs as well.

Display quality

Lenovo ThinkPad T15 Gen 2 in our configuration is equipped with a Full HD IPS panel with a model number AUO B156HAN02.1 (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 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 excellent. We offer images at 45° to evaluate image quality.

The measured maximum brightness of 336 nits in the middle of the screen and 330 nits as an average for the whole area, with a maximum deviation of just 4%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen is 6100K – slightly warmer than 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 good – 1350:1.

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 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 T15 Gen 2’s color gamut coverage.

Its display covers 52% 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 T15 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 = 25 ms.

After that, we test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “Gray-to-Gray” method from 50% White to 80% White and vice versa between 10% and 90% of the amplitude.

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 T15 Gen 2’s display doesn’t use PWM to adjust its brightness levels at any point. This makes it comfortable for use during long work periods, without harming your 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.

Buy our profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for Lenovo ThinkPad T15 Gen 2 configurations with 15.6″ FHD IPS AUO B156HAN02.1 (LEN40BA).

*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 T15 Gen 2’s speakers support Dolby Audio. The sound they produce is decent, and the low, mid, and high tones are clear of deviations.

Drivers

All of the drivers and utilities for this notebook can be found here: https://pcsupport.lenovo.com/us/en/products/laptops-and-netbooks/thinkpad-t-series-laptops/thinkpad-t15-gen-2-type-20w4-20w5/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 device’s 57Wh battery pack lasts for 13 hours and 3 minutes of Web browsing, and 9 hours and 38 minutes of video playback.

CPU options

This device comes with one of four processors – Core i5-1135G7, Core i5-1145G7, Core i7-1165G7, or Core i7-1185G7.

Lenovo ThinkPad T15 Gen 2 CPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the CPUs that can be found in the Lenovo ThinkPad T15 Gen 2 models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which Lenovo ThinkPad T15 Gen 2 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

The base model features the integrated Iris Xe Graphics G7 with either 80 or 96 EUs. Additionally, you can pick a device, which is equipped with the GeForce MX450 with 2GB of GDDR6 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 i7-1165G7 (15W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
Lenovo ThinkPad T15 Gen 2 3.65 GHz (B+30%) @ 99°C @ 49W 3.42 GHz (B+22%) @ 99°C @ 41W 2.37 GHz @ 73°C @ 20W
Dell Latitude 14 5420 3.80 GHz (B+36%) @ 98°C @ 51W 3.27 GHz (B+17%) @ 98°C @ 35W 2.78 GHz @ 96°C @ 26W
HP EliteBook x360 1030 G8 3.08 GHz (B+10%) @ 98°C @ 31W 2.77 GHz @ 98°C @ 26W 2.35 GHz @ 85°C @ 19W
HP EliteBook x360 1040 G8 3.43 GHz (B+23%) @ 98°C @ 40W 2.84 GHz (B+1%) @ 88°C @ 27W 2.43 GHz @ 69°C @ 17W
Lenovo Yoga Slim 7i Pro (14) 3.90 GHz (B+39%) @ 85°C @ 61W 2.57 GHz @ 69°C @ 26W 2.37 GHz @ 57°C @ 20W
HP Pavilion 14 (14-dv0000) 3.08 GHz (B+10%) @ 91°C @ 40W 2.79 GHz @ 89°C @ 29W 2.13 GHz @ 71°C @ 18W
Acer TravelMate P4 (TMP414-51) 2.99 GHz (B+7%) @ 94°C @ 33W 2.66 GHz @ 93°C @ 27W 1.86 GHz @ 68°C @ 16W
ASUS ZenBook Flip S UX371 3.48 GHz (B+24%) @ 90°C @ 43W 2.79 GHz @ 90°C @ 27W 1.95 GHz @ 69°C @ 14W
Acer Swift 3X (SF314-510G) 3.74 GHz (B+34%) @ 95°C @ 45W 3.45 GHz (B+23%) @ 95°C @ 37W 3.09 GHz (B+10%) @ 85°C @ 28W

Lenovo’s cooling solution is a bit of a mixed bag. Although it manages to run at frequencies higher than the base clock speed for the first two checkpoints, the temperature is way too high. On the other hand, the 2.37 GHz at the end results in 73°C, which is okay.

Comfort during full load

Thankfully, the laptop’s keyboard is not too warm, even under extreme workloads. Additionally, the fan is not too loud either.

Verdict

Looking at all of the results from our tests, we were right to say that the ThinkPad T15 Gen 2 is a good all-around business machine. It has a decent amount of performance, and its input devices are comfortable (which is an understatement for the keyboard). Also, its battery lasts for about 13 hours of Web browsing, and more than 9 hours and a half of video playback.

This means you shouldn’t have an issue getting it through an entire workday without going for the charger. However, if you are more of the office type, and you need to connect a ton of peripherals, you need not worry. It has two Thunderbolt 4 connectors, two USB Type-A ports, a MicroSD card slot, a SIM card slot, a Smart Card reader, and more. Ultimately, it also supports docking stations via the specialized connector right next to one of the Thunderbolt 4 ports.

On the inside, we saw both memory and storage expandability. Nevertheless, there was one slot for each, which is 3.6… not great, not terrible.

Lenovo ThinkPad T15 Gen 2’s IPS panel has a Full HD resolution, comfortable viewing angles, and a good contrast ratio. Thankfully, its backlight doesn’t flicker. Unfortunately, it covers only half of the colors from the sRGB gamut.

On the bright side, you get both IR face recognition and a fingerprint sensor. Although you won’t have 5G support any time soon, this is an uncompromised enterprise machine. You have everything you need. Yes, probably it’s not the best out there in any of the stuff we just listed, but it comes pretty close. This is why we gave the device an Editor’s Choice award.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/lenovo-thinkpad-t15-gen-2/

Pros

  • Great spill-resistant backlit keyboard
  • Good battery life
  • A bunch of privacy and security features
  • Dual Thunderbolt 4 support
  • Optional LTE card
  • Doesn’t use PWM to adjust screen brightness (AUO B156HAN02.1)
  • There are premium materials in the build
  • Decent performance
  • Abundance of ports

Cons

  • Quite expensive
  • 52% of sRGB coverage (AUO B156HAN02.1)





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