The ThinkPad T-series from Lenovo remain as classic representatives of the whole ThinkPad family. Devices from this lineup are often associated with reliability, solid construction and excellent working experience on the go without compromise. Today we will be looking at the Lenovo ThinkPat T470 – one of the few ThinkPads this year to receive a full upgrade – we are talking hardware and chassis. Looking at the specs sheet, the ultrabook offers everything a businessman would want but, of course, for a hefty price tag.
Interestingly, the T470 offers something that competitors don’t – a double battery setup for longer battery life. We’ve tested the notebook’s endurance in various situations so we can get a better understanding of the device’s key selling point. Along with the seemingly long battery life, the laptop offers all the features and hardware you’d expect from a modern business-oriented ultrabook – Intel Core i5-7200U CPU, 8GB of DDR4-2400 memory, 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD, 14-inch Full HD IPS display, 4G LTE connectivity and a generous port selection including Thunderbolt 3 support via USB-C. What’s more, the laptop can be configured with up to Core i7-7700HQ paired with a discrete graphics card – NVIDIA GeForce GTX 940MX. This, of course, will affect battery life in a negative way so you really have to decide whether or not you need that extra power. In any case, the ThinkPad T470 makes a compelling case even with this pricing. Find out why in the review below.
You can find the available configurations and their prices here: http://amzn.to/2qTmPvw
The laptop comes in a standard box containing the laptop, an AC charging brick, power cord and the external battery.
Design and construction
From a design standpoint, the ultrabook looks just about the same as the rest of the T-series machines including the previous generation. However, Lenovo was able to cram all that hardware inside a considerably leaner chassis compared to the previous one, which dates three years back. Now the T470 weighs a little over 1.6 kg (1.660 to be exact) with a fairly thin profile of just 19.95 mm – enough to say it’s below the 20 mm mark.
The lid follows the usual design of all ThinkPad laptops – sharp corners with slightly curved edges and a flat surface made of soft-touch matte rubberized finish. The latter is great for carrying the notebook around as it provides good grip but the downside is always the visible smudges and fingerprints. We’ve also noticed that the center of the lid is a bit more flexible than we would like. This applies especially for the lower bezel where bending is quite easy and results in picture distortions. We think the culprit are the narrow hinges, which don’t support the center of the screen at all. It shouldn’t be an issue to most users but should be taken into consideration due to the higher than usual price tag. Speaking of the hinges, we were met with firm movements up to 180-degree angle and no bouncing. However, opening the laptop with just one hand is impossible. The bottom plate is also made of black plastic with numerous vent openings for extra airflow but the key difference here is that the whole base uses carbon fiber in addition to the plastic on the outside. So this greatly improves the overall sturdiness of the machine.
Going around the sides, we see a not so “healthy” distribution of ports because most of them are crammed on the right side, which might be an issue only if the working spot is small but shouldn’t be an issue for most buyers. Anyway, the right side offers two USB 3.0 connectors, 3.5 mm audio jack, RJ-45 for wired connection, HDMI and SD card reader, whereas the left side accommodates only the DC charging port, one USB 3.0 and the USB-C 3.1 (Gen 2) port supporting DisplayPort and Thunderbolt 3. This means that you can benefit from the ultra-fast transfer speeds or multi-monitor setup due to the 40 Gbps bandwidth. Actually, the T470 is a hardcore working station and it’s as portable as it gets.
And now let’s talk about input devices. As expected, the T470 aced our tests with the super-responsive touchpad and excellent keyboard. The former won us over with extremely precise movements, light mouse clicks and relatively smooth gliding surface but we did notice that if you try to press it on the upper half of the surface, it becomes strangely stiff. It becomes hard to click for some reason and might get in the way sometimes. The keyboard is in the standard ThinkPad fashion with the function key in the bottom left corner and Ctrl in its usual place. Hardcore ThinkPad fans will like this but coming from a standard keyboard layout will not be easy at first. In any case, the keys provide smooth tactile feedback and long travel for really comfortable typing experience. The slightly concaved keycaps also aid for better feel. The LED backlight has two levels with the second one being really bright and it’s quite well implemented.
But what about the iconic TrackPoint? Well, it’s still here and we don’t see it going anywhere anytime soon. A lot of users tend to use it more than the conventional touchpad or an external mouse and we can see why. It’s responsive and accurate but takes some time to adjust. The provided mouse buttons below the spacebar offer good ergonomics but somehow short travel. The middle one can be used for scrolling.
In the end, the ThinkPad T470 remains as one of the most reliable high-end business laptops today. Its perfect score is only ruined by the relatively flexible lid but it’s somehow understandable because it’s quite thin while the base consists of plastic and carbon fiber cage inside, which adds to the overall durability and lowers the weight as much as possible. We find that flexing the base and the keyboard tray is nearly impossible and visible deformation occurs only during really strong pressure. We are surprised by the compact, yet functional design of the chassis delivering even more I/Os than a 15-inch laptop would.
Disassembly, maintenance and upgrade options
Yes, the notebook doesn’t have a dedicated service lid but it’s fairly easy to upgrade and maintain if needed. You just have to pop out the external battery and remove all the screws around the bottom of the chassis. Then gently pry it up – it comes off easily.
Storage upgrades – 2.5-inch HDD/SSD, M.2 SSD
Probably due to the form factor of the laptop, Lenovo wasn’t able to insert a 2.5-inch drive along with an additional M.2 SSD so our unit shipped just an M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD – Samsung 512GB PM961. It’s placed under a plate that’s usually used for a 2.5-inch HDD or SSD.
|M.2 slot||512GB Samsung M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD (2280)||Upgrade options|
|2.5-inch HDD/SSD||–||Upgrade options|
The good news about the upgradability of the laptop is that the motherboard holds two RAM slots but in our case, only one is taken by an SK Hynix 8GB DDR4-2400 chip.
|Slot 1||8GB SK Hynix DDR4-2400||Upgrade options|
|Slot 2||Free||Upgrade options|
Our model came equipped with an 4G LTE module as well. It can be found next to the Wi-Fi card.
The latter is Intel 8265NGW.
Since the system incorporates two batteries – one external and one built-in, the total capacity is 48Wh – 24Wh each.
The cooling system is quite simple – it consists of a single cooling fan and one heat pipe connected to the heatsink. Just enough to keep the CPU and iGPU cool.
Although the laptop has an IPS panel, this just isn’t enough to put it against some other expensive 14-inch business competitors. It turns out that the ThinkPad T470 uses the same 14-inch Full HD IPS display as its considerably more affordable Lenovo ThinkPad E470. The panel is Innolux N140HCA-EAB with 157 ppi and 0.16 x 0.16 mm pixel pitch. It can be considered as “Retina” when viewed from a distance equal or greater than 55 cm.
Viewing angles are excellent.
The maximum brightness recorded is 245 cd/m2 in the middle and 238 cd/m2 as average across the surface with 17% deviation in the lower right corner. The color temperature aligns with the optimal 6500K (D65) while the contrast ratio is a bit lower – 680:1.
The maximum dE2000 color deviation is 4.5, which is a bit high because usually values above 4.0 are unwanted.
You can also see the values at 140 cd/m2 luminance, which in our case is 75% brightness.
To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction of the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.
Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people in HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.
Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.
Of course, the sRGB color space coverage isn’t impressive as it covers merely half (52%) of the web-based and HDTV colors.
Below you will see practically the same image but with the color circles representing the reference colors and the white circles being the result. You can see main and additional colors with 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% saturation inside the sRGB gamut pre and post calibration.
The “Design and Gaming” profile is created at 140 cd/m2 brightness, D65 (6500K) white point and optimal gamma in sRGB mode.
We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.
The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.
The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle and the surrounding light conditions.
We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and reverse.
We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 30 ms.
PWM (Screen flickering)
Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.
As we said before, the panel uses PWM but only below 60 cd/m2 luminance and even then, the frequency of the emitted light is pretty high and thus reduces the negative impact on one’s eyesight.
Blue light emissions
Installing of our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin, and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.
You can see the levels of emitted blue light on the spectral power distribution (SDP) graph.
To be honest, we are a bit disappointed by the quality of the IPS panel. The maximum brightness just isn’t enough for outdoor use, which is essential for a laptop with a 14-inch form factor, the contrast ratio isn’t satisfactory and the sRGB coverage is just 52%. Don’t get us wrong, though, this is enough for regular office work and web browsing but considering the standard for IPS panel in similarly priced machines, and even cheaper ones, the ThinkPad T470 falls short in this regard. It’s clear to see why we are unhappy with the Innolux solution because the ThinkPad E470, which is half the price of the T470, offers the exact same display. Our custom profiles, however, make the color accuracy and gamma levels more optimized so we suggest purchasing them for optimal viewing experience.
In any case, we can’t miss mentioning that the display doesn’t use PWM from 60 cd/m2 and above making it safe to use for long periods of time. It shouldn’t cause any problems to users with sensitive eyes.
Buy our display profiles
Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package is meant for Lenovo ThinkPad T470 configurations with 14″ Innolux N140HCA-EAB (FHD, 1920 × 1080) IPS screen and the laptop can be found at Amazon: http://amzn.to/2qTmPvw
*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected]
Read more about the profiles HERE.
In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia's products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.
Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.
Design and Gaming
This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.
THealth-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.
The maximum volume is pretty high while the stereo loudspeakers maintain good clarity in the low, mid and high frequencies.
The current specs sheet refers to this particular model – configurations may differ depending on your region.
|Processor||Intel Core i5-7200U (4-core, 2.50 – 3.10 GHz, 3MB cache)|
|RAM||8GB (1x 8096MB) – DDR4, 2400MHz|
|Graphics card||Intel HD Graphics 620|
|HDD/SSD||512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD|
|Display||14-inch Full HD (1920×1080) IPS, matte|
|Connectivity||LAN 10/100/1000 Mbps, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.1|
|Thickness||19.95 mm (0.79″)|
|Weight||1.6 kg (3.67 lbs)|
Lenovo ThinkPad T470 configurations
We used the pre-installed Windows 10 (64-bit) for our testing but if you wish to perform a clean install of the OS without the bloatware, we suggest downloading all of the latest drivers from Lenovo’s official website.
To be honest, battery life is just okay. We expected a little bit more endurance from the laptop itself due to the double battery setup. But when you think of it, the internal battery is rated at merely 24Wh while the external one is also rated at 24Wh. This gets you a total of 48Wh that delivers a little above average battery runtimes but not nearly to what we expect from a top-tier business ultrabook. The interesting thing here is that the external battery is the first one to drain and the second one to charge after plugging the T470. This is a practical solution especially if you are willing to spend a little extra for an additional battery for this laptop. Lenovo is also selling external batteries for this laptop rated at 48Wh and even 72Wh. The latter will give considerably big bulge at the bottom while the 48Wh unit will lift the notebook to an angle ever so slightly. So if you get one of those external batteries, you can definitely benefit from this dual-battery setup because the system allows a hot swap (detaching and inserting the battery without the need of turning off the machine).
Anyway, we’ve tested the notebook using the same settings as always – Wi-Fi constantly running, screen brightness set to 120 cd/m2 and Windows battery saving feature turned on.
In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.
Slightly above average runtime – 394 minutes (6 hours and 34 minutes).
For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.
Just about the same battery performance during video playback – 397 minutes (6 hours and 37 minutes).
We recently started using F1 2015’s built-in benchmark on loop in order to simulate real-life gaming.
Of course, the laptop isn’t made for gaming but it’s good to know that it can last almost three hours under heavy load – 156 minutes (2 hours and 36 minutes).
CPU – Intel Core i5-7200U
Intel’s Core i7-6200U is part of the 7th Generation Kaby Lake CPUs and it’s the direct successor of the Core i5-5200U (Broadwell) and Core i5-6200U (Skylake). It’s also based on the same architecture as the aforementioned chips with little differences that should bring a small performance increase and a bump in power consumption. However, the new CPU is clocked at 2.5 GHz and its Turbo Boost frequency is 3.1 GHz opposed to the 2.3 – 2.8 GHz clocks on the previous Core i5-6200U.
Anyway, we still have the 2/4 core/thread count, 3MB last level cache, and a TDP of 15W, which includes the iGPU and the dual-channel DDR4 memory controller. Speaking of the former, the chip integrates the newer generation Intel HD Graphics 620 graphics chip clocked at 300 – 1000 MHz.
You can browse through our top CPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-cpu-ranking/
Here you will find other useful information and every notebook we’ve tested with this processor: http://laptopmedia.com/processor/intel-core-i5-7200u/
Results are from the Cinebench 15 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Fritz chess benchmark (the higher the score, the better)
Lenovo ThinkPad T470 CPU variants
Here you can see an approximate comparison between the CPUs that can be found in the Lenovo ThinkPad T470 models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which Lenovo ThinkPad T470 model is the best bang for your buck.
Note: The chart shows the cheapest different CPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / CPU.
Results are from the Cinebench 15 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Fritz chess benchmark (the higher the score, the better)
Results are from our Photoshop benchmark test (the lower the score, the better)
Fritz is a chess benchmark that tests the computing capabilities of the CPU with various chess moves. The Intel Core i5-7200U scored 6.350 million moves per second. In comparison, one of the most powerful chess computers, Deep(er) Blue, was able to squeeze out 200 million moves per second. In 1997 Deep(er) Blue even beat the famous Garry Kasparov with 3.5 to 2.5.
GPU – Intel HD Graphics 620
Intel’s HD Graphics 620 integrated iGPU can be found in various ULV (ultra-low voltage) processors from the Kaby Lake generation. The GT2 version of the graphics chip uses 24 EUs (Execution Units) that can be clocked up to 1050 MHz and it has a base frequency of 300 MHz but the former can vary depending on the CPU. Since the iGPU doesn’t have a dedicated memory of its own – or eDRAM for that matter – it uses the available RAM on the system which is 2x 64-bit DDR3 or DDR4.
The TDP depends on the CPU model but it’s usually equipped with a SoC rated at 15W including the memory controller.
You can browse through our top GPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-graphics-ranking/
Here you will find other useful information and every notebook with this GPU that we’ve tested: http://laptopmedia.com/video-card/intel-hd-graphics-620/
Lenovo ThinkPad T470 GPU variants
Here you can see an approximate comparison between the GPUs that can be found in the Lenovo ThinkPad T470 models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which Lenovo ThinkPad T470 model is the best bang for your buck.
Note: The chart shows the cheapest different GPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / GPU.
Results are from the 3DMark: Fire Strike (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Heaven 3.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Heaven 4.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)
We perform this two-staged stress test to see how the system handles heavy workloads for long periods of time and it also gives us a general idea of the cooling design’s effectiveness and the stability of the system as a whole. However, we think the high-performance version of the notebook would be more interesting to test out because it crams up a high-voltage quad-core Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU and a discrete GeForce 940MX GPU in a 14-inch thin chassis. In any case, our tests show signs of really stable cooling performance. Here’s why…
We started with the usual CPU stress test for an hour. The chip ran at relatively low temperatures while utilizing the maximum clock speeds of 3.1 GHz with two active cores.
After one hour, we turned on the GPU stress test as well. As expected, the CPU’s clock speeds fell drastically in order to give enough headroom for the iGPU to perform to its fullest. Temperatures significantly dropped as well.
What’s more, the whole interior remained cool while the fan operations were relatively silent, which is rarely the case with thin ultrabooks. You shouldn’t worry about overheating at all.
The Lenovo ThinkPad T470 is an excellent business notebook as long as you don’t mind the price tag on this thing. In any case, you get a lot in return – exceptional build quality, portability, reliability, overall great input devices, a wide range of I/O even for a 14-inch device and stable cooling system that also turns out to be pretty silent even under heavy workload. There’s no high-pitch sound coming from the fan.
However, there are a few trade-offs along the way that may not be a big deal for some users but will be a deal-breaker for others. Firstly, battery life isn’t impressive but still not bad. Secondly, the IPS panel just doesn’t fit the profile of a high-end business ultrabook – low maximum brightness, low contrast and narrow sRGB coverage. Thirdly, the touchpad is a bit stiff towards the upper half and finally, you can insert only a single M.2 SSD or 2.5-inch drive, depending on the configuration you get. But to be fair, the majority of 14-inch laptops offer only the M.2 SSD slot so let’s not get too picky.
So should you buy the ThinkPad T470? Yes, of course, if you have the extra cash. But if you are looking for something more simple, the Acer Swift 5 is a great choice. More powerful? Look for the ASUS ZenBook UX410. Similar but with better battery life and screen, consider the Acer TravelMate P648.
You can find the available configurations and their prices here: http://amzn.to/2qTmPvw
- Impeccable build quality
- Thin and light
- Excellent keyboard and generally good touchpad
- The screen doesn’t use PWM above 60 cd/m2 (47% brightness)
- Dual-battery system with hot swap option (although the overall battery performance with the stock battery isn’t great)
- Reliable and silent cooling solution
- The upper half of the touchpad feels too stiff
- Not the best battery life considering the price point
- A bit too pricey
- Unsatifactory IPS panel (low brightness, contrast and narrow sRGB coverage)