Lenovo’s ThinkPad range of laptops are quite popular among professionals and enterprise users who primarily want one for productivity. The ThinkPad 13 is one of the latest notebooks to make its way to India with a focus on enterprise users. Priced at Rs 62,000, it features mid-range specifications, and is only available to purchase for professionals.
One of the key highlights of the Lenovo ThinkPad 13 is that it is built to pass 12 military-grade tests including low and high temperatures, humidity, shock and vibrations. Although we did not put it through any extreme testing, this type of ruggedness is not something that you can find in laptops in this price range. I’ve been using the ThinkPad 13 for about three weeks now and here is my review.
Lenovo ThinkPad 13 Design and Build
The laptop has a no-frills, simple design that looks elegant in its own right. Weighing just 1.4kg, the notebook is quite compact, lightweight and easy to carry around. The body is made from thick plastic, but it does not feel cheap at all. However, considering the cost, I would have preferred a metal body at the very least.
While Lenovo’s Yoga-series laptops have the display lid rotating to a full 360-degrees, the ThinkPad 13’s lid can be taken back to 180 degrees. Unlike some laptops where the hinge is wobbly, the one on this one is pretty good in keeping the lid sturdy in one position, even when travelling in a bus or a cab with a bumpy ride.
The lid surface has a soft plastic with a rubber-like matte finish to it. This not only offers a proper grip when you are holding the notebook in your hand, but also helps in keeping the fingerprints away to a good extent. At the top-left corner, you have ThinkPad branding with the dot in the ‘i’ character having an LED light. ALSO READ: Lenovo P2 Review
Open the lid and you have the nicely fitted, spill resistant keyboard with well-spaced keys. The keys have good travel and it is comfortable to type even when working for long hours. Below the keyboard, you have the trackpad which is pretty accurate. You also have a separate left and right click buttons and a scroll button above the trackpad area. For secured authentication, you also have a fingerprint reader, but somehow the software didn’t work in our case. On the bottom right corner, you also have ThinkPad branding – and the ‘i’ letter has an LED here too.
Similar to other business notebooks from Lenovo, the ThinkPad 13 also comes with the TrackPoint pointing stick (the little red knob) placed between the G, H and B buttons on the keyboard. It helps to accurately navigate around the desktop, select text or crop images. Those who have used the ThinkPads before and are used to the pointing stick will appreciate it, but for those who are new to it, you’ll need a little time to get used to. ALSO READ: Lenovo Yoga 710 Review
Talking about connectivity ports, the left edge has the power input port, OneLink+ port where you can connect an adapter for VGA port and RJ45 LAN port, and a USB 3.0 port. On the right, you have a USB Type-C port, HDMI port, two USB 3.0 port, 3.5mm audio jack and a 4-in-one card reader – allowing you to use an SD card, SD-HC, SD-XC and an MMC card.
Lenovo ThinkPad 13 Specifications
As the name suggests, the laptop features a 13.3-inch HD display running at a resolution of 1366×768 pixels. With brightness that can go up to 200nits, the display is pretty bright. The panel has good color reproduction – colors are well saturated, whites are bright and blacks are deep too. The screen has a matte finish which is good as it helps to keep the glare away. However, considering the price tag, I’d have expected Lenovo to offer at least a full-HD panel. ALSO READ: Lenovo Yoga Book Review
Powering the Lenovo ThinkPad 13 is Intel’s sixth-gen Core i5-6200 processor with maximum turbo frequency of 2.4GHz, paired with 8GB of RAM and an integrated graphics solution. The laptop also comes with a 192GB SSD (SATA3), out of which about 148GB is available to use. Apart from this, you also get Bluetooth 4.1, Wi-Fi 802.11ac and an integrated HD webcam for video calling, and the quality is decent enough.
Lenovo ThinkPad 13 Performance
The notebook takes about eight seconds to boot to homescreen from the shutdown state. Everyday performance is no issue at all, thanks to the Core i5 processor and 8GB of RAM. Windows 10 Pro is also well optimized and I never faced any issue where the notebook tended to lag.
To test the stress load on the notebook, I had 12 tabs open on Chrome – out of which one had a full-HD video running on YouTube and one had Flickr open. With these things running on the browser, I was also transferring some data from an external hard disk to the notebook, had a Microsoft Word document open, and some apps updating on Microsoft Store. And even with this usage, it ran butter-smooth.
I even tried some gaming on the ThinkPad 13, and while I didn’t expect it to play the graphics-heavy games, the likes of Dota 2, Left4Dead2, Rocket League and Microsoft Flight Simulator X did run well. However, the only thing I had to do was ensure that the graphics settings were kept on low.
For multimedia, you have two speakers at the bottom, placed on either side. While they lack definition, they are loud enough to let you listen to music when sitting in a room. However, watching a movie could be a challenge and not all the dialogues were clearly audible to be during my testing.
Lenovo ThinkPad 13 Battery Life
Be it smartphones or laptops, battery life is always a key aspect and the ThinkPad 13 does not disappoint. It takes about two hours to fully charge the battery. And on a single charge, it lasts about nine hours. This is less than 11 hours that Lenovo promises, but battery life also depends on how one uses the laptop. ALSO READ: Lenovo K6 Power Review
During my time using the laptop, I had the brightness set between 40 to 60 percent. With Wi-Fi connected all the time, listening to some music, working on Google Docs throughout the day, watching a few music videos and a couple of episodes. With usage like this, the battery always lasted for at least eight hours, which is really not bad at all. Of course, when playing games such as Left4Dead2 and Microsoft Flight Simulator X on Steam, the battery barely lasted about two-and-a-half hours, but that’s expected as more power and resources are utilized.
The ThinkPad 13 is one of the interesting laptops in the Rs 65,000 price range that I have reviewed so far. Right from smooth performance, to the comfortable keyboard and a good battery life, the ThinkPad 13 is an ultrabook one could want for hours of work on the go. The compact and lightweight nature further makes it easy to carry around.
However, there are a few things left to be desired. For once, a full HD display in place of an HD panel would have been better. Secondly, a backlit keyboard would have been much better addition. And thirdly, while being one of Lenovo’s affordable ThinkPad laptops, it’s sad that the product is not easily available to purchase for everyone, except enterprise users. There are a number of laptop options you can go for in its price range with better specifications and design. However, for the performance, battery life and ruggedness, the ThinkPad 13 is surely an option worth considering, at least for the enterprise users, considering that the laptop cannot be purchased through ordinary consumer channels.
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