Lenovo Thinkpad E15 – 4500U review

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Lenovo Thinkpad E15 – 4500U review

After our initial 4500U Acer Aspire 5 review, we managed to get our hands on a brandnew Lenovo Thinkpad E15 (20T8000VGE) with the same APU. This review will mainly focus on the Thinkpad but will also see how it compares to the Acer Aspire 5 (with price difference in mind).

System overview:

– Lenovo Thinkpad E15
– Ryzen 4500U (6 Cores / 6 Threads)
– Vega 6
– 8+8 GB 3200 MHz DDR4 RAM – CL22 (Samsung)
– WD SN530 NVME SSD / 512 GB
– WLAN / BT – Intel AX200N GW
– Li-Ion Battery @ 45 WH
– 15″ Freesync 48-60 FPS Display *suprise-pikachu.jpg*
– Multi-touch / gesture touchpad

Let’s start with the first look. The Thinkpad is well build, has a very durable impression.
The dark grey matte-metal is mostly insensitive by fingermarks and if there are some you can easily wipe them off with a small towel. Since the Thinkpad is nearly 50 percent more expensive than the Acer we still want to say that Thinkpads always have a good finish and you instantly feel why they are so popular for office/work.
The touchpad supports full multi-gestures which comes stock with Windows 10 (1-4 fingers).

Before we go to some benchmarks or open it up, we show you the connection options you have outside.
One the left side is one USB-C which has “Power Delivery” and “Displayport 1.4”, we have one normal USB 3.0 port, an additional HDMI port and a Microphone/Headphone jacket.
On the right side we have our LAN interface and another USB 3.0 port.
As you can see on the middle picture we do have a fingerprint system so you can easily login to windows by just starting the PC and have the finger scanned.

Display

The Display is matte and is on par with the acer aspire 5 in terms of brightness and viewing angle. The important part is, it has slightly better colours out of the box and it does support freesync, even when it does not get advertised (nor has information in the product description) with it…
The freesync range is 48 – 60 FPS

The keyboard backlight is not as bright as the acer but you can still easily write in dark rooms. The backlight has 3 options: Off, subdued-backlight and full-backlight.

In the following screens the Thinkpad looks a bit darker. That was due to a wrong setting where it decrease the light depending on the surroundings. Without the settings it was identical to the Acer. Both Laptops can be used outside without drawbacks.

AMD Inside

Now we gonna open up the laptop and see what is going on inside of it.
The first thing we noticed was the empty m2 slot for an additional NVME SSD.
We also did not found the 16 GB DDR4 3200 MHZ dual-channel ram (under the metal obviously, we didnt opened it up) so there is currently no way to increase it by hand. At the second look you will notice the better cooling for the 4500U, compared to the Acer Aspire 5, which leads to lower fan rpm in benchmarks and more passive cooling in low power usage. In daily tasks it is only a small difference, but in benchmarks the noise level is defintely lower and this should be considered if you have heavy tasks in your average workday.

Performance

Next step are the performance tests.
We first need to talk about one good thing, your “Windows Performance Modes” has high impact on your system performance unlike before where it nearly does nothing.
This is the first time we saw such behavior in AMD Notebooks. You can now adjust the AMD STAPM (Skin Temperature Aware Power Management).
We noticed the following four max STAPM modes (left to right side):

  • Battery saving is 10w
  • Second option set to 11,25w
  • Third option set to 20w
  • High performance (last one) set to 28w

We tested everything on “Battery Saving” and “High Performance”

The gaming-benchmarks start @ 06:45

Here are the performance results of our tests:

App / GameLow power @10wHigh power @ 28wAcer Aspire @ 15w
CPU-Z Single475,6489,6477,1
CPU-Z Multi1783,72793,71808,8
Cinebench R20162223482211
Tomb Raider 2013
1080p / normal
53,753,848,6
Rise of the TR
720p / low
36,150,6246,34
Strange Brigade
720p / low
626558
GTA 5
720p / normal
7786,874,88

While testing we noticed that the Lenovo laptop has a way lower noise level than the acer aspire 5. Even when both laptops run at full speed and performance, the noise level was always lower than the Acer. This should be considered if you want to use this laptop in a more quiet place.
There has been some traps when using the Win 10 with the build-in performance modes. If you really want to keep it at the considered/configured STAPM you need to disable the “Windows Game mode”, otherwise the STAPM will set to max and draw your battery like there is no tomorow. 🙂

Battery draw was:
idle / low screen = 3,4w @ ~12 hours
idle / bright screen = 4,0w @ ~11 hours
office / browser / youtube = 7,0w @ 8-7 hours
full usage @ 10w = ~5 hours
full usage @ 28w = ~1,5 hours

Heat with FLIR

We still want to give you a small overview over the heatmap of the lenovo while heated up with 28w STAPM

Above you can see the direct comparison of the Acer and the Lenovo. The Lenovo gets a little bit hotter, but this is due to the lower fan-speed.
After heat up both laptops are not really hot and can be easily touched on the surface or keyboard.

Conclusion

Now we come to the hardest part. The final conclusion…
After all we must admit we were a bit suprised by the Lenovo Thnikpad. At first the Freesync display made us smile, second suprise was the noise level while under heavy load and the third part is the easy to configure STAPM/wattage over the Windows battery mode. We do expect some differences between those two laptops, but not that much fine details which make the Lenovo a better buy if it fits your price range.
Considering the price difference of around 300€ (Acer ~500€ vs. Lenovo ~800€) it is still ok, and even the Acer has its usecases (especialy when on low budget).
But if you use USB-C docking stations, want to charge with a USB-C PD charger or just need a good and silent “workhorse” with decent performance and battery runtime go for the Lenovo and you wont be disappointed.

Lenovo Thinkpad E15 (20T8000VGE) @ “Amazon Germany”
https://amzn.to/3kyTwXx @ 793,94€ (11.08.2020) *

* affiliate link

You can also check out our Acer Aspire 5 review for a better comparison.
https://www.apu.graphics/review-acer-aspire-5-4500u/

 

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