X

Inside the Lenovo ThinkPad durability labs

CNET Australia took a tour of Lenovo's ThinkPad testing facility, where notebooks are dropped, chilled, heated, pushed and pulled to their limits.

seamusbyrne.jpg
seamusbyrne.jpg
Seamus Byrne
Seamus Byrne is CNET's Editor for Australia and Asia. At other times he'll be found messing with apps, watching TV, building LEGO, and rolling dice. Preferably all at the same time.
Seamus Byrne
ThinkPadLabs_1.jpg
1 of 18 Seamus Byrne/CNET Australia

The Lenovo ThinkPad is known and trusted for its durability, and Lenovo's testing procedures are generally a well-guarded secret. While a few doors remained closed, and a number of tests appeared literally under wraps, CNET Australia was given the chance to visit the Lenovo test facility in Japan to see ThinkPads being put through their paces.

Lenovo's Yamato Labs has been the home of ThinkPad design since its origin with IBM 20 years ago. It is a centre for design and for testing the durability of new hardware under a range of conditions. CNET Australia took a tour of the test labs to see exactly what a ThinkPad is subjected to, from everyday usage to tests beyond any typical performance scenario.

Direct and prolonged pressure is applied to a ThinkPad, focusing on a series of different zones on the lid. You can see a grid of zones where the weight shifts for testing.

ThinkPadLabs_2.jpg
2 of 18 Seamus Byrne/CNET Australia

Another pressure test, this time more intense, more concentrated and in shorter bursts.

ThinkPadLabs_3.jpg
3 of 18 Seamus Byrne/CNET Australia

The lab technician shows how these tests mean that even a large man could stand on the X1 Carbon and it will still work just fine afterwards.

ThinkPadLabs_4.jpg
4 of 18 Seamus Byrne/CNET Australia

Machines open and close the ThinkPad lid thousands of times, testing for both left- and right-handed use.

ThinkPadLabs_5.jpg
5 of 18 Seamus Byrne/CNET Australia

Another pressure test repeatedly pushes the edge of the LCD to twist the screen and ensure that it will still perform.

ThinkPadLabs_6.jpg
6 of 18 Seamus Byrne/CNET Australia

A corner-drop test from hip height onto a metal plate tests for weakness and fragility.

ThinkPadLabs_7.jpg
7 of 18 Seamus Byrne/CNET Australia

A flat-drop test from closer to head height tests that the ThinkPad will work again after such a fall.

ThinkPadLabs_8.jpg
8 of 18 Seamus Byrne/CNET Australia

This surface damage from the corner-drop test is deemed acceptable. Any cracking or deep indentation would be deemed a failure.

ThinkPadLabs_9.jpg
9 of 18 Seamus Byrne/CNET Australia

There's also a tilt drop on the hard-drive side of the ThinkPad while the drive is actively reading and writing.

ThinkPadLabs_10.jpg
10 of 18 Seamus Byrne/CNET Australia

This lab tests for radio-frequency leakage from a ThinkPad performing various processes.

ThinkPadLabs_11.jpg
11 of 18 Seamus Byrne/CNET Australia

The frequency testing is observed by cameras from outside the sealed lab.

ThinkPadLabs_12.jpg
12 of 18 Seamus Byrne/CNET Australia

A ThinkPad is tested in an acoustic chamber, monitoring for vibration and other noises that may cause mechanical problems or simply disturb user comfort.

ThinkPadLabs_13.jpg
13 of 18 Seamus Byrne/CNET Australia

A thermal-shock chamber rapidly takes a ThinkPad from hot to cool environmental conditions.

ThinkPadLabs_14.jpg
14 of 18 Seamus Byrne/CNET Australia

Another chamber test, this time for zero-degree performance.

ThinkPadLabs_15.jpg
15 of 18 Seamus Byrne/CNET Australia

We stood inside the zero-degree chamber, which was essentially an industrial fridge.

ThinkPadLabs_16.jpg
16 of 18 Seamus Byrne/CNET Australia

This chamber tests temperature ranges and also performance in high-humidity conditions.

ThinkPadLabs_17.jpg
17 of 18 Seamus Byrne/CNET Australia

And one more temperature and humidity chamber for good measure.

ThinkPadLabs_18.jpg
18 of 18 Seamus Byrne/CNET Australia

This was a vacuum oven. A powerful tool, but we couldn't work out what they'd do to a ThinkPad with this one!

Seamus Byrne attended a lab tour in Japan as a guest of Lenovo.

More Galleries

My Favorite Shots From the Galaxy S24 Ultra's Camera
A houseplant

My Favorite Shots From the Galaxy S24 Ultra's Camera

20 Photos
Honor's Magic V2 Foldable Is Lighter Than Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra
magic-v2-2024-foldable-1383

Honor's Magic V2 Foldable Is Lighter Than Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra

10 Photos
The Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Looks Sweet in Aluminum
Samsung Galaxy S24

The Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Looks Sweet in Aluminum

23 Photos
Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra Now Has a Titanium Design
The Galaxy S24 Ultra in multiple colors

Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra Now Has a Titanium Design

23 Photos
I Took 600+ Photos With the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Look at My Favorites
img-0368.jpg

I Took 600+ Photos With the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Look at My Favorites

34 Photos
17 Hidden iOS 17 Features and Settings on Your iPhone
Invitation for the Apple September iPhone 15 event

17 Hidden iOS 17 Features and Settings on Your iPhone

18 Photos
AI or Not AI: Can You Spot the Real Photos?
img-1599-2.jpg

AI or Not AI: Can You Spot the Real Photos?

17 Photos