As hardly anything has changed in the way of basic design, input devices, or port selection, we won’t be covering any of these items in great detail in today’s review. Please reference our previous review of the Broadwell model for a much deeper analysis of any of these categories.
But before we continue, here is one significant item worth noting which has changed: in terms of port selection, the third USB 3.0 port has been replaced by a smaller USB Type-C 3.1 Gen 2 port (Thunderbolt v3), which is also capable of 4K video output and 3A output charging. The mini-DisplayPort v1.2 also supports 4K 60Hz output (and 1080p 120Hz output), so in conjunction with the HDMI port, that makes three total options for video output. Elsewhere, the case is literally identical to that of its predecessor, as is the general positioning of the internal components. This truly is mostly a chipset refresh.
Unfortunately, that also means that the inadequacies in the realm of case stability and input devices that we mentioned in our previous review still remain—and while maintenance is possible, it’s incredibly inconvenient if you need to replace anything beyond merely the 2.5-inch HDD, battery, WLAN card, or fans. Any further maintenance requires a complete removal of the board, which most users are not likely to embrace. Even basic maintenance will void the warranty, however, and removal of the bottom panel is already too much work for a business notebook (after opening a ThinkPad or Latitude for repair, one begins to resent the removal of 15 screws before reaching the internal components).