Lenovo ThinkVision M14t review: An ultra-light portable display now with a pen


Lenovo Thinkvision M14t HeroSource: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central

In late-2019, I reviewed the Lenovo M14, a 14-inch portable full HD matte display. I gave it a five out of five after ticking all the right boxes, including being extremely light, excellent color accuracy, having a riser for height adjust, and a neat carrying bag.

That display is still available for around $250, making it an excellent option for those who need more screen real estate. But what if you wanted the same display but with a glossy screen, touch, and even support for inking?

The new Lenovo M14t is that device, and it even includes a pen in the box, letting you ink in Windows or Android. Here is what you need to know about it.



Lenovo ThinkVision M14t (2020)

Pros:

  • Gorgeous, color-accurate display
  • Very thin and light for portability
  • Nice accessories, pen included!
  • Windows Inking is incredibly good
  • Clever design

Cons:

  • Inking on Android is meh
  • Fragile without a hard case
  • Expensive

What you’ll love about the ThinkVision M14t

Lenovo Thinkvision M14t Surface Duo

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central

Lenovo did not mess with a winning formula, so the M14t is remarkably similar to last year’s M14. The difference is in the finish, which is now glossy, and the display, which has a 10-point digitizer that supports 4,096 pressure levels for inking.

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Lenovo uses a unique design where there is a broader base that the ThinkVision sits on, which also acts as a variable angle hinge. This design differs from magnetic covers that you fold to act as a stand. While that cover is helpful, you usually only have two or three angles you can use, and the weight from the magnets is substantial.

It is no surprise that the touch screen adds some weight, but the ThinkVision M14t is just 127 grams (4.5 ounces) heavier coming in at a still very light 698 grams (1.54lbs). That weight is what makes the ThinkVision so compelling – it adds extraordinarily little bulk to your bag. The slightly larger ASUS ZenScreen Touch MB16AMT is a half-pound heavier.

The ThinkVision M14t offers two Type-C ports (3.1 Gen1) and one Type-C cable to connect to your laptop or Android phone. That second port can be used as a power pass-through, letting you recharge the connected PC (or powering the display for Android, as phones don’t output enough power alone).

The other secret with the ThinkVision is the flip-up riser on the bottom. This gizmo lets you raise the M14t by a few millimeters to better align with your laptop’s display. It’s not necessary, but nice to have and makes for a distinctive feature.

Category ThinkVision M14
Display 14-inch 1920 x 1080 WLED
Glossy
10-point Touch
Brightness 300 nits
Contrast ratio 700:1
Color 16.7M
8bit
Pen Active Touch Pen with 4096 Pressure Levels
Response time 6ms with OD
Ports 2x USB-C (3.1 Gen1)
Cable USB-C to C (1M)
L-shaped dongle
Weight 698g / 1.54lbs
Security Kensington lock slot
Eye-care tech Low blue light

But really, the star of the show here is the 14-inch, full HD (1920 x 1080) WLED display (instead of IPS). It is still color accurate with 99 percent sRGB, 74 percent AdobeRGB, and 77 percent DCI-P3 from my tests. Brightness comes under the rated 300 nits at about 250, which is good enough for the office and home, but will struggle outside (plus the glossy finish won’t help).

Inking is also particularly good thanks to the included Lenovo smart pen (it’s not N-trig based like Surface Pens). Users can choose between Android and Windows for inking and touch, which is a neat feature to have available. Inking, especially in Windows, is exceptionally smooth and accurate. By flipping the display upside down (it supports auto-rotate), you can make the ThinkVision M14t resemble an easel for sketching.

Lenovo also now includes an L-shaped dongle and some clips for better cable management. That L-shaped dongle helps you use the M14t in a vertical position as the cable will not shoot into the air.

Since you should not just toss this screen into a bag, Lenovo gives you a fabric carrying case with a pen loop. It is a fancy sleeve that protects the display from scratches but won’t offer protection from severe bangs or drops.

Lenovo Thinkvision M14t Pen

The carrying sleeve has a slot for the pen. Nice!Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central

There are also no drivers needed to operate this display. Connecting it to Surface Pro X with Windows 10 on ARM, the M14t ran just beautifully.

What you’ll dislike about the ThinkVision M14t

Lenovo Thinkvision M14t Inking

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central

If you hate glossy displays, you are not going to like this one. The M14t is highly reflective, making sense due to the inking and customer who would want this accessory. Lenovo already has a matte ThinkVision M14, so it is not a big deal (that version, however, does not support touch or inking).

Pen support with Android was tricky. While the ThinkVision M14t runs Samsung DeX from the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra OK, I would sometimes get some display flashing when inking (but the inking was smooth at least). On Surface Duo, I could only get touch and inking to work by switching to Windows (ironically), but the pen target would be off from where I placed the tip, making it ineffective.

The ThinkVision M14t is also very fragile. I no longer have the matte ThinkVision M14 because I put it in my suitcase to switch hotel rooms. Five minutes later and the screen was completely cracked. That’s what happens when you have a 14-inch, ultra-thin display with no laptop as a support structure, so be careful.

Lenovo Thinkvision M14t Plug

The L-shaped dongle is very handy.Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central

At $440, Lenovo is also charging a premium for this accessory — that is nearly $200 more than the non-touch model. The ThinkVision M14t is also $100 more than the larger ASUS Zenscreen Touch MB16AMT.

Should you buy the Lenovo ThinkVision M14t?

Lenovo Thinkvision M14t

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central

If you are a Windows 10 user with a powerful laptop that does not support inking (or touch), the ThinkVision M14t is fantastic. It makes the Dell XPS 17 that much more enjoyable to use. It’s portable, light, and color accurate, and you can not only use it as a second screen but also an easel for inking, drawing, or notetaking. If you are in that camp, grab it now.

If you are on Android and want to use this as an external touch display, you should mostly be OK, so long as you don’t want to ink often. I think Lenovo (or maybe Google) needs to tighten up Android’s pen support, which is hit and miss.

For those on a tighter budget (or who don’t need a pen), Lenovo’s slightly lighter and more affordable M14 is a better choice.

4.5
out of 5






Overall, Lenovo did a great job with the M14t. It is a standout from the rest of the portable displays with it being so light, a very pragmatic design, and now the option for inking. There is nothing to change about it, making it easy to suggest if you want a secondary, portable screen.



Lenovo ThinkVision M14t

Shiny pen

Lenovo ups its game with the new ThinkVision M14t, which supports touch and inking across Windows 10 and Android devices. This portable and extremely light screen is ideal for those who need more display or just want one for drawing.



Lenovo ThinkVision M14

No inking and matte

Don’t need touch or a pen? Lenovo’s more affordable ThinkVision M14 packs a fully-adjustable hinge, riser, matte-finish, and two Type-C ports, and it’s half the weight of the competition. It’s damn near perfect.

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