Lenovo ThinkPad E14 Gen 2 review: A basic business laptop

Think of Lenovo’s ThinkPad E14 Gen 2 as the business laptop for the rank and file.

While the C-suite might make off with something sleeker, like the $1,850 ThinkPad X1 Nano, the E14 hews closer to the $1,000 range and makes no attempt to hide its economy-class trappings, relative to fancier ThinkPads. Weighing 3.5 pounds and measuring 0.7 inches thick, it’s one of Lenovo’s heftier business laptops, and its features—which include an ethernet jack and anti-glare screen—are decidedly utilitarian.

Style points aside, the ThinkPad would be a solid laptop if not for its substandard trackpad and below-average battery life. As it stands, it’s a laptop that workers can tolerate, as opposed to one that they’ll truly love.

ThinkPad E14 Gen 2 tech specs

Our ThinkPad E14 Gen 2 sells for $1,048 on TigerDirect and has the following specs:

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-1135G7 with Iris Xe graphics
  • Display: 14-inch, 1920×1080 IPS matte-finish
  • Memory: 16GB DDR4 RAM
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • Biometrics: Fingerprint reader
  • Webcam: 720p with privacy shutter and Windows Hello face recognition
  • Left side: USB-C Thunderbolt 4 port, USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 (always on), HDMI 1.4, 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Right side: USB-A 2.0 Gen 1, gigabit ethernet, Kensington lock
  • Operating system: Windows 10 Pro
  • Weight: 3.51 pounds (4.19 pounds with power brick)
  • Dimensions: 0.70 x 12.75 x 8.66 inches
thinkpade14gen2rightside Jared Newman / IDG

Behold, a rare ethernet jack sighting.

Lenovo sells many other variants, including those with Core i3, Core i7, and AMD Ryzen 5 processors, though the company’s website makes pricing difficult to gauge. (The baseline Core-i3 model, for instance, has a list price of $1,249, which is $200 more than what TigerDirect charges for our review unit, but it’s down to $600 in a Memorial Day sale.) Expect to spend in the neighborhood of $1,000 for all but the most basic configuration.

In any case, the lack of discrete GPU and H-Series CPU options puts the ThinkPad E14 squarely in the realm of office-drone productivity laptops—a point that’s emphasized by the rare sighting of an ethernet port on its right side. Lenovo does say that it offers an option for Nvidia GeForce MX450 graphics, but at present it’s not available on the company’s website.

Design and display

Aesthetically speaking, the E14 is pretty much the quintessential ThinkPad, right down to the trackpoint nub, trio of trackpad buttons, black chassis, and red accents. Its hefty plastic case has no discernible flex, and it meets an array of ruggedness requirements under the MIL-STD 810H standard.

thinkpade14gen2leftside Jared Newman / IDG

This isn’t Lenovo’s thinnest or lightest ThinkPad, but it is sturdy.

The non-touch display folds down to a 180-degree angle. While its 300-nit brightness level is on the dim side for a higher-end laptop, the matte finish does help counteract glare if you’re computing outside. At maximum brightness, the screen was perfectly legible even with the sun at my back.

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