ThinkPads have been in the market since the 90’s. First introduced by IBM, these laptops have been historically praised by their high-end features and durability. Over the years, many aspects of the ThinkPad Series have been modified. They’ve switched developers, added innovations and overall improved the quality while keeping up to date. But that particular characteristic remains unchanged. Which is, these are computers that are built to last. Aesthetically, ThinkPads are known for their rather simplistic design—black and boxy, and not particularly creative. They are heavy, when compared to other laptops of similar characteristics (with the heaviest being almost 5lbs).But what they lack in design, they compensate with functionality tenfold. These laptops are business oriented, they are sturdy, able to sustain continuous—if not intensive—use. The Lenovo ThinkPad T480 is not an exception. As the rest of the T Series, this laptop has received mostly praise for its solid build, with some minor complaints considering the design.
As an innovation, the 14” ThinkPad T480 is equipped with a webcam, a fingerprint reader, and TPM security. This ensures that, even if you’ve forgotten your password, you can easily log back into your system with just a glance or a tap of your finger, and the aid of Windows Hello.
It includes a 3-cell Li-ion battery that can last up to 24 hours, though customer’s reviews had said that, with heavy use, that number drops down to 5 or 6 hours. The charger is small enough that it can be easily transported. Nonetheless, it is something to consider, since the laptop itself weights 3.63lbs.
This model comes with a wide selection of ports, including the lightning-quick Intel Thunderbolt 3 port and full-sized RJ45 Ethernet connector—useful for those of us who need to have more than one device plugged in. As an optional feature, a backlit keyboard can be easily attached, but not all sellers include it.
Overall, the characteristics are very promising. Starting out with powerful 8th generation Intel Quad Core i5 processors, it sounds like a reasonable option—though when compared with newest models built with Core i7 or Ryzen, it might seem lacking. For those who intend to use the laptop for gaming, 3D rendering or video encoding, a more suitable option would be the T490 and up, since the Ryzen 7 processor offers higher boosted clock speeds and reduced power consumption.
As it is, the T480’s Core i5 processor offers more than satisfactory speeds, and the reviews have been favorable in this aspect.
It comes with a 512 GB SSD, which offers a much better option than its HDD equivalent, found in older models of the T Series. This will ensure that the T480 will boot up and be ready to go quicker.
But, something to consider is that the lifespan of an SSD isn’t as long as that of an HDD. Though a SSD can certainly be used as the only drive in the laptop, a combination of both a SSD and a HDD would be better (using the HDD for mass storage and the SSD to boot the Windows install). As it is, the ThinkPad T480 offers the 512 GB SSD as data storage, which isn’t ideal, since SSDs don’t handle being written to as well over time.
Even though the reviews have been mostly positive, there’s been a few scattered complaints from customers. Some expressed concern regarding unusual heating, which might be solved by adding an external cooling fan if needed.
The lack of a VGA port—present on other ThinkPad models—has also been noted. In that case, display adapter cables are needed.
Another downfall that’s been mentioned, is the lack of room for a better graphic card, to enhance it as a gaming machine. However, the onboard chipset was still praised for the quality in which it displays blu-ray movies and HD videos.
The trackpad has been also a point of concern, as some find it awkward or difficult to use. Regarding this issue, some customers also mentioned the sensitivity of the pad is too high. Using a mouse would be an easy solution to this issue.
However, most concluded that the Lenovo ThinkPad T480 is a great machine, with a very comfortable keyboard, a battery life above average—albeit less than Lenovo claims—, and the SSD that makes it quick to boot (less than 20 seconds).
It averages in between 4 and 4.5 stars, depending on the seller, with some of the best characteristics including durability, security, usability, and performance. The wide selection of ports has also received the approval of the industry, specially the USB Type-C.
The design has also been praised, as some consider the lack of alterations to the traditional design a good thing. After all, the sturdy build is what makes the laptop stand out from others in the market.
Other reviews go as far as to call Lenovo’s ThinkPad as the “near-perfect machine”.
The overall approval of the customers seems to indicate that the Lenovo ThinkPad T480 is a more than acceptable option when considering the purchase of a new laptop.
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