June 23, 2024

Mikayla Macfarlane

Serving technology better

I tested every Lenovo laptop released at MWC, and these are the very best

6 min read
I tested every Lenovo laptop released at MWC, and these are the very best

The Lenovo ThinkPad T14 and T16 from MWC 2024.

Max Buondonno/ZDNET

At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Lenovo has announced a fresh slate of new ThinkPad laptops, as well as a new ThinkBook.

Across the board, we’re looking at spec bumps, along with some minor design differences, none of which can duplicate the utter insanity of Lenovo’s concept laptop it’s also showing off in Spain.

Also: What to expect from MWC 2024: Transparent laptops, AI phones, smart rings, more

I had a chance to check out the latest ThinkPad laptops ahead of the show and there’s some really good stuff here. 

The Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Gen 2 from MWC 2024 sitting next to fake plants.

Meet the ThinkPad X12 Detachable Gen 2.

Max Buondonno/ZDNET

By far the most interesting ThinkPad in today’s announcements is the ThinkPad X12 Detachable Gen 2. It’s been nearly three years since Lenovo introduced the first generation of this Surface Book alternative, and while it’s not giving it a full design overhaul, it is including a fresh set of specs that’ll make it better equipped for 2024 and beyond.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X12 detached.

Max Buondonno/ZDNET

Inside, you’ll find Intel’s latest 14th-gen Core Ultra processors, up to 32GB of RAM, and 1TB of storage. This will prove to be a notable upgrade from the 11th-gen Intel chips in the first-gen X12, while the extra RAM will also be handy for productivity on the go. You still get integrated graphics, of course, as well as a basic cooling system for maintaining consistent performance.

Also: I went hands-on with Lenovo’s transparent laptop at MWC, and its surprisingly functional

Beyond that, the ThinkPad X12 Detachable is essentially the same as before, which isn’t a bad thing. It still has a 12.3-inch touchscreen with a 3:2 aspect ratio to give you a bit of breathing room to stretch out. The keyboard still uses Lenovo’s signature ThinkPad keys, which are some of the most comfortable to type on, and it’s still backlit (oh, and the nub has made another appearance). 

There’s a 5MP webcam for video calls and an 8MP rear camera for when you need it, and it still comes with a stylus for signing documents or sketching on the go. It’s one of Lenovo’s most versatile ThinkPads to date, and it was fun to play around with it after I reviewed the original model in 2021.

The ThinkBook 14 2-in-1 Gen 4 from Lenovo sitting next to fake plants.

The ThinkBook 14 2-in-1 Gen 4.

Max Buondonno/ZDNET

The ThinkBook 14 2-in-1 Gen 4 also has a different form factor compared to traditional laptops thanks to its 360-degree hinge, letting you bend it all the way around to use it like a tablet or for hands-free video watching in tent mode. This particular ThinkBook is geared toward small business users, so you can have some fun when the day ends and kick back with a movie on the same laptop you knocked out your Excel spreadsheets on.

Also: Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Fold is the most bizarre, fun, and expensive laptop I’ve ever tested

For the fourth generation of this ThinkBook, Lenovo trimmed the bezels and gave the 14-inch display a 16:10 aspect ratio. There’s also deeper 1.5mm key travel, a larger trackpad, and a new Magnetic Slim Pen in the box that magnetically attaches to the side of the laptop.

Under the hood, you’ll find 14th-generation Intel Core Ultra processors, up to 64GB of RAM, 2TB of storage, and integrated graphics. There are also plenty of ports, including a Thunderbolt 4 port, a 10Gbps USB-C port, two USB-A ports, HDMI, a microSD card reader, and a headphone jack.

The Microsoft Copilot key on the ThinkBook 14 2-in-1 Gen 4 from Lenovo.

Max Buondonno/ZDNET

Lenovo also includes AI-powered software features to improve the overall experience. There’s “Smart Power” which intelligently adjusts performance, power, and battery life during the day, as well as “Smart Meeting” to improve video and audio quality during video calls.

Also: How Lenovo works on dismantling AI bias while building laptops

Then there’s the rest of the lineup, which includes a lot of normal-looking ThinkPads with upgraded specs. Lenovo showed off three new entries in its ThinkPad T series which, according to the company, makes up the bulk of ThinkPad sales. That makes a lot of sense — they’re all reasonably priced for what they’re capable of and come with classic ThinkPad designs, which are very popular among business users and average consumers alike.

The Lenovo ThinkPad T14s Gen 5 from MWC 2024 sitting next to fake plants.

The ThinkPad T14s Gen 5 from Lenovo.

Max Buondonno/ZDNET

In the lineup are the ThinkPad T14 Gen 5, T14s Gen 5, and ThinkPad T16 Gen 3. On the outside, these aluminum-covered machines look the same as they did before but with a few exceptions. You now get Lenovo’s communications bar at the top which houses the webcam and Windows Hello sensors for facial recognition and slimmer bezels around the displays.

Also: This ultraportable Lenovo laptop has a secret Trackpoint function, among other hidden features

You get 14th-generation Intel Core Ultra processors like the rest of Lenovo’s latest laptops, up to 64GB of RAM, up to 2TB of storage, and integrated Intel Arc graphics. There’s one small exception for the T14: Lenovo will also offer it with AMD Ryzen 8040 series processors, if that’s more your bag.

All three laptops come with OLED displays; the T14 and T14s have 14-inch panels with 400 nits of brightness, a 2.8K resolution, and a 120Hz refresh rate while the T16 gets a 16-inch 4K panel with a standard 60Hz refresh rate. They each looked outstanding during my time with them, as do most OLED laptops.

The TrackPoint menu on the ThinkPad T14 Gen 5 from Lenovo.

The TrackPoint menu on the ThinkPad T14 Gen 5 from Lenovo.

Max Buondonno/ZDNET

The keyboards on each ThinkPad are getting an upgrade with the new Copilot key in the lower right, giving you easy access to Microsoft’s AI assistant throughout Windows 11. The TrackPoint in the middle can now be double-tapped to bring up a quick settings menu, and Lenovo also swapped the position of the Control and Function keys in the bottom left of the keyboard so that CTRL sits directly in the corner (where it belongs), a change that I was very excited about. 

Also: Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Fold is the most bizarre, fun, and expensive laptop I’ve ever tested

In addition to the new laptops, Lenovo is also announcing a new version of its portable monitor called the ThinkVision M14t Gen 2. It comes with a 14-inch 16:10 touchscreen with a 2,240×1,400 resolution and a 60Hz refresh rate. Lenovo says a lot of folks use it not just to extend their workspace on the go, but also to draw in case their laptop doesn’t support touch input. The monitor ships with 4,096 levels of pressure for that purpose, which is pretty convenient if you like to sketch. It also has two USB-C ports on either side so you can position the screen however you want.

Lenovo says the new ThinkBook 14 2-in-1 will land in March, followed by the ThinkPad T14, T14s, T16, and X12 Detachable in April and the AMD-powered T14 in May. You’ll have to wait until July to get your hands on the M14t Gen 2 Mobile Monitor, however. Starting prices for all of the new gear can be found below.

  • ThinkPad T14 Gen 5: $1,199 (Intel) and $949 (AMD)

  • ThinkPad T14s Gen 5: $1,399

  • ThinkPad T16 Gen 3: $1,219

  • ThinkPad X12 Detachable Gen 2: $1,399

  • ThinkBook 14 2-in-1: $1,169

  • ThinkVision M14t Gen 2 Mobile Monitor: $399

Lenovo says it’s using more recycled parts in its latest ThinkPads to move closer to a more sustainable future, and it’s even partnered with iFixit on special repair guides that customers can use to replace things like the battery, SSD, and WWAN in the T14 and T16. This will also help businesses keep these laptops up and running for longer, which in turn will help with reducing e-waste.  

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