Lenovo ThinkPad T14 (AMD) Review
Like the T14 (Intel), it has a tried and tested chassis, robust and ready for use. It’s 1.46kg, so not too heavy. If you’re thinking of something thinner, also consider our T14 vs T14s article & video, where we’ve pointed out some difference between the two units. We’ve also compared the size to the Carbon X1 7. Spoiler: the T14 and T14s are similar in footprint, whereas the Carbon was more compact & lighter.
The 14” display options are covered on our video. For now, the excellent 14” 4K Dolby Vision HDR screen remains an T14 (Intel) only upgrade option; it would be nice to eventually see it on the AMD version. The range of the displays Lenovo offers at the launch are all Full-HD or higher, which is helpful (the lower resolution 1366x768 TN display option is no longer available, which is welcomed). The screen selections are dependent on the region though.
The keypad quality seems to be consistent with the typically high ThinkPad standard. It’s a joy to use, especially of the longer form documents. Additionally, the keypad is easily replaceable (without needing a whole disassembly). Some ThinkPad users will be very thankful that the trackpoint is still on the keypad (Dell/HP have foregone this in a few very thin/light models).
T14’s speakers appear to be similar to the ThinkPad T14s; the bonus is that the speakers are upwards firing (which marginally improves the sound quality). The speaker is not quite as impressive as the X1 Carbon’s quad speakers setup (which has better bass); however, it is functional & workable for tele-conferencing purposes & one could always use external headphone / speakers.
Noise & Thermals
We’ve covered the thermals in the video: in the everyday workload - the T14 (AMD) manages the heat reasonably well. When there is a heavier workload, the heat becomes noticeable (especially if/when both the CPU & the Integrated Vega graphics are both used).
After an hour, the laptop still had 70 % battery remaining (and showed around 3 hours estimated run time remaining). This is a reasonably consuming workload. Whereas the lighter workload & more power management, may be possible to reach around 5-6 hours (your mileage might vary).
If you’re fully loading the laptop, it’s likely that it may attain 1.5-2 hours (22.5W sustained CPU usage vs the 50Wh battery, other components e.g. the screen, SSD will also use power, etc).
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How to manage the temperature & power mode easily, you might ask
The idea is to only supply what the laptop needs: the medium “Better Battery” or the “Better Performance” mode might make for a better / quieter everyday mode; when you need to fire-up the “Best Performance”, enable the “Best Performance” mode - which enables for the processor to run at the full power (which also generates more power / heat). In our video, Geekbench 5 & the R15 has shown that the performance level varies noticeably, depending on which power mode you use.
- The ThinkPad T14 with Intel & AMD both have onboard RAM, in addition to a 1x RAM slot (which could be upgraded). Lenovo suggests that the T14 (Intel) & T14 (AMD) supports upto 48GB & 32GB of RAM respectively. In our video & testing, it appears that both the Intel & the AMD support 48GB RAM (though the latter may simply not have been advertised with this (likely to product segment, this is the same as the previous gen T495).
- A sensible RAM option, might be: 16GB (through 8GB onboard + 8GB), or the 32GB (16 onboard + 16GB RAM) in dual channel, as they appear to have the more consistent performance. AMD Ryzen tends to work better with dual channel memory, especially in the apps where there is increased memory bandwidth needs (dual channel effectively doubles the bandwidth, e.g. in games, etc).
- If budget is a focus, one idea is to maximise the onboard RAM & upgrading the 1x slot later; there is some performance gap (until you upgrade the RAM - but you’ll have that flexibility eventually). The alternative option of the 48GB RAM performs marginally better than the single channel option (e.g. 8 onboard or 16GB onboard only), but performs less well in comparison to the dual channel options (e.g. 8GB onboard + 8GB or 16GB onboard + 16GB).
- The T14 has a M.2 slot, just in case you’d like to upgrade the RAM later.
In our testing model, we did not order the 4G WWAN card, however, the cable appears to have been included (your mileage might vary).
The Ryzen 5 option may be a good entry laptop, especially if you’ve been using the T470 or older models of the ThinkPad. The Ryzen 7 will carry a price premium, though the value of this upgrade will depend on how long you might use the laptop, and what you intend to use it for.
Other options to look at
Like-new & Refurb
As the Intel based T14 model has been out for some time: they are more likely to gradually appear in the refurb market. However, as the new AMD powered X13, T14, T14s, L14/L15, E14/E15 are still very recent, they won’t necessarily appear in the refurb market in a meaningful volume for at least 6-8 month. The T490/ T14 (Intel) will already be quite widely available. In the refurb market, the higher end display market (e.g. beyond the 250 nits will remain very rare).