Are you in search of a versatile laptop that caters to your professional needs? Dive into this Lenovo ThinkPad T480 review to explore whether this laptop aligns with your requirements.
Itechguides’ Take on Lenovo ThinkPad T480
The Lenovo T480 excels with robust build quality, versatile configurations, and impressive battery life. However, its moderate weight may deter those seeking ultraportability, and the FHD display could offer richer colors.
- Good battery life
- Adequate overall performance
- Comfy keyboard
- Multiple configuration options
- Thunderbolt 3
- Obviously not for gamers
- Heavier than competitors
- Not-so-vibrant FHD display
This comprehensive review will discuss the features of the T480, shedding light on its design, specifications, and overall performance. From the powerhouse components like the CPU, RAM, and storage to its graphics capabilities and battery life, we will cover it all.
Moreover, you’ll gain insights into how the T480 fares in various benchmark tests, providing a quantitative measure of its prowess. To aid your decision-making, I’ll also draw comparisons between the ThinkPad T480 and other laptops within its category.
As we progress through each section, I’ll share my ratings based on the laptop’s performance and my personal perspective. By the end of this review, you’ll be equipped with ample information to make an informed purchase decision.
Lenovo T480: At First Glance
ThinkPads have become synonymous with reliability, durability, and the iconic red TrackPoint in the middle of the keyboard. The T480 inherits this legacy and continues the tradition of providing a solid computing platform for users.
Introduced in early 2018, the T480 was designed as a workhorse laptop, targeting users seeking a durable yet powerful device. This model is a successor to the popular T470, inheriting many of its well-regarded characteristics.
Yet, it incorporates upgrades in performance, connectivity, and security. It’s powered by Intel’s 8th generation processors, offering a range of configurations from Core i5 to Core i7, catering to diverse user needs.
Furthermore, Lenovo emphasized versatility and connectivity, equipping the T480 with an array of ports including USB-C. Battery life is another standout feature of this device.
Now, that’s enough peeking into the Lenovo T480 and its features – read on to find out more!
Lenovo T480 Design, Display, Ports, and Connectivity Review
The Lenovo ThinkPad T480 comes with the classic, no-nonsense design that the ThinkPad series is renowned for. Similar to its predecessors – the T470 and T460 – the laptop features a black finish and sturdy build.
Moreover, the chassis is very robust, meeting military-grade durability standards (MIL-STD-810G). This ensures that the laptop can withstand the rigors of everyday professional use.
Additionally, the robust design creates a laptop that instills confidence in its durability, crucial for users constantly on the move.
That being said, the Lenovo ThinkPad T480 proudly carries the distinctive logos and insignia that have become a tradition for the ThinkPad brand. These visual elements are strategically placed on the laptop’s body, emphasizing the commitment to quality, reliability, and the brand’s storied history.
For instance, the iconic ThinkPad logo is prominently displayed on the laptop’s lid. This logo consists of a red, stylized letter “i” with a red dot placed above it, forming a red circle.
This unmistakable emblem immediately identifies the T480 as a member of the ThinkPad family. Placed on the matte black surface, it creates a visually striking and instantly recognizable aesthetic.
Similarly, you’ll find the “ThinkPad” name spelled out in a silver font positioned on the laptop’s palm rest. This subtle yet effective branding reinforces the device’s identity as a professional-grade laptop designed for productivity.
Looking above the palm rest, you will find the T480’s keyboard. The smile-shaped keys on the keyboard offer exceptional tactile feedback and comfortable key travel.
As a result, you shouldn’t have a problem typing on the laptop for a long period of time. Besides, the spill-resistant design of the keyboard adds an extra layer of practicality.
It appeals to users who demand a laptop that can handle the occasional coffee spillage. Nestled within the Lenovo ThinkPad T480’s keyboard is the iconic red TrackPoint that most ThinkPad laptops feature.
The TrackPoint serves as a functional pointing device and an alternative to the laptop’s touchpad. Speaking of touchpad, the laptop’s touchpad is positioned just below the keyboard on the palm rest.
The touchpad features a smooth and responsive surface, facilitating accurate cursor movement and effortless gesture control. Its rectangular shape is in harmony with the laptop’s overall design, maintaining a clean and professional aesthetic.
Furthermore, the touchpad supports multi-touch gestures, enabling users to perform a variety of actions with simple swipes and taps. Whether it’s pinch-to-zoom or two-finger scrolling, the touchpad enhances the overall usability of the T480.
Moreover, the integrated click buttons below the touchpad offer a satisfying click, providing tactile feedback for left and right-click actions. Interestingly, the dedicated click buttons for the TrackPoint are intelligently placed on the top section of the touchpad.
Placed just below the spacebar, they are easily accessible without requiring users to stretch. It is worth noting that the laptop features a fingerprint sensor for seamless login into Windows.
Moving on, the ThinkPad T480 caters to a range of user preferences with its diverse display options – HD (1366 x 768), FHD (1920 x 1080), and WQHD (2560 x 1440). As a matter of fact, Lenovo offers an optional touchscreen display for the laptop.
However, my review unit comes with an FHD non-touchscreen display. The Full HD display on the T480 delivers crisp and sharp visuals.
This makes it well-suited for productivity tasks, content consumption, and everyday computing. Text appears clear, and details in images and videos are presented with a level of clarity that enhances the overall user experience.
While the FHD display is commendable, it may not be the go-to choice for users working in color-sensitive fields. The color accuracy is decent but might not satisfy the demands of graphic designers or professionals who require precise color reproduction.
For example, while I was watching Guardians Of The Galaxy on the laptop, Gamora’s green skin was accurate but not truly vibrant. Nonetheless, the display maintains consistent and reliable viewing angles.
This allowed my colleagues to watch the movie with me from different angles without concerns about color distortion or loss of detail. Besides, the display’s brightness levels are suitable for various lighting conditions.
In fact, the display performed effortlessly in our well-lit office environments. The anti-glare coating also effectively minimizes reflections, contributing to a comfortable viewing experience in bright spaces.
Furthermore, the Lenovo ThinkPad T480 features a well-balanced bezel design that maximizes the screen real estate. The slim bezels surrounding the display contribute to a modern and immersive visual experience.
In the middle of the top bezel, you will find an HD camera with ThinkShutter. Though a standard feature, the webcam delivers reliable video quality for video conferencing and online collaboration.
However, it isn’t great for taking pictures, as with most laptop webcams. For instance, when I took a selfie with the webcam, the image appeared whitewashed and fuzzy.
Moving on, Lenovo equipped the T480 with an extensive array of ports, catering to the diverse connectivity needs of professionals. On the right side, there is an Ethernet port, SD card reader, HDMI port, two USB 3.0 ports, and an audio combo jack.
Meanwhile, the laptop’s left side accommodates a USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 Port. This high-speed port offers versatility for data transfer, external display connection, and charging.
The T480 boasts dimensions of approximately 336.6 x 232.5 x 19.9 mm. These compact dimensions contribute to a sleek and professional appearance while also minimizing the laptop’s footprint on desks.
With a weight of 1580 g, the T480 is reasonably lightweight for a 14-inch business laptop. Although not the lightest 14-inch laptop out there, it is light enough to carry in a backpack without causing strain during daily commutes.
Putting all into consideration, the Lenovo ThinkPad T480 deserves an eight out of ten rating in this design review section.
Lenovo ThinkPad T480 Processor (CPU) Performance Review
As hinted earlier, the Lenovo ThinkPad T480 offers Core i5 and Core i7 processor options. However, the model I am reviewing comes with an Intel Core i7-8650U processor.
The Lenovo ThinkPad T480, equipped with this CPU, is a formidable machine that provides exceptional computing power. The Intel Core i7-8650U belongs to the 8th generation of Intel’s Core processors.
Furthermore, it features a quad-core design with eight threads and an 8 MB cache. This architecture is optimized for multitasking and demanding workloads, offering a balance between performance and power efficiency.
With a base clock speed of 1.9 GHz and a maximum frequency of 4.2 GHz, the i7-8650U provides rapid and responsive performance. This is particularly advantageous for tasks that demand quick computational responses, such as running virtual machines.
Whether you require intense multitasking or run demanding applications, the i7-8650U is up for it. The ThinkPad T480 crunches every task thrown at it thanks to this processor.
However, while the Lenovo ThinkPad T480 is a powerful laptop CPU-wise, it failed to impress on a Cinebench R15 benchmark test. Cinebench R15 is specifically designed to assess the performance of a computer’s CPU and GPU by simulating a real-world rendering scenario.
Furthermore, the CPU test measures both multi-core and single-core performance. Multi-core performance test evaluates how well a processor handles tasks that can be split into multiple threads.
Meanwhile, the single-core performance test assesses the speed and efficiency of a single processing core. Hence, the Lenovo ThinkPad T480 scored 604 points on the multi-core test and 166 points on the single-core test.
While these scores exceed the category average, they were not enough to beat the Dell Latitude 7490. With the same Intel Core i7-8650U CPU, this Dell laptop scored 666 points on the Cinebench R15 CPU multi-core test.
On the other hand, it scored 176 points on the single-core test. This proves the Dell Latitude 7490 has better processing power than the Lenovo ThinkPad T480.
Due to this, I will rate the T480 an eight out of ten in this section.
Lenovo T480 Memory (RAM) Performance Review
The Lenovo ThinkPad T480 offers a memory configuration that strikes a balance between efficiency and user customization. It supports DDR4 SDRAM, providing you with the benefits of improved bandwidth compared to its predecessor, DDR3.
Furthermore, the T480 is equipped with two DDR4 SO-DIMM slots. This allows you to easily upgrade or replace memory modules without much hassle.
Moreover, the laptop supports a maximum memory capacity of up to 32 GB. This provides users with the option to upgrade the laptop’s memory beyond the standard memory.
Speaking of which, the T480 is often configured with a standard memory of 8 GB or 16 GB out of the box. This depends on the specific model and user preferences.
The model I am reviewing today comes with 8 GB standard RAM. Equipped with 8 GB of RAM, the Lenovo ThinkPad T480 strikes a balance between performance and efficiency.
Furthermore, it caters to the needs of professionals who demand seamless multitasking and responsiveness. While not considered high-end by today’s standards, it remains capable of handling a variety of tasks efficiently.
This amount of RAM allows users to run multiple applications simultaneously without experiencing significant slowdowns or delays. For instance, opening and switching between several office applications is seamless.
Google Chrome, notorious for being a memory-intensive browser, showcases the T480’s multitasking prowess. With 8 GB of RAM, you can comfortably have numerous Chrome tabs open, each running various web applications, streaming media, or handling online research.
The laptop maintains responsiveness, ensuring that users can seamlessly switch between tabs without noticeable lag.
To further prove the T480’s performance with this amount of RAM, I put it through a PCMark 8 test. PCMark 8 is a benchmarking tool developed by UL (formerly known as Futuremark).
It focuses on measuring the system’s capabilities in real-world applications, providing a more practical assessment of its performance. On the test, the Lenovo ThinkPad T480 scored 3846 points.
Sadly, this score is way below the category average of 4182 points. Apart from not meeting or exceeding the category average, the T480 was also beaten by one of its closest rivals.
To be more specific, the HP EliteBook 840 G5-3JX61EA scored 3966 points on the PCMark 8 points.
Overall, while the ThinkPad T480 doesn’t meet up with its competitors, it offers good memory configuration and performance. Thus, I will be rating it a seven out of ten in the memory department.
Lenovo T480 Storage Options and Performance Review
When it comes to storage, the Lenovo ThinkPad T480 doesn’t just offer options. It delivers a tailored storage experience designed to meet the diverse needs of professionals.
To give more detail, Lenovo offers three storage options for the laptop. These are 2.5″ 7200 RPM SATA HDD, 2.5″ 5400 RPM SATA HDD, and M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD.
The 2.5″ 5400 RPM SATA HDD and M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD storage options offer a maximum storage capacity of 1 TB. Meanwhile, the 2.5″ 7200 RPM SATA HDD offers a maximum storage capacity of 500 GB.
With any of the storage options, you should have a generous amount of space for documents, applications, and multimedia files. Performance-wise, the 2.5″ SATA HDDs, whether at 7200 or 5400 RPM, cater to users requiring standard storage for everyday tasks.
They are reliable choices for general office work, document handling, and moderate multitasking. However, the M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD, a solid-state drive, elevates the T480’s storage capabilities to new heights.
With faster read and write speeds compared to traditional HDDs, it transforms the T480 into a speed demon. This option is ideal for users craving a snappy and responsive computing experience.
From rapid boot times to lightning-fast application launches, this SSD is a game-changer for professionals dealing with demanding software. Gladly, my review unit features a 256 GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD.
With this storage option, the Lenovo ThinkPad T480 performed effortlessly in a transfer test. Specifically, the laptop was able to copy 4.97 GB of multimedia files in just 19 seconds at a rate of 267 MBps.
While the transfer speed is mind-blowing, it is slightly lower than the category average of 272.45 MBps. Also, ThinkPad X1 Carbon offered a much faster transfer rate of 565.4 MBps.
Apart from the transfer test, I also put the T480 through a CystalDiskMark test to further evaluate its storage performance. CrystalDiskMark is a benchmarking tool for measuring the performance of storage devices.
It provides users with information about the read and write speeds of their storage devices under different conditions. In case you’re wondering, read speed represents how quickly data can be retrieved from a storage device.
Meanwhile, write speed is the speed at which data can be stored on a storage device. On the CrystalDiskMark test, the T480 delivered a sequential read and write speed of 1779 MB/s and 1718 MB/s, respectively.
Compared with the Dell Latitude 7490, the ThinkPad T480 has a faster read speed but a slower write speed. Basically, the Dell Latitude 7490 recorded a sequential read speed of 919 MB/s on the CrystalDiskMark test.
However, it recorded a sequential write speed of 2385 MB/s.
Overall, I believe the Lenovo T480 deserves a rating of nine out of ten due to its multiple storage configurations.
Lenovo ThinkPad T480 Graphics Card Performance Review
As with the storage, Lenovo offers multiple GPU options for the T480 – Intel UHD Graphics 620 and NVIDIA GeForce MX150. The former has a base GPU frequency of 300 MHz and a boost GPU frequency of 1150 MHz.
However, the latter has a base GPU frequency of 937 MHz and a boost GPU frequency of 1038 MHz.
The Intel UHD Graphics 620 is an integrated graphics card that is embedded into the CPU of the laptop. As a result, it isn’t the ideal choice for graphics-intensive applications or tasks, such as video editing.
However, it is good for professionals whose tasks center around productivity suites and web browsing. The MX150, on the other hand, is the key to unlocking a realm of GPU possibilities.
Graphic design, light video editing, or even a lunch break gaming session, this GPU steps up to the plate with grace. With its dedicated VRAM of 2 GB, this NVIDIA GPU transforms the T480 into a versatile workhorse.
While it isn’t the most powerful discrete GPU, the NVIDIA GeForce MX150 can play various games with moderate graphics requirements. It is capable of delivering smooth gameplay for mid-range titles at lower to medium settings.
Furthermore, esports titles and older AAA titles should run comfortably on the T480 with the NVIDIA GPU. For instance, when I played Dirt 3, the laptop was able to get an impressive frame rate of 117 fps.
This is almost double the category average of 60 fps. In fact, the Dell Latitude 7390 and HP Elitebook 1040 G4 were only able to get 56 fps and 63 fps, respectively.
The T480 with NVIDIA GPU also excelled on the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited test. 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited is a benchmarking test designed to assess the graphics and gaming performance of a device.
Furthermore, higher scores generally indicate better graphics performance. At the end of the test, the T480 delivered an outstanding score of 132,991 points, surpassing the category average of 81,182 points.
The laptop also surpassed the likes of X1 Carbon (80,588 points) and the Latitude 7390 (80,426 points) on the test.
Considering all that, I will rate the Lenovo ThinkPad T480 a nine out of ten in this GPU review section.
Lenovo ThinkPad T480 Battery Life and Performance Review
Regarding the Lenovo ThinkPad T480’s battery battery life, the power of endurance is not just a feature. Rather, it’s a commitment to uninterrupted productivity.
With multiple battery options and the promise of impressive runtimes, the T480 aims to redefine how long your workday lasts. To give more detail, Lenovo offers three battery options for this laptop – 24 WHr, 48 WHr, and 72 WHr Li-ion battery.
The 24 WHr battery option caters to users who prioritize portability, as it has a smaller form factor than the others. Furthermore, Lenovo advertised that it can last a respectable 7.2 hours of usage.
It’s the ideal companion for users who need a burst of power for short periods, perfect for meetings, quick flights, or on-the-go tasks. Stepping up in capacity, the 48 WHr battery elevates the T480’s battery life to up to 14.4 hours, as advertised by Lenovo.
Furthermore, the battery strikes a balance between mobility and endurance. It’s the sweet spot for users who need a reliable battery life without sacrificing too much on the laptop’s overall weight.
The powerhouse among the battery options, the 72 WHr battery, extends the T480’s lifespan to a whopping 21.8 hours. While this battery option adds a significant amount to the laptop’s overall weight, it guarantees an uninterrupted workday.
However, it is becoming hard these days to trust the words of laptop manufacturers regarding their battery life. Due to this, I put all three battery options of the T480 through a WiFi web surfing test.
As the name suggests, the test involves continuously surfing the web via a Wi-Fi connection until the laptop battery dies. So, on the test, the 24 WHr battery lasted about 7 hours and 17 minutes, which is almost up to par with Lenovo’s claim.
Meanwhile, the 48 WHr battery lasted for about 11 hours and 52 minutes on the test, which is impressive. The 72 WHr battery, on the other hand, lasted for 12 hours and 54 minutes.
While this isn’t on par with Lenovo’s 21.8 hours claim, it is quite outstanding. In fact, it surpasses the 7 hours and 40 minutes battery life that the HP EliteBook 840 G5-3JX61EA recorded on the WiFi web surfing test.
Therefore, rating the T480 anything less than a nine out of ten in the battery department is unfair.
Frequently Asked Questions
The ThinkPad T480 boasts features like a robust build quality and powerful processor options. Furthermore, it offers multiple battery configurations, a variety of ports, and renowned ThinkPad durability.
Yes, you can upgrade the ThinkPad T480. Users can easily upgrade components like RAM and storage, making it adaptable to evolving performance needs.
The T480 is compatible with various operating systems. However, it comes with the Windows 10 operating system.
Yes, the T480 is designed with business users in mind. It features a durable build, security features, and configurations that cater to the productivity needs of professionals.
Lenovo released the ThinkPad T480 in 2018.
Should You Buy the Lenovo ThinkPad T480?
The Lenovo ThinkPad T480 is a reliable workhorse tailored to be a versatile companion for your daily grind. Its sturdy build and well-thought-out design make it a solid choice for professionals seeking a dependable laptop.
For those in need of a laptop that seamlessly transitions between work and play, the T480 steps up to the plate. Its range of configurations offers options suitable for various user needs.
From moderate everyday use to more demanding tasks like content creation or light gaming, this laptop got you covered. The durability and user-friendly upgradeability are definite pluses, ensuring that it stays relevant as your needs evolve.
However, if you’re after a sleek and lightweight device or crave top-tier gaming performance, the T480 might not be the absolute fit. While it’s sturdy and reliable, it’s not the most lightweight option available.
Ultimately, the T480 shines as a reliable work companion, offering a blend of durability, performance, and adaptability. It’s for those who prioritize reliability and productivity in a laptop and appreciate a device that grows with them.
So, if you’re looking for a sturdy workhorse that gets the job done without fuss, the T480 might just be your trustworthy ally.
We hope this review of the Lenovo ThinkPad T480 has been informative for you. If it has, we would appreciate it if you could share your thoughts with us at Itechguides Community.
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Other Useful Resources
- laptopmag.com – Lenovo ThinkPad T480 Review
- notebookcheck.net – Lenovo ThinkPad T480 (Core i7-8650U, FHD) Laptop Review
- pcmag.com – Lenovo ThinkPad T480 Review
- windowscentral.com – Lenovo ThinkPad T480 review: A lot to love about this business notebook
- neowin.net – Lenovo ThinkPad T480 review: It’s a solid workhorse
- techaeris.com – Lenovo ThinkPad T480 review: A powerful, efficient workhorse notebook with USB-C Thunderbolt 3
- techspot.com – Lenovo ThinkPad T480
- itechguides.com – Lenovo ThinkPad T480
- Itechguides Community