What is it?
Laptops have an elegance issue. Most cutting edge machines attempt to outdo each other for the features they are able to pack into the thinnest form factor possible, in order to gain credentials for slimness, elegance and aesthetic quality.
There is nothing wrong with that, except that it comes at a price. A full-featured notebook computer that can also slide between the pages of a magazine – and has decent battery life – will set one back more than R20,000. For serious storage and processing power, add another 50% to that price.
The Lenovo V14 Gen 2 ITL laptop, with a 14-inch screen and 11th Gen Intel Core i5 processor, won’t win any beauty contests, but it gets the job done at half that price – and can still boast dimensions that won’t bulk out a laptop bag.
Just 19.9mm thick and weighing 1.5kg, its portability means it is still good value relative to the sub-R10,000 notebooks that achieve that price through various design compromises. It is part of the ThinkPad range, which Lenovo has positioned specifically for business use.
The V14 can be configured with 16GB memory and a hybrid combination of 512GB solid state drive (SSD) along with 2TB hard drive storage. That SSD means excellent responsiveness in terms of both access to client on the device, and the performance of applications that demand a chunk of virtual memory from the drive.
A 14″ display doesn’t have to mean a huge laptop, and here the narrow bezels on all fpour sides give the V14 Gen 2 an 88% screen-to-body ratio. It has a Full HD display, with 1920 x 1080 resolution, along with antiglare technology and bright visuals.
It is built with security in mind, with Trusted Platform Module 2.0 firmware, which encrypts critical data, and a physical webcam shutter. No more masking tape over the lens!
Multiple USB and HDMI ports connect numerous peripherals wherever you work.
The battery offers up to 8.5 hours of usage, depending on how brightly the display has been set. Tone it down, and you get more life out of your battery – on any device.
All of this makes it an ideal business laptop, but it also offers decent entertainment features. These include the large and bright display for watching video content, and two 1.5W stereo speakers with Dolby Audio. It sports dual-array microphones, meaning that multiple microphones work together to record sound simultaneously, providing richer sound material.
The only surprise is that the V14 2G still ships with Windows 10. However, that remains an excellent operating system, and users can upgrade to 11 at no cost. Microsoft has set a higher specifications bar for computers to be eligible, but this one is more than up to the task.
What does it cost?
R11,899 in the Lenovo store at www.lenovo-online.co.za and retailers. Prices vary in stores.
Why does it matter?
Business laptops tend to be dull and heavy, making them less than ideal for the portability required in an era of the hybrid workplace. When the machine has to be lugged between home, office, coffee shops and airports, one needs a compromise between size and weight on the one hand, and workhorse performance on the other, without breaking the budget. The V14 Gen 2 ticks these boxes.
What are the biggest negatives?
• The 720p HD webcam is underwhelming.
• The touchpad can feel a little loose.
• Still shipping with Windows 10, but free upgrade to 11 available.
What are the biggest positives?
• Camera privacy shutter built in.
• Not the thinnest on the market, but slim and lightweight enough for great portability.
• An excellent all-round business laptop.
- Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee