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ThinkPad T14s (AMD), starting from $924

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  • Jun 29th, 2021 1:49 pm
[OP]
Newbie
Mar 28, 2019
26 posts
51 upvotes

[Lenovo Canada] ThinkPad T14s (AMD), starting from $924

(June update: Still similar pricing for the T-series models in my OP. X13 isn't on sale anymore though. Too bad!)

Similar to last month's P14s (AMD, a.k.a. T14), the slimmer ThinkPad T14s (AMD) is the premium T-series model on sale this month. This is still T14s Gen 1, the new 5000-series AMD models aren't out yet.

https://www.lenovo.com/ca/en/perkopolis ... 2TPT144SA2

Passcode: Perkp0p0l1$

The base model goes for $924 (AMD Ryzen 4650U, 8G RAM, 128G SSD, 250 nits display) but it makes sense to upgrade, especially since the RAM is non-upgradeable on this model. Ready-to-ship models are still sucky, so build your own. Here's the configuration I would pick:
  • 4650U processor
  • 16G memory
  • 400 nits non-touch low-power display
  • 128G SSD, but upgrade it with separately purchased SSD
  • $1,242 plus extra SSD from Amazon or whatever

Edit:
qfli78 further down notes that the T14 (no "s") is also on sale now, which I had missed. Thanks for the pointer! The T14 is also a little cheaper than the T14s, e.g. in this comparable configuration:
  • 4650U processor
  • 8G onboard memory + 8G selectable memory
  • 400 nits non-touch low-power display
  • 128G SSD, but upgrade it with separately purchased SSD
  • $1,114 plus extra SSD from Amazon or whatever
(end edit)

The 8-core 4750U should be about 10-15% faster than the 6-core 4650U, both in CPU and GPU performance. The T14s has poor thermals and runs hotter / slightly slower than the T14, so it may not be that much faster in practice there. It's a $97 upgrade if you want the extra cores. Didn't find conclusive evidence which one is better for idle power consumption and battery life. In either case, Lenovo didn't do the best job on either T14s or T14 regarding power draw so in practice it looks like battery life may be somewhere between 5-7 hours for regular browsing/video/wifi scenarios. A little less on the T14 given the 12% smaller battery.

16G RAM will get you through the next 5-7 years without running out of browser tab memory and should be a strong consideration for any modern laptop purchase. There's no 32G option on the T14s, but at least both the 8G and 16G options are dual-channel, meaning there's no artificial GPU bottleneck. On the T14 you get two independently configurable slots, one soldered and one upgradable, for a total of 32G max memory. Avoiding slower single-channel performance is on you, get one memory stick into each slot. This could be 8G+8G, or 16G+16G, or 16G onboard + 8G selectable (maximize the onboard first because it can't be switched later). Or leave out the selectable one and get one from the open market, together with that larger SSD.

The 400 nits non-touch low-power display seems to be the clear winner and is what most reviewers got. Less of a battery hog than the other panels (esp. the 500 nits ePrivacy panel), brighter and better colours than the 250 nits default, better angles than the 500 nits ePrivacy option. If you think you want the 500 nits, do your research first. More is not necessarily better here. Lenovo still has a panel lottery with several suppliers, so details such as PWM or response times may differ between units.

The SSD options are too frickin' expensive, so I'd leave the 128G SSD as is and replace it with a 500G or 1T SSD from elsewhere (NVMe, M.2 2280 form factor). If you don't feel like doing a manual SSD replacement, there are only a few hundred dollars more to get a $1,777 X1 Carbon Gen 9 (Intel i5-1145G7, 16G RAM, 512G SSD, 400 nits FHD+ display) upgrade with get better battery life and 16:10 FHD+ display.

Notable T14s features:
  • Premium magnesium alloy chassis, similar to X1 Carbon and X13
  • AMD Ryzen Mobile Pro with integrated graphics
  • 8G or 16G dual-channel RAM, soldered, non-upgradable
  • 57 Wh battery, 65W power adapter
  • Realtek RTL8852AE Wifi 6 2x2 AX, Bluetooth Version 5.0 "or above"
  • Matte 16:9 FHD screen like most business laptops, unlike the new X1 Carbon and X13 models that upgrade to 16:10 with thinner bottom bezels
  • ThinkShutter physical camera cover
  • Renowned ThinkPad keyboard with 1.8mm key travel (i.e. before they made them worse this year)
  • Trackpoint & 3 mouse buttons
  • 2x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 (DisplayPort, Data Transfer, Power Delivery - no Thunderbolt)
  • 2x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 (1x with always-on charging)
  • HDMI 2.0 for 4K @ 60 Hz video output, which obviously works over USB-C (DisplayPort Alt Mode) as well
  • MicroSD card reader in an awkward spot at the back of the laptop, similar to smartphone MicroSD drawers
  • Bottom-firing speakers, good enough for most purposes but not top of the line in any way

Some reviews: Notebookcheck | PCMag | Just Josh (YouTube) | NeoWin | MobileTechReview (YouTube)

Edit:
Notable T14 differences compared to the T14s:
  • Glass-fibre-infused plastic chassis instead of metal - attracts fingerprints more and might chip more easily
  • 50 Wh battery, similar power draw = shorter battery runtime
  • Better thermals (dual heat pipe) than T14s, runs less hot, fan comes on less often
  • Top-firing speakers, should sound a little better
  • Upgradable memory
  • Keyboard not part of the base unit - less fancy-looking, more replaceable
  • Possible to replace the slightly "stickier" touchpad with an X1 glass touchpad replacement part from China
  • Extra ethernet port
  • About 200g heavier, slightly thicker
  • Taking off bottom cover is more of a pain
(end edit)

The code is THINKMAY2021 so this sale is probably on until the end of the month and perhaps a few extra days.
Last edited by jpetso on Jun 16th, 2021 4:50 pm, edited 11 times in total.
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47 replies
[OP]
Newbie
Mar 28, 2019
26 posts
51 upvotes
Note re. delivery times: the configurable model says 8-12 weeks, however our custom-configured P14s (AMD) was ordered a month ago and just shipped now, way before the "12 or more weeks" ETA. So you might have to wait for a while, but hopefully not quite as long as they forecast right now.
Deal Addict
Sep 5, 2019
1509 posts
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T14/P14s may be better than T14s because they have an extra slot for RAM.

P14s was on sale a little while ago starting from $909.

Edit: it looks T14 is on sale staring from $880. Suggest to update OP to mention T14 as well. See link below:
https://www.lenovo.com/ca/en/perkopolis ... 2TPT14T4A2
Sr. Member
Jan 4, 2006
592 posts
57 upvotes
qfli78 wrote: T14/P14s may be better than T14s because they have an extra slot for RAM.

P14s was on sale a little while ago starting from $909.

Edit: it looks T14 is on sale staring from $880. Suggest to update OP to mention T14 as well. See link below:
https://www.lenovo.com/ca/en/perkopolis ... 2TPT14T4A2
(1366x768) TN Anti-glare 220nits, seriously, Lenovo?
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Orick wrote: (1366x768) TN Anti-glare 220nits, seriously, Lenovo?
It’s customizable. Click the button and pick the display you want.
Member
Dec 15, 2017
497 posts
476 upvotes
Calgary
Unless you're in a rush, I'd wait for the P14s to go back on sale.
Base processor is Ryzen 7 Pro 4750U. I added 16GB RAM onboard, 512 SSD, 400 nits display and backlit keyboard. Total: $1229 +tax. That same config on this T14s deal is $1543 +tax.
Biggest difference is P14s has an ethernet port and extra RAM slot, T14s does not. However, this T14s config appears to come with a 4G/LTE WWAN antenna as a base feature.
In terms of shipping time. Mine said 8-12 weeks shipping but it came in 5 weeks. Ordered April 5, received May 10.
Telus EPP: 20GB/$50
"Retail is for suckers" - Cosmo Kramer
[OP]
Newbie
Mar 28, 2019
26 posts
51 upvotes
qfli78 wrote: Edit: it looks T14 is on sale staring from $880. Suggest to update OP to mention T14 as well.
Done, thanks! Also added some extra comparison notes from researching the pair last time.
Deal Addict
May 23, 2008
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Vaughan, Ontario
is T14 (AMD) significantly better than T14 (Intel)? I am debating which model I should go with. Thanks.
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jpetso wrote: Done, thanks! Also added some extra comparison notes from researching the pair last time.
Nice comparison. Before reading your OP, the only difference between T14s and T14 I know is RAM.
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intelpentium400 wrote: Unless you're in a rush, I'd wait for the P14s to go back on sale.
Base processor is Ryzen 7 Pro 4750U. I added 16GB RAM onboard, 512 SSD, 400 nits display and backlit keyboard. Total: $1229 +tax. That same config on this T14s deal is $1543 +tax.
Biggest difference is P14s has an ethernet port and extra RAM slot, T14s does not. However, this T14s config appears to come with a 4G/LTE WWAN antenna as a base feature.
In terms of shipping time. Mine said 8-12 weeks shipping but it came in 5 weeks. Ordered April 5, received May 10.
Customizing P14s is still an option. But it looks current price is about $150 higher than last sale.

https://www.lenovo.com/ca/en/perkopolis ... 2WSP144SA1
[OP]
Newbie
Mar 28, 2019
26 posts
51 upvotes
ma678 wrote: is T14 (AMD) significantly better than T14 (Intel)? I am debating which model I should go with. Thanks.
What speaks for the T14 (Intel) is Thunderbolt support and slightly lower power draw for what looks to me like probably 1-2 hour longer battery runtimes. Thunderbolt (with 40 Gbps bandwidth) is mostly important if you plan to use external GPUs or daisy-chain several 4K monitors, otherwise USB 3.2 Gen 2 (with 10 Gbps) is entirely adequate.

What speaks for T14 (AMD) is significantly faster multi-threading performance, much more powerful integrated graphics (it's still not good enough for AAA gaming, but hey) and HDMI 2.0 over Intel's HDMI 1.4 port. Also, price.

Then there's the new T14 Gen 2, currently only available for Intel with AMD coming in the next few months or so. More expensive for now, of course. For Gen 2, the integrated Intel Xe graphics caught up to AMD or even slightly outperforms it, on the CPU side the 11th generation Intel is much faster than the 10th generation Intel from Gen 1 with great single-threading performance, although AMD still leads for multi-threading workloads. So I'd say performance-wise, 4000-series AMD and 11th gen Intel is a wash, perhaps I'd go with the Intel but there's no clear winner. Also it looks like the T14 Gen 2 (Intel) sheds the battery runtime advantage and loses the extra hour again, tying it with Gen 1 AMD here as well. T14 Gen 2 (AMD) is probably going to be the overall winner, but it isn't out yet so we can't really say.

For now, T14 (AMD) seems like the best choice right now taking all variables into account, unless you have specific needs. Unless you need Thunderbolt or the extra runtime, the performance loss of the the Intel Gen 1 model isn't worth it imho. Someone who needs both performance and full-day battery will want to consider upgrading to X1 Carbon Gen 9, HP EliteBook 745 Gen 7 or Latitude 7420 (with 400-nits display options respectively), all of which run significantly longer than any T14 while still getting good performance.
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ma678 wrote: is T14 (AMD) significantly better than T14 (Intel)? I am debating which model I should go with. Thanks.
Performance of CPU, graphics, Power consumption, and heat accumulation (less) is better... then cost wise it is also better.
Member
Jul 28, 2017
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How does ThinkPad T14s (14”) AMD Laptop compare with X1 carbon 9th gen? T14s is 2.8lb vs. X1 carbon 2.5lb. The diff in weight is pretty small seemingly.
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HenryC422053 wrote: How does ThinkPad T14s (14”) AMD Laptop compare with X1 carbon 9th gen? T14s is 2.8lb vs. X1 carbon 2.5lb. The diff in weight is pretty small seemingly.
It's noticeable if you hold both side by side. X1 footprint is about 10% smaller. X1 display area is 5% larger (due to 16:10). Trackpad is slightly larger, etc.
Sr. Member
Apr 7, 2005
632 posts
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If you're waiting for the gen 2 version of either the t14 or t14s, x13 gen 2 might be the one to go for this time around since it has a 16:10 screen instead of the 16:9 ones on the t14 gen2 models.
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CingKrab wrote: If you're waiting for the gen 2 version of either the t14 or t14s, x13 gen 2 might be the one to go for this time around since it has a 16:10 screen instead of the 16:9 ones on the t14 gen2 models.
It might be a very long wait. First wait for it to be available for purchase. Then wait for its price to drop to a reasonable level.

The price of X1C9 has been very high.
Sr. Member
Apr 7, 2005
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Well, I do expect all the gen 2 models to maintain their price until pretty much gen 3 are out, no?

X13 gen 2 is available in Intel form already, last word on AMD was July timeframe.
[OP]
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Mar 28, 2019
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HenryC422053 wrote: How does ThinkPad T14s (14”) AMD Laptop compare with X1 carbon 9th gen? T14s is 2.8lb vs. X1 carbon 2.5lb. The diff in weight is pretty small seemingly.
In addition to the size differences that Spinner mentioned, the X1 Carbon also lasts several hours longer on battery, which (at the same battery size, lower power draw) probably also means that it runs much cooler than the T14s. So the X1 Carbon should be quieter and more comfortable to use on one's lap.

The X1 Carbon Gen 9 has a new keyboard with flatter keys. Supposedly the feel is worse to the point where it's not best in class anymore. Still good, but not amazing. T14s Gen 1 has a superior keyboard in comparison. The T14s Gen 2 and X13 Gen 2 keyboards are also changed, probably similar to the X1 Carbon Gen 9. (T14 Gen 2 keeps the same old chassis and keyboard, so its typing feel is safe for another generation.)

Finally, the speakers on the X1 Carbon seem to be higher-quality than the ones on T-series devices.

Notebookcheck review of the X1 Carbon Gen 9: with power-sucking 4K panel | with standard 400 nits panel (display & battery life updates only)
Last edited by jpetso on May 22nd, 2021 9:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Rather get a MacBook air with M1. Will run circles around this and see price. Better build quality. Better resell
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+1 for the regular T14 or P14s when they go on deeper discount. Nice to have some upgrade options, IMHO the compromises made on the T14s are not worth the space/weight savings.
micromen wrote: Rather get a MacBook air with M1. Will run circles around this and see price. Better build quality. Better resell
The Air M1 is a fine machine, but these are products for different markets. Thinkpads are well established business machines and are popular with the linux crowd, and they are known to be quite tough with plenty of upgrade/repair options (less so these days as more stuff gets soldered)
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