Notebookcheck

Lenovo ThinkPad T460s (Core i5, Full HD) Ultrabook Review

Andreas Osthoff, 03/30/2016

Also a success with the base specs? After the high-end version of the ThinkPad T460s could already convince us, we now have a look at the base configuration. The Full HD panel in particular, however, cannot fulfill the high expectations.

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For the original German review, see here.

The ThinkPad T460s left a great impression in our recent review and is already one of the best office notebooks in 2016. However, the high-end configuration is also expensive at around 2,350 Euros (~$2669). Today we review the base model with the designation 20F9003SGE for around 1,400 Euros (~$1590) and check if there are any compromises you will have to make. The education model of our review configuration is around 200 Euros (~$227) less expensive.

The first thing you will notice on the spec sheet is the small amount of RAM (4 GB), but the configuration is otherwise pretty powerful. Besides the Core i5 processor (ULV), Lenovo also equips the T460s with a 192 GB SSD as well as a matte Full HD IPS display.

Our two review units of the ThinkPad T460s use the same chassis, so we will not cover the sections CaseConnectivityInput Devices and Speakers in this review update. The relevant information is available in the review of the T460s 20FA003GEE. Some pictures were taken from this article as well.

Overview about configurations (without education discount, excerpt):

ThinkPad T460s (20F9003SGE) ThinkPad T460s (20F90042GE) ThinkPad T460s (20FA003GGE)
Core i5-6200U Core i5-6200U Core i7-6600U
4 GB DDR4-RAM 8 GB DDR4-RAM 12 GB DDR4-RAM
192 GB (SSD, SATA) 256 GB (SSD, SATA) 512 GB (SSD, PCIe)
HD Graphics 520 HD Graphics 520 HD Graphics 520
1920 x 1080 pixels, IPS panel 1920 x 1080 pixels, IPS panel 2560 x 1440 pixels, IPS panel
no WWAN UMTS/LTE UMTS/LTE
starting at 1400 Euros starting at 1700 Euros starting at 2350 Euros
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20F9003SGE (ThinkPad T460s Series)
Processor
Graphics adapter
Intel HD Graphics 520, Core: 300 - 950 MHz, Memory: 1066 MHz, 20.19.15.4331
Memory
4096 MB 
, Single-Channel, 4 GB DDR4-2133 soldered, 1 of 1 Slot free, up to 20 GB
Display
14 inch 16:9, 1920x1080 pixel, N140HCE-EAA, LEN40A9, IPS, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel Skylake-U Premium PCH
Storage
Samsung CM871 MZ7LF192HCGS, 192 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: Headset port (3.5 mm stereo jack), Card Reader: MMC, SD, SDHC, SDXC, 1 SmartCard, 1 Fingerprint Reader
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): 18.8 x 331 x 227 ( = 0.74 x 13.03 x 8.94 in)
Battery
49 Wh Lithium-Ion, 23 Wh + 26 Wh (both internal)
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 720p, fixed focus
Additional features
Speakers: Stereo (2x 1 W), Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, 45-Watt power adapter, Lenovo ThinkVantage Tools, Lenovo PowerEngage, Lenovo Companion, 36 Months Warranty
Weight
1.37 kg ( = 48.33 oz / 3.02 pounds), Power Supply: 297 g ( = 10.48 oz / 0.65 pounds)
Price
1400 Euro

 

Subpixel arrangement
Subpixel arrangement

Lenovo only equips the ThinkPad T460s with IPS displays. The Full HD resolution (1920x1080 pixels) results in a decent pixel density of 157 PPI in combination with the 14-inch screen. The advantage of this resolution is that you can also use it without scaling. Similar to previous models, Lenovo uses panels from different manufacturers, so you cannot avoid a certain panel lottery. Our panel has the designation N140HCE-EAA (LEN40A9) and is provided by Innolux. The alternative is a Full HD panel from LG.

Lenovo advertises a luminance of 250 cd/m² as well as a contrast ratio of 700:1. The display even manages a better contrast ratio of more than 1,000:1 thanks to the very low black value (0.22 cd/m²), but this is unfortunately all the good news. The maximum brightness is only 226 cd/m² and just 211 cd/m² on average (brightness distribution: 89%). This is clearly below the advertised value. We can unfortunately not say how the LG display performs in this respect. If you want a brighter panel, you should get the WQHD version to be on the safe side.

The dark panel is even more annoying since the panel leaves a decent subjective impression and is clearly sufficient for typical office tasks. Backlight bleeding was no problem for our review unit, just like PWM. While usable, we would have liked a more powerful background illumination in bright rooms.

205
cd/m²
206
cd/m²
207
cd/m²
213
cd/m²
226
cd/m²
222
cd/m²
201
cd/m²
202
cd/m²
219
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 226 cd/m² Average: 211.2 cd/m² Minimum: 2 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 89 %
Center on Battery: 222 cd/m²
Contrast: 1027:1 (Black: 0.22 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 6.44 | - Ø
ΔE Greyscale 5.87 | - Ø
61.15% sRGB (Argyll) 39.58% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll)
Gamma: 2.37
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20F9003SGE
1920x1080, IPS
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20FA003GGE
2560x1440, IPS-Panel
Lenovo ThinkPad T450s-20BWS1UT00
1920x1080, IPS-Panel
HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD
1920x1080, TN LED
Dell Latitude 14 7000 Series E7470
2560x1440, IPS
Response Times
8%
6%
-3%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
42
35.6
15%
43
-2%
48
-14%
Response Time Black / White *
29.2
29.2
-0%
25
14%
27
8%
PWM Frequency
220
204
Screen
18%
16%
-37%
34%
Brightness
211
248
18%
281
33%
336
59%
354
68%
Brightness Distribution
89
94
6%
94
6%
87
-2%
81
-9%
Black Level *
0.22
0.26
-18%
0.286
-30%
0.65
-195%
0.26
-18%
Contrast
1027
988
-4%
1007
-2%
563
-45%
1462
42%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
6.44
4.59
29%
4.35
32%
10.26
-59%
3.11
52%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
5.87
6.38
-9%
3.7
37%
11.51
-96%
4.35
26%
Gamma
2.37 101%
2.51 96%
2.68 90%
2.4 100%
2.37 101%
CCT
6856 95%
6238 104%
6076 107%
12725 51%
6771 96%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
39.58
65
64%
54.7
38%
47
19%
62
57%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
61.15
98
60%
74
21%
96
57%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
13% / 16%
16% / 16%
-16% / -29%
16% / 27%

* ... smaller is better

Grayscale pre-calibration
Grayscale pre-calibration
ColorChecker pre-calibration
ColorChecker pre-calibration
Saturation pre-calibration
Saturation pre-calibration
Grayscale post calibration
Grayscale post calibration
ColorChecker post calibration
ColorChecker post calibration
Saturation Sweeps post calibration
Saturation Sweeps post calibration

We can measure average DeltaE-2000 deviations of 6.44 (colors) and 5.87 (grayscale) compared to the sRGB reference color space ex-works, so the Full HD version is on the average level of the more expensive WQHD model. While the higher-resolution screen performs much better after a calibration, we can only see limited improvements for our Full HD model. The grayscale benefits the most with a DeltaE-2000 value of 1.03, which is very good. The average deviation of the colors is better at 4.71 as well, but there are still extreme outliers for blue colors in particular (up to 16). Our Full HD panel is also clearly beaten by the WQHD model in respect of the color space coverage. We can only determine 61% for the sRGB and about 40% for the wider AdobeRGB standard. This means the Full HD panel is not suited for professional picture editing.

We have already said that the panel is sufficient for typical office tasks, especially if you plan to use it in combination with external monitors. It is interesting that the WQHD panel is currently available for no additional charge when you configure the device in Lenovo's online shop. The only disadvantage of the WQHD panel is the PWM flickering; the power consumption on the other hand – as we will see later – is just slightly higher. It is better than the Full HD panel in all the other disciplines though.

sRGB coverage: 61.15 %
sRGB coverage: 61.15 %
AdobeRGB coverage: 39.58 %
AdobeRGB coverage: 39.58 %

The ThinkPad T460s obviously benefits from the matte display surface outdoors, and the limiting factor will be the luminance. You can use the device even in brighter environments as long as you can avoid direct sunlight since the brightness is not reduced on battery power. However, it is not very comfortable and is tiring for the eyes after a short while. There are no problems in the shade.

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
29.2 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 16 ms rise
↘ 13.2 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. » 68 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (27.2 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
42 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 19.6 ms rise
↘ 22.4 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. » 48 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (44 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: 59 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 1730 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 30860) Hz was measured.

The viewing angle stability of the IPS display is very good. You can still see the content even from very wide angles. There will only be visible color distortions from an angle from above, but this should not be a big deal in practice. It is no problem to a look at the panel with multiple persons.

Viewing angles
Viewing angles

Performance

Our review unit of the ThinkPad T460s (20F9003SGE) is the base model, but you do not have to worry about a sluggish system. The Intel Core i5 offers sufficient performance for many office and multimedia applications, and the SSD ensures a responsive system. Only the memory equipment is meager at 4 GB (DDR4, soldered, single-channel). There is, however, one free slot, so you can solve the problem rather easily and inexpensively.

 

Processor

maximum Turbo Boost
maximum Turbo Boost
The TDP limit raised to 25 watts
The TDP limit raised to 25 watts

The Core i5-6200U is basically the bread-and-butter CPU from Intel and is used in many Ultrabooks. The ULV chip supports Hyperthreading and (usually) has a TDP of 15 watts. Similar to the more powerful T460s with the Core i7-6600U, however, the TDP was permanently raised to 25 watts, which is an advantage when you stress both the CPU and GPU in particular. The processor itself does not benefit from the higher TDP though because the i5-6200U only consumes up to ~13 watts anyway due to the comparatively low clock (up to 2.8 GHz for one core and 2.7 GHz for two cores). The processor performance is not reduced on battery power. 

The benchmark results are therefore on the expected level for the 6200U. It is interesting that  the faster Core i7-6600U from the high-end T460s manages an advantage between 20 and 22% depending on the test. If you plan to use your laptop for demanding tasks, an upgrade to the faster processor could actually pay off. More benchmarks with the Core i5-6200U are available in our Tech section.

Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Dell Latitude 14 7000 Series E7470
Intel Core i7-6600U
142 Points ∼100% +22%
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20FA003GGE
Intel Core i7-6600U
141 Points ∼99% +22%
Dell Latitude 14 E5470
Intel Core i5-6300U
124 Points ∼87% +7%
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%
Lenovo ThinkPad T560-20FH001FGE
Intel Core i5-6200U
113 Points ∼80% -3%
Lenovo ThinkPad T450s-20BWS1UT00
Intel Core i5-5200U
111 Points ∼78% -4%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20FA003GGE
Intel Core i7-6600U
347 Points ∼100% +20%
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%
Dell Latitude 14 E5470
Intel Core i5-6300U
311 Points ∼90% +8%
Lenovo ThinkPad T560-20FH001FGE
Intel Core i5-6200U
290 Points ∼84% +1%
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20F9003SGE
Intel Core i5-6200U
288 Points ∼83%
Lenovo ThinkPad T450s-20BWS1UT00
Intel Core i5-5200U
255 Points ∼73% -11%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit
Dell Latitude 14 7000 Series E7470
Intel Core i7-6600U
1.61 Points ∼100% +23%
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20FA003GGE
Intel Core i7-6600U
1.57 Points ∼98% +20%
Dell Latitude 14 E5470
Intel Core i5-6300U
1.42 Points ∼88% +8%
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20F9003SGE
Intel Core i5-6200U
1.31 Points ∼81%
Lenovo ThinkPad T560-20FH001FGE
Intel Core i5-6200U
1.29 Points ∼80% -2%
Lenovo ThinkPad T450s-20BWS1UT00
Intel Core i5-5200U
1.28 Points ∼80% -2%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20FA003GGE
Intel Core i7-6600U
3.83 Points ∼100% +20%
Dell Latitude 14 7000 Series E7470
Intel Core i7-6600U
3.58 Points ∼93% +13%
Dell Latitude 14 E5470
Intel Core i5-6300U
3.44 Points ∼90% +8%
Lenovo ThinkPad T560-20FH001FGE
Intel Core i5-6200U
3.23 Points ∼84% +2%
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20F9003SGE
Intel Core i5-6200U
3.18 Points ∼83%
Lenovo ThinkPad T450s-20BWS1UT00
Intel Core i5-5200U
2.77 Points ∼72% -13%
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.31 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
3.18 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
25.03 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
116 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
288 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
32.65 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
97.8 %
Help

System Performance

Thanks to the SSD, the subjective performance impression is very good. The system is responsive as expected, and there are usually no delays when you use the device. However, the small amount of memory can quickly become the bottleneck during multitasking. This is also noticeable in PCMark 8, where our review unit finishes last or second to last place within the comparison. The results are still good in general, and you can easily increase the performance with an additional memory module.

PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
Dell Latitude 14 7000 Series E7470
Intel Core i7-6600U, Samsung SSD PM851 M.2 2280 256GB
4543 Points ∼100% +10%
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20FA003GGE
Intel Core i7-6600U, Samsung SSD SM951a 512GB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVKV512)
4442 Points ∼98% +8%
HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD
Intel Core i7-6500U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
4275 Points ∼94% +4%
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20F9003SGE
Intel Core i5-6200U, Samsung CM871 MZ7LF192HCGS
4121 Points ∼91%
Lenovo ThinkPad T450s-20BWS1UT00
Intel Core i5-5200U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZ7LN256HCHP
4097 Points ∼90% -1%
Creative Score Accelerated v2
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20FA003GGE
Intel Core i7-6600U, Samsung SSD SM951a 512GB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVKV512)
4338 Points ∼100% +19%
Lenovo ThinkPad T450s-20BWS1UT00
Intel Core i5-5200U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZ7LN256HCHP
3945 Points ∼91% +8%
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20F9003SGE
Intel Core i5-6200U, Samsung CM871 MZ7LF192HCGS
3644 Points ∼84%
Home Score Accelerated v2
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20FA003GGE
Intel Core i7-6600U, Samsung SSD SM951a 512GB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVKV512)
3542 Points ∼100% +17%
Dell Latitude 14 7000 Series E7470
Intel Core i7-6600U, Samsung SSD PM851 M.2 2280 256GB
3344 Points ∼94% +11%
HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD
Intel Core i7-6500U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
3231 Points ∼91% +7%
Lenovo ThinkPad T450s-20BWS1UT00
Intel Core i5-5200U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZ7LN256HCHP
3128 Points ∼88% +3%
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20F9003SGE
Intel Core i5-6200U, Samsung CM871 MZ7LF192HCGS
3024 Points ∼85%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3024 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
3644 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
4121 points
Help

Storage Devices

Transfer rates SD reader (Toshiba Exceria Pro UHS-II)
Transfer rates SD reader (Toshiba Exceria Pro UHS-II)

Our review unit is equipped with an M.2-SSD from Samsung, which is attached via a SATA-III interface. It is the "slowest" SSD you can get for the T460s. There are also SSDs with OPAL encryption or extremely fast NVMe-SSDs as options. The model CM871 from Samsung has a capacity of 192 GB and leaves mixed impressions in the benchmarks. Up to 450 MB/s for sequential reads are good, but the write performance in particular is pretty bad. The read performance of small files (4K Read) is also low at just 14 MB/s. Still, the SSD is obviously much better than a conventional hard drive. More comparisons are available in our SSD/HDD list.

It is not surprising that the card reader performance is on par with the more expensive version of the T460s: 85 MB/s seq. read, 62 MB/s seq. write and 62 MB/s when we copy pictures (~5MB each) – average results.

Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20F9003SGE
Intel Core i5-6200U, Samsung CM871 MZ7LF192HCGS
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20FA003GGE
Intel Core i7-6600U, Samsung SSD SM951a 512GB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVKV512)
Lenovo ThinkPad T450s-20BWS1UT00
Intel Core i5-5200U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZ7LN256HCHP
Lenovo ThinkPad T450s-20BWS03F00
Intel Core i7-5600U, Intel SSD Pro 2500 Series SSDSC2BF360A5L
Dell Latitude 14 7000 Series E7470
Intel Core i7-6600U, Samsung SSD PM851 M.2 2280 256GB
AS SSD
615%
241%
63%
179%
Score Total
296
2439
724%
1086
267%
546
84%
913
208%
4K-64 Write
33.4
366.01
996%
272.25
715%
83.47
150%
170
409%
4K-64 Read
85.38
968.26
1034%
379.99
345%
210.12
146%
336.08
294%
4K Write
34.38
114.4
233%
84.62
146%
14.61
-58%
85.05
147%
4K Read
14.18
45.41
220%
33.27
135%
22.19
56%
30.91
118%
Seq Write
163.29
1407.23
762%
285.16
75%
264.51
62%
283.73
74%
Seq Read
470.97
2039.37
333%
502.69
7%
489.64
4%
495.53
5%
Samsung CM871 MZ7LF192HCGS
Sequential Read: 446.5 MB/s
Sequential Write: 171.1 MB/s
512K Read: 259.2 MB/s
512K Write: 167.2 MB/s
4K Read: 5.78 MB/s
4K Write: 35.47 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 94.91 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 36.43 MB/s

GPU Performance

Similar to the high-end SKU of the T460s, the graphics output of the base model is also handled by the Intel HD Graphics 520. The maximum core clock is just 950 MHz in combination with the Core i5-6200U (1,050 MHz with the Core i7-6600U). This and the single-channel memory configuration result in much lower GPU scores. The demanding Fire Strike test of the current 3DMark, for example, determines a 50% lower score compared to the T460s with the Core i7. Similar to the predecessor, there is no performance reduction on battery power. More benchmarks with the HD Graphics 520 are available here.

3DMark 11 Performance
1238 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
4397 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
571 points
Help
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
Lenovo ThinkPad T450s-20BWS1UT00
Intel Core i5-5200U, NVIDIA GeForce 940M
2313 Points ∼100% +100%
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20FA003GGE
Intel Core i7-6600U, Intel HD Graphics 520
1416 Points ∼61% +22%
HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD
Intel Core i7-6500U, Intel HD Graphics 520
1327 Points ∼57% +15%
Dell Latitude 14 7000 Series E7470
Intel Core i7-6600U, Intel HD Graphics 520
1264 Points ∼55% +9%
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20F9003SGE
Intel Core i5-6200U, Intel HD Graphics 520
1156 Points ∼50%
3DMark - 1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Lenovo ThinkPad T450s-20BWS1UT00
Intel Core i5-5200U, NVIDIA GeForce 940M
1627 Points ∼100% +173%
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20FA003GGE
Intel Core i7-6600U, Intel HD Graphics 520
935 Points ∼57% +57%
HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD
Intel Core i7-6500U, Intel HD Graphics 520
800 Points ∼49% +34%
Dell Latitude 14 7000 Series E7470
Intel Core i7-6600U, Intel HD Graphics 520
744 Points ∼46% +25%
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20F9003SGE
Intel Core i5-6200U, Intel HD Graphics 520
597 Points ∼37%

Gaming Performance

This trend also continues in our gaming benchmarks. The high percentage of red fields in our gaming table already shows that this configuration of the ThinkPad T460s is hardly suited for gaming. Even older titles are usually limited to low details and resolutions. Modern titles like The Witcher 3 on the other hand do not run properly at all, and Rise of the Tomb Raider repeatedly crashed after the first video sequence, for example. The situation can be improved with an additional RAM module (+30 up to 40%) – but the T460s will still not transform into a gaming notebook. More gaming benchmarks of the Intel GPU are available in our Tech section.

low med. high ultra
Tomb Raider (2013) 39.321.113.3fps
BioShock Infinite (2013) 29.117.414.5fps
The Witcher 3 (2015) 11.3fps

Emissions

System Noise

Noise development
Noise development

The lower performance of our review unit has a positive effect on the noise development because it is even slightly quieter than the Core i7 T460s. Both devices are completely silent while idling (no annoying noises, either), and the "smaller" T460s is a couple of dB quieter under load. Overall, it is never an annoying system in any scenario. Even if the fan starts spinning, you will only be able to hear 32 dB(A) in very quiet environments. We measured a maximum noise of 36.6 dB(A) for our review unit, which is audible, but not disturbing.

Noise Level

Idle
29.1 / 29.1 / 29.1 dB(A)
Load
32.3 / 36.6 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: 29.1 dB(A)
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20F9003SGE
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Samsung CM871 MZ7LF192HCGS
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20FA003GGE
HD Graphics 520, 6600U, Samsung SSD SM951a 512GB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVKV512)
Lenovo ThinkPad T450s-20BWS1UT00
GeForce 940M, 5200U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZ7LN256HCHP
HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
Dell Latitude 14 7000 Series E7470
HD Graphics 520, 6600U, Samsung SSD PM851 M.2 2280 256GB
Noise
-2%
1%
-9%
-2%
off / environment *
29.1
29.2
-0%
31.2
-7%
31.2
-7%
Idle Minimum *
29.1
29.2
-0%
29.1
-0%
31.2
-7%
31.2
-7%
Idle Average *
29.1
29.2
-0%
29.1
-0%
32.1
-10%
31.2
-7%
Idle Maximum *
29.1
29.2
-0%
29.1
-0%
33.1
-14%
31.2
-7%
Load Average *
32.3
33.7
-4%
33.1
-2%
36.2
-12%
31.9
1%
Load Maximum *
36.6
38.5
-5%
34.3
6%
37.8
-3%
31.9
13%

* ... smaller is better

Temperature

Stress test
Stress test

The surface temperatures of the ThinkPad T460s are absolutely unproblematic. It hardly warms up at all while idling or with light workloads, and the warming is concentrated on the area around the processor (center) as well as the heat pipe (left center) under load. The temperature difference between both sides is somewhat big in this case, which can be inconvenient during typing.

Our stress test was rarely so uneventful. We use the tools Prime95 and FurMark to stress the processor and the graphics card. Here we can notice the increased TDP limit at 25 watts, because both the processor (2.7 GHz) and the graphics card (950 MHz) can maintain their respective maximum values over the course of the test. The temperature will never surpass 70 °C (158 °F) – a very good result. The 3DMark 11 run immediately after the stress test did not determine a lower score, but we already expected that.

Max. Load
 33.8 °C33.4 °C27.7 °C 
 41.4 °C35.4 °C27 °C 
 30.8 °C29 °C26.2 °C 
Maximum: 41.4 °C
Average: 31.6 °C
27.6 °C31.2 °C32.6 °C
27.5 °C41 °C36.8 °C
27.1 °C31.3 °C30.5 °C
Maximum: 41 °C
Average: 31.7 °C
Power Supply (max.)  43.6 °C | Room Temperature 21.2 °C | Fluke 62 Max

Energy Management

Power Consumption

Our consumption measurements of the ThinkPad T460s are very interesting, the idle tests in particular. They show that the higher-resolution and brighter WQHD screen does not consume significantly more power than the Full HD model. The WQHD model certainly benefits from the PWM control we noticed in our review of the T460s Core i7. The latter will consume about 30% more power under load, because its Core i7 can utilize its full performance potential and is not limited by the usual TDP limit (15 watts). The compact 45-watt power adapter is sufficient for the maximum power consumption of around 35 watts.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.3 / 0.55 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 3.7 / 6.8 / 7.3 Watt
Load midlight 26.3 / 34.6 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20F9003SGE
49 Wh, 1920x1080
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20FA003GGE
49 Wh, 2560x1440
Lenovo ThinkPad T450s-20BWS1UT00
96 Wh, 1920x1080
HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD
46 Wh, 1920x1080
Dell Latitude 14 7000 Series E7470
55 Wh, 2560x1440
Power Consumption
-17%
-24%
-0%
-25%
Idle Minimum *
3.7
3.8
-3%
3.1
16%
3.8
-3%
5.1
-38%
Idle Average *
6.8
7.1
-4%
8.6
-26%
6.3
7%
8.5
-25%
Idle Maximum *
7.3
7.8
-7%
9.6
-32%
6.8
7%
10.1
-38%
Load Average *
26.3
36.3
-38%
35.6
-35%
34.4
-31%
35.2
-34%
Load Maximum *
34.6
46
-33%
49.4
-43%
28.3
18%
31
10%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Runtime

Our two review units of the ThinkPad T460s have the same battery capacity, so we can once again find two internal batteries with a total capacity of 49 Wh. Thanks to the lower consumption, we can measure slightly longer battery runtimes compared to the top model of the T460s. Our realistic Wi-Fi test (browser script, 150 cd/m²) determines around one hour more for our base configuration of the T460s. 6.5 hours are a decent result, but Lenovo wastes a lot of potential with the two internal batteries. The predecessor ThinkPad T450s, for example, was available with almost twice the battery capacity (91 Wh) and managed much longer runtimes (+64% in the Wi-Fi test).

A full charge takes about 4.5 hours with the smaller 45-watt power adapter, which is another 30 minutes longer compared to the 65-watt module. About 80% of the capacity are available after around 1.5 hours. By the way, the 65-watt PSU is a free upgrade when you configure the notebook in Lenovo's online shop.

maximum runtime
maximum runtime
Wi-Fi test
Wi-Fi test
H.264 test
H.264 test
minimum runtime
minimum runtime
charging
charging
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
15h 15min
WiFi Surfing v1.3
6h 35min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
8h 54min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 56min
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20F9003SGE
49 Wh, 1920x1080
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20FA003GGE
49 Wh, 2560x1440
Lenovo ThinkPad T450s-20BWS1UT00
96 Wh, 1920x1080
Dell Latitude 14 7000 Series E7470
55 Wh, 2560x1440
Battery Runtime
-24%
83%
-8%
Reader / Idle
915
833
-9%
1857
103%
Load
116
62
-47%
259
123%
112
-3%
WiFi v1.3
395
340
-14%
648
64%
346
-12%
H.264
534
397
-26%
757
42%

Pros

+ sturdy and extremely lightweight chassis construction
+ precise display hinges
+ crisp keyboard
+ fast Wi-Fi performance
+ good application performance
+ low noise and temperature development
+ numerous security features
+ decent battery runtimes
+ matte IPS display without PWM
+ 3 years warranty
+ good price-performance ratio

Cons

- low display brightness
- very low gamut
- high color deviations
- only 4 GB RAM
- limited expandability
- no USB-C
- long charging time

Verdict

In review: Lenovo ThinkPad T460s. Test model courtesy of Notebooksbilliger.
In review: Lenovo ThinkPad T460s. Test model courtesy of Notebooksbilliger.

The base configuration of the Lenovo ThinkPad T460s is also a very good office notebook. For around 1,400 Euros (~$1591), you get a fast system with a sufficiently powerful processor and an SSD. Only the memory equipment is very limited with just 4 GB and should be upgraded, which would also improve the graphics performance. We are not quite as happy about the Full HD display. Lenovo only uses IPS panels, but the luminance misses the manufacturer's claim, and the WQHD version also performs better in the other measurements. An additional problem is the implementation of different Full HD panels, which can have different specs. If you do not have a problem with PWM, we can only recommend the WQHD panel. It is currently a free upgrade when you configure the notebook at Lenovo and it does not consume significantly more power than the Full HD counterpart, either.

Lenovo also raised the usual TDP limit (15 watts) for the Core i5, but it does not improve the processor performance due to the comparatively low clocks. You can only notice it when you stress the GPU at the same time. CPU-demanding tasks can benefit from the Core i7, but the weaker T460s actually leaves a better impression in terms of emissions and battery runtimes. Probably the best compromise between both models is a configuration with the Core i5 and the WQHD panel.

The base model of the ThinkPad T460s is also a good office notebook, but you should get a configuration with the WQHD panel if possible.

Because of the low display brightness, which can actually limit the usability in bright indoor environments, we decided to deduct two points from the final rating. A premium product in particular should be equipped with a brighter panel.

Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20F9003SGE - 04/26/2016 v5.1
Andreas Osthoff

Chassis
93 / 98 → 95%
Keyboard
94%
Pointing Device
87%
Connectivity
68 / 80 → 85%
Weight
71 / 67 → 100%
Battery
89%
Display
83%
Games Performance
53 / 68 → 78%
Application Performance
77 / 92 → 84%
Temperature
92%
Noise
95%
Audio
69%
Camera
53 / 85 → 62%
Add Points
-2%
Average
73%
87%
Office - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Lenovo ThinkPad T460s (Core i5, Full HD) Ultrabook Review
Andreas Osthoff, 2016-03-30 (Update: 2016-03-31)