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Thinkbook 14 review: The remarkably unremarkable business laptop

Simple, fuss-free, almost boring even — but that is exactly what you would describe the Lenovo Thinkbook 14. It doesn’t have any particularly fancy features or design aspects, it simply is as regular a laptop can be.

Suffice to say, the Thinkbook 14 is aimed towards business professionals, with the entire package seemingly crafted for the average worker. It begins with its design; the bare metal aluminium finish combed with the unassuming Thinkbook logo on the case makes for a discreet laptop that you could bring around without drawing attention.

Thinkbook 14: Ports

The casing itself is sturdy, with not much flex when putting pressure on it. You should be able to rest easy knowing that it can handle a couple of light tumbles.

It also comes with a decent selection of ports — two USB-A ports (including a hidden one which is useful for wireless mouse dongles), two USB-C ports (with one that allows charging), an ethernet port, an HDMI port, an SD card reader and a port for your charger. With that much utility, you don’t have to worry about bringing extra dongles. Combined with the design aesthetic, it’s almost the perfect portable laptop to carry around. 

Thinkbook 14: Hidden USB

And it’s just that, almost perfect. Why? Its weight. Make no mistake, the Thinkbook 14 is not heavy, but at 1.5kg it isn’t quite as light as it could be, especially for its size. For comparison, the Lenovo X1 Carbon is the same size with a similar port selection but weighs 0.5kg lighter. Again, it isn’t something that is a huge detriment when carrying it around, but you will notice the weight and wonder whether Lenovo could have worked to shed a few extra grams.

If the name wasn’t obvious enough, the Thinkbook 14 is a laptop which comes with a 14-inch FHD screen. Bezels are nicely thin around the display though there is still a noticeable chin at the bottom. It is also fitted with a matte display to ward off glare from sunlight, but you’d find that glare won’t be the thing that will keep you from seeing the screen. 

The display is woefully dim, even in an enclosed space with no natural lighting. Even when configuring to have the best display, you’d only get 250-nits peak brightness; which means you’d almost always have to keep the brightness pretty high in order to read or see the content without squinting. Bring sunlight into the equation and that makes it even tougher to view what’s on-screen, even with the matte display.

Thinkbook 14: Display

Even under perfect conditions, this brightness issue keeps you from fully enjoying whatever media content that is on the screen. Against stark backgrounds, colours can be eye-catching to a certain degree but would be so much more vivid with more brightness. Simply put, the Thinkbook 14 is suited more for viewing work-related matters and casual YouTube watching rather than to be used to enjoy colour-rich spectacles like blockbuster movies.

Thinkbook 14: Keyboard and Touchpad

The keyboard fares better. It has a nice travel distance and is generally comfortable to type on. The touchpad is also of a decent size and is typically responsive to touch commands, though sometimes it makes me mistakenly do something I did intend to like dragging out tabs when I simply just wanted to select it.

At the top, the power button acts as a fingerprint sensor for quickly logging into the laptop. It works well enough, log-ins were fast and swift and there weren’t any misses noticed in regards to fingerprint detection.

Thinkbook 14: Fingerprint sensor

On using the Thinkbook 14, there were no issues that sprung up while testing the laptop. The Intel Core i5-10210U Processor that was fitted with our configuration seemed to handle basic productivity work (web-browsing, light Photoshop) fine with no slowdowns. Fans were also generally quiet, even when they usually ramp up on booting up the device.

Don’t expect to game much on this laptop though. The Intel Integrated Graphics that came with the laptop is only for casual games like Portal; mid to AAA level games do not run well even on the lowest graphic settings.

Most pleasantly surprising was the actual battery life of the device. Since the display brightness had to be usually set quite high during general usage, there was an expectation that the Thinkbook 14 would have sub-par battery life. But it managed to last around 8 hours before needing to charge.

Thinkbook 14: Charger

It uses the included 65W USB-C charger to charge the battery, and its small brick size makes it an easily portable device to bring along especially for long travel. It’s nice that Lenovo included a light indicator to show that the battery is charging when plugged in, though it does take a few seconds to light up and makes you question if you actually plugged it correctly.


The Lenovo Thinkbook 14 is kind of like the third child in a family. It doesn’t go out of its way to do wild unnecessary things like second-born but it also does not go out to set exceptionally high standards for itself like the first-born — it simply keeps to itself by not hogging the limelight and does the job to a well enough degree, just like a third-born would.

So if you just need a simple laptop to do basic tasks for work and maybe sometimes indulge on a couple of cat videos on YouTube during breaks, the Thinkbook 14 can at least do that for you; and for its price, it’s a decent option as well. 

Thinkbook 14

From S$899
7

Overall

7.0/10

Pros

  • Simple and Elegant
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • Could be lighter
  • Dim display
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Russell Matthew Loh

Yes I have two names. no I'm not Eurasian. Self-professed David Fincher fan.

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