Lenovo ThinkPad T480s Review

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Although ThinkPad has gradually expanded its product line, only the X1, the X, and the T three series can keep attracting old fans’ attention. The X1 Carbon is the representative of the high-end lightweight laptop, the X series (X280 review) is a classic small-screen business laptop, and the T series (T480 review) with affordable price is the main product that most users will choose. Now, ThinkPad T series has added a new member – the Lenovo ThinkPad T480s. Today, we will show you the laptop’s performance from different aspects.

Specifications

Screen 14.0-inch 2560 x 1440 IPS matte screen
Processor Intel Core i7-8550U (1.8GHz, 8M Cache, up to 4.00 GHz)
TDP 15W
Graphics card NVIDIA GeForce MX150 2GB GDDR5 + Intel UHD 620
Memory 8GB DDR4 2400MHz
Storage 512GB PCIe SSD
Connectivity Intel 8265AC + Bluetooth 4.1
Ports USB 3.0×2, HDMI, Thunderbolt 3.0, USB Type C, Micro SD, SIM card slot
Battery 57 Wh
OS Windows 10
Weight 1.34kg; 1.67kg (with AC adapter)
Extras 720P Web webcam

Appearance Design

appearance design
The ThinkPad T480s looks extremely similar to the ThinkPad X1 Carbon except that the former has an SD card reader. It continues to come without Lenovo logo that the ThinkPad 2018 features. Only featuring ThinkPad logo on the top cover, the laptop boasts of more simple design. The laptop still uses the carbon fiber and the metal material on its body, which brings excellent texture.
appearance design
The biggest difference between the laptop and the X1 Carbon is that it cancels narrow bezel design.
ThinkShutter
This laptop remains ThinkShutter design to protect user privacy via the physical switch. This design is much likely to be applied to ThinkPad products to be launched in the future. Of course, it also provides a version which supports Windows Hello facial recognition. But this version for test doesn’t feature ThinkShutter design.

Ports

left port
As for port layout, the left ports of the laptop include a USB Type-C(USB 3.0) port, a Thunderbolt 3.0 port, a mini-Ethernet interface, an RJ45 network interface, a USB 3.0 port, an HDMI port, an SD and an earphone-microphone two-in-one port.
right port
The right side of the laptop provides a USB 3.0 port and a smart card reader.
SIM card slot
Besides, there is a SIM card slot hidden in the axis part of the laptop body.

The T480s provides more abundant port design than most lightweight laptops do. A combination of a Thunderbolt 3.0 port and two USB 3.0 ports is quite practical. But surprisingly the laptop provides two wired network interfaces including one which needs to be switched, and this design is rare to be found on the laptop. We can infer the design that ThinkPad adopts is to enable the laptop to be compatible with ThinkPad’s newly launched official dock – ThinkDock.

Screen

screen
The laptop provides several screen types. This device we get for test features a 14-inch IPS screen with the resolution of 2560 pixels by 1440 pixels, and official party claims that screen boast of 300nit brightness. Besides, it also provides FHD 250nit screen and FHD 250nit screen which supports brightness touch function two optical versions.
sRGB color gamut
We use Datacolor Spyder 5 Elite to do a test on the screen. The result shows that the screen’s sRGB color gamut covers 97% and its brightness reaches 298nit. Its screen brightness is extremely close to what official party has claimed. Therefore, this screen has excellent performance.

Keyboard

keyboard
The keyboard that this laptop feature brings the same hand feel that the ThinkPad X1 Carbon’s does. With long key travel and good key cap, the T480s is the laptop that brings the most comfortable hand feel among current lightweight laptops. The fingerprint reader module is placed under the keyboard, which makes it more convenient for the user to unlock quickly to enter the system.

Performance

The ThinkPad T480s has several versions with a different processor. And the version we get is powered by Intel’s eighth-generation Core i7-8550U processor and comes with 8GB DDR4 coupled with 500GB PCIe SSD. It features NVIDIA GeForce MX150 and Intel UHD620 graphics card.

CPU

CPU Test
The laptop we get for test is powered by Intel’s Core i7-8550U processor based on KabyLake Refresh frame design. This chip is built on 12nm manufacturing process and adopts quad-core and eight-thread design. Its main frequency is 1.8GHz, and maximum frequency reaches 4.0GHz. After suing CineBench R15 to test the processor, we find that the processor’s single-core score is 159cb and multi-core score is 704cb. The i7-8850U has normal performance.

GPU

GPU Test
As NVIDIA’s earliest entry-level independent graphics card, MIX150 has always been applied to the lightweight laptop. This graphics card with Pascal frame design is built on the 16nm manufacturing process, and it has 384 CUDA computing units. The MIX150’s core frequency is 937MHz which can reach up to 1038MHz. Its memory size is 2GB GDDR5, with 64Bit bus width and 40.1GB/S bandwidth.
GPU score
On 3DMark Cloud Date, the GeForce MX150’s final physical score is 6528 and graphics score is 17842, which suggests that MX150 has normal performance.

SSD

SSD speed
Although the laptop features different SSD brands, these SSDs support NVMe protocol, and they have close speed. The version we get for test comes with Samsung SM981 M.2 NGFF SSD. We use AS SSD to test the SSD, and the result shows that its final sequential read speed reaches 2376.79MB/S and its sequential write speed reaches 1876.47MB/s. Besides, the SM981 also has excellent 4K and 4K-64Thrd performance.

Hardware Upgrade

disassembly
The T480s’ whole disassembly process is quite easy. Take out screws on the back cover, and then the back cover can be removed. The laptop reserves a memory slot for DDR4, so the user can add a new memory chip to increase capacity up to 24GB. Besides, the user can change wireless network card and M.2 SSD by himself.

Heat Dissipation

Heat Dissipation test
After the laptop runs AIDA 64 to get CPU, GPU, cache, local disk and system memory fully loaded for a time, we use the thermal imager to test and find that thermal radiation range of the keyboard concentrates on the center part. The highest temperature of the keyboard reaches 52.6 degrees while the highest temperature of the back cover reaches 52.2 degrees. Although the temperature on the back cover is high, it will have no big adverse influence on laptop’s daily work.
lower frequency
Although lower frequency sometimes happens, the device can restore to the normal frequency in moderate temperature.

Battery Life

Battery Life
It sports a 57Wh battery. We adjust screen brightness to 80%, close Bluetooth and GPS, open wireless network and use Windows 10 inbuilt player to play 1080p video. After an hour, the battery consumes 9% power. Inferred from that, the laptop can work approximately 11 hours. From that, we can see that the laptop has long battery life.

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