Earlier this year, Motorola and Lenovo surprised fans and the press with the unexpected launch of the first ThinkPhone. Inspired by the famous business laptops, the smartphone looks like a strange cross between a Motorola device and a Lenovo product whose name it doesn’t bear. Leaving aside this slightly confusing brand positioning, ThinkPhone by Motorola is one of the best Android smartphones I’ve tried for more than one reason. I’m very sorry; it’s a product aimed mainly at a business audience.
I would like to see the security features and integration with Windows PCs (especially with Lenovo ThinkPads, but not only) on all smartphones, which would also be helpful for traditional users. The device’s build quality, elegant design and high-level specifications make ThinkPhone a magnificent product for those not limited to using their smartphone only for social media and messaging.
With the new ThinkPhone, Motorola offers a different way to use your smartphone and laptop. It’s a productivity-boosting device because it’s already robust and secure and runs a software ecosystem that seamlessly fits into the tools you use across the enterprise. Whatever you do on your PC, you can continue to do on your smartphone and vice versa. For this reason, it has several features that make it unique for long working days.
Exactly How A “ThinkPad” Smartphone Should Be
ThinkPhone by Motorola is a light (188.5g), elegant and resistant device that will surely conquer the fans of the ThinkPad brand. Featuring a carbon shell reminiscent of the latest ThinkPad X1 Carbon models, the ThinkPhone boasts exceptional strength, having passed multiple MIL-STD-810H tests and being IP68 certified.
The brand new “ThinkPhone by Motorola” logo is elegantly embossed in the lower right corner, maintaining a solid brand identity and attracting ThinkPad fans with the glossy black letters and the iconic red dot for the “i”. It is a detail that brings the smartphone very close to the laptops from which it is inspired and a design choice that makes the device unique without ruining the sobriety expected of a business product.
The Lenovo brand is nonexistent on smartphones, but we can understand why by recalling the lack of success of the brand’s smartphones in the West. The ThinkPhone, on the other hand, embodies the essence of Motorola, a historic brand that is much more appreciated and trusted by users, offering a first-rate user experience. Paying homage to the iconic red pointer on ThinkPads, the ThinkPhone incorporates a customizable red button on the top left, adding an element of familiarity and customization.
However, it’s worth noting that it can’t be used as a dedicated camera button, dashing some users’ hopes. Featuring a 6.6″ OLED display at 144Hz and 2400 x 1080 pixel resolution, the ThinkPhone offers a super smooth experience and vibrant colours. The quality of the display is high-end and remains in line with that provided by other devices on the market. The fact that the frames, although not the thinnest, are practically symmetrical to surround the flat display is much appreciated.
They Are Designed To Do What It Takes, Not To Impress
The ThinkPhone is equipped with a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 SoC, which may not be the latest generation but still offers commendable performance. Leaving aside the benchmark scores I report below in the table and focusing on what matters, ThinkPhone was designed to excel in providing a fluid, practical, immediate and intuitive user experience. And it succeeds.
The Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 and 8GB of RAM ensure smooth performance during regular use. But when it comes to tackling experiences on a secondary screen, like gaming on a larger display or streaming content, it could get a little heated. For best results, it is advisable to use a wired connection, although wireless options are possible. Battery life is another area where the ThinkPhone convinces.
Its 5,000mAh battery comfortably lasts for a full day of use. The included 68W charger is designed to charge your smartphone and compatible ThinkPads. The ThinkPhone by Motorola highlights a 50MP f/1.9 essential camera with pixel-binning innovation to deliver 12MP pictures. Camera performance is satisfactory, but it falls into the mid-range category.
Comparable to the recently available Motorola Edge 40 at a more affordable price, the ThinkPhone’s camera has no outstanding features. The photographic sector includes a 13MP ultra-wide camera and a depth sensor without substantial practical use. Notably, the absence of an optical zoom lens results in digital cropping for zoomed-in shots, resulting in a decline in image quality beyond 2x magnification.
To parallel ThinkPad levels, the ThinkPhone aligns itself with the mainstream ThinkPad series, exemplified by the popular T14 model known for its reliability. Likewise, the ThinkPhone is a reliable and secure choice, suitable for businesses to provide employees with an efficient and capable device. While providing satisfactory camera performance, the ThinkPhone does not offer state-of-the-art features in high-end appliances.
The USB 3.1 Type-C supports the DisplayPort 1.4 standard and ensures efficient connectivity, especially with the Ready For system that allows users to maximize the smartphone’s capabilities. Whether streaming content to a TV, playing games with a controller or running full-screen Android applications for productivity, the ThinkPhone offers software features that make it highly versatile.
Ready For: Motorola’s Secret Weapon To Defeat The Competition
The Lenovo smartphone enhances productivity through seamless integration with ThinkPad-branded laptops. While Motorola advertises this seamless integration, the actual process is slightly different than expected. Instead of a simple pairing message that appears automatically, you need to download the Ready For Assistant application to your PC, available in the Microsoft Store, which facilitates the connection between the ThinkPhone and the ThinkPad.
No software on the smartphone invokes the terms “Lenovo” or “ThinkPad”, which for the less experienced could be slightly disorienting . Interestingly, many of these features don’t necessarily require a ThinkPad to work but can be used with any Windows PC that meets the minimum specifications. Pairing devices is a simple process. Using the Ready For application on the ThinkPhone, users can scan the QR code generated on their PC, completing the setup process.
Once connected, you have access to several useful features. With a simple click, the ThinkPhone can act as a hotspot or a high-quality webcam reminiscent of the offerings of the Apple ecosystem. The ability to duplicate the smartphone interface on the laptop allows for easy interaction, and incoming notifications are sent to the Windows Action Center. Plus, drag-and-drop file transfer and cross-device copy-paste capabilities further enhance productivity.
This powerful synergy between ThinkPhone and ThinkPad marks a significant step forward in the collaboration between Lenovo and Motorola. Such features make the duo a formidable set of tools for the job. Given the success of this integration, it is likely that future Lenovo laptop models will come with the Ready For Assistant app by default, further simplifying the productivity experience and strengthening the partnership between the two brands.
Finally, the ThinkPhone can be transformed into a real desktop computer if connected to a monitor or a PC again via the Ready For app. By adapting its interface to a real PC and supporting the use of a mouse and keyboard. The Motorola smartphone has become a versatile productivity tool, perfect for professional activities.
Data Security Is A Crucial Aspect
Aiming at the business market, data security is an apparent concern for Lenovo, which is why the ThinkPhone benefits from the security environment known as ThinkShield, initially designed for ThinkPad laptops. This mobile version provides an additional level of security that relies on the already vast component made available by Android, safeguarding all the contents stored on the smartphone.
The device, therefore, remains protected from various threats, including malware and identity theft attempts. The comprehensive security approach includes software and hardware elements, ensuring that even the most sensitive data remains inaccessible to unauthorized persons. End-to-end encryption ensures that data can only be decrypted on the ThinkPhone itself.
Even if intercepted, the information remains indecipherable and immune to manipulation. Motorola has implemented some cutting-edge technologies to strengthen the security of your smartphone, such as secure boot, USB port protection, and advanced Android security features that work diligently in the background to protect the user’s data. Furthermore, this safety mechanism remains active when the device is started and shut down, ensuring a constantly safe environment.
This technology ensures that users can work confidently, knowing that all sensitive information within the organization is protected from external threats. One of the most exciting features from this point of view is the inclusion of Moto Secure, a suite of practical functions designed to strengthen security. These functions, valuable not only for business users but all those who care about their privacy, offer additional protection not ordinary on consumer devices.
Safe Folder is a feature that lives up to its name, as it provides a hidden space for storing passcode-protected apps separate from your device’s lock screen. In this way, users can safeguard sensitive company data or apps containing personal information, ensuring protection against unauthorized access. Additionally, users can customize the secure Folder with a custom name and icon, making it virtually invisible to would-be intruders.
Another impressive feature is Random PIN Entry Layout, which cleverly scrambles the numbers on the unlock screen to prevent people nearby from guessing the PIN from finger movements on the net. While typing in the PIN may require some adaptation due to the random layout, the ThinkPhone’s in-screen optical fingerprint reader offers a more convenient and secure alternative for most everyday interactions. This extra layer of protection is greatly appreciated for the occasional public situation where a PIN becomes necessary.
Moto Secure also offers quick access to the Privacy Dashboard, where users can rate which apps have accessed their microphones or cameras. From here, you can seamlessly access the Permissions Manager, which lets you customize access rights for each app. While these features are standard in Android, the convenience of accessing them via Moto Secure simplifies the process for users.
Motorola’s ThinkPhone is an excellent choice for companies looking for a reliable and secure smartphone solution for their employees. Its seamless integration with Lenovo ThinkPad laptops through the Ready For app enhances productivity, offering unique features such as app streaming, unified clipboard and cross-device notifications. The Moto Secure suite provides robust security features, safeguarding sensitive business data and personal information.
This level of security is valuable to the corporate environment and can also be appreciated by ordinary users concerned about their privacy. While the camera performance falls into the mid-range category, the ThinkPhone can capture decent images and be a respectable device for work and personal use.
For companies that want to equip their employees with a versatile, secure and productivity-oriented smartphone, the Motorola ThinkPhone is the ideal choice. The ThinkPhone’s robust security features provide peace of mind in an increasingly interconnected world.