New ThinkPad: ThinkPad T450 (First Impressions)

After a week of waiting, I finally received my refurbished ThinkPad T450… which will be serving as my new daily driver.

After I “killed” my T420 back in March, I’ve been using the under-powered IBM ThinkPad T42 and my father’s early 2014 MacBook Air for my computing services. Less than a week ago I also received a Dell Inspiron from my aunt, who upgraded to a new computer recently.

But, none of these computers could fill the role as my daily driver. The T42 is under-powered, running Windows 7 on just 512MB of RAM. My father uses the MacBook Air, and the Dell Inspiron is a desktop. I needed a laptop, so I looked towards to the trusty ThinkPad line for a solution.

I was actually looking at purchasing a brand new ThinkPad T480 with some custom specs to meet my needs, but I decided that it would be more budget friendly to go with a refurbished option. I purchased the T450 from the same refurbisher where I got the T420 from, which is a reputable computer refurbisher.

There are some similarities and differences between the T420 and the new T450. So I’ll discuss my first impressions here.

The Differences

The T420 was the last of the ThinkPad series to feature the “old-style” keyboard, which was much deeper and very similar to those which IBM used. (The T420’s keyboard was similar to the T42’s.) With that being said, the T450 uses the newer ThinkPad keyboard.

The T450 in the box…

The T450 also features a different trackpad design. In fact, the T450 has a much better design. It features a light inside the “ThinkPad” logo on the lid, a relocated power button, and a difference in ports. The T450 has a newer style of power adapter (square in comparison to the T420/T42’s “barrel-style”.) The T450 has no place for an optical drive.

First Impressions

So far, my first impressions of the T450 are mixed, but mostly good. So far, I’m impressed with the quality and the style of the machine. But I just received the machine today.

My T450 is pretty snappy – it has an Intel i7 clocked at 2.6GHz, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. This is my first Core i7 machine, and I’m already impressed. The SSD in this machine is nice and quick, and the speed boost is very noticeable in comparison to the old, mechanical hard drives that I’m used to. My T450 also came with a fingerprint scanner, which was unexpected and a nice touch. (First computer I ever had with a fingerprint scanner.) My concern lies in graphics, however. The T450 I purchased didn’t have dedicated graphics – only the integrated Intel graphics. Since my job requires a lot of InDesign work and some Photoshop/Illustrator work and my major requires working with Premier and After Effects, this may be a slight challenge with just the integrated graphics. Plus, I’m wanting to try out some games.

The T450’s keyboard is fairly decent, despite being the newer version…

The screen seems decent, and the trackpad seems responsive and decent. Since the refurbisher (strangely) didn’t include a TrackPoint – which is my personal favorite pointing device – I had to fall back onto the trackpad. The keyboard seems really nice to type on, which was a huge concern of mine.

The infamous TrackPoint was missing on my T450…

There are some quirks that I’m discovering with the T450, though. Unlike my T42 and T420, the CapsLock button has no lock. Therefore, you never know if CapsLock is on or off. Strangely, FnLk does have its own light, as does the fingerprint scanner. Just like the T420, the mute and microphone mute buttons both have their own lights inside the key. As mentioned, the refurbisher didn’t include a TrackPoint, but I will just rob the one off the T420. The T450 also has nowhere to put an optical drive, so I will need to purchase an external one in the future if I desire to.

So far, the T450 is fairly decent and a nice upgrade from the T420. We’ll see where things go from here, though.

T450 Specs

  • Processor: Intel Core i7 @ 2.6GHz
  • Storage: 256GB Solid State Drive (SSD)
  • Memory (RAM): 8GB
  • Display: built-in LCD, VGA port
  • Optical Drives: none
  • USB Ports: 3 USB (??? USB 3.0)
  • Other Ports: VGA, ethernet, headphone
  • Internet Connectivity: Cat 5e ethernet, WiFi (2.4GHz and 5GHz)
  • Other Special Features: Fingerprint scanner
  • Operating System: Windows 10 Pro
  • Usage: daily driver
T450 Specifications

This post was written on the ThinkPad T450.