ThinkPad T450s hands on: Two batteries last 12 hours

Lenovo's 14-inch Ultrabook delivers rugged construction, good performance, and great battery life to make it a reasonable enterprise solution for both office and road.

ThinkPads are premium business laptops that have durable construction to stand up to the bumps of the road. The ThinkPad T450s delivers that sturdy construction in a black matte case with a 14-inch touch screen. It is built with Lenovo's Power Bridge technology that uses a second battery to get professionals through the day.

The T450s has state-of-the-art components that performed well in our testing. The fifth generation Intel processor and fast SSD storage power Windows 8.1 smoothly.

ThinkPad T450s hardware specs as reviewed:

  • OS: Windows 8.1
  • CPU: Fifth generation Intel Core i5-5300U 2.3 GHz
  • Memory/storage: 8GB/256GB
  • Display: 14-inch, 1920 x 1080, touch screen
  • Card reader: 4-in-1 (SD, MMC, SDHC, SDXC)
  • Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n; Bluetooth 4.0
  • Webcam: 720p
  • Ports: 3-USB 3.0; VGA; miniDP; RJ45; Audio in/out
  • Battery: 95Wh; almost 13 hours with second 3-cell battery supplied
  • Dimensions: 13.03 x 8.9 x 0.83 inches
  • Weight: 3.5 lbs
  • Price: $1,547.10

The hardware

The ThinkPad T450s casing is black matte, typical for the product line. The unit is about 13 inches wide and almost an inch thick, so it's not as thin and light as other laptops. It's still easy to carry around all day, so the durability is worth the trade off.

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The size of the T450s allows Lenovo to include an oversized trackpad which works very well. Thankfully, Lenovo listened to complaints about recent ThinkPad models that lacked the three mouse buttons above the trackpad, and brought them back on the T450s. These buttons work very well with both the trackpad and the familiar red nubbin.

On the left side of the T450s are an assortment of ports: power, USB, miniDP, and a second USB. Moving over to the right side we find: audio, SIM slot (optional), USB, RJ45, and a full sized VGA port. All of the USB ports are version 3.0.

The ThinkPad T450s has a biometric login with an optional fingerprint reader to the right of the trackpad. It functioned OK in our testing, with occasional misreads requiring multiple passes. This is no more accurate nor inaccurate than other products we've tested.

Three key features

The ThinkPad T450s is like most laptops in the product line, with three features that make it a good Ultrabook for the enterprise.

Keyboard

ThinkPads are famous for good keyboards, and the one on the T450s may be the best one Lenovo has produced. The keys have very good travel and good tactile feedback when pressed. The spacing of the keys is perfect, and we found it possible to type as fast on this keyboard as on any we've used. The layout of the keys is traditional, with keys positioned where you expect them.

ThinkPad enthusiasts will appreciate the red nubbin in the middle of the keyboard, used with the three large mouse buttons above the trackpad. It is possible to move the pointer without lifting hands off the keyboard.

Display

We were surprised to find the display to be as good as it is for relatively low resolution (1920 x 1080). The screen is so bright and vivid that we were constantly impressed with how good it looks.

The review unit we received from Lenovo has the touch screen option, and touch operation is smooth and precise. The 14-inch screen is the right size for tapping even tiny controls on the desktop side of Windows 8.1 something not always the case on laptops.

Battery life

The ThinkPad T450s has Lenovo's Power Bridge technology that uses a sealed internal battery in conjunction with a second battery. The second battery is user replaceable, and can be hot swapped for a charged battery when low.

Professionals who travel a lot can buy multiple batteries and swap them out as needed. This puts battery life directly in the hands of the user.

During our testing the internal battery (3 cell) and the second battery (3 cell) together yielded almost 12 hours of battery life. Lenovo offers a 6 cell battery that should take this up near 17 hours. This is truly an all day scenario for the busy professional.

The verdict

The Lenovo ThinkPad T450s is an outstanding Ultrabook that is good for the enterprise. The rugged construction, good performance, and great battery life make it a reasonable solution for both the office and on the road.

Pros:

  • Battery life
  • Great keyboard
  • Good display

Cons:

  • Heavy by today's standards
  • Expensive

Reviewer's rating: 9 out of 10

The unit as reviewed is available from Lenovo for $1,547.10.

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