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Buying a Lenovo ThinkPad T490? Skip the 2020 model and go with the 2019 model instead

Buying a Lenovo ThinkPad T490? Skip the 2020 model and go with the 2019 model instead (Image source: Lenovo)
Buying a Lenovo ThinkPad T490? Skip the 2020 model and go with the 2019 model instead (Image source: Lenovo)
Save yourself a few hundred dollars without sacrificing all that much processor performance. The brand new Intel 10th gen Core i7-10510U isn't all that much faster than the older Core i7-8565U or i7-8665U that Lenovo has been offering since early last year.

After having checked out four different configurations of the ThinkPad T490, we can comfortably say that last year's model offers the bigger bang for the buck. The only major differences between the 2019 and 2020 SKUs are the jump from an Intel 8th gen CPU to a 10th gen CPU and integrated Wi-Fi 6 compatibility instead of "only" Wi-Fi 5.

As shown by our charts below, however, the performance differences between the two are so minor that you wouldn't be missing much by going with the older configuration. The fastest 2020 ThinkPad T490, for example, comes with the quad-core Core i7-10510U which is barely any faster than the last generation Core i7-8565U or i7-8665U as found on the 2019 ThinkPad T490. It's too bad that Lenovo doesn't offer the hexa-core Core i7-10710U as an option as that would have made the 2020 model much more lucrative for performance hunters.

Meanwhile, the upgraded Wi-Fi isn't a necessity at the moment especially since most users don't even have Wi-Fi 6 routers to take advantage of the new standard. It's more of a future-proof feature for those who want to stay on top of the latest tech.

Assuming the same configurable options outside of the CPU, the 2020 model costs about $200 more than the 2019 model. We recommend spending those extra bills on one of Lenovo's brighter display options and/or the discrete GeForce MX250 GPU instead for a more tangible upgrade.

Buy Lenovo ThinkPad T490 Core i7-8565U now on Amazon

Cinebench R20
CPU (Single Core)
Lenovo ThinkPad T490 20RY0002US
Intel Core i7-10510U
454 Points ∼85%
Lenovo ThinkPad T490-20N3S02L00
Intel Core i7-8565U
447 Points ∼84% -2%
Lenovo ThinkPad T490-20N2004EGE
Intel Core i5-8265U
399 Points ∼75% -12%
CPU (Multi Core)
Lenovo ThinkPad T490 20RY0002US
Intel Core i7-10510U
1565 Points ∼16%
Lenovo ThinkPad T490-20N3S02L00
Intel Core i7-8565U
1518 Points ∼15% -3%
Lenovo ThinkPad T490-20N2004EGE
Intel Core i5-8265U
1443 Points ∼14% -8%
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Lenovo ThinkPad T490 20RY0002US
Intel Core i7-10510U
186 Points ∼83%
Lenovo ThinkPad T490-20N3S02L00
Intel Core i7-8565U
180 Points ∼80% -3%
Lenovo ThinkPad T490-20N2004EGE
Intel Core i5-8265U
163 Points ∼73% -12%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Lenovo ThinkPad T490-20N3S02L00
Intel Core i7-8565U
680 (min: 592.15, max: 661.89) Points ∼16% +4%
Lenovo ThinkPad T490 20RY0002US
Intel Core i7-10510U
657 Points ∼15%
Lenovo ThinkPad T490-20N2004EGE
Intel Core i5-8265U
617 (min: 613, max: 658) Points ∼14% -6%
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Lenovo ThinkPad T490 20RY0002US UHD Graphics 620, i7-10510U, Sabrent Rocket Q 1TB RKT30Q.1; CPU Multi 64Bit: Ø650 (621.2-684.29)
Lenovo ThinkPad T490-20N3S02L00 GeForce MX250, i7-8565U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G; CPU Multi 64Bit: Ø639 (632-673)

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 03 > Buying a Lenovo ThinkPad T490? Skip the 2020 model and go with the 2019 model instead
Allen Ngo, 2020-03- 9 (Update: 2020-03- 9)
Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - US Editor in Chief
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.