Notebookcheck

Lenovo ThinkPad T480s (i5, WQHD) Laptop Review

New revision. Lenovo equips the ThinkPad T480s with a new chassis and closes the gap towards its own ThinkPad X1 Carbon. Intel's latest quad-core processors are obviously included as well. We checked the SKU with the high-resolution WQHD IPS panel.

After the 2018 ThinkPad X1 Carbon (here in review), Lenovo also launched the new revision of the ThinkPad T4xxs. The new T480s is still sitting between the regular ThinkPad T480 and the ThinkPad X1 Carbon in Lenovo's lineup. Last year's T470s was in a tricky spot because it was only a small update, while both the T470 as well as the X1 Carbon 2017 got a complete redesign. The difference compared to the standard T470 was suddenly very small, and the gap towards the X1 Carbon grew bigger. This is supposed to change with the new T480s. The regular T480 is not available yet, so we will focus on the comparison with the much more expensive X1 Carbon for now.

Our test system is a campus model with the designation 20L8S02D00, which is only available for a limited user group (students & scientific employees). It is priced at 1259 Euros and comes with the modern Intel Core i5-8250U (quad core), 8 GB RAM, a 512 GB SSD (PCIe-NVMe), and the high-resolution WQHD panel (matte), but no operating system. We do not have any information about the Topseller SKUs for regular customers yet, but the T480s is already listed in Lenovo's online shop. A quick customization based on our test model results in a price of almost 1900 Euros, albeit with Windows 10 Home 64.

The campus program also includes the model 20L8S02E00 for 1499 Euros, which features a particularly interesting CPU/GPU combination. Besides the slightly more powerful Core i7-8550U, you also get the dedicated Nvidia GeForce MX150, which is not supposed to be available in Europe.

Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02D00 (ThinkPad T480s Series)
Graphics adapter
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Core: 1100 MHz
Memory
8192 MB 
, DDR4-2400, single-channel, soldered, 1 free slot, up to 24 GB
Display
14 inch 16:9, 2560 x 1440 pixel 210 PPI, LP140QH2-SPB1, IPS, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel Kaby Lake-U iHDCP 2.2 Premium PCH
Storage
Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ-000L7, 512 GB 
Soundcard
Intel Kaby Lake-U/Y PCH - High Definition Audio
Connections
3 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 USB 3.1 Gen2, 1 Thunderbolt, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, 1 Docking Station Port, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm stereo jack, Card Reader: 4-in-1 (MMC, SD, SDHC, SDXC), 1 SmartCard, 1 Fingerprint Reader, TPM 2.0
Networking
Intel Ethernet Connection I219-V (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265 (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.2
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 18.45 x 331 x 226.8 ( = 0.73 x 13.03 x 8.93 in)
Battery
57 Wh Lithium-Polymer, Battery runtime (according to manufacturer): 12.8 h
Camera
Webcam: 720p HD, ThinkShutter
Additional features
Speakers: Stereo (2x 1W), Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, 65W PSU, 36 Months Warranty
Weight
1.367 kg ( = 48.22 oz / 3.01 pounds), Power Supply: 356 g ( = 12.56 oz / 0.78 pounds)
Price
1259 Euro

 

Case

Lenovo uses a new chassis, but the differences to the previous ThinkPad T470s are not that big. The foot print of the new ThinkPad T480s is basically identical, and the weight does not differ a lot, either. The base unit is now 0.35 mm slimmer, but you will only notice it in a direct comparison. The easiest way to spot the new 2018 model is the overhauled connectivity, but more on that later.

The ThinkPad T480s is positioned between the regular ThinkPad T480 and the ThinkPad X1 Carbon. The tactile feeling of the smooth surfaces is almost on par with the flagship X1 Carbon. However, the difference to the T480 with its rougher surfaces is definitely noticeable.

We cannot complain about the quality: The base unit is very sturdy and you really have to apply a lot pf pressure if you want to dent it. The lid leaves a slightly sturdier impression than last year, and especially the ripples on the screen under pressure are not as bad. Lenovo also reworked the hinges. They are now a bit firmer and prevent bouncing of the display very effectively.

The keyboard of the ThinkPad T480s is spill-water resistant and Lenovo states that the device passed several tests according to the military standard (MIL-STD-810G), but does not disclose individual tests. Lenovo offers the T480s both in a black and a silver case.

Both the size and the weight of the ThinkPad T480s are pretty much right between its two siblings. All in all, however, all the competitors are very much alike. It is not problem to carry the T480s around.

Size Comparison

ThinkPad T480s vs. ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018

X1 Carbon 2018 HDR (left) vs. T480s (right)
X1 Carbon 2018 HDR (left) vs. T480s (right)
X1 Carbon 2018 HDR (left) vs. T480s (right)
X1 Carbon 2018 HDR (left) vs. T480s (right)
X1 Carbon 2018 HDR (top) vs. T480s (bottom)
X1 Carbon 2018 HDR (top) vs. T480s (bottom)
X1 Carbon 2018 HDR (top) vs. T480s (bottom)

ThinkPad T480s vs. ThinkPad T480

T480s (left) vs. T480 (right)
T480s (left) vs. T480 (right)
T480s (left) vs. T480 (right)
T480s (left) vs. T480 (right)
T480s (top) vs. T480 (bottom)

Connectivity

The ThinkPad T480s is one of the 2018 models with the new mechanical docking connector at the left side. It consists of two USB-C ports (1x Gen.2 w/ Thunderbolt, 1x Gen.1) and the proprietary network connector. The latter is not really necessary though (and there is no adapter in the box), because the T480s also features a regular Ethernet port (Intel I219-V Gigabit Ethernet). You also get one regular USB 3.1 port (Gen.1, Type-A) on each side, so you do not need adapters.

Video output is either possible via HDMI (full-size), but it only supports the 1.4b standard. This means the maximum resolution of 4096 x 2160 pixels can only be driven at 30 Hz. The USB-C port supports 60 Hz, but you will need a corresponding adapter (to DisplayPort or VGA, for example). The iGPU of the ThinkPad T480s can drive up to three independent displays.

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Thunderbolt 3 with x2 interface (20 Gb/s)
Thunderbolt 3 with x2 interface (20 Gb/s)

Manufacturers often do not specify the interface of the Thunderbolt port, which is also the case here. The T480s only features one x4-interface according to the diagnostics tool HWiNFO, but it is occupied by the PCIe-SSD. The Thunderbolt 3 port is therefore attached via x2 interface with a maximum transfer rate of 20 Gb/s.

Front: no ports
Front: no ports
Left side: Thunderbolt 3, USB-C 3.1 (Gen1), docking, Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0, HDMI 1.4b, 3.5 mm stereo jack, full-size card reader
Left side: Thunderbolt 3, USB-C 3.1 (Gen1), docking, Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0, HDMI 1.4b, 3.5 mm stereo jack, full-size card reader
Right side: SmartCard, USB 3.0, slot for a security lock
Right side: SmartCard, USB 3.0, slot for a security lock
Rear: SIM tray
Rear: SIM tray

SD Card Reader

The SD card reader of the T480s still accepts full-size SD cards, but the transfer speeds fall behind the microSD reader of the current X1 Carbon. We determine more than 80 MB/s with our reference card from Toshiba (Exceria Pro UHS-II 64 GB), which is okay, but the performance could be better.

SDCardreader Transfer Speed
average JPG Copy Test (av. of 3 runs)
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
191.2 MB/s ∼100% +135%
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02D00
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
81.2 MB/s ∼42%
Lenovo ThinkPad T470s-20HGS00V00
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
79.3 MB/s ∼41% -2%
Dell Latitude 7480
  (Toshiba (Exceria Pro SDXC UHS-II 64 GB)
75.85 MB/s ∼40% -7%
HP EliteBook 840 G4-Z2V49ET ABD
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
74.9 MB/s ∼39% -8%
Fujitsu LifeBook U747
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
72.6 MB/s ∼38% -11%
Average of class Office
  (10.2 - 191, n=215)
62.2 MB/s ∼33% -23%
maximum AS SSD Seq Read Test (1GB)
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
223.9 MB/s ∼100% +149%
Dell Latitude 7480
  (Toshiba (Exceria Pro SDXC UHS-II 64 GB)
91.96 MB/s ∼41% +2%
Lenovo ThinkPad T470s-20HGS00V00
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
90.5 MB/s ∼40% +1%
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02D00
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
89.9 MB/s ∼40%
HP EliteBook 840 G4-Z2V49ET ABD
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
83.7 MB/s ∼37% -7%
Fujitsu LifeBook U747
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
83.3 MB/s ∼37% -7%
Average of class Office
  (9.5 - 255, n=195)
80.1 MB/s ∼36% -11%

Communication

We already mentioned the Gigabit Ethernet port (Intel I219-V) in the Ports section, but the ThinkPad T480s obviously supports wireless networks as well. Lenovo uses the familiar WLAN module Wireless-AC 8265 from Intel, which was also used in the 2017 models. It is still a solid choice with good transfer rates and support for all important standards including Wi-Fi ac as well as Bluetooth 4.2 (limited to 4.1 by the OS). Similar to the flagship X1 Carbon, however, we would have liked to see Intel's new adapters (9260), which are even faster and also support Bluetooth 5.0, for example

If you want to access the Internet on the road (and do not want to use your smartphone), you will be happy about the prepared antennas for a WWAN module (LTE). It is no problem to install the module by yourself, but you should keep an eye on the supported modules by Lenovo. NFC is optional (indicated by the small symbol on the touchpad), but it was not available on our test model.

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Fujitsu LifeBook U747
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
655 MBit/s ∼100% +6%
Lenovo ThinkPad T470s-20HGS00V00
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
639 MBit/s ∼98% +3%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
633 MBit/s ∼97% +2%
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02D00
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
618 MBit/s ∼94%
HP EliteBook 840 G4-Z2V49ET ABD
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265 (jseb)
579 MBit/s ∼88% -6%
Average of class Office
  (5 - 688, n=155)
470 MBit/s ∼72% -24%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02D00
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
519 MBit/s ∼100%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
511 MBit/s ∼98% -2%
HP EliteBook 840 G4-Z2V49ET ABD
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265 (jseb)
509 MBit/s ∼98% -2%
Fujitsu LifeBook U747
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
509 MBit/s ∼98% -2%
Average of class Office
  (34 - 688, n=155)
437 MBit/s ∼84% -16%
Lenovo ThinkPad T470s-20HGS00V00
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
297 MBit/s ∼57% -43%

Security – ThinkShutter camera cover

Lenovo meets the increased security requirements of business customers with the ThinkPad T480s. Besides the usual stuff like a slot for a security lock, the fingerprint scanner (touch based) and the TPM 2.0 module, you can obviously set different passwords as well. A SmartCard reader on the right side is optional, and it is an easy way to integrate the laptop into your corporate environment without using additional peripherals. 

Lenovo now equips the regular HD webcam with a mechanical shutter called ThinkShutter. You need some force and ideally a long fingernail to shift the shutter. There are also SKUs with an infrared camera for facial recognition in combination with Windows Hello. However, the latter is not available with the mechanical cover, which is probably caused by the much bigger lens. You should not expect too much from the regular HD webcam. It does its job in video conferences, but you should use your smartphone for better images.

Accessories

There is not much in the box of the ThinkPad T480s; you only get the notebook, a 65-Watt power adapter, and some service leaflets. Lenovo offers numerous optional generic accessories like cases, power adapters, or docking stations (USB or Thunderbolt 3). There are also new mechanical docking stations for the docking port at the left side. You can choose between different models depending on your requirements. The following pictures show the most expensive ThinkPad Ultra docking station for around 320 Euros. You just put the ThinkPad T480s on top of it and you do not need any other cables.

Maintenance

The bottom panel is only secured by 6 Philips screws (only loosen, not remove) and can easily be lifted. Once inside, you clearly see the difference compared to the old T470s. There is only one (bigger) battery and the position of the components changed significantly, too. You can access and replace the M.2-2280 SSD, the WLAN and (if applicable) the WWAN module. The required antennas are prepared on every model (WWAN-ready). The latter is an advantage over the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, just like the additional SODIMM slot. You can upgrade the RAM up to 24 GB (8 GB soldered + up to 16 GB module).

Internal layout
Internal layout
Inside of the bottom cover
Inside of the bottom cover
WWAN-ready
WWAN-ready
One empty RAM slot
One empty RAM slot

Warranty

ThinkPad T-series laptops are usually shipped with a 3-year on-site warranty. Lenovo also offers additional extensions up to five years and services like accident protection or Keep your Drive.

Input Devices – typical ThinkPad

Keyboard

The keyboard was not changed this year. The ThinkPad T470s was already equipped with one of the best keyboards in the mobile segments, so this is no problem. Frequent writers will once again enjoy rich feedback with sufficient travel. The keyboard also features a white LED illumination with two intensities. Similar to the more expensive sibling ThinkPad X1 Carbon we would like to see an ambient light sensor, and a brighter level would be nice as well.

ThinkPad newcomers have to get used to the layout with the position of the Fn and Ctrl keys. However, you can change the allocation in the BIOS, just like the default behavior of the F keys (special functions).

Touchpad/TrackPoint

The touchpad was slightly revised. There was still a little space between the touchpad and the dedicated mouse buttons on the previous model, which is now gone. The touch-sensitive surface is now a bit bigger. It is still a clickpad and can be pushed down in the lower half, which results in a slightly loud, but even clicking sound. The Precision Pad recognizes and executes movements and gestures very well.

You can also use the red TrackPoint with its dedicated mouse buttons. It works very well once you have got used to it, but this is also a matter of taste.

Input devices ThinkPad T480s
Input devices ThinkPad T480s

Display

Subpixel layout
Subpixel layout

Lenovo currently offers three different screen options for the T480s: 2x Full HD (matte or touch, both 250 nits) and the WQHD panel on our test model. However, it is not the same AUO panel from the old ThinkPad T470s, but the LG Philips unit (LP140QH2-SPB1) we tested on last year's X1 Carbon 2017.

Lenovo advertises a luminance of 300 nits for the matte panel, but this is a conservative estimate. We determine 342 nits on average with a maximum luminance of 362 nits – very good results. The brightness distribution is also very uniform at 91 %, despite the bright panel. The biggest drawback is the comparatively high black value (0.46), so black contents appear a bit grayish and the contrast ratio (765:1) suffers as well. The subjective picture impression is otherwise decent, because there is no backlight bleeding even at the highest brightness setting, and there is no PWM.

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: 53 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 8813 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

330
cd/m²
335
cd/m²
338
cd/m²
345
cd/m²
352
cd/m²
341
cd/m²
362
cd/m²
339
cd/m²
343
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 362 cd/m² Average: 342.8 cd/m² Minimum: 5 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 91 %
Center on Battery: 351 cd/m²
Contrast: 765:1 (Black: 0.46 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 3.3 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.3
ΔE Greyscale 5.3 | 0.64-98 Ø6.5
98% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 68.4% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.22
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02D00
LP140QH2-SPB1, , 2560x1440, 14
Lenovo ThinkPad T470s-20HGS00V00
B140QAN01.5, , 2560x1440, 14
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2017-20HR006FGE
LEN40AA (LP140QH2-SPB1), , 2560x1440, 14
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
B140QAN02.0, , 2560x1440, 14
Lenovo ThinkPad T470-20HD002HGE
N140HCA-EAB, , 1920x1080, 14
HP EliteBook 840 G4-Z2V45ES ABD
LGD04F3, , 2560x1440, 14
Dell Latitude 7480
LG Philips LGD0557, , 1920x1080, 14
Response Times
-11%
14%
-38%
-14%
12%
-8%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
38.4 (19.6, 18.8)
46.4 (20.4, 26)
-21%
35.6 (18.4, 17.2)
7%
59.2 (28.4, 30.8)
-54%
41.6 (20.4, 21.2)
-8%
37.2 (23.6, 15.6)
3%
40.8 (19.2, 21.6)
-6%
Response Time Black / White *
28.4 (15.6, 12.8)
28.8 (16.4, 12.4)
-1%
22.4 (12.4, 12)
21%
34.4 (16.4, 18)
-21%
34 (9.6, 24.4)
-20%
22.8 (10.8, 12)
20%
31.2 (18.8, 12.4)
-10%
PWM Frequency
Screen
-13%
1%
39%
-23%
-0%
11%
Brightness middle
352
327
-7%
342
-3%
578
64%
306
-13%
340
-3%
344
-2%
Brightness
343
311
-9%
337
-2%
533
55%
287
-16%
304
-11%
321
-6%
Brightness Distribution
91
88
-3%
87
-4%
84
-8%
88
-3%
81
-11%
85
-7%
Black Level *
0.46
0.25
46%
0.37
20%
0.38
17%
0.3
35%
0.32
30%
0.32
30%
Contrast
765
1308
71%
924
21%
1521
99%
1020
33%
1063
39%
1075
41%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
3.3
6.1
-85%
3.6
-9%
1.9
42%
6.2
-88%
4.3
-30%
2.6
21%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
7.3
12.2
-67%
7.7
-5%
3.8
48%
13.6
-86%
7.5
-3%
7.8
-7%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
5.3
8.8
-66%
5.8
-9%
3
43%
5.8
-9%
5.3
-0%
2.6
51%
Gamma
2.22 108%
2.18 110%
2.2 109%
2.14 112%
2.04 118%
2.18 110%
2.28 105%
CCT
6452 101%
6172 105%
6693 97%
6377 102%
6277 104%
7016 93%
7050 92%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
68.4
61.56
-10%
68.8
1%
88.8
30%
39.62
-42%
60.9
-11%
65.82
-4%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
98
94.88
-3%
98.5
1%
100
2%
61.44
-37%
94.2
-4%
92.27
-6%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 calibrated *
0.8
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-12% / -13%
8% / 3%
1% / 26%
-19% / -21%
6% / 2%
2% / 8%

* ... smaller is better

The grayscale performance is not very good out of the box. We determine comparatively high DeltaE-2000 deviations and a slight green cast. There are some outliers when it comes to the colors, too, so you should calibrate the panel if possible. You can also install our calibrated profile, which is linked in the display box above (How to install a color profile).

CalMAN: Grayscale pre-calibration
CalMAN: Grayscale pre-calibration
CalMAN: Saturation Sweeps pre-calibration
CalMAN: Saturation Sweeps pre-calibration
CalMAN: ColorChecker pre-calibration
CalMAN: ColorChecker pre-calibration

It is easy to calibrate the WQHD panel and our measurements show big improvements for the grayscale as well as the colors. There is only one outlier (100% red) that surpasses a DeltaE value of 3. The slight color cast is gone as well.

CalMAN: Grayscale post calibration
CalMAN: Grayscale post calibration
CalMAN: Saturation Sweeps post calibration
CalMAN: Saturation Sweeps post calibration
CalMAN: ColorChecker post calibration
CalMAN: ColorChecker post calibration

The smaller sRGB reference is almost covered completely, and the wider AdobeRGB gamut still by 68.4%. The color accuracy is good, so you can use the WQHD model of the ThinkPad T480s for some picture editing.

sRGB: 98 %
sRGB: 98 %
AdobeRGB: 68.4 %
AdobeRGB: 68.4 %

The T480s obviously benefits from the matte screen outdoors. Reflections are not a big issue, which is also shown by the comparison with the glossy screen of the X1 Carbon 2018 HDR. Thanks to the good luminance, which is not reduced on battery, you can also work comfortable in bright environments.

The viewing angle stability of the IPS panel is very good. Colors remain stable even at wider shifts, and the content only gets a bit brighter. However, there should not be any limitations in practice.

T480s (left) vs. X1 Carbon 2018 HDR (right) – cloudy sky
T480s (left) vs. X1 Carbon 2018 HDR (right) – cloudy sky
T480s (left) vs. X1 Carbon 2018 HDR (right) – cloudy sky
T480s (left) vs. X1 Carbon 2018 HDR (right) – cloudy sky
Viewing angle stability WQHD panel
Viewing angle stability WQHD panel

Performance – Quad-Core ULV and PCIe-SSD

Our test model is shipped without an operating system by default. Windows 10 Home 64 (as well as the drivers) were installed by the retailer Campuspoint. The following benchmarks and measurements were determined with these settings as well. More precisely: The processor can consume up to 44 W, and not only for short periods. This is probably connected with the cooling solution, which was probably designed with the optional MX150 GPU in mind since it consists of two heat pipes. Previous ThinkPad models often used one heat pipe for integrated GPUs, while models SKUs with dGPUs often get an additional one for improved heat dissipation.

The installation of Lenovo's Power Management Driver changed this behavior dramatically and limits the consumption to just 15 W. Even the slimmer X1 Carbon 2018 and the X280 can consume more power. The driver is from December 2017, so there is a chance it was not yet optimized for the T480s. We therefore raised the limit manually.

The PowerLimit at 44 W would suit the SKU with the dedicated MX150 GPU, which has a typical TDP of 25 W.

Note: BIOS 1.10 was released during the review, but it has no effect on the performance or fan activity.

Every ThinkPad is equipped with 4 or 8 GB soldered RAM (DDR4-2133 or DDR4-2400 depending on the CPU) in a single-channel configuration. It is, however, no problem to install up to 24 GB thanks to the additional SODIMM slot.

LatencyMon during playback of a YouTube video
LatencyMon during playback of a YouTube video

Processor

Our SKU is equipped with Intel's smallest quad-core ULV processor. The Core i5-8250U runs at up to 3.4 GHz on all four cores. More technical information for the processor is available here.

Thanks to the increased TDP limitation, the processor executes the Cinebench R15 Multi test with the full 4x 3.4 GHz, which results in an excellent score of 728 points. The processor gets quite warm (~90 °C), but can utilize its full performance potential and consumes about 30 W. The ThinkPad T480s even surpasses some units with the 45 W chip Core i7-7700HQ. The score drops to just 549 points with the previously mentioned 15 W limit.

Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
Intel Core i7-8550U
168 Points ∼100% +17%
Lenovo ThinkPad T470s-20HGS00V00
Intel Core i7-7600U
162 Points ∼96% +13%
Dell Latitude 7480
Intel Core i7-7600U
162 Points ∼96% +13%
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02D00
Intel Core i5-8250U
143 Points ∼85%
Asus ROG Strix GL702VI-WB74
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
142 Points ∼85% -1%
Average Intel Core i5-8250U
  (81 - 147, n=72)
141 Points ∼84% -1%
Asus GL702VM-GC102D
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
134 Points ∼80% -6%
Fujitsu LifeBook U747
Intel Core i5-7200U
130 Points ∼77% -9%
Lenovo ThinkPad T470-20HD002HGE
Intel Core i5-7200U
126 Points ∼75% -12%
HP EliteBook 840 G4-Z2V49ET ABD
Intel Core i5-7200U
119 Points ∼71% -17%
Average of class Office
  (20 - 178, n=456)
107 Points ∼64% -25%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02D00
Intel Core i5-8250U
724 Points ∼100%
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02D00
Intel Core i5-8250U
716 Points ∼99% -1%
Asus ROG Strix GL702VI-WB74
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
723 Points ∼100% 0%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
Intel Core i7-8550U
708 Points ∼98% -2%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
Intel Core i7-8550U
648 Points ∼90% -10%
Asus GL702VM-GC102D
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
678 Points ∼94% -6%
Average Intel Core i5-8250U
  (320 - 730, n=75)
569 Points ∼79% -21%
Lenovo ThinkPad T470s-20HGS00V00
Intel Core i7-7600U
368 Points ∼51% -49%
Dell Latitude 7480
Intel Core i7-7600U
343 Points ∼47% -53%
Fujitsu LifeBook U747
Intel Core i5-7200U
331 Points ∼46% -54%
HP EliteBook 840 G4-Z2V49ET ABD
Intel Core i5-7200U
329 Points ∼45% -55%
Lenovo ThinkPad T470-20HD002HGE
Intel Core i5-7200U
326 Points ∼45% -55%
Average of class Office
  (36 - 1050, n=460)
311 Points ∼43% -57%
0102030405060708090100110120130140150160170180190200210220230240250260270280290300310320330340350360370380390400410420430440450460470480490500510520530540550560570580590600610620630640650660670680690700710720Tooltip
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64 Bit Red. Standard, Yellow: Undervolting

Our Cinebench Multi loop shows that the cooling solution can handle the higher consumption. The score only fluctuates slightly during the first 20 runs, before the system will eventually decrease the TDP to 24 W (4x 3.0 GHz) for short periods. we determine the following average results after 50 runs (~55 minutes): 3274 MHz, 88.4 °C (CPU Package) and 28.3 W.

The surfaces warm up noticeable, but we can only measure more than 50 °C in the area right above the fan exhaust. The center keyboard area is at ~43 °C, while the bottom warms up to 46 °C – overall lower results compared to the X1 Carbon 2018, despite the better performance.

Note Undervolting: We managed to reduce the core voltage of our processor by 125 mV, which stabilizes the performance and reduce both the temperature as well as the consumption at the same time. All the exact values are listed in this dedicated article.

Temperatures after ~1h Cinebench Multi loop
Temperatures after ~1h Cinebench Multi loop
Temperatures after ~1h Cinebench Multi loop (bottom)
Temperatures after ~1h Cinebench Multi loop (bottom)
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
143 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
716 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
43.99 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
97.8 %
Help

System Performance

The subjective performance impression of the new ThinkPad T480s is very good thanks to the fast processor and especially the PCIe-SSD. There are no stutters, Windows boots up quickly, and applications are launched without any noticeable delays.

This impression is unfortunately not fully represented by the synthetic PCMarks, because our test model is usually in the lower half of the ranking. However, all the comparison devices are equipped with fast components and the differences are not huge. Even small driver issues or missing optimizations can have an effect here. Another RAM module would help as well.

PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
Dell Latitude 7480
HD Graphics 620, 7600U, Intel SSDSCKKF256H6
5052 Points ∼100% +12%
Lenovo ThinkPad T470s-20HGS00V00
HD Graphics 620, 7600U, Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0)
4856 Points ∼96% +8%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ-000L7
4664 Points ∼92% +3%
Fujitsu LifeBook U747
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, Samsung MZYTY256HDHP
4653 Points ∼92% +3%
Average Intel Core i5-8250U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (2699 - 5106, n=43)
4653 Points ∼92% +3%
HP EliteBook 840 G4-Z2V49ET ABD
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
4572 Points ∼90% +1%
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02D00
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ-000L7
4508 Points ∼89%
Average of class Office
  (1226 - 5428, n=290)
3928 Points ∼78% -13%
Home Score Accelerated v2
Dell Latitude 7480
HD Graphics 620, 7600U, Intel SSDSCKKF256H6
3985 Points ∼100% +14%
Lenovo ThinkPad T470s-20HGS00V00
HD Graphics 620, 7600U, Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0)
3968 Points ∼100% +13%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ-000L7
3752 Points ∼94% +7%
Average Intel Core i5-8250U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (3076 - 4458, n=51)
3625 Points ∼91% +3%
Fujitsu LifeBook U747
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, Samsung MZYTY256HDHP
3506 Points ∼88% 0%
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02D00
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ-000L7
3503 Points ∼88%
HP EliteBook 840 G4-Z2V49ET ABD
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
3486 Points ∼87% 0%
Average of class Office
  (1169 - 4458, n=334)
2998 Points ∼75% -14%
PCMark 10 - Score
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ-000L7
3905 Points ∼100% +8%
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02D00
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ-000L7
3602 Points ∼92%
Average Intel Core i5-8250U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (2208 - 4081, n=46)
3309 Points ∼85% -8%
Average of class Office
  (803 - 4269, n=77)
3136 Points ∼80% -13%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3503 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
4711 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
4508 points
Help

Storage Devices – Samsung PM981

Samsung PM981 M.2 SSD
Samsung PM981 M.2 SSD

The M.2 drive is provided by Samsung and carries the designation PM981. It is the latest PCIe-SSD from the Korean manufacturer and the successor to the popular PM961. You do not have to worry about the performance of the drive, because the transfer rates are great in all tests. AS SSD is the only exception, because we did not get any useful results. However, we already know this problem from other PCIe-SSDs.

You can also equip the M.2 slot for the WWAN module with a small SSD (M.2-2242) in theory, which was also the case for earlier ThinkPad models. However, there is no information in the spec sheet, and we did not have a corresponding SSD for testing.

You can use our comprehensive database for the comparison with other SSDs and conventional hard drives.

Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ-000L7
Sequential Read: 1540 MB/s
Sequential Write: 1613.2 MB/s
512K Read: 834.67 MB/s
512K Write: 1715.92 MB/s
4K Read: 66.88 MB/s
4K Write: 160.65 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 444.91 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 342.95 MB/s

GPU Performance

GPU-Z Intel UHD Graphics 620
GPU-Z Intel UHD Graphics 620

Our test model of the ThinkPad T480s is only equipped with the integrated UHD Graphics 620. This graphics adapter is a rebranded version of the old HD Graphics 620 with a slightly higher core clock; up to 1100 MHz in combination with the Core i5-8250U. The efficient iGPU with its integrated decoder is an excellent choice for multimedia purposes and the playback of high-resolution videos. The benchmark results are average and would benefit from another RAM module. The performance is not reduced on battery power.

Need more GPU performance? The ThinkPad T480s is also available with a dedicated Nvidia MX150 GPU. This graphics card is at least twice at fast, and even faster in some scenarios. More benchmarks and comparisons are available here.

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02E00
NVIDIA GeForce MX150, Intel Core i7-8550U
3551 Points ∼100% +117%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-8550U
1901 Points ∼54% +16%
Lenovo ThinkPad T470s-20HGS00V00
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-7600U
1777 Points ∼50% +9%
Average Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (1235 - 1915, n=83)
1650 Points ∼46% +1%
Dell Latitude 7480
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-7600U
1648 Points ∼46% +1%
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02D00
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8250U
1633 Points ∼46%
Lenovo ThinkPad T470-20HD002HGE
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7200U
1432 Points ∼40% -12%
HP EliteBook 840 G4-Z2V49ET ABD
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7200U
1413 Points ∼40% -13%
Fujitsu LifeBook U747
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7200U
1409 Points ∼40% -14%
Average of class Office
  (185 - 4967, n=581)
1195 Points ∼34% -27%
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02E00
NVIDIA GeForce MX150, Intel Core i7-8550U
2807 Points ∼100% +191%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-8550U
1283 Points ∼46% +33%
Lenovo ThinkPad T470s-20HGS00V00
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-7600U
1176 Points ∼42% +22%
Average Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (819 - 1336, n=72)
1070 Points ∼38% +11%
Dell Latitude 7480
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-7600U
1008 Points ∼36% +5%
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02D00
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8250U
963 Points ∼34%
Average of class Office
  (138 - 4109, n=417)
919 Points ∼33% -5%
Lenovo ThinkPad T470-20HD002HGE
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7200U
818 Points ∼29% -15%
Fujitsu LifeBook U747
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7200U
799 Points ∼28% -17%
HP EliteBook 840 G4-Z2V49ET ABD
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7200U
738 Points ∼26% -23%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02E00
NVIDIA GeForce MX150, Intel Core i7-8550U
17743 Points ∼100% +132%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-8550U
10123 Points ∼57% +32%
Lenovo ThinkPad T470s-20HGS00V00
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-7600U
9610 Points ∼54% +25%
Average Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (6910 - 10493, n=76)
8674 Points ∼49% +13%
Dell Latitude 7480
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-7600U
8555 Points ∼48% +12%
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02D00
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8250U
7658 Points ∼43%
HP EliteBook 840 G4-Z2V49ET ABD
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7200U
6864 Points ∼39% -10%
Lenovo ThinkPad T470-20HD002HGE
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7200U
6824 Points ∼38% -11%
Fujitsu LifeBook U747
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7200U
6803 Points ∼38% -11%
Average of class Office
  (1208 - 27117, n=461)
6438 Points ∼36% -16%
3DMark 11 Performance
1767 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
51451 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
7407 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
896 points
Help

Gaming Performance

The gaming capabilities of the T480s with the iGPU are limited to older or less demanding titles. The frame rates would be better with an additional RAM module, but SKUs with the Nvidia GPU will be the better choice for gaming ambitions.

low med. high ultra
Tomb Raider (2013) 81.641.223fps
BioShock Infinite (2013) 44.528.323.57.7fps
Dota 2 (2013) 56.937.415.3fps
Battlefield 4 (2013) 42.73823fps

Emissions

System Noise

The cooling solution leaves a sophisticated impression. Short peak load or the installation of applications are usually handled without any fan activity. We did not experience any electronic noises or coil whine, respectively, so the T480s is often a silent system.

Note: The following measurements were performed with the original 44 W TDP limit. The 15 W limit of Lenovo's Power Management Driver results in a maximum fan noise of 33.6 dB(A).

It takes about 30 seconds before the fan starts spinning at 33.6 dB(A) in 3DMark 06. It will jump to 36.9 dB(A) after another minute (the end of the first benchmark sequence).

We can measure 33.6 dB(A) in the Cinebench Single test, while the value fluctuates between 36.9 - 38.3 dB(A) in the CB Multi loop. The latter value is also the maximum during the stress test. The fan quickly reduces its speed after the load period and will run for a short while at 31.3 dB(A) depending on the CPU temperature. The fan noise in not very high-pitched and therefore not annoying.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2033.530.730.132.234.833.52528.428.827.326.930.330.93137.634.233.531.935.433.24031.229.130.429.330.329502728.42726.126.628.5632626.426.325.625.825.38025.425.72724.624.723.810026.124.526.724.723.92512523.823.123.623.424.823.816023.72323.22224.127.120022.12524.325.623.92425021.622.721.921.421.823.131519.621.120.820.720.120.84001919.919.519.618.219.45001921.820.419.717.319.363018.823.522.119.81719.980018.422.221.119.516.518100018.124.12220.516.517.3125018.224.32320.115.816.9160020.128.126.922.915.716.5200020.329.326.623.515.416.2250019.429.426.82315.515.9315021.83128.825.21616.2400018.828.726.621.916.216.6500017.125.923.118.816.716.8630017.12119.117.51717.3800017.319.818.317.717.217.51000017.418.718.117.717.417.51250017.520.318.418.417.317.61600017.219.918.41917.217.3SPL31.338.936.933.628.929.7N1.52.82.41.81.21.3median 19Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02D00median 23.1median 22.1median 20.5median 17.2median 17.5Delta1.82.93.521.82.1hearing rangehide median Fan Noise

Temperature

Stress test at the default 15W TDP
Stress test at the default 15W TDP

The surface temperatures are very low while idling and under load at less than 23 °C. The temperature distribution is very even and there is no hot spot. We performed our stress test twice, once with the default 15 W TDP limit and once with the 44 W limit.

The stress test at 15 W does not reveal any surprises. The processor consumption (including the iGPU) drops to 15 W after about 10 seconds, which results in a CPU clock of 4x 1.2 GHz + 700 MHz GPU. The temperature distribution is similar to the Cinebench tests we performed earlier, but the general temperature level is much lower. We can only measure little more than 40 °C around the fan exhaust. The fan noise was steady at 33.6 dB(A) during the whole test. The temperatures for the 15 W stress test are listed as Witcher 3 results in the diagram below.

It obviously gets warmer with the increased power limit. We have added the detailed performance data of the one-hour test below. Both the clock (and there the consumption) begin to fluctuate after a while, we also determine different fan levels. It is either 33.6 dB(A) (4x 1.4-1.5 GHz CPU, 900 MHz CPU, ~42 W system consumption) or 36.9 dB(A) (4x 1.6 GHz CPU, 1000 MHz GPU, ~48 W system consumption). The warmest spot is about 10 °C warmer, and you should not use the system on your lap in this scenario. However, these temperatures are still okay considering the level of performance.

Clock, temperature and consumption during the stress test (44 W)
Clock, temperature and consumption during the stress test (44 W)
Max. Load
 39.4 °C
103 F
43.4 °C
110 F
50.1 °C
122 F
 
 39.5 °C
103 F
42.6 °C
109 F
48.4 °C
119 F
 
 31.9 °C
89 F
34.3 °C
94 F
33.7 °C
93 F
 
Maximum: 50.1 °C = 122 F
Average: 40.4 °C = 105 F
41.4 °C
107 F
46.1 °C
115 F
39.2 °C
103 F
41.6 °C
107 F
44 °C
111 F
38.6 °C
101 F
32.9 °C
91 F
34.5 °C
94 F
32.2 °C
90 F
Maximum: 46.1 °C = 115 F
Average: 38.9 °C = 102 F
Power Supply (max.)  40.1 °C = 104 F | Room Temperature 19.3 °C = 67 F | Voltcraft IR-900
Stress test (15 W)
Stress test (15 W)
Stress test (15 W) top
Stress test (15 W) top
Stress test (15 W) bottom
Stress test (15 W) bottom
Stress test (44 W)
Stress test (44 W)
Stress test (44 W) top
Stress test (44 W) top
Stress test (44 W) bottom
Stress test (44 W) bottom

Speakers

The two stereo speakers of the ThinkPad T480s are well-suited for voice playback in calls or video conferences, for example. We are no impressed by the performance in other scenarios though, because the "sound" is extremely thin and is just not very pleasant when you listen to music or watch videos. You should use a pair of headphones or external speakers if possible.

The microphone left a much better impression with clear voices and not much ambient noise. It is usually not necessary to use an external headset.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2034.838.12530.330.33135.433.94030.331.95026.626.46325.825.38024.724.310023.924.812524.828.816024.137.420023.945.725021.850.631520.154.340018.256.250017.3646301773.480016.572.6100016.567125015.859.1160015.760.6200015.461.8250015.558.831501659.5400016.264.9500016.768.563001767.3800017.2601000017.457.21250017.354.11600017.248SPL28.978.1N1.240.7median 17.2Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02D00median 59.1Delta1.88hearing rangehide median Pink Noise
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02D00 audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (78.1 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 18.9% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (11.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 5.9% higher than median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (10.8% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 3.9% away from median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (8.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (21.1% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 56% of all tested devices in this class were better, 13% similar, 32% worse
» The best had a delta of 8%, average was 20%, worst was 51%
Compared to all devices tested
» 48% of all tested devices were better, 8% similar, 44% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Frequency Comparison (Checkboxes select/deselectable!)

Energy Management

Power Consumption

Lenovo managed to improve the power consumption compared to the predecessor, especially in light workload scenarios. However, there are no big surprises here. All three competitors from Dell, Fujitsu, and HP are slightly more efficient, but they also feature displays with lower resolutions.

We measured a maximum consumption of 67.1 W, but this is limited to a couple of minutes during our stress test before it drops. This is not perfect considering the 65 W PSU, but we did not detect a discharge of the battery, so the power adapter seems to have sufficient headroom. The consumption will level off between 42-48 W during the stress test with the increased TDP limit; while our measurement device show about 30 W after a few seconds with the default 15 W limitation.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.31 / 0.56 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 3.1 / 6.8 / 10.1 Watt
Load midlight 48.4 / 67.1 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02D00
8250U, UHD Graphics 620, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ-000L7, IPS, 2560x1440, 14
Lenovo ThinkPad T470s-20HGS00V00
7600U, HD Graphics 620, Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0), IPS, 2560x1440, 14
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
8550U, UHD Graphics 620, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ-000L7, IPS, 2560x1440, 14
HP EliteBook 840 G4-Z2V49ET ABD
7200U, HD Graphics 620, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP, TN, 1920x1080, 14
Dell Latitude 7480
7600U, HD Graphics 620, Intel SSDSCKKF256H6, IPS, 1920x1080, 14
Fujitsu LifeBook U747
7200U, HD Graphics 620, Samsung MZYTY256HDHP, IPS LED, 1920x1080, 14
Power Consumption
-6%
-10%
27%
20%
11%
Idle Minimum *
3.1
4.64
-50%
3.8
-23%
2.9
6%
4.32
-39%
4.11
-33%
Idle Average *
6.8
8.93
-31%
8.9
-31%
5.6
18%
6.27
8%
7.87
-16%
Idle Maximum *
10.1
9.12
10%
11.9
-18%
8.15
19%
6.35
37%
8.74
13%
Load Average *
48.4
42.2
13%
47.5
2%
30.6
37%
29.82
38%
30.2
38%
Load Maximum *
67.1
47.3
30%
52.5
22%
31
54%
30.64
54%
32.4
52%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Runtime

Charging
Charging

The chassis is a bit slimmer, but Lenovo still managed to increase the battery capacity from 51 to 57 Wh thanks to the new single battery layout. The display seems to be a bit more efficient as well, which results in very good battery runtimes.

The stamina is now better than before, especially in the practical tests at an adjusted luminance of 150 nits. Our WLAN test runs for about nine hours and therefore two hours longer compared to the T470s (also WQHD). Our video loop even lasts more than 12 hours – 4.5 hours more.

The battery supports the RapidCharge feature, which provides 80 % of the battery capacity after just 60 minutes. We can confirm this statement with a tolerance of a few minutes. The last couple of percent take longer, which is normal, so the total charging time adds up to 115 minutes.

Battery Runtime
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3 (Edge)
8h 57min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
12h 01min
Load (maximum brightness)
2h 04min
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02D00
8250U, UHD Graphics 620, 57 Wh
Lenovo ThinkPad T470s-20HGS00V00
7600U, HD Graphics 620, 51 Wh
Lenovo ThinkPad T470-20HD002HGE
7200U, HD Graphics 620, 48 Wh
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
8550U, UHD Graphics 620, 57 Wh
HP EliteBook 840 G4-Z2V49ET ABD
7200U, HD Graphics 620, 51 Wh
Dell Latitude 7480
7600U, HD Graphics 620, 60 Wh
Fujitsu LifeBook U747
7200U, HD Graphics 620, 50 Wh
Battery Runtime
-28%
-14%
-13%
12%
36%
-19%
H.264
721
454
-37%
623
-14%
566
-21%
591
-18%
490
-32%
WiFi v1.3
537
417
-22%
438
-18%
519
-3%
571
6%
719
34%
430
-20%
Load
124
93
-25%
110
-11%
106
-15%
184
48%
171
38%
117
-6%

Verdict

Pros

+ high quality chassis
+ excellent input devices
+ long battery runtime
+ very good matte WQHD panel
+ combination of modern and familiar ports
+ WWAN-ready
+ 3-year warranty
+ good performance utilization
+ fast PCIe-SSD
+ many security features

Cons

- high surface temperatures
- drivers not perfectly optimized yet
- bad speakers
- ThinkShutter camera cover only with the bad HD webcam
In review: Lenovo ThinkPad T480s. Test model courtesy of Campuspoint.
In review: Lenovo ThinkPad T480s. Test model courtesy of Campuspoint.

The ThinkPad T480s is a very interesting device and probably the most complete 14-inch business laptop from Lenovo right now. The previous model still suffered from some drawbacks, and most of them have been fixed for the 2018 edition.

The cooling solution between the SKUs with the integrated and the dedicated GPU seems to be identical, so the is sufficient headroom for the cooling of the quad-core ULV processor. The default Lenovo driver currently still limits the TDP to 15 W, which is very low. The cooling solution also handles the Core i5 quad-core very well even without the limitation, but this also results in higher temperatures and a louder fan. You can therefore choose between maximum performance or a cooler and quieter device. The performance is sufficient for many daily tasks, even with the 15 W limitation.

Back to old strengths: Lenovo improves the T480s at the right spots and presents a compelling package, which can convince us in the right sections.

There are not really any major drawbacks in the other sections, either. The speakers are back, just like the HD webcam. Core disciplines like the case, connectivity, display, input devices, and battery runtime, however, do not disappoint. After a weaker year for the ThinkPad T470s, the T480s is once again one of the best business laptops you can get.

Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02D00 - 03/17/2018 v6
Andreas Osthoff

Chassis
94 / 98 → 96%
Keyboard
94%
Pointing Device
89%
Connectivity
68 / 80 → 86%
Weight
71 / 20-67 → 100%
Battery
92%
Display
90%
Games Performance
57 / 68 → 84%
Application Performance
90 / 92 → 98%
Temperature
88%
Noise
96%
Audio
68%
Camera
46 / 85 → 54%
Average
80%
91%
Office - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Lenovo ThinkPad T480s (i5, WQHD) Laptop Review
Andreas Osthoff, 2018-02-20 (Update: 2018-04-17)
Andreas Osthoff
Andreas Osthoff - Senior Editor Business
I grew up with computers and modern consumer electronics. I am interested in the technology since I had my first computer, a Commodore C64, and started building my own PCs after that. My focus here at Notebookcheck is the business segment including mobile workstations, but I also like to test new mobile devices. It is always a great experience to review and compare new products. My free time is filled with a lot of sports, in the summer mainly on my bike.