Lenovo ThinkPad L15 Gen 4 review: A decent enough business laptop, but the competition is tough

The ThinkPad L15 Gen 4 gets the job done, but there are better options out there

A Lenovo ThinkPad L15 Gen 4 on a table
(Image: © Future / John Loeffler)

TechRadar Verdict

The Lenovo ThinkPad L15 Gen 4 is a decent enough business laptop that gets the basics right, but it's performance lags somewhat and there are much better options out there for about the same or slightly more money that make this laptop harder to recommend than other ThinkPads.

Pros

  • +

    Good starting price

  • +

    Fantastic keyboard

  • +

    Option for 1080p RGB IR webcam

  • +

    Option for Core i7 vPro

Cons

  • -

    Weak starting configuration

  • -

    No discrete graphics option

  • -

    Only DDR4 RAM

  • -

    Higher configurations not very competitive

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Lenovo ThinkPad L15 Gen 4: Two-minute review

In the world of the best business laptops, Lenovo's ThinkPad series stands as an iconic brand, and with such a diverse lineup, Lenovo caters to a wide range of needs, from premium ultralights to mainstream corporate models and the best mobile workstations. Into this mix, the Lenovo ThinkPad L15 Gen 4 is positioned somewhere between entry-level and enterprise, aiming to be a capable workhorse for professionals. 

Starting at $723 for the base configuration, you can definitely get in on the lower end of the price spectrum with this device, though whether it will offer enough performance out the gate is debatable, and getting a truly functional machine will require greater investment.

Typing on the L15's keyboard is a first-class experience, offering a quiet yet snappy and responsive feel. Lenovo's unique placement of the Fn key to the left of Ctrl in the lower left corner may take some getting used to, but Lenovo Vantage software allows users to swap these keys if desired.

Performance-wise, the ThinkPad L15 Gen 4 delivers mixed results. While it easily handles routine tasks like word processing and spreadsheet work, it falls short in more demanding scenarios such as content creation or multimedia editing due to the lack of dedicated graphics.

Fortunately, the battery life is decent enough for a cheap business laptop, as professionals need a reliable machine for on-the-go work. While it's not the longest-lasting laptop in its class, it should provide enough juice for a typical workday.

Software wise, the Lenovo Vantage control panel centralizes system settings, including Dolby Audio settings, software updates, Wi-Fi security, and various utility features such as freezing the keyboard, touchpad, and touch screen temporarily for cleaning. This software suite enhances the user experience and simplifies system management, and it's a great way to manage your device if you're tech savvy enough to use a computer for work but rarely find yourself digging into Windows Control Panel.

While the Lenovo ThinkPad L15 Gen 4 offers the reliability and build quality that Lenovo is known for, it faces stiff competition in its price range, especially from the likes of the Dell XPS 15 or HP Spectre. For those seeking better value, Lenovo's own budget-friendly ThinkPad E series and the small-office-oriented ThinkBook series are worth exploring, as these alternatives may offer similar performance and features at a lower cost.

That said, the Lenovo ThinkPad L15 Gen 4 is a competent workhorse with the signature ThinkPad build quality and comfortable keyboard, and for more casual business users looking for a decent enough work machine without breaking the bank, then this is definitely worth considering, though only if the price is right.

A Lenovo ThinkPad L15 Gen 4 on a table

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

Lenovo ThinkPad L15 Gen 4: Price & availability

Starting at $723 for the base configuration with a 13th-gen Intel Core i3-1315U processor with Intel UHD graphics, 8GB DDR4 RAM and 256GB NVMe SSD, this is definitely one of the most affordable business laptops around, but with those specs, you're not going to get a lot of performance. The unit I got to review, loaded with an Intel Core i7-1365U vPro, 16GB DDR4 RAM, and 512GB NVMe SSD and selling on Lenovo's website for $1,333.20

This puts it in the same rough price category as the Dell Inspiron 16 2-in-1 and HP Dragonfly Pro, at least for the configurations worth considering (honestly, anything less than a Core i5 should be passed on as a business laptop, no matter the price). In this vein, the ThinkPad L15 Gen 4 runs about even with these competitors, but if you end up straying too high in terms of specs, it might be worth your while to look instead to the Dell XPS 15, as these start around $1,500 and offer discrete graphics.

A Lenovo ThinkPad L15 Gen 4 on a table

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

Lenovo ThinkPad L15 Gen 4: Specs

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Header Cell - Column 0 Base configurationReview configurationTop configuration
Price$723.60 (about £580/AU$1,015)$1,350.60 (about £1,075/AU$1,880)$1,774.20 (about £1,420/AU$2,485)
ProcessorIntel Core i3-1315UIntel Core i7-1365U vProIntel Core i7-1365U vPro
GraphicsIntel UHD 770Intel Iris XeIntel Iris Xe
Memory8GB DDR416GB DDR432GB DDR4
Storage256 NVMe SSD512GB NVMe SSD2TB NVMe SSD
Display15.6-inch FHD IPS non-touch, 250 nits, 60Hz15.6-inch FHD IPS non-touch, 300 nits, 60Hz15.6-inch FHD IPS non-touch, 300 nits, 60Hz
Battery46.5WHr57WHr57WHr
Webcam720 HD RGB w/ Microphone1080p RGB IR w/ Microphone1080p RGB IR w/ Microphone
Fingerprint readerNoneBuilt into power buttonBuilt into power button
OSWindows 11 HomeWindows 11 ProWindows 11 Pro

A Lenovo ThinkPad L15 Gen 4 on a table

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

Lenovo ThinkPad L15 Gen 4: Design

As for the design, you're getting a fairly straightforward, classic look that's familiar to anyone who's used a Lenovo laptop before. While it may not win any awards for its aesthetics, the L15, like other ThinkPads, has been put through MIL-STD 810H torture tests for travel hazards such as shock, vibration, and temperature extremes. That means it'll withstand the rigors of daily use and travel, ensuring durability and longevity - it might not be the best rugged laptop out there, but for the crunch of the commute or a busy office, it's absolutely more than robust enough. 

As with just about every Lenovo laptop at this point, the webcam (up to 1080p) comes with a privacy shutter, which is essential for any business user. The inclusion of IR face recognition and a fingerprint reader built into the power button provides two convenient ways to skip typing passwords, thanks to Windows Hello integration.

The laptop comes with a number of ports, including an ethernet connection, a microSD card slot, and a security lock slot. There is also an option for a SIM card for mobile broadband, which is great for getting work done on the go, even where WiFi connections might be spotty. If you do get WiFi, you can get up to WiFi 6E for even faster wireless speeds.

The display is a 15.6-inch full HD non-touch display with up to 300 nits of brightness, though it does stick with the 16:9 aspect ratio whereas a lot of laptops are spreading the screen out a bit further. The display can extend a full 180-degrees, so it's not quite one of the best 2-in-1 laptops, but if you're collaborating with colleagues, you'll be able to share your work more easily without everyone hanging over your shoulders.

Speaking of looking over your shoulder, while the display offers broad viewing angles and decent contrast, the colors and brightness leave something to be desired. Many mid-price laptops now boast punchier colors and sharper resolutions, making the L15's screen seem lackluster by comparison. It's not particularly bright, and while you can get a 60Hz panel with up to 300 nits and white backgrounds appear clean, they generally lack vibrancy. 

For office tasks and mainstream productivity like spreadsheets, this might be ideal since no one wants to stare into the sun while staring at rows and columns of data, but if you're planning on doing more than staring at documents and reports, the display likely won't be sufficient for any real multimedia work, making it struggle to stand out in a competitive market.

On the plus side, Lenovo is renown for its laptop keyboards, and the ThinkPad L15 Gen 4 continues this tradition. The backlit keyboard is smooth and comfortable, providing an exemplary layout with dedicated Home, End, Page Up, and Page Down keys. Additionally, you'll find top-row shortcuts, including keys for Microsoft Teams calls, and a full-size tenkey pad on the right.

Like just about all Lenovo keyboards, it is a dream to type on for an extended period of time, so it will make long hours in the throes of work a good bit less taxing on your hands at least.

For cursor control, users have the option of a touchpad, which offers a slightly hollow but comfortable click, or Lenovo's signature TrackPoint mini joystick embedded in the keyboard, accompanied by three large mouse buttons below the space bar. This combination provides flexibility in navigation, although it slightly reduces the size of the touchpad.

Sound from the speaker grille located above the keyboard is clear but not particularly loud, although it can fill a room at maximum volume. The audio quality lacks bass but is listenable with crisp instrumentals, allowing you to distinguish overlapping tracks. Dolby Access software provides various presets for different scenarios, including dynamic, game, music, movie, and voice, along with an equalizer and microphone noise cancellation. The music setting adds a bit of fullness to the sound, although it may still come across as slightly hollow.

A Lenovo ThinkPad L15 Gen 4 on a table

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

Lenovo ThinkPad L15 Gen 4: Performance

As far as performance goes, this laptop is generally let down by the lack of a discrete GPU, so really the only thing you'll be able to do with this device (assuming you have the Core i5 or better and 16GB RAM) is productivity software, cloud computing work, video streaming, and conference calls. For that, this laptop is sufficient, but you really don't want to step much further beyond that.

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CPU Benchmarks
Geekbench 5 Single Core 1,789
Geekbench 5 Multi Core 6,168
Geekbench 6.2 Single Core 2,534
Geekbench 6.2 Multi Core 6,450

The Core i7-1365U CPU in my review unit didn't score especially well in CPU benchmarks. Its scores are about 7% higher in Geekbench 5's single core benchmar than the Dell Inspiron 16 2-in-1 from 2022 did, and that device was running a Core i5-1235U, so it's a generation and a tier behind this chip. Even worse, the Core i7-1365U in the L15 Gen 4 scored about 11% slower than the Inspiron 15's older chip did.

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Storage Speed Benchmark
25GB File Copy (Transfer rate) 1,102.42 MB/s
25GB File Copy (Seconds)Row 1 - Cell 1 24.4

For storage speed, the L15's SSD is pretty middle of the road with a 25GB file folder transfer rate of about 1,102MB a second, taking about 24 seconds to complete the operation. 

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Productivity Benchmarks
Crossmark Overall 1,492
Crossmark Productivity 1,547

The productivity benchmarks are likewise fairly middling, with Crossmark's productivity score landing strictly in only-keep-one-office-app-open-at-a-time territory.

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Graphics
3DMark Night Raid 12,073
3DMark Fire Strike Did not finish
3DMark Time Spy 1,307

As for this processor's integrated graphics, it again falls well short of the Core i5-1235U in the 2022 Dell Inspiron 16 -2-in-1, which was also able to run 3DMark's Fire Strike test, which the L15 Gen 4 wasn't able to complete without the benchmark crashing.

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Gaming Benchmark
Civilization VI: Gathering Storm 22 fps

Given the specs and the performance so far, I definitely wouldn't recommend you game on this device with anything above Solitaire or similar, though you might be able to make Civilization VI playable on a plane ride if you turn all the settings to low and maybe consider playing at 720p rather than full 1080p.

A Lenovo ThinkPad L15 Gen 4 on a table

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

Lenovo ThinkPad L15 Gen 4: Battery life

Given the weaker performance vis-a-vis the Dell Inspiron 16 2-in-1, you might expect that it would have better battery life at least, and to an extent, there is something to celebrate here.

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Battery Life Benchmark
Web Surfing (Battery Informant) 7:23:28

While not getting a full eight hours of battery life, the L15 Gen 4 does at least get close, lasting about seven hours and 23 minutes in our Web Surfing battery test. Ever since the 12th-gen Intel Alder Lake chips, laptop battery lives have taken a nose dive, so while this laptop only gests seven and a half hours, it could honestly have been worse.

A Lenovo ThinkPad L15 Gen 4 on a table

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

Should you buy the Lenovo ThinkPad L15 Gen 4?

Buy the Lenovo ThinkPad L15 Gen 4 if...

You want a simple productivity laptop
If all you're after is doing spreadsheets and reports on the go for work, this laptop is equipped to do that.

You want some added security
You can upgrade to a fingerprint scanner and an RGB IR webcam for Windows Hello, adding a layer of security on top of the physical privacy shutter for the webcam.

Don't buy it if...

You want better-than-average performance
The L15 Gen 4's performance is fairly average, and don't really go any further than basic productivity.

You have room in your budget for the XPS 15
The best specs on this laptop can get expensive, making it worth considering the Dell XPS 15 if you're going to spend more than $1,500.

Also consider

If my Lenovo ThinkPad L15 Gen 4 review has you considering other options, here are two more laptops to consider.

Image

Dell XPS 15
The Dell XPS 15 is easily one of the best 15-inch laptops around, and starting around the same price as you'd pay for the L15  Gen 4's recommended configuration.

Read the full Dell XPS 15 review

Image

HP Dragonfly Pro
If you're looking for a solid enough work laptop, the HP Dragonfly Pro has a lot of the same features as the Lenovo L15, but generally offers better performance for the price.

Read the full HP Dragonfly Pro review

  • First reviewed January 2024
John Loeffler
Components Editor

John (He/Him) is the Components Editor here at TechRadar and he is also a programmer, gamer, activist, and Brooklyn College alum currently living in Brooklyn, NY. 


Named by the CTA as a CES 2020 Media Trailblazer for his science and technology reporting, John specializes in all areas of computer science, including industry news, hardware reviews, PC gaming, as well as general science writing and the social impact of the tech industry.


You can find him online on Threads @johnloeffler.


Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 (just like everyone else).