Notebookcheck

Lenovo ThinkPad T460 (Core i5, FHD) Notebook Review

Sven Kloevekorn (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 05/03/2016

New wine in old bottles. Many business customers with enough money to spare have sworn on Lenovo's expensive, but also premium T lineup for several laptop generations. The manufacturer sticks to the tried and tested in its latest 14-inch scion: The input devices and casing are the same as those in the predecessor. Will the screen and technical features once again meet the high expectations?

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For the original German review, see here.

About a year ago, Lenovo launched the Broadwell-based T450 predecessor of the current ThinkPad T460 on the market. The looks have not changed much, and the specifications are quite similar, with the exception of screen and CPU. The T460 is a highly mobile business laptop for high demands. As appropriate for the category, it scores with more than enough performance, almost legendary input devices, quiet operation and very long battery life for its target group. Buyers who prefer a slimmer device will perhaps find one among the ThinkPad TXXXs ultrabooks, such as the direct T460s counterpart. The high-quality ThinkPads from the E and L series, which have inherited many positive traits from the T series, are considerably less expensive.

We have selected devices that have a similar size, purpose, performance and price as the review sample, and that are currently the main rival of the T460:

For better orientation, we also use Lenovo's ThinkPad T460s-20FA003GGE with an i7-6600U and WQHD panel for performance measurements.

As is standard in the series, the T460 can be configured extensively. The screenshot below shows the available components. Our review sample with the model number 20FN003LGE comes with the frugal Intel Core i5-6200U ULV CPU with 2 cores and Hyperthreading, the processor-integrated Intel HD 520 graphics, 8 GB of RAM, a 256 GB SSD, various security features, and a non-touch IPS panel. Mobile Internet (optional) is not on board. Once again, the installed battery is supplemented with an additional, removable unit. Both have a capacity of approximately 23 Wh.

Lenovo ThinkPad T460 possible configurations (click for larger view)
Lenovo ThinkPad T460 possible configurations (click for larger view)
Lenovo ThinkPad T460-20FN003LGE
Processor
Graphics adapter
Intel HD Graphics 520, Core: 300 - 1050 MHz, shared memory, 20.19.15.4331 WHQL
Memory
8192 MB 
, DDR3L, 1600 MHz, single-channel, 1 of 2 banks filled
Display
14 inch 16:9, 1920x1080 pixel 157 PPI, Lenovo LEN40A9 / N140HCE-EAA, IPS, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel Skylake-U Premium PCH
Storage
Toshiba HG6 THNSFJ256GCSU, 256 GB 
Soundcard
Intel Skylake-U/Y PCH - High Definition Audio
Connections
3 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, 1 Docking Station Port, Audio Connections: combo audio in/out, 3.5 mm jack, Card Reader: SD/SDHC/SDXC, 1 SmartCard, 1 Fingerprint Reader, Brightness Sensor
Networking
Intel Ethernet Connection I219-V (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260 (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.2
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 21 x 339 x 232,5 ( = 0.83 x 13.35 x 9.13 in)
Battery
46 Wh, 23 mAh Lithium-Ion, removeable
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 720p
Additional features
Speakers: stereo, Keyboard: chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, Lenovo: Active Protection System, Solution Center, McAfee LiveSafe trial, Message Center Plus, MS Office trial, 36 Months Warranty
Weight
1.73 kg ( = 61.02 oz / 3.81 pounds), Power Supply: 174 g ( = 6.14 oz / 0.38 pounds)
Price
1500 EUR

 

Case

Even at a second glance, apart from the connections the casing of the T460 is identical to those of the former T450 and T440. It also has the same dimensions and is just as heavy. With a height of 21 mm (~0.83 in), it is roughly 2 mm (~0.08 in) taller than the other rivals in the test. Just like Dell's E7470, it weighs slightly over 1.7 kg (~3.7 lb) and, compared with the more expensive T460s in particular that weighs only 1.37 kg (~3 lb), it is not precisely light.

At a first glance, the T460 is identified as a ThinkPad not least due to the eye-catching TrackPoint keys. We would call the design edgy-simple and rather masculine. The relatively fingerprint-resistant surfaces that adorn the entire device and the matte-black display bezel make a superb impression. The velvety-soft finish is not easy to clean, but provides optimal grip. Once again, the familiar mix of fiberglass-carbon materials is used.

The casing could be warped to some extent with relatively little effort. It produces an unhealthy sounding cracking and creaking noise on the unstable left side. A striking gap, which we could close with intense pressure, was found on the right, above the ports. All other gaps were even and tight. Lenovo has botched the assembly of the review sample, which is not acceptable, especially considering the high price. This is reflected in the rating. Although the slightly too tightly set hinges prevent prolonged rocking after jerks, the laptop cannot be opened with one hand.

Lenovo ThinkPad T460
Lenovo ThinkPad T460
Lenovo ThinkPad T460
Lenovo ThinkPad T460
Lenovo ThinkPad T460
Lenovo ThinkPad T460
Lenovo ThinkPad T460
Lenovo ThinkPad T460
Lenovo ThinkPad T460
Lenovo ThinkPad T460

Connectivity

For the first time, the ThinkPad T460 does not have a VGA port that is rarely needed for connecting old-fashioned projectors. Otherwise, everything that business users normally expect is installed. In addition to three USB 3.0 ports, HDMI (1.4) and a mini-DisplayPort, the docking port and SmartCard reader will be of particular interest to the target group. Thunderbolt and USB 3.1 Type-C are not present, but a UoIP hub for Wireless USB is found in the device manager.

Ports are ideally situated on the rear lateral sides so that inserted sticks and cables do not interfere with using an external mouse. Lenovo does not quite follow this, but the front right, which is particularly important for most (right-handed) users is kept largely free. Most laptops achieve sequential transfer rates of almost 100 MB/s in conjunction with the tester's external USB 3.0 hard drive. The review sample is one of the few laptops that can sometimes outbid this rate.

We use our Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II reference SD card for testing the card reader's performance. The maximum transfer rate was 86 MB/s when copying large data blocks, while approximately 65 MB/s can be expected with standard JPG image files of roughly 5 MB each.

Left: Power, USB 3.0, vent, mini-DisplayPort, USB 3.0, Smartcard
Left: Power, USB 3.0, vent, mini-DisplayPort, USB 3.0, Smartcard
Right: Audio in/out, SIM-slot (above), SD-card, USB 3.0, Ethernet, HDMI, Kensington
Right: Audio in/out, SIM-slot (above), SD-card, USB 3.0, Ethernet, HDMI, Kensington

Communication

The installed Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260 (2x2 = max. 867 MBit/s gross in ac) Wi-Fi module is state-of-the-art. As the name suggests, it supports the latest ac standard as well as the usual g and n standards. The ac standard transmits exclusively in the less frequented and thus not as interference-prone 5 GHz band. Bluetooth version 4.2 is also integrated. The reception qualities proved to be above-average in the tester's individual setup. For an additional charge UMTS/LTE can be selected when configuring the laptop. This was not installed in our review sample.

Security

In terms of security, the review sample is equipped well, though not perfect. First, we should mention the compulsory Kensington lock that allows fastening the laptop with a cable. Unlike the latest ThinkPad T460p that features a new sensor where the finger only has to be placed on it and serves as secure authentication, the review sample has a SmartCard reader and a conventional fingerprint scanner. A TPM module version 1.2 and password protected BIOS/UEFI is also a must. The BitLocker feature integrated in Windows 10 Pro is available for encrypting the hard drive. Users who rely on vPro support can optionally order the laptop with Intel's I219-LM Ethernet module.

Accessories

In addition to the compulsory 45-watt power supply, only the equally mandatory quick start guide is found in the box. The recovery partition should not be tampered with since recovery media is not included. Optional accessories by Lenovo, such as the docking station, can be found here.

Maintenance

Only the external battery is easy to remove from the outside. The internal battery and other components can only be accessed after dismantling the device. Seven screws have to be released before levering off the base's upper side. Since we were provided with a shop device, we dispensed with this to prevent potential damage. A word about the upgrade options: One of the two RAM banks is empty; the maximum total upgrade is 32 GB. An empty M.2 slot, for example for an LTE modem or (another) SSD, is also present. The SATA SSD with a height of 7 millimeters (~0.27 in) can be replaced with another storage device with the same height. By default, the removable battery has three cells, but can be exchanged for a (protruding) 6-cell battery of either 48 or 72 Wh for an additional cost.

Warranty

In keeping with the high price, Lenovo includes a three-year warranty with on-site service. As usual, both batteries are covered for only one year. Accidental damage can also be ordered. More information concerning warranty can be found here.

Input Devices

Touchpad settings
Touchpad settings

Touchpad

At a first glance the somewhat strange-looking touchpad owes its appearance to the three buttons incorporated above it, which apparently belong to the indispensable TrackPoint of IBM era. It enables using the keyboard at the same time. The keys have a relatively long drop, pleasant resistance and clear pressure point, but they completely lack acoustic feedback. Unfortunately, the right key clattered slightly in our review sample. However, we did not deduct any points here, since this defect would be covered by the warranty.

We find a conventional yet not particularly large ClickPad under the TrackPoint's special features. To use the mouse keys, it can be pressed in the lower right and left. The drop is much shorter than that of the TrackPoint keys, but a clear click sound is produced in conjunction with the crisp pressure point. The lightly roughened surface characterized by impeccable gliding qualities always responded quickly and accurately to touch and gestures. Drag & drop via double-tapping always functioned without any issues.

Keyboard

Fortunately, Lenovo has not modified anything about the outstanding keyboard that is a unique selling point of the ThinkPad T, L and E series (with slight differences). The finishing touches are always added to the expensive laptops of the T series. There is no change here: Every key is labeled with large letters that contrast well with the non-slip matte black surfaces. Key stroke is both long and clear with excellent feedback.The well-cushioned stroke contributes to fatigue-free typing. The keyboard in the T460s has a shorter drop, but otherwise virtually identical properties.

Since the width corresponds exactly with that of standard desktop keyboards, a decent spacing between the pleasantly sized keys is possible. The layout is a tribute to long-time ThinkPad customers; newcomers will need to get used to this at first. The FN and CRTL keys' position have been swapped, but this can be altered in the BIOS. Print and scroll keys are in the lower right. The two-level, bright and homogeneous backlight does not give any reason for complaint. Although we have encountered even quieter keyboards, at most the large keys such as return produce discernible noise. Thus, the T460 is suitable also for noise-sensitive environments with some minor restrictions.

Display

Lenovo has opted for a matte, IPS-based panel in Full HD resolution. Distributed over 14 inches this results in a very decent pixel density of 157 PPI for a laptop, and ensures a razor-sharp presentation at a normal viewing distance of approximately 0.5 meter (~20 in). Subjectively, the colors look vivid yet not overly bright. A touchscreen alternative is available for approximately 50 Euros (~$58) extra. Its other key specifications are identical to those of the installed model, which does not mean that it is the same panel. According to the manufacturer's specification sheet, a screen with 1366x768 pixels is also available.

When comparing the mediocre maximum brightness of just 230 cd/m² with that of other modern office laptops, the average of 265 cd/m² - which includes the brightness levels of many considerably lower priced devices - is missed. Users who need a particularly high brightness are much better off with the bright rivals by HP and Dell. The measured illumination of 85% is inconspicuous. The minor backlight bleeding, just visible on a completely dark screen at the lower edge, is insignificant for everyday use.

219
cd/m²
212
cd/m²
209
cd/m²
223
cd/m²
230
cd/m²
222
cd/m²
217
cd/m²
196
cd/m²
215
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 230 cd/m² Average: 215.9 cd/m² Minimum: 3 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 85 %
Center on Battery: 230 cd/m²
Contrast: 885:1 (Black: 0.26 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 7.32 | - Ø
ΔE Greyscale 6.98 | - Ø
61.55% sRGB (Argyll) 39.97% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll)
Gamma: 2.5

The review sample presents an appropriately low black level of 0.26 cd/m², which is not a great feat considering the low brightness. Subjectively, black is also rich. The result is a very decent, though not first-rate contrast of 885:1. The black level of our EliteBook 840 G3 (TN panel model) is poor and therefore achieves only 563:1 despite its tremendous brightness. The Latitude E7470 is the king of contrast in the field with an exemplary 1462:1.

Apart from the higher viewing angle stability (see below), IPS panels primarily stand out from low-cost TN models with their better color reproduction. We are faced with DeltaE rates of 7 in the state of delivery, which is below average for IPS conditions. A medium greenish tint could be observed in our review sample, which was eliminated through calibrating and profiling (profile in the box). We find TN typical bad rates of more than 10 in the EliteBook, and our Latitude came out of the box with a very good 3 (ColorChecker) and 4 (Grayscale). The DeltaE rates should be less than 3 for ambitious image editing.

The low coverage of the professional AdobeRGB color space will hardly aggravate users who only occasionally work with photos as a hobby. Nevertheless, just 40% is a poor rate for IPS and as expected, HP's laptop (TN) does not surpass that. Even the smaller, quasi-standard sRGB color space that most video recorders and players are designed for is covered by only 62%. Only Dell's device does a considerably better job in the test field.

CalMAN Grayscale pre-calibration
CalMAN Grayscale pre-calibration
CalMAN ColorChecker pre-calibration
CalMAN ColorChecker pre-calibration
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps pre-calibration
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps pre-calibration
CalMAN Grayscale post-calibration
CalMAN Grayscale post-calibration
CalMAN ColorChecker post-calibration
CalMAN ColorChecker post-calibration
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps post-calibration
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps post-calibration
Lenovo T460 vs. AdobeRGB
Lenovo T460 vs. AdobeRGB
Lenovo T460 vs. sRGB
Lenovo T460 vs. sRGB
Pixel grid
Pixel grid
Lenovo ThinkPad T460-20FN003LGEHP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABDDell Latitude 14 7000 Series E7470Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20F9003SGE
Response Times
-1%
-11%
-9%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
42.4 (16, 26.4)
43 (20, 23)
-1%
48 (15, 33)
-13%
42 (19.6, 22.4)
1%
Response Time Black / White *
24.8 (7.6, 17.2)
25 (9, 16)
-1%
27 (7, 20)
-9%
29.2 (16, 13.2)
-18%
PWM Frequency
204 (90)
Screen
-24%
41%
8%
Brightness
216
336
56%
354
64%
211
-2%
Brightness Distribution
85
87
2%
81
-5%
89
5%
Black Level *
0.26
0.65
-150%
0.26
-0%
0.22
15%
Contrast
885
563
-36%
1462
65%
1027
16%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
7.32
10.26
-40%
3.11
58%
6.44
12%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
6.98
11.51
-65%
4.35
38%
5.87
16%
Gamma
2.5 96%
2.4 100%
2.37 101%
2.37 101%
CCT
6683 97%
12725 51%
6771 96%
6856 95%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
39.97
47
18%
62
55%
39.58
-1%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
61.55
74
20%
96
56%
61.15
-1%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-13% / -20%
15% / 31%
-1% / 4%

* ... smaller is better

It is particularly disappointing when the screen in a highly mobile laptop is only very conditionally suitable for outdoor use. Unfortunately, as the screenshots below illustrate this description fits the review sample. With some effort, a suitable position can be found in the shade even on sunny days, but the ergonomics suffer under the too dark image in proportion to the surroundings. This should be better on cloudy days, but the outdoor performance will probably only be more than sufficient in the dark.

Light from above and the side
Light from above and the side
Screen facing the sun
Screen facing the sun
Doorway in the back
Doorway in the back

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
24.8 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 7.6 ms rise
↘ 17.2 ms fall
The screen shows good response rates in our tests, but may be too slow for competitive gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 34 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (26.8 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
42.4 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 16 ms rise
↘ 26.4 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. » 56 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (43 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 not detected

In comparison: 58 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 5519 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Although the screen in Lenovo's ThinkPad T460 provides the user with a lot of elbow room in front of the display and remains superior to every TN panel, it is one of the weaker IPS panels. This is particularly noticeable in the relatively (!) early as well as visible brightness and contrast losses in horizontally shifted viewing angles. Distorted colors are only seen in unrealistic extreme positions as can be seen in the corner pictures of our viewing angle collage.

Processor

Cinebench loop clock rates (multi-core)
Cinebench loop clock rates (multi-core)

The very popular Intel Core i5-6200U (2x 2.3 - 2.8 GHz, Hyperthreading, TDP: 15 W) in the office sector is, so to say the basic CPU in the latest Skylake generation. While it is not the first choice for games or other strongly parallelized software, its power is enough for all common office applications as well as demanding programs, such as Adobe Lightroom. The CPU is even more frugal than its already energy-efficient Broadwell predecessors such as the similarly fast i7-5500U (2x 2.4 - 3 GHz, TDP; 15 W). Unlike the 6200U in the slimmer (!) ThinkPad T460s, the TDP was not increased to 25 watts, which is probably to differentiate it from the more expensive model.

As expected, the laptops with higher clocking i7 processors take the lead in Cinebench R15; the i5 laptops lag behind by as much as 18%. However, this should only be noticeable in very demanding programs. Interestingly, the i5-6200U configured with 25 rather than 15 watts in the T460s does not benefit from its higher TDP because the 15 watt (standard) is not utilized at a maximum clock of just 2.8 MHz. An advantage should evolve when CPU and the integrated Intel HD 520 GPU are loaded simultaneously. The maximum clock of 2.7 GHz specified for the utilization of both cores remains stable in the Cinebench loop, and thus it can be confirmed that the CPU achieves the expected performance. The Cinebench scores do not change in battery mode.

Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Dell Latitude 14 7000 Series E7470
Intel Core i7-6600U
142 Points ∼100% +23%
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20FA003GGE
Intel Core i7-6600U
141 Points ∼99% +23%
HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD
Intel Core i7-6500U
119 Points ∼84% +3%
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20F9003SGE
Intel Core i5-6200U
116 Points ∼82% +1%
Lenovo ThinkPad T460-20FN003LGE
Intel Core i5-6200U
115 Points ∼81%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20FA003GGE
Intel Core i7-6600U
347 Points ∼100% +21%
Dell Latitude 14 7000 Series E7470
Intel Core i7-6600U
334 Points ∼96% +16%
HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD
Intel Core i7-6500U
322 Points ∼93% +12%
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20F9003SGE
Intel Core i5-6200U
288 Points ∼83% 0%
Lenovo ThinkPad T460-20FN003LGE
Intel Core i5-6200U
287 Points ∼83%
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
115 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
287 Points
Help

System Performance

LatencyMon
LatencyMon

The Hyperthreading dual-core CPU, enough memory and SSD provide all the requirements for a very good system performance. We used PCMark 8 that evaluates the storage considerably less than the deprecated PCMark 7 benchmark. All office laptops based on an SSD that we have tested in the past 8 months create the comparison base. The average Work benchmark score is 3693 points in this field. The review sample achieves 3956 points here, which is 7% more.

The rivals in the test all have a stronger processor, and can thus draw slight advantages. The slight lead of the slimmer Lenovo T460s can be explained by the 25 watt higher TDP. When limiting the selection to devices with the i5-6200ULenovo ThinkPad E460-20EUS00000’s lead of 12% is probably due to its dedicated AMD graphics. Subjectively, the tester usually had fun with the low-lag utilization that is often due to the SSD. It will not be just the impatient natured that will find the fast program and OS startups appealing.

PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
Dell Latitude 14 7000 Series E7470
HD Graphics 520, 6600U, Samsung SSD PM851 M.2 2280 256GB
4543 Points ∼100% +15%
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20FA003GGE
HD Graphics 520, 6600U, Samsung SSD SM951a 512GB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVKV512)
4442 Points ∼98% +12%
Lenovo ThinkPad E460-20EUS00000
Radeon R7 M360, 6200U, Samsung CM871 MZ7LF192HCGS
4415 Points ∼97% +12%
HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
4275 Points ∼94% +8%
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20F9003SGE
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Samsung CM871 MZ7LF192HCGS
4121 Points ∼91% +4%
Lenovo ThinkPad T460-20FN003LGE
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Toshiba HG6 THNSFJ256GCSU
3956 Points ∼87%
Home Score Accelerated v2
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20FA003GGE
HD Graphics 520, 6600U, Samsung SSD SM951a 512GB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVKV512)
3542 Points ∼100% +23%
Lenovo ThinkPad E460-20EUS00000
Radeon R7 M360, 6200U, Samsung CM871 MZ7LF192HCGS
3415 Points ∼96% +18%
Dell Latitude 14 7000 Series E7470
HD Graphics 520, 6600U, Samsung SSD PM851 M.2 2280 256GB
3344 Points ∼94% +16%
HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
3231 Points ∼91% +12%
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20F9003SGE
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Samsung CM871 MZ7LF192HCGS
3024 Points ∼85% +5%
Lenovo ThinkPad T460-20FN003LGE
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Toshiba HG6 THNSFJ256GCSU
2891 Points ∼82%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
2891 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
3956 points
Help

Storage Device

Our T460 comes with a 256 GB SSD connected via SATA III, which limits the sequential transfer rates to a little more than 500 MB/s. Opting for the basic configuration with a 500 GB hybrid drive (we do not recommend) will cost 150 Euros (~$174) less

Small, random data blocks often have to be read when the operating system and programs are launched (4K Read). Some new SSDs send up to 40 MB/s through the line. 30 MB/s would easily lead to a good rating. However, our Lenovo T460 manages only 20 MB/s. Even less is throughout possible, as the rates of the T460s proves. The differences are hardly noticeable in practice. The Toshiba SSD in the review sample does a better job in sequentially reading small blocks of 64 threads (4K-64 Read). Only servers have to regularly cope with more than four threads.

Lenovo ThinkPad T460-20FN003LGE
Toshiba HG6 THNSFJ256GCSU
HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD
Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
Dell Latitude 14 7000 Series E7470
Samsung SSD PM851 M.2 2280 256GB
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20F9003SGE
Samsung CM871 MZ7LF192HCGS
AS SSD
16%
21%
-43%
Score Write
220
286
30%
283
29%
84
-62%
4K-64 Read
346.97
362.03
4%
336.08
-3%
85.38
-75%
4K Read
19.57
25.24
29%
30.91
58%
14.18
-28%
Seq Read
502.75
504.62
0%
495.53
-1%
470.97
-6%
CrystalDiskMark 3.0
13%
29%
-50%
Read 4k QD32
369.9
388.5
5%
400.9
8%
94.91
-74%
Read 4k
21.7
27.02
25%
36.32
67%
5.78
-73%
Read Seq
458.9
497.8
8%
518.2
13%
446.5
-3%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
15% / 14%
25% / 24%
-47% / -46%
Toshiba HG6 THNSFJ256GCSU
Sequential Read: 458.9 MB/s
Sequential Write: 394.4 MB/s
512K Read: 371.3 MB/s
512K Write: 232.7 MB/s
4K Read: 21.7 MB/s
4K Write: 72.95 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 369.9 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 216 MB/s

Graphics Card

The CPU-integrated, very frugal and also weak Intel HD 520 without dedicated video memory that has to share the low TDP of 15 watts with the CPU will probably not be very interesting for the target group of Lenovo's T460. On the one hand, the possible performance depends on the CPU. On the other, the GPU clearly benefits from the dual-channel RAM, but it has to be satisfied with one memory channel in the review sample.

High-definition videos in H.264 and more recently also H.265 are decoded in the hardware, making lag-free rendering possible. Lenovo's ThinkPad T460 can reproduce 4K videos on external monitors at 40 Hz thanks to DisplayPort. The graphics performance is on the expected level compared with other laptops based on the same CPU/GPU.

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD
Intel HD Graphics 520, Intel Core i7-6500U
1327 Points ∼100% +14%
Dell Latitude 14 7000 Series E7470
Intel HD Graphics 520, Intel Core i7-6600U
1264 Points ∼95% +8%
Lenovo ThinkPad T460-20FN003LGE
Intel HD Graphics 520, Intel Core i5-6200U
1165 Points ∼88%
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20F9003SGE
Intel HD Graphics 520, Intel Core i5-6200U
1156 Points ∼87% -1%
3DMark
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics
HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD
Intel HD Graphics 520, Intel Core i7-6500U
6351 Points ∼100% +34%
Dell Latitude 14 7000 Series E7470
Intel HD Graphics 520, Intel Core i7-6600U
5819 Points ∼92% +23%
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20F9003SGE
Intel HD Graphics 520, Intel Core i5-6200U
5053 Points ∼80% +7%
Lenovo ThinkPad T460-20FN003LGE
Intel HD Graphics 520, Intel Core i5-6200U
4743 Points ∼75%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Graphics
Dell Latitude 14 7000 Series E7470
Intel HD Graphics 520, Intel Core i7-6600U
40436 Points ∼100% +8%
Lenovo ThinkPad T460-20FN003LGE
Intel HD Graphics 520, Intel Core i5-6200U
37520 Points ∼93%
3DMark 11 Performance
1263 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
35373 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
4165 points
Help

Gaming Performance

Users who want to play 3D games on the T460 will have to be content with very old or graphically unspectacular games, such as "Counter Strike GO" or select the often unsightly minimum settings of 1024x768 or 1280x720 due to the very limited graphics performance. It looks better in games with isometric reproduction, such as "Diablo III" or "FIFA", which often run smoothly even in high settings. As the abridged benchmark chart below illustrates, current graphic hits like "Witcher 3" completely overburden Intel's HD 520.

low med. high ultra
BioShock Infinite (2013) 29.417.414.54.4fps
Battlefield 4 (2013) 27.419.911.7fps
The Witcher 3 (2015) 116.8fps

Emissions

Frequency response: fan (idle, full load)
Frequency response: fan (idle, full load)

System Noise

As expected from an office laptop, our T460 runs very quietly overall. It does not need much cooling in view of the low TDP anyway. Even when the system cooling guideline is enabled, it remains silent in idle mode and during sporadic, moderate load. It takes over 20 seconds before the fan makes itself clearly noticeable by speeding up for a short while. This indicates good passive cooling.

A subdued noise that is audible about a meter (~39 in) away from the active PC in a relatively quiet single office is heard after that. However, it is not disturbing due to the lack of side noises. We have to note that this high permanent load will hardly ever be achieved, particularly in office use; even CPU-driven games recurrently take a break. The noise level does not change when we add the GPU stress test FurMark. Consequently, the system noise will never be a problem even in noise-sensitive environments.

This should be true for all comparison devices in the test. Their idle noises are all on the level of normal ambient noise and hardly exceed the completely uncritical rates of the T460, even during load.

Lenovo ThinkPad T460-20FN003LGEHP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABDDell Latitude 14 7000 Series E7470Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20F9003SGE
Noise
-8%
-2%
2%
off / environment *
29
31.2
-8%
31.2
-8%
29.1
-0%
Idle Minimum *
29
31.2
-8%
31.2
-8%
29.1
-0%
Idle Average *
29
32.1
-11%
31.2
-8%
29.1
-0%
Idle Maximum *
29
33.1
-14%
31.2
-8%
29.1
-0%
Load Average *
34.2
36.2
-6%
31.9
7%
32.3
6%
Load Maximum *
37.8
37.8
-0%
31.9
16%
36.6
3%

* ... smaller is better

Noise Level

Idle
29 / 29 / 29 dB(A)
HDD
0 dB(A)
Load
34.2 / 37.8 dB(A)
 
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   ECM8000 + Voltcraft SL-451 (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 29 dB(A)

Temperature

Prime95 + FurMark clock rates
Prime95 + FurMark clock rates

As expected, the surface temperatures are also low. The T460 does not exceed 30 °C (~86 °F) anywhere. The slightly critical hot spot of 44 °C (~111 °F/see above) that will not be reached in practice is found on the underside's center. Running Prime95 and FurMark simultaneously pushes the 15-watt TDP to its limits. The specified frequencies of 2.7 GHz dropped to a stable 1.5 GHz (screenshot) shortly after initiation. Thus, the review sample throttles heavily in the unrealistic extreme case. The review sample never climbed beyond an uncritical core temperature of 56 °C (~133 °F).

 28 °C27.4 °C28.3 °C 
 28.8 °C27.6 °C29 °C 
 26.6 °C27.3 °C27 °C 
Maximum: 29 °C
Average: 27.8 °C
27.8 °C27.8 °C27.4 °C
29 °C30.1 °C29.6 °C
26.6 °C27.8 °C26.6 °C
Maximum: 30.1 °C
Average: 28.1 °C
Power Supply (max.)  30.8 °C | Room Temperature 21.4 °C | Fluke 62 Max

Speakers

Frequency response: speakers (off, half volume, maximum volume)
Frequency response: speakers (off, half volume, maximum volume)

Both downward-facing speakers do not produce more than a mediocre sound, even though Dolby Audio is enabled by default. The artificially "improved" high mids achieves the best rating, and although we cannot speak of real bass, it cannot be denied that the construction has a certain degree of dynamics. Otherwise, the sound has to be described as very mid-heavy, hollow and unnatural. At least the sound does not distort and volumes do not fluctuate at maximum volume that is sufficient for filling medium-sized rooms with sound.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

Economic, more economic, Skylake... In its latest generation of processors Intel has once again given preference to the further improvement of energy efficiency over the relevant performance increases.  The fact that the consumption rates are generally very low and, as with the opponents, does not exhibit any inconsistencies confirm this. The 45-watt power supply can always meet the demand.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.18 / 0.4 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 3.5 / 6.7 / 7.3 Watt
Load midlight 28.2 / 34.6 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy

Battery Runtime

A long battery life is one of the most important qualities of mobile laptops, and Lenovo fulfills this. Like the rivals in the test, it achieves over 15 hours in idle mode using minimum brightness. Looking at the practical Wi-Fi test (our test criteria), over five and half hours should be possible. The opponents (HP) even surpass that by up to 34%. In any case, it should be rare that the laptop will not last an occasional workday on-the-move.

Lenovo ThinkPad T460-20FN003LGE
46 Wh
HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD
46 Wh
Dell Latitude 14 7000 Series E7470
55 Wh
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20F9003SGE
49 Wh
Battery Runtime
30%
8%
10%
Reader / Idle
953
1020
7%
915
-4%
WiFi v1.3
338
453
34%
346
2%
395
17%
Load
98
146
49%
112
14%
116
18%
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
15h 53min
WiFi Surfing v1.3
5h 38min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
8h 32min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 38min

Pros

+ extensively configurable
+ nice surfaces
+ decent connectivity
+ docking port
+ diverse security features
+ good WiFi reception
+ two batteries, one removable from outside
+ no PWM
+ three-year on-site warranty
+ outstanding keyboard
+ very good touchpad
+ impeccably implemented technology
+ perfect Turbo utilization
+ good system performance
+ quiet, cool and frugal

Cons

- expensive
- unstable on left side
- manufacturing flaws in casing and TrackPoint keys
- opening with one hand not possible
- needs to be disassembled for maintenance
- less than ideal, too dark IPS panel
- low color space coverage

Verdict

In review: Lenovo ThinkPad T460. Test model courtesy of Campuspoint.de
In review: Lenovo ThinkPad T460. Test model courtesy of Campuspoint.de

Even if it can be assumed that the discovered manufacturing flaws are not a production-line failure, it does not speak for Lenovo's quality monitoring in this case. We believe that this should not occur in a 1500-Euro (~$1741) laptop. Apart from that, we would have hoped for a better stability more in keeping with the other models of this series. The fact that the device can only be opened with counterforce might prove a nuisance in the long run.

Typical ThinkPad qualities, such as the superb input devices, extensive security features, two batteries with long runtimes in total, and more than fast enough performance that, alongside the large SSD, ensures a smooth as well as frustration-free use are on the very long pro side.

All laptops achieved at least 87% in the test. HP's EliteBook 840 G3 (TN model) is slightly slimmer, lighter and faster but it has an inferior screen. Almost only the webcam was criticized in Dell's Latitude E7470 that achieved a proud 89%. It is easier to maintain and even the input devices can compete with those of the review sample. Lenovo's own T460s opponent is slimmer, lighter, more expensive, and features an almost equal keyboard with a slightly lower drop. In addition to the tight working memory, the highest criticism is related to the IPS panel that is in the T460.

Lenovo ThinkPad T460-20FN003LGE - 04/28/2016 v5.1
Sven Kloevekorn

Chassis
83 / 98 → 85%
Keyboard
94%
Pointing Device
89%
Connectivity
66 / 80 → 82%
Weight
66 / 67 → 98%
Battery
86%
Display
82%
Games Performance
52 / 68 → 76%
Application Performance
79 / 92 → 86%
Temperature
92%
Noise
93%
Audio
69%
Camera
53 / 85 → 62%
Average
77%
87%
Office - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Lenovo ThinkPad T460 (Core i5, FHD) Notebook Review
Sven Kloevekorn, 2016-05- 3 (Update: 2016-05- 3)