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The very dim display and the poor brightness distribution were some of the main points of criticism with the predecessor. Lenovo has handled the problem and swapped the panel. But the new Full HD display is not consistently better than the old model. Anyhow, the brightness increases from the previous Nits to Nits now, which still is not record-breaking. With the exception of the HP , the competition shows higher brightness. For example, the E sibling model is the brightest device in direct comparison at Nits ; Lenovo can do it significantly better then.
We didn't notice any screen bleeding at least. The manufacturer also offers an alternative HD panel, which is less expensive, as well as an IPS display with integrated touch functionality. The small gain in display brightness is unfortunately offset by a significant loss in contrast and black value.
The color deviations are very high and can only be minimally improved even after a calibration. The reproduction is sufficient for office applications, but the panel is only partially suitable for image or video editing. Overall, Lenovo is making the screen worse; the price to pay for a small increase in brightness is a significant loss in black value and contrast. In terms of quality, it cannot be said that the panel switch was worth it here.
As usual, however, the manufacturer relies again on several panel suppliers so that you only know which screen you get until after the purchase. Despite the rather average values in terms of brightness, contrast and black value, the ThinkPad is still very usable outdoors. All bothersome reflections are filtered out through the matte display, and especially in the case of indirect sunlight, the content is still clearly recognizable.
There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting. The frequency of Hz is quite high, so most users sensitive to PWM should not notice any flickering. If PWM was detected, an average of minimum: 5 - maximum: Hz was measured. Viewing angle stability is definitely there. This is normally quite good with IPS panels; in our review device, however, further brightness information is lost relatively quickly, especially with the views from the top and the sides.
There are IPS panels with clearly more stable viewing angles here. In addition, this means that the user should pay attention to an optimal positioning angle of the display, otherwise it will become darker. Not in vain is the L part of the Campuspoint program. The ExpressCard slot also makes it interesting for companies. On the other hand, demanding graphics applications are not the territory of our review device. The manufacturer naturally offers several configuration variants.
You can choose between two i5 and two i7 models with the processor, and a maximum of 64 GB RAM is accepted as memory. I n terms of performance a memory configuration of two RAM sticks in dual-channel mode is generally preferable to the single RAM installed here. Unfortunately, drivers that may slow down the system were detected in an initial test with LatencyMon. Deactivating the Wi-Fi adapter did not help; Lenovo would need to correct this through driver updates.
Lenovo uses an economical but performance capable Intel Core iU. It is based on the current Whiskey Lake Generation and offers a higher turbo speed than the predecessor. Overall, the CPU has speeds from 1. This makes it perfectly suitable for all the intended application of the ThinkPad L Whether the i7 models are actually faster would need to be confirmed through further testing. Normally faster CPUs are often slowed down by poor cooling systems. The Cinebench loop that runs for about 30 minutes shows that our review device works quite constantly.
Although the value drops a bit after the first or second run, the loss of power is minimal, and performance is subsequently stable. Stability is not difficult either if the output power is throttled, since the CPU of the L should actually be stronger than the one of its predecessor. However, the opposite is the case here. The Whiskey Lake's processor performance is evidently strongly throttled. Taking a look at the clock speeds reveals that the CPU only runs at an average of 2.
Admittedly, this seems to be the case with the rest of the competitors. Within the comparison devices, hardly any iU performs according to its potential. The CPU performance of the predecessor is therefore considerably higher. The measured values remain the same when unplugging the L According to this, stronger CPU throttling is not present on battery power.
System performance oscillates close to the reference values for the processor and graphics. The only exception is the Home score in PCMark 8. A second conduction of the test brought the same result. However, the differences between the devices are overall extremely small. It sits on a removable rack in the M.
The remaining contenders are, however, partially still faster. Nevertheless, the SSD should produce good work results. The L lacks dedicated graphics. The model cannot be optionally configured with discrete graphics in the Lenovo website either. Users have to make do with the model that is integrated into the processor instead. But the Intel UHD Graphics masters all the laptop's tasks reliably; it is only with graphically demanding work that sacrifices have to be made, and the same applies for games since the graphics are only of limited suitability for this.
In our synthetic graphics benchmarks, performance behaves as expected. However, the competitors perform almost on par in all tests; after all, they are all using the same processor and the same graphics. There is no performance decline on battery power since the values are roughly at the same level as when plugged in. Gaming is of course not the intended purpose of the ThinkPad L, but we will still compare the performance to the competition. The advantage of the Schenker Slim probably lies in its memory.
Just like our L, the remaining competition has to make do with single-channel RAM, which has a noticeable effect on gaming performance. However, less demanding or older titles are generally playable at low to medium resolutions and details. Newer titles should be ignored. The ThinkPad is one of the quietest devices in direct comparison. It is clear that Lenovo wants to optimize its work device rather in the economy and low noise level direction than in the performance direction.
And in principle, we also find this to be the right decision for an office laptop. Lenovo could nonetheless further improve its cooling system since the fan behavior is relatively inconsistent. In this way, even under intense load, the fans go off in between in order to start again sometime later. A constant but in turn even quieter fan turning would possibly be better than the persistent change between being silent and turning up. L ess temperature fluctuations would also be better for the CPU.
Nevertheless, a quiet office laptop is always welcome. Alongside reduced performance, a conservative cooling system mostly results in another disadvantage in a laptop: Higher temperatures. The L is not able to escape this principle either. Although it remains partially cooler than the competition in idle usage, it becomes the hottest device in comparison under load. At least the palm rest remains comparatively cool.
The heat concentrates mainly on the right side and towards the display. It becomes noticeable here that the fans simply turn off at times, even under strong load. The L does not make any compromises during our one-hour stress test. Already at the beginning of the test, it has no problem with undercutting its base clock speed and consistently reducing performance for better noise levels and temperatures.
At least things do not really go any further downhill in terms of performance , even after an hour. Although the clock speeds fluctuate between MHz and 2. This is far from critical temperatures so that there is clearly performance potential that is being wasted here.
This is another reason why an update of the fan behavior and a related adjustment of the clock speed limit would be desirable. If 3DMark 11 is conducted once again right after the stress test, there is not much left of the original performance.
The stereo speakers of the L produce an average sound. At least both the high and mid tones are quite uniform, but naturally, as is typical for this class, the audio system lacks any bass. The maximum volume is rather below-average. A combined audio port in the jack format is available for the connection of headphones or an external system. The energy requirement has remained about the same in comparison to the predecessor , but the focus has changed. The L now consumes significantly less under average load, but it sacrifices some economy in idle usage in return.
The L remains considerably more economical overall than its class average though. We measure short load spikes of around 42 watts. Since the power adapter has a capacity of 65 watts, it should be able to charge the laptop reliably at all times. At the same time the L shows almost identical results to the smaller E With almost 8 hours in the Wi-Fi test and about 11 hours in the video test, both models sit at the top of the comparison devices in the practical procedures.
In this respect, we can attest good battery life for the ThinkPad.