Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Bucket Tech: Lenovo ThinkBook 13S

It's strange times we find ourselves in, while working from home was more of a norm for a select few, 2020 made this a reality for many with the lockdown regulations enforced by Governments around the world. Many thought it wouldn't be possible to do their jobs from home but here we are, halfway through the year and we're still managing. Technology has played a pivotal role in helping us achieve this, from high-speed internet to the devices we use. Gone of the days where you need high powered, big bulky desktops to work on as now most of the world's most powerful computers are either your handheld mobile devices or notebooks. Yes, the notebook has come on in leaps and bounds over the years and while many require it for its portability, it's becoming quite the norm in offices spaces too. 

Last week Lenovo sent me their new ThinkBook 13S to use while I worked from home, having an Ultrabook of my own, albeit 7 years old already I was keen to see what the new generation of these devices had to offer and I was pleasantly surprised. Lenovo has been in the market for as long as I can remember and their products have always been some of the best out there in terms of affordability and reliability, catering for every type of consumer. So testing out their highest end product was going to be fun. The ThinkBook 13S is catered for the professional who is on the move, needs something small, light and limit the use of plugging into charge. Yes, while I understand that presently we're not allowed to move a lot, no one said you cannot move around your house while working. 

The design of the ThinkBook is pretty much the same as any other notebook but with the 13 inch screen it makes the overall package very compact and easy to carry around. Weighing just 1.4kg's it won't make you break a sweat as well. It's an eye catching product, as its finished in a metallic all-aluminium chassis and the FHD display has a narrow bezel finish giving you more screen to device ratio, measuring in at just 5.5mm. The screen also includes dramatic Dolby Vision, with high dynamic-range technology for increased brightness, expanded contrast, amazing colours and more refined detail which is very evident when watching Full HD videos on it. Also with this, looking at the screen for longer periods doesn't strain your eyes like other screens would. Being one that types alot, I was glad to see that the keyboard had large buttons, almost bigger than your normal desktop keyboard. This made typing a breeze, as with normal Ultrabooks, they do tend to make the keys slightly smaller to accommodate other parts of the device. The keyboard also features hotkeys making it quicker to work as well as a finger print reader on the power button so it knows its you switching it on, no need for passwords and logging in there after. 

When it comes to processing, the ThinkBook 13S is class above the rest, with an 8th Gen Intel Core i7, along with a 256GB SATA SSD as well as 16GB of RAM, this machine flys from start up! Booting in just 0.5 seconds and performing the most difficult tasks with ease. I mainly used it for blogging, browsing and watching online content as this model didn't come with the any pre-loaded office type software but I did manage to work on some web-based office documents and found it pretty easy and straight forward. The major talking point about the ThinkBook though is its battery life, with an 11 hour battery capacity from a single charge, it comes with a Slimtip 45W charger which is pretty sufficient but there is a rapid charger as an optional extra 65W Rapid charger which can charge the device up to 80% in just an hour, which would give you about 9 hours of battery life. 

Ports and slots, the ThinkBook 13S has 2 x  USB-B (3.1) and 1 x USB-C, an HDMI 1.4b, a Headphone/ mic combo port and the AC adaptor port. It supports USB-C Dock as well as Hybrid USB-C.  Connectivity wise, it as WLAN 11ac 2x2 as well as Bluetooth 5.2. While it being great for business use, I found myself using it more for entertainment use, and the audio on the ThinkBook is great, it has Dolby Audio and 2 x 2W Harman speakers, the mic as dual-array noise cancelling, so it is optimized for voice recognition on Microsofts Cortana, yes you can give the device all sorts of commands just by speaking to it! Overall, I've been quite impressed by this little device, while it may be small, it packs a punch and has a hell of a stand by time. I found myself logging it everywhere I go in the house as it was that easy to carry around. Also another thing that seems to be an issue with devices like these are the cooling systems with the fans normally working over time when unplugged, apart from this one being so silent I never heard it often while being in use. It certainly is one of the better devices in its category at the moment and well worth it. 

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