Lenovo's ThinkPad L460 was built for small businesses aiming to get the most bang for their buck. The 14-inch system provides solid performance, along with business-class security and durability, all at a price you can actually afford, starting at just $692. The system also provides a top-notch keyboard and very good battery life, making it an ideal work companion in and out of the office — as long you don't mind its relatively bulky design.
The ThinkPad L460 isn't exactly heavy, weighing in at 4.4 lbs. On the other hand, it's about a half pound heftier, and slightly thicker, than the more premium ThinkPad T460. Other competing systems are even more portable, including the 3.13-lb. Dell Latitude E7470. The ThinkPad L460 is definitely light enough to carry while on your daily commute, though you're sure to notice the machine in your workbag.
The ThinkPad L460 is just as durable and secure as the pricier ThinkPad models. Lenovo says the system was designed to meet MIL-SPEC standards, which means it can withstand dings, drops, vibrations, extreme temperatures and more. That's a perk for workers who need to lug their laptops back and forth between home and the office.
The system's port selection includes a mini DisplayPort and VGA port for connecting to monitors and projectors; an Ethernet jack for connecting to wired internet and secure work networks; three USB 3.0 ports; and an SD Card reader for expanding the laptop's internal memory.
You get a full lineup business-class security features on the ThinkPad L460. That includes hardware-based encryption thanks to an integrated Trusted Platform Module. IT departments will also appreciate that the system comes equipped with Intel VPro technology for secure device management.
The L460 can be configured with both a smart-card reader and a fingerprint scanner, both of which can provide a nice day-to-day security boost. The swipe-based fingerprint reader requires users to slowly slide their finger down over the reader. It works, but occasionally failed to recognize my print, asking me to swipe a second time. Single-touch sensors, like the one found on the more premium ThinkPad T460p, are a bit more reliable.
The ThinkPad L460's 1080p display looks great and offers plenty of screen space to work on. The 14-inch panel provides just enough virtual real estate to make screen-intensive tasks like editing large spreadsheets feel comfortable. Meanwhile, text looks crisp, though colors don't look particularly vibrant on the 1,920 x 1,080-pixel screen.
I love the screen's matte finish, which wards off annoying reflections from overhead office lights and windows. Viewing angles are also generous, so the picture doesn’t look washed out when viewed from an angle.
The L460 can also be purchased at a slightly lower price with a low-res 1,366 x 768-pixel display, but workers should steer clear of that option. It simply doesn't provide enough resolution to work comfortably.
The L460's keyboard is among the best you'll find on a sub-$700 laptop. It offers a generous 2.1 millimeters of key travel on each stroke, which is well above the 1.5mm we look for in a work notebook. The keys themselves feel snappy, with plenty of tactile feedback on each keystroke. It all adds up to a keyboard that's ideal for marathon typing sessions.
Take note that the keyboard lacks backlighting, a feature that you'll find on slightly pricier ThinkPad models like the T460. The omission could make low-light typing a bit more difficult.
You do get Lenovo’s trademark TrackPoint pointing nub, located between the G, H and B keys on the keyboard. The nub lets you accurately control the mouse cursor without moving your hands from home row, though it can take some getting used to for the uninitiated.
The ThinkPad L460 really impressed us on our battery life test, at least with the optional extended battery attached. With the standard battery, this notebook petered out after a meager 4 hours and 16 minutes. But that rose to 12 hours and 51 minutes with the extended battery, which can be ordered for just an extra $15 at checkout. That time far outlasts rival laptops like the Latitude E7470 (9:16) and Tecra A40 (6:44).
The ThinkPad L460 is more than speedy enough for typical work tasks. My review unit came outfitted with an Intel Core i5-6200U processor with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of solid-state drive (SSD) storage. That configuration allowed the system to speed along without a hiccup during my testing time, even during periods of heavy multitasking.
The notebook cranked out a score of 6,245 on the Geekbench 3 test, which measures overall performance. That middle-of-the-road score falls a bit behind the slightly pricier ThinkPad T460, but slightly edged out the Dell Latitude E7470 and Toshiba A40-C on the same test.
I was also pretty impressed by its performance on our spreadsheet test. The L460 matched 20,000 names to their addresses in 4 minutes and 32 seconds, which is more than a minute faster than average, and about on par with rival laptops.
Lenovo sells the ThinkPad L460 in a variety of hardware configurations. The baseline model provides a Core i3-6100U processor with 4GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive and a low-res 1,366 x 768-pixel display. For $692.
The mid-range model features in this review is a much better sweet spot for workers, offering a speedier Core i5-6200U processor with 8GB of RAM; 256GB of speedy SSD storage; a much roomier 1,920 x 1,080-pixel display; and a fingerprint scanner and smart card reader for enhanced security.
Lenovo's ThinkPad L460 is one of the best business laptops you can buy for the money. For just $692, you get a 14-inch system with a durable design, solid security features and good performance. Its long battery life and excellent keyboard don't hurt, either.
On the other hand, Lenovo offers a notably better system for just a little more money: the $810 ThinkPad T460 is more portable and lasts even longer on a charge, making it a better pick for commuters. But budget-minded workers who spend most of their time at their desk can't go wrong with the ThinkPad L460.