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Lenovo ThinkBook 13s Laptop Review: A Business Laptop but no TrackPoint

Benjamin Herzig, 👁 Andreas Osthoff (translated by Alex Alderson), 07/28/2019

More IdeaPad than ThinkPad? The ThinkBook series is Lenovo’s latest attempt at introducing a new brand upon the laptop market. The ThinkBooks are designed to excel in productive applications while offering a more modern design than their ThinkPad counterparts. Read on to find out whether Lenovo has achieved this with the ThinkBook 13s in our detailed review.

Lenovo has brought a new laptop brand to market. The company describes the ThinkBook series as being “SMB laptops with style”, with its “Think” branding being a clear nod to the ThinkPad series. So, the ThinkBook series sits between the consumer-focused IdeaPad range and business-centric ThinkPad range, with Lenovo distinguishing the ThinkBook from the ThinkPad by pitching the former to someone who favors design over business features.

Our review unit is the ThinkBook 13s-IWL, but there is also a 14-inch model called the 14s-IWL should you want a slightly larger display. The 13.3-inch device packs a Core i5-8265U, 16 GB of RAM and a 512 GB PCIe NVMe SSD. This configuration currently retails for around €965 (~US$1,073), but you may find it cheaper if you are a student or a teacher, for example. In short, Lenovo is pitching the ThinkBook 13s in that mid to upper tier of laptops that remains a crowded market.

We will compare the ThinkBook 13s-IWL against the similarly sized ThinkPad L390 and the ThinkPad X390, although keep in mind that the latter is over 20% more expensive than or review unit. We shall also consider the ThinkBook 13s against the HP ProBook 430 G6 and the Lenovo Yoga S730 to see how the device compares against modern business and consumer laptops.

Lenovo ThinkBook 13s-20R90071GE (ThinkBook 13s Series)
Graphics adapter
Memory
16384 MB 
, DDR4 2400, 1 SO-DIMM slot
Display
13.3 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel 166 PPI, N133HCE-EN2, a-Si IPS LED, glossy: no, HDR
Mainboard
Intel Cannon Lake-U PCH-LP Premium
Storage
SK hynix BC501 HFM512GDHTNG-8310A, 512 GB 
, M.2 2280, PCIe NVMe, 442 GB free
Soundcard
Realtek ALC3287
Connections
2 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 USB 3.1 Gen2, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm headphone jack, 1 Fingerprint Reader
Networking
Intel Wireless-AC 9560 (a/b/g/n = Wi-Fi 4/ac = Wi-Fi 5), Bluetooth 5.0
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 15.9 x 307.6 x 216 ( = 0.63 x 12.11 x 8.5 in)
Battery
45 Wh Lithium-Ion
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 720p
Additional features
Speakers: 2 W stereo speakers, Keyboard: 6-row chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, 65 W slim-tip power supply, 12 Months Warranty
Weight
1.334 kg ( = 47.06 oz / 2.94 pounds), Power Supply: 364 g ( = 12.84 oz / 0.8 pounds)
Price
869 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

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Case

ThinkBook 13s-IWL
ThinkBook 13s-IWL

ThinkPad laptops are traditionally completely black, with silver variants being rare. Lenovo once experimented with a dark shade of gray, but it reversed its decision after just two ThinkPad generations. Lenovo does not apply this limitation to the ThinkBook series though, with the 13s-IWL coming in a silver shade that is a bit darker than, for example, the Yoga S730. Our review unit has a black display frame like the ThinkPad, while the keyboard resembles something ThinkPad-esque too.

Overall, Lenovo has employed a restrained yet modern design with the ThinkBook 13s-IWL, with its shiny silver chrome border around its trackpad standing out somewhat. The ThinkBook logo disturbs this chic design in our opinion, with it looking rather out of place. In short, Lenovo could have been more discreet with its branding. The huge bottom display bezel does not help matters either.

The ThinkBook 13s-IWL not only looks different than contemporary ThinkPads, but Lenovo has opted for an aluminum build along with a plastic display frame. By comparison, the ThinkPad L390 has an aluminum display lid and a fiberglass body. Incidentally, the ThinkPad X390 has a mostly magnesium design, which is again a slightly more premium choice of materials.

Visually, the ThinkBook is inferior to modern ThinkPads. The CNC-machined chassis is sturdier than most ThinkPad devices, with our review unit being almost impervious to our attempts to bend or twist it. We cannot say whether the ThinkBook will survive the long-term rigors of daily use without a long-term test though. Our review unit is well-built too, with the display lid being the only area of the device that we could deform slightly.

The hinges are interesting though, with Lenovo incorporating half within the chassis and half behind the display. The hinge design allows the display to be opened to 180°, which may prove useful to some people. The hinges grip the display tightly though, to the extent that we cannot open the lid with one hand.

Lenovo has designed the ThinkBook 13s-IWL with comparatively thin display bezels, except for the bottom bezel as we mentioned earlier. The device is about the same size as the more expensive ThinkPad X390, although the comparably priced ThinkPad L390 is slightly larger on account of its larger display bezels. The ThinkBook 13s-IWL is within 100 g of the ThinkPad X390 too, while the ProBook 430 G6 and ThinkPad L390 are slightly heavier. Only the Yoga S730 is lighter than our review unit of our comparison devices, which should suit it better to general consumers.

Size Comparison

321.8 mm / 12.7 inch 224.2 mm / 8.83 inch 18.8 mm / 0.74 inch 1.5 kg3.25 lbs311.9 mm / 12.3 inch 217.2 mm / 8.55 inch 16.9 mm / 0.665 inch 1.3 kg2.83 lbs308.5 mm / 12.1 inch 231 mm / 9.09 inch 18 mm / 0.709 inch 1.4 kg3.17 lbs307.6 mm / 12.1 inch 216 mm / 8.5 inch 15.9 mm / 0.626 inch 1.3 kg2.94 lbs307 mm / 12.1 inch 210 mm / 8.27 inch 11.9 mm / 0.4685 inch 1.1 kg2.42 lbs

Connectivity

Lenovo takes a middle ground with connectivity, having equipped the ThinkBook 13s-IWL with significantly more ports than, the Yoga S730, which relies exclusively on USB Type-C ports. The ThinkBook has two USB Type-A ports and an HDMI port, the latter of which is useful for connecting external monitors or projectors. However, the ThinkBook 13s-IWL lacks the versatility of modern ThinkPads, especially considering that it lacks an SD card slot. Moreover, Lenovo has omitted a dedicated Ethernet port. By contrast, the ThinkPad L390 and ThinkPad X390 both have a proprietary mini Ethernet port.

However, it is incomprehensible why Lenovo retained its proprietary slim-tip charging port over USB Power Delivery (PD). Lenovo phased out slim-tip charging over two years ago for most ThinkPads, but it has persisted with the charging port for its new ThinkBook series. Worse still, the Type-C port does not support charging but can output via DisplayPort thanks to the USB 3.1 Gen 2 standard. The lack of Thunderbolt 3 is a shame too.

Right-hand side: 2x USB 3.0 Type-A
Right-hand side: 2x USB 3.0 Type-A
Left-hand side: Slim-Tip charging port, HDMI, USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C, 3.5 mm jack
Left-hand side: Slim-Tip charging port, HDMI, USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C, 3.5 mm jack

Communication

The ThinkBook 13s-IWL has just a 2x2 Wi-Fi Intel Wireless AC 9560 Wi-Fi card, which also supports Bluetooth 5.0. You can also use Ethernet, but only via USB. Unfortunately, the device does not support LTE even as a configurable option. The ThinkBook 13s-IWL does not support NFC like its ThinkPad counterparts too. After all, the performance of the Wi-Fi module in our review unit is nothing to complain about. In short, the 9560 works well in daily use.

Lenovo has included a 720p webcam too, although this only delivers a noisy picture with underwhelming image quality. The webcam is good enough for video telephony though, as are the microphones embedded in the display frame.

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Lenovo ThinkPad L390-20NR0013GE
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
687 (min: 343, max: 691) MBit/s ∼100% +6%
HP ProBook 430 G6-5TJ89EA
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
669 (min: 636, max: 689) MBit/s ∼97% +3%
Lenovo ThinkBook 13s-20R90071GE
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
648 MBit/s ∼94%
Lenovo ThinkPad X390-20Q1S02M00
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
646 MBit/s ∼94% 0%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (30.9 - 950, n=118)
533 MBit/s ∼78% -18%
Lenovo Yoga S730-13IWL
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3165
287 (min: 207, max: 312) MBit/s ∼42% -56%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Lenovo ThinkPad X390-20Q1S02M00
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
681 MBit/s ∼100% +3%
Lenovo ThinkBook 13s-20R90071GE
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
658 MBit/s ∼97%
Lenovo ThinkPad L390-20NR0013GE
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
657 (min: 630, max: 667) MBit/s ∼96% 0%
HP ProBook 430 G6-5TJ89EA
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
653 (min: 322, max: 702) MBit/s ∼96% -1%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (36 - 949, n=118)
525 MBit/s ∼77% -20%
Lenovo Yoga S730-13IWL
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3165
158 (min: 111, max: 194) MBit/s ∼23% -76%

Security

Lenovo promotes the ThinkBook 13s-IWL as a business laptop, although it cannot keep up with the security features of most modern business laptops. The device does not have a smart card slot, for instance, or a Kensington lock slot. On the other hand, there is a fingerprint reader with Windows Hello certification. Lenovo has integrated the reader well, with it not overly standing out from the keyboard deck. The reader worked perfectly during our tests and recognized our registered fingerprints accurately. The status LED around the power button is useful too, especially as it lights up green when the fingerprint reader can be used.

We like that Lenovo has included its ThinkShutter system too, a mechanical camera shutter designed to obscure the webcam when it is not in use. ThinkShutter can be found on modern ThinkPads, like the ThinkPad X390. By contrast, the ThinkPad L390 lacks such a feature, distinguishing the ThinkBook 13s-IWL somewhat. You can equip the device with an IR camera too, although this did not come with our review unit.

Accessories

The ThinkBook 13s-IWL comes with no accessories except for a 65 W slim-tip power supply. Lenovo does not currently sell any ThinkBook 13s-IWL specific accessories, although you can buy USB Type-A docks. These are more impractical than their Type-C equivalents though, with the former not able to charge the device as the latter are.

Maintenance

Lenovo secures the bottom plate with nine T5 screws, which makes maintenance and repair somewhat difficult. Not everyone has a matching Torx screwdriver, for example, while some people will break the plastic retaining clips holding the bottom plate in place unless they are careful.

The ThinkBook 13s-IWL is surprisingly modular and upgradable considering its compactness. Lenovo does not solder the RAM, with the company including one DDR4 SO-DIMM slot. In short, you can upgrade the device up to 32 GB of RAM. The ThinkBook 13s-IWL comes with an M.2 2242 SSD, although you can upgrade to an M.2 2280 drive should you need to do so. Likewise, you can change the Wi-Fi module, as you can with the battery and fan.

Lenovo also provides a detailed Hardware Maintenance Manual for the ThinkBook 13s-IWL should you want to repair or maintain the device.

A look at the inside of the ThinkPad 13s-IWL
A look at the inside of the ThinkPad 13s-IWL

Warranty

The ThinkBook 13s comes with a 12-month limited manufacturer’s warranty. Lenovo includes a bring-in service by default, which requires the customer to return the device to the manufacturer for a warranty repair. This puts the ThinkBook 13s-IWL on the same level as cheap business laptops like the ThinkPad L390, although the ThinkPad X390 has a much longer warranty period than the one included with our review unit.

You can also extend the warranty for up to 4 years should you wish to do so. Please see our Guarantees, Return Policies & Warranties FAQ for country-specific information.

Input Devices

Keyboard

In short, the ThinkBook 13s-IWL has an IdeaPad keyboard; it is not up to ThinkPad standards. The layout is virtually identical to that of the Yoga S730, while its two-stage backlighting is always welcome. We are not fans of the small vertical arrow keys though, nor the non-grouped F keys or the positioning of the FN key. Lenovo traditionally places this to the left of the Ctrl key on ThinkPads like the ThinkPad L390, but it has reversed this positioning on the ThinkBook 13s-IWL for some reason.

A look at the keyboard and trackpad
A look at the keyboard and trackpad

Trackpad

Lenovo has equipped the ThinkBook 13s-IWL with a comparatively large trackpad, which we measure at 10.5 x 6.5 cm. The input device has a plastic finish, the design of which comes from Lenovo’s consumer laptops.

The trackpad integrates two mouse buttons, the processing of which is impeccable. The one in our review unit does not wobble, while the click mechanism produces crisp clicks when pressed. As already mentioned, the trackpad is made from plastic, which Lenovo claims is Mylar. The trackpad has a smooth finish, on which it is easy to perform multi-finger gestures. The device supports Microsoft Precision drivers, giving it full support for all Windows 10 gestures. Overall, the ThinkBook 13s-IWL has an excellent and well-proportioned trackpad, but there are also much better equivalents on the market.

The omission of a TrackPoint is a shame. This is understandable, as Lenovo is attempting to find ways to distinguish the ThinkBook from the ThinkPad.

Display

Sub-pixel array: N133HCE-EN2
Sub-pixel array: N133HCE-EN2
Our review unit suffers from backlight bleed
Our review unit suffers from backlight bleed

The ThinkBook 13s-IWL has a 13.3-inch IPS panel that operates natively at 1,920 x 1,080. There is no touch option, and the screen has a matte finish, which is akin to most ThinkPad laptops, although they often have glossy finishes.

Our review unit achieved an average maximum luminosity of 309 cd/m² according to X-Rite i1Pro 2. The Innolux display slightly exceeds Lenovo’s official rating of 300 cd/m², making the panel brighter than all but the ThinkPad X390 and Yoga S730 of our comparison devices.

The display also supports High Dynamic Range (HDR), which can be activated in the Windows settings. Although the panel is not bright enough for an HDR display, enabling HDR improves color accuracy somewhat.

The screen does suffer from backlight bleeding, as demonstrated by the photo below. Additionally, the display uses pulse-width modulation (PWM) to regulate display luminosity, which can cause eye strain and headaches for some people. Our review unit flickers at 25,000 Hz, which should be high enough not to cause issues for most people. The display is 92% evenly lit too, which is better than all of our comparison devices.

295
cd/m²
299
cd/m²
310
cd/m²
321
cd/m²
319
cd/m²
314
cd/m²
315
cd/m²
298
cd/m²
306
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
N133HCE-EN2
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 321 cd/m² Average: 308.6 cd/m² Minimum: 6.3 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 92 %
Center on Battery: 317 cd/m²
Contrast: 1139:1 (Black: 0.28 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 2.4 | 0.6-29.43 Ø6, calibrated: 0.6
ΔE Greyscale 3.8 | 0.64-98 Ø6.3
99.1% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 63.5% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.16
Lenovo ThinkBook 13s-20R90071GE
N133HCE-EN2, , 1920x1080, 13.3
Lenovo ThinkPad L390-20NR0013GE
LP133WF2-SPL8, , 1920x1080, 13.3
Lenovo ThinkPad X390-20Q1S02M00
LP133WF7-SPB1, , 1920x1080, 13.3
HP ProBook 430 G6-5TJ89EA
CMN1375, , 1920x1080, 13.3
Lenovo Yoga S730-13IWL
B133HAN05.1, , 1920x1080, 13.3
Response Times
4%
-31%
-1%
-20%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
40.4 (22, 18.4)
42.8 (22.8, 20)
-6%
57.6 (28.4, 29.2)
-43%
40.8 (22.8, 18)
-1%
53 (27, 26)
-31%
Response Time Black / White *
28.8 (15.6, 13.2)
30 (15.2, 14.8)
-4%
34 (18.4, 15.6)
-18%
30.4 (16.4, 14)
-6%
31 (16, 15)
-8%
PWM Frequency
25000 (20)
30490 (99)
22%
26040 (40)
4%
Screen
-124%
0%
-89%
4%
Brightness middle
319
298
-7%
356
12%
255
-20%
343
8%
Brightness
309
278
-10%
336
9%
238
-23%
323
5%
Brightness Distribution
92
81
-12%
88
-4%
88
-4%
85
-8%
Black Level *
0.28
0.33
-18%
0.16
43%
0.18
36%
0.33
-18%
Contrast
1139
903
-21%
2225
95%
1417
24%
1039
-9%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
2.4
6.5
-171%
3.6
-50%
5.4
-125%
2.38
1%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
6.3
23.9
-279%
5.5
13%
19.5
-210%
3.55
44%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 calibrated *
0.6
4.9
-717%
1.1
-83%
4.1
-583%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
3.8
5.6
-47%
4.7
-24%
3.8
-0%
3.01
21%
Gamma
2.16 102%
2.08 106%
2.48 89%
2.41 91%
2.44 90%
CCT
7335 89%
6669 97%
6374 102%
7100 92%
7198 90%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
63.5
38.4
-40%
61.3
-3%
39.4
-38%
62
-2%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
99.1
60.1
-39%
95.7
-3%
62.5
-37%
98
-1%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-60% / -96%
-16% / -4%
-45% / -70%
-8% / 0%

* ... smaller is better

CalMAN: Color Accuracy - uncalibrated
CalMAN: Color Accuracy - uncalibrated
CalMAN: Color Saturation – uncalibrated
CalMAN: Color Saturation – uncalibrated
CalMAN: Grayscale – uncalibrated
CalMAN: Grayscale – uncalibrated
CalMAN: Color Accuracy - calibrated
CalMAN: Color Accuracy - calibrated
CalMAN: Color Saturation – calibrated
CalMAN: Color Saturation – calibrated
CalMAN: Grayscale – calibrated
CalMAN: Grayscale – calibrated

The display had a blue tint upon delivery, but we were able to eliminate this deviation by additional calibration. We have included the calibrated ICC profile in the box above our comparison table should you wish to use it. Our calibration reduced DeltaE deviations below ideal values, while its 1,139:1 contrast ratio is respectable too.

Subjectively, the display looks color accurate. Our review unit covers 99.1% of sRGB, which is better than all our comparison devices. In short, the display is accurate enough for semi-professional photo and video editing.

99.1% sRGB color space coverage
99.1% sRGB color space coverage
63.5% AdobeRGB color space coverage
63.5% AdobeRGB color space coverage
Using the ThinkBook 13s-IWL outside in the shade
Using the ThinkBook 13s-IWL outside in the shade
Using the ThinkBook 13s-IWL outside in the sunshine
Using the ThinkBook 13s-IWL outside in the sunshine

The ThinkBook 13s-IWL is usable outdoors, but we would recommend using it in the shade where possible. The display gets bright, but not enough to overcome bright sunlight.

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
28.8 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 15.6 ms rise
↘ 13.2 ms fall
The screen shows relatively slow response rates in our tests and may be too slow for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 67 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (25 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
40.4 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 22 ms rise
↘ 18.4 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 49 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (39.8 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 25000 Hz ≤ 20 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 25000 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 20 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 25000 Hz is quite high, so most users sensitive to PWM should not notice any flickering.

In comparison: 51 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 9394 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Our review unit has stable viewing angles, although we did notice a slight loss of brightness at acute viewing angles. This should not impede readability in daily use though.

Viewing Angles: N133HCE-EN2
Viewing Angles: N133HCE-EN2

Performance

The name IWL hints at what components Lenovo has included in the ThinkBook 13s. In this instance, IWL stands for Intel Whiskey Lake, with Lenovo offering the device with either a Core i5-8265U or Core i7-8565U processor. The ThinkBook 13s-IWL comes with the Intel UHD Graphics 620 by default, but you can configure the device with an AMD Radeon RX 540X should you need more graphics performance. However, Lenovo does not currently offer the Radeon 540X as a configurable option in Europe. The device comes with a single DDR4-2400 SO-DIMM slot, with 16 GB being the maximum volume of RAM that Lenovo offers. The device should be compatible with a 32 GB SO-DIMM module though. Lenovo also offers the ThinkBook 13s-IWL with either a 128 GB, 256 GB or a 512 GB PCIe NVMe SSD.

CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z Caches
CPU-Z Caches
CPU-Z Mainboard
CPU-Z Mainboard
HWiNFO
HWiNFO
GPU-Z
GPU-Z
LatencyMon
LatencyMon

Processor

The Core i5-8265U powering our review unit is a quad-core processor with a 15 W thermal design power (TDP). The CPU has a 1.6 GHz base clock speed that it can boost up to 3.9 GHz when required. Please see our CPU benchmarks page for more information on the Core i5-8265U and how it compares against other processors.

OEMs can configure the TDP higher though, which is what Lenovo has done with the CPU in the ThinkBook 13s-IWL. The processor can peak at 25 W for 30 seconds, during which time it operates at 3.3 GHz. Our Cinebench R15 Multi 64Bit tests show that the CPU downclocks to 2.8 GHz after it exhausts its Turbo Boost, and throttles back to 18 W. The ThinkBook 13s-IWL cannot maintain this performance in a loop of the same benchmark though, with the CPU dropping to 2.6 GHz and 15 W, which represents approximately a 20% drop in benchmark scores.

The ThinkBook 13s-IWL has comparatively good CPU performance though, with it able to maintain higher CB R15 Multi 64Bit scores than the Core i5-8265U equipped ThinkPad L390 and ProBook 430 G6. Our review unit outperforms the Core i7-8565U powered Yoga S730 too, although this throttles heavily. The latter has better single-core performance, but only on account of its more powerful CPU.

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Lenovo ThinkBook 13s-20R90071GE Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel Core i5-8265U: Ø557 (546-655)
Lenovo ThinkPad L390-20NR0013GE Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel Core i5-8265U: Ø548 (540-605)
Lenovo ThinkPad X390-20Q1S02M00 Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel Core i5-8265U: Ø569 (552-686)
HP ProBook 430 G6-5TJ89EA Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel Core i5-8265U: Ø554 (547.53-598.04)
Lenovo Yoga S730-13IWL Intel Core i7-8565U, Intel Core i7-8565U: Ø479 (455-638)
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Lenovo Yoga S730-13IWL
Intel Core i7-8565U
171 Points ∼100% +6%
Lenovo ThinkBook 13s-20R90071GE
Intel Core i5-8265U
162 Points ∼95%
Lenovo ThinkPad X390-20Q1S02M00
Intel Core i5-8265U
158 Points ∼92% -2%
Lenovo ThinkPad L390-20NR0013GE
Intel Core i5-8265U
155 Points ∼91% -4%
HP ProBook 430 G6-5TJ89EA
Intel Core i5-8265U
154.25 Points ∼90% -5%
Average Intel Core i5-8265U
  (111 - 164, n=26)
154 Points ∼90% -5%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (20 - 185, n=269)
115 Points ∼67% -29%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Lenovo ThinkPad X390-20Q1S02M00
Intel Core i5-8265U
683 Points ∼100% +23%
Lenovo Yoga S730-13IWL
Intel Core i7-8565U
640 Points ∼94% +15%
Lenovo ThinkPad L390-20NR0013GE
Intel Core i5-8265U
605 Points ∼89% +9%
HP ProBook 430 G6-5TJ89EA
Intel Core i5-8265U
598 (min: 547.53, max: 598.04) Points ∼88% +7%
Average Intel Core i5-8265U
  (457 - 750, n=28)
598 Points ∼88% +7%
Lenovo ThinkBook 13s-20R90071GE
Intel Core i5-8265U
557 (min: 546, max: 658) Points ∼82%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (32 - 721, n=279)
335 Points ∼49% -40%
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
557 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
47.2 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
98 %
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
162 Points
Help

System Performance

The ThinkBook 13s-IWL achieves expected results in PCMark for a Core i5-8265U powered machine. It often languishes towards the bottom of our comparison tables, but it is above the class average, and generally, only a few percent shy of the average of Core i5-8265U powered laptops that we have tested. Overall, the ThinkBook 13s-IWL is powerful enough for all general day to day tasks, and we encountered no performance issues during our tests.

PCMark 10
Digital Content Creation
Lenovo ThinkBook 13s-20R90071GE
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, SK hynix BC501 HFM512GDHTNG-8310A
3058 Points ∼100%
Lenovo ThinkPad X390-20Q1S02M00
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Intel SSD Pro 7600p SSDPEKKF512G8L
3050 Points ∼100% 0%
Lenovo ThinkPad L390-20NR0013GE
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
3028 Points ∼99% -1%
Lenovo Yoga S730-13IWL
UHD Graphics 620, 8565U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
3014 Points ∼99% -1%
HP ProBook 430 G6-5TJ89EA
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-256G
2985 Points ∼98% -2%
Average Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (2620 - 3210, n=21)
2977 Points ∼97% -3%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (534 - 3704, n=85)
2418 Points ∼79% -21%
Productivity
Lenovo Yoga S730-13IWL
UHD Graphics 620, 8565U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
6667 Points ∼100% +14%
Lenovo ThinkPad L390-20NR0013GE
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
6351 Points ∼95% +9%
HP ProBook 430 G6-5TJ89EA
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-256G
6279 Points ∼94% +8%
Lenovo ThinkPad X390-20Q1S02M00
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Intel SSD Pro 7600p SSDPEKKF512G8L
6273 Points ∼94% +7%
Average Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (5636 - 6556, n=21)
6180 Points ∼93% +6%
Lenovo ThinkBook 13s-20R90071GE
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, SK hynix BC501 HFM512GDHTNG-8310A
5836 Points ∼88%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (1014 - 7281, n=85)
5201 Points ∼78% -11%
Essentials
Lenovo Yoga S730-13IWL
UHD Graphics 620, 8565U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
8787 Points ∼100% +21%
Lenovo ThinkPad X390-20Q1S02M00
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Intel SSD Pro 7600p SSDPEKKF512G8L
7982 Points ∼91% +10%
Average Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (7278 - 8689, n=21)
7902 Points ∼90% +9%
Lenovo ThinkPad L390-20NR0013GE
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
7669 Points ∼87% +5%
HP ProBook 430 G6-5TJ89EA
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-256G
7656 Points ∼87% +5%
Lenovo ThinkBook 13s-20R90071GE
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, SK hynix BC501 HFM512GDHTNG-8310A
7278 Points ∼83%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (2062 - 9402, n=85)
6731 Points ∼77% -8%
Score
Lenovo Yoga S730-13IWL
UHD Graphics 620, 8565U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
4022 Points ∼100% +11%
Lenovo ThinkPad X390-20Q1S02M00
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Intel SSD Pro 7600p SSDPEKKF512G8L
3832 Points ∼95% +6%
Lenovo ThinkPad L390-20NR0013GE
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
3787 Points ∼94% +4%
Average Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (3573 - 3985, n=21)
3767 Points ∼94% +4%
HP ProBook 430 G6-5TJ89EA
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-256G
3753 Points ∼93% +3%
Lenovo ThinkBook 13s-20R90071GE
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, SK hynix BC501 HFM512GDHTNG-8310A
3630 Points ∼90%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (743 - 4344, n=88)
3114 Points ∼77% -14%
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
Lenovo ThinkPad X390-20Q1S02M00
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Intel SSD Pro 7600p SSDPEKKF512G8L
4896 Points ∼100% +1%
HP ProBook 430 G6-5TJ89EA
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-256G
4887 Points ∼100% +1%
Lenovo ThinkBook 13s-20R90071GE
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, SK hynix BC501 HFM512GDHTNG-8310A
4841 Points ∼99%
Average Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (4302 - 4927, n=18)
4744 Points ∼97% -2%
Lenovo ThinkPad L390-20NR0013GE
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
4737 Points ∼97% -2%
Lenovo Yoga S730-13IWL
UHD Graphics 620, 8565U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
4733 Points ∼97% -2%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (1283 - 5363, n=210)
4039 Points ∼82% -17%
Home Score Accelerated v2
Lenovo ThinkPad X390-20Q1S02M00
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Intel SSD Pro 7600p SSDPEKKF512G8L
3629 Points ∼100% +5%
Average Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (3150 - 4244, n=19)
3503 Points ∼97% +1%
Lenovo ThinkBook 13s-20R90071GE
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, SK hynix BC501 HFM512GDHTNG-8310A
3467 Points ∼96%
Lenovo ThinkPad L390-20NR0013GE
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
3378 Points ∼93% -3%
HP ProBook 430 G6-5TJ89EA
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-256G
3342 Points ∼92% -4%
Lenovo Yoga S730-13IWL
UHD Graphics 620, 8565U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
3096 Points ∼85% -11%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (1027 - 4211, n=238)
3029 Points ∼83% -13%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3467 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
4841 points
Help

Storage Devices

Lenovo has equipped the ThinkBook 13s-IWL with an SK Hynix BC501 SSD, a 512 GB M.2 2242 PCIe NVMe drive. The device is compatible with longer M.2 2280 variants though. The BC501 is a comparatively slow drive, as our comparison table below demonstrates. The main reason for this is that the drive only supports PCIe 3.0 x2, half the speed at which most modern PCIe NVMe operate. This also partly explains our review unit’s mediocre PCMark results.

Lenovo ThinkBook 13s-20R90071GE
SK hynix BC501 HFM512GDHTNG-8310A
Lenovo ThinkPad L390-20NR0013GE
Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
Lenovo ThinkPad X390-20Q1S02M00
Intel SSD Pro 7600p SSDPEKKF512G8L
HP ProBook 430 G6-5TJ89EA
WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-256G
Lenovo Yoga S730-13IWL
Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR
Average SK hynix BC501 HFM512GDHTNG-8310A
 
CrystalDiskMark 5.2 / 6
52%
68%
20%
62%
0%
Write 4K
89.33
99.56
11%
120.7
35%
101.8
14%
139.6
56%
89.3
0%
Read 4K
37.4
37.22
0%
58.52
56%
41.35
11%
36.97
-1%
37.4
0%
Write Seq
608.2
1432
135%
1491
145%
928.5
53%
1490
145%
608
0%
Read Seq
1019
2072
103%
2760
171%
1388
36%
1321
30%
1019
0%
Write 4K Q32T1
487.9
439.7
-10%
237.5
-51%
453.5
-7%
302.4
-38%
488
0%
Read 4K Q32T1
284.8
264.8
-7%
336.1
18%
286.2
0%
375.4
32%
285
0%
Write Seq Q32T1
872.1
1549
78%
1512
73%
1302
49%
2391
174%
872
0%
Read Seq Q32T1
1635
3318
103%
3154
93%
1751
7%
3272
100%
1635
0%
SK hynix BC501 HFM512GDHTNG-8310A
Sequential Read: 1018 MB/s
Sequential Write: 698.1 MB/s
512K Read: 757.7 MB/s
512K Write: 573.6 MB/s
4K Read: 42.8 MB/s
4K Write: 111.6 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 371.8 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 514.6 MB/s

Graphics Card

We have covered the UHD Graphics 620 a lot previously, with Intel integrating it within its U series processors since late 2017. The UHD Graphics 620 is a competent chip by iGPU standards, but its performance depends on what channel the system is running on. Dual-channel devices, which are equipped with two SO-DIMM modules, can maximize the performance of the UHD Graphics 620. However, the ThinkBook 13s-IWL can only run in single-channel mode as it has just one SO-DIMM slot and has no secondary module soldered to its motherboard. While the device cannot fully exploit the potential of the UHD Graphics 620, it performs 3DMark benchmarks well, only trailing the ThinkPad X390 by 5% in 3DMark 11.

We did not notice any GPU power throttling when running the ThinkBook 13s-IWL on battery power. Hence, you should have its full GPU capabilities even when you are not connected to the mains.

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
Lenovo ThinkPad X390-20Q1S02M00
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8265U
1841 Points ∼100% +5%
Lenovo Yoga S730-13IWL
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-8565U
1817 Points ∼99% +3%
Lenovo ThinkBook 13s-20R90071GE
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8265U
1759 Points ∼96%
Average Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (1235 - 2006, n=165)
1716 Points ∼93% -2%
Lenovo ThinkPad L390-20NR0013GE
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8265U
1710 Points ∼93% -3%
HP ProBook 430 G6-5TJ89EA
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8265U
1698 Points ∼92% -3%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (230 - 4905, n=359)
1266 Points ∼69% -28%
3DMark
2560x1440 Time Spy Graphics
Average of class Subnotebook
  (85 - 1130, n=35)
489 Points ∼100%
Lenovo Yoga S730-13IWL
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-8565U
387 Points ∼79%
Average Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (299 - 431, n=29)
356 Points ∼73%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Lenovo ThinkPad X390-20Q1S02M00
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8265U
1266 Points ∼100% +15%
Lenovo Yoga S730-13IWL
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-8565U
1196 Points ∼94% +8%
Average Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (557 - 1401, n=134)
1127 Points ∼89% +2%
Lenovo ThinkBook 13s-20R90071GE
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8265U
1105 Points ∼87%
HP ProBook 430 G6-5TJ89EA
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8265U
1058 Points ∼84% -4%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (222 - 3726, n=239)
1041 Points ∼82% -6%
Lenovo ThinkPad L390-20NR0013GE
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8265U
1020 Points ∼81% -8%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics
Lenovo ThinkPad X390-20Q1S02M00
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8265U
10126 Points ∼100% +12%
Average Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (6910 - 11436, n=152)
9153 Points ∼90% +1%
Lenovo ThinkBook 13s-20R90071GE
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8265U
9058 Points ∼89%
HP ProBook 430 G6-5TJ89EA
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8265U
8462 Points ∼84% -7%
Lenovo Yoga S730-13IWL
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-8565U
8446 Points ∼83% -7%
Lenovo ThinkPad L390-20NR0013GE
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8265U
8182 Points ∼81% -10%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (1484 - 22615, n=267)
7584 Points ∼75% -16%
3DMark 11 Performance
1937 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
8233 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
1018 points
Help

Gaming Performance

The UHD Graphics 620 is not a gaming GPU, but it can play some older and less complex games like BioShock Infinite. However, our review unit can only play the former and Dota 2 Reborn at smooth framerates in 720p, such are the limitations of the UHD Graphics 620.

low med. high ultra
BioShock Infinite (2013) 59.130.925.28fps
The Witcher 3 (2015) 15.9fps
Dota 2 Reborn (2015) 7242.919.216.9fps
Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) 23.1fps
X-Plane 11.11 (2018) 25.417.6fps

Emissions

Fan Noise

Our review unit generally operates silently during undemanding tasks or when idling. However, its fans occasionally reach 29.7 dB(A), while they peak at 38.3 dB(A) under sustained load. The latter only applies during a pure CPU stress test though, with the fans running about 4.2 dB(A) quieter with the CPU and GPU simultaneously being pushed to their limits.

We did not detect any coil whine or other electrical interference during our tests. Your ears may be more sensitive than ours, but most people should have no issues with using the ThinkBook 13s-IWL in a quiet room.

Noise Level

Idle
28.8 / 28.8 / 29.7 dB(A)
Load
30.7 / 38.3 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Audix TM1, Arta (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 28.8 dB(A)
dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2033.428.732.332.228.42527.926.330.223.5253135.426.628.825.625.7403323.529.125.225.25024.524.827.524.324.56323.524.522.722.824.68029.723.22321.323.510022.621.923.621.52312521.322.221.221.621.71602221.92222.322.620021.72221.121.42325021.52221.821.32331523.620.921.120.522.940021.920.820.42024.250022.62120.419.524.76302320.819.818.924.280023.820.819.318.425.7100023.620.718.917.931.8125021.619.218.617.226.2160022.319.417.916.425.9200023.719.317.3162725002318.116.715.926.6315022.717.616.215.426.5400020.316.715.715.424.1500021.815.815.31525.2630020.715.515.31527.3800016.515.315.214.921.31000015.915.415.214.918.71250015.215.515.214.717.31600014.916.61514.415.9SPL34.130.729.728.838.3N21.41.31.22.9median 21.9median 19.4median 18.6median 17.2median 24.2Delta1.62.32.72.61.9hearing rangehide median Fan NoiseLenovo ThinkBook 13s-20R90071GE

Temperature

System information during a combined FurMark and Prime95 stress test
System information during a combined FurMark and Prime95 stress test

The ThinkBook 13s-IWL manages its surface temperatures well, with only one area of its top case exceeding 40 °C (104 °F) under sustained load. Two areas of the bottom case breach this threshold though, the hottest of which we recorded at 44.6 °C (112.28 °F), but this should not feel uncomfortably warm against one’s thigh. The device should feel cool to the touch at idle too.

We also subjected our review unit to a combined FurMark and Prime95 stress test to determine how it manages its performance under extreme load conditions. The CPU initially operates at 25 W as it does in CB R15 Multi 64Bit, before dropping to 18 W after 30 seconds. Its TDP had dropped to 15 W after an hour of stress testing, by which point clock speeds had plummeted to just 1.2 GHz. CPU core temperatures only reached a maximum of 73 °C (163.4 °F), so it is not thermal throttling. Instead, it seems that the system is power limit throttling.

We also re-ran 3DMark 11 to see how our stress test affected our review unit’s GPU performance. The device achieved comparable results to when we ran the benchmark cold, so you should not experience any prolonged throttling in daily use.

Max. Load
 40.3 °C
105 F
39.2 °C
103 F
36.1 °C
97 F
 
 37.9 °C
100 F
36.8 °C
98 F
30.5 °C
87 F
 
 30.2 °C
86 F
27.3 °C
81 F
26.4 °C
80 F
 
Maximum: 40.3 °C = 105 F
Average: 33.9 °C = 93 F
30.8 °C
87 F
42.4 °C
108 F
44.6 °C
112 F
29.8 °C
86 F
36.2 °C
97 F
39 °C
102 F
27.2 °C
81 F
30.8 °C
87 F
31.7 °C
89 F
Maximum: 44.6 °C = 112 F
Average: 34.7 °C = 94 F
Power Supply (max.)  40 °C = 104 F | Room Temperature 20.3 °C = 69 F | Voltcraft IR-900
(±) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 33.9 °C / 93 F, compared to the average of 30.7 °C / 87 F for the devices in the class Subnotebook.
(±) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 40.3 °C / 105 F, compared to the average of 35.8 °C / 96 F, ranging from 22 to 57 °C for the class Subnotebook.
(±) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 44.6 °C / 112 F, compared to the average of 40.1 °C / 104 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 23.4 °C / 74 F, compared to the device average of 30.7 °C / 87 F.
(+) The palmrests and touchpad are cooler than skin temperature with a maximum of 30.2 °C / 86.4 F and are therefore cool to the touch.
(±) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 28.6 °C / 83.5 F (-1.6 °C / -2.9 F).
Heatmap of the top of the device under load
Heatmap of the top of the device under load
Heatmap of the bottom of the device under load
Heatmap of the bottom of the device under load

Speakers

An “Audio by Harman” logo adorns the palm rest of the ThinkBook 13s-IWL, but the downward-firing stereo speakers are only modest even by laptop standards. The ones in our review unit are comparatively quiet and only reached a maximum of 70.7 dB(A) during our tests. In short, the speakers in the ThinkBook 13s-IWL are worse than the ones in the ThinkPad X390, the latter of which has underwhelming speakers too. Overall, mid and high-pitched frequencies are overrepresented, while bass tones are completely absent. As always with laptops, we recommend using external audio equipment like headphones and speakers, which you can connect via the headphone jack or Bluetooth.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2032.229.72523.526.93125.625.34025.227.95024.325.26322.824.48021.324.110021.522.912521.62416022.334.620021.44825021.354.531520.553.34002052.450019.553.463018.951.380018.460100017.960.4125017.257.5160016.462.820001663.4250015.956.9315015.456.8400015.450.85000154963001555.4800014.9601000014.955.61250014.759.81600014.460.8SPL28.870.7N1.226.5median 17.2median 55.4Delta2.64.930.731.126.428.727.728.425.625.524.123.323.923.823.421.4222221.722.822.729.822.743.221.852.220.654.820.356.619.558.219.460.818.964.518.262.217.459.21758.616.460.916.156.415.558.315.563.315.762.515.461.215.66015.457.115.357.515.151.229.272.61.231.4median 17.4median 58.22.56hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseLenovo ThinkBook 13s-20R90071GELenovo ThinkPad X390-20Q1S02M00
Frequency diagram (checkboxes can be checked and unchecked to compare devices)
Lenovo ThinkBook 13s-20R90071GE audio analysis

(-) | not very loud speakers (70.7 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 15.9% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (14.8% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 4.5% away from median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (7.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 2.7% away from median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (11.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (18.2% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 46% of all tested devices in this class were better, 10% similar, 44% worse
» The best had a delta of 8%, average was 20%, worst was 50%
Compared to all devices tested
» 31% of all tested devices were better, 6% similar, 62% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Lenovo ThinkPad X390-20Q1S02M00 audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (72.6 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 20.8% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (13.6% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 2.3% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (5.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 2.4% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (6.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (17.9% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 45% of all tested devices in this class were better, 10% similar, 46% worse
» The best had a delta of 8%, average was 20%, worst was 50%
Compared to all devices tested
» 29% of all tested devices were better, 7% similar, 64% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Power Management

Power Consumption

The ThinkBook 13s-IWL has surprisingly low power consumption. Our review unit consumes a minimum of 3.1 W when idling, with all but the Yoga S730 having a higher power draw of our comparison devices. The ThinkBook 13s-IWL has excellent maximum power consumption at idle too, with being between 26% and 67% lower than our comparison devices. Its draw under sustained load is favorable too.

Lenovo includes a 65 W power supply in the box. Our review unit consumes a maximum of 46.5 W under load, which is well below the power supply’s maximum capacity.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.29 / 5.5 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 3.1 / 5.87 / 6.6 Watt
Load midlight 35.3 / 46.5 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Lenovo ThinkBook 13s-20R90071GE
8265U, UHD Graphics 620, SK hynix BC501 HFM512GDHTNG-8310A, a-Si IPS LED, 1920x1080, 13.3
Lenovo ThinkPad L390-20NR0013GE
8265U, UHD Graphics 620, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ, IPS LED, 1920x1080, 13.3
Lenovo ThinkPad X390-20Q1S02M00
8265U, UHD Graphics 620, Intel SSD Pro 7600p SSDPEKKF512G8L, IPS LED, 1920x1080, 13.3
HP ProBook 430 G6-5TJ89EA
8265U, UHD Graphics 620, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-256G, IPS LED, 1920x1080, 13.3
Lenovo Yoga S730-13IWL
8565U, UHD Graphics 620, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR, IPS LED, 1920x1080, 13.3
Average Intel UHD Graphics 620
 
Average of class Subnotebook
 
Power Consumption
-18%
-20%
-7%
-16%
-15%
-50%
Idle Minimum *
3.1
3.8
-23%
3.4
-10%
3.5
-13%
3
3%
3.87 (1 - 12.4, n=174)
-25%
6.66 (1 - 36, n=594)
-115%
Idle Average *
5.87
6.8
-16%
5.6
5%
5.76
2%
5.6
5%
7.12 (4.3 - 15.5, n=174)
-21%
9.87 (2.06 - 39, n=594)
-68%
Idle Maximum *
6.6
9.8
-48%
8.7
-32%
8.3
-26%
11
-67%
8.93 (5.2 - 16.6, n=174)
-35%
12.2 (3.9 - 55, n=594)
-85%
Load Average *
35.3
32.4
8%
43.6
-24%
34.8
1%
38
-8%
35.4 (8.1 - 51.6, n=174)
-0%
33.5 (6.3 - 75, n=584)
5%
Load Maximum *
46.5
52
-12%
65
-40%
45.7
2%
53
-14%
44.8 (22 - 79, n=174)
4%
40.6 (7.6 - 111, n=587)
13%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

The ThinkBook 13s-IWL has an ungenerous 45 Wh battery, although this capacity puts it on par with our comparison devices. Its low power gives it a respectable 9:05 hours in a practical Wi-Fi battery life test, during which we set the display to approximately 150 cd/m² and run a script that simulates the load required to render websites. The ThinkBook 13s-IWL only falls short of the ProBook 430 G6 here and proved more long-lasting than the more expensive ThinkPad X390. Our review unit still lasts about 7 hours in our Wi-Fi test at maximum screen brightness, which is impressive.

Charging time: 124 minutes
Charging time: 124 minutes
Battery life on Wi-Fi: 429 minutes
Battery life on Wi-Fi: 429 minutes
Battery Runtime
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3 (Edge)
9h 05min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
10h 47min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 23min
Lenovo ThinkBook 13s-20R90071GE
8265U, UHD Graphics 620, 45 Wh
Lenovo ThinkPad L390-20NR0013GE
8265U, UHD Graphics 620, 45 Wh
Lenovo ThinkPad X390-20Q1S02M00
8265U, UHD Graphics 620, 48 Wh
HP ProBook 430 G6-5TJ89EA
8265U, UHD Graphics 620, 45 Wh
Lenovo Yoga S730-13IWL
8565U, UHD Graphics 620, 42 Wh
Average of class Subnotebook
 
Battery Runtime
-12%
8%
21%
-7%
2%
Reader / Idle
974
969
954
619 (87 - 2557, n=548)
H.264
647
566
-13%
764
18%
546
-16%
532
-18%
471 (182 - 1174, n=112)
-27%
WiFi v1.3
545
419
-23%
499
-8%
569
4%
414
-24%
471 (206 - 806, n=212)
-14%
Load
83
83
0%
94
13%
145
75%
100
20%
121 (40 - 347, n=556)
46%

Pros

+ compact
+ premium aluminum design
+ matte display
+ bright panel
+ HDR support
+ almost 100% sRGB coverage
+ low surface temperatures
+ long battery life
+ upgradable RAM

Cons

- missing business features
- hamstrung Type-C port; no USB PD
- short warranty coverage
- huge bottom display bezel

Verdict

The Lenovo ThinkBook 13s-IWL laptop review. Test device courtesy of CampusPoint.
The Lenovo ThinkBook 13s-IWL laptop review. Test device courtesy of CampusPoint.

The ThinkBook series will not replace the established ThinkPad line, that much is clear after testing the ThinkBook 13s. Rather, the ThinkBook series is an addition to Lenovo's laptop offering that should appeal to those who are put off by ThinkPads. Specifically, the ThinkBook 13s may be of more interest to those who like the design of the MacBook Pro than a conventional ThinkPad.

One of the most notable differences between the ThinkBook 13s and its ThinkPad counterparts is case design. The silver-gray aluminum chassis feels premium while also being compact and lightweight, although it looks nothing like a modern ThinkPad. We are unsure at this stage whether the ThinkBook will prove as robust and hardy as a ThinkPad in the long run, but a similarly compact and lightweight ThinkPad is significantly more expensive than the ThinkBook 13s. We like what Lenovo has done with the display in the latter though, with its matte panel getting brighter than the ThinkPad L390 while having better color space coverage too. HDR support is a nice touch too. The battery life and low case temperatures of our review unit are also praiseworthy, as is the ability to upgrade the RAM should you need to do so.

The biggest problem we have with the ThinkBook 13s is its connectivity or lack thereof. Specifically, we mean its security and communication features along with its selection of ports, with the ThinkBook 13s unable to compete against real-world business laptops in any of those three categories. While we did not expect Lenovo to equip the device with a Thunderbolt 3 port, we cannot understand why the company decided against including support for Type-C charging. Instead, one must always use the proprietary slim-tip power connector, which is unnecessarily inconvenient. A one-year warranty is another blot on the ThinkBook 13s’ copybook too, as is the huge bottom display bezel.

IdeaPad Deluxe: The ThinkBook 13s combines some ThinkPad features like a matte display and ThinkShutter with IdeaPad hardware. The ThinkBook 13s may be an attractive prospect for home buyers, but it is not a ThinkPad replacement.

Overall, the Lenovo ThinkBook 13s is not a bad laptop, but it is more IdeaPad than it is ThinkPad. Its keyboard and trackpad are proof of that, with the ThinkBook lacking not only a TrackPoint but also the quality typing experience that we have come to expect from ThinkPad laptops. In short, the ThinkBook 13s could be an interesting alternative to established brands for the general public or students, but it is not an adequate option if you need a business laptop. With that said, there are better 13.3-inch laptops out there than the ThinkBook 13s if you are willing to forgo the ThinkPad features that it lacks.

Lenovo ThinkBook 13s-20R90071GE - 07/22/2019 v6(old)
Benjamin Herzig

Chassis
90 /  98 → 91%
Keyboard
83%
Pointing Device
90%
Connectivity
55 / 80 → 69%
Weight
71 / 35-78 → 84%
Battery
92%
Display
91%
Games Performance
58 / 68 → 85%
Application Performance
86 / 87 → 99%
Temperature
92 / 91 → 100%
Noise
96%
Audio
56 / 91 → 62%
Camera
39 / 85 → 46%
Average
77%
88%
Subnotebook - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Lenovo ThinkBook 13s Laptop Review: A Business Laptop but no TrackPoint
Benjamin Herzig, 2019-07-28 (Update: 2019-07-30)
Alex Alderson
Alex Alderson - News Editor - @aldersonaj
Prior to writing and translating for Notebookcheck, I worked for various companies including and Apple Neowin. I have a BA in International History and Politics from the University of Leeds, which I have since converted to a Law Degree. Happy to chat on Twitter or Notebookchat.