IFA 2019 | Lenovo ThinkPad L13: Redesign with business focus & without RAM slots (hands on)
When Lenovo announced the ThinkPad 13 in 2016, the new compact entry-level ThinkPad laptop was clearly aimed at students. Buyers back then had to do without extras like a backlight keyboard and the laptops are constructed out of simple plastic. Over the years, Lenovo has added more options and started to use more expensive materials: Since 2017, the affordable 13 inch ThinkPads are offered with backlight keyboards and since the ThinkPad L380 in 2018, the lid is made out of aluminum. Also, Lenovo announced a convertible option (ThinkPad L380 Yoga) as well.
Not long before IFA 2019, Lenovo has unveiled the newest models. The Lenovo ThinkPad L13 and Lenovo ThinkPad L13 Yoga are the follow-ups to the ThinkPad L390 and ThinkPad L390 Yoga. Lenovo showcased the new models at IFA, giving us a hands-on opportunity.
In terms of their outer design, the new L13 ThinkPad look a lot like their predecessors. Lenovo has reworked the systems from the ground up, but that is not something one could notice from a single glance. The materials used have not changed, the lid is still made out of aluminum while the rest of the chassis is coated plastic. L13 and L13 Yoga are not quite on the quality level of the T/X series ThinkPads, but still very good.
If one takes a closer look, differences to the preceding models do become visible. The screen bezel around the LCD has been shrunk a little, resulting in an overall smaller footprint. Also, Lenovo has significantly altered the port selection, as the new models have the mechanical CS18 docking port as well as a smart-card reader. What started out as an education series has now completed its transformation into a laptop series for big enterprise users.
Not visible from the outside is the most important internal change. Instead of two RAM slots, the ThinkPad L13 uses completely soldered memory. This appears to be a controversial change, which is something that Lenovo seems to be aware of. According to the product manager at the IFA booth, this change was made to enable the more compact design and make room for the additional enterprise features, like the docking port.