Getting to the heart of the matter
Smartphones have a habit of using terrible names. The “max” or the “pro”, a repeating number or maybe even a meaningless word. But for this device, we witness a naming strategy as a kind of heraldic offspring. The ThinkPad brand – once loved by IBM – was turned into ThinkPhone, while Motorola was added because Lenovo – the parent company of both brands – probably wasn’t “telphage” enough to release it.
We caught up with this brand Frankenstein at CES 2023 to see if, despite its name, it has any charm.
Lenovo ThinkPhone by Motorola
Motorola’s ThinkPhone is focused on business, with a supporting app for your desktop and a programmable red button on what is a flagship phone. Consumers aren’t likely to care, but your IT department may decide to give it to you.
- Solid construction
- Big screen
- Think 2 Think Software
- The camera may lack consumer appeal
Design and manufacture
- 158.78 x 74.38 x 8.26mm, 188.5g
- Carbon black, aramid fiber case
- MIL-STD 810H, IP68
Motorola’s ThinkPhone uses some of Moto’s design, with the rear cameras looking similar to other Moto phones. But integrating the ThinkPad design results in a carbon black finish with an aramid fiber weave, and the red dot on Think’s i.
The sides are square, with a flat screen in front, with a punch hole in the middle. On the left side is a programmable red key – designed to look like the classic red TrackPoint on a ThinkPad keyboard – and provides quick access to a range of functions.
While it’s an understated affair – which is perhaps understandable given that this is a device aimed at businesses rather than consumers – the frame is aircraft-grade aluminum, and it’s MIL-STD 810H and IP68 certified, which means it is made 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, 8/12 GB, 128-512 GB
- 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 6.6 inches diagonally with Full HD+ resolution, but also supports many of the latest standards.
That means you get HDR10+, but it also supports up to 144Hz, which is usually reserved for the latest data gaming phones, but it’s more likely just the same panel used in the Moto Edge 30 Ultra. The first impression looks good, bright and colorful. The display 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 old, but it’s not the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 that many consumer devices will launch with. However, that shouldn’t be a cause for 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 rubbish – it should be as capable as any other flagship phone in late 2022. One of the areas where the phone is well equipped is the battery, with 5000mAh, while there is a 68W charger in the box that will also power the laptop. Also provides support for 15W charging.
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 secure, but there’s also Moto Threat Defense, Moto Secure and Moto KeySafe.
But security aside, there’s the Think 2 Think solution, designed to make your ThinkPhone and ThinkPad work together seamlessly. It supports instant connections between the two, a universal clipboard that can be accessed by both phone and PC, notifications that appear on your PC, launching the app 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 an instant hotspot all add up to a seamless experience. .
- Dual camera system:
- Primary: 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, but it’s not one of Motorola’s advanced camera systems, so we suspect performance will be more average than the rest of the phone.
There is support for an ultra-wide that will give you shooting options, while the front camera follows the megapixels with a 32-megapixel sensor.
As we said, we haven’t tested any of these cameras, so we can’t draw any conclusions from our short time with the phone.
Motorola’s Lenovo ThinkPhone offers a wide variety of specs: it’s not just a stock business phone, there’s real substance to it. From solid construction with impressive protection to smart features to work seamlessly with your laptop, there’s a lot to consider.
The hardware load puts this phone in the category of late 2022 flagship devices, although the camera may be the weak link compared to mainstream devices. However, for many the ThinkPhone will be a novelty, a fun device that captures the spirit of the ThinkPad in phone form – and you’re probably not looking for it.
Your CIO, on the other hand, may have other ideas…