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Lenovo ThinkPad E15 Laptop Review: Too much performance with too little cooling

Hot stuff. With the ThinkPad E series, Lenovo targets both the normal office market as well as people who occasionally like to play games – at least when the ThinkPad laptop is configured with an AMD GPU. Bringing these two things together proves more difficult than Lenovo might have thought, however, as the Lenovo ThinkPad E15 struggles with its cooling system.
Benjamin Herzig, 👁 Andreas Osthoff (translated by Benjamin Herzig),

New ThinkPad E series, part 2. This time, we review the Lenovo ThinkPad E15. Following Lenovo's new naming scheme, this is an affordable ThinkPad laptop of the E series with a 15.6-inch screen.

In contrast to the smaller Lenovo ThinkPad E14, we are reviewing a configuration with the dedicated AMD GPU. The reviewed sample model 20RD0011GE contains an Intel Core i7-10510U, the AMD Radeon RX 640, 16 GB RAM, a 512 GB SSD as well as an FHD screen. This is a high-end configuration that costs 1,019 Euros (~$1,093).

The predecessor Lenovo ThinkPad E590 is a logical choice for a comparison device. Like with the ThinkPad E14, we take in the more expensive Lenovo ThinkPad T590 into the equation as well. Additional comparison devices are the Dell Vostro 15 and the MSI Modern 15.

Lenovo ThinkPad E15 20RD0011GE (ThinkPad E15 Series)
Processor
Intel Core i7-10510U 4 x 1.8 - 4.8 GHz, Comet Lake-U
Graphics adapter
AMD Radeon RX 640 - 2048 MB, Core: 1218 MHz, Memory: 1500 MHz, 6987, Crimson 19.10.26, AMD Switchable Graphics
Memory
16384 MB 
, DDR4-2666, 1x SO-DIMM
Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel 141 PPI, NV156FHM-N48, IPS LED, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel Comet Lake-U PCH-LP Premium
Storage
Samsung PM991 MZALQ512HALU, 512 GB 
, 437 GB free
Soundcard
Conexant CX11880 @ Intel Cannon Point-LP PCH - cAVS (Audio, Voice, Speech)
Connections
1 USB 2.0, 3 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: combo audio, 1 Fingerprint Reader
Networking
Realtek RTL8168/8111 Gigabit-LAN (10/100/1000/2500/5000MBit/s), Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 (a/b/g/h/n = Wi-Fi 4/ac = Wi-Fi 5/ax = Wi-Fi 6), Bluetooth 5.0
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 18.9 x 368 x 245 ( = 0.74 x 14.49 x 9.65 in)
Battery
45 Wh Lithium-Ion
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 720p with ThinkShutter
Additional features
Speakers: 2 W stereo, Keyboard: 6 row chiclet with numpad, Keyboard Light: yes, 65 W charger, Microsoft Office Trial, Lenovo Vantage, 12 Months Warranty
Weight
1.79 kg ( = 63.14 oz / 3.95 pounds), Power Supply: 344 g ( = 12.13 oz / 0.76 pounds)
Price
1019 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Rating
Date
Model
Weight
Height
Size
Resolution
Best Price
82 %
03/2020
Lenovo ThinkPad E15 20RD0011GE
i7-10510U, Radeon RX 640
1.8 kg18.9 mm15.6"1920x1080
88 %
05/2019
Lenovo ThinkPad E590-20NB0012GE
i7-8565U, Radeon RX 550X (Laptop)
1.9 kg19.9 mm15.6"1920x1080
87 %
07/2019
Lenovo ThinkPad T590-20N4002VGE
i7-8565U, GeForce MX250
1.9 kg19.95 mm15.6"1920x1080
81 %
06/2019
Dell Vostro 15-5581
i5-8265U, GeForce MX130
2 kg18.04 mm15.6"1920x1080
80 %
02/2020
MSI Modern 15 A10RB
i7-10510U, GeForce MX250
1.6 kg15.9 mm15.6"1920x1080

Changes compared with the Lenovo ThinkPad E590

The changes of the ThinkPad E15 compared with the E590 mirror the changes to the ThinkPad E14: The chassis of the ThinkPad E15 is thinner (1 mm) and lighter (roughly 200 g) than the preceding model. The keyboard design has been changed as on the smaller E14, which means that the keyboard (which has a numpad on the 15.6-inch model) is not easily repairable anymore. Different from the E14, the bottom of the ThinkPad E15 is still made out of plastic. Aluminum is only used for the display lid.

As with the Lenovo ThinkPad E14, there is no more microSD slot. On the other hand, there is a new mechanical camera shutter (the ThinkShutter) and the fingerprint-reader is now fused with the power button. Since the ThinkPad E15 is a lot like its predecessor ThinkPad E590 otherwise, we point to the older model for more information about the connectivity and the input devices.

Size & weight comparison

369 mm / 14.5 inch 253 mm / 9.96 inch 19.9 mm / 0.783 inch 1.9 kg4.27 lbs368 mm / 14.5 inch 245 mm / 9.65 inch 18.9 mm / 0.744 inch 1.8 kg3.95 lbs365.8 mm / 14.4 inch 248 mm / 9.76 inch 19.95 mm / 0.785 inch 1.9 kg4.19 lbs359.1 mm / 14.1 inch 249 mm / 9.8 inch 18.04 mm / 0.71 inch 2 kg4.39 lbs356.8 mm / 14 inch 233.7 mm / 9.2 inch 15.9 mm / 0.626 inch 1.6 kg3.53 lbs

Connectivity: No more microSD slot for the Lenovo ThinkPad E15

Right: USB 2.0 Type-A, RJ45 Ethernet, Kensington lock
Right: USB 2.0 Type-A, RJ45 Ethernet, Kensington lock
Left: USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C, 2x USB 3.0 Type-A, HDMI, combo audio
Left: USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C, 2x USB 3.0 Type-A, HDMI, combo audio
Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
MSI Modern 15 A10RB
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
1128 (min: 1084, max: 1146) MBit/s ∼100% +19%
Lenovo ThinkPad E15 20RD0011GE
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201
951 (min: 932, max: 963) MBit/s ∼84%
Lenovo ThinkPad T590-20N4002VGE
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
653 MBit/s ∼58% -31%
Lenovo ThinkPad E590-20NB0012GE
Intel Wireless-AC 9260
559 MBit/s ∼50% -41%
Average of class Office
  (5 - 1722, n=268)
550 MBit/s ∼49% -42%
Dell Vostro 15-5581
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
327 (min: 289, max: 356) MBit/s ∼29% -66%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
MSI Modern 15 A10RB
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
1244 (min: 889, max: 1355) MBit/s ∼100% +83%
Lenovo ThinkPad E590-20NB0012GE
Intel Wireless-AC 9260
684 MBit/s ∼55% +1%
Lenovo ThinkPad E15 20RD0011GE
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201
680 (min: 373, max: 727) MBit/s ∼55%
Lenovo ThinkPad T590-20N4002VGE
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
661 MBit/s ∼53% -3%
Average of class Office
  (34 - 1666, n=267)
508 MBit/s ∼41% -25%
Dell Vostro 15-5581
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
313 (min: 176, max: 346) MBit/s ∼25% -54%

FHD screen of the Lenovo laptop: Matte but mediocre

Moderate backlight bleeding (shown enhanced & overshadowed by IPS glow here)
Moderate backlight bleeding (shown enhanced & overshadowed by IPS glow here)
Subpixel array Lenovo ThinkPad E15
Subpixel array Lenovo ThinkPad E15

Lenovo offers exactly two matte screen options: A TN panel with HD resolution (1366x768) and an FHD screen (1920x1080) based on IPS technology. The only feasible choice here is the FHD screen; the HD display should be avoided in any case.

The built-in FHD screen is supposed to reach a brightness value of 250 cd/m², which actually is the case for our review sample. On average, we measured 257 cd/m². That is less than the predecessor ThinkPad E590, though this one also has a screen specified for 250 cd/m². How high the brightness actually is seems to be a lottery.

The panel has PWM, but the frequency is so high that it should not be a problem. Backlight bleeding is visible too, though it gets overshadowed a little bit by IPS glow.

253
cd/m²
265
cd/m²
259
cd/m²
250
cd/m²
283
cd/m²
258
cd/m²
228
cd/m²
273
cd/m²
250
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
NV156FHM-N48
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 283 cd/m² Average: 257.7 cd/m² Minimum: 3.5 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 81 %
Center on Battery: 284 cd/m²
Contrast: 1286:1 (Black: 0.22 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 7.9 | 0.6-29.43 Ø5.8, calibrated: 5.8
ΔE Greyscale 6.6 | 0.64-98 Ø6
57.1% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 37% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.18
Lenovo ThinkPad E15 20RD0011GE
NV156FHM-N48, IPS LED, 1920x1080, 15.6
Lenovo ThinkPad E590-20NB0012GE
Lenovo B156HAN02.1, IPS, 1920x1080, 15.6
Lenovo ThinkPad T590-20N4002VGE
LP156WFC-SPD1, aSi IPS LED, 1920x1080, 15.6
Dell Vostro 15-5581
156CL04 1G2XW, IPS, 1920x1080, 15.6
MSI Modern 15 A10RB
Chi Mei N156HCE-EN1, IPS, 1920x1080, 15.6
Response Times
7%
25%
-10%
667%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
49.6 (24.4, 25.2)
47.2 (23.6, 23.6)
5%
37.2 (19.2, 18)
25%
36 (18, 18)
27%
43.2 (22.8, 20.4)
13%
Response Time Black / White *
36 (18.8, 17.2)
32.8 (19.6, 13.2)
9%
27.2 (17.2, 10)
24%
27 (16, 11)
25%
34.4 (20.4, 14)
4%
PWM Frequency
1250 (99)
208 (10)
-83%
26040 (13)
1983%
Screen
15%
12%
19%
32%
Brightness middle
283
284
0%
276
-2%
231
-18%
289.4
2%
Brightness
258
272
5%
262
2%
213
-17%
273
6%
Brightness Distribution
81
92
14%
88
9%
87
7%
82
1%
Black Level *
0.22
0.21
5%
0.23
-5%
0.13
41%
0.27
-23%
Contrast
1286
1352
5%
1200
-7%
1777
38%
1072
-17%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
7.9
5.3
33%
5.6
29%
4.81
39%
2.32
71%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
23.6
18.9
20%
16.4
31%
8.33
65%
5.76
76%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 calibrated *
5.8
4.4
24%
4.7
19%
4.2
28%
2.49
57%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
6.6
3.2
52%
3
55%
5.19
21%
3
55%
Gamma
2.18 101%
2.41 91%
2.18 101%
2.33 94%
2.22 99%
CCT
5735 113%
6736 96%
7075 92%
7088 92%
6867 95%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
37
37.9
2%
36.9
0%
37
0%
59.8
62%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
57.1
59.7
5%
58.1
2%
58
2%
92
61%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
11% / 14%
19% / 14%
5% / 13%
350% / 168%

* ... smaller is better

Colors
Colors
Grayscale
Grayscale
Saturation
Saturation
Colors (calibrated)
Colors (calibrated)
Grayscale (calibrated)
Grayscale (calibrated)
Saturation (calibrated)
Saturation (calibrated)

Ex factory, the screen has a significant yellow tint, which we were able to remove with CalMAN and the X-Rite i1Display Pro color-sensor. The contrast of 1286:1 is good, which contributes to creating a nice image quality.

The color gamut is weak. With just 57.1% of the sRGB, the smaller standard gamut is barely covered by half. This panel is completely unsuitable for color critical work.

sRGB: 57.1%
sRGB: 57.1%
AdobeRGB: 37%
AdobeRGB: 37%
Outdoors (cloudy)
Outdoors (cloudy)

Outdoors, the Lenovo ThinkPad E15 is usable, since the surface is matte. Using it in direct sunlight is not possible though as the screen is too dim for that.

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
36 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 18.8 ms rise
↘ 17.2 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 92 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (24.5 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
49.6 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 24.4 ms rise
↘ 25.2 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 81 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (39 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 1250 Hz ≤ 99 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 1250 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 99 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 1250 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 17878 (minimum: 5 - maximum: 2500000) Hz was measured.

Typical for IPS screens, the viewing-angle stability is very good, though an IPS glow effect is visible.

Viewing-angle picture Lenovo ThinkPad E15
Viewing-angle picture Lenovo ThinkPad E15

Lenovo ThinkPad E15 with disappointing GPU performance

Four different Comet Lake CPUs from Intel are offered by Lenovo, from the Core i3-10110U to the Core i5-10210U and the Core i7-10510U. The six-core CPU Core i7-10710U is available as well, but not in Europe. There are three GPU models: Just the Intel GPU or a choice of two additional AMD Radeon GPUs (Radeon 625 and Radeon RX 640). The CPU and GPU are complemented by up to 16 GB DDR4 2400 RAM and up to 1 TB SSD storage as well as 1 TB HDD storage. While the E15 is as flexibly upgradable as the ThinkPad E590 in terms of storage, this is not the case anymore for the RAM. Instead of two SO-DIMM slots, there is only a single one. Accordingly, the maximum RAM capacity decreases from 64 to 32 GB.

CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z Caches
CPU-Z Caches
CPU-Z Mainboard
CPU-Z Mainboard
HWiNFO
HWiNFO
GPU-Z Intel UHD Graphics 620
GPU-Z Intel UHD Graphics 620
LatencyMon
LatencyMon

Processor

The Intel Core i7-10510U is a Comet Lake processor with four cores and a clock rate of 1.8 to 4.8 GHz. The typical maximum power consumption of this CPU is 15 W. With our CPU comparison table, this processor can be compared with other CPUs.

Lenovo allows power consumption of 25 W for 30 seconds. Afterwards, the consumption is limited to 15 W, which explains the performance in the Cinebench loop. In this test, the ThinkPad E15 performs better than its predecessor ThinkPad E590. Compared with the ThinkPad T590 and the MSI Modern 15, it loses out however.

The CPU is not throttled when it runs on battery power.

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Lenovo ThinkPad E15 20RD0011GE Intel Core i7-10510U, Intel Core i7-10510U: Ø537 (533-579)
Lenovo ThinkPad E590-20NB0012GE Intel Core i7-8565U, Intel Core i7-8565U: Ø505 (501.3-526.77)
Lenovo ThinkPad T590-20N4002VGE Intel Core i7-8565U, Intel Core i7-8565U: Ø620 (499-711)
Dell Vostro 15-5581 Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel Core i5-8265U: Ø483 (456.69-613.01)
MSI Modern 15 A10RB Intel Core i7-10510U, Intel Core i7-10510U: Ø795 (785.64-858.83)
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
MSI Modern 15 A10RB
Intel Core i7-10510U
202 Points ∼100% +16%
Lenovo ThinkPad T590-20N4002VGE
Intel Core i7-8565U
193 Points ∼96% +11%
Lenovo ThinkPad E590-20NB0012GE
Intel Core i7-8565U
181 Points ∼90% +4%
Average Intel Core i7-10510U
  (113 - 202, n=29)
179 Points ∼89% +3%
Lenovo ThinkPad E15 20RD0011GE
Intel Core i7-10510U
174 Points ∼86%
Average of class Office
  (20 - 202, n=587)
116 Points ∼57% -33%
Dell Vostro 15-5581
Intel Core i5-8265U
111 Points ∼55% -36%
CPU Multi 64Bit
MSI Modern 15 A10RB
Intel Core i7-10510U
813 Points ∼100% +39%
Lenovo ThinkPad T590-20N4002VGE
Intel Core i7-8565U
711 (min: 499, max: 719) Points ∼87% +21%
Average Intel Core i7-10510U
  (482 - 856, n=31)
685 Points ∼84% +17%
Dell Vostro 15-5581
Intel Core i5-8265U
613 Points ∼75% +5%
Lenovo ThinkPad E15 20RD0011GE
Intel Core i7-10510U
586 Points ∼72%
Lenovo ThinkPad E590-20NB0012GE
Intel Core i7-8565U
527 Points ∼65% -10%
Average of class Office
  (36 - 1346, n=595)
371 Points ∼46% -37%
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
369
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
502 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
69.14 fps
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 32Bit
69.1 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
586 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
174 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
82.9 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
98 %
Help

System performance

In the PCMark benchmarks, the Lenovo ThinkPad E15 performs well. In everyday use, the performance is flawless, too.

PCMark 10
Digital Content Creation
MSI Modern 15 A10RB
GeForce MX250, i7-10510U, WDC PC SN730 SDBPNTY-512G
5547 Points ∼100% +33%
Lenovo ThinkPad E15 20RD0011GE
Radeon RX 640, i7-10510U, Samsung PM991 MZALQ512HALU
4181 Points ∼75%
Average Intel Core i7-10510U, AMD Radeon RX 640
 
4181 Points ∼75% 0%
Lenovo ThinkPad E590-20NB0012GE
Radeon RX 550X (Laptop), i7-8565U, Toshiba KBG30ZMT256G
3884 Points ∼70% -7%
Lenovo ThinkPad T590-20N4002VGE
GeForce MX250, i7-8565U, Toshiba XG6 KXG60ZNV512G
3841 Points ∼69% -8%
Average of class Office
  (320 - 5547, n=202)
2821 Points ∼51% -33%
Dell Vostro 15-5581
GeForce MX130, i5-8265U, SK hynix BC501 HFM128GDJTNG-831
2477 Points ∼45% -41%
Productivity
Lenovo ThinkPad E15 20RD0011GE
Radeon RX 640, i7-10510U, Samsung PM991 MZALQ512HALU
8567 Points ∼100%
Average Intel Core i7-10510U, AMD Radeon RX 640
 
8567 Points ∼100% 0%
MSI Modern 15 A10RB
GeForce MX250, i7-10510U, WDC PC SN730 SDBPNTY-512G
7972 Points ∼93% -7%
Lenovo ThinkPad E590-20NB0012GE
Radeon RX 550X (Laptop), i7-8565U, Toshiba KBG30ZMT256G
7964 Points ∼93% -7%
Lenovo ThinkPad T590-20N4002VGE
GeForce MX250, i7-8565U, Toshiba XG6 KXG60ZNV512G
7443 Points ∼87% -13%
Average of class Office
  (1266 - 8567, n=202)
5733 Points ∼67% -33%
Dell Vostro 15-5581
GeForce MX130, i5-8265U, SK hynix BC501 HFM128GDJTNG-831
5088 Points ∼59% -41%
Essentials
MSI Modern 15 A10RB
GeForce MX250, i7-10510U, WDC PC SN730 SDBPNTY-512G
9711 Points ∼100% +1%
Lenovo ThinkPad E15 20RD0011GE
Radeon RX 640, i7-10510U, Samsung PM991 MZALQ512HALU
9601 Points ∼99%
Average Intel Core i7-10510U, AMD Radeon RX 640
 
9601 Points ∼99% 0%
Lenovo ThinkPad T590-20N4002VGE
GeForce MX250, i7-8565U, Toshiba XG6 KXG60ZNV512G
8929 Points ∼92% -7%
Lenovo ThinkPad E590-20NB0012GE
Radeon RX 550X (Laptop), i7-8565U, Toshiba KBG30ZMT256G
8523 Points ∼88% -11%
Dell Vostro 15-5581
GeForce MX130, i5-8265U, SK hynix BC501 HFM128GDJTNG-831
7547 Points ∼78% -21%
Average of class Office
  (2683 - 9821, n=202)
7296 Points ∼75% -24%
Score
MSI Modern 15 A10RB
GeForce MX250, i7-10510U, WDC PC SN730 SDBPNTY-512G
5409 Points ∼100% +8%
Lenovo ThinkPad E15 20RD0011GE
Radeon RX 640, i7-10510U, Samsung PM991 MZALQ512HALU
5023 Points ∼93%
Average Intel Core i7-10510U, AMD Radeon RX 640
 
5023 Points ∼93% 0%
Lenovo ThinkPad E590-20NB0012GE
Radeon RX 550X (Laptop), i7-8565U, Toshiba KBG30ZMT256G
4597 Points ∼85% -8%
Lenovo ThinkPad T590-20N4002VGE
GeForce MX250, i7-8565U, Toshiba XG6 KXG60ZNV512G
4547 Points ∼84% -9%
Average of class Office
  (803 - 5409, n=203)
3455 Points ∼64% -31%
Dell Vostro 15-5581
GeForce MX130, i5-8265U, SK hynix BC501 HFM128GDJTNG-831
3272 Points ∼60% -35%
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
MSI Modern 15 A10RB
GeForce MX250, i7-10510U, WDC PC SN730 SDBPNTY-512G
5443 Points ∼100% +6%
Lenovo ThinkPad E590-20NB0012GE
Radeon RX 550X (Laptop), i7-8565U, Toshiba KBG30ZMT256G
5389 Points ∼99% +5%
Lenovo ThinkPad T590-20N4002VGE
GeForce MX250, i7-8565U, Toshiba XG6 KXG60ZNV512G
5225 Points ∼96% +2%
Lenovo ThinkPad E15 20RD0011GE
Radeon RX 640, i7-10510U, Samsung PM991 MZALQ512HALU
5142 Points ∼94%
Average Intel Core i7-10510U, AMD Radeon RX 640
 
5142 Points ∼94% 0%
Dell Vostro 15-5581
GeForce MX130, i5-8265U, SK hynix BC501 HFM128GDJTNG-831
4946 Points ∼91% -4%
Average of class Office
  (1226 - 5570, n=389)
4105 Points ∼75% -20%
Home Score Accelerated v2
Lenovo ThinkPad E590-20NB0012GE
Radeon RX 550X (Laptop), i7-8565U, Toshiba KBG30ZMT256G
4770 Points ∼100% +18%
Lenovo ThinkPad E15 20RD0011GE
Radeon RX 640, i7-10510U, Samsung PM991 MZALQ512HALU
4045 Points ∼85%
Average Intel Core i7-10510U, AMD Radeon RX 640
 
4045 Points ∼85% 0%
MSI Modern 15 A10RB
GeForce MX250, i7-10510U, WDC PC SN730 SDBPNTY-512G
3958 Points ∼83% -2%
Lenovo ThinkPad T590-20N4002VGE
GeForce MX250, i7-8565U, Toshiba XG6 KXG60ZNV512G
3885 Points ∼81% -4%
Dell Vostro 15-5581
GeForce MX130, i5-8265U, SK hynix BC501 HFM128GDJTNG-831
3727 Points ∼78% -8%
Average of class Office
  (1169 - 4770, n=451)
3114 Points ∼65% -23%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
4045 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
5142 points
Help

Storage solution

Our review sample contains the Samsung PM991 as its main SSD. This is an M.2 2280 SSD with a capacity of 512 GB. The SSD is connected via an NVMe PCIe 3.0 x4 connection and performs great in our benchmarks. It easily outperforms the Toshiba SSD of the predecessor. Apart from the SSD, it is also possible to put in a 2.5-inch HDD.

Lenovo ThinkPad E15 20RD0011GE
Samsung PM991 MZALQ512HALU
Lenovo ThinkPad E590-20NB0012GE
Toshiba KBG30ZMT256G
Lenovo ThinkPad T590-20N4002VGE
Toshiba XG6 KXG60ZNV512G
Dell Vostro 15-5581
SK hynix BC501 HFM128GDJTNG-831
MSI Modern 15 A10RB
WDC PC SN730 SDBPNTY-512G
Average Samsung PM991 MZALQ512HALU
 
CrystalDiskMark 5.2 / 6
-28%
17%
-48%
55%
-1%
Write 4K
144.4
111.2
-23%
126.2
-13%
129.3
-10%
208.4
44%
124 (103 - 145, n=4)
-14%
Read 4K
52.25
49.01
-6%
48.93
-6%
41.02
-21%
50.99
-2%
49 (45.5 - 52.3, n=4)
-6%
Write Seq
946.1
585.8
-38%
1345
42%
203.4
-79%
2687
184%
1135 (946 - 1333, n=4)
20%
Read Seq
1608
783.1
-51%
1373
-15%
271.2
-83%
2168
35%
1438 (1145 - 1608, n=4)
-11%
Write 4K Q32T1
591.6
263
-56%
383.8
-35%
252.3
-57%
489.2
-17%
485 (437 - 592, n=4)
-18%
Read 4K Q32T1
397.7
481.5
21%
434.8
9%
281.4
-29%
600.3
51%
475 (398 - 528, n=4)
19%
Write Seq Q32T1
1364
784.2
-43%
2966
117%
319.8
-77%
2699
98%
1379 (1315 - 1456, n=4)
1%
Read Seq Q32T1
2301
1602
-30%
3230
40%
1588.6
-31%
3374
47%
2254 (2085 - 2340, n=4)
-2%
Samsung PM991 MZALQ512HALU
Sequential Read: 1622 MB/s
Sequential Write: 1118 MB/s
512K Read: 1076 MB/s
512K Write: 1187 MB/s
4K Read: 52.64 MB/s
4K Write: 139.2 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 386.9 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 525.1 MB/s

GPU

GPU-Z AMD Radeon RX 640
GPU-Z AMD Radeon RX 640

The AMD Radeon RX 640 is a dedicated AMD GPU based on the Polaris architecture. In the ThinkPad E15, it has 2 GB dedicated GDDR5 memory with a 64-bit bus. The clock rate of the 640 shader units sits at 1,218 MHz. With the GPU comparison table, it can be compared with other GPUs.

The results of the GPU benchmarks are disappointing. In all benchmarks, the Radeon RX 640 performs worse than the Radeon RX 550X of the predecessor ThinkPad E590. The Nvidia GeForce MX250 of the ThinkPad T590 can be beaten in 3DMark 11, but the AMD GPU of the ThinkPad E15 is slower in the 3DMark Firestrike test.

When the ThinkPad is solely powered by the battery, the GPU performance is limited. Instead of 4,998 points, the ThinkPad laptop only scored 3,631 points in 3DMark 11.

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
Lenovo ThinkPad E590-20NB0012GE
AMD Radeon RX 550X (Laptop), Intel Core i7-8565U
5332 Points ∼100% +7%
Lenovo ThinkPad E15 20RD0011GE
AMD Radeon RX 640, Intel Core i7-10510U
4998 Points ∼94%
Average AMD Radeon RX 640
 
4998 Points ∼94% 0%
MSI Modern 15 A10RB
NVIDIA GeForce MX250, Intel Core i7-10510U
4905 Points ∼92% -2%
Lenovo ThinkPad T590-20N4002VGE
NVIDIA GeForce MX250, Intel Core i7-8565U
4126 Points ∼77% -17%
Dell Vostro 15-5581
NVIDIA GeForce MX130, Intel Core i5-8265U
2476 Points ∼46% -50%
Average of class Office
  (185 - 5422, n=706)
1411 Points ∼26% -72%
3DMark
2560x1440 Time Spy Graphics
MSI Modern 15 A10RB
NVIDIA GeForce MX250, Intel Core i7-10510U
1160 Points ∼100% +17%
Lenovo ThinkPad E590-20NB0012GE
AMD Radeon RX 550X (Laptop), Intel Core i7-8565U
1051 Points ∼91% +6%
Lenovo ThinkPad E15 20RD0011GE
AMD Radeon RX 640, Intel Core i7-10510U
990 Points ∼85%
Average AMD Radeon RX 640
 
990 Points ∼85% 0%
Dell Vostro 15-5581
NVIDIA GeForce MX130, Intel Core i5-8265U
649 Points ∼56% -34%
Average of class Office
  (76 - 1164, n=91)
521 Points ∼45% -47%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
MSI Modern 15 A10RB
NVIDIA GeForce MX250, Intel Core i7-10510U
3868 Points ∼100% +18%
Lenovo ThinkPad T590-20N4002VGE
NVIDIA GeForce MX250, Intel Core i7-8565U
3858 Points ∼100% +18%
Lenovo ThinkPad E590-20NB0012GE
AMD Radeon RX 550X (Laptop), Intel Core i7-8565U
3678 Points ∼95% +12%
Lenovo ThinkPad E15 20RD0011GE
AMD Radeon RX 640, Intel Core i7-10510U
3279 Points ∼85%
Average AMD Radeon RX 640
 
3279 Points ∼85% 0%
Dell Vostro 15-5581
NVIDIA GeForce MX130, Intel Core i5-8265U
2267 Points ∼59% -31%
Average of class Office
  (138 - 4109, n=523)
1085 Points ∼28% -67%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics
MSI Modern 15 A10RB
NVIDIA GeForce MX250, Intel Core i7-10510U
23806 Points ∼100% +22%
Lenovo ThinkPad T590-20N4002VGE
NVIDIA GeForce MX250, Intel Core i7-8565U
23748 Points ∼100% +22%
Lenovo ThinkPad E590-20NB0012GE
AMD Radeon RX 550X (Laptop), Intel Core i7-8565U
19931 Points ∼84% +2%
Lenovo ThinkPad E15 20RD0011GE
AMD Radeon RX 640, Intel Core i7-10510U
19479 Points ∼82%
Average AMD Radeon RX 640
 
19479 Points ∼82% 0%
Dell Vostro 15-5581
NVIDIA GeForce MX130, Intel Core i5-8265U
13240 Points ∼56% -32%
Average of class Office
  (1208 - 27117, n=565)
7451 Points ∼31% -62%
3DMark 06 Standard
20261 points
3DMark Vantage P Result
14141 points
3DMark 11 Performance
5243 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
61367 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
13593 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
3049 points
3DMark Time Spy Score
1100 points
Help

Gaming performance

The AMD GPU is an entry-level chip. Recent games are only playable in reduced details and resolution. Compared with Intel iGPUs, the Radeon does perform better, but the Nvidia GeForce MX250 is clearly faster.

In our The Witcher 3 stress test, there is a huge drop in performance right around the start. In other game benchmarks, there are performance drops as well – the GPU cooling system seems to be too weak.

The Witcher 3 - 1920x1080 High Graphics & Postprocessing (Nvidia HairWorks Off)
MSI Modern 15 A10RB
Intel Core i7-10510U, NVIDIA GeForce MX250
23.1 fps ∼100% +17%
Lenovo ThinkPad T590-20N4002VGE
Intel Core i7-8565U, NVIDIA GeForce MX250
21 fps ∼91% +7%
Lenovo ThinkPad E590-20NB0012GE
Intel Core i7-8565U, AMD Radeon RX 550X (Laptop)
20 fps ∼87% +2%
Lenovo ThinkPad E15 20RD0011GE
Intel Core i7-10510U, AMD Radeon RX 640
19.7 fps ∼85%
Average AMD Radeon RX 640
 
19.7 fps ∼85% 0%
Average of class Office
  (3.1 - 31.7, n=65)
12.5 fps ∼54% -37%
0510152025Tooltip
Lenovo ThinkPad E15 20RD0011GE Radeon RX 640, i7-10510U, Samsung PM991 MZALQ512HALU: Ø11.3 (5-16)
low med. high ultra
BioShock Infinite (2013) 150.5 94.1 74.4 27.3 fps
The Witcher 3 (2015) 63.2 38.4 19.7 11.3 fps
Dota 2 Reborn (2015) 110 95.5 51.7 48.2 fps
Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) 64.7 28.6 19.8 fps
Far Cry 5 (2018) 48 21 fps
Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018) 42 22 fps
Assassin´s Creed Odyssey (2018) 39 20 fps
Battlefield V (2018) 61.8 29.8 23.2 fps
Apex Legends (2019) 72 27 20 fps
Far Cry New Dawn (2019) 37 17 fps
The Division 2 (2019) 52 18 fps
Anno 1800 (2019) 61.8 20.5 fps
Total War: Three Kingdoms (2019) 51.4 16.9 fps
F1 2019 (2019) 55 23 fps
FIFA 20 (2019) 112.6 fps
Ghost Recon Breakpoint (2019) 29 fps
GRID 2019 (2019) 60.6 20.4 fps
Need for Speed Heat (2019) 31.7 14.3 fps
Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order (2019) 25.9 fps

Emissions: Temperatures of the Lenovo laptop potentially dangerous

Noise

Different from the more compact ThinkPad E14, the E15 does not run quietly while idling and is clearly audible under load as well. 34.8 dB(a) under load is not extremely loud, though the fan constantly runs with this level of noise.

We did detect coil whine, but it was so quiet that it was only audible when pressing an ear to the keyboard.

Noise Level

Idle
29.2 / 29.2 / 31.7 dB(A)
Load
34.8 / 34.8 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: 29.2 dB(A)
dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs203329.731.633.72527.327.723.826.83127.82827.527.94027.125.92528.15029.12625.925.46325.422.922.925.68022.825.322.924.110024.12523.925.71252424.524.124.116024.525.324.325.620023.724.92425.525023.124.323.323.731522.124.221.723.940022.425.420.52550022.225.32025.363021.824.718.824.980020.923.618.322.7100021.323.619.323.9125020.824.317.124160021.725.516.225.2200019.923.816.223.3250019.223.115.522.4315017.820.915.220.5400017.520.315.120.2500016.720.215.119.6630015.718.115.117.7800015.216.315.115.8100001515.71515.31250014.815.214.914.81600014.714.914.614.7SPL31.734.829.234.5N1.62.11.22.1median 20.9median 23.8median 17.1median 23.7Delta2.52.72.92.931.530.530.33127.726.724.625.129.827.428.325.12627.727.52524.726.425.123.326.229.825.223.127.425.223.12423.123.522.923.622.121.321.722.621.821.622.121.822.422.72222.3222221.321.721.921.62122.723.321.820.623.223.321.920.2242422.319.424.52321.118.923.122.821.218.322.822.420.917.922.322.620.717.122.421.719.516.721.221.919.616.22121.118.916.121.121.61915.821.322.419.615.622.319.617.515.419.317.816.915.517.116.916.115.41616.616.415.215.521.121.514.815.333.93229.433.721.71.22median 22median 21.1median 17.9median 22.30.81.62.51.7hearing rangehide median Fan NoiseLenovo ThinkPad E15 20RD0011GELenovo ThinkPad E590-20NB0012GE

Temperatures

Stress test (Prime95 + FurMark)
Stress test (Prime95 + FurMark)

Lenovo has seemingly learned nothing from the temperature problems of the ThinkPad E590. On the contrary, the ThinkPad E15 runs even hotter: Instead of a maximum temperature of 58.1 °C, we measured 67.1 °C. Of course, this is only an extreme scenario. But even in The Witcher 3 stress test, where only the GPU is running at 100%, we still measure a maximum of 65.1 °C at the bottom. Using the notebook on your lap is not advisable. At least the palmrest always stays cool, which means it is possible to use the Lenovo laptop on a desk even when it is under load.

In the stress test with Prime95 and FurMark, the ThinkPad E15 behaves exactly like in the Cinebench loop. For 30 seconds, the CPU consumption sits at 25 W, and afterwards it is limited to 15 W. This only holds true for one minute though, as the CPU clock rate crashes down to 400 MHz and the power consumption is limited to 6 W. The GPU has to throttle itself down to 935 MHz, too, which is not as radical as the CPU throttling. In the 3DMark 11 benchmark that we ran directly after the stress test, the Physics score of the test is much lower (4,543 instead of 7,872 points), which points to a throttling problem in everyday use.

Max. Load
 41.8 °C
107 F
46.1 °C
115 F
42.8 °C
109 F
 
 40.2 °C
104 F
41.3 °C
106 F
34.7 °C
94 F
 
 26.9 °C
80 F
27.4 °C
81 F
26.8 °C
80 F
 
Maximum: 46.1 °C = 115 F
Average: 36.4 °C = 98 F
58.7 °C
138 F
67.8 °C
154 F
42 °C
108 F
36.1 °C
97 F
46 °C
115 F
42.4 °C
108 F
24.5 °C
76 F
27.6 °C
82 F
26.6 °C
80 F
Maximum: 67.8 °C = 154 F
Average: 41.3 °C = 106 F
Power Supply (max.)  38.9 °C = 102 F | Room Temperature 20 °C = 68 F | Voltcraft IR-900
(±) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 36.4 °C / 98 F, compared to the average of 29.4 °C / 85 F for the devices in the class Office.
(-) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 46.1 °C / 115 F, compared to the average of 34 °C / 93 F, ranging from 21.2 to 62.5 °C for the class Office.
(-) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 67.8 °C / 154 F, compared to the average of 36.5 °C / 98 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 23.9 °C / 75 F, compared to the device average of 29.4 °C / 85 F.
(±) Playing The Witcher 3, the average temperature for the upper side is 35.9 °C / 97 F, compared to the device average of 29.4 °C / 85 F.
(+) The palmrests and touchpad are cooler than skin temperature with a maximum of 27.8 °C / 82 F and are therefore cool to the touch.
(±) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 28 °C / 82.4 F (+0.2 °C / 0.4 F).
Stress test (palmrest)
Stress test (palmrest)
Stress test (bottom)
Stress test (bottom)

Speakers

The speaker system is the same as in the Lenovo ThinkPad E14, and measurements can be found in this review.

Energy management: Lenovo E15 with relatively small battery

Power consumption

The power consumption of the Lenovo ThinkPad E15 is excellent. None of the comparison device has a lower energy usage, which means that Lenovo optimized the system well.

While the maximum power consumption of 66.4 W is more than the 65 W charger can handle, it quickly decreases. Users do not have to worry about the battery being drained while using the ThinkPad laptop.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.47 / 0.71 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 3.2 / 6.8 / 9.5 Watt
Load midlight 44 / 66.4 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Lenovo ThinkPad E15 20RD0011GE
i7-10510U, Radeon RX 640, Samsung PM991 MZALQ512HALU, IPS LED, 1920x1080, 15.6
Lenovo ThinkPad E590-20NB0012GE
i7-8565U, Radeon RX 550X (Laptop), Toshiba KBG30ZMT256G, IPS, 1920x1080, 15.6
Lenovo ThinkPad T590-20N4002VGE
i7-8565U, GeForce MX250, Toshiba XG6 KXG60ZNV512G, aSi IPS LED, 1920x1080, 15.6
Dell Vostro 15-5581
i5-8265U, GeForce MX130, SK hynix BC501 HFM128GDJTNG-831, IPS, 1920x1080, 15.6
MSI Modern 15 A10RB
i7-10510U, GeForce MX250, WDC PC SN730 SDBPNTY-512G, IPS, 1920x1080, 15.6
Average AMD Radeon RX 640
 
Average of class Office
 
Power Consumption
-11%
-24%
-9%
-72%
0%
-39%
Idle Minimum *
3.2
3.48
-9%
4.1
-28%
5
-56%
6.6
-106%
3.2
-0%
7.39 (1.3 - 32, n=1019)
-131%
Idle Average *
6.8
7.2
-6%
8.3
-22%
7.9
-16%
9.9
-46%
6.8
-0%
11.2 (3.7 - 42, n=1019)
-65%
Idle Maximum *
9.5
10.2
-7%
11.8
-24%
11.2
-18%
14.7
-55%
9.5
-0%
13.5 (4.8 - 67, n=1019)
-42%
Load Average *
44
59.6
-35%
61.6
-40%
34
23%
82.9
-88%
44
-0%
37.2 (7.43 - 99.3, n=1004)
15%
Load Maximum *
66.4
65.1
2%
69.4
-5%
50.2
24%
109.3
-65%
66.4
-0%
46.3 (12.2 - 129, n=1006)
30%
Witcher 3 ultra *
49
54.4
59.4

* ... smaller is better

Battery life

Charging time: 110 minutes
Charging time: 110 minutes

Lenovo saves some money by using the same 45 W battery of the ThinkPad E14 in the bigger ThinkPad E15 as well. Thanks to the low power consumption, the ThinkPad E15 achieves admirable battery life numbers despite the small battery. Only the more expensive Lenovo ThinkPad T590 reaches a much better battery life, thanks to its bigger 57 Wh battery.

Battery Runtime
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3 (Edge)
7h 27min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3 max Brightness (Edge)
5h 46min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
10h 25min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 52min
Lenovo ThinkPad E15 20RD0011GE
i7-10510U, Radeon RX 640, 45 Wh
Lenovo ThinkPad E590-20NB0012GE
i7-8565U, Radeon RX 550X (Laptop), 45 Wh
Lenovo ThinkPad T590-20N4002VGE
i7-8565U, GeForce MX250, 57 Wh
Dell Vostro 15-5581
i5-8265U, GeForce MX130, 42 Wh
MSI Modern 15 A10RB
i7-10510U, GeForce MX250, 52 Wh
Average of class Office
 
Battery Runtime
-8%
48%
-19%
-12%
-14%
Reader / Idle
1133
747
924
587 (101 - 3537, n=816)
H.264
625
541
-13%
725
16%
394
-37%
448 (139 - 882, n=202)
-28%
WiFi v1.3
447
423
-5%
628
40%
410
-8%
388
-13%
428 (105 - 1124, n=403)
-4%
Load
112
105
-6%
209
87%
97
-13%
101
-10%
102 (37 - 259, n=783)
-9%

Pros

+ great ThinkPad input devices
+ robust chassis
+ storage upgradability

Cons

- no microSD slot
- only one SO-DIMM slot
- throttling after the stress test
- GPU limitation in battery mode
- extremely high temperatures under load

Verdict

In review: Lenovo ThinkPad E15. Test sample supplied by
In review: Lenovo ThinkPad E15. Test sample supplied by

Even though the Lenovo ThinkPad E15 sounds like an enormous step forward compared with the Lenovo ThinkPad E590 based on its name alone: The ThinkPad E15 is a lot like its predecessor. The basic concept of the product has not changed, but Lenovo has worked on the details. Still there is the very good ThinkPad keyboard as well as the TrackPoint, a rare feature in this price region. The chassis made out of aluminum and plastic is robust and the upgradability is exemplary – at least in terms of the mass storage.

Like with the smaller ThinkPad E14, the usage of a thinner chassis means that some features are lost. One of them is the microSD slot. The second RAM slot is also sorely missed. Where the E15 differs from its smaller relative is in the fact that the missing features are not the biggest problem here. For the ThinkPad E15 it's the cooling system, which is simply overwhelmed. In the stress test, the ThinkPad has to throttle both the CPU and the GPU a lot. Throttling can also happen in everyday use and while playing games in this case. Also, the chassis gets extremely hot, with more than 65 °C as the hotspot. Granted, this only happens in the stress test, but in the less demanding The Witcher 3 test, the chassis becomes nearly as hot.

Too hot: A dedicated GPU should only be built in if it can be cooled properly under load. That is not the case for the Lenovo ThinkPad E15, unfortunately.

Overall, we cannot recommend the Lenovo ThinkPad E15 with the dGPU. The AMD chip is simply misplaced here if it cannot be cooled sufficiently. The iGPU version meanwhile might be worth the money – as a bigger version of the ThinkPad E14 and a good laptop for the home office.

Lenovo ThinkPad E15 20RD0011GE - 03/17/2020 v7
Benjamin Herzig

Chassis
78 / 98 → 80%
Keyboard
85%
Pointing Device
88%
Connectivity
60 / 80 → 75%
Weight
66 / 20-75 → 83%
Battery
81%
Display
79%
Games Performance
50 / 78 → 64%
Application Performance
80 / 95 → 84%
Temperature
83%
Noise
95%
Audio
57%
Camera
37 / 85 → 44%
Average
72%
82%
Office - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Lenovo ThinkPad E15 Laptop Review: Too much performance with too little cooling
Benjamin Herzig, 2020-03-20 (Update: 2020-03-20)
Benjamin Herzig
Editor of the original article: Benjamin Herzig - Editor
In 2010 I started to get more and more involved with technology, especially notebooks have been my passion ever since. Of course I came across the detailed tests of Notebookcheck very quickly. With time I learned more and more about notebooks and started writing small reviews about notebooks in forums and blog pages. To earn some extra money during my studies I turned my hobby into my profession and joined the team of Notebookcheck in 2016. My personal interest is especially in business notebooks.