Get to the heart of the matter
Smartphones have a habit of adopting terrible names. The “max” or “pro”, iterative numbers or even meaningless words. But for this set, we see a naming strategy as a kind of heraldic descent. The ThinkPad brand – once IBM’s darling – was changed to ThinkPhone, while Motorola was added because Lenovo – the parent company of both brands – might not be “telphage” enough to fly it.
We caught up with this Frankenstein brand at CES 2023 to see if, despite the name, it has traction.
Lenovo ThinkPhone by Motorola
Motorola’s ThinkPhone is meant for business, with supporting apps for your desktop and programmable red buttons on flagship phones. It’s unlikely to change a consumer’s head, but your IT department may decide to arm you with it.
- Sturdy construction
- Think 2 Think Software
- Cameras may be less attractive to consumers
Design and manufacture
- 158.78 x 74.38 x 8.26mm, 188.5g
- Black carbon, aramid fiber casing
- MIL-STD 810H, IP68
Motorola’s ThinkPhone adopts some of the Moto design, with the camera on the back very similar to other Moto phones. But the integration of the ThinkPad design results in a carbon black finish with woven aramid fiber, and a red dot on the Think’s i.
The sides are square, with a flat screen in front, with a punch hole in the middle. On the left side are red programmable keys – designed to look like the classic red TrackPoint on a ThinkPad keyboard – and provide quick access to functions.
While it’s an understated affair – which is probably understandable since this is a device aimed at businesses rather than consumers – the housing is made from aircraft-grade aluminum, and is MIL-STD 810H and IP68 certified, meaning it’s built to be tough.
There are also two speakers with Dolby Atmos output.
Display and hardware
- 6.6-inch OLED display, 2400 x 1080, 144Hz, HDR10+.
- Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, 8/12GB, 128-512GB
- 68W wired, 15W wireless, 5000mAh
The hardware load may come as a surprise, as this isn’t just a mid-range phone meant to fill business orders around the world. Starting with the screen, this POLED panel offers a 6.6-inch diagonal with Full HD+ resolution, but also supports many of the latest standards.
That means you get HDR10+, but also supports up to 144Hz, which is usually reserved for the latest gaming phone data, but most likely just the same panel used in the Moto Edge 30 Ultra. First impressions looked pretty good, bright and vibrant. The screen also features Gorilla Glass Victus to protect it from scratches.
On the hardware side, launching in early 2023, the ThinkPhone finds itself with hardware launching in mid-2022. It’s not out of date, but it’s not the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 that many consumer devices will be launching. That shouldn’t be a concern, it will likely still deliver flagship performance.
That’s what the generous RAM and storage options suggest: we don’t expect this phone to be trash – it should be as capable as other flagship phones by the end of 2022. One area where this phone is well-equipped is its battery, with 5000mAh, while there is a 68W charger in the box which will also power the laptop. 15W charging support is also provided.
We didn’t have time to test the software, but the phone launched with Android 13, with the promise of 4 years of security updates. There’s ThinkShield built in, designed to keep your device safe, but there’s also Moto Threat Defense, Moto Secure, and Moto KeySafe.
But beyond security, there’s the Think 2 Think solution, designed to make your ThinkPhone and ThinkPad work together seamlessly. It supports instant connection between the two, universal clipboard accessible by mobile and PC, notifications pop up on your PC, launch of apps on your laptop when clicked.
File drag and drop support, the ability to open your phone’s apps on your PC, the ability to use your phone as a webcam and instant hotspot all add up to a seamless experience. .
- Dual camera system:
- Main: 50MP, f1/8, 1.0µm, OIS
- Ultra wide: 13MP, f/2.2, 1.12µm
- Front: 32MP, f/2.45, 0.7µm
The ThinkPhone’s main camera will use quad binning to combine pixels for better performance, while optical image stabilization will help reduce hand shake. We haven’t tested the camera yet, but it’s not one of Motorola’s high-end camera systems, so we suspect performance will be slightly more average than other phones.
There is support for ultra-wide to give you shooting options, while the front camera uses megapixels with a 32 megapixel sensor.
As we said, we haven’t tested any of these cameras yet, so we can’t draw any conclusions from our brief time with the phone.
Motorola’s Lenovo ThinkPhone offers a wide range of specifications: it’s not just a standard business phone, but there’s substance here. From rugged construction with impressive protection to smart features to seamlessly working with your laptop, there’s a lot to consider.
The hardware load places this phone in the late-2022 flagship category, though the camera might be the weak link compared to mainstream devices. However, for many people, the ThinkPhone will be a novelty, a fun device that captures the spirit of the ThinkPad in mobile form – and chances are you won’t want to buy it.
Your CIO, on the other hand, may have other ideas…