Thinkpad T14 vs T14s vs Ideapad 5

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by Scollurio, Jun 25, 2020.

  1. Scollurio

    Scollurio Notebook Enthusiast

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    I've been looking to get a laptop for my work (writer, graphics designer) for quite a while. I definitely want an AMD machine, so not too many options. I've always had a soft spot for Thinkpads so I've been waiting for the 2020 Ryzen refresh of the lineup, seems like mid of July they'll be available.

    I've found a listing of all those machines on an austrian (where I come from) retailers website with accurate, final specs on the machines. Now I have questions:

    • Is there any advantage going T14 over T14s in terms of thermals? The battery is actually a bit smaller, I've noticed. I can do with 16 GB of RAM so no need to get the T14 for that purpose.
    • Why is it, that both the T14 and T14s sport "only" the 15W TDP package of the latest 4000 Ryzen processors, whereas the half-the-price Ideapad 5 gets 25W TDP to work with? I get that business machines are geared towards work away from the outlet, but I'd at least have expected the T14 to go 25W, and the thinner versions, like X series and T14s to go 15W.
    • I'll use my laptop most of the time docked at home and will just occassionally carry it with me to write in nature or show projects to a customer - should I go with the 25W TDP of the Ideapad 5 - will the performance boost even be noticable? (I don't have sustained workloads, just spikes, when creating a PDF from an indesign file, etc...)

    I am honestly a little bit confused now, as I have been waiting a long time for those machines to come out and now I'm a bit stumped. Would love the "notebook nerds" and "tech geeks" from here to weigh in with their opinions. I was even thinking about getting that upcoming Legion laptop which also sports a fat Ryzen 4000 processor AND a dedicated graphics card - which I absolutely don't need for my work, but I could use for gaming - which, to be honest, I have hardly time to do anyways and IF, I can fall back onto my Switch.

    Dang.

    I guess what I'd like to have is educated experiences of you folks on the advantages/disadvantages of going T14 vs T14s vs Ideapad 5. As for the screen - I'd prefer the 400 nits low power panel in FULL HD which is available on both Thinkpads, but not the Ideapad 5. Again... it's mostly docked to a monitor anyways so...

    Opinions? Thoughts?

    Thanks in advance for your input!
     
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  2. Ed. Yang

    Ed. Yang Notebook Evangelist

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    the ThinkPads T series are supposedly to be packed with the “Pro” CPUs that are low in power consumption, designed for corporate use, where long “work journey without pluggin” is often expected.
     
  3. Scollurio

    Scollurio Notebook Enthusiast

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    Yeah that's how I understand it. I just wonder what benefit there would be getting the T14 AMD model (where no dedicated CPU is available) over the T14s (I just checked, apparently the T14s can also have 32 GB Ram) when the battery in the T14s is even bigger than in the T14. So I wonder if the T14 has at least a cooling advantage over the T14s.
     
  4. Starlight5

    Starlight5 Don't call me Chris, my name is Elvis

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    @Scollurio I'd consider L14 and E14 as well, especially if you don't mind putting the desired 400 nit panel yourself. T14/s are arguably overpriced for what they are.
     
  5. Scollurio

    Scollurio Notebook Enthusiast

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    Ah! That's actually a fine idea - replacing the panel myself... is that "doable" for someone who hasn't gone beyond upgrading his 2012 mac mini?
     
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  6. Starlight5

    Starlight5 Don't call me Chris, my name is Elvis

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    @Scollurio on Thinkpads generally yes, they are usually easy to service and their service manuals are readily available. I suggest checking one of those to decide for yourself.

    I am also choosing between T14, L14, L15 & E14 (don't consider T14s because 32GB RAM is on the lower side for me, and all soldered means very expensive). Waiting for notebookcheck reviews of these machines to outline possible engineering flaws, and more detailed partslookup data to make sure factory-installed displays are replaceable with what I have in mind.

    I'd love an alternative with higher resolution display, preferably 3:2 - but being totally in love with Thinkpad keyboard & trackpoint, it seems I'll have to suffer FHD until either Lenovo introduces an AMD Thinkpad with adequate display, or Intel finally produces a competitive & reasonably secure CPU.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2020
  7. Charles P. Jefferies

    Charles P. Jefferies Lead Moderator Super Moderator

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    I think you would need to do the math on whether buying a notebook + replacing the screen is less expensive/less of a hassle than buying the notebook with the screen you want.

    Charles
     
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  8. Scollurio

    Scollurio Notebook Enthusiast

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    Honestly I think for 14" FULL HD is perfectly fine, as long as it is bright enough. That's why I favor the 400 nits low power display. Also my perfect Laptop probably would be an ALL-AMD 14" X1 Extreme, but that's really far of - if ever.
    The thing I'm struggling most with is looking through all the specs and I get the impression, that the T14s has only one soldered RAM DIMM which I think is pathetic for a Ryzen machine, I'd love to have dualchannel, especially for Ryzen. So the T14 has a smaller battery than the T14s, not so sure about upgradeability. L14 has nice price, everything I need, except it only has a 250 nits screen, which I'd have to replace, if it's possible. Otherwise the L14 looks nice, wish it had a larger battery though. I don't mind the 2 mm it's thicker than the T14.
     
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  9. jeremyshaw

    jeremyshaw Big time Idiot

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    Think of the T14s as a "higher end" version of the T14. But "higher end" was a somewhat arbitrary classification that largely reflects thinness and price.

    So the T14s is thinner, it does get a bigger battery, but its internals are shared with the smaller X13 series. This means the RJ45 jack is missing (NIC is still onboard, but you will need either the dock or a special breakout adaptor to use it). Every generation sees the cooling crown shift back and forth.

    Right now, the T14 uses dual heatpipes for the AMD APU and the Intel+Nvidia version, while the T14s gets a single heatpipe for all SKUs. T14 with just Intel CPU has a single heatpipe.

    The T14 also has top firing speakers, whereas the T14s' speakers output from the bottom of the laptop.

    For personal opinions (that really don't apply to this discussion, but I like interjecting), I'd rather have a display that is a pip over 2000px horizontal, since a lot of applications don't effectively scale below ~10XXpx horizontal, making side-by-side application windows a bit of a mess. My experience with 2560x1440 14" on Win10 shows it's not the greatest approach, since the resolution is a bit too high for good battery life and Windows still doesn't scale appropriately in all cases.
     
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  10. Starlight5

    Starlight5 Don't call me Chris, my name is Elvis

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    @Scollurio T14s almost certainly has dual-channel RAM.

    Lenovo uses different displays Low Power 400 nit displays in T14/s, which differ in quality (particularly, pixel response time and PWM or its absence). You can tell which one is used only by serial number of the device, otherwise you get to play the infamous Lenovo display lottery.

    Depending on your requirements, any of the displays may suit you just fine; I personally hate PWM, thus might have to replace the display even after paying the premium for expensive T14 configuration.

    Pretty much the same here, plus 3:2 display a-la Surface Laptop instead of 16:9 4K.

    I used 14" WQHD on X1C3 with 100% scaling just fine. Alas, not an option for AMD Thinkpads - unlike Intel. This Lenovo's policy - one either gets a crappy CPU, or gets to choose between subpar displays - 14" WQHD & 4K displays generally are also better in other regards, e.g. color accuracy - is frankly annoying the hell out of me. The saddest part it's not only Lenovo - finding an AMD machine with high-res display is close to impossible, there are only few available so far.
     
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