Lenovo ThinkPad T14s review – high-performance processors and a Privacy Guard that blocks unwanted eyes

Today’s machine – the ThinkPad T14s is so powerful, that it’s on the edge of being considered as a workstation device. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The ThinkPad T14s is a slimmer and lighter version of the ThinkPad T14. It comes with AMD’s Ryzen Pro 4000U processors and offers quite a variety of display and configuration options.

Alas, the screen is one of the aces up Lenovo’s sleeve for this one, as it comes with the proprietary Privacy Guard design, which works similarly to HP’s Sure View technology. Upon the press of a button (or a combination of buttons), a secondary backlight flashes and blocks certain viewing angles, so that you have all of your sensitive information to yourself. Or, at least this is how it should work – we’ll check that in a moment.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/lenovo-thinkpad-t14s-gen-1-amd/

Contents


Specs Sheet

Lenovo ThinkPad T14s Gen 1 (AMD) - Specs

  • Innolux N140HCR-GL2
  • Color accuracy  3.2  0.7
  • HDD/SSD
  • up to 2000GB SSD
  • M.2 Slot
  • 1x 2280 PCIe NVMe 3.0 x4  See photo
  • RAM
  • up to 32GB
  • OS
  • Windows 10 Pro, Windows 11 Pro, Windows 11 Home, Windows 10 Home
  • Battery
  • 57Wh, 3-cell, 57Wh
  • Body material
  • Carbon, Magnesium alloy
  • Dimensions
  • 329 x 225.8 x 16.1 mm (12.95" x 8.89" x 0.63")
  • Weight
  • 1.27 kg (2.8 lbs)
  • Ports and connectivity
  • 2x USB Type-A
  • 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • 2x USB Type-C
  • 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps), Power Delivery (PD), DisplayPort
  • HDMI
  • 2.0
  • Card reader
  • MicroSD
  • Wi-Fi
  • 802.11ax
  • Bluetooth
  • 5.1
  • Audio jack
  • 3.5 mm combo
  • Side Docking Connector
  • Features
  • Fingerprint reader
  • optional
  • Web camera
  • HD and IR
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Microphone
  • Dual Array Far-Field Microphone
  • Speakers
  • 2x 1W, Dolby Audio
  • Optical drive
  • Security Lock slot

All Lenovo ThinkPad T14s Gen 1 (AMD) configurations

#CommissionsEarned

What’s in the box?

Inside the package, you will see a 65W USB Type-C power brick, as well as some paper manuals and quick setup guides.


Design and construction

Interestingly, the ThinkPad T14s features a couple of rare material choices. On one hand, the base is made out of magnesium, which is a very strong material and allows for thinner sheets, resulting in less weight. On the other, there is the lid, which is dressed in CFRP Hybrid material, which comes from Carbon fiber reinforced polymer. This is essentially a polymer resin, such as epoxy, which holds the reinforcements – the carbon fiber in this case – together. Ultimately, this results in a laptop that weighs 1.27 kg, has a profile of 16.1mm and is really tough.

Its lid opens easily with one hand, and although its bezels look a bit thick in 2020, the top one holds an HD camera with an optional IR face recognition system and a privacy shutter.

As of the base, there we see a backlit keyboard that sports spill-resistance and the typical for the ThinkPad brand Red Nipple (seriously, Lenovo, you should rebrand the “TrackPoint”). What you should expect from this keyboard is nothing but perfection, as it has long key travel and clicky feedback, which results in a great typing experience. Well, indeed, there is the ever so slight issue with the “Page Up” and “Page Down” keys that are pretty close to the Arrow keys and you might misclick them once in a while, but this is something you can quickly get used to.

Next, you have the touchpad, which sports a Mylar surface (a plastic polymer, imitating glass), which has decent gliding, good tracking, and ELAN drivers. Above it, there are the dedicated buttons, which work in conjunction with the Nipple. By the way, to the right of the touchpad, you can see the fingerprint reader, which works incredibly quickly. And this can be said about the IR face recognition, as well.

When you turn the laptop upside down, you can see the ventilation grill, placed just above the fan. Also, there are the speaker cutouts, while the heat exhaust is happening from the right side (left when it’s upside-down).

Ports

As a typical business machine, the I/O is well-populated. On the left side, you get two USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 2) ports, both of which can be used for charging and DisplayPort signal output. Then, there is the network extension port, a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, an HDMI 2.0 connector, and an audio jack. On the right, there is a security keyhole, a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, and an optional Smart card reader. Interestingly, there is a slot on the back, which is a combo one for nano-SIM cards and MicroSD cards.


Disassembly, upgrade options, and maintenance

Getting inside of this notebook requires the undoing of 5 Phillips-head screws. Then, you just need to pry your way around the device, starting from the back and you’re done.

The cooling solution employs a huge heat pipe and a medium-sized fan.

Sadly, this business laptop doesn’t have upgradeable memory. Yes, you can purchase it with either 8, 16, or 32GB of DDR4 RAM working at 3200 MHz but you can never upgrade it. Then again, you have one M.2 SSD slot, which fits PCIe x4 drives. By the way, right next to the Wi-Fi 6-enabled adapter, there is the optional WAN card, which supports a 4G LTE connection.

And for power away of the plug, you get a 57Wh battery pack.


Display quality

Lenovo ThinkPad T14s has a touchscreen Full HD display, model number Innolux N140HCR-GL2 (LEN40AD). Its diagonal is 14″ (35.56 cm), and the resolution – 1920 х 1080. Additionally, the screen ratio is 16:9, the pixel density – 157 ppi, their pitch – 0.161 x 0.161 mm. The screen can be considered Retina when viewed from at least 55 cm (from this distance, the average human eye can’t see the individual pixels).

This laptop’s display is fitted with the Privacy Guard technology. It is activated with a key combination (Fn+D), and it automatically lowers the brightness down to 40% (about 70 nits). Although it works at all brightness levels, Lenovo has found this to be the optimal level. Interestingly, the effect is clearly visible and works particularly better than other products with this purpose. On the other hand, the viewing angles with the Privacy Guard turned off have definitely taken a hit, and although our image below doesn’t show it, because of the longer exposure time, we can’t brand the viewing angles as comfortable, with this being the toll of having a Privacy Guard.

Privacy Guard OFF

Privacy Guard ON

The maximum measured brightness is 410 nits (cd/m2) in the middle of the screen and 409 nits (cd/m2) average across the surface with a maximum deviation of only 3%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen and at maximum brightness is 6000K (average) – warmer than the 6500K optimum for sRGB.
In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from a uniformity perspective.
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 – 2100:1.

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 in HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. 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 T14s’ color gamut coverage.

Its display covers 96% 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 T14s with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right).

The next figure shows how well the display can reproduce 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 = 21 ms


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 T14s’s backlight does not use PWM. Although there are some pulsations, it is not an obvious PWM. This makes it comfortable for use during long periods, without harming your eyes in this aspect.

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.

Conclusions

Lenovo ThinkPad T14s’ IPS panel is a touchscreen and has a Full HD resolution, high maximum brightness (410 nits), very good contrast ratio, and wide color coverage (96% of the sRGB gamut). In addition to that, its backlight doesn’t flicker at any brightness level, and with the help of our Gaming and Web design profile, the color accuracy matches the standards for sRGB with an Average dE value of 0.7.
Also, the Privacy Guard filter is not perfect, although it works better than some of its competitors. In fact, we found it to be more hindering than useful, and if you don’t necessarily need this function (for top-secret CIA work in a Starbucks for example), we would advise you for getting a device without this function.

Buy our profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for Lenovo ThinkPad T14s configurations with 14.0″ Innolux N140HCR-GL2 (LEN40AD) (FHD, 1920 × 1080) 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 T14s’ speakers have Dolby Audio tuning and relatively good quality. Moreover, the entire frequency range is clear of deviations.


Drivers

All of the drivers and utilities for this notebook can be downloaded from here: https://pcsupport.lenovo.com/us/en/products/laptops-and-netbooks/thinkpad-t-series-laptops/thinkpad-t14s-type-20uh-20uj/downloads/driver-list

Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests with 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. This laptop’s 57Wh battery lasts for 10 hours of 10 minutes of Web browsing and 8 hours and 56 minutes of video playback.


CPU options

As this is the AMD version of the ThinkPad T14s, it can be bought with one of two Ryzen Pro CPUs – the Ryzen 5 Pro 4650U (6c/12t), or the Ryzen 7 Pro 4750U (8c/16t).

Lenovo ThinkPad T14s Gen 1 (AMD) CPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the CPUs that can be found in the Lenovo ThinkPad T14s Gen 1 (AMD) models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which Lenovo ThinkPad T14s Gen 1 (AMD) model is the best bang for your buck.

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


GPU options

Respectively, the integrated graphics options are the Radeon RX Vega 6 and Vega 7, with no dGPU options available.

Lenovo ThinkPad T14s Gen 1 (AMD) GPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the GPUs that can be found in the Lenovo ThinkPad T14s Gen 1 (AMD) models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which Lenovo ThinkPad T14s Gen 1 (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 96 fps 72 fps 47 fps

DOTA 2 HD 1080p, Low (Check settings) HD 1080p, Normal (Check settings) HD 1080p, High (Check settings)
Average fps 103 fps 66 fps 39 fps

rise-of-the-tomb-raider

Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) Full HD, Lowest (Check settings) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, Very High (Check settings)
Average fps 35 fps 24 fps – 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 7 PRO 4750U (15W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
Lenovo ThinkPad T14s 2.55 GHz (B+50%) @ 69°C 2.31 GHz (B+36%) @ 74°C 2.26 GHz (B+33%) @ 92°C

Although it all starts promising, the temperature gradually creeps up to 92C at the end of the test, but we still have to consider the fact, that this is an 8-core/16-thread processor.

Comfort during full load

Although the laptop is not very loud under extreme load, we found it to be pretty warm, if not hot in the middle of the keyboard.


Verdict

Considering the price of the laptop, and the performance it offers, it is probably one of the best business laptops for high-workload scenarios. Not only does it offer supreme power, but it also has quite a lot of goodies in terms of security. You get a dedicated TPM chip onboard, the AMD Memory Guard technology, dual biometric authentication (thanks to the IR face recognition, and the fingerprint reader, both of which work extremely well).

Also, you got the famous spill-resistant keyboard, which is one of the best on the market, when it comes to the typing experience. And since this is an AMD platform, you won’t be getting the Thunderbolt treatment, but this doesn’t mean you can’t get the advantage of the two USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 2) ports and the other useful I/O, including an optional LTE connection, and a MicroSD card reader.

Lenovo ThinkPad T14s’s IPS panel is a touchscreen and has a Full HD resolution, high maximum brightness (410 nits), very good contrast ratio, and wide color coverage (96% of the sRGB gamut). In addition to that, its backlight doesn’t flicker at any brightness level, and with the help of our Gaming and Web design profile, the color accuracy matches the standards for sRGB with an Average dE value of 0.7.
Also, the Privacy Guard filter is not perfect, although it works better than some of its competitors. In fact, we found it to be more hindering than useful, and if you don’t necessarily need this function (for top-secret CIA work in a Starbucks for example), we would advise you for getting a device without this function.

As far as the battery life goes, you get 10 hours of Web browsing and 9 hours of video playback, which is a respectable result. So, if you don’t opt for a Privacy Guard model, and keep the memory at about 16GB, you will be getting quite the value. However, keep in mind that you won’t be able to upgrade your memory, like on the ThinkPad T14, and pretty much all other business offerings, which is petty.

Pros

  • Magnesium and carbon fiber composites are all part of the build
  • Covers 96% of sRGB colors (AUO B140HAN05.7)
  • Very high color accuracy when Gaming and Web design profile is installed (AUO B140HAN05.7)
  • The spill-resistant keyboard that is great for typing
  • Wi-Fi 6 and LTE support plus optional super-fast fingerprint reader and IR face recognition systems
  • Superfast AMD Ryzen PRO CPUs, and is able to maintain a relatively high clock speed under heavy load.
  • Well-populated I/O
  • PWM-free for all brightness levels (AUO B140HAN05.7)


Cons

  • Lacks a Thunderbolt 3 port
  • Memory can’t be upgraded
  • The high frequencies in the long torture test resulted in quite hot CPU and warm externals
  • The Privacy Guard works, but it hinders the viewing angles even when it’s off

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/lenovo-thinkpad-t14s-gen-1-amd/

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Max deWinter
Max deWinter
2 years ago

Were you aware the Privacy Guard is ONLY available on certain T14s displays. I could weep. Just spent 1700 euro on a 32gb T14s and cant send it back as I’ve linuxed it. The Lenovo sales/marketing is a disgrace. Why wasn’t this OBVIOUS in each and every review?? My Low Power FD screen doesn’t support it. In fairness, the 400 nit FHD display is very nice, but I really wanted the PG.

Kristian
Kristian
2 years ago
Reply to  Max deWinter

Be very glad you got the non-PrivacyGuard screen. I just got a T14 with the PG touchscreen. I agree fully with what the review says – “we can’t brand the viewing angles as comfortable”. But I think this point is understated – if the screen is not comfortable to look at, that should disqualify it from even being considered. It is quite literally the worst display I’ve seen on any ThinkPad I’ve used, since the early 2000’s. I got headaches from strained eyes after using it for only a few minutes. The viewing angles – even with PG “deactivated” –… Read more »