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Lenovo ThinkPad L490 laptop review: Whiskey Lake disappoints in office laptop

Christian Hintze, 👁 Andreas Osthoff (translated by Stephanie Chamberlain), 09/05/2019

Whiskey Lame We reviewed the ThinkPad L480 (87%) about a year ago, and we actually only criticized the dim display. Lenovo has now changed the display with the successor and also updated the processor. Nonetheless, "new" does not always mean "better", as our current review for the L490 shows.

In terms of price, the ThinkPad L490 is oriented significantly below the more expensive T series and just above the more economically priced E series. This makes it interesting for students, not least because of the good input devices that are typical in ThinkPads, which is why Campuspoint includes it in its program. Upon presentation of a student certificate, our review model can be purchased for a comparatively cheap 699 Euros (~$771), because ordinary citizens pay around 900 Euros (~$993) for this configuration.

The L490 is an update to the ThinkPad L480 from last year. Lenovo is primarily adding a new Whiskey Lake processor from Intel, but also a new display and a version change to Bluetooth 5.0 are in the program. In order to be able to discuss all the differences with the predecessor, it is naturally included as a comparison device. Otherwise, the ThinkPad L490 must face the current contenders such as the slightly cheaper ThinkPad E490 from the same manufacturer, the Lenovo Flex 14, the HP 250 G7 (15-inch) and the Schenker Slim 15 RED (15-inch).

Since this is a review update to the L480, and Lenovo has left the exterior almost unchanged, we will skip the sections corresponding the case, the input devices and the connectivity. You can read about these characteristics in the ThinkPad L480 review.

Lenovo ThinkPad L490 20Q6S08600
Graphics adapter
Memory
8192 MB 
, 1x 8 GB PC4 21300 DDR4 2666
Display
14 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel 157 PPI, Lenovo LEN40A9, IPS, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel Cannon Lake-U PCH-LP Premium
Storage
Intel SSD Pro 7600p SSDPEKKF512G8L, 512 GB 
, 451 GB free
Soundcard
Intel Cannon Lake-LP - cAVS
Connections
3 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 USB 3.1 Gen2, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, 1 Docking Station Port, Audio Connections: combo audio, Card Reader: microSD, 1 SmartCard, 1 Fingerprint Reader, NFC
Networking
Intel Ethernet Connection I219-V (10/100/1000/2500/5000MBit/s), Intel Wireless-AC 9260 (a/b/g/n = Wi-Fi 4/ac = Wi-Fi 5), Bluetooth 5.0, LTE
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 22.5 x 335 x 235 ( = 0.89 x 13.19 x 9.25 in)
Battery
45 Wh Lithium-Ion
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: HD, with ThinkShutter
Primary Camera: 1 MPix
Additional features
Speakers: stereo, Keyboard: precision keyboard (island style), Keyboard Light: yes, 12 Months Warranty
Weight
1.681 kg ( = 59.3 oz / 3.71 pounds), Power Supply: 368 g ( = 12.98 oz / 0.81 pounds)
Price
699 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

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Size comparison

376 mm / 14.8 inch 246 mm / 9.69 inch 22.5 mm / 0.886 inch 1.9 kg4.18 lbs360.4 mm / 14.2 inch 244.5 mm / 9.63 inch 19.9 mm / 0.783 inch 1.5 kg3.31 lbs335 mm / 13.2 inch 235 mm / 9.25 inch 22.5 mm / 0.886 inch 1.7 kg3.71 lbs335 mm / 13.2 inch 235 mm / 9.25 inch 22.5 mm / 0.886 inch 1.7 kg3.68 lbs329 mm / 13 inch 242 mm / 9.53 inch 19.9 mm / 0.783 inch 1.8 kg3.97 lbs328 mm / 12.9 inch 229 mm / 9.02 inch 17.8 mm / 0.701 inch 1.7 kg3.65 lbs
Right: combined audio port (plug), USB-A 3.0, Kensington
Right: combined audio port (plug), USB-A 3.0, Kensington
Left: USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 with power delivery, docking port (USB-C 3.1, network), USB-A 3.0, HDMI, microSD, RJ45 LAN
Left: USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 with power delivery, docking port (USB-C 3.1, network), USB-A 3.0, HDMI, microSD, RJ45 LAN
SDCardreader Transfer Speed
average JPG Copy Test (av. of 3 runs)
Lenovo Flex 14IWL
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
80.38 MB/s ∼100% +5%
Lenovo ThinkPad L490 20Q6S08600
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 64 GB UHS-II)
76.2 MB/s ∼95%
Lenovo ThinkPad E490-20N8000RGE
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
74.8 MB/s ∼93% -2%
Lenovo ThinkPad L480-20LS001AGE
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 microSDXC 64GB)
71 MB/s ∼88% -7%
Schenker Slim 15-RE-E19
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
67.7 MB/s ∼84% -11%
Average of class Office
  (10.2 - 191, n=277)
62.4 MB/s ∼78% -18%
HP 250 G7 6HM85ES
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
31.4 MB/s ∼39% -59%
maximum AS SSD Seq Read Test (1GB)
Lenovo ThinkPad L480-20LS001AGE
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 microSDXC 64GB)
85.9 MB/s ∼100% +2%
Lenovo ThinkPad E490-20N8000RGE
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
85.2 MB/s ∼99% +1%
Lenovo Flex 14IWL
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
84.73 MB/s ∼99% +1%
Lenovo ThinkPad L490 20Q6S08600
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 64 GB UHS-II)
84.2 MB/s ∼98%
Schenker Slim 15-RE-E19
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
81.5 MB/s ∼95% -3%
Average of class Office
  (9.5 - 255, n=252)
78.9 MB/s ∼92% -6%
HP 250 G7 6HM85ES
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
34.1 MB/s ∼40% -60%

Communication

The Wi-Fi communication has not changed much; the transfer speeds correspond to those of the predecessor. However, Lenovo has opted for Bluetooth 5.0 instead of 4.2. This means that users can theoretically get higher speeds, a greater range, less energy consumption and the support for IoT devices.

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Lenovo Flex 14IWL
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
653 MBit/s ∼100% +1%
Lenovo ThinkPad L490 20Q6S08600
Intel Wireless-AC 9260
647 MBit/s ∼99%
Lenovo ThinkPad E490-20N8000RGE
Intel Wireless-AC 9260
582 MBit/s ∼89% -10%
Schenker Slim 15-RE-E19
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
580 (min: 528, max: 648) MBit/s ∼89% -10%
Lenovo ThinkPad L480-20LS001AGE
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
529 MBit/s ∼81% -18%
Average of class Office
  (5 - 688, n=223)
469 MBit/s ∼72% -28%
HP 250 G7 6HM85ES
RealTek Semiconductor, Device ID: C821
281 (min: 257, max: 287) MBit/s ∼43% -57%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Lenovo ThinkPad E490-20N8000RGE
Intel Wireless-AC 9260
676 MBit/s ∼100% +12%
Lenovo Flex 14IWL
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
674 MBit/s ∼100% +12%
Lenovo ThinkPad L480-20LS001AGE
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
667 MBit/s ∼99% +10%
Schenker Slim 15-RE-E19
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
650 (min: 520, max: 667) MBit/s ∼96% +8%
Lenovo ThinkPad L490 20Q6S08600
Intel Wireless-AC 9260
604 MBit/s ∼89%
Average of class Office
  (34 - 688, n=223)
445 MBit/s ∼66% -26%
HP 250 G7 6HM85ES
RealTek Semiconductor, Device ID: C821
269 (min: 182, max: 363) MBit/s ∼40% -55%

Security

Alongside the TPM 2.0, our review device also uses a fingerprint scanner, which is otherwise optional. It is found on the right side next to the touchpad, above the Lenovo logo. Additionally, there is also an ExpressCard slot, which is likely to be of particular interest to companies.

The webcam is also interesting, which is equipped with a ThinkShutter in our model. This is slid in front of the camera so that it is covered and no (remotely controlled) pictures are possible. Naturally, this does not apply to potential audio recordings, and manufacturers could also take action with regard to an additional safety mechanism.

Warranty

As usual, Lenovo unfortunately only provides a 12-month warranty.

Display - Disimproved ThinkPad

Subpixel
Subpixel
No screen bleading
No screen bleading

The very dim display and the poor brightness distribution were some of the main points of criticism with the predecessor. Lenovo has handled the problem and swapped the panel. But the new Full HD display is not consistently better than the old model. Anyhow, the brightness increases from the previous 209 Nits to 238 Nits now, which still is not record-breaking. With the exception of the HP 250, the competition shows higher brightness. For example, the E490 sibling model is the brightest device in direct comparison at 295 Nits; Lenovo can do it significantly better then. We didn't notice any screen bleeding at least.

On the contrary, the brightness distribution has made a bigger leap, which now sits in the green area at 82%. But the E490 is clearly ahead again with a brightness distribution of 90%.

The manufacturer also offers an alternative HD panel, which is less expensive, as well as an IPS display with integrated touch functionality. For the latter, you need to pay about 54 Euros (~$60) more in the manufacturer's shop.

236
cd/m²
240
cd/m²
258
cd/m²
230
cd/m²
252
cd/m²
250
cd/m²
211
cd/m²
234
cd/m²
230
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Lenovo LEN40A9
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 258 cd/m² Average: 237.9 cd/m² Minimum: 3.3 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 82 %
Center on Battery: 251 cd/m²
Contrast: 788:1 (Black: 0.32 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 4.6 | 0.6-29.43 Ø6, calibrated: 4
ΔE Greyscale 2 | 0.64-98 Ø6.2
62.7% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 40% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2
Lenovo ThinkPad L490 20Q6S08600
Lenovo LEN40A9, , 1920x1080, 14
Lenovo ThinkPad L480-20LS001AGE
B140HAN02.4, , 1920x1080, 14
Lenovo ThinkPad E490-20N8000RGE
Lenovo NV140FHM-N49, , 1920x1080, 14
Lenovo Flex 14IWL
BOE BOE06F2, , 1920x1080, 14
HP 250 G7 6HM85ES
BOE0687, , 1920x1080, 15.6
Schenker Slim 15-RE-E19
Chi Mei CMN15E8, , 2x1, 15.6
Response Times
-60%
-56%
-35%
15%
4%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
37.6 (20.4, 17.2)
73 (36, 37)
-94%
48.4 (25.2, 23.2)
-29%
30.4 (22, 18.4)
19%
41 (22, 19)
-9%
37 (18, 19)
2%
Response Time Black / White *
26.4 (14, 12.4)
33 (19, 14)
-25%
38.4 (21.2, 17.2)
-45%
32.8 (21.2, 11.6)
-24%
12 (7, 5)
55%
24 (14, 10)
9%
PWM Frequency
25000 (40)
1250 (99)
-95%
352.1 (99)
-99%
25000 (90)
0%
25000 (20)
0%
Screen
15%
7%
-15%
-73%
10%
Brightness middle
252
222
-12%
305
21%
284.2
13%
205
-19%
289
15%
Brightness
238
209
-12%
295
24%
271
14%
205
-14%
280
18%
Brightness Distribution
82
73
-11%
90
10%
89
9%
88
7%
87
6%
Black Level *
0.32
0.17
47%
0.23
28%
0.49
-53%
0.52
-63%
0.36
-13%
Contrast
788
1306
66%
1326
68%
580
-26%
394
-50%
803
2%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
4.6
3.91
15%
5.3
-15%
4.59
-0%
11.15
-142%
3.93
15%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
18.5
7.74
58%
18.9
-2%
18.03
3%
19.08
-3%
6.98
62%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 calibrated *
4
5
-25%
4.57
-14%
2.98
25%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
2
1.56
22%
2.3
-15%
3.9
-95%
12.62
-531%
3.73
-87%
Gamma
2 110%
2.53 87%
2.09 105%
2.123 104%
2.38 92%
2.42 91%
CCT
6524 100%
6701 97%
6246 104%
6679 97%
14189 46%
6802 96%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
40
35
-12%
37.7
-6%
38
-5%
38
-5%
57
43%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
62.7
55
-12%
58.2
-7%
59
-6%
59
-6%
87
39%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-23% / 3%
-25% / -6%
-25% / -19%
-29% / -54%
7% / 9%

* ... smaller is better

The small gain in display brightness is unfortunately offset by a significant loss in contrast and black value. With the L480, these values are better by 47 and 66%, respectively.

Gray scales
Gray scales
Color deviation
Color deviation
Saturation
Saturation
Gray scales calibrated
Gray scales calibrated
Color deviation calibrated
Color deviation calibrated
Saturation calibrated
Saturation calibrated

The color-space coverage sees a minimal increase again to around 635 sRGB and 40% AdobeRGB; the predecessor is about 12% worse here, which should barely be of interest to normal customers. The color deviations are very high and can only be minimally improved even after a calibration. The reproduction is sufficient for office applications, but the panel is only partially suitable for image or video editing.

Overall, Lenovo is making the screen worse; the price to pay for a small increase in brightness is a significant loss in black value and contrast. In terms of quality, it cannot be said that the panel switch was worth it here. As usual, however, the manufacturer relies again on several panel suppliers so that you only know which screen you get until after the purchase.

sRGB: 63%
sRGB: 63%
AdobeRGB: 40%
AdobeRGB: 40%

Despite the rather average values in terms of brightness, contrast and black value, the ThinkPad is still very usable outdoors. All bothersome reflections are filtered out through the matte display, and especially in the case of indirect sunlight, the content is still clearly recognizable.

Indirect sunlight
Indirect sunlight
Direct sunlight
Direct sunlight

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
26.4 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 14 ms rise
↘ 12.4 ms fall
The screen shows relatively slow response rates in our tests and may be too slow for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 52 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (24.9 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
37.6 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 20.4 ms rise
↘ 17.2 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 35 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (39.7 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 25000 Hz ≤ 40 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 25000 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 40 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 25000 Hz is quite high, so most users sensitive to PWM should not notice any flickering.

In comparison: 51 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 9370 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Viewing angle stability is definitely there. This is normally quite good with IPS panels; in our review device, however, further brightness information is lost relatively quickly, especially with the views from the top and the sides. There are IPS panels with clearly more stable viewing angles here. In addition, this means that the user should pay attention to an optimal positioning angle of the display, otherwise it will become darker.

Performance – Slower Whiskey Lake in Lenovo L490

Not pretty: Drivery latency present
Not pretty: Drivery latency present

Not in vain is the L490 part of the Campuspoint program. With its Intel Core i5-8265U, 8 GB of RAM and integrated Intel graphics, it is best suited for office work, writing tasks and surfing the web. The ExpressCard slot also makes it interesting for companies. On the other hand, demanding graphics applications are not the territory of our review device.

The manufacturer naturally offers several configuration variants. You can choose between two i5 and two i7 models with the processor, and a maximum of 64 GB RAM is accepted as memory. In terms of performance a memory configuration of two RAM sticks in dual-channel mode is generally preferable to the single RAM installed here.

Unfortunately, drivers that may slow down the system were detected in an initial test with LatencyMon. Deactivating the Wi-Fi adapter did not help; Lenovo would need to correct this through driver updates.

Processor

Lenovo uses an economical but performance capable Intel Core i5-8265U. It is based on the current Whiskey Lake Generation and offers a higher turbo speed than the predecessor. Overall, the CPU has speeds from 1.6 GHz to 3.9 GHz; all four cores reach simultaneously a maximum turbo speed of 3.7 GHz. This makes it perfectly suitable for all the intended application of the ThinkPad L490.

Alternatively, Lenovo also offers the Core i5-8365U with 200 MHz more of turbo speed as well as the Intel Core i7-8565U and the Intel Core i7-8665U. Whether the i7 models are actually faster would need to be confirmed through further testing. Normally faster CPUs are often slowed down by poor cooling systems.

The Cinebench loop that runs for about 30 minutes shows that our review device works quite constantly. Although the value drops a bit after the first or second run, the loss of power is minimal, and performance is subsequently stable.

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Lenovo ThinkPad L490 20Q6S08600 Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel Core i5-8265U: Ø508 (503.65-519)
Lenovo ThinkPad L480-20LS001AGE Intel Core i5-8250U, Intel Core i5-8250U: Ø582 (575.61-624.63)
Lenovo ThinkPad E490-20N8000RGE Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel Core i5-8265U: Ø487 (483.41-509.01)
Lenovo Flex 14IWL Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel Core i5-8265U: Ø481 (468.32-534.77)

Stability is not difficult either if the output power is throttled, since the CPU of the L490 should actually be stronger than the one of its predecessor. However, the opposite is the case here. The L480 performs over 20% faster in the multi-core test and in fact across all Cinebench versions! The Whiskey Lake's processor performance is evidently strongly throttled.

Taking a look at the clock speeds reveals that the CPU only runs at an average of 2.5 GHz, but up to 3.7 GHz are theoretically available. Admittedly, this seems to be the case with the rest of the competitors. Within the comparison devices, hardly any i5-8265U performs according to its potential. The CPU performance of the predecessor is therefore considerably higher.

The measured values remain the same when unplugging the L490. According to this, stronger CPU throttling is not present on battery power.

Cinebench R15
Cinebench R15
Cinebench R11.5
Cinebench R11.5
Cinebench R10
Cinebench R10
Cinebench R15 speeds on battery power
Cinebench R15 speeds on battery power
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Lenovo ThinkPad L490 20Q6S08600
Intel Core i5-8265U
164 Points ∼100%
Schenker Slim 15-RE-E19
Intel Core i5-8265U
163 Points ∼99% -1%
Lenovo ThinkPad E490-20N8000RGE
Intel Core i5-8265U
160 Points ∼98% -2%
Lenovo Flex 14IWL
Intel Core i5-8265U
159 Points ∼97% -3%
Average Intel Core i5-8265U
  (111 - 164, n=27)
154 Points ∼94% -6%
HP 250 G7 6HM85ES
Intel Core i5-8265U
153 Points ∼93% -7%
Lenovo ThinkPad L480-20LS001AGE
Intel Core i5-8250U
142 Points ∼87% -13%
Average of class Office
  (20 - 199, n=534)
112 Points ∼68% -32%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Lenovo ThinkPad L480-20LS001AGE
Intel Core i5-8250U
620 Points ∼100% +19%
Average Intel Core i5-8265U
  (457 - 750, n=29)
590 Points ∼95% +14%
Schenker Slim 15-RE-E19
Intel Core i5-8265U
585.2 Points ∼94% +13%
Lenovo ThinkPad L490 20Q6S08600
Intel Core i5-8265U
519 Points ∼84%
Lenovo ThinkPad E490-20N8000RGE
Intel Core i5-8265U
509 Points ∼82% -2%
Lenovo Flex 14IWL
Intel Core i5-8265U
493 Points ∼80% -5%
HP 250 G7 6HM85ES
Intel Core i5-8265U
483 Points ∼78% -7%
Average of class Office
  (36 - 1050, n=541)
344 Points ∼55% -34%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit
Average Intel Core i5-8265U
  (1.73 - 1.88, n=6)
1.793 Points ∼100% +2%
Lenovo ThinkPad L490 20Q6S08600
Intel Core i5-8265U
1.75 Points ∼98%
HP 250 G7 6HM85ES
Intel Core i5-8265U
1.73 Points ∼96% -1%
Lenovo ThinkPad L480-20LS001AGE
Intel Core i5-8250U
1.62 Points ∼90% -7%
Average of class Office
  (0.23 - 2.07, n=427)
1.134 Points ∼63% -35%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Lenovo ThinkPad L480-20LS001AGE
Intel Core i5-8250U
7.01 Points ∼100% +22%
Average Intel Core i5-8265U
  (5.22 - 7.22, n=6)
5.98 Points ∼85% +4%
Lenovo ThinkPad L490 20Q6S08600
Intel Core i5-8265U
5.73 Points ∼82%
HP 250 G7 6HM85ES
Intel Core i5-8265U
5.22 Points ∼74% -9%
Average of class Office
  (0.26 - 11.6, n=599)
2.78 Points ∼40% -51%
Cinebench R10
Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
Lenovo ThinkPad L490 20Q6S08600
Intel Core i5-8265U
7906 Points ∼100%
Average Intel Core i5-8265U
  (7705 - 7975, n=4)
7880 Points ∼100% 0%
HP 250 G7 6HM85ES
Intel Core i5-8265U
7705 Points ∼97% -3%
Lenovo ThinkPad L480-20LS001AGE
Intel Core i5-8250U
7102 Points ∼90% -10%
Average of class Office
  (0.4 - 9160, n=436)
4279 Points ∼54% -46%
Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
Lenovo ThinkPad L480-20LS001AGE
Intel Core i5-8250U
26132 Points ∼100% +25%
Average Intel Core i5-8265U
  (18924 - 25361, n=4)
21959 Points ∼84% +5%
Lenovo ThinkPad L490 20Q6S08600
Intel Core i5-8265U
20926 Points ∼80%
HP 250 G7 6HM85ES
Intel Core i5-8265U
18924 Points ∼72% -10%
Average of class Office
  (1.51 - 29780, n=433)
9825 Points ∼38% -53%
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
7132 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
20926 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
7906 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
5.73 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
36.56 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.75 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
164 Points
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
97.8 %
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
42.19 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
519 Points
Help

System performance

System performance oscillates close to the reference values for the processor and graphics. The only exception is the Home score in PCMark 8. Incomprehensibly, performance is slightly below-average (-7%) here, but still within the limits. A second conduction of the test brought the same result. However, the differences between the devices are overall extremely small.

PCMark 10
PCMark 10
PCMark 8 Home
PCMark 8 Home
PCMark 8 Work
PCMark 8 Work
PCMark 10
Digital Content Creation
Schenker Slim 15-RE-E19
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus 500GB
2992 Points ∼100% +2%
Lenovo ThinkPad L490 20Q6S08600
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Intel SSD Pro 7600p SSDPEKKF512G8L
2937 Points ∼98%
Average Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (2067 - 3210, n=22)
2936 Points ∼98% 0%
Lenovo Flex 14IWL
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
2892 Points ∼97% -2%
Lenovo ThinkPad L480-20LS001AGE
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba KXG5AZNV256G
2879 Points ∼96% -2%
Lenovo ThinkPad E490-20N8000RGE
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, SK hynix BC501 HFM256GDHTNG
2693 Points ∼90% -8%
Average of class Office
  (320 - 3884, n=151)
2650 Points ∼89% -10%
HP 250 G7 6HM85ES
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
2620 Points ∼88% -11%
Productivity
Lenovo Flex 14IWL
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
6390 Points ∼100% +2%
Lenovo ThinkPad E490-20N8000RGE
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, SK hynix BC501 HFM256GDHTNG
6339 Points ∼99% +1%
Lenovo ThinkPad L490 20Q6S08600
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Intel SSD Pro 7600p SSDPEKKF512G8L
6275 Points ∼98%
Schenker Slim 15-RE-E19
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus 500GB
6202 Points ∼97% -1%
HP 250 G7 6HM85ES
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
6171 Points ∼97% -2%
Average Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (2941 - 6556, n=22)
6033 Points ∼94% -4%
Lenovo ThinkPad L480-20LS001AGE
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba KXG5AZNV256G
6011 Points ∼94% -4%
Average of class Office
  (1266 - 7964, n=151)
5468 Points ∼86% -13%
Essentials
Lenovo Flex 14IWL
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
8689 Points ∼100% +8%
Lenovo ThinkPad L490 20Q6S08600
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Intel SSD Pro 7600p SSDPEKKF512G8L
8015 Points ∼92%
Schenker Slim 15-RE-E19
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus 500GB
7963 Points ∼92% -1%
Average Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (5073 - 8689, n=22)
7774 Points ∼89% -3%
HP 250 G7 6HM85ES
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
7660 Points ∼88% -4%
Lenovo ThinkPad E490-20N8000RGE
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, SK hynix BC501 HFM256GDHTNG
7529 Points ∼87% -6%
Lenovo ThinkPad L480-20LS001AGE
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba KXG5AZNV256G
7437 Points ∼86% -7%
Average of class Office
  (2683 - 9790, n=151)
6954 Points ∼80% -13%
Score
Lenovo Flex 14IWL
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
3896 Points ∼100% +3%
Schenker Slim 15-RE-E19
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus 500GB
3790 Points ∼97% 0%
Lenovo ThinkPad L490 20Q6S08600
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Intel SSD Pro 7600p SSDPEKKF512G8L
3790 Points ∼97%
Average Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (2247 - 3985, n=22)
3698 Points ∼95% -2%
Lenovo ThinkPad E490-20N8000RGE
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, SK hynix BC501 HFM256GDHTNG
3617 Points ∼93% -5%
HP 250 G7 6HM85ES
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
3573 Points ∼92% -6%
Average of class Office
  (803 - 4597, n=152)
3262 Points ∼84% -14%
Lenovo ThinkPad L480-20LS001AGE
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba KXG5AZNV256G
2488 Points ∼64% -34%
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
Lenovo ThinkPad L480-20LS001AGE
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba KXG5AZNV256G
4871 Points ∼100% +4%
Lenovo Flex 14IWL
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
4852 Points ∼100% +3%
Average Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (4302 - 4927, n=18)
4744 Points ∼97% +1%
Lenovo ThinkPad L490 20Q6S08600
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Intel SSD Pro 7600p SSDPEKKF512G8L
4700 Points ∼96%
Lenovo ThinkPad E490-20N8000RGE
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, SK hynix BC501 HFM256GDHTNG
4637 Points ∼95% -1%
HP 250 G7 6HM85ES
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
4542 Points ∼93% -3%
Average of class Office
  (1226 - 5428, n=348)
4026 Points ∼83% -14%
Home Score Accelerated v2
Lenovo ThinkPad L480-20LS001AGE
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba KXG5AZNV256G
3757 Points ∼100% +16%
Lenovo ThinkPad E490-20N8000RGE
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, SK hynix BC501 HFM256GDHTNG
3666 Points ∼98% +13%
Average Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (3150 - 4244, n=19)
3503 Points ∼93% +8%
Schenker Slim 15-RE-E19
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus 500GB
3449 Points ∼92% +6%
Lenovo Flex 14IWL
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
3438 Points ∼92% +6%
HP 250 G7 6HM85ES
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
3254 Points ∼87% 0%
Lenovo ThinkPad L490 20Q6S08600
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Intel SSD Pro 7600p SSDPEKKF512G8L
3252 Points ∼87%
Average of class Office
  (1169 - 4770, n=407)
3059 Points ∼81% -6%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3252 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
4700 points
Help

Storage

The storage device in our L490 is an Intel SSD with 512 GB. It sits on a removable rack in the M.2 slot and is controlled by PCIe. It is significantly faster than the Toshiba SSD found in the L480 and also outperforms the model in the E490. The remaining contenders are, however, partially still faster. Nevertheless, the SSD should produce good work results. The model takes the 48th place in our SSD/HDD ranking list. The model that is used here still performs a bit worse than our reference model (+19%).

CrystalDiskMark 3
CrystalDiskMark 3
CrystalDiskMark 5
CrystalDiskMark 5
AS SSD
AS SSD
AS SSD Copy
AS SSD Copy
Lenovo ThinkPad L490 20Q6S08600
Intel SSD Pro 7600p SSDPEKKF512G8L
Lenovo ThinkPad L480-20LS001AGE
Toshiba KXG5AZNV256G
Lenovo ThinkPad E490-20N8000RGE
SK hynix BC501 HFM256GDHTNG
Lenovo Flex 14IWL
Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
HP 250 G7 6HM85ES
WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
Schenker Slim 15-RE-E19
Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus 500GB
Average Intel SSD Pro 7600p SSDPEKKF512G8L
 
CrystalDiskMark 5.2 / 6
-23%
-19%
14%
11%
46%
19%
Write 4K
128.3
110.8
-14%
110.7
-14%
136.5
6%
179.3
40%
187.2
46%
129 (121 - 144, n=4)
1%
Read 4K
61.6
36.46
-41%
41.02
-33%
45.74
-26%
47.7
-23%
51.76
-16%
57.3 (45.6 - 63.5, n=4)
-7%
Write Seq
845.6
482.4
-43%
756.6
-11%
1265
50%
1438
70%
1332 (846 - 1497, n=4)
58%
Read Seq
1425
1425
0%
1037
-27%
1184
-17%
1347
-5%
2312 (1425 - 2760, n=4)
62%
Write 4K Q32T1
503.2
355.6
-29%
359
-29%
380.5
-24%
450.6
-10%
396.7
-21%
335 (238 - 503, n=4)
-33%
Read 4K Q32T1
418.7
405.6
-3%
402.4
-4%
437.5
4%
555.7
33%
534.4
28%
394 (336 - 482, n=4)
-6%
Write Seq Q32T1
1391
495.2
-64%
832.6
-40%
1502.2
8%
1455
5%
3280
136%
1497 (1391 - 1558, n=4)
8%
Read Seq Q32T1
1570
1777
13%
1635
4%
3357.1
114%
1717
9%
3556
126%
2665 (1570 - 3154, n=4)
70%
Write 4K Q8T8
1435.3
1027 (989 - 1065, n=2)
Read 4K Q8T8
571.6
887 (883 - 891, n=2)
AS SSD
-108%
-36%
17%
7%
65%
19%
Copy Game MB/s
646
395.09
-39%
412.03
-36%
528.39
-18%
827 (646 - 1147, n=3)
28%
Copy Program MB/s
445.14
187.75
-58%
236.98
-47%
239.94
-46%
433 (418 - 445, n=3)
-3%
Copy ISO MB/s
1163.89
449.75
-61%
637.13
-45%
764.56
-34%
1393 (1164 - 1725, n=3)
20%
Score Total
2400
1259
-48%
1544
-36%
3106
29%
3181
33%
4379
82%
2760 (2400 - 3095, n=4)
15%
Score Write
1116
425
-62%
525
-53%
1521
36%
1468
32%
1902
70%
1148 (920 - 1328, n=4)
3%
Score Read
858
573
-33%
694
-19%
1076
25%
1131
32%
1639
91%
1090 (858 - 1213, n=4)
27%
Access Time Write *
0.025
0.055
-120%
0.032
-28%
0.034
-36%
0.024
4%
0.023
8%
0.0273 (0.021 - 0.039, n=4)
-9%
Access Time Read *
0.025
0.247
-888%
0.053
-112%
0.053
-112%
0.046
-84%
0.046
-84%
0.0325 (0.025 - 0.037, n=4)
-30%
4K-64 Write
905.01
268.8
-70%
357.89
-60%
1267.67
40%
1190.32
32%
1493.75
65%
867 (594 - 1041, n=4)
-4%
4K-64 Read
685.47
415.83
-39%
510.26
-26%
770.94
12%
936.89
37%
1314.05
92%
796 (685 - 873, n=4)
16%
4K Write
137.49
110.31
-20%
112.1
-18%
109.36
-20%
143.9
5%
166.01
21%
154 (137 - 175, n=4)
12%
4K Read
46.44
29.74
-36%
42.31
-9%
51.72
11%
46.26
0%
59.02
27%
60.5 (46.4 - 66.3, n=4)
30%
Seq Write
734.84
461.75
-37%
552
-25%
1437.72
96%
1339.37
82%
2425.85
230%
1262 (735 - 1511, n=4)
72%
Seq Read
1262.49
1273.85
1%
1419.61
12%
2533.34
101%
1476.64
17%
2660.99
111%
2337 (1262 - 2742, n=4)
85%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-66% / -77%
-28% / -30%
16% / 16%
9% / 8%
56% / 57%
19% / 19%

* ... smaller is better

Intel SSD Pro 7600p SSDPEKKF512G8L
Sequential Read: 1432 MB/s
Sequential Write: 806.3 MB/s
512K Read: 1121 MB/s
512K Write: 958 MB/s
4K Read: 61.68 MB/s
4K Write: 129.4 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 373.4 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 487.7 MB/s

Graphics card

The L490 lacks dedicated graphics. The model cannot be optionally configured with discrete graphics in the Lenovo website either. Users have to make do with the model that is integrated into the processor instead. But the Intel UHD Graphics 620 masters all the laptop's tasks reliably; it is only with graphically demanding work that sacrifices have to be made, and the same applies for games since the graphics are only of limited suitability for this.

In our synthetic graphics benchmarks, performance behaves as expected. However, the competitors perform almost on par in all tests; after all, they are all using the same processor and the same graphics.

There is no performance decline on battery power since the values are roughly at the same level as when plugged in.

3DMark 11
3DMark 11
3DMark 11 on battery power
3DMark 11 on battery power
3DMark Fire Strike
3DMark Fire Strike
3DMark Cloud Gate
3DMark Cloud Gate
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
Schenker Slim 15-RE-E19
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8265U
1835 Points ∼100% +6%
Lenovo ThinkPad L490 20Q6S08600
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8265U
1737 Points ∼95%
Average Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (1235 - 2006, n=169)
1714 Points ∼93% -1%
Lenovo Flex 14IWL
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8265U
1682 Points ∼92% -3%
Lenovo ThinkPad L480-20LS001AGE
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8250U
1678 Points ∼91% -3%
Lenovo ThinkPad E490-20N8000RGE
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8265U
1666 Points ∼91% -4%
HP 250 G7 6HM85ES
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8265U
1658 Points ∼90% -5%
Average of class Office
  (185 - 5332, n=658)
1315 Points ∼72% -24%
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Average Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (557 - 1401, n=136)
1125 Points ∼100% +4%
Lenovo ThinkPad L490 20Q6S08600
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8265U
1084 Points ∼96%
Lenovo Flex 14IWL
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8265U
1074 Points ∼95% -1%
Lenovo ThinkPad E490-20N8000RGE
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8265U
1071 Points ∼95% -1%
HP 250 G7 6HM85ES
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8265U
1043 Points ∼93% -4%
Lenovo ThinkPad L480-20LS001AGE
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8250U
1019 Points ∼91% -6%
Average of class Office
  (138 - 4109, n=475)
1010 Points ∼90% -7%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics
Average Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (6910 - 11436, n=154)
9137 Points ∼100% +7%
Lenovo ThinkPad E490-20N8000RGE
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8265U
8559 Points ∼94% +1%
Lenovo ThinkPad L490 20Q6S08600
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8265U
8500 Points ∼93%
Lenovo ThinkPad L480-20LS001AGE
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8250U
8266 Points ∼90% -3%
Lenovo Flex 14IWL
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8265U
8216 Points ∼90% -3%
HP 250 G7 6HM85ES
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8265U
8169 Points ∼89% -4%
Average of class Office
  (1208 - 27117, n=521)
7000 Points ∼77% -18%
3DMark 11 Performance
1875 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
7673 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
1007 points
Help

Gaming performance

Gaming is of course not the intended purpose of the ThinkPad L490, but we will still compare the performance to the competition.

The L490 manages to come in about 5% ahead of its predecessor with the older "Bioshock Infinite" title. Otherwise, the competition is very close to each other; only the Schenker Slim 15 is about 40% faster. 

The advantage of the Schenker Slim probably lies in its memory. 16 GB run in dual-channel mode here. Just like our L490, the remaining competition has to make do with single-channel RAM, which has a noticeable effect on gaming performance. However, less demanding or older titles are generally playable at low to medium resolutions and details. Newer titles should be ignored.

low med. high ultra
BioShock Infinite (2013) 49.233024.267.8fps
Dota 2 Reborn (2015) 6338.61815.9fps
X-Plane 11.11 (2018) 23.516.114.6fps

Emissions - Quiet but...

Noise emissions

The ThinkPad is one of the quietest devices in direct comparison. The Schenker Slim, which has been praised for its performance, is 20% louder. It is clear that Lenovo wants to optimize its work device rather in the economy and low noise level direction than in the performance direction. And in principle, we also find this to be the right decision for an office laptop.

Lenovo could nonetheless further improve its cooling system since the fan behavior is relatively inconsistent. In this way, even under intense load, the fans go off in between in order to start again sometime later. A constant but in turn even quieter fan turning would possibly be better than the persistent change between being silent and turning up. Less temperature fluctuations would also be better for the CPU. Nevertheless, a quiet office laptop is always welcome.

Lenovo ThinkPad L490 20Q6S08600
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Intel SSD Pro 7600p SSDPEKKF512G8L
Lenovo ThinkPad L480-20LS001AGE
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba KXG5AZNV256G
Lenovo ThinkPad E490-20N8000RGE
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, SK hynix BC501 HFM256GDHTNG
Lenovo Flex 14IWL
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
HP 250 G7 6HM85ES
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
Schenker Slim 15-RE-E19
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus 500GB
Noise
-8%
-1%
-5%
-9%
-20%
off / environment *
28.8
30.4
-6%
29.4
-2%
28.4
1%
30.7
-7%
30.4
-6%
Idle Minimum *
28.8
30.4
-6%
29.4
-2%
28.4
1%
30.9
-7%
30.4
-6%
Idle Average *
28.8
30.4
-6%
29.4
-2%
28.4
1%
31.6
-10%
30.4
-6%
Idle Maximum *
28.8
30.4
-6%
29.4
-2%
29.1
-1%
31.6
-10%
31.6
-10%
Load Average *
28.8
32.3
-12%
30.2
-5%
33.8
-17%
34.3
-19%
44.8
-56%
Load Maximum *
33.6
37
-10%
30.9
8%
37.7
-12%
33.8
-1%
44.8
-33%

* ... smaller is better

Noise Level

Idle
28.8 / 28.8 / 28.8 dB(A)
Load
28.8 / 33.6 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Audix TM1, Arta (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 28.8 dB(A)
dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2028.627.527.62527.125.925.33126.825.326.84025.126.224.45027.421.925.46327.522.324.78022.521.923.210025.222.825.712521.42222.516021.921.422.320021.920.521.925021.823.221.53152120.920.24002119.219.750021.519.519.763020.918.519.380021.818.118.5100021.317.817.5125021.617.217.1160024.916.516.1200024.116.416.2250022.915.615.6315022.715.315.5400020.115.115.3500018.515.115.3630017.515.215.3800015.81515.21000015.214.815.11250014.914.714.91600014.714.614.7SPL33.628.828.9N1.81.21.2median 21.4median 17.2median 17.1Delta0.92.82.730.432.33230.43131.130.23132.731.633.432.730.329.428.530.33736.929.43731.227.327.831.227.628.126.127.625.526.825.625.524.425.424.524.424.124.123.224.123.722.922.323.722.6222122.623.221.420.923.223.420.82023.420.920.419.420.921.620.11921.622.519.91822.524.920.417.524.925.220.117.425.227.121.617.427.126.220.217.726.228.521.617.728.527.120.918.527.124.619.318.324.624.218.718.324.220.718.518.420.719.718.618.819.718.918.618.718.918.618.618.618.618.719.319.318.73732.330.5372.51.71.42.5median 23.7median 20.4median 18.7median 23.72.11.11.72.1hearing rangehide median Fan NoiseLenovo ThinkPad L490 20Q6S08600Lenovo ThinkPad L480-20LS001AGE

Temperature

Alongside reduced performance, a conservative cooling system mostly results in another disadvantage in a laptop: Higher temperatures. The L490 is not able to escape this principle either. Although it remains partially cooler than the competition in idle usage, it becomes the hottest device in comparison under load. 46 ºC (~115 ºF) on the top and up to 47 ºC (~117 ºF) on the bottom are quite high for an office laptop.

At least the palm rest remains comparatively cool. The heat concentrates mainly on the right side and towards the display. It becomes noticeable here that the fans simply turn off at times, even under strong load.

Max. Load
 42 °C
108 F
43.7 °C
111 F
46.1 °C
115 F
 
 34.5 °C
94 F
37.3 °C
99 F
45.9 °C
115 F
 
 24.3 °C
76 F
25.4 °C
78 F
24.6 °C
76 F
 
Maximum: 46.1 °C = 115 F
Average: 36 °C = 97 F
46.9 °C
116 F
46.4 °C
116 F
42.3 °C
108 F
44.6 °C
112 F
45.6 °C
114 F
39.1 °C
102 F
24.7 °C
76 F
25.9 °C
79 F
25.3 °C
78 F
Maximum: 46.9 °C = 116 F
Average: 37.9 °C = 100 F
Power Supply (max.)  32.2 °C = 90 F | Room Temperature 21.3 °C = 70 F | Voltcraft IR-900
(±) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 36 °C / 97 F, compared to the average of 29.4 °C / 85 F for the devices in the class Office.
(-) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 46.1 °C / 115 F, compared to the average of 33.9 °C / 93 F, ranging from 21.2 to 62.5 °C for the class Office.
(-) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 46.9 °C / 116 F, compared to the average of 36.4 °C / 98 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 23.7 °C / 75 F, compared to the device average of 29.4 °C / 85 F.
(+) The palmrests and touchpad are cooler than skin temperature with a maximum of 25.4 °C / 77.7 F and are therefore cool to the touch.
(+) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 28.1 °C / 82.6 F (+2.7 °C / 4.9 F).
Lenovo ThinkPad L490 20Q6S08600
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Intel SSD Pro 7600p SSDPEKKF512G8L
Lenovo ThinkPad L480-20LS001AGE
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba KXG5AZNV256G
Lenovo ThinkPad E490-20N8000RGE
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, SK hynix BC501 HFM256GDHTNG
Lenovo Flex 14IWL
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
HP 250 G7 6HM85ES
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
Schenker Slim 15-RE-E19
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus 500GB
Heat
2%
4%
-10%
7%
2%
Maximum Upper Side *
46.1
43
7%
39.9
13%
37.6
18%
35.1
24%
40.3
13%
Maximum Bottom *
46.9
41.7
11%
45
4%
45.8
2%
42.4
10%
47.1
-0%
Idle Upper Side *
24.7
25.7
-4%
24.7
-0%
30
-21%
25.4
-3%
25
-1%
Idle Bottom *
25.2
27.1
-8%
25.8
-2%
35.4
-40%
25.8
-2%
26.4
-5%

* ... smaller is better

The L490 does not make any compromises during our one-hour stress test. Already at the beginning of the test, it has no problem with undercutting its base clock speed and consistently reducing performance for better noise levels and temperatures. At least things do not really go any further downhill in terms of performance, even after an hour. Although the clock speeds fluctuate between 600 MHz and 2.2 GHz, the average is about 1.5 GHz over the entire time.

The core temperatures level out at about 67 ºC (~153 ºF). This is far from critical temperatures so that there is clearly performance potential that is being wasted here. This is another reason why an update of the fan behavior and a related adjustment of the clock speed limit would be desirable.

Beginning of the stress test
Beginning of the stress test
End of the stress test
End of the stress test
3DMark 11 after the stress test
3DMark 11 after the stress test

If 3DMark 11 is conducted once again right after the stress test, there is not much left of the original performance. There is only enough for 43% of the power output, and the L490 loses a whole 57% of performance according to this.

Stress test top
Stress test top
Stress test bottom
Stress test bottom

Speakers

The stereo speakers of the L490 produce an average sound. At least both the high and mid tones are quite uniform, but naturally, as is typical for this class, the audio system lacks any bass. The maximum volume is rather below-average. A combined audio port in the jack format is available for the connection of headphones or an external system.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2027.529.72525.926.63125.331.74026.226.15021.926.66322.324.78021.924.310022.826.81252223.516021.426.820020.534.325023.245.131520.94940019.257.350019.561.863018.562.380018.167.7100017.865.8125017.260.1160016.560200016.457250015.658.2315015.363.7400015.162.5500015.165.4630015.262.780001562.61000014.8621250014.757.41600014.651.1SPL28.874.7N1.234.9median 17.2median 60Delta2.88.531.93231.931.730.231.733.733.433.732.328.532.335.429.435.428.327.828.326.326.126.326.125.626.128.924.528.932.723.232.731.922.331.942214248.820.948.852.52052.556.419.456.457.11957.168.31868.360.717.560.754.917.454.959.317.459.364.317.764.356.317.756.361.918.561.958.718.358.76018.36059.718.459.755.718.855.753.818.753.856.618.656.649.419.349.472.830.572.829.91.429.9median 56.3median 18.7median 56.37.31.77.3hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseLenovo ThinkPad L490 20Q6S08600Lenovo ThinkPad L480-20LS001AGE
Frequency diagram (checkboxes can be checked and unchecked to compare devices)
Lenovo ThinkPad L490 20Q6S08600 audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (74.7 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 25.7% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (12.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 2.9% away from median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (8.6% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 3% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (4.8% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (21.4% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 53% of all tested devices in this class were better, 14% similar, 34% worse
» The best had a delta of 8%, average was 21%, worst was 51%
Compared to all devices tested
» 51% of all tested devices were better, 9% similar, 40% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Lenovo ThinkPad L480-20LS001AGE audio analysis

(-) | not very loud speakers (68.31 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 21.3% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (10.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 4.2% away from median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (14% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 2.6% away from median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (9.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (21.5% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 54% of all tested devices in this class were better, 13% similar, 33% worse
» The best had a delta of 8%, average was 21%, worst was 51%
Compared to all devices tested
» 52% of all tested devices were better, 8% similar, 40% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Energy management - Long-lasting Lenovo PC

Energy consumption

The energy requirement has remained about the same in comparison to the predecessor, but the focus has changed. The L490 now consumes significantly less under average load, but it sacrifices some economy in idle usage in return. The E490 sibling model is overall about 10% more economical with somewhat similar performance. The L490 remains considerably more economical overall than its class average though.

We measure short load spikes of around 42 watts. Since the power adapter has a capacity of 65 watts, it should be able to charge the laptop reliably at all times.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.5 / 0.68 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 3.5 / 6.3 / 8.7 Watt
Load midlight 28.7 / 41.8 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Lenovo ThinkPad L490 20Q6S08600
8265U, UHD Graphics 620, Intel SSD Pro 7600p SSDPEKKF512G8L, IPS, 1920x1080, 14
Lenovo ThinkPad L480-20LS001AGE
8250U, UHD Graphics 620, Toshiba KXG5AZNV256G, IPS, 1920x1080, 14
Lenovo ThinkPad E490-20N8000RGE
8265U, UHD Graphics 620, SK hynix BC501 HFM256GDHTNG, IPS, 1920x1080, 14
Lenovo Flex 14IWL
8265U, UHD Graphics 620, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ, IPS, 1920x1080, 14
HP 250 G7 6HM85ES
8265U, UHD Graphics 620, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G, TN, 1920x1080, 15.6
Schenker Slim 15-RE-E19
8265U, UHD Graphics 620, Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus 500GB, IPS, 2x1, 15.6
Average Intel UHD Graphics 620
 
Average of class Office
 
Power Consumption
-3%
10%
-78%
6%
-7%
-11%
-59%
Idle Minimum *
3.5
3.3
6%
2.76
21%
9.4
-169%
3.2
9%
3.2
9%
3.86 (1 - 12.4, n=176)
-10%
7.57 (2.34 - 32, n=969)
-116%
Idle Average *
6.3
6.6
-5%
5.96
5%
13.3
-111%
5.7
10%
6.5
-3%
7.1 (4.3 - 15.5, n=176)
-13%
11.4 (4.2 - 42, n=969)
-81%
Idle Maximum *
8.7
7.3
16%
6.57
24%
13.9
-60%
6.1
30%
11.3
-30%
8.93 (5.2 - 16.6, n=176)
-3%
13.8 (5 - 67, n=969)
-59%
Load Average *
28.7
40.4
-41%
28.2
2%
39.7
-38%
36.5
-27%
32
-11%
35.3 (8.1 - 51.6, n=176)
-23%
37.2 (7.43 - 99.3, n=954)
-30%
Load Maximum *
41.8
37.4
11%
43.6
-4%
46.5
-11%
37.5
10%
42.2
-1%
44.8 (22 - 79, n=176)
-7%
46 (12.2 - 129, n=956)
-10%

* ... smaller is better

Battery life

Battery life has improved in contrast to the one of the predecessor; by about 15% on average. At the same time the L490 shows almost identical results to the smaller E490. With almost 8 hours in the Wi-Fi test and about 11 hours in the video test, both models sit at the top of the comparison devices in the practical procedures. The competition lasts 11% (Lenovo Flex) to 44% (Schenker Slim) less. The class average (-27%) is also clearly surpassed. In this respect, we can attest good battery life for the ThinkPad.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
18h 34min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
7h 56min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
11h 04min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 54min
Lenovo ThinkPad L490 20Q6S08600
8265U, UHD Graphics 620, 45 Wh
Lenovo ThinkPad L480-20LS001AGE
8250U, UHD Graphics 620, 45 Wh
Lenovo ThinkPad E490-20N8000RGE
8265U, UHD Graphics 620, 45 Wh
Lenovo Flex 14IWL
8265U, UHD Graphics 620, 45 Wh
HP 250 G7 6HM85ES
8265U, UHD Graphics 620, 41 Wh
Schenker Slim 15-RE-E19
8265U, UHD Graphics 620, 36 Wh
Average of class Office
 
Battery Runtime
-15%
1%
-11%
-28%
-44%
-27%
Reader / Idle
1114
1011
-9%
1063
-5%
813
-27%
833
-25%
571 (101 - 1857, n=797)
-49%
H.264
664
479
-28%
687
3%
426
-36%
437 (139 - 862, n=183)
-34%
WiFi v1.3
476
460
-3%
485
2%
623
31%
339
-29%
268
-44%
417 (105 - 1104, n=351)
-12%
Load
114
92
-19%
117
3%
72
-37%
91
-20%
101 (37 - 259, n=752)
-11%

Pros

+ good port selection
+ quiet operation
+ good input devices
+ good battery life
+ fast SSD
+ Bluetooth 5.0
+ webcam with ThinkShutter

Cons

- microSD card reader
- average IPS display
- new CPU slower than the predecessor
- only single channel RAM
- strong throttling under stress
- only 12 months of warranty

Verdict - Stronger or weaker than the L480?

The Lenovo ThinkPad L490, provided by
The Lenovo ThinkPad L490, provided by

As an office and work computer, Lenovo continues to do little wrong with the ThinkPad L490. Writing with the keyboard is still fast and pleasant, and the working speed is decent overall.

However, you need to take a look at the details so as not to perceive this year's hardware update as something superfluous. Since the evident alterations - namely the new display and the Whiskey Lake processor - did not turn out as desired. The CPU is throttled and therefore slower than Kaby Lake in the predecessor. The display exchanges a bit more brightness for a weaker contrast and black value.

On the other hand, Lenovo is finally including a faster SSD, Bluetooth 5 is now on board, and the mobile computer is usually comfortably quiet or even silent. We did not quite like the cooling system though; it repeatedly indulges in taking breaks, even under intense load. But the pleasant, sadly only temporary, silence happens at the expense of performance and makes for highly fluctuating core temperatures.

The Lenovo ThinkPad L490 continues to impress as a very good office laptop. Its input devices, the good battery life and finally also a faster SSD make the laptop a capable work computer for companies, students and anyone else who deals with writing and the web.

But it is actually not easy at all to pronounce a clear purchase recommendation since on the one hand, the L490 sets itself apart from the predecessor with too little benefits, and on the other hand, it is very close to the E490. With the latter, those who can do without an ExpressCard slot will get the considerably brighter and contrast-richer display with about the same performance and an equally good battery life at a presumably more favorable price, at least outside the special discount for students. For 699 Euros (~$771), the latter can pull the purchase trigger without hesitation.

Lenovo ThinkPad L490 20Q6S08600 - 09/04/2019 v7
Christian Hintze

Chassis
80 / 98 → 81%
Keyboard
87%
Pointing Device
93%
Connectivity
62 / 80 → 78%
Weight
67 / 20-75 → 85%
Battery
84%
Display
81%
Games Performance
50 / 78 → 64%
Application Performance
81 / 95 → 85%
Temperature
91%
Noise
99%
Audio
66%
Camera
42 / 85 → 50%
Average
76%
85%
Office - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Lenovo ThinkPad L490 laptop review: Whiskey Lake disappoints in office laptop
Christian Hintze, 2019-09- 5 (Update: 2019-09- 7)