Lenovo ThinkPad 13 inch
The excellent keyboard, the robust design, a fingerprint reader, rich connectivity and good autonomy
The 2016 version of Lenovo’s ThinkPad 13 was an affordable and well-designed laptop. His successor followed the same path.
It is available in three configurations with a tariff that starts with Intel Core i3-7100U, 4GB of RAM, 180 GB of SSD and a graphics chip Intel HD Graphics 620. A configuration “upscale” offers a Core i5, 4GB of RAM and 256 GB of SSD.
Designed for professional use, the ThinkPad 13 also makes a great machine for personal, school and everyday office use. It is small enough and relatively light (1.4 kg) to be transported daily to the workplace. Its design is not exceptional, but it is robust. Its plastic chassis has been subjected to 12 standards of military-grade ruggedness and over 200 quality controls (dixit Lenovo) that allow it to handle high temperatures, shock and vibration.
But it is the keyboard that is the main asset of this laptop. The keys are firm and there are left, right and center mouse buttons below the spacebar. The central button can be configured for scrolling or middle clicking.
Only defects, the keyboard is not backlit and the touchpad a little small. The TrackPoint (small red button in the center of the keyboard) guides the cursor on the screen. This solution, which was once an alternative to the touchpad, only survives on Lenovo models.
The entry-level model that we tested was very satisfying for video streaming, web surfing, messaging and office automation. We started to feel latency after a dozen open tabs in Microsoft Edge including one for video streaming. It will not ask too much in terms of graphics performance, so forget about Photoshop and video editing. The ThinkPad 13 is designed to go to the basics and it does it well.
Its HD screen (full HD on mid-range and high-end configurations) is fine for YouTube video and desktop, but less for movies. The matte finish reduces glare but the brightness and saturation are not as good as on other multimedia laptops. The 180 degree hinge allows to adjust the angle to always have good visibility.
The connection is rather complete:
- -3 USB 3.0 ports;
- -1 HDMI port;
- -1 USB-C port;
- -1 OneLink + port for the Lenovo docking station;
- -1 4 in 1 memory card reader
For autonomy, Lenovo announces 11 hours. In our endurance test, the ThinkPad 13 held 8.5 hours. It’s better than last year’s model, but not as good as competitors like the HP LG Gram or HP EliteBook x360, which both hold 11.5 hours.
This second-generation ThinkPad 13 retains the rugged finish, excellent keyboard, and full connectivity of last year’s model, plus longer battery life, a faster processor, and a fingerprint reader. A good choice for those looking for a simple and robust laptop for work or study.