Lenovo ThinkPad 25 Anniversary Edition Review: Retro Style, Modern Performance

Introducing The Lenovo ThinkPad 25 Anniversary Edition

Anyone that has worked with laptops for a while might recall the ThinkPad brand from back in the day before Lenovo purchased the client PC division from IBM. One of the most notable things about the old-school ThinkPads was the keyboard, complete with a blue enter key and a red trackpoint nub smack dab in the center. After Lenovo took over the ThinkPad line, some of the beloved industrial styling cues from those workhorse machines left along with the IBM logo. However, Lenovo is now celebrating the 25th anniversary of the ThinkPad brand with a unique ThinkPad 25 Anniversary Edition notebook that combines some aspects of IBM's retro-style circa 1992 with the features and performance of a modern ThinkPad ultrabook

The machine is based on Lenovo's current generation ThinkPad T470 chassis, as we mentioned in our early preview of the system. It packs in a peppy 7th gen Core i7-7500U CPU, hiding modern platform hardware under a slightly retro-modified but current looking shell. That CPU does have integrated Intel HD 620 graphics, but graphics muscle is further amped-up with a discrete NVIDIA GeForce 940MX GPU as well.

Lenovo ThinkPad 25 Left Top Corner

The ThinkPad 25 AE has an internal battery and three different capacity external hot-swappable batteries, allowing you to tailor the weight and runtime of the machine to your preference. Our review unit came with the smallest of the removable batteries, the 24Whr unit, but Lenovo offers optional 48Whr and 72Whr external batteries too.

Packing dual batteries and other tech into the ThinkPad 25 Anniversary Edition doesn't equate to the lightest machine on the market; at 3.7+ pounds you will know the little beast is in your bag. The upside is that the heft translates into lots of ports and connectivity you might not find on thinner and lighter machines.

Lenovo ThinkPad 25 Anniversary Edition
Specifications & Features
Processor Options 7th Gen Intel Core i7-7500U (2.7GHz)
14-inch FHD (1920x1080) w/ Multi-touch
Graphics GeForce 940MX 2GB
16GB DDR4-2400
512GB NVMe Solid State Drive (Samsung)
Audio Stereo Speakers 2W x 2
Ethernet RJ45
Wireless Connectivity
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265, Bluetooth Version 4.1
Interface (Left)
DC-in, USB 3.0 (Type-A), Thunderbolt 3 (Type-C), Smart Card Reader (optional)
Interface (Right)
Headphone/Mic combo, USB 3.0 (Type-A), HDMI 1.4b, USB 3.0 (Type-A) Always On, Ethernet (RJ-45), 4-in-1-Card Reader, Kensington Lock
Interface (Back) None
720p HD Fixed Focus
Operating System
Windows 10 Signature Edition
Battery 24Wh (internal), 24Wh (external) (up to 72Wh external available)
Dimensions 0.79 (H) x 13.25 (W) x 9.15 (D) inches
3.7 pounds
Manufacturer Warranty
Pricing Starting @ $1,899

Lenovo outfits the ThinkPad 25 Anniversary Edition with all the ports you'd expect to find on a modern ultrabook, including a pair of standard USB 3.0 Type-A ports, one USB 3.0 Type-A port that is always on for charging gadgets, Thunderbolt 3 Type-C, a headphone and mic combo port, HDMI 1.4b port, a 4-in-1 memory card reader, and the ever-present Kensington lock port. An optional smart card reader is also available, and yes, that's a full-sized RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet port, sans dongle, thankfully.
Lenovo ThinkPad 25 Right Edge
Our review unit was configured with a 7th gen Intel Core i7-7500U processor with a base clock of 2.7GHz, NVIDIA GeForce 940MX graphics, 16GB of DDR4-2400 RAM, a 512GB Samsung NVMe SSD, and a 14-inch FHD 1920 x 1080 IPS display that supports multi-touch. The notebook also has Intel Dual-band Wireless-AC 8265 + Bluetooth 4.1. Its integrated webcam is a 720p fixed focus setup.

lenovo tp 25 ae 8

Lenovo went all out on packaging with the ThinkPad 25 Anniversary Edition and made it something a little special to appreciate, with a cool bento box-inspired presentation. Inside that fancy box you'll find the notebook, documentation, and a collection of TrackPoint caps that allow you to customize the look and feel of that red mousing nubbin to your tastes.
lenovo tp 25 ae 2 16
An important modern addition is the Match-In-Sensor fingerprint reader to the right of the shift key (seen below). The big benefit of this type of fingerprint sensor is that it has a more secure method of analyzing fingerprints than the older match-on-host implementations. The entire fingerprint enrollment, pattern storage, and biometric matching capabilities are performed inside the sensor module in a match-on-sensor implementation. It's also Windows Hello compatible. The touchpad of the ThinkPad 25 AE is an implementation of the Microsoft Precision Touchpad that allows Windows 10 to handle driver implementation and performance tuning.
Lenovo ThinkPad 25 Keyboard
Overall dimensions of the ThinkPad 25 Anniversary Edition are 13.25" x 9.15" x 0.79" and the machine tips the scales at a modest 3.7+ pounds. Since most folks want some ruggedness in an ultrabook in this price range -- the machine starts at $1,899 -- Lenovo designed the ThinkPad 25 to meet MIL-STD 810G durability standards. A few of the important mil-spec certifications include an operating temperature range of 30 to 60-degrees Celsius, the ability to operate in up to 98% humidity, and the ability to survive more significant mechanical shock and vibration.

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