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The ThinkPad T495s is in review: Battery runtime and performance are good, but the fan is annoying

Lenovo ThinkPad T495s
Lenovo ThinkPad T495s
The ThinkPad T495s with the Ryzen 7 Pro 3700U has finally arrived. We have first test results and compare them with the Intel counterpart ThinkPad T490s. Is the slim ThinkPad with the AMD SoC the better choice?

We have received the brand-new ThinkPad T495s as Campus model and want to share our initial impressions. It is the model T495s-20KQS01E00 equipped with the Ryzen 7 Pro 3700U, the Vega RX10, 1 TB SSD storage, 16 GB RAM, and the 400 nits 1080p screen. There is no Windows installed, but the price-performance ratio is excellent with a retail price of just 1299 Euros. A similarly equipped model in Lenovo's online shop including Windows 10 Home currently costs about 1800 Euros; we have no information about the pre-configured Topseller models at this point.

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Performance

During our review of the Lenovo ThinkPad T490s, we have already seen that it is more of a less expensive version of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon and not a real successor for the ThinkPad T480s (also available with a dGPU) in terms of performance. The Intel CPU inside the T490s could not maintain high clocks for long and the power consumption of the processor eventually leveled off at 20 Watts.

We therefore did not have high expectations for the ThinkPad T495s. The short-time consumption of the Ryzen 7 Pro 3700U is 30 Watts and up to 25 Watts for sustained workloads. Sounds good at first, but AMD also uses the so called STAPM value, which is supposed to prevent critical surface temperatures. This limit is set at just 18 Watts, which is reached after just 3 runs of the Cinebench R15 Multi test in the case of the ThinkPad T495s. After that, the score levels off at ~570 points, which is comparable to the Core i5 in the T490s. This tells us two things: The Ryzen 7 Pro 3700U is not worth the additional price over the Ryzen 5 Pro 3500U and Lenovo allows slightly more headroom for the cooling of the Intel version (about 2 Watts).

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Lenovo ThinkPad T495s-20QKS01E00 Vega 10, PRO 3700U, Samsung PM981a MZVLB1T0HBLR: Ø578 (565.26-658.27)
Lenovo ThinkPad T490s-20NYS02A00 UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Intel SSD Pro 7600p SSDPEKKF512G8L: Ø584 (566.02-686.12)

Note: We want to mention that there seem to be some driver issues at this point. We have two identical samples of the T495s, and we installed Lenovo's Vantage tool on one model. The device with Lenovo Vantage also uses Lenovo's intelligent cooling feature and you can select between a Quiet and a Performance mode. However, the benchmark results are much lower, even with the Performance mode, even though the power limits are identical on both units according to AMD's diagnostic tool. We cannot explain the difference at this time, but we currently recommend to avoid the installation of Lenovo's Vantage software for users of the T495s.

Battery Runtime

This is probably the biggest surprise since the battery runtime was often the biggest drawback of AMD powered systems. However, the new ThinkPad T495s does not cause any criticism. Our Wi-Fi test at an adjusted luminance of 150 nits runs for more than 11 hours on the T495s and therefore about one hour longer than on the T490s with the Intel processor. The devices use the same panel, so there are no consumption differences in this regard. The T495s also manages a good runtime in our video test (12:30h), even though the T490s lasts almost one hour longer.

Battery Runtime
H.264
Lenovo ThinkPad T495s-20QKS01E00
Vega 10, PRO 3700U, Samsung PM981a MZVLB1T0HBLR
750 min ∼90%
Lenovo ThinkPad T490s-20NYS02A00
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Intel SSD Pro 7600p SSDPEKKF512G8L
834 min ∼100%
WiFi v1.3
Lenovo ThinkPad T495s-20QKS01E00
Vega 10, PRO 3700U, Samsung PM981a MZVLB1T0HBLR
675 min ∼111%
Lenovo ThinkPad T490s-20NYS02A00
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, Intel SSD Pro 7600p SSDPEKKF512G8L
607 min ∼100%

Fan

We start with the good news: The pulsating of the fan while idling on mains, which is a common issue on many current ThinkPad models, is no problem here. The fan is not very loud in general, either, and often runs at a very low speed, but the frequency is very high and the resulting noise is subjectively very unpleasant. It does not seem to be an isolated incident since both test models suffer from the same issue. The ThinkPad T495, for example, does not have this problem.

What's next?

We will now perform our usual benchmarks and measurements and we will also try to find a solution for the problem with Lenovo's Vantage software. We will also check the Linux compatibility of the laptop.

However, we would also like to hear feedback from our community and suggestions for additional tests. Just leave a comment and we will try to add them for our full review.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2019 07 > The ThinkPad T495s is in review: Battery runtime and performance are good, but the fan is annoying
Andreas Osthoff, 2019-07- 3 (Update: 2019-07- 5)
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.