“These are massive improvements" - Lenovo on its quest to make your next business laptop last longer and be greener than ever

Lenovo ThinkPad T14 i Gen 5
(Image credit: Lenovo)

With companies across the globe looking to make sure they remain environmentally friendly, alongside being successful in business, the responsibility is now on hardware manufacturers to ensure their offerings are up to scratch.

Lenovo took this task to heart with the recent announcement of a new partnership with repair experts iFixit to ensure its latest flagship devices are as accessible (from a repairability standpoint) as possible.

Announced at Mobile World Congress 2024, the move will see the ThinkPad T14 Gen 5 and the ThinkPad T16 Gen 3 business laptops come with a host of upgrades that should make them last longer and run more efficiently - but how much of a boost can this really be for businesses?

Lenovo green push

“These are massive improvements - every business customer we take this to is super excited about this," Tom Butler, Lenovo ED, Commercial Portfolio - ThinkPad and ThinkBook, told TechRadar Pro at MWC 2024.

He notes that the new partnership with iFixit is crucial in, “driving to a significantly higher level of repairability and upgradability” that has seen the company's devices go from a 7.3 rating on iFixit's scale to 9.3.

The improvements include not just a removable bottom cover as standard, but also the ability to remove and replace the keyboard just by accessing two screws, meaning companies could ship a laptop from one country to another and replace the keyboard, rather than spending on multiple different builds.

Butler also outlines the easier removal of the laptop's rear panel, giving access to replaceable components such as the battery or SSD. For those who may not be comfortable replacing such features, he notes the presence of QR codes providing not just links to ordering the right parts, but also tutorial videos to walk users through the process, should they look to do it themselves.

All of this should help improve customer satisfaction, Butler notes, laughing off suggestions that having longer-lasting devices is against Lenovo's commercial interest.

“If you think about the life cycle of a device, we generally run a two-year repair life cycle, more or less," he notes, “but the life of these parts will extend for another five years beyond that."

“Our customers look at the quality of a ThinkPad and model out longer life cycles already - we’re not talking about replacing every year or two years, it’s a three, four, even five-year life cycle in general terms."

He adds that with hybrid working becoming more commonplace, most businesses now have a distributed workforce with devices that need support and maintaining. With some workers not always able to come into an office to hand over a device, Lenovo's move will mean it can ship in parts to an end user’s home and have them do the work with step-by-step video and mixed reality, getting them back to work quickly.

MWC 2024 Lenovo transparent laptop PoC

(Image credit: Lenovo)

With the era of the "AI PC" set to combine with the hybrid working trend, the way many of us work is set to be significantly transformed over the next few years, and Butler is keen for Lenovo to be at the forefront of that. 

"It's the right thing to do - if you think about the environmental impact every time I build a new one, that’s the highest impact from a carbon footprint - if I look at offsetting that, if I extend the life of these products, I’m lowering the carbon footprint overall by extending the life of these devices."

"This the next wave," he concludes. "We're at this inflection point at the start of AI PC - software packages will be updated, capabilities will be extended out to the NPU over time, so it gives us a starting point.”

Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.