Notebookcheck

Lenovo ThinkPad T480s (i7-8550U, MX150 Max-Q) Laptop Review

Benjamin Herzig, Felicitas Krohn (translated by Marius S.), 03/27/2018

Even more versatile thanks to GeForce. We just recently tested the ThinkPad T480s, the latest model in a long series of high-quality 14 inch T series ThinkPads. Now we’re testing the same model – this time with a stronger CPU and the GeForce MX150 Max-Q. Can it confirm the strong results of the lower priced T480s? Find out in the following detailed test update. Update: Stress test with BIOS 1.11

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Usually, Lenovo Thinkpad laptops aren’t associated with gaming. Yet it is tradition for models of the ThinkPad T series to be equipped with GeForce graphics chips. That said, dedicated GPUs are available optionally at best and due to the business and office focus of ThinkPads, Lenovo only uses low end chips.

The ThinkPad T470s was one of the models that generally wasn’t available with a dGPU. This changes with the T480s, but Lenovo doesn’t seem to see the need for a dGPU in Europe: Officially, the T480 with dedicated graphics chip is not supposed to be available in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) region. Still, we managed to get a hold of a T480s with a dedicated graphics chip as our test device. This is possible through the campus program for students and others in the educational sector entitled to benefit, which offers special configurations – models that aren’t otherwise commercially available. Today’s test device not only comes with a Nvidia GeForce MX150 but also with an Intel Core i7-8550U, a WQHD display as well as 16 GB RAM and a 512 GB SSD – this high-end model is exclusively available through the campus program for 1.499 euros. A similar configuration for normal customers costs close to 2200 euros in Lenovo’s web shop. Do note that as per usual with Lenovo Campus ThinkPads, Windows doesn’t come preinstalled.

Since we have already tested the T480s without Nvidia GPU, this review is a test update. For more information regarding case, features and peripherals we would like to refer you to the other test of the T480s.

Update 24.03.2018: Further games tested, stress test repeated with BIOS version 1.11.

Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02E00 (ThinkPad T480s Series)
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce MX150 - 2048 MB, Core: 933 - 1038 MHz MHz, Memory: 1252.5 MHz, GDDR5, 388.16, Optimus
Memory
16384 MB 
, 8 GB-DDR4-2400 soldered on, 8 GB SO-DIMM, max. 24 GB
Display
14 inch 16:9, 2560 x 1440 pixel 210 PPI, LP140QH2-SPB1, IPS LED, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel Kaby Lake-U + iHDCP 2.2 Premium PCH
Storage
Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ, 512 GB 
, 2280 M.2, PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe
Soundcard
Realtek ALC3287
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: Combo audio, Card Reader: 4-in-1 SD card reader, 1 SmartCard, 1 Fingerprint Reader
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
Camera
Webcam: 720p
Additional features
Speakers: 1 watt stereo, Keyboard: 6 rows chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, 36 Months Warranty
Weight
1.347 kg ( = 47.51 oz / 2.97 pounds), Power Supply: 356 g ( = 12.56 oz / 0.78 pounds)
Price
1500 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Size comparison

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% +154%
Lenovo ThinkPad T470s-20HGS00V00
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
79.3 MB/s ∼41% +5%
Dell Latitude 7480
  (Toshiba (Exceria Pro SDXC UHS-II 64 GB)
75.85 MB/s ∼40% +1%
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02E00
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
75.2 MB/s ∼39%
Average of class Office
  (10.2 - 191, n=232)
60.8 MB/s ∼32% -19%
maximum AS SSD Seq Read Test (1GB)
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
223.9 MB/s ∼100% +156%
Dell Latitude 7480
  (Toshiba (Exceria Pro SDXC UHS-II 64 GB)
91.96 MB/s ∼41% +5%
Lenovo ThinkPad T470s-20HGS00V00
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
90.5 MB/s ∼40% +4%
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02E00
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
87.4 MB/s ∼39%
Average of class Office
  (9.5 - 255, n=209)
78 MB/s ∼35% -11%
Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Lenovo ThinkPad T470s-20HGS00V00
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
639 MBit/s ∼100% +3%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
633 MBit/s ∼99% +2%
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02E00
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
623 MBit/s ∼97%
Average of class Office
  (5 - 688, n=174)
458 MBit/s ∼72% -26%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02E00
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
515 MBit/s ∼100%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
511 MBit/s ∼99% -1%
Average of class Office
  (34 - 688, n=174)
425 MBit/s ∼83% -17%
Lenovo ThinkPad T470s-20HGS00V00
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
297 MBit/s ∼58% -42%

Display – WQHD IPS screen by LG

Subpixel array LP140QH2-SPB1
Subpixel array LP140QH2-SPB1
Almost no backlight bleeding
Almost no backlight bleeding

As with our original test device, this Lenovo ThinkPad T480s, too, is equipped with an IPS WQHD (2.560 x 1.440), the most expensive display option – alternatively available are Full HD displays with or without touch feature. All displays used in T series notebooks are matte.

The display option isn’t just the same on paper, but the panel used is practically identical to that of the T480s without Nvidia GPU. The panel has the model number LP140QH2-SPB1 and is made by LG – one of two possible QHD panels for the T480s, according to a parts list from Lenovo there is an LCD by AUO. Sadly this display is not used here, since it would have made for an interesting comparison.

The installed LG panel is of interest nonetheless, being a good example of series deviation. Though it is the same display according to model number, as with all displays no LCD panel is identical to another, variance is unavoidable.

The biggest deviation we measured was in terms of brightness: While the first T480s with an LG WQHD LCD was able to put out 343 cd/m², today’s model only managed 302 cd/m². Thus the panel just barely reaches the 300 cd/m² mark that Lenovo uses to advertise the display. So the deviation is in line with the specifications. Compared with its competitors the display doesn’t look bad in terms of brightness, with only the ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018 pulling ahead significantly. Though it should be noted that HP offers displays capable of 400 cd/m² and almost 700 cd/m² in their new EliteBook 840 G5, yet so far we haven’t been able to test this model.

Illumination is fairly even at 91%, which matches up with the practically absent backlight bleed. We also weren’t able to detect PWM.

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298
cd/m²
310
cd/m²
297
cd/m²
298
cd/m²
311
cd/m²
293
cd/m²
321
cd/m²
298
cd/m²
296
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 321 cd/m² Average: 302.4 cd/m² Minimum: 4.7 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 91 %
Center on Battery: 313 cd/m²
Contrast: 864:1 (Black: 0.36 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 3 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.2, calibrated: 1.7
ΔE Greyscale 4 | 0.64-98 Ø6.5
96.7% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 66.7% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.17
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02E00
LP140QH2-SPB1, , 2560x1440, 14
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02D00
LP140QH2-SPB1, , 2560x1440, 14
Lenovo ThinkPad T470s-20HGS00V00
B140QAN01.5, , 2560x1440, 14
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
B140QAN02.0, , 2560x1440, 14
HP EliteBook 840 G4-Z2V22ES ABD
AUO133D, , 1920x1080, 14
Dell Latitude 7480
LG Philips LGD0557, , 1920x1080, 14
Response Times
-4%
-16%
-44%
12%
-12%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
36 (17.6, 18.4)
38.4 (19.6, 18.8)
-7%
46.4 (20.4, 26)
-29%
59.2 (28.4, 30.8)
-64%
33.6 (15.6, 18)
7%
40.8 (19.2, 21.6)
-13%
Response Time Black / White *
28 (15.6, 12.4)
28.4 (15.6, 12.8)
-1%
28.8 (16.4, 12.4)
-3%
34.4 (16.4, 18)
-23%
23.2 (13.2, 10)
17%
31.2 (18.8, 12.4)
-11%
PWM Frequency
Screen
-7%
-25%
38%
-5%
6%
Brightness middle
311
352
13%
327
5%
578
86%
289
-7%
344
11%
Brightness
302
343
14%
311
3%
533
76%
274
-9%
321
6%
Brightness Distribution
91
91
0%
88
-3%
84
-8%
82
-10%
85
-7%
Black Level *
0.36
0.46
-28%
0.25
31%
0.38
-6%
0.17
53%
0.32
11%
Contrast
864
765
-11%
1308
51%
1521
76%
1700
97%
1075
24%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
3
3.3
-10%
6.1
-103%
1.9
37%
4.7
-57%
2.6
13%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
6.1
7.3
-20%
12.2
-100%
3.8
38%
8.6
-41%
7.8
-28%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 calibrated *
1.7
0.8
53%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
4
5.3
-33%
8.8
-120%
3
25%
6.4
-60%
2.6
35%
Gamma
2.17 101%
2.22 99%
2.18 101%
2.14 103%
2.22 99%
2.28 96%
CCT
6961 93%
6452 101%
6172 105%
6377 102%
6454 101%
7050 92%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
66.7
68.4
3%
61.56
-8%
88.8
33%
60.3
-10%
65.82
-1%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
96.7
98
1%
94.88
-2%
100
3%
92.3
-5%
92.27
-5%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-6% / -7%
-21% / -23%
-3% / 25%
4% / -2%
-3% / 3%

* ... smaller is better

Color values
Color values
Saturation
Saturation
Grey values
Grey values
Color values (calibrated)
Color values (calibrated)
Saturation (calibrated)
Saturation (calibrated)
Grey values (calibrated)
Grey values (calibrated)

While brightness is deviates downward, the contrast is minimally better at 864:1 compared to 765:1 of our other T480s. The difference is minimal and with a display in this price range we would have hoped for 1000:1 or more – making contrast not just good but great. Still, subjectively the impression of the display is excellent, concerning both color accuracy and sharpness. We were able to notice a slight green tint ex-factory. This deviation can be fixed through calibration, as usual the ICC profile we created is available as a free download.

We measured our first T480s test device to be at 98% sRGB. Here, the built-in panel comes in slightly lower at 96.7 %. This way the panel is still suitable for semiprofessional image processing. One step above this is the ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018 that surpasses it particularly with a much higher AdobeRGB value.

sRGB: 96,7 %
sRGB: 96,7 %
AdobeRBG: 66,7 %
AdobeRBG: 66,7 %
Outdoor operation (cloudy)
Outdoor operation (cloudy)

The matte surface and brightness of just above 300 cd/m² allow outdoor usage even in indirect sunlight. Only direct sunlight would require an even brighter display.

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
28 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 15.6 ms rise
↘ 12.4 ms fall
The screen shows relatively slow response rates in our tests and may be too slow for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 59 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (25.6 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
36 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 17.6 ms rise
↘ 18.4 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. » 27 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (41 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: 53 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 8933 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

As is typical for IPS displays, viewing angles are great. The LG display barely shows any IPS glow effect that sometimes occurs in IPS displays – a panel where this effect is noticeable is built into the ThinkPad X280, which we just recently tested.

Viewing angle stability LP140QH2-SPB1
Viewing angle stability LP140QH2-SPB1

Performance - stronger yet weaker

As mentioned in the introduction, the Nvidia GeForce MX150 is exclusively available in one model through the Lenovo campus program, the one we are testing today. If a dGPU is not needed, more options are available. There are generally 2 sources: It is possible to either order from a vendor or through Lenovo’s web shop. Ordering from Lenovo offers custom configuration, other vendors sell pre-configured builds. For regular customers the T480s begins at around 1.500 euros, the cheapest available campus program configuration costs about 1.260 euros.

As for the processor, potential buyers can choose between the Core i5-8250U, the Core i7-8550U as well as their vPro counterparts Core i5-8350U and Core i7-8650U – though vPro models are presently only available through Lenovo’s store. The selection of graphics chips is limited to the Intel UHD Graphics 620 – unless you purchase the campus model with the Nvidia GeForce MX150, which is the model we’re testing here.

All T480s variants in Germany come with at least 8 GB soldered-on RAM – in some countries 4 GB RAM variants seem to be available. Since the T480s has an additional SODIMM slot, a maximum of 24 GB DDR4-2400 RAM is possible. Like its predecessors, the T480s doesn’t come with a 2.5 inch slot anymore. Instead, the ThinkPad has a single M.2-2280 slot that is compatible with fast PCIe NVMe SSDs as well as SATA III SSDs. The highest capacity Lenovo offers at this time is 1 TB.

Further configurations differ in terms of WWAN, which is built into some models, keyboard lighting, which is optional in Lenovo’s store, as well as chassis color: A silver T480s is available in Lenovo’s store. Additionally you can choose between an infrared camera for Windows Hello and a 720p webcam with a ThinkShutter camera cover.

HWiNFO
HWiNFO
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z Caches
CPU-Z Caches
CPU-Z Mainboard
CPU-Z Mainboard
CPU-Z Memory
CPU-Z Memory
CPU-Z SPD
CPU-Z SPD
GPU-Z Intel UHD Graphics 620
GPU-Z Intel UHD Graphics 620
LatencyMon
LatencyMon

Processor

Cooling solution with two heat pipes
Cooling solution with two heat pipes

The Intel Core i7-8550U is a modern quad-core processor based on the Kaby Lake Refresh generation. It has a turbo boost frequency of 4 GHz and a base frequency of 1.8 GHz. To better understand the potential performance of this CPU we recommend our CPU benchmark table.

The lower priced T480s performed terrifically, setting a new performance record in the multi core test for the installed Intel Core i5-8250U. Therefore we were excited for the results of the Core i7-8550U. At first glance, the outcome is surprising, since the Core i7-8550U, though nominally faster, performs about the same as the Core i5-8250U.

This however is only true for this one particular Cinebench multi-core test. In a 30 minute Cinebench loop the Core i7 under continuous load is actually slower than the other T480s. This contradictory performance stems from the natural limitation of the cooling solution: Lenovo has set the TDP to the max for this CPU class at 44 watts. This enables the Core i7-8550U to run at 3,7 GHz – but the temperature rises rapidly, making the processor reduce its clock speed after just a few seconds. The temperature caused reduction in clock speed explains the reduced CPU performance after only a few iterations of the Cinebench test, the result stabilizes at about 620 points. The Core i5-8250U on the other hand performs better under continuous load, since its power consumption maxes out at 30 watts anyway, meaning it doesn’t need to exhaust the 44 watts TDP limit. This way the temperature of the cheaper processor model stays lower and its performance higher.

The performance limitation thus can’t be explained through an artificially set temperature or TDP limit. The capabilities of the cooling solution are simply exhausted and not strong enough to enable the processor to run at 44 watts permanently. The throttling happens due to the temperature being close to the tjunction point where an emergency shutdown would otherwise take place.

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Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64 Bit

Even though the Core i5-8250U in the T480s is faster than the Core i7-8550U in some scenarios, the CPU performance of the T480s with the i7, too, can only be described as excellent. This model, similarly, sets a new record in a Cinebench R15 Multicore stand-alone test, on average laptops with this processor are 21% slower – the results under continuous load are still above average as well. The only time where the i7-8550U inside the T480s has a real advantage over the i5-8250U is in a significantly higher single-thread performance, where the i7 pulls ahead by almost 20%.

Lenovo limits CPU performance in battery mode. As soon as the plug is pulled, processor TDP drops to 25 W (power limit 2) or 15 W (power limit 1). The CPU clock is at 3 GHz for 28 seconds in the multicore test, dropping to 2.4 GHz due to the 15 W TDP limit afterwards. This results in Cinebench score of 560 points in battery mode.

Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02E00
Intel Core i7-8550U
170 Points ∼100%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
Intel Core i7-8550U
168 Points ∼99% -1%
Lenovo ThinkPad T470s-20HGS00V00
Intel Core i7-7600U
162 Points ∼95% -5%
Dell Latitude 7480
Intel Core i7-7600U
162 Points ∼95% -5%
Average Intel Core i7-8550U
  (108 - 172, n=67)
160 Points ∼94% -6%
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02D00
Intel Core i5-8250U
143 Points ∼84% -16%
Average of class Office
  (20 - 178, n=478)
108 Points ∼64% -36%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02D00
Intel Core i5-8250U
724 Points ∼100% 0%
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02D00
Intel Core i5-8250U
716 Points ∼99% -1%
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02E00
Intel Core i7-8550U
723 Points ∼100%
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%
Average Intel Core i7-8550U
  (301 - 761, n=69)
575 Points ∼79% -20%
Lenovo ThinkPad T470s-20HGS00V00
Intel Core i7-7600U
368 Points ∼51% -49%
Dell Latitude 7480
Intel Core i7-7600U
343 Points ∼47% -53%
Average of class Office
  (36 - 1050, n=482)
318 Points ∼44% -56%
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
29780 Points
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
10745 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
6437
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
22188
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
10464
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
8436 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.94 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 32Bit
74.03 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 32Bit
7.28 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
7.84 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
72.6 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 32Bit
1.72 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
170 Points
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
99.6 %
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
101.68 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
723 Points
Help

System Performance

The PCMark scores aren’t above average for a laptop equipped with the Core i7-8550U and the GeForce MX150, but a slow performance in day-to-day usage should not be expected. The T480s always performs well and without needless interruptions.

PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
Dell Latitude 7480
HD Graphics 620, 7600U, Intel SSDSCKKF256H6
5052 Points ∼100% +3%
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02E00
GeForce MX150, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
4909 Points ∼97%
Lenovo ThinkPad T470s-20HGS00V00
HD Graphics 620, 7600U, Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0)
4856 Points ∼96% -1%
Average Intel Core i7-8550U, NVIDIA GeForce MX150
  (4063 - 5228, n=19)
4767 Points ∼94% -3%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
4664 Points ∼92% -5%
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02D00
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
4508 Points ∼89% -8%
Average of class Office
  (1226 - 5428, n=303)
3953 Points ∼78% -19%
Home Score Accelerated v2
Dell Latitude 7480
HD Graphics 620, 7600U, Intel SSDSCKKF256H6
3985 Points ∼100% +13%
Lenovo ThinkPad T470s-20HGS00V00
HD Graphics 620, 7600U, Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0)
3968 Points ∼100% +12%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
3752 Points ∼94% +6%
Average Intel Core i7-8550U, NVIDIA GeForce MX150
  (3145 - 4130, n=20)
3653 Points ∼92% +3%
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02E00
GeForce MX150, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
3540 Points ∼89%
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02D00
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
3503 Points ∼88% -1%
Average of class Office
  (1169 - 4458, n=355)
3009 Points ∼76% -15%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3540 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
4909 points
Help

Storage Solution

The T480s is equipped with a Samsung flash drive. The M.2-2280 NVMe PCIe SSD carries the model number PM981 and has a capacity of 512 GB. The measured performance of this drive is excellent, even surpassing the identical SSD inside the ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018.

There is however no guarantee that the T480s will be shipped with exactly this SSD. Lenovo’s parts list lists two more 512 GB SSDs: One by Toshiba, the other one by Lenovo themself. Without testing these SSDs we can’t form a conclusive judgement concerning their performance, especially the Lenovo SSD could be much slower though – at least if it performs similarly to the ThinkPad E480’s 256 GB Lenovo SSD.

Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02E00
Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
Lenovo ThinkPad T470s-20HGS00V00
Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0)
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
Dell Latitude 7480
Intel SSDSCKKF256H6
Average Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
 
CrystalDiskMark 3.0
-16%
-25%
-64%
-21%
Write 4k QD32
706.2
532.8
-25%
439.73
-38%
252.8
-64%
415 (265 - 706, n=12)
-41%
Read 4k QD32
446.6
629.8
41%
340.74
-24%
280.2
-37%
393 (311 - 514, n=12)
-12%
Write 4k
146.8
167.4
14%
132.93
-9%
90.51
-38%
132 (101 - 161, n=12)
-10%
Read 4k
62.65
53.15
-15%
60.58
-3%
29.25
-53%
61.8 (55.3 - 66.9, n=12)
-1%
Write 512
1863
1064
-43%
1272.32
-32%
306.8
-84%
1536 (565 - 1932, n=12)
-18%
Read 512
1799
832.3
-54%
419.29
-77%
354.3
-80%
1077 (419 - 1840, n=12)
-40%
Write Seq
1858
1666
-10%
1807.6
-3%
418.6
-77%
1532 (924 - 2100, n=12)
-18%
Read Seq
2588
1760
-32%
2326.8
-10%
486.5
-81%
1938 (922 - 2588, n=12)
-25%
Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
Sequential Read: 2588 MB/s
Sequential Write: 1858 MB/s
512K Read: 1799 MB/s
512K Write: 1863 MB/s
4K Read: 62.65 MB/s
4K Write: 146.8 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 446.6 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 706.2 MB/s

Graphics card – MX150 Max-Q

GPU-Z Nvidia GeForce MX150
GPU-Z Nvidia GeForce MX150

The Nvidia GeForce MX150 is a low end Nvidia pascal generation based graphics solution for notebooks. It was first introduced in the middle of last year and replaced the dated GeForce 940MX.  For a detailed comparison with other dedicated GPUs we recommend our GPU benchmark list.

The MX150 inside the T480s is clocked at up to 1038 MHz (boost). Thereby only achieving a below average result, it performs 17% worse than a MX150 does on average – this means Lenovo is using a Max-Q MX150. It is still a distinct performance plus compared to the Intel UHD Graphics 620, which, in the X1 Carbon 2018, is 46% slower.

Unlike the CPU, the graphics chip does not experience throttling in battery mode.

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
Average NVIDIA GeForce MX150
  (2796 - 4876, n=41)
4167 Points ∼100% +17%
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02E00
NVIDIA GeForce MX150, Intel Core i7-8550U
3551 Points ∼85%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-8550U
1901 Points ∼46% -46%
Lenovo ThinkPad T470s-20HGS00V00
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-7600U
1777 Points ∼43% -50%
Dell Latitude 7480
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-7600U
1648 Points ∼40% -54%
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02D00
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8250U
1633 Points ∼39% -54%
Average of class Office
  (185 - 4967, n=603)
1222 Points ∼29% -66%
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Average NVIDIA GeForce MX150
  (2323 - 3739, n=38)
3298 Points ∼100% +17%
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02E00
NVIDIA GeForce MX150, Intel Core i7-8550U
2807 Points ∼85%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-8550U
1283 Points ∼39% -54%
Lenovo ThinkPad T470s-20HGS00V00
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-7600U
1176 Points ∼36% -58%
Dell Latitude 7480
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-7600U
1008 Points ∼31% -64%
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02D00
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8250U
963 Points ∼29% -66%
Average of class Office
  (138 - 4109, n=430)
941 Points ∼29% -66%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics
Average NVIDIA GeForce MX150
  (16227 - 22183, n=37)
19388 Points ∼100% +9%
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02E00
NVIDIA GeForce MX150, Intel Core i7-8550U
17743 Points ∼92%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-8550U
10123 Points ∼52% -43%
Lenovo ThinkPad T470s-20HGS00V00
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-7600U
9610 Points ∼50% -46%
Dell Latitude 7480
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-7600U
8555 Points ∼44% -52%
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02D00
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8250U
7658 Points ∼39% -57%
Average of class Office
  (1208 - 27117, n=474)
6562 Points ∼34% -63%
3DMark 06 Standard
12796 points
3DMark Vantage P Result
7839 points
3DMark 11 Performance
3922 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
65886 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
12049 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
2584 points
Help

Gaming Performance

Even with the MX150, the office laptop T480s is not a gaming system. Yet it could be an interesting choice for many casual gamers nevertheless, the combination of “thin, light, ThinkPad design, MX150” has its charm – and it enables playing modern games, too. Though you shouldn’t expect to be able to play at maximum settings, and a reduction in resolution may be necessary for newer titles. The first “real” gaming GeForce for laptops is the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050, which is about twice as fast. Although one would be hard-pressed to find it in such a light and compact laptop.

BioShock Infinite - 1366x768 High Preset
Asus VivoBook Pro 17 N705UD-EH76
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 8550U, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP
157 fps ∼100% +104%
Average NVIDIA GeForce MX150
  (59.7 - 98, n=27)
82.8 fps ∼53% +8%
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02E00
GeForce MX150, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
77.02 fps ∼49%
Lenovo ThinkPad E480-20KQS00000
Radeon RX 550 (Laptop), 8250U, Lenovo LENSE20256GMSP34MEAT2TA
73.5 fps ∼47% -5%
Lenovo ThinkPad E480-20KQS00000
Radeon RX 550 (Laptop), 8250U, Lenovo LENSE20256GMSP34MEAT2TA
21.9 fps ∼14% -72%
Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
30.85 fps ∼20% -60%
Average of class Office
  (8.1 - 128, n=303)
25.8 fps ∼16% -67%
low med. high ultra
BioShock Infinite (2013) 158.2786.9877.0228.89fps
The Witcher 3 (2015) 52.9631.4717.06fps
Star Wars Battlefront (2015) 78.453.824.521.4fps
Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) 54.632.616.5fps
Doom (2016) 60.549.617.1fps
Civilization VI (2016) 75.5242.8719.47fps
Warhammer 40.000: Dawn of War III (2017) 62.523.7fps
FIFA 18 (2017) 133.983.678.173fps
Call of Duty WWII (2017) 87.954.624.5fps
Star Wars Battlefront 2 (2017) 59.326.422.514.6fps

Emissions – mostly quiet and not too hot

Noise

Under light loads or during idle the fans of the T480s are almost always switched off. Under heavy loads on the other hand the fans are, of course, turned on and very audible. Since it isn’t high pitched, the fan noise is very tolerable.

We didn’t detect any coil whine coming from the T480s.

Noise Level

Idle
29 / 29 / 29 dB(A)
Load
36.5 / 38.2 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Audix TM1, Arta (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 29 dB(A)
dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2033.631.628.131.231.132.52533.228.529.129.629.329.13130.33032.231.231.130.8403030.529.529.931.129.55027.226.828.82829.727.26326.326.326.225.72626.58026.125.124.72626.625.910026252525.525.724.812523.924.6252423.925.216025.125.12323.323.824.120023.324.522.222.722.62425022.823.421.521.322.422.931521.720.920.820.720.422.240020.620.320.320.218.921.450022.420.521.119.718.12263022.319.621.619.117.722.380021.519.520.21916.721.5100023.119.92219.716.723.2125025.220.624.422.116.125.5160027.723.627.12415.727.2200029.42327.122.915.929.3250028.822.126.923.315.928.1315028.320.525.720.715.928.140002920.126.921.116.328.5500024.718.422.318.616.624.363002017.619.217.916.919.9800018.417.618.317.717.218.3100001817.818.318.117.218125001818.218.518.917.317.9160001918.520.521.217.418.6SPL38.232.836.533.22938N2.61.82.31.81.22.6median 23.1median 20.5median 22median 20.7median 17.2median 23.2Delta2.42.42.61.91.72.233.530.730.132.234.833.528.428.827.326.930.330.937.634.233.531.935.433.231.229.130.429.330.3292728.42726.126.628.52626.426.325.625.825.325.425.72724.624.723.826.124.526.724.723.92523.823.123.623.424.823.823.72323.22224.127.122.12524.325.623.92421.622.721.921.421.823.119.621.120.820.720.120.81919.919.519.618.219.41921.820.419.717.319.318.823.522.119.81719.918.422.221.119.516.51818.124.12220.516.517.318.224.32320.115.816.920.128.126.922.915.716.520.329.326.623.515.416.219.429.426.82315.515.921.83128.825.21616.218.828.726.621.916.216.617.125.923.118.816.716.817.12119.117.51717.317.319.818.317.717.217.517.418.718.117.717.417.517.520.318.418.417.317.617.219.918.41917.217.331.338.936.933.628.929.71.52.82.41.81.21.3median 19median 23.1median 22.1median 20.5median 17.2median 17.51.82.93.521.82.130.131.232.132.832.331.231.3323032.230.931.232.732.529.635.528.229.727.930.328.127.225.628.127.926.825.929.4262525.726.523.623.223.525.721.922.822.224.122.122.722.324.224.124.323.925.622.521.520.22321.219.718.921.622.120.618.921.921.620.118.121.822.621.819.323.324.42320.424.125.923.417.625.526.323.614.72626.323.514.626.126.924.414.226.829.726.714.229.228.524.517.528.527.123.114.626.524.420.916.124.120.817.215.220.218.115.915.317.715.815.114.415.61615.814.515.138.135.229.137.82.72.21.22.7median 23.6median 22.8median 17.6median 24.12.21.63.32.1hearing rangehide median Fan NoiseLenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02E00Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02D00Lenovo ThinkPad T470s-20HGS00V00

Temperature

Following the record high of the ThinkPad E480’s temperatures we were very curious to see how other ThinkPads handle the combination of a 15 W quad-core processor and a dGPU. Fortunately, the temperature on the outside of the T480s with MX150 stays acceptable. Nearly 49 °C is very noticeable and not very comfortable for long time usage, though there shouldn’t be a risk of burns – especially considering this temperature is only hit at maximum load. The palm rest stays cool even during heavy loads.

During the stress test with Prime95 and FurMark, the processor operates at 2.4 GHz for about 3 minutes, though the clock speed varies. Meanwhile CPU temperature is at around 95 °C. After 3 minutes the clock speed falls to 0.6 GHz, meaning thermal throttling is in effect. Shortly after, the CPU clock speed climbs back up just to fall back down again. This performance up and down goes on for about 20 minutes, after which we observe the same phenomenon as with the ThinkPad X280: The processor falls asleep and gets stuck at 0.6 GHz. It can be reactivated by pressing a button or moving the mouse, just to fall asleep again a couple minutes later.

The graphics chip can however maintain its performance throughout almost the entire stress test. For the graphics chip, Lenovo has set a temperature limit of 75 °C, which cannot be exceeded. During the stress test this happened a few times for a short time, when the processor re-increased its clock speed – if the temperature rises above 75 °C, the GPU clock briefly falls down to 177 MHz.

A 3DMark11 test immediately following the stress test was not affected by thermal throttling.

Update: We redid our stress test with the new bios version 1.11. With the latest bios version the processor doesn't "fall asleep" anymore, it seems like Lenovo fixed that bug. Instead the cpu clock continues its wave pattern.

Stresstest after 20 minutes with the older bios version (Prime95 + FurMark)
Stresstest after 20 minutes with the older bios version (Prime95 + FurMark)
Stresstest with the new BIOS 1.11
Stresstest with the new BIOS 1.11
Max. Load
 39.5 °C
103 F
43 °C
109 F
49.2 °C
121 F
 
 37.1 °C
99 F
42.7 °C
109 F
45.7 °C
114 F
 
 30.9 °C
88 F
35.2 °C
95 F
34 °C
93 F
 
Maximum: 49.2 °C = 121 F
Average: 39.7 °C = 103 F
42.5 °C
109 F
48.2 °C
119 F
42.6 °C
109 F
43.8 °C
111 F
45.3 °C
114 F
37.9 °C
100 F
33.1 °C
92 F
34.7 °C
94 F
30.4 °C
87 F
Maximum: 48.2 °C = 119 F
Average: 39.8 °C = 104 F
Power Supply (max.)  38.9 °C = 102 F | Room Temperature 20.2 °C = 68 F | Voltcraft IR-900
(-) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 39.7 °C / 103 F, compared to the average of 29.4 °C / 85 F for the devices in the class Office.
(-) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 49.2 °C / 121 F, compared to the average of 33.9 °C / 93 F, ranging from 21.2 to 62.5 °C for the class Office.
(-) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 48.2 °C / 119 F, compared to the average of 36.4 °C / 98 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 22.6 °C / 73 F, compared to the device average of 29.4 °C / 85 F.
(±) Playing The Witcher 3, the average temperature for the upper side is 36.9 °C / 98 F, compared to the device average of 29.4 °C / 85 F.
(+) The palmrests and touchpad are reaching skin temperature as a maximum (35.2 °C / 95.4 F) and are therefore not hot.
(-) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 28.3 °C / 82.9 F (-6.9 °C / -12.5 F).
Top (load)
Top (load)
Bottom (load)
Bottom (load)
Fan exhaust (load)
Fan exhaust (load)

Speakers

Lenovo places the stereo speakers on the bottom, causing their performance to be heavily impacted by the surface. The quality of the speakers tends to be poor, being in line with typical laptop speakers – too quiet and no bass.

In order to enjoy music instead of just enduring it, we recommend using the combo audio jack on the left side, which carried out its function without any problems.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2031.129.52529.328.63131.1314031.130.15029.727.1632624.78026.623.710025.724.912523.928.616023.837.920022.645.825022.451.731520.454.840018.956.650018.16663017.772.180016.774.4100016.770.8125016.161.6160015.761.9200015.961.7250015.959.1315015.958400016.364.2500016.668.5630016.968.1800017.260.91000017.2601250017.358.21600017.454.4SPL2978.9N1.242.9median 17.2median 60Delta1.75.3353934.235.634.531.532.733.231.231.930.630.930.530.630.137.828.443.227.246.326.647.226.352.125.651.524.651.324.549.523.751.523.758.223.560.823.456.222.956.622.860.123.162.12365.52365.222.961.922.962.623.168.12368.523.162.623.266.535.4752.533.7median 23.4median 58.215.634.83330.328.135.438.130.332.226.631.825.827.624.725.123.926.524.833.424.141.923.94821.85120.155.318.261.117.366.61770.316.578.416.57515.868.915.770.615.467.615.569.21672.916.268.616.7701771.217.272.217.470.917.365.817.256.228.983.61.258.7median 17.2median 68.61.88.6hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseLenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02E00Dell Latitude 7480Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02E00 audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (78.9 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 19.4% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (12.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 6.5% higher than median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (9.6% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 3.5% away from median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (7.6% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (20.3% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 47% of all tested devices in this class were better, 12% similar, 41% worse
» The best had a delta of 8%, average was 21%, worst was 51%
Compared to all devices tested
» 43% of all tested devices were better, 9% similar, 48% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Dell Latitude 7480 audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (75.02 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 11.9% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (10.6% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 3.8% away from median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (7.8% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 6.6% higher than median
(+) | highs are linear (6.3% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (20% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 44% of all tested devices in this class were better, 11% similar, 45% worse
» The best had a delta of 8%, average was 21%, worst was 51%
Compared to all devices tested
» 42% of all tested devices were better, 8% similar, 50% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900 audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (83.6 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 25.9% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (9.8% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 3.8% away from median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (9% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 2.1% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (4% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (18.3% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 32% of all tested devices in this class were better, 10% similar, 58% worse
» The best had a delta of 8%, average was 21%, worst was 51%
Compared to all devices tested
» 32% of all tested devices were better, 6% similar, 62% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Frequency diagram in comparison (Select or deselect checkboxes above!)

Energy management – MX150 with little impact

Energy consumption

The measured energy consumption doesn’t leave much room for complaints. On the contrary, since Lenovo has improved power consumption during idle significantly compared to the predecessor T470s. The X1 Carbon 2018, too performs worse during idle. Under load this advantage turns into a disadvantage, which, of course, stems from the dedicated GPU that is only present in the ThinkPad T480s.

The included power supply delivers 65 watts to the laptop – not quite enough, since the potential maximum load value is 5 watts higher still. The insufficient power supply doesn’t matter though, since the T480s experiences thermal throttling during the stress test first anyway.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.34 / 0.69 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 3.4 / 7.5 / 10.8 Watt
Load midlight 55.4 / 70.3 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02E00
8550U, GeForce MX150, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ, IPS LED, 2560x1440, 14
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02D00
8250U, UHD Graphics 620, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ, 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, IPS, 2560x1440, 14
Dell Latitude 7480
7600U, HD Graphics 620, Intel SSDSCKKF256H6, IPS, 1920x1080, 14
Power Consumption
8%
4%
-0%
26%
Idle Minimum *
3.4
3.1
9%
4.64
-36%
3.8
-12%
4.32
-27%
Idle Average *
7.5
6.8
9%
8.93
-19%
8.9
-19%
6.27
16%
Idle Maximum *
10.8
10.1
6%
9.12
16%
11.9
-10%
6.35
41%
Load Average *
55.4
48.4
13%
42.2
24%
47.5
14%
29.82
46%
Load Maximum *
70.3
67.1
5%
47.3
33%
52.5
25%
30.64
56%
Witcher 3 ultra *
34

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

Charging time: 148 minutes
Charging time: 148 minutes

The battery runtime results are mostly in line with the T480s without MX150 and the X1 Carbon 2018. This is unsurprising since all three of them are fitted with a 57 watt hour battery. There are primarily discrepancies during the heavy load test, due to the GeForce MX150. Far better is the Dell Latitude 7480, with an even higher battery capacity – additionally it benefits from its lower resolution display.

Lenovo advertises RapidCharge, a fast charging solution new to the T480s compared to the ThinkPad T470s. The battery does actually charge faster, charging time has been decreased from about 190 to about 150 minutes.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
22h 46min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3 (Edge)
8h 50min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
9h 10min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 16min
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02E00
8550U, GeForce MX150, 57 Wh
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02D00
8250U, UHD Graphics 620, 57 Wh
Lenovo ThinkPad T470s-20HGS00V00
7600U, HD Graphics 620, 51 Wh
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018-20KGS03900
8550U, UHD Graphics 620, 57 Wh
HP EliteBook 840 G4-Z2V22ES ABD
7200U, HD Graphics 620, 51 Wh
Dell Latitude 7480
7600U, HD Graphics 620, 60 Wh
Average of class Office
 
Battery Runtime
32%
-15%
9%
9%
61%
-19%
Reader / Idle
1366
787
-42%
1328
-3%
1662
22%
557 (101 - 1857, n=770)
-59%
H.264
550
721
31%
454
-17%
566
3%
413 (139 - 791, n=149)
-25%
WiFi v1.3
530
537
1%
417
-21%
519
-2%
578
9%
719
36%
404 (105 - 964, n=295)
-24%
Load
76
124
63%
93
22%
106
39%
171
125%
101 (37 - 259, n=715)
33%

Verdict

Pros

+ high-quality chassis
+ excellent peripherals
+ long battery life
+ very good matte WQHD panel
+ combination of modern and established ports
+ WWAN ready
+ 3 years warranty
+ well performing hardware
+ lightning fast PCIe-SSD
+ many security features
+ MX150 suitable for casual gamers

Cons

- i7 slower than i5 under continuous load
- unrefined CPU performance management (fixed with BIOS 1.11)
- CPU throttling in battery mode
- high surface temperatures
- bad speakers
- ThinkShutter camera cover only included with bad HD webcam
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s, supplied by Campus Point
Lenovo ThinkPad T480s, supplied by Campus Point

The T480s is a very balanced and high-quality business notebook. The dedicated Nvidia GeForce MX150 (regardless of being a Max-Q version) does make it more versatile, by making it suitable for casual gamers. Though the execution is not quite perfect.

CPU performance, for example, is excellent with the i7, but the test shows that performance limits with this cooling system have been reached – this causes the supposedly faster i7 to be slower under continuous load than its i5 counterpart inside the cheaper T480s. On top of that, as with the smaller ThinkPad X280, the immature CPU performance management makes the processor fall asleep during the stress test. Another similarity to the X ThinkPad: The CPU is throttled in battery mode. Its further critique it shares with previously tested T480s: Temperature on the outside is comparatively high (though interestingly, the MX150 doesn’t increase them further), speakers are poor and the ThinkShutter camera cover isn’t available in combination with the infrared camera for Windows Hello.

Lenovo almost managed to tick all the boxes with the T480s. The positives far outweigh the negatives, which is why we recommend the T480s with MX150, too.

This is valid criticism, although it is faced with a long list of the T480s’ pros, like its comfortable input devices, the premium chassis, the well-rounded port selection, the good battery life and the matte, bright and color accurate WQHD IPS display. With all this in mind we can wholeheartedly recommend the T480s with MX150.

Its main competitors are the Dell Latitude 7490, the HP EliteBook 840 G5 and the more expensive ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2018 as in-house competitor – we are going to test the Latitude and the EliteBook in the near future as well. All three come with their own advantages compared to the T480s, the Latitude could, for example, potentially offer a longer battery runtime with its low power IPS display, while the EliteBook has significantly brighter display options. The X1 Carbon on the other hand is considerably more light-weight and compact and comes with a HDR display option. That said, the T480s truly doesn’t have to hide from its competitors, Lenovo has created a great mix of features.

Update 24.03.2018: The new Bios version 1.11 fixes the processor falling asleep.

Lenovo ThinkPad T480s-20L8S02E00 - 03/19/2018 v6
Benjamin Herzig

Chassis
94 / 98 → 96%
Keyboard
94%
Pointing Device
89%
Connectivity
70 / 80 → 88%
Weight
71 / 20-67 → 100%
Battery
91%
Display
91%
Games Performance
73 / 68 → 100%
Application Performance
83 / 92 → 90%
Temperature
87%
Noise
96%
Audio
68%
Camera
46 / 85 → 54%
Average
81%
91%
Office - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Lenovo ThinkPad T480s (i7-8550U, MX150 Max-Q) Laptop Review
Benjamin Herzig, 2018-03-27 (Update: 2018-04- 3)