The Best Laptops: Top ultraportable, workstation, gaming and more – TechSpot
Great | Differentiating Features
Best-in-class backlit and spill resistant keyboard, great build quality (MIL-SPEC 810G certified), hot swappable battery.
Good | Most Have It
Excellent performance, battery life. Free M.2 slot for expanding storage.
Average | Competitors May Be Better
No display upgrades beyond 1080p.
The legendary Thinkpad T is synonymous with business-minded workstations, and Lenovo’s latest addition to the line continues that tradition with what we believe is the best Thinkpad in years. The T450s brings Intel’s Broadwell chips to the lineup, a redesigned trackpad, an amazing keyboard and a small footprint reduction, among other improvements.
There are three screen options including matte TN and IPS panels as well as glossy IPS, all of them 14-inch full HD with a 16:9 aspect ratio. They’re quite bright with excellent viewing angles and color reproduction. Our recommendation at $1,479 includes the non-touch IPS option, along with an Intel Core i7-5600-U, 256GB SSD and 8GB DDR3L. The T450s also ships with a free M.2 slot so you can expand storage with your own separately bought SSD instead of paying for more expensive manufacturer upgrades, while the RAM module is also easily replaceable (the system board integrates 4GB of non-removable DDR3L plus a single user-upgradable SO-DIMM slot). For graphics you’ll have to make do with the integrated Intel HD 5500 GPU but it’s good enough to deliver 4K content and even some light gaming.
Performance-wise the ThinkPad T450s fared admirably in our tests, while others including PCMag and Notebook Check tested a different configuration also found it to outclass its competition in this category. Battery life is also excellent and you’ll easily get enough juice for an 8-hour work day — plus the battery is hot swappable if you want to carry around a spare.
Elsewhere you get a beautiful backlit and spill resistant keyboard that’s very comfortable to type on. We actually think it’s the best on any laptop. The redesigned trackpad is another highlight, bringing back physical buttons, while common multi-touch gestures like right-clicking and scrolling by tapping or dragging two fingers finally works reliably. In terms of connectivity, dual video outputs (VGA, Mini DisplayPort), 3 x USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac + Bluetooth 4.0 and an optional smartcard reader will have the needs of most covered.
If you are familiar with the ThinkPad T series you know what to expect design-wise. Some people love the look, others hate it, but it’s definitely well built and durable. The bottom case and internal rollcage are made of magnesium alloy which eliminates flex but keeps things light, combined with its carbon fiber lid it weighs a total 3.5 pounds. Overall the ThinkPad T450s offers first class value for business professionals in the Windows world.