Lenovo’s new budget ThinkPads E14 & E16 are available with improved optional screens, which left a good impression during our reviews. The keyboards on the other hand are worse compared to previous models.
The ThinkPad E-series models are Lenovo’s entry into the business lineup and they are reliable companions for the office or the home office for the last couple of years. The manufacturer removed one of our criticisms and equips the two current models ThinkPad E14 G5 as well as the new ThinkPad E16 G1 are now equipped with 16: 10 aspect ratio screens and Lenovo does not offer TN panels anymore. In addition to the default 300-nit IPS screens, Lenovo also offers optional screens with higher resolutions and brightness values between 350-400 nits. We reviewed both optional screens and they left a really good impression.
Besides this positive development, the keyboard changes are still headed in the wrong direction. Last year’s ThinkPad E14 G4 was one of the last ThinkPads with the good 1.8 mm keyboard, but both the E14 G5 as well as the E16 G1 are equipped with worse keyboards (1.5 mm travel), in the case of the larger E16 G1 with a dedicated numpad. All in all, the keyboards are still good, but they are just not as good as they used to be. The ThinkPad does not have an advantage over prosumer models like the new Thinkbook 16 G6 (review will be published soon), either. The ThinkPad E-series laptops are no the slimmest devices, so we do not think 0.3 mm more key travel would have made a difference. Lenovo should really think about whether they want to continue to neglect such a former strength.
Lenovo offers modern Intel Raptor Lake processors as well as AMD Ryzen 7000 chips, but they are modes with the old Zen3 cores. However, they are still competitive, especially in terms of multi-core and graphics performance. The AMD models also do not have the problems with absurdly high power limits like on Intel SKUs, which results in plenty of fan activity even during everyday workloads.
All in all, the two current ThinkPad E-series models are still solid entry-level business laptops and the new ThinkPad E16 G1 will probably attract some customers with its larger 16-inch screen. We would definitely recommend the optional displays for both models since the overall picture quality is just better. The battery runtime is also very good, but the devices are pretty average in the other segments. Please see our detailed reviews for further information on the two models:
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I grew up with modern consumer electronics and my first computer was a Commodore C64, which encouraged my interest in building my own systems. I started working as a review editor for Notebookcheck during my dual studies at Siemens. Currently, I am mainly responsible for dealing with business laptops and mobile workstations. It’s a great experience to be able to review the latest devices and technologies and then compare them with each other.
Andreas Osthoff, 2023-09-21 (Update: 2023-09-21)