Lenovo ThinkPad T450s: Performance

March 31, 2015 by Jerry Jackson Reads (92,196)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Software & Support
    • 8
    • Upgrade Capabilities
    • 7
    • Usability
    • 10
    • Design
    • 9
    • Performance
    • 6
    • Features
    • 10
    • Price/Value Rating
    • 9
    • Total Score:
    • 8.43
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Performance

The base model ThinkPad T450s starts at just $881 at the time of this writing and is powered by the Intel Core i5-5200U CPU running at 2.2 GHz, 4 GB of RAM, a 500 GB hard drive, Windows 8.1, and a 1600 x 900 screen without multitouch.

Our review unit of the T450s is a much more expensive configuration priced at almost $1,600. Paying almost twice as much as the base model gets you the 2.3 GHz Intel Core i5-5300U processor (not much of an improvement over the base model), 8 GB of RAM, a much faster 256 GB SSD, Windows 8.1 Pro, and a 1080p touchscreen.

Our test configuration was more than powerful enough to handle typical workplace productivity tasks … but so is the base configuration. That being said, even our “high-end” configuration of the T450s is notably slower when performing processor-intense tasks than T-series notebooks equipped with the Core i7-5600U processor.

The ThinkPad T450s is arguably the best 14-inch business laptop of 2015.

The saving grace of our review unit is the reasonably quick 256 GB Toshiba SSD. While this solid state drive won’t win any awards for being the fastest, it’s notably faster than the 500 GB hard drive in the base model and helps improve Windows boot time while also allowing you to install and launch applications faster.

As you know by now, the ThinkPad T450s is a business laptop and not a gaming notebook. That said, the integrated Intel HD Graphics 5500 is good enough for casual gaming and the kind of general video transcoding you might need to do when uploading a promotional video to a corporate YouTube account. If you want better graphics performance in a business laptop you’ll typically need to move to a mobile workstation.

Benchmarks

wPrime processor comparison results (listed in seconds – lower scores mean better performance):
T450sWprimechart

PCMark8 Home (Accelerated) measures overall system performance in Windows 8 for general activities from web browsing and video streaming to typing documents and playing games (higher scores mean better performance):
T450sPC8Homechart

PCMark8 Work (Accelerated) measures overall system performance in Windows 8 for work-related productivity tasks (higher scores mean better performance):
T450sPC8Workchart

3DMark 11 is a benchmark that measures overall graphics card performance for gaming (higher scores mean better performance):
T450s3D11chart

3DMark Fire Strike is a newer DirectX 11 benchmark that measures overall graphics card performance for gaming (higher scores mean better performance):
T450s3DFireStrikechart

CrystalDiskMark storage drive performance test:
T450sCrystalDiskMark

Heat and Noise

The ThinkPad T450s runs remarkably cool and quiet thanks to the combination of low-voltage Intel processor and a silent SSD. Even after running multiple performance benchmarks (pushing the hardware to the limits) the keyboard and ClickPad measured only 84 degrees and 86 degrees Fahrenheit respectively. The bottom of the chassis never exceeded 92 degrees Fahrenheit during benchmarks. For those who aren’t familiar with Fahrenheit temperatures, rest assured you won’t feel any heat under normal use unless you block the heat vent on the left side of the notebook.

Battery Life

Just like its predecessor, the Lenovo ThinkPad T450s comes with two 3-cell batteries; one removable 3-cell battery and a second internal 3-cell battery that is drained only after the removable battery is exhausted. This two-battery solution is ideal for road warriors because you can “hot swap” the removable battery with another without shutting down and restarting your laptop.

A larger 6-cell removable battery that is available for purchase separately, but that is a blessing and a curse. The blessing is that the 6-cell battery combined with the internal 3-cell battery gives the T450s enough juice to last roughly 20 hours based on MobileMark 2012 (between 12 and 15 hours of real-life use). The “curse” is that the T450s will only deliver a little more than half that much battery life if you don’t buy the optional 6-cell battery and stick to the standard 3-cell combo.

Our standard battery life test is the aggressive PowerMark benchmark in balanced mode. The test consists of a continuous loop of automated web browsing, word processing, gaming, and video playback workloads. The test is far more strenuous than MobileMark or typical real-life usage with the laptop occasionally going into sleep mode.

PowerMark “Balanced” battery life test results using the standard 3-cell battery (higher scores mean better life):
T450sPowerMarkchart

In our tests the Lenovo ThinkPad T450s with the standard 3-cell removable battery and the 3-cell internal battery ran for 5 hours and 21 minutes before shutting down. The battery life with the 6-cell removable battery and 3-cell internal battery was an even more impressive 9 hours and 58 minutes in PowerMark.

Preinstalled Software

Lenovo received some pretty nasty (and well deserved) press coverage for preinstalling adware with a potential security risk on consumer PCs late last year. We took a close look at all the preinstalled software on our review unit of the ThinkPad T450s because “bloatware” and any software that poses a security risk is a concern for enterprise clients buying PCs for business. Thankfully, we didn’t find much that concerned us in terms of questionable software.

Starting with the apps that qualify as “useful” additions to the user experience, Lenovo preinstalls several touch-based applications to allow you to control volume, wireless settings, TrackPoint configurations, and power management. Lenovo Fingerprint Manager lets you set up the fingerprint reader for a password-free biometric login. The Shareit and Reachit apps let you sync files with smartphone or tablet over Wi-Fi and search the local storage on any connected device.

We found some preinstalled apps to be less useful, like Pokki Start Menu, which is a third-party app from SweetLabs similar to Start8 from Stardock Software that provides you with a new Start button that works more like the Windows 7 or “classic” Start menu. Unlike Start8, Pokki includes multiple links back to the SweetLabs app store, making it feel less like the classic Windows Start menu and more like adware.

Another potential offender is Lenovo Companion which provides system updates, user guides, and quick access to the Lenovo support forums. That would be great if it ended there, but Lenovo Companion includes “Tech News” and “Lenovo Exclusive” content which are arguably just ads for Lenovo products. You also get Norton Internet Security software … although if Norton isn’t your preferred antivirus software then you may consider it bloatware.

In short, the ThinkPad T450s isn’t particularly offensive in terms of bloatware, but you might be annoyed by a few of the preinstalled apps if you’re sensitive to anything other than a clean installation of Windows.


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  1. todcolbert

    You mentioned in the review that it would be compatible with former T models. I am converting from a T410 and need to know whether the docking stations are compatible with the T450s. Your review appears to say they are but Levono on-line sales says no (super bummer).