Notebookcheck

Lenovo ThinkPad L390 (i5-8265U, FHD) Laptop Review

Benjamin Herzig, 👁 Andreas Osthoff (translated by Benjamin Herzig), 02/20/2019

Compact black typewriter. Ultrathin ThinkPads like the X1 Carbon or its bigger multimedia cousin ThinkPad X1 Extreme offer an extremely high quality for an equally high price. The ThinkPad L390, a compact 13.3-inch laptop, proves that a more affordable device can still deliver most of the desired ThinkPad qualities as well.

Together with the ThinkPad E series, the ThinkPad L series marks the entry to the ThinkPad world. While the E series is mainly designed for small companies and self-employed people, the L series is made for larger organizations like schools, public administration offices and companies. Traditionally, the L series has always been available with 14-inch and 15.6-inch screens, but since last year Lenovo also offers a 13.3-inch model of this affordable office laptop series. Back in 2018, the ThinkPad L380 took over the position that was formerly occupied by the ThinkPad 13 line. For 2019, the ThinkPad L390 has been released by Lenovo as the second model of this smaller ThinkPad L series. At the same time, it is also one of the first ThinkPads with the newer Intel Whiskey Lake processors.

13.3-inch screens are still not nearly as popular in the business segment as 14-inch displays. In any case, one of the most important competitors is the HP ProBook 430 G5. Other business laptops with 13.3-inch screens include the HP EliteBook 830 G5 and the Dell Latitude 7390, though both are much more expensive than the L390 and the ProBook. Another interesting comparison device is the Dell XPS 13. Despite it not really being a business system, it does compete with the Lenovo ThinkPad L390 for the same customer group: Students. For this group, the ThinkPad L390 could be a very interesting choice, considering its pricing. Our review unit for example is equipped with a Intel Core i5-8265U, 8 GB RAM, a 256 GB SSD and an FHD screen (1920x1080) and it costs 900 Euros (~$1020) here in Germany – with a special student discount, the price goes down to 830 Euros (~$941). A model with the same configuration (20NR000DUS) will cost roughly $990 in the US, though it may be cheaper when bought directly from Lenovo, as the manufacturer often has special discounts.

Because Lenovo has only updated the ThinkPad L390 internally, we will skip the sections about the design, connectivity and the input devices. Information about these topics can be found in our comprehensive review of the ThinkPad L380.

Lenovo ThinkPad L390-20NR0013GE
Graphics adapter
Memory
8192 MB 
, DDR-2400, 1 of 2 slots free, max. 64 GB
Display
13.3 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel 166 PPI, LP133WF2-SPL8, IPS LED, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel Cannon Lake-U PCH-LP Premium
Storage
Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ, 256 GB 
, M.2 2280, PCIe NVMe, 215 GB free
Soundcard
Realtek ALC3287
Connections
4 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 HDMI, 2 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: combo audio, Card Reader: MicroSD, 1 Fingerprint Reader
Networking
Intel Ethernet Connection I219-V (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Wireless-AC 9560 (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 5.0
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 18.8 x 321.8 x 224.2 ( = 0.74 x 12.67 x 8.83 in)
Battery
45 Wh Lithium-Ion
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 720p
Additional features
Speakers: 2 W stereo, Keyboard: 6 row Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, Lenovo Vantage, Microsoft Office trial, 12 Months Warranty
Weight
1.475 kg ( = 52.03 oz / 3.25 pounds), Power Supply: 359 g ( = 12.66 oz / 0.79 pounds)
Price
899 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Size & weight comparison

326 mm / 12.8 inch 236 mm / 9.29 inch 19 mm / 0.748 inch 1.5 kg3.27 lbs321.8 mm / 12.7 inch 224.2 mm / 8.83 inch 18.8 mm / 0.74 inch 1.5 kg3.25 lbs310 mm / 12.2 inch 229 mm / 9.02 inch 17.7 mm / 0.697 inch 1.3 kg2.93 lbs305 mm / 12 inch 208 mm / 8.19 inch 16.5 mm / 0.65 inch 1.3 kg2.88 lbs302 mm / 11.9 inch 199 mm / 7.83 inch 11.6 mm / 0.4567 inch 1.2 kg2.7 lbs

Connectivity

Right: power button, combo audio, microSD card-reader, USB 3.0 Type-A, mini Ethernet, Kensington lock
Right: power button, combo audio, microSD card-reader, USB 3.0 Type-A, mini Ethernet, Kensington lock
Left: 2x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-C, USB 3.0 Type-A, HDMI
Left: 2x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-C, USB 3.0 Type-A, HDMI
SDCardreader Transfer Speed
average JPG Copy Test (av. of 3 runs)
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
184 MB/s ∼100% +141%
Dell Latitude 7390
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 UHS-II)
153.99 MB/s ∼84% +102%
HP ProBook 430 G5-3KX72ES
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
81.4 MB/s ∼44% +7%
Lenovo ThinkPad L390-20NR0013GE
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 UHS-II)
76.4 MB/s ∼42%
Lenovo ThinkPad L380-20M5000WGE
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 microSDXC 64GB)
72.2 MB/s ∼39% -5%
Average of class Office
  (10.2 - 191, n=264)
60.2 MB/s ∼33% -21%
maximum AS SSD Seq Read Test (1GB)
Dell Latitude 7390
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 UHS-II)
211.06 MB/s ∼100% +144%
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
192.6 MB/s ∼91% +123%
HP ProBook 430 G5-3KX72ES
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
87.9 MB/s ∼42% +2%
Lenovo ThinkPad L390-20NR0013GE
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 UHS-II)
86.5 MB/s ∼41%
Lenovo ThinkPad L380-20M5000WGE
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 microSDXC 64GB)
83.4 MB/s ∼40% -4%
Average of class Office
  (9.5 - 255, n=239)
76.5 MB/s ∼36% -12%
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%
HP ProBook 430 G5-3KX72ES
Realtek RTL8822BE Wireless LAN 802.11ac PCIe Adapter
661 MBit/s ∼96% -4%
HP EliteBook 830 G5-3JX74EA
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
639 MBit/s ∼93% -7%
Lenovo ThinkPad L380-20M5000WGE
Intel 8265 Tri-Band WiFi (Oak Peak) Network Adapter
534 MBit/s ∼78% -22%
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019
Atheros/Qualcomm QCA6174
524 (min: 459, max: 576) MBit/s ∼76% -24%
Average of class Office
  (5 - 688, n=207)
460 MBit/s ∼67% -33%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Lenovo ThinkPad L380-20M5000WGE
Intel 8265 Tri-Band WiFi (Oak Peak) Network Adapter
667 MBit/s ∼100% +2%
Lenovo ThinkPad L390-20NR0013GE
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
657 (min: 630, max: 667) MBit/s ∼99%
HP ProBook 430 G5-3KX72ES
Realtek RTL8822BE Wireless LAN 802.11ac PCIe Adapter
640 MBit/s ∼96% -3%
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019
Atheros/Qualcomm QCA6174
594 (min: 579, max: 616) MBit/s ∼89% -10%
HP EliteBook 830 G5-3JX74EA
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
512 MBit/s ∼77% -22%
Average of class Office
  (34 - 688, n=207)
434 MBit/s ∼65% -34%
0102030405060708090100110120130140150160170180190200210220230240250260270280290300310320330340350360370380390400410420430440450460470480490500510520530540550560570580590600610620630640650660670680690700Tooltip
; iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10; iperf 3.1.3: Ø686 (678-691)
; iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10; iperf 3.1.3: Ø657 (630-667)

Display

Subpixel array LP133WF2-SPL8
Subpixel array LP133WF2-SPL8
Almost no backlight bleeding (shown enhanced here)
Almost no backlight bleeding (shown enhanced here)

There is a total of three display options. On the cheapest models, Lenovo puts in an HD TN screen (1366x768), which should be avoided at all costs. The two remaining display options both have a resolution of 1920x1080 (FHD) and are based on IPS technology. The difference between the two is that one of the FHD screens supports touch and the other one does not. All three display options have a matte surface, as Lenovo uses an "on-cell" solution for the touchscreen without a glass layer in front of the actual LCD.

According to Lenovo, the non-touch FHD screen used in our review unit should manage a brightness value of 250 cd/m². The LG panel indeed manages to hit this target and even exceeds it with an average brightness of 278 cd/m². This screen is brighter than the LCD used in the preceding model ThinkPad L380 and also beats the direct competitor HP ProBook 430 G5 in this regard. Still, there are far brighter screens, the Dell XPS 13 in particular has a much brighter display – though it should be noted that this panel also has to fight with the glossy screen surface.

The brightness distribution has a value of 81% – not very good, but with the naked eye there were no dark spots visible. Also, the panel had nearly no visible backlight bleeding. The screen does have PWM, though the frequency is extremely high –with such a high PWM frequency, no-one should be getting headaches because of this screen.

285
cd/m²
277
cd/m²
270
cd/m²
304
cd/m²
298
cd/m²
274
cd/m²
281
cd/m²
267
cd/m²
245
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 304 cd/m² Average: 277.9 cd/m² Minimum: 2.5 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 81 %
Center on Battery: 300 cd/m²
Contrast: 903:1 (Black: 0.33 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 6.5 | 0.6-29.43 Ø6.1, calibrated: 4.9
ΔE Greyscale 5.6 | 0.64-98 Ø6.3
60.1% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 38.4% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.08
Lenovo ThinkPad L390-20NR0013GE
LP133WF2-SPL8, , 1920x1080, 13.3
HP ProBook 430 G5-3KX72ES
LGD052D, , 1920x1080, 13.3
HP EliteBook 830 G5-3JX74EA
IVO M133NVF3-R0, , 1920x1080, 13.3
Dell Latitude 7390
LGD059B, , 1920x1080, 13.3
Lenovo ThinkPad L380-20M5000WGE
Lenovo LEN4094, , 1920x1080, 13.3
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
SHP1484, , 1920x1080, 13.3
Response Times
-7%
-21%
7%
5%
-65%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
42.8 (22.8, 20)
41.6 (20.4, 21.2)
3%
36 (18.8, 17.2)
16%
36.8 (18, 18.8)
14%
44 (21, 23)
-3%
62.4 (32.4, 30)
-46%
Response Time Black / White *
30 (15.2, 14.8)
27.2 (13.6, 13.6)
9%
24.8 (14, 10.8)
17%
30.4 (18.8, 11.6)
-1%
26 (14, 12)
13%
45.6 (24.4, 21.2)
-52%
PWM Frequency
30490 (99)
20490 (99)
-33%
1020 (99)
-97%
1008 (20)
-97%
Screen
5%
35%
34%
2%
46%
Brightness middle
298
262
-12%
316
6%
303.8
2%
271
-9%
428
44%
Brightness
278
253
-9%
326
17%
289
4%
253
-9%
405
46%
Brightness Distribution
81
82
1%
85
5%
86
6%
89
10%
87
7%
Black Level *
0.33
0.28
15%
0.19
42%
0.31
6%
0.17
48%
0.26
21%
Contrast
903
936
4%
1663
84%
980
9%
1594
77%
1646
82%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
6.5
5.7
12%
4.5
31%
2.9
55%
14.89
-129%
3.8
42%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
23.9
22.4
6%
12.1
49%
5.79
76%
31.08
-30%
7.2
70%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 calibrated *
4.9
4.8
2%
2.9
41%
1.72
65%
4.43
10%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
5.6
3.6
36%
5
11%
3.7
34%
2.51
55%
4.4
21%
Gamma
2.08 106%
2.15 102%
2.22 99%
2.118 104%
2.14 103%
2.21 100%
CCT
6669 97%
7096 92%
6018 108%
6323 103%
6455 101%
7067 92%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
38.4
38.3
0%
57.9
51%
63
64%
38
-1%
62.8
64%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
60.1
60.1
0%
87.3
45%
95
58%
60
0%
96.4
60%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-1% / 2%
7% / 23%
21% / 30%
4% / 2%
-10% / 20%

* ... smaller is better

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

The black value of 0.33 cd/m² and the contrast of 900:1 are not great, but they are okay. The same is true for the sharpness. This is not an ultra high-res panel, but the PPI value of 166 still results in an adequate sharpness – a positive about this resolution is scaling can be avoided, if the user has good eyes. As far as the color values are concerned, there are some deviations from the target ex factory and also a slight green tint. This can be corrected with calibration; the applied ICC profile is available above as always.

There is no improvement when it comes to the color-gamut coverage. Lenovo still uses cheap IPS panels, for which the low color-gamut coverage is evidence. This screen is useless for any kind of serious photo-editing: The colors are simply displayed wrong. For everyday office tasks, the panel is fine, though higher sRGB coverage would be very welcome in any case.

sRGB: 60.1%
sRGB: 60.1%
AdobeRGB: 38.4%
AdobeRGB: 38.4%
Outdoors (cloudy)
Outdoors (cloudy)

The display is generally usable outdoors, thanks to the anti-glare screen surface and brightness of more than 250 cd/m². However, this is not enough when the device is used in direct sunlight, only when the sky is cloudy or when the L390 is used in a shadowy area.

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
30 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 15.2 ms rise
↘ 14.8 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. » 73 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (25.3 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
42.8 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 22.8 ms rise
↘ 20 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. » 59 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (40.4 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 30490 Hz ≤ 99 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 30490 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 30490 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 9566 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

There is nothing to complain about the viewing-angle stability of the screen. Colors generally do not invert on IPS panels and even the common IPS glow effect was nowhere to be seen here.

Viewing angles LP133WF2-SPL8
Viewing angles LP133WF2-SPL8

Performance

There are two routes to buy a Lenovo ThinkPad L390: The ThinkPad laptop can either be bought directly via Lenovo or via various resellers. The resellers offer fixed configurations while the L390 is configurable when bought directly from Lenovo. In Germany, the cheapest model costs 650 Euros (~$737), while the most expensive one has a price of 1,350 Euros (~$1,530).

The Lenovo ThinkPad L390 always contains Whiskey Lake processors made by Intel. Specifically, the Core i3-8145U, the Core i5-8265U and the Core i7-8565U are offered. These CPUs are complemented by 4, 8, 16 or 32 GB of DDR4-2400 RAM. The maximum amount of RAM is 64 GB (two RAM slots, one free in the case of our review device). A single M.2 2280 SSD with 128, 256 or 512 GB serves as storage. For the graphics performance, Lenovo exclusively relies on the Intel UHD Graphics 620.

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

Processor

The Intel Core i5-8265U is a quad-core processor of the Whiskey Lake series. Its four cores have a maximum turbo-boost clock-rate of 3.9 GHz with a base clock-rate of 1.6 GHz. Comparisons with other processors are possible with our CPU comparison table.

Typically, such a ULV processor (Ultra Low Voltage) has a TDP of 15 W, though PC manufacturers do have the option to adjust the TDP as they see fit. In the case of the ThinkPad L390, Lenovo has set the power limit to 25 W – that is very interesting, because the preceding ThinkPad L380 with the Intel Core i5-8250U still had a TDP of 15 W. Thanks to the higher power limit, the ThinkPad L390 delivers a higher CPU performance, a statement which applies to short boost performance as well as sustained load. 

To simulate sustained load, we use a loop of the Cinebench R15 multicore test. In this loop, the ThinkPad L390 has a power consumption of 25 W at the start of the test, but it cannot sustain this level of performance indefinitely because the temperatures rise too quickly. That is why the second iteration of the Cinebench test results in a lower performance, though the L390 still performs better than the ThinkPad L380.

0102030405060708090100110120130140150160170180190200210220230240250260270280290300310320330340350360370380390400410420430440450460470480490500510520530540550560570580590600610620630640650660670680Tooltip
Lenovo ThinkPad L390-20NR0013GE Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel Core i5-8265U: Ø548 (540-605)
HP ProBook 430 G5-3KX72ES Intel Core i5-8250U, Intel Core i5-8250U: Ø525 (515-586)
Lenovo ThinkPad L380-20M5000WGE Intel Core i5-8250U, Intel Core i5-8250U: Ø522 (506.02-527.78)
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019 Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel Core i5-8265U: Ø614 (574.66-670.36)
Dell Latitude 7390 Intel Core i7-8650U, Intel Core i7-8650U: Ø611 (578.18-626.37)
HP EliteBook 830 G5-3JX74EA Intel Core i7-8550U, Intel Core i7-8550U: Ø530 (526-566)

Even compared with the other 13.3-inch business devices, the CPU performance is more than adequate. Both the HP ProBook 430 G5 and the HP EliteBook 830 G5 deliver a worse CPU performance under sustained load. Meanwhile, the Dell Latitude 7390 and the Dell XPS 13 are faster, with the XPS being the only other comparison device with a Whiskey Lake CPU.

The CPU is not throttled while the device is running on battery power.

Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Dell Latitude 7390
Intel Core i7-8650U
176 Points ∼100% +14%
HP EliteBook 830 G5-3JX74EA
Intel Core i7-8550U
169 Points ∼96% +9%
Lenovo ThinkPad L390-20NR0013GE
Intel Core i5-8265U
155 Points ∼88%
Average Intel Core i5-8265U
  (111 - 163, n=19)
153 Points ∼87% -1%
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019
Intel Core i5-8265U
148 Points ∼84% -5%
HP ProBook 430 G5-3KX72ES
Intel Core i5-8250U
145 Points ∼82% -6%
Average of class Office
  (20 - 181, n=514)
110 Points ∼63% -29%
Lenovo ThinkPad L380-20M5000WGE
Intel Core i5-8250U
81 Points ∼46% -48%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019
Intel Core i5-8265U
666 Points ∼100% +10%
Dell Latitude 7390
Intel Core i7-8650U
619 Points ∼93% +2%
Average Intel Core i5-8265U
  (483 - 750, n=21)
611 Points ∼92% +1%
Lenovo ThinkPad L390-20NR0013GE
Intel Core i5-8265U
605 Points ∼91%
HP ProBook 430 G5-3KX72ES
Intel Core i5-8250U
586 Points ∼88% -3%
HP EliteBook 830 G5-3JX74EA
Intel Core i7-8550U
577 Points ∼87% -5%
Lenovo ThinkPad L380-20M5000WGE
Intel Core i5-8250U
528 Points ∼79% -13%
Average of class Office
  (36 - 1050, n=520)
334 Points ∼50% -45%
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
43.47 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
97.8 %
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
605 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
155 Points
Help

System performance

In the PCMark benchmark ranking, the ThinkPad L390 occupies a mid-field position. In everyday use, there is nothing to complain about in regard to the system performance. The Lenovo ThinkPad L390 always runs fast and without unnecessary breaks.

PCMark 10
Digital Content Creation
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, SK hynix PC401 HFS256GD9TNG
3125 Points ∼100% +3%
Dell Latitude 7390
UHD Graphics 620, 8650U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
3068 Points ∼98% +1%
Lenovo ThinkPad L390-20NR0013GE
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
3028 Points ∼97%
Average Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (2620 - 3210, n=16)
2967 Points ∼95% -2%
HP EliteBook 830 G5-3JX74EA
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0)
2945 Points ∼94% -3%
HP ProBook 430 G5-3KX72ES
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
2912 Points ∼93% -4%
Lenovo ThinkPad L380-20M5000WGE
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
2700 Points ∼86% -11%
Average of class Office
  (320 - 3884, n=133)
2584 Points ∼83% -15%
Productivity
Dell Latitude 7390
UHD Graphics 620, 8650U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
7142 Points ∼100% +12%
HP EliteBook 830 G5-3JX74EA
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0)
6393 Points ∼90% +1%
Lenovo ThinkPad L390-20NR0013GE
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
6351 Points ∼89%
Average Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (5931 - 6556, n=16)
6239 Points ∼87% -2%
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, SK hynix PC401 HFS256GD9TNG
6101 Points ∼85% -4%
HP ProBook 430 G5-3KX72ES
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
6055 Points ∼85% -5%
Lenovo ThinkPad L380-20M5000WGE
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
5820 Points ∼81% -8%
Average of class Office
  (1266 - 7964, n=133)
5390 Points ∼75% -15%
Essentials
Dell Latitude 7390
UHD Graphics 620, 8650U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
8253 Points ∼100% +8%
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, SK hynix PC401 HFS256GD9TNG
8033 Points ∼97% +5%
HP EliteBook 830 G5-3JX74EA
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0)
8015 Points ∼97% +5%
HP ProBook 430 G5-3KX72ES
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
7938 Points ∼96% +4%
Average Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (7360 - 8395, n=16)
7886 Points ∼96% +3%
Lenovo ThinkPad L390-20NR0013GE
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
7669 Points ∼93%
Lenovo ThinkPad L380-20M5000WGE
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
7165 Points ∼87% -7%
Average of class Office
  (2683 - 8992, n=133)
6850 Points ∼83% -11%
Score
Dell Latitude 7390
UHD Graphics 620, 8650U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
4053 Points ∼100% +7%
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, SK hynix PC401 HFS256GD9TNG
3835 Points ∼95% +1%
HP EliteBook 830 G5-3JX74EA
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0)
3816 Points ∼94% +1%
Lenovo ThinkPad L390-20NR0013GE
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
3787 Points ∼93%
Average Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (3573 - 3985, n=16)
3772 Points ∼93% 0%
HP ProBook 430 G5-3KX72ES
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
3722 Points ∼92% -2%
Lenovo ThinkPad L380-20M5000WGE
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
3461 Points ∼85% -9%
Average of class Office
  (803 - 4597, n=134)
3195 Points ∼79% -16%
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
Dell Latitude 7390
UHD Graphics 620, 8650U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
5197 Points ∼100% +10%
HP EliteBook 830 G5-3JX74EA
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0)
5116 Points ∼98% +8%
Lenovo ThinkPad L390-20NR0013GE
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
4737 Points ∼91%
HP ProBook 430 G5-3KX72ES
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
4734 Points ∼91% 0%
Average Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (4302 - 4927, n=14)
4726 Points ∼91% 0%
Lenovo ThinkPad L380-20M5000WGE
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
4589 Points ∼88% -3%
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, SK hynix PC401 HFS256GD9TNG
4302 Points ∼83% -9%
Average of class Office
  (1226 - 5428, n=333)
3997 Points ∼77% -16%
Home Score Accelerated v2
HP EliteBook 830 G5-3JX74EA
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0)
3948 Points ∼100% +17%
Dell Latitude 7390
UHD Graphics 620, 8650U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
3886 Points ∼98% +15%
HP ProBook 430 G5-3KX72ES
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
3792 Points ∼96% +12%
Lenovo ThinkPad L380-20M5000WGE
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
3553 Points ∼90% +5%
Average Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (3150 - 4244, n=15)
3522 Points ∼89% +4%
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, SK hynix PC401 HFS256GD9TNG
3519 Points ∼89% +4%
Lenovo ThinkPad L390-20NR0013GE
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
3378 Points ∼86%
Average of class Office
  (1169 - 4770, n=390)
3042 Points ∼77% -10%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3378 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
4737 points
Help

Storage

A single M.2 2280 SSD serves as the mass storage device of the ThinkPad L390. There are no options for multiple SSDs or a combination of an HDD and SSD. In our review unit, Lenovo uses the extremely fast Samsung PM981 PCIe NVMe SSD with a capacity of 256 GB, which is an excellent choice for an OEM SSD and leaves nothing to be desired.

Lenovo ThinkPad L390-20NR0013GE
Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
HP ProBook 430 G5-3KX72ES
Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
HP EliteBook 830 G5-3JX74EA
Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0)
Dell Latitude 7390
Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019
SK hynix PC401 HFS256GD9TNG
Lenovo ThinkPad L380-20M5000WGE
Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
Average Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
 
CrystalDiskMark 5.2 / 6
-19%
1%
11%
-28%
6%
-1%
Write 4K
99.56
111.3
12%
108.5
9%
139.4
40%
84.57
-15%
121.3
22%
108 (81 - 131, n=15)
8%
Read 4K
37.22
32.46
-13%
40.53
9%
43.18
16%
38.52
3%
41.89
13%
40.1 (36 - 43.1, n=15)
8%
Write Seq
1432
526.1
-63%
1026
-28%
1075
-25%
556.7
-61%
877.7
-39%
1420 (1218 - 1687, n=15)
-1%
Read Seq
2072
1430
-31%
2080
0%
1639
-21%
1393
-33%
1963
-5%
1569 (755 - 2089, n=15)
-24%
Write 4K Q32T1
439.7
515.9
17%
451
3%
662
51%
339.5
-23%
542.5
23%
331 (205 - 543, n=15)
-25%
Read 4K Q32T1
264.8
366.6
38%
269.7
2%
413.9
56%
255.4
-4%
397.7
50%
349 (229 - 522, n=15)
32%
Write Seq Q32T1
1549
524.1
-66%
1770
14%
1195
-23%
557.6
-64%
1204
-22%
1511 (1380 - 1712, n=15)
-2%
Read Seq Q32T1
3318
1783
-46%
3214
-3%
3116
-6%
2541
-23%
3387
2%
3279 (1529 - 3516, n=15)
-1%
Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
Sequential Read: 2369 MB/s
Sequential Write: 1415 MB/s
512K Read: 1577 MB/s
512K Write: 1398 MB/s
4K Read: 58.91 MB/s
4K Write: 127.6 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 405.3 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 565 MB/s

GPU

The Intel UHD Graphics 620 is a graphics processor that is integrated into the CPU. This iGPU was already used in the ThinkPad L380 and its performance depends on the RAM configuration: If the main system RAM runs in dual-channel mode then the GPU can utilize its performance better, as it lacks its own dedicated memory.

In our L390 review device, a single 8 GB RAM module served as the main system memory and the second slot remained empty. The result is that the memory runs in single-channel mode, constraining the GPU performance. This is an easily solvable issue however, as the user simply has to add another RAM module to enable dual-channel mode. Even with dual-channel mode, the fact remains that the iGPU is much weaker than any recent dedicated GPU and is thus only useful for simple multimedia tasks. There is no dGPU option for the ThinkPad L390.

The GPU performance is not throttled in battery mode.

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8265U
1815 Points ∼100% +6%
HP EliteBook 830 G5-3JX74EA
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-8550U
1728 Points ∼95% +1%
Lenovo ThinkPad L390-20NR0013GE
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8265U
1710 Points ∼94%
Average Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (1235 - 1979, n=147)
1703 Points ∼94% 0%
Dell Latitude 7390
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-8650U
1697 Points ∼93% -1%
HP ProBook 430 G5-3KX72ES
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8250U
1647 Points ∼91% -4%
Lenovo ThinkPad L380-20M5000WGE
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8250U
1598 Points ∼88% -7%
Average of class Office
  (185 - 5332, n=635)
1278 Points ∼70% -25%
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
HP EliteBook 830 G5-3JX74EA
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-8550U
1280 Points ∼100% +25%
HP ProBook 430 G5-3KX72ES
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8250U
1136 Points ∼89% +11%
Average Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (557 - 1399, n=116)
1116 Points ∼87% +9%
Lenovo ThinkPad L390-20NR0013GE
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8265U
1020 Points ∼80%
Lenovo ThinkPad L380-20M5000WGE
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8250U
1012 Points ∼79% -1%
Average of class Office
  (138 - 4109, n=457)
985 Points ∼77% -3%
Dell Latitude 7390
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-8650U
977 Points ∼76% -4%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8265U
10126 Points ∼100% +24%
HP EliteBook 830 G5-3JX74EA
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-8550U
9470 Points ∼94% +16%
HP ProBook 430 G5-3KX72ES
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8250U
9235 Points ∼91% +13%
Average Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (6910 - 11294, n=134)
9092 Points ∼90% +11%
Dell Latitude 7390
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-8650U
8247 Points ∼81% +1%
Lenovo ThinkPad L390-20NR0013GE
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8265U
8182 Points ∼81%
Lenovo ThinkPad L380-20M5000WGE
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8250U
8163 Points ∼81% 0%
Average of class Office
  (1208 - 27117, n=505)
6842 Points ∼68% -16%
3DMark 11 Performance
1863 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
7458 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
934 points
Help

Gaming performance

Gaming with the ThinkPad L390 is practically not possible. Lenovo has developed this ThinkPad laptop mainly for use in an office environment. For most games, the Intel UHD Graphics 620 is too weak. Only extremely simple games or older titles are playable. The missing gaming capabilities cannot be added by connecting an eGPU either, as the ThinkPad L390 does not have the required Thunderbolt 3 port.

low med. high ultra
BioShock Infinite (2013) 54.728.3323.19fps
The Witcher 3 (2015) 14.7fps
Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) 20.1fps

Emissions

Noise

The fan is turned off all of the time while the device is idling. This is something that nearly all laptops with Ultrabook processors should be able to achieve, but far too often manufacturers screw up here – at least in this case, Lenovo did not do so. Under load, the fan runs all the time, though it runs very quietly overall. Even the maximum level of noise of 31.5 dB(a) is barely audible. All in all, the Lenovo laptop L390 fares very well when it comes to noise emissions, and we did not hear any coil-whine at all, either.

Noise Level

Idle
29.5 / 29.5 / 29.5 dB(A)
Load
30.6 / 31.5 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)
dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2028.230.328.532.52529.1282830.23129.629.928.630.44028.226.524.726.85024.123.925.2256327.923.622.225.48024.623.922.923.510024.425.224.223.812524.62322.523.316023.923.323.323.920023.322.522.322.525022.422.122.422.531522.522.321.122.640021.621.120.821.850022.321.120.421.563020.920.32021.180020.319.71920.3100020.419.918.320.9125020.319.317.719.9160020.119.117.120.6200020.118.916.820.5250019.61816.419.3315018.21716.218.5400017.516.815.817.6500017.116.315.617.1630016.31615.616.7800016.31615.516.51000015.915.915.5161250015.615.815.415.71600015.817.215.415.8SPL31.430.629.531.5N1.61.41.31.6median 20.3median 19.3median 17.7median 20.5Delta2.52.23.22.531.332.833.131.132.429.430.83029.327.832.133.531.731.132.130.32827.731.131.428.528.126.829.729.126.927.726.72627.326.126.824.826.626.826.525.827.125.726.224.824.525.323.924.725.225.124.723.825.424.124.123.722.623.722.32323.922.422.621.621.821.420.421.821.720.719.818.920.823.320.81918.122.123.220.218.417.721.6222116.916.72223.121.316.616.72325.523.616.216.125.328.126.516.215.727.727.926.616.115.927.325.323.315.915.925.321.720.516.515.921.820.519.917.516.320.518.918.517.116.619.21818.117.716.918.117.718.218.717.217.717.618.718.817.217.717.619.519.717.317.717.518.118.217.417.635.934.529.82935.62.221.31.22.1median 22.3median 21median 18.4median 17.2median 223.12.12.41.72.8hearing rangehide median Fan NoiseLenovo ThinkPad L390-20NR0013GEHP ProBook 430 G5-3KX72ES

Temperatures

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

While the ThinkPad L390 stays completely cool in idle operation, the load measurements do reveal the cost of the quiet fan: The chassis gets pretty toasty under load, with the hottest spot (51.3 °C / 124 °F) being located at the bottom of the device. Using the ThinkPad under sustained load on the lap is not really recommended. At least the palm-rest area stays cool.

The stress test with Prime95 and FurMark shows that while Lenovo has optimized the ThinkPad L390 well enough for a good CPU performance, the cooling system cannot cope completely with the combination of sustained CPU and GPU load for long. At the start of the stress test, the CPU can consume 25 W for a very short amount of time. After a few seconds, the power consumption is limited to 22 W, while the CPU temperatures reach 90 °C. The CPU clock rates hover around 2.2 GHz at this point. A few minutes later, the CPU clock-rate starts to fluctuate between 2.2 and 1.2 GHz, most likely because of the temperatures. While the stress test continues, the fluctuations slowly become smaller, reaching 1.7 to 1.2 GHz at the end of the test.

This means that the ThinkPad L390 does thermal throttle. In everyday use, this should not be an issue however, as the system reaches its regular performance level directly after the stress test in the obligatory 3DMark 11 run.

Max. Load
 47.5 °C
118 F
46.5 °C
116 F
38.4 °C
101 F
 
 42 °C
108 F
41.6 °C
107 F
34 °C
93 F
 
 23.9 °C
75 F
25.1 °C
77 F
23 °C
73 F
 
Maximum: 47.5 °C = 118 F
Average: 35.8 °C = 96 F
29.5 °C
85 F
46.1 °C
115 F
48.8 °C
120 F
28.8 °C
84 F
51.3 °C
124 F
49.7 °C
121 F
21.5 °C
71 F
22.8 °C
73 F
22.3 °C
72 F
Maximum: 51.3 °C = 124 F
Average: 35.6 °C = 96 F
Power Supply (max.)  31.5 °C = 89 F | Room Temperature 20.5 °C = 69 F | Voltcraft IR-900
(±) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 35.8 °C / 96 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 47.5 °C / 118 F, compared to the average of 33.9 °C / 93 F, ranging from 21.2 to 62.5 °C for the class Office.
(-) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 51.3 °C / 124 F, compared to the average of 36.4 °C / 98 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 24 °C / 75 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 25.1 °C / 77.2 F and are therefore cool to the touch.
(+) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 28.2 °C / 82.8 F (+3.1 °C / 5.6 F).
Load (palm-rest)
Load (palm-rest)
Load (bottom)
Load (bottom)

Speakers

Like many other ThinkPads, the Lenovo L390 has speakers located on the bottom of the system. That is not a very good position, because it means the sound quality is dependent on the surface beneath. But in the end, it does not matter too much, as the speakers are just not very good. The bass is missing nearly completely, the speakers are not very loud and tend to distort when set to higher levels of loudness.

Instead of using the internal speakers, we recommend using the combo audio port, which works flawlessly with external speakers or headphones.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2028.531.8252826.93128.628.54024.727.35025.226.56322.226.28022.926.710024.227.112522.529.516023.335.420022.343.525022.449.931521.154.740020.858.250020.457.76302054.68001957.9100018.360.7125017.763.3160017.159.9200016.861.1250016.461.4315016.267.4400015.868.6500015.666.1630015.664.8800015.564.81000015.564.21250015.457.51600015.450.8SPL29.576.1N1.336.3median 17.7median 58.2Delta3.26.130.633.229.131.628.837.22832.727.630.72628.625.430.427.135.424.83423.441.722.353.421.556.520.361.119.164.219.26717.769.916.966.916.667.816.571.716.27116.469.316.268.216.372.216.772.516.975.217.372.117.565.217.666.517.562.417.553.229.382.71.256median 17.5median 66.92.47.9hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseLenovo ThinkPad L390-20NR0013GEHP EliteBook 830 G5-3JX74EA
Frequency diagram (checkboxes can be checked and unchecked to compare devices)
Lenovo ThinkPad L390-20NR0013GE audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (76.1 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 18.2% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (11.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 2.1% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (6.3% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 7.1% higher than median
(+) | highs are linear (4.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (19.7% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 42% of all tested devices in this class were better, 7% similar, 51% worse
» The best had a delta of 8%, average was 21%, worst was 51%
Compared to all devices tested
» 40% of all tested devices were better, 7% similar, 53% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

HP EliteBook 830 G5-3JX74EA audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (82.7 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 19.9% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (11.3% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 2.3% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (4.8% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 4% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (5.6% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (16.1% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 35% of all tested devices in this class were better, 5% similar, 60% worse
» The best had a delta of 8%, average was 20%, worst was 50%
Compared to all devices tested
» 20% of all tested devices were better, 4% similar, 76% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Energy management

Power consumption

The ThinkPad L390 is very efficient and consumes comparably little energy, but the predecessor ThinkPad L380 consumed 20% less energy overall. Our assumption is that the ThinkPad L380 was optimized better and that the power consumption was lower because the CPU performance was also lower overall on the L380. 

The maximum power consumption of 52 W did not pose any problems for the 65 W charger.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.4 / 0.63 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 3.8 / 6.8 / 9.8 Watt
Load midlight 32.4 / 52 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Lenovo ThinkPad L390-20NR0013GE
8265U, UHD Graphics 620, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ, IPS LED, 1920x1080, 13.3
HP ProBook 430 G5-3KX72ES
8250U, UHD Graphics 620, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G, IPS LED, 1920x1080, 13.3
HP EliteBook 830 G5-3JX74EA
8550U, UHD Graphics 620, Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0), IPS LED, 1920x1080, 13.3
Dell Latitude 7390
8650U, UHD Graphics 620, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP, IPS, 1920x1080, 13.3
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019
8265U, UHD Graphics 620, SK hynix PC401 HFS256GD9TNG, IPS, 3840x2160, 13.3
Lenovo ThinkPad L380-20M5000WGE
8250U, UHD Graphics 620, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP, IPS, 1920x1080, 13.3
Average Intel UHD Graphics 620
 
Average of class Office
 
Power Consumption
-2%
-8%
9%
-14%
20%
2%
-43%
Idle Minimum *
3.8
4.5
-18%
4.5
-18%
3.3
13%
4.8
-26%
2.7
29%
3.87 (1 - 12.4, n=156)
-2%
7.64 (2.34 - 32, n=950)
-101%
Idle Average *
6.8
6.8
-0%
6.4
6%
5.9
13%
8.6
-26%
5.6
18%
7.11 (4.3 - 15.5, n=156)
-5%
11.5 (4.2 - 42, n=950)
-69%
Idle Maximum *
9.8
8.8
10%
9.2
6%
6.2
37%
10.4
-6%
9.2
6%
8.98 (5.2 - 16.6, n=156)
8%
13.9 (5 - 67, n=950)
-42%
Load Average *
32.4
36.8
-14%
35.7
-10%
43.2
-33%
37.9
-17%
30
7%
35.3 (12.9 - 51.6, n=156)
-9%
37.2 (7.43 - 99.3, n=935)
-15%
Load Maximum *
52
46.2
11%
65.4
-26%
45.2
13%
48.5
7%
30.4
42%
43.3 (22 - 79, n=156)
17%
45.8 (12.2 - 129, n=937)
12%

* ... smaller is better

Battery life

Charging time 116 minutes
Charging time 116 minutes

When it comes to the size of the battery, nothing has changed compared with the older model. Lenovo still uses an internal lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 45 Wh.

Unfortunately, the ThinkPad L390 cannot deliver the same battery life as the older ThinkPad L380: With a result of 7 hours, the battery life in the Wi-Fi test is much worse compared with the L380 that endured this test for more than 11 hours. While 7 hours is not outright bad and the ThinkPad L390 delivers equal results as both of the competitors from HP, we had hoped that the L390 would have a better endurance.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
16h 14min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3 (Edge)
6h 59min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
9h 26min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 23min
Lenovo ThinkPad L390-20NR0013GE
8265U, UHD Graphics 620, 45 Wh
HP ProBook 430 G5-3KX72ES
8250U, UHD Graphics 620, 48 Wh
HP EliteBook 830 G5-3JX74EA
8550U, UHD Graphics 620, 49 Wh
Dell Latitude 7390
8650U, UHD Graphics 620, 60 Wh
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019
8265U, UHD Graphics 620, 52 Wh
Lenovo ThinkPad L380-20M5000WGE
8250U, UHD Graphics 620, 45 Wh
Average of class Office
 
Battery Runtime
0%
9%
58%
32%
41%
-12%
Reader / Idle
974
766
-21%
1032
6%
1129
16%
567 (101 - 1857, n=791)
-42%
H.264
566
481
-15%
422 (139 - 834, n=171)
-25%
WiFi v1.3
419
418
0%
424
1%
664
58%
498
19%
697
66%
409 (105 - 964, n=331)
-2%
Load
83
140
69%
141
70%
117
41%
101 (37 - 259, n=738)
22%

Verdict

Pros

+ very comfortable input devices
+ mostly quiet
+ better CPU performance than the predecessor
+ a good port selection
+ robust chassis
+ good RAM upgradeability (max. 64 GB)
+ affordable pricing

Cons

- bad color-gamut coverage
- fewer business features than other ThinkPads
- worse battery life than predecessor
- load temperatures over 50 °C
- only one year of warranty
- no Thunderbolt 3
Lenovo ThinkPad L390, provided by
Lenovo ThinkPad L390, provided by

The Lenovo ThinkPad L390 is a straightforward update of the previous ThinkPad L380. While the newer model packs a new platform on the inside, the outside remains completely unchanged.

With this in mind, it is not surprising that the strengths and weaknesses of the ThinkPad L390 are pretty much identical with its predecessor. One of its strengths is that the laptop runs without fan noise most of the time and that the fan is even pretty quiet under load. The input devices are also commendable: The combination of touchpad and TrackPoint is very comfortable and the full-size ThinkPad keyboard is as good as one would expect. The first real difference compared with the L380 is the CPU performance, which has been improved by Lenovo with a higher TDP limit. Other pros for the ThinkPad L390 include the stable chassis, the good port selection and the upgradeability of the RAM – with the two RAM slots up to 64 GB should be possible, which is a lot for a compact laptop. Last but not least, the affordable pricing can be counted as a positive as well.

The display is not completely bad and even a little bit brighter compared with the L380, but the low color gamut continues to be a sore point. Another negative about the L390 is the fact that it has less business features than other ThinkPads. For example, it lacks a mechanical docking-port, the ThinkShutter as well as a Smartcard reader. Unfortunately, the battery life is worse compared with the ThinkPad L380 and the L390 chassis becomes noticeably warmer than its predecessor as well. Also, the L390 has a standard warranty of just one year and there is no Thunderbolt port.

The ThinkPad L390 is a solid mobile workhorse without huge flaws, and it offers good value for the money, just like its predecessor. 

Despite these negatives, the verdict for the ThinkPad L390 is positive overall and it earns itself our recommendation. The Lenovo ThinkPad L390 can be considered an attractive and affordable mobile work laptop, especially for students.

Lenovo ThinkPad L390-20NR0013GE - 02/15/2019 v6
Benjamin Herzig

Chassis
85 / 98 → 86%
Keyboard
90%
Pointing Device
86%
Connectivity
68 / 80 → 85%
Weight
69 / 20-67 → 100%
Battery
90%
Display
84%
Games Performance
57 / 68 → 84%
Application Performance
88 / 92 → 95%
Temperature
89%
Noise
99%
Audio
61%
Camera
39 / 85 → 46%
Average
77%
88%
Office - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Lenovo ThinkPad L390 (i5-8265U, FHD) Laptop Review
Benjamin Herzig, 2019-02-20 (Update: 2019-04-30)
Benjamin Herzig
Benjamin Herzig - Editor