Verdict: Lenovo’s decision to use Team Red’s Ryzen PRO processors for its ThinkPad ThinkPad T14 Gen 1 business laptops didn’t just make them more affordable —they made them more powerful too. While we would have liked more USB Type-C ports, its stellar battery life, and excellent performance make it a great option for businesses looking for a reliable and powerful business laptop.
The ThinkPad T14 Gen 1 is priced at Php 51,869.
- Arguably the best keyboard on a business laptop
- Impressive battery life
- Ryzen 5 PRO processor delivers the goods
- You’re stuck with only 1 USB-C port
- Unconventional MicroSD card slot
- Display not ideal for outdoor use
Lenovo’s ThinkPad line is known as the brand’s workhorse business laptops, serving hundreds of companies with its iconic bento box design and a stellar record of being durable and reliable. Lenovo’s making their iconic do-it-all machine even better by utilizing AMD’s new Ryzen PRO processors, starting with the ThinkPad T14 Gen 1.
As a millennial whose first laptop was a ThinkPad, nothing much has changed design-wise for the Thinkpad line even after all those years. You have the same boxy design dressed in business-appropriate black, a design that’s nondescript as they come. The ThinkPad T14 Gen 1 has a 17.9mm chassis that is made of magnesium alloy and glass fiber, and a lid that uses glass fiber. It’s not as glamorous as laptops that have metal shells or fancy brushed alloy finishes, but it’s tough (it’s been tested and conforms to 12 military-grade requirements), something you want in a business laptop that’s sure to see considerable wear and tear.
The keyboard layout is typical to any ThinkPad, and its spill-resistant design is made especially for clumsier hands. It’s arguably still the best keyboards for business laptops thanks to its clicky response and well-spaced keys which makes them great for long hours of typing. They are also backlit, so you can remain productive even at night.
The speakers and power button are found on top of the keyboard, while you have a tactile trackpad with physical buttons at the bottom and a fingerprint scanner beside it. Of course, it’s not a ThinkPad without the iconic red TrackPoint in the middle of the keyboard.
Even with its slender frame, you get a good set of ports: USB-C 3.2 Gen 2, ThinkPad docking pins, USB-A 3.0 Gen 1, HDMI port, headphone jack, and MicroSD card reader on the left, and an Ethernet port and an always-on USB-A 3.0 Gen 1 on the right side. It just sucks though that the single USB Type-C port doubles as the charging port, which means you can’t use any Type-C cables when you’re topping up power. A more common SD card reader would have been better too.
The ThinkPad T14 Gen 1 gets a 14-inch Full HD display with a familiar 16:9 aspect ratio. The top and bottom bezels are relatively thick for 2020 standards, with the top bezel housing the webcam and ThinkShutter to protect privacy. Viewing angles are good, and the display’s 95% sRGB coverage makes the ThinkPad T14 Gen 1 ideal for doing multimedia work. The panel has a 250nits max brightness, which is fine for indoor work—though it’s a little dim when used outside.
For audio, the ThinkPad T14 Gen 1’s front-firing speakers deliver a good soundstage. The lows are present (though not as strong as those used on higher-end laptops), and there’s good separation between the mids and highs. Audio fidelity remains consistent even when you max out the volume, making the ThinkPad T14 Gen 1 at par with mid-range laptops at its price range. The speakers also come with Dolby Audio, which allows you to further tweak the audio settings according to the content you are consuming.
Our review unit comes with a Ryzen 5 PRO 4650U processor that is paired with 8GB RAM and 256GB NVMe SSD storage. The RAM can be upgraded further, as the ThinkPad T14 Gen 1 has a vacant RAM slot—the 8GB RAM included is soldered.
Going to the processor, the Ryzen 4000 PRO series was announced last May, and AMD’s business-oriented processors offer a significant jump over the previous-generation Ryzen 3000 PRO processors, especially when it comes to multi-core performance.
The Ryzen 5 PRO 4650U has a 6-core/12-thread configuration, which is a jump over the 4-core/8-thread configuration of the previous-generation Ryzen 5 PRO 3500U. With its hexa-core design, the Ryzen 5 PRO 4650U is more powerful than the Core i5-1035G1 that’s used on the ZenBook 13 UX325 and just behind the Core i7-1065G7 that’s found on the IdeaPad Slim 5i when it comes to GeekBench single-core and multi-core benchmarks. However, the Ryzen 5 PRO 4650U trumps both Intel processors when it comes to CineBench R20, and scored close to the Core i7-1065G7 in PCMark.
Compared to the Core i7-10510U used on the ThinkBook Plus, the ThinkPad T14 Gen 1’s Ryzen 5 PRO 4650U beats the Intel processor in all benchmarks, save for GeekBench single core. That’s very impressive considering the ThinkPad T14 Gen 1 costs half of the ThinkBook Plus’ SRP.
Together with its Vega integrated graphics, the ThinkPad T14 Gen 1 worked great as my daily driver, which includes batch editing photos in Lightroom, typing several articles for the site (including this review), and editing a few graphic layouts in Photoshop. While a 256GB NVMe SSD storage may sound small these days, the ThinkPad T14 Gen 1’s 8GB RAM did well with day-to-day work, delivering an overall smooth experience.
As a business-focused processor, the Ryzen 5 PRO has added features like AMD Memory Guard for full memory encryption, native support for Microsoft Endpoint Manager, and up to 18 months of planned software stability. For software, the ThinkPad T14 Gen 1 comes with Windows 10 Pro and Lenovo Vantage pre-installed.
For the battery, our review unit comes with a 50wHr battery, which is roughly the same size used on the Intel-based ThinkPad T480. Running our YouTube video loop test gave us a battery life of a little over 7 hours, which is impressive for a business laptop that is priced at under Php 52k. One factor to the ThinkPad T14 Gen 1’s laudable battery life is due to the Ryzen 5 PRO 4650U’s 7nm-based Zen2 architecture. Charging is done via 65w USB-PD, so topping up the battery from flat to 100% will take you around 2 hours.
While the ThinkPad T series are generally expensive—the current ThinkPad T480 is priced at almost Php 91k, the Ryzen-powered ThinkPad T14 Gen 1 makes the mainstream ThinkPad line more accessible with a sub-Php 52k price. While it does not have the brightest display and you’re stuck with one USB-C port and a rather unconventional MicroSD card reader, the ThinkPad T14 Gen 1’s Ryzen 5 PRO processor gives it great value for money when it comes to overall performance and stellar battery life.
In addition, the ThinkPad T14 Gen 1’s sub-Php 52k price tag makes it a great option for businesses that insist on the renowned reliability of ThinkPad laptops without spending too much.