Lenovo ThinkPad L13 Gen 3 review – they finally made it smaller

Lenovo has finally given the ThinkPad L13 series the treatment it deserves. Now, it is smaller than ever and has a screen with a 16:10 aspect ratio. Essentially, the overall shape and design of the product haven’t changed a lot, as it still respects its ThinkPad roots.

However, we see an interesting choice regarding the processor options. Expectedly, the device is offered with both Intel and AMD CPUs. While Team Blue supplied the 12th Gen Alder Lake options, Team Red only goes for the refreshed Ryzen 5000U devices.

This is not necessarily a bad idea. They are less expensive, and some people might argue that they offer better efficiency. And after all, the ThinkPad L13 Gen 3 is a business notebook, so efficiency is significantly more important than a bit more raw performance.

In the next paragraphs, you will learn how good (or bad) is the hardware on this machine. Also, we’re going to talk about the changes Lenovo introduced in this model, as well as the features you are getting with it.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/lenovo-thinkpad-l13-gen-3-amd/

Contents


Specs Sheet

Lenovo ThinkPad L13 Gen 3 (AMD) - Specs

  • IVO M133NW4J R4
  • Color accuracy  3.4  3.1
  • HDD/SSD
  • up to 1000GB SSD
  • M.2 Slot
  • 1x 2242 M.2 PCIe 4.0 x4  See photo
  • RAM
  • up to 32GB
  • OS
  • Windows 11 Pro, Windows 10 Pro, Windows 11 Home
  • Battery
  • 46Wh
  • Body material
  • Plastic / Polycarbonate, Aluminum, Glass Fiber
  • Dimensions
  • 305 x 218 x 17.3 mm (12.01" x 8.58" x 0.68")
  • Weight
  • 1.25 kg (2.8 lbs)
  • Ports and connectivity
  • 1x USB Type-A
  • 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • 1x USB Type-A
  • 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps), Sleep and Charge
  • 2x USB Type-C
  • 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps), Power Delivery (PD), DisplayPort
  • HDMI
  • 2.0
  • Card reader
  • Ethernet LAN
  • Wi-Fi
  • 802.11ax
  • Bluetooth
  • 5.2
  • Audio jack
  • 3.5mm Combo Jack
  • Features
  • Fingerprint reader
  • optional
  • Web camera
  • HD / FHD
  • Backlit keyboard
  • optional
  • Microphone
  • Dual Array Microphone, far-field, Dolby Voice
  • Speakers
  • 2x 2W Stereo Speakers, Dolby Audio
  • Optical drive
  • Security Lock slot
  • Kensington Lock

What’s in the box?

Inside the pretty standard packaging, we find some paper manuals, as well as a 65W USB Type-C charger.


Design and construction

There are two types of materials that you’ll find in this notebook’s build. One of them is aluminum, and it is used for the lid, while the other is a Glass Fiber-reinforced plastic, which comprises the base and the chassis.

As you can imagine, the metal lid is somewhat rigid, while the base can be really flexy. On the bright side, the profile measures 17.3mm, which is 0.3mm thinner than last year. While this doesn’t sound particularly impressive, wait to hear about the weight, which is now 1.25 kg – some 140 grams lighter than the Gen 2 device.

Not only that, but the lid can be opened with a single hand, and features a significantly slimmer bottom bezel. It is courtesy of the 16:10 display, which is essentially a bit taller than the “regular” 16:9 aspect ratio.

Furthermore, there is an HD (or an optional Full HD) Web camera above it, which comes with a privacy shutter, and an optional IR face recognition scanner. This, however, is not the only biometric authentication device, as you can get a fingerprint reader, embedded into the power button.

The keyboard itself is pretty good. It has clicky feedback, while the key travel seems slightly shallower than what we’re used to. However, the backlight and the spill resistance make it a rather desirable product.

Not to mention the fact that it features a TrackPoint – some people still love these little nipples. It also works with the trio of buttons placed right above the touchpad. By the way, the touchpad has a Mylar surface and a size of 56 by 115 mm, which is definitely bigger than last year.

Turn the laptop upside down, to find the two speaker cutouts and the ventilation grill. The cool air is worked through the heat sink and exits the machine through a vent in between the base and the lid.

Ports

On the left side, there is a SIM card tray, a USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 2) port with Power Delivery and DisplayPort functions, a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, and an Audio jack. Then, on the right, there is a Kensington Nano lock slot, another USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 2) port with Power Delivery and DisplayPort, a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, and an HDMI 2.0 connector. Either of the USB Type-C ports can be used for charging. Also, there is a Smart Card reader on the front.


Disassembly, upgrade options, and maintenance

To access this notebook’s internals, you need to undo a total of 8 captive Phillips-head screws. Then, pry the bottom panel with a plastic tool, starting from the back.

Inside, we see a 46Wh battery pack. It got us through 8 hours and 30 minutes of Web browsing, or 8 hours of video playback on a single charge. To remove it, unplug the connector from the motherboard, and undo all 4 Phillips-head screws.

As you can see, the memory is soldered to the motherboard. You can find configurations with 8, 16, and 32GB of DDR4 RAM, working at 3200MHz. Storage-wise, there is one M.2 PCIe x4 slot, which supports 42mm Gen 4 SSDs.

Its cooling comprises a single heat pipe, a heat sink, and a fan of decent size. Furthermore, there is one small heat spreader over the VRMs.


Display quality

Lenovo ThinkPad L13 Gen 3 is equipped with a WUXGA IPS panel, IVO M133NW4J R4 (LEN41A0). Its diagonal is 13.3 inches (33.78 cm), and the resolution – 1920 х 1200p. Additionally, the screen ratio is 16:10, the pixel density – 170 ppi, and their pitch – 0.15 х 0.15 mm. The screen can be considered Retina when viewed from at least 50 cm (from this distance, the average human eye can’t see the individual pixels).

Viewing angles are comfortable. We offer images at different angles to evaluate the quality.

Also, a video with locked focus and exposure.

The maximum measured brightness is 338 nits (cd/m2) in the middle of the screen and 326 nits (cd/m2) average across the surface with a maximum deviation of 10%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen and at maximum brightness is 6710K – slightly colder, almost matching the 6500K temperature standard for sRGB.
In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from a uniformity perspective. The illustration below shows how matters are for operational brightness levels (approximately 140 nits) – in this particular case at 71% Brightness (White level = 140 cd/m2, Black level = 0.07 cd/m2).
Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the laptop for color-sensitive work (a maximum tolerance of 2.0 ). The contrast ratio is very good – 1910:1.

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction to the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.

Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people on HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.

Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.

The yellow dotted line shows Lenovo ThinkPad L13 Gen 3’s color gamut coverage.

Its display covers only 56% of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976.

Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.

We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange, etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

Below you can compare the scores of Lenovo ThinkPad L13 Gen 3 with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right).

The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.

The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale, and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle, and the surrounding light conditions.

Response time (Gaming capabilities)

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and vice versa.

We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 27 ms

After that, we test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “Gray-to-Gray” method from 50% White to 80% White and vice versa between 10% and 90% of the amplitude.


Health impact – PWM / Blue Light

PWM (Screen flickering)

Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM

Lenovo ThinkPad L13 Gen 3’s backlight doesn’t utilize PWM at any brightness level. This makes it comfortable and safe for work across long periods of time.

Blue light emissions

Installing our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin, and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.

Gloss level measurement

Glossy-coated displays are sometimes inconvenient in high ambient light conditions. We show the level of reflection on the screen for the respective laptop when the display is turned off and the measurement angle is 60° (in this case, the result is 50.5 GU).


Buy our profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for Lenovo ThinkPad L13 Gen 3 configurations with 13.3″ IVO M133NW4J R4 (LEN41A0) (FHD+, 1920 × 1200) IPS panel.

*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected]

Read more about the profiles HERE.

In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia's products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.

Office Work

Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.

Design and Gaming

This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.

Health-Guard

Health-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.

Get all 3 profiles with 33% discount


Sound

Lenovo ThinkPad L13 Gen 3’s speakers produce a sound of good quality. Its low, mid, and high tones are clear of deviations.


Drivers

All drivers and utilities for this notebook can be found here: https://pcsupport.lenovo.com/us/en/products/laptops-and-netbooks/thinkpad-l-series-laptops/thinkpad-l13-gen-3-type-21b9-21ba/downloads/driver-list

Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests with the Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits, and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with. Here, the 46Wh battery pack lasts for 8 hours and 20 minutes of Web browsing, or 8 hours of video playback.


CPU options

This device can be found with the Ryzen 3 5425U, Ryzen 5 5625U, or the Ryzen 7 5825U. In addition, you can go for the Ryzen 5 PRO 5675U, or the Ryzen 7 PRO 5875U.


GPU options

The only choice you get is the integrated graphics solution.

Lenovo ThinkPad L13 Gen 3 (AMD) GPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the GPUs that can be found in the Lenovo ThinkPad L13 Gen 3 (AMD) models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which Lenovo ThinkPad L13 Gen 3 (AMD) model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different GPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / GPU.


Gaming tests

cs-go-benchmarks

CS:GO HD 1080p, Low (Check settings) HD 1080p, Medium (Check settings) HD 1080p, MAX (Check settings)
Average FPS 84 fps 53 fps 46 fps

DOTA 2 HD 1080p, Low (Check settings) HD 1080p, Normal (Check settings) HD 1080p, High (Check settings)
Average FPS 120 fps 70 fps 39 fps

Temperatures and comfort

Max CPU load

In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.

Average core frequency (base frequency + X); CPU temp.

AMD Ryzen 5 PRO 5675U (15W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
Lenovo ThinkPad L13 Gen 3 2.89 GHz @ 72°C @ 30W 2.67 GHz @ 82°C @ 25W 2.10 GHz @ 74°C @ 17W

Well, the ThinkPad L13 Gen 3 doesn’t perform miracles in terms of its performance, but the cooling ensures that you will get a rather adequate experience at all times,

Comfort during full load

Moreover, it is quiet, which is essential for business machines. On the other hand, the keyboard might get a bit warm under extreme workload scenarios.


Verdict

The ThinkPad L13 Gen 3 comes with a lot of strong points. All of them, actually, make its business appeal really high. At the same time, the disadvantages won’t really decrease people’s interest in the device.

We are happy to see that Lenovo has gently redesigned the machine’s form factor, now making it slightly thinner and lighter. This is great not only from an aesthetic standpoint but also when you think about long business trips. You will definitely feel the extra 140 grams of the older model if you stay upright all day.

In addition to that, the battery life is slightly improved. While you will get the same 8 hours and 30 minutes of Web browsing, with both models, the Gen 3 device will last for a full hour longer during video playback.

Lenovo ThinkPad L13 Gen 3’s WUXGA resolution, comfortable viewing angles, and a very good contrast ratio. Its backlight doesn’t use PWM, but the color coverage is quite limited. This results in a slightly unattractive image.

Another disadvantage that comes to our mind is the soldered memory. No upgrades are available here, with the exception of the single M.2 PCIe x4 slot, which is limited to 42mm SSDs.

The external port selection is also really important for work, and we can say that the situation here is acceptable. Although you won’t be able to take advantage of Thunderbolt 4, or an SD card reader, the USB Type-C slots feature Power Delivery and DisplayPort support.

The approach here really reminds us of the Dell Latitude 13 3320 from last year. Although there are areas, where the Latitude wins, like in battery life, the ThinkPad L13 Gen 3 remains the better overall product. With its optional IR face recognition and fingerprint reader, it puts its users on a high level of biometric privacy.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/lenovo-thinkpad-l13-gen-3-amd/

Pros

  • No PWM (IVO M133NW4J R4 (LEN41A0))
  • Smaller form factor
  • Premium build quality
  • Great keyboard
  • IR face recognition + fingerprint reader


Cons

  • Soldered RAM
  • Covers only 56% of sRGB (IVO M133NW4J R4 (LEN41A0))
  • No Thunderbolt (due to AMD limitations) and no SD card slot

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