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Lenovo ThinkPad T450s

Editor's rating (1-5): rating starrating starrating starrating star
Where to Buy

What's Hot: Durable, wide array of ports, very good 1080p display option, Bridge Battery system for long runtimes.

What's Not: It isn't sexy looking unless you're a ThinkPad person.


Reviewed May 15, 2015 by , Editor in Chief (twitter: @lisagade)

Lenovo ThinkPad T450s

The Lenovo ThinkPad T450s is the quintessential modern ThinkPad: a matte black rectangle that's tough enough to go anywhere with all day battery life and a dreamy keyboard. It's modernized--no 2" thick hunk here, even if it's not as slim as the ThinkPad X1 Carbon. The T450s ("s" is Lenovo's slim line designation) weighs 3.5 lbs., which isn't heavy in the least for a 14" business Ultrabook. You still get the expected ThinkPad spill-resistant keyboard with drain holes, magnesium alloy, carbon fiber and a strong inner roll cage, despite the relatively light weight and bigger than average screen (most Ultrabooks are 13.3"). As you might guess, the ThinkPad T450s replaces last year's ThinkPad T440s and refreshes the line with Intel 5th generation CPUs.

Lenovo ThinkPad T450s

The ThinkPad T450s vs. the ThinkPad X1 Carbon

Why buy the T450s rather than the more svelte X1 Carbon? It has more ports, a traditional docking station connector on the bottom, a deeper keyboard with more travel and Lenovo's Bridge Battery system. That makes it a more capable main machine and it obviously fits in well at businesses that have invested in a host of Lenovo ThinkPad docks. If you need a machine as a secondary portable, the X1 Carbon's port selection is fine, but if this is your only or most powerful computer, those T450s ports might be a must-have. Then there's battery life for the road warrior: the ThinkPad T450s has a built-in 3 cell battery and a traditional removable battery at the rear. You can fit it with the 3 cell, 24 Whr battery that fits flush with the bottom or the 6 cell, 72 Whr battery that sticks out a bit. Lenovo claims up to 17 hours of actual use time with the 6 cell battery. In our tests we averaged 12 to 13, which is still quite respectable (brightness set to 50%, WiFi on in mixed productivity and video playback scenarios).

Lenovo ThinkPad T450s

The Lenovo T450s has three USB 3.0 ports, a mini DisplayPort, VGA, Gigabit Ethernet, 3.5mm combo audio, an SD card slot and optional SIM card slot for the 4G LTE model. That's an impressive array of ports for a 14" Ultrabook. A SmartCard reader is optional. Loud stereo speakers fire from the bottom with audio courtesy of Dolby.

Keyboard and Trackpad

The ThinkPad T450s has one of the best keyboards I've ever used. The 1.9mm key travel, sculpted keys and damping come together for typing's perfect storm. As ever with ThinkPads, the keyboard is backlit and you'll turn it on using the Fn and spacebar keys (there are two stages of brightness). Actual mechanical buttons line the top of the trackpad for those who use the TrackPoint eraser stick pointer. The bottom clickers are still the buttonless variety. ThinkPad trackpads are some of the best you'll find in the world of Windows, and the T450s is no exception. The glass Synaptics trackpad tracks perfectly and multi-touch gestures are responsive and reliable. It's as close to a Mac as you'll get in Windows land.

Lenovo ThinkPad T450s


Lenovo also sells the T450 (no "s") that's a half pound heavier and $100 cheaper. While we won't quibble over 8 ounces, we will say that you should get the T450s for its better display options. The T450 is available only with the 1366 x 768 and 1600 x 900 TN panels, while you can get the 1920 x 1080 IPS non-touch ($70) or the same 1080p panel with touch ($310) on the T450s. Those IPS panels are really excellent and are worth the price of admission. Since this is a traditional laptop whose display reclines flat at 180 degrees, we can understand if you forgo the pricey touch option, but do get the 1080p IPS panel. We have the touch variant in for review, and like the non-touch model it has a matte coating that doesn't create hideous grain, but you'll notice it. The display has wide color gamut that matches the top Ultrabooks on the market, and it represents 98% of sRGB and 76% of Adobe RGB. Brightness on ours tested at 282 nits, coming close to Lenovo's 300 nit claim. Color calibration is cool from the factory, as are most laptops, and calibration can bring it in line for those who need color accuracy for photo or video editing.

Lenovo ThinkPad T450s sRGB graph


Deals and Shopping:


Lenovo ThinkPad T450s Video Review


Performance and Horsepower

The ThinkPad T450s ships with 5th generation Intel Broadwell ULV Ultrabook Core i5 and i7 CPUs with Intel HD 5500 graphics. We have the 2.3 GHz Core i5-5300U with Turbo Boost to 2.9 GHz, and a fast 2.5" Toshiba SSD. Our machine benchmarked particularly well, and it's clear that Lenovo did a good job with performance tuning. The base model ($845) ships with the Core i5-5200U, 4 gigs of RAM and a 500 gig HDD with a 16 gig caching SSD to speed up boot and program load times. Our unit has 8 gigs of RAM, and the machine has 4 gigs of RAM soldered on board and 1 SODIMM RAM slot for a max of 12 gigs (20 gigs if you buy Intelligent Memory's new 16 gig RAM module).

The Lenovo is fairly easy to work on and upgrade: remove the Phillips head screws from the bottom cover (all but two are captive screws) and you have access to the RAM slot, internal battery, Intel 7265 dual band WiFi 802.11ac + Bluetooth 4.0 card, an M.2 half height slot and the 2.5" drive bay with a standard SATA connector. From the factory the M.2 slot can be used for a caching drive or a Sierra Wireless 4G LTE card. There's an option for a SmartCard reader that uses an M.2 slot (we assume the one that's on the upper side of the motherboard, not accessible without fully tearing the machine apart).

We rarely heard the fan, even when running a series of demanding benchmarks, and the bottom never got beyond warm. ULV 15 watt Intel laptops generally don't get hot or noisy in a chassis with this much room for cooling.


PCMark 7: 5283
PCMark 8 Home: 2908
Geekbench 3: 2960, multi-core 5970
wPrime: 18.5 sec.

CrystalDiskMark SSD test:

Lenovo ThinkPad T450s sRGB graph

PCMark 7 Benchmark Comparison Table

Lenovo ThinkPad T450s (Core i5, SSD) 5283
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 3rd Gen (core i5-5300U) 5157
Lenovo ThinkPad X250 (Core i5, SSD) 4855
Dell XPS 13 - 2015, 2.2 GHz Core i5-5200U 4952
Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Core i5 5111
Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 14 (HDD, factory spec/ SSD) 3733/ 4603
Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga (Core i5-4200U, 12.5") 4769
Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro 4673
Lenovo ThinkPad X240 4278
Lenovo ThinkPad T440s 4684
Samusng ATIV Book 9 Plus 5050
Acer Aspire S7 (Core i7-4500U) 5075
Asus Zenbook UX303LA, Core i5 4879

More on the Bridge Battery System

For those who are new to Lenovo's T and X series notebooks with the Bridge Battery system, there's a 3 cell battery inside and a standard battery bay at the rear for a removable battery. The removable battery drains first so there's always some power left in the internal battery. That allows for battery hot-swapping without having to shut down the laptop. The removable 3 cell battery sits perfectly flush with the casing, while the 6 cell 72 Whr ($5 when ordered with the machine from Lenovo) raises the rear and has a hump with two rubber feet. The 3 cell battery averaged 7.5 hours of actual use time, while the 6 cell nearly doubled that to 12-13 hours.

The laptop ships with a very compact traditional laptop charger. It's the same charger that ships with a variety of ULV 15 watt CPU laptops including the ThinkPad Yoga 12.5" and the ThinkPad X250. The batteries are interchangeable between the X and T series models with the Bridge Battery system--handy for IT departments.


The Lenovo ThinkPad T450s is bulletproof. No, we don't mean you can shoot it, but you can be reasonably assured it will survive a few drops on the road, a spilled cup of water and even a bit of dust. Yet it's not overly bulky or ungainly, in fact it's rather fetching in that ThinkPad sort of way. You've got to love the Lenovo black matte rectangle to get the ThinkPad's understated elegance. If slim, tapered metal Ultrabooks get you hot and bothered, then the T450s isn't for you. What you do get is a fantastic port selection, a versatile Bridge Battery system, a very good 1080p display, upgradable internals and long battery life. This is the epitome of the road warrior machine.


Price: $845- $1,610

Related Reviews:

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (2015) Review

Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 15 Review

Lenovo ThinkPad T440s Review

Lenovo ThinkPad X250 Review

13" Retina MacBook Pro (2015) Review


Lenovo ThinkPad T450s




Lenovo ThinkPad T450s




Lenovo ThinkPad T450s


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Display: 14", 1600 x 900 LED backlit display, 1920 x 1080 IPS and 1920 x 1080 IPS with touch options, all anti-glare. Intel HD 5500 integrated graphics. Mini DisplayPort and VGA port.

Battery: 3 cell, 23 Whr Lithium Ion rechargeable internal and removable rear 3 cell/24 Whr and 6 cell/72 Whr batteries.

Performance: Intel dual core 5th generation Core i5 and i7 ULV 15 watt processors (Core i5-5200U, Core i5-5300U and Core i7-5600U). 4 to 12 gigs DDR3L 1600MHz RAM (4 gigs soldered on board, 1 RAM slot).

Size: 13.03 x 8.90 x 0.83 inches. Weight: 3.5 pounds.

Camera: 720p webcam with built-in mics.

Audio: Built-in stereo speakers with Dolby audio, mic and 3.5mm stereo combo headphone/mic jack.

Networking: Gigabit Ethernet with RJ45 jack. Integrated Intel 7265 dual band WiFi 802.11b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.0.

Software: Windows 8.1.

Expansion and Ports: 3 USB 3.0 ports, VGA, mini DisplayPort, 3.5mm audio, RJ45 Ethernet, SD card slot and optional SIM card slot for LTE 4G and SmartCard reader..



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