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Lenovo ThinkPad T570 review – thin, light, reliable, enduring

The ThinkPad T570 remains as a classic, even though it was released just a few months prior to this review. But why classic then? Well, it carries a brand new chassis, which appears to be lighter and thinner than its predecessor, packs the latest hardware but at the same time retains the iconic ThinkPad appearance and feel. The AccuType style keyboard is good as always, the touchpad is nearly perfect and you can still take advantage of the TrackPoint for easier mouse navigation.

But what about all the important stuff the usual business consumer is looking for, like reliability and battery life? As usual, we test the limits of the cooling system, although the Intel Core i5-7200U isn’t all that demanding and overheating is out of the question. And as far as battery life is concerned, we expect at least slightly better endurance compared to the 14-inch model due to the overall bigger battery capacity. In any case, that’s something that can be easily fixed since the notebook features a 32Wh internal battery plus an additional 24Wh external one. You can always opt for a bigger external battery like the 48Wh or the 72Wh options available from Lenovo but more on that later in the full review below.

You can find the available configurations here: http://amzn.to/2wJcyEe

Contents

Retail package

The ThinkPad T570 comes in a standard package containing the usual user manuals, AC adapter and power cord. Also, the external/secondary battery isn’t installed on the machine and can be found separately in the box.

Design and construction

As we already pointed out, the ThinkPad T570 doesn’t really differ all that much from the classic T-series notebooks we’ve seen so far and it’s just a bigger version of the T470 that we reviewed earlier. But, of course, with the bigger screen comes a full-sized keyboard (including the Numpad). But in reality, the T570 doesn’t feel so much bigger than its smaller 14-inch sibling. The side bezels of the screen appear to be slightly slimmer so this might be one of the reasons.

Anyway, the lid uses the same slightly rubberized finish for better grip and also feels more premium this way. The downside, however, is that smudges are prominent and dust builds up easily. In any case, the material feels strong – bending and twisting is almost impossible even when great force is applied. Probably the only slightly weak point is the lower bezel due to the narrow hinges. Speaking of which, they seem pretty stable and look quite durable in the long run because they are made of aluminum. Unfortunately, though, the hinges are so tightly pulled that opening the lid with one hand is not possible but we also noticed that the screen remains firmly in place even when working on unstable surface.

The sides of the laptop offer the same port distribution and design compared to the 14-inch T470 variant and unfortunately, no extra connectors. We think it’s logical to expect at least an extra USB from a bigger form factor but we can let that one pass because it carries all the needed I/Os anyway. The left side comes with a standard USB 3.0 port along with a USB-C 3.1 (Gen 2) with Thunderbolt 3 support. The DC charging port and the main exhaust vent are also placed on the left whereas the right side holds the rest of the ports – 3.5 mm audio jack, SD card reader, two USB 3.0, HDMI and an RJ-45 for LAN. Luckily, gone are the days of clunky old ThinkPads because the T570 fits all that hardware in a 20.2 mm package – that’s just about the height of the 14-inch model as well.

The interior doesn’t surprise us with anything new – excellent AccuType keyboard with slightly shorter than usual travel but delightful clicky tactile feedback while the keycaps are slightly concaved for maximum comfort when typing. We are also pretty satisfied by the big nature of the keyboard because it’s extended to its maximum – as far as the chassis allows. The touchpad is absolutely identical to the 14-inch version – good gliding surface, extra responsive, accurate with light mouse clicks. The latter, however, is conditional. If you reach to the upper half of the touchpad and try to press the mouse button, you will feel that it becomes stiffer and stiffer as you go towards the upper end. It gets in the way sometimes but luckily for the hardcore ThinkPad users, the TrackPoint is still available while the provided left, middle and right mouse buttons (under the spacebar) are well-placed and feel extremely comfortable to use. Moreover, the area around the keyboard and the touchpad is in the traditional ThinkPad fashion – slightly roughened black plastic that looks cheap but feels rigid at the same time. Only when strong pressure is applied you can see the keyboard and the wrist rest area sinking. It’s nothing you should worry about because it doesn’t really make any impact on the user experience.

The ThinkPad T570 covers all of the essential points a business-oriented notebook should have – excellent input devices, strong and durable chassis with compact and lightweight design while delivering all of the essential connectors. Quite frankly, we don’t have any major complaints about the device’s casing except a few minor improvements we would like to see in the next generation. First, the touchpad should be “clickable” across the whole surface, the hinges should be firm and stealthy without being so tightly pulled like these – opening the laptop with one hand should be possible.

Disassembly, maintenance and upgrade options

Similarly to the 14-inch model, the T470, the T570 doesn’t have dedicated service hatches on the bottom. However, reaching the hardware inside is super easy and hassle-free. It requires only some unscrewing here and there as well as the removal of the external battery, which is rated at just 24Wh but can be swapped with a bigger battery from Lenovo if needed.

Storage upgrades – 2.5-inch HDD/SSD, M.2 SSD

One of the biggest disappointments here is the limited storage options. Although the T570 is a full-fledged 15-inch laptop, it lacks a 2.5-inch drive bay, which is swapped by a metal plate holding a 2280 M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD as shown in the photos below. Flipping the plate revealed a thermal paste and a 256GB Samsung PM961 drive.

SlotUnitUpgrade price
M.2 slot256GB Samsung PM961 M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD (2280)Upgrade options

RAM

At least, Lenovo hasn’t skipped on the memory slots – they are two and support up to 2x 16GB of DDR4-2400 memory. The unit we’ve tested came with only one 8GB RAM chip manufactured by Samsung.

SlotUnitUpgrade price
Slot 18GB Samsung DDR4-2400Upgrade options
Slot 2FreeUpgrade options

Other components

The Wi-Fi adapter is placed near the external battery and it’s Intel 8265NGW.

The internal battery is a bit bigger than the external one and it’s rated at 32Wh.

Cooling system

The cooling design is pretty simple – just one small heat pipe connecting the cooling fan to the heat sink.

Display quality

The T570’s display uses a 15.6-inch Full HD (1920×1080) IPS panel manufactured by LG with model number LP156WF9-SPF1. The pixel density of the screen is 142 ppi and the pixel pitch is 0.18 x 0.18 mm. The screen can be considered as “Retina” when viewed from a distance equal or greater than 60 cm.

Viewing angles are excellent.

The maximum brightness we were able to record is 282 cd/m2 in the center of the screen while the average across the surface is 281 cd/m2 with just 6% deviation. The color temperature on white screen at maximum brightness aligns with the optimal 6500K.

The maximum color deviation dE2000 compared to the center of the screen at 100% brightness is 2.7, which is relatively good since values above 4.0 are usually unwanted. The contrast ratio is excellent 1100:1. You can also see how the values change at around 140 cd/m2 luminance.

Color reproduction

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.

The display covers just 51% of the sRGB color gamut making it suitable for general browsing and office work but it’s not exactly “multimedia material”.

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.

Response time

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 = 27 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.

It appears that the display doesn’t is PWM-free across all brightness levels making it safe to use for long periods of time in this regard.

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 (SPD) graph.

Conclusion

If it was a mid-range business laptop, like the ThinkPad E570, for example, we won’t be complaining about the display but since this is a high-end notebook, we expected high-quality IPS panel as well. It does have some good properties like high contrast ratio and doesn’t use PWM across all brightness levels but the limited sRGB coverage and relatively low maximum brightness cripple the user experience. It appears that the 15-inch version of the laptop suffers from the same issue that the 14-inch T470 does.

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 T570 configurations with 15.6″ Innolux N140HCA-EAB (FHD, 1920 × 1080) IPS screen and the laptop can be found at Amazon: http://amzn.to/2vGa851

*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 bg.laptopmedia@gmail.com.

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

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.

Health-Guard

Health-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.

Get all 3 profiles with 33% discount

Specs sheet

The current specs sheet refers to this particular model – configurations may differ depending on your region.


ProcessorIntel Core i5-7200U (4-core, 2.50 – 3.10 GHz, 3MB cache)
RAM8GB (1x 8096MB) – DDR4, 2400MHz
Graphics cardIntel HD Graphics 620
HDD/SSD256GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD
Display15.6-inch Full HD (1920×1080) IPS, matte
Optical drive
ConnectivityLAN 10/100/1000 Mbps, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0
Other features
  • 3x USB 3.0
  • 1x USB-C 3.1 (Thunderbolt)
  • 3.5 mm audio jack
  • HDMI
  • RJ-45
  • SD card reader
  • Smartcard reader
  • keyboard LED backlight
Battery24Wh external + 32Wh integrated
Thickness20.2 mm (0.8″)
Weight1.975 kg (4.35 lbs)

Software

We used the pre-installed Windows 10 Pro (64-bit) for the writing of this review 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.

Battery

While the basic 14-inch configuration ThinkPad T470 sports an integrated 24Wh battery along with an external 24Wh unit, the 15-inch model offers a bigger base 32Wh unit and the same removable 24Wh one. At first glance, this may seem an incremental update that would be compensated with the bigger 15.6-inch diagonal but apparently, the results from our tests suggest otherwise. The ThinkPad T570 impresses with much better battery runtimes compared to its smaller 14-inch sibling and way above average endurance compared to other 15-inch laptops.

Of course, all tests were performed using the same conditions as always – Wi-Fi turned on, Windows battery saving feature turned on and screen brightness set to 120 cd/m2.

Web browsing

In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.

Pretty good web browsing score – 550 minutes (9 hours and 10 minutes).

Video playback

For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.

Considerably lower but still a good result – 453 minutes (7 hours and 33 minutes).

Gaming

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 three hours under heavy load – 192 minutes (3 hours and 2 minutes).

CPU – Intel Core i5-7200U

download-4Intel’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/

Lenovo ThinkPad T570 CPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the CPUs that can be found in the Lenovo ThinkPad T570 models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which Lenovo ThinkPad T570 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 20 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)

Results are from our Photoshop benchmark test (the lower the score, the better)

Results are from the Fritz chess benchmark (the higher 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_hd_graphicsIntel’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 T570 GPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the GPUs that can be found in the Lenovo ThinkPad T570 models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which Lenovo ThinkPad T570 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)

Results are from the Unigine Superposition benchmark (higher the score, the better)

Temperatures

The stress test isn’t the best way to represent real-life usage but it’s still the only way to determine the overall stability and effectiveness of the cooling design in the long run. In any case, the laptop isn’t made for long and extreme workload so don’t take the results below so critically.

As usual, we started with 100% CPU load for an hour. The CPU’s temperatures were relatively low and for most of the time, the system was able to support the chip at its maximum frequency for two active cores – 3.1 GHz. We also have to note that the system’s cooling fan was pretty silent even under prolonged heavy workload.

We turned on the GPU stress test after the initial hour and the CPU’s temperatures didn’t change at all while the frequency dropped by another 100 MHz. This is a good sign because apparently, the cooling system is able to support 100% CPU + 100% GPU load without resorting to downclocking. The chip is able to utilize the full performance of the CPU and the iGPU without a sweat. The fan speed remained at its previous state while staying pretty silent.

And as expected, the temperatures on the surface were low with the only warm area around the center of the keyboard. Still, the digits shown in the heat map below will be much lower under normal use.

Verdict

To our surprise, the 15-inch model from the series isn’t much different from its 14-inch sibling. It doesn’t really offer anything more considering the bigger chassis – storage options are the same, the I/O is identical but on the contrary, the internal battery offers slightly bigger capacity, which in turn delivers better endurance overall.

Our opinion of the input devices remain the same as well – comfortable, clicky keyboard with long key travel, excellent TrackPoint positioning and usability and a bit too stiff clickpad. Lenovo practically used the same set of input devices as the 14-inch T470. Build quality is right up there with the rest of the high-end buisness laptops feeling quite sturdy and reliable in the long run – no corners cut here.

But our main complaint regarding the screen remains – relatively dimmer than most IPS panels and covers just half of the sRGB color gamut. This is downright unacceptable for a laptop at this price range, even if it’s a business-oriented notebook. We’ve seen practically the same image quality delivered by the considerably less expensive Lenovo ThinkPad E470 and E570 and we actually praised them for that. But a notebook that starts at around $1 000, we definitely can’t let that one slip by.

However, if display quality isn’t of such great importance to you and working outdoors won’t be on daily basis (the screen is a bit dim for outdoor use) and the storage limitation of just one M.2 SSD slot (no 2.5-inch drive in a business-oriented 15-inch laptop, really?) will suit your needs, then you should definitely consider the T570 as your next daily driver. One of the most important features like build quality, input devices, battery life and oevall reliablity are still the main order of the day for the ThinkPat T-series.

You can find the available configurations here: http://amzn.to/2wJcyEe

Pros

  • Sturdy case and fairly portable for a 15-incher
  • Excellent keyboard, comfortable TrackPoint, good touchpad (with a small exception)
  • The screen doesn’t use PWM across all brightness levels
  • Dual-battery system with hot swap support and the external battery can be upgraded
  • Good battery runtimes even with the stock setup
  • Silent and reliable cooling solution


Cons

  • The clickpad is a bit too stiff in some areas
  • Pricey
  • Low-quality IPS panel (low maximum brightness, just half sRGB coverage)
  • Doesn’t have a 2.5-inch bay (you can either have an M.2 SSD or a 2.5-inch drive)