The Lenovo ThinkBook 15 Gen 2 brings more speed to a brand of reliable laptops that eschew fussy design for utilitarian functionality and solid specs. But the coolest feature is that this laptop comes with wireless earbuds stashed in the keyboard.
The new ThinkBook 15 is slightly more compact than its predecessor and also comes with AMD’s latest Ryzen 4000 chips and Intel’s new Tiger Lake processors.
Here's everything you need to know about the Lenovo ThinkBook 15 Gen 2:
Lenovo ThinkBook 15 Gen 2 price and release date
Lenovo is pricing the Lenovo ThinkBook 15 Gen 2 to sell well, with prices starting at $549 for an entry-level model. Expect that price to go up with more capable AMD and Intel processors, and more memory and storage.
The ThinkBook 15 with AMD and Intel chip options will go on sale in October. Expect to see a deluge of other laptops with the latest AMD and Intel processors pop up around the same time.
The aforementioned headphones, though, won't be available in the ThinkBook 15 G2 until November, and only in "select models."
CPU: Up to 11th Gen Core i7 processors | AMD Ryzen 4000
GPU: Intel Iris Xe UHD graphics | Optional Nvidia GeForce MX450 92GB)
Memory: Up to 40GB RAM
Storage: Up to 1TB PCIe SSD
Ports: 1x Thunderbolt 4, 2x USB-C 3.2 ports, 2x USB 3.2 Type-A ports, HDMI, 4-in-1 card reader, Ethernet
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6 or Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5.0
Lenovo ThinkBook 15 Gen 2 earbuds
The most unique feature of the ThinkBook 15 is its pull-out tray that houses a pair of wireless headphones. They pair automatically with the laptop upon ejection, like AirPods built for a laptop.
In addition, the earbuds charge automatically. A double tap will mute yourself during calls, which comes in handy for all the video chats we're doing at home. Lenovos says the earbuds are equipped with dual mics and "environmental noise cancellation" but we wouldn't expect the type of active noise cancellation you get from the AirPods Pro.
Annoyingly, this feature won't be available on all models, and won't be coming to the ThinkBook until November 2020.
Lenovo ThinkBook 15 Gen 2 design
If you were expecting a major redesign of the ThinkBook formula, then you’ll be a bit disappointed here. The new Lenovo ThinkBook 15 is more a refinement of a machine that’s received solid (if not quite critical) acclaim.
Measuring 14.1 x 9.3 x 0.7 inches, it’s a little more compact than its predecessor but has the same thickness. That’s not a bad thing as not only does the space potentially give the new Intel chips room to breathe, the ThinkBook 15 is suitably flush with ports for a 2020 laptop.
There’s a Thunderbolt 4 port, two USB-C 3.2 ports, two USB 3.2 Type-A ports, an HDMI, and a 4-in-1 card reader. You also get a 3.5mm combination audio jack - no surprises as this is a laptop, not a 2020 smartphone.
LendClad in a misty gray aluminum body, the Lenovo ThinkBook 15 is a reasonably attractive, if slightly uninspiring machine. We can’t attest for its quality having not had any hands-on time with it, but Lenovo generally makes solidly built laptops.
Lenovo ThinkBook 15 Gen 2 display
The Lenovo ThinkBook 15’s display measures in at 15.6 inches and comes in a few variants. There’s a 1920 x 1080 non-touch TN panel at the entry-level. For those who want more, they can get an IPS panel with anti-glare, an IPS panel that covers 100 percent of the sRGB color gamut, and an Full HD touchscreen IPS display.
We’d tend to avoid TN panels in laptops as IPS tends to deliver better viewing angles, color and brightness. And a touchscreen is nice to have, but some people may find it to be a feature they don't need.
Lenovo ThinkBook 15 Gen 2 performance
As mentioned earlier, the new Lenovo ThinkBook 15 will come with AMD’s latest Ryzen 4000 chips and Intel’s 11th Gen Tiger Lake processors. Lenovo didn’t detail exactly what chips, but did note these will go up to Core i7 processors for the Intel models.
On the AMD side that means you're likely to get up to an eight-core CPU and Radeon graphics. And for Intel models, that means you’ll have access to a quad-core processor with Intel’s new Xe integrated graphics. While the Ryxen 4000 series chips put in impressive performance, Intel’s new Tiger Lake CPUs are also promising a performance hike over their predecessors and greatly enhanced integrated graphics.
Given the ThinkBook 15 isn’t as slim as some ultraportable laptops, we’re expecting it to have enough thermal headroom to let a Core i7 processor breathe and allow the Xe GPU to run at full pelt for extended amounts of time. That means some potential for a bit of modern gaming at reasonable settings as well as more scope for more intensive video and photo editing on the go.
Backing up the CPUs is up to 40GB of dual-channel DDR4 RAM running at 3,200MHz. And storage goes up to 1TB of M.2 PCIe Gen4 or Gen3 SSD space, or a 1TB 7,200rpm HDD or a 2TB 5,400rpm HDD. As for connectivity, Wi-Fi 6 is available, as is Bluetooth 5.
Lenovo ThinkBook 15 Gen 2 outlook
All in all, the Lenovo ThinkBook 15 Gen 2 is looking like a nice upgrade over its predecessor, sporting improved specs and slightly refined design. It'll also sport a unique pair of headphones you'll (hopefully) never lose.
With refreshed Dell XPS 13 laptops on the horizon as well as the Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 expected to arrive in October, there’s set to be a lot of laptop competition this fall. But where Lenovo could outmaneuver its rivals is by offering a strong balance of price and performance. Given the options available to the Lenovo ThinkBook 15 Gen 2, there's a good chance that the right specs for the right user are but a configuration away.
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Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.