LAS VEGAS -- The ThinkPad T450s is our favorite productivity laptop right now, because it crams long battery life, strong performance and the industry's best keyboard into a relatively thin, lightweight chassis. For 2016, Lenovo is releasing an even-slimmer sequel in the 3-pound ThinkPad T460s, which includes a sharper display and faster SSD than its predecessor but sacrifices some endurance and flexibility by using a smaller, non-removable battery.
Editor's Note (3/16/2016): We've posted our full review of the ThinkPad T460s, complete with detailed test results and first-hand impressions. You can also buy the ThinkPad T460s from Lenovo.com for a starting price of $980.10.
Available in February for a starting price of $1059, Lenovo's new 14-inch workhorse bridges the gap between Lenovo's even-thinner, but less functional X1 Carbon and thicker ThinkPads like the new T460 (non S), T460p and T560, which were also announced today as part of the company's lineup of Intel 6th Generation Core Series-powered laptops.
Compared to its .83-inch thick, 3.8-pound predecessor, the 3-pound, .74-inch thick T460s seems particularly lean. However, the latest version of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon is a mere .66 inches thick and weighs just 2.6 pounds, though it costs $1,299 is not user serviceable and has shallower keys.
Like other ThinkPads, the T460s has a raven black, matte chassis with subtle dashes of red appearing in the TrackPoint pointing stick, a pair of stripes on the mouse buttons and in the power light. The 14.1-inch display outputs at a sharp 2560 x 1440 resolution, a major step up from the T450s's 1920 x 1080 screen.
We had a chance to spend a few moments going hands-on with the ThnkPad T460s and we came away impressed with its light weight, sharp screen and snappy keyboard. The laptop feels much more portable than its predecessor, but doesn't sacrifice keyboard quality to get there. A Lenovo rep told us that the T460s offers the same 2.1mm of key travel as its predecessor. The keys felt snappy and deep when we touched them, which is really important for discerning typists. By contrast, Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 and X260 series laptops have only 1.8mm of vertical travel.
On the inside, the ThinkPad T460s sports an Intel 6th Generation Core Series CPU with vPro security, your choice of Intel HD 520 graphics or a discrete Nvidia GeForce 930M GPU, up to 24GB of DDR4 RAM and a PCIe SSD which promises 2 to 3 times the speed of the regular SATA SSDs on its predecessor.
Lenovo's slim notebook leaves plenty of room for essential ports, including full-size HDMI and Ethernet ports, a mini DisplayPort out and 3 USB ports, plus an SD card reader. Unlike the X1 Carbon and many other thin systems, the T460s has a removable bottom with easy access to the RAM, storage and wireless cards so you can upgrade them on your own.
Lenovo claims that the T460s's sealed-in 48.8 watt-hour battery will last for up to 10.5 hours on a charge. However, as with any laptop, In our testing, the T450s lasted a full 15 hours and 26 minutes with its extended battery, which is close to the 17 hours on Lenovo advertises on its site.
ThinkPad T460 and T460p
Users who are looking for more battery life and a lower price point will want to consider the ThinkPad T460, which will start at $909 and promises 14 hours of battery life thanks to its dual batteries. Like the T450s and several other ThinkPads, the 14-inch T460 uses Lenovo's Power Bridge technology, which combines an internal battery with a hot-swappable unit that's available in either 3-cell or 6-cell capacities. If you carry an extra battery with you, you can keep working unplugged for even longer, without ever having to shut the computer off. This heavier system starts at 3.8 pounds and is .83 inches thick, but it has room for an SD card reader to go with its 3 USB 3.0 ports, mini DisplayPort, HDMI and Ethernet connectors.
Unlike the T460s, the T460 can be configured with either a mechanical hard drive, a regular SATA SSD or a high-speed PCIe SSD. Its screen resolution tops out at 1920 x 1080, but it offers a slightly-better graphics option in the Nvidia GeForce 940MX; an integrated Intel GPU comes standard.
If you want more performance and are willing to pay a higher price while lugging a heavier laptop, the ThinkPad T460p could be for you. This $1,249 laptop is .96-inches thick and weighs a full 4 pounds, but it offers Intel H Series, quad-core CPUs and up to a 2560 x 1440 display. It also features Power Bridge and promises up to 12 hours of endurance.
Lenovo has also unveiled the $969 T560, which as the "5" in its name suggests, is the 15.6-inch companion to the T460. It starts at 5 pounds and is .88 inches thick, but it promises up to 16 hours of battery life with its dual batteries and packs up to a 2560 x 1440 display.
All four new ThinkPad T Series laptops -- the T460s, T460, T460p and T560 -- will be available starting in February.