Lenovo’s ThinkPad lineup needs almost no introduction, being one of the most well known business lineups around. The T series has been around for what seems like forever, and it is the premium lined aimed at the business and enterprise segments.  The lineup includes both 14 and 15-inch models, and today we have the ThinkPad T450s which is a 14-inch model. The “s” addendum designates that this is the slim version of the T450.

Lenovo calls this an Ultrabook, and although that definition has expanded over the years, the T450s is not your typical ultra-thin notebook. That is not always a bad thing either as we will see later in the review. The T series sits between the thin and light X series and the mobile workstation P series ThinkPads.

When discussing business notebooks, there are generally a few features added that are not available in your typical consumer grade notebook. These are going to be things like Smart Card readers, Intel’s vPro technology, docking connectors, Ethernet connectivity and a durable chassis. Lenovo offers all of this on even their slim model T450s, which is basically as thin as it can be to still include a RJ-45 Ethernet port.

Durability is something that business wants too, since these devices are going to be used as long as they can be before replacement. Lenovo includes a very strong magnesium chassis and uses carbon fibre on the lid with glass fibre used where the radios are to limit attenuation. The keyboard is spill-resistant, and the T450s has been tested against Mil-SPEC 810G testing on things like humidity, temperature, vibration, radiation, and both mechanical and temperature shock. Durability is of course something that we can’t test, but having passed these standardized tests should mean that the T450s will perform well for employees over the long haul.

Since this is classified as an Ultrabook, it should be no surprise then that it is powered by the Intel Core U series chips, and Lenovo offers the Core i5-5200U, i5-5300U, and i7-5600U models. Memory includes 4 GB of RAM soldered onto the motherboard and one DIMM slot which can handle up to 16 GB of DDR3L-1600 for a total of 20 GB available on this notebook. Display options are 1600x900, or 1920x1080 with either a matte coating or optional touch. A full list of the specifications are below.

Lenovo ThinkPad T450s
  As Tested, Core i5-5300U, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, 1920x1080 IPS display with Touch
Processor Intel Core i5-5200U (2C/4T, 2.2-2.7GHz, 3MB L3, 14nm, 15w)

Intel Core i5-5300U (2C/4T, 2.3-2.9GHz, 3MB L3, 14nm, 15w)

Intel Core i7-5600U (2C/4T, 2.6-3.2GHz, 4MB L3, 14nm, 15w)
Memory 4GB onboard, 1 DIMM, 20GB max DDR3L-1600Mhz
Graphics Intel HD 5500 (24 EU, 300-900 MHz on i5, 300-950 Mhz on i7)
Display 14.0" 1600x900 TN

Optional 1920x1080 IPS
Optional Mult-touch
Storage 500GB to 1TB HDD
128GB SATA SSD
180GB or 256GB SATA SSD with Opal 2 Support
512GB SSD SATA
Networking Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7265 (802.11ac, 2x2:2, 866Mpbs Max, 2.4 and 5GHz)
Intel Gigabit Ethernet I218-LM
Optional Sierra Wireless EM7345 LTE
Audio Stereo Speakers (downfiring) 1 watt x 2
Dual Array Microphone
Battery 23 Wh Internal Battery
Power Bridge Battery Options:
23 Wh 3 Cell
48 Wh 6 Cell
72 Wh 6 Cell
Up to 95 Wh total
45 Watt charger
Right Side USB 3.0
VGA
Headset Jack
SD Card Reader
Ethernet
Left Side 2 USB 3.0 Ports
Mini-DisplayPort
Smart Card Reader Slot
Power Connector
Dimensions 331 x 226 x 21.1mm (13.03 x 8.90 x 0.83 inches)
Weight 1.59 kg (3.5 lbs) with 46Wh Battery
Extras 720p Webcam
Backlit Spill-Resistant Keyboard
Fingerprint Reader
Pricing $950 base
$2200 Max (Core i7, 20GB RAM, 512GB SSD, 1080p w/Touch, LTE Modem)
As Tested: $1500

The ThinkPad T450s is not yet offered with Windows 10, so this review was done with Windows 8.1 Pro installed. Lenovo has some interesting technology available in the T450s including their Power Bridge technology. This is a very smart setup and includes a 23 Wh battery integrated into the front of the laptop, and a removable battery at the rear. The default option is another 23 Wh battery, but Lenovo also offers both 48 Wh and 72 Wh battery options for the rear model as well, so the T450s can be used with a massive 95 Wh of capacity in one charge. The coolest part of the Power Bridge though is that the rear battery is discharged first, and it can be swapped out with the laptop still running so if you have a couple of extra batteries you would be able to work offline for a very long time.

Storage offerings start with mechanical drives, but you can of course opt for solid state storage as well which is always going to be a better experience. Lenovo also offers Opal2 offerings which is going to be popular with a lot of businesses.

The Thinkpad T450s is aimed right at the heart of business, with plenty of features that businesses look for, a well built chassis, and MIL-Spec tested components. Though it is not as thin and light as a lot of Ultrabooks, including Lenovo’s own ThinkPad X1 Carbon, there is a lot of laptop here which should be interesting to anyone looking for a 14-inch laptop. Let’s start with the design.

Design
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  • DanNeely - Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - link

    Dell did get an initial exclusivity period for the display. That period was supposed to run out last month, so hopefully we'll see similar designs from other vendors in the near future. Although hopefully those vendors will accept a slightly larger top bezel to avoid the neckbeard/nosehair camera problem on the XPS13.

    http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2015/01/hands-on-de...
    Reply
  • nerd1 - Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - link

    This is business laptop with MIL STD certification... and still way cheaper than consumer apple laptops. Reply
  • bug77 - Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - link

    No Skylake? Why bother with the review? Reply
  • retrospooty - Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - link

    Yeah, we have been ordering T450S's since February. Seems alot late on the review with Skylake models (T460?) to be released soon. Reply
  • bug77 - Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - link

    Or maybe that's the catch and Skylake will be as rare as Broadwell was last year. Thus new models may still be a long way off. Reply
  • retrospooty - Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - link

    Possibly... Buts its really not an issue with their enterprise sales. The T450s is still an amazing laptop for corporate use. They are tough, reliable and perform well. Perfect for their design and that is why ThinkPads are the # corp purchase year after year after year, going back long before Lenovo even bought the line from IBM. I found this on their site... {The T450 and T550 series] - Ultra-durable and tested to US military specifications that validate the ruggedness, durability, and quality of this laptop by testing against 11 parameters: High pressure, humidity, vibration, high temperature, temperature shock, low pressure (15,000 ft), low temperature, solar radiation, fungus, salt fog, and dust. In addition, innovative roll-cage technology and carbon-fiber reinforced casing adds extra strength and rigidity. Reply
  • Brett Howse - Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - link

    As I mentioned in the review, Lenovo sent this to me a while ago but it's been a busy time. But regardless, there are no Skylake devices out yet in this form factor.

    When they are, we'll review them. If Lenovo does an upgrade to Skylake it will likely be a similar device with a new processor so this review would be useful even for that.
    Reply
  • retrospooty - Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - link

    Gotcha... It would have been great if Lenovo sent a major site like Anandtech a unit in March when they started shipping in the US. It's a great laptop though, I see them daily and want one bad... But I got a new one last year, so I really dont "need" one yet. :( Reply
  • bug77 - Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - link

    Is the SSD replaceable on these? Is it soldered in place? Because you didn't mention it in the review and I don't see pictures of the back either. And also, Lenovo charges $300 for an upgrade from 256 to 512MB :D

    I expect Skylake to show a whole different performance level from the iGPU (which I don't particularly care about) and probably put those batteries to better use (which I relay, really care about).
    Reply
  • AlphaCluster - Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - link

    The ssd is replacable as its a 2.5 inch or m.2 card (don't know for sure the Lenovo provided one) but either would be replacable cause the only soldered that one might expect to replace is the first 4gb of ram. So there is a 2.5 bay, m.2 slot and a single ram slot all accessible via the bottom panel. You can even get the maintenance manual off lenovos site which explains how to replace all of these. Reply

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