Lenovo ThinkPad 25 Anniversary Edition Laptop Preview: Ode To A Mobile Workhorse

If ever there was a brand of laptops that folks might refer to as “iconic,” it would be Lenovo’s ThinkPad line of business-class machines. The ThinkPad line was also a very successful go-to notebook brand for many mainstream consumers over the years as well. Known for their minimalist, straight-forward but highly functional design characteristics, the first ThinkPad was initially introduced by IBM in 1992. Lenovo then moved in to acquire IBM’s PC business in 2005. And so, if you’re already doing the math, today actually marks the 25th anniversary of the venerable, and yes iconic, ThinkPad laptop computer. It also happens to be the day Lenovo is taking the wraps off a new machine that was designed and built to commemorate the ThinkPad’s birthday milestone.

Behold, the Lenovo ThinkPad 25 Anniversary Edition, a machine that aims to blend the tried and a true, classic ThinkPad design with the latest in laptop PC technologies...

Lenovo ThinkPad 25 Keyboard
Lenovo ThinkPad 25 Back

Lenovo's ThinkPad 25 Anniversary Edition is a retro revival of sorts, based on a more current ThinkPad T470 chassis. The laptop has a rubberized coating that does a nice job of resisting fingerprints. It also has one of Lenovo's classic keyboard designs that's supremely comfortable as well as spacious. Key travel is cavernous, compared to some ultrabooks on the market these days, and the trackpad is also roomy with a satin finish that feels great, is accurate and responsive. Lenovo also includes three different red TrackPoint caps with the machine, the eraser head style you see here above and two more textured caps, that are a bit larger, from previous models of days gone by.

But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let's give you a guided walk-around of the ThinkPad 25 Anniversary Edition, a machine that quite literally makes everything "old" new again...

ThinkPad 25 Anniversary Edition Specifications: 

  • Intel Core i7-7500U Dual-Core - Up To 3.5GHz
  • 16GB DDR4-2400MHz RAM
  • Samsung 512 GB NVMe Solid State Drive
  • NVIDIA GeForce 940MX GPU
  • 24 Whr Internal Battery + 24 Whr External, Removable Battery
  • 14-Inch 1920X1080 FHD IPS Display, Matte, Anti-Glare Finish
  • Windows Hello Camera and Fingerprint Scanner
  • 13.25" x 9.15" x 0.79" - Starting At 3.7 lbs.
The base specs of the ThinkPad 25 read like your average ultrabook, but with a few key attributes that help it stand out. First, the machine sports both an Intel 7th Gen Kaby Lake mobile processor with integrated Intel HD 620 graphics, but also a discrete NVIDIA GeForce 940MX GPU with NVIDIA Optimus switchable graphics technology. 

The other notable "hybrid" feature here is the ThinkPad 25's dual battery setup. The machine has both a thin 24 Whr internal battery, as well as an an external, hot-swappable battery that comes in 24 Whr, 48 Whr and 72 Whr capacities. For this preview, we're looking at a system with the 24 + 24 Whr config. The nice thing about that setup is that the machine drains the external batter first, leaving the internal battery at the ready, to keep the machine up and running if you need to swap batteries out. Keep a spare battery in your bag and your up-time scales accordingly.
Lenovo ThinkPad 25 Right Edge
Lenovo ThinkPad 25 Left Edge
The other nice thing about having a bit more heft (still south of just 4 pounds) and thickness, is that you get all the ports, including a full-fledged, hard-wired Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 port. And yes boys and girls, that's an honest-to-goodness 4-in-1 memory card reader, along with the latest in USB-C Thunderbolt 3 connectivity. Toss in full-sized HDMI port and USB 3 ports, one with always on charging, and you should not be want for IO connectivity, no matter what your jam.  

Lenovo ThinkPad 25 Right Corner Logo
But that keyboard, it's a thing of beauty for anyone that truly appreciates a quality typing experience, including sculpted cutouts for its navigation arrows and again, mixing that new flavor with the old, a fingerprint reader for quick login. 

But What About Performance? Sorry, Just A Tease

Finally, putting that on-board NVIDIA GPU to the test yielded some surprising results, actually. We expected Intel's 7th Gen Kaby Lake HD 620 IGP had a bit more horsepower these days to compete with the likes of a low-end discrete chip, but as it turns out...

lenovo thinkpad 25 3dmark skydiver benchmark results

When we compare the above 3DMark Sky Diver score to a recent crop of ultrabooks within the confines of Intel integrated graphics, we find that in fact the GeForce 940MX in this configuration offers nearly 2X the performance of Intel HD 620 graphics. The average Core i7 ultrabook with HD 620 only scores about 4K and change in Sky Diver and a real-world game test, with optimized game-ready drivers would likely only extend that margin. We wouldn't suggest the ThinkPad 25 is a machine targeted at the hard core notebook gaming crowd, but at least it has a bit more muscle for some casual fun (think CS:GO, Dota 2 or older titles maybe) and of course solid media processing capabilities.

Lenovo ThinkPad 25 Left Top Corner
Lenovo ThinkPad 25 Lid Open

So that wraps-up our early preview look at the new Lenovo ThinkPad 25 Anniversary Edition. We realize ThinkPads have been sort of an either "you love it or hate it" affair, in terms of design language, over the years. However, since we're firmly set in the former, affectionate demographic, we'd offer that until you've actually worked with a ThinkPad, that you don't know what you're missing. And yeah, that true blue Enter key in your periphery, just can't be missed. Ever. Stay tuned for our full, no-holds-barred review of the ThinkPad 25 Anniversary Edition in the days ahead. Coming very soon. Until then, take note that the ThinkPad 25 Anniversary Edition will have a starting price of $1,899, and is available to purchase right now.