Lenovo ThinkPad T490s Review


The Lenovo ThinkPad T490 is synonymous with business. Beyond the anachronistic styles, you’ll find a solid, reliable machine that offers a higher level of security than most other consumer devices.


  • Solid construction
  • High quality display
  • Good autonomy
  • Built-in security functions
  • Classic design has not changed

The inconvenients

  • Extension required for the Ethernet connection
  • The classic design has not changed …

Key specifications

  • 14-inch Full HD display
  • Intel Core i5-8265U / i7-8565U / Core i5-8365U / Core i7-8665U
  • 128 GB / 256 GB / 512 GB / 1 TB
  • 8GB / 16GB
  • Trackpad with central button
  • ThinkPad Scoreboard
  • Lenovo smart card reader
  • 329mm x 226.15mm x 16.7mm
  • 1.35 kg
  • USB-C, USB-C with Thunderbolt 3, 2 x USB-A 3.1, HDMI 1.4, microSD / micro-SIM slot, smart card reader, 3.5mm headphone jack

What is Lenovo ThinkPad T490?

The Lenovo ThinkPad T490s is the latest in a series of legendary notebooks for business users.

If you’re about to start a new job, chances are you’ll find one on your desk the first day. If this is not the case and you are looking for a reliable laptop under Windows 10 mainly for office work, read on.

I am often asked which laptop should be the next purchase, followed quickly by “I mostly need something to write and browse the web, as well as Netflix”. Although many laptops meet these needs, and at a lower cost than the cheapest Lenovo ThinkPad T490 (check out our best budget laptops ), few correspond to the T490 in terms of build quality, versatility or longevity.

The Lenovo ThinkPad T490s is a well-built and resolutely no-frills notebook. It means business – and if you do it too, it may be the laptop you are looking for.

Lenovo ThinkPad T490s Review 1

The ThinkPad T490s – A 1999 exterior hides a 2019 interior

Design – Lenovo ThinkPad T490s looks like a black box recorder

In terms of style, the new T490 does not stand up to the ThinkPad trend. The boxy black design remained unchanged. In fact, if you put it in a range next to a ThinkPad T460, T470 or T480, you’d have really have to squint to differentiate them.

The bright red LED above the “i” point of the ThinkPad logo is present and correct, as is the trackpad with a center button and the pointing stick – the atavic rubber nipple located between the “G”, “Keys of letters H “and” B “.

The differences are mainly under the hood. You have the option of Intel Core i5 or Core i7 Whiskey Lake processors – which, up to Ice Lake and Comet Lake laptops start to land on the shelves, is your best option.

Lenovo ThinkPad T490s Review 2

The keys may look old, but they are an excellent typing experience.

In terms of size, the ThinkPad T490 is a little smaller than the T480 of last year: 329mm x 226.15mm x 16.7mm vs 331mm x 226.8.mm x 18.45 mm – but it weighs 1.35 kg slightly heavier.

Some security features make the T490 stand out from your traditional lifestyle laptop. As with the T480s, Lenovo added a fingerprint scanner to the T490s, which is safer and probably more convenient than having to enter (and remember) complex PINs and passwords.

There is also an integrated webcam control that allows you to hide the sensor from the 720p webcam when you are not using it.

The model I selected for review included a standard LCD with IPS (switching in plan), but the Lenovo site mentions that it is possible to buy a ThinkPad T490 with a PrivacyGuard screen. It works the same way as HP’s SureView anti-spyware technology, which is used on laptops such as HP EliteBook 1050 G1. It reduces the viewing angle of the display, preventing anyone looking over your shoulder or sitting next to you from seeing what is on the screen. At the time of writing this article, it does not appear that the purchase is available. We hope that Lenovo will replenish soon.

In terms of ports, there are many: two USB C-type ports, one supporting Thunderbolt 3, Ethernet, HDMI, a 3.5mm headphone jack, two USB-A ports and a Kensington lock slot .

Some minor inconveniences: you will have to buy a separate RJ-45 extension connector (£ 15.60) if you want to use this Ethernet port, and the HDMI port is 1.4, which limits the 4K video to 50 frames per second instead of the highest recent HDMI 2.0 standard that supports 4K resolution up to 60 frames per second.

Although there is no normal sized SD card reader, there is a microSD port on the back of the notebook. The tray opens in the same way as on a phone. You can also install a SIM card here, if you wish – although, since my classic O2 SIM card does not do anything, I can not tell you how effective it is.

Finally, there is a location for smart cards on the left side, which can be used to encrypt data stored on the hard drive, for example, and to grant your ThinkPad access to your company’s VPN.

Lenovo ThinkPad T490s Review 3

Unlike many chiclet-style keyboards that we see on laptops of this size, the ThinkPad T490s keys are triggered quickly and offer a generous journey

Keyboard – How Does the Lenovo ThinkPad T490s Keyboard Work?

Most thin laptops have keys with a shallow stroke – or, in the case of the MacBook Air 2018  butterfly has changed key – hardly any trip at all. The Lenovo ThinkPad T490 is not most laptops – the keys proposed here offer a run of 2 mm.

Although it’s not nearly as deep as what you would have in a typical situation gaming keyboardcompared to most laptop keyboards, the keys on the T490 are deeper than the Mariana pit. The keyholes themselves are hard as nails, none of them showing any obvious signs of flickering when I tapped them on.

This depth and solidity, combined with fast switches, give you a unique typing experience. I have the impression that some people will have difficulty adjusting, just like some people hate Apple butterfly switches, because it’s so different from the norm. For most, I love by tapping the ThinkPad T490.

I liked the fact that the Print Screen button is on the bottom row and you hold down the Fn key when you press this key, Snip & Sketch is loading, this which allows you to easily grab a portion of the screen. It’s similar to pressing Cmd + Shift + 4 on a MacBook. I also like the fact that you can switch the keyboard lighting by pressing Fn + Spacebar.

There are a few things that I was less in love with. The positioning of some of the keys was somewhat off, including the function key (Fn), located in the lower left corner; This is where you normally expect to find the Control key (Ctrl).

Initially, I tried to copy and paste text from Google Docs to the trusted CMS, wondering why there was nothing in the clipboard. It turns out that I was pressing Fn + C instead of Ctrl + C.

Muscle memory is partially to blame here. I’m sure you’ll get used to the installation as I soon did. However, I am less indulgent about the low-keyed Hobbit-sized arrow keys and the fact that they are grouped in the lower right corner with the Page Up and Page Down keys. The other navigation keys (Home and End) are also overwritten and relegated to the top right.

ThinkPad fans are sure to point out that this has been the case for years and that if you do not like it then you will be tough. Not everyone is a fan of ThinkPad, so maybe a feng shui keyboard is in order for future releases.

Lenovo ThinkPad T490s Review 4

Despite some strange layout choices, the ThinkPad T490’s keyboard is one of the best I’ve used

Likewise, I simply can not cope with the knot; personally, I subscribe to the Philosophy LinusTechTips in this regard. I understand that some people like the pointing stick, but I’m not one of them. In truth, however, I only made a few typos because of the knot in the center of the bridge.

Even if I did not like the pointer, the trackpad is very responsive. By default, it is sensitive enough to move the cursor from one side to the other with a simple mouse gesture, which compensates for its relatively small size.

North of this are not one, not two, but three buttons – left, middle and right click. Left-click and right-click to do what you expect. If you do not know the three-button pointers in Windows, the most useful is the middle click function on web browsers.

Clicking on an unbound area of ​​a web page changes the mouse cursor to a directional control, making it easier to scroll through large pages.

Similarly, if you hover, roll over or refresh by clicking the middle button instead of leaving or refreshing this page, your browser will open a new tab and the URL to which you would have been moved will appear in this new tab instead.

Lenovo ThinkPad T490s Review 5

You do not use the webcam but prefer not to have tape on the lens? Lenovo literally covered you

Display – Is Lenovo ThinkPad T490 compatible with photo jobs?

The Lenovo ThinkPad T490 screen is very good and, yes, it should work well with basic photo work. The screen offers high levels of color space coverage, good contrast and striking brightness levels, which, combined with the anti-reflective coating, ensure excellent visibility in various work environments.

I’ve even been able to finish a few paragraphs of this review on the outside recently, coming back inside to finish, not because of poor visibility, but because it was doing too much hot.

I’ve recorded maximum brightness levels of 396.16 nits, which is ok, well above the 300 nits level at which you can expect from a high-end laptop. A black level of 0.3 nits is also suitable, if not quite great. In an ideal world, each screen would have a black level of zero. In other words, every black pixel of a panel would be totally black. But, realistically, you’ll only get that if your laptop has an OLED display. and these are expensive.

Nevertheless, these two notes give a high contrast ratio (1290: 1). The difference between the brightest and the faintest points on the screen means that photos, videos and web pages will look richer and stand out more than on a dimmer screen. I particularly liked how a clean, crisp, clear black text would look like the white background of a document.

Despite a color temperature of 7476K, higher than the natural white light temperature of 6500K, nothing seemed particularly cold or bluish to me. That said, you might want to increase the setting of the night light a little if you’re worried about eyestrain, especially if you’re working late.

The model I tested had the standard IPS display (In-plane Switching) providing good viewing angles. Sometimes laptops with anti-glare coatings do not offer the best viewing angles, but on the ThinkPad T490, two people can comfortably watch streaming content together.

The ThinkPad T490 screen is not enough best in class – no laptop that I tested was able to MacBook Pro 2018 in terms of coverage of the color range or overall quality – but it’s the top among the best. Below are the results recorded when running the standard laptop display test using DisplayCAL 3 and an X-Rite Colorimeter. i1 Display Pro, compared to competing laptops:

Lenovo ThinkPad T490s94.1%66.2%68.2%
HP EliteBook 1050 G191.4%65.3%68%
Dell XPS 13 (2019)98%69%71%
Apple MacBook Pro 2018 13 inches100%84%98.9%

As you can see, the colors of the T490 are roughly equivalent to those of the HP EliteBook 1050 G1 (designed for business users), but a little bit below what you can get with the new Dell XPS 13 and, as I have already said, MacBook Pro 2018.

As such, websites, digital art works and most digital photos (those taken in the sRGB space, anyway) will look more or less like what they should on the Lenovo ThinkPad T490.

Although you do not want to do intensive photo editing on this laptop (for this you would need a device with a Graphic card – the ThinkPad T490s only uses the UHD Graphics 620 built into the processor), adjusting your holiday photos should not be a problem.

The low Adobe and DCI-P3 scores mean that this is not a laptop for you, if you want to get serious about digital photography (some people prefer the wider and more “natural” colors view with Adobe); videographers will want to work in the DCI-P3 space.

Lenovo ThinkPad T490s Reviews

If you want to use the Ethernet port here, you will need a supplement for an adapter (left LR ports: USB-C, USB-C with Thunderbolt 3, Ethernet, USB-A, HDMI 1.4, 3.5 audio jack mm)

Performance – Lenovo ThinkPad T490 is smoother than a 20-year-old whiskey (Lake)

The model I tested included a Whiskey Lake Intel Core i7-8565U processor and 16 GB of RAM. That’s more than enough processing power and memory for office applications. Since you’re not going to play triple-A games or edit videos, you’re perfectly equipped to go through your daily task lists on the ThinkPad T490.

I ran the usual sequel of Trusted opinion benchmarks to see how the ThinkPad compares to similar systems.

Not surprisingly, the performance here is similar to that seen on laptops such as Asus ZenBook 15 (UX533F), and Asus ZenBook Pro 14 (UX480)and what my colleague Ryan Jones saw with the Dell XPS 13 and Stealth Razer Blade – all with the same processor – and the HP EliteBook 1050 G1.

PCMark 10, which simulates various office tasks, has a score of 4000. It’s a little less than the 4500 that UL, according to the developer of PCMark 10, indicates a laptop that is suitable for office and light use. This is a similar score to the one we recorded with other Whiskey Lake laptops, and none of them were as good.

The results of running Geekbench 4 – a stress test processor – were also similar. The Lenovo ThinkPad T490 m gave single and multicore scores of 4647 and 13,742 respectively.

It’s a bit like the Dell XPS 13 (4877, 14,509) but not as good as the Asus ZenBook 15 (5166, 17,378). The T490s were not as successful as the HP EliteBook 1050 G1. This is not surprising, since the model I tested was based on a high performance Core i7-8850H Coffee Lake processor.

Despite these respectable scores but perhaps not at the top of the class, I found that the ThinkPad T490s on a daily basis was a dream to work on.

The SSD, an Intel Pro 7600p processor of 512 GB (477 GB available), also offered fast read and write speeds of 3145.20 MB / s and 1570.80 MB / s when I ran the CrystalDiskMark performance test.

This means that not only will all hard disk backups be fast and almost instantaneous (unless you save hundreds of photo files), but the overall operations are smooth.

Battery – Will Lenovo ThinkPad T490 last all day?

Easily. Expect to have about 10 hours of work with a full tank on the ThinkPad T490. Execution of PCMark 8 Work benchmark, which runs a loop of simulations of daily office tasks, from video calling to word processing, to web browsing, until the battery reaches critical levels, I managed the brightness of the screen with a brightness of 150 nits. .

Lenovo ThinkPad T490s Reviews

Ports on the right: Lenovo smart card port, USB-A, Kensington lock slot

Note that PCMark 8 tends to underestimate the performance of the laptop battery and if you further decrease the brightness, you can make a little more power out of the T490.

One of the boasted benefits of the Whiskey Lake chipset is an advanced power management, and many laptops I’ve tested with the same processor offer about 8 to 10 hours of power. 39, autonomy, sometimes a little more. As such, the Lenovo Thinkpad T490 is quite typical in this regard.

Loading the ThinkPad empty takes a little over two hours. After half an hour of feeding, you will have about 40 to 45% of the power and more than 75% after one hour.

Lenovo ThinkPad T490s Reviews

“I’m sorry, Dave, I’m afraid I can not do that”

Price – How much does new Lenovo ThinkPad cost?

If you buy directly from the Lenovo site, you can change the individual components – the processor, the display and the amount of RAM, for example.

Here are the specifications and prices of the two standard configurations that you are likely to find online, as well as the indicative prices of the components if you want to create your own customized version.

DisplayFull HD 14 inches, maximum brightness of 250 nitsFull HD 14-inch, anti-reflective coating, maximum brightness of 400 nits
ProcessorIntel Core i5-8265U (1.60 GHz, boost up to 3.90 GHz, 4 cores, 6 MB cache)Intel Core i7-8565U (1.40 GHz, boost up to 4.60 GHz, 4 cores, 8 MB cache)
GraphicUHD Graphics 620UHD Graphics 620
Memory8 GB DDR4 2400 MHz8 GB DDR4 2400 MHz
Storage room256 GB SSD256 GB SSD
Price£ 1159.99$1,519.99

Note that the standard Lenovo ThinkPad T490 option includes a Core i5-8265U processor, 8GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD, and a 14-inch Full HD IPS display.

  • Intel Core i7-8565U processor: £ 96
  • Intel Core i5-8365U processor: £ 99.60
  • Intel Core i7-8665U processor: £ 301.20
  • 16 GB of 2400 MHz DDR4 RAM (memory): £ 96
  • SSD 256GB M.2 2280 NVMe (storage): £ 27.60
  • SSD 512GB M.2 2280 NVMe (storage): £ 178.80
  • 1 TB SSD M.2 2280 NVMe (storage): £ 364.80
  • Antireflection 400 nits display: £ 66
  • Anti-glare multi-touch screen of 300 nits: £ 66

Lenovo ThinkPad T490s Reviews

Should I buy Lenovo ThinkPad T490?

If the pedigree of the ThinkPad does not speak for itself, here is why the purchase of a new Lenovo T490 is justified: here is a little flashy but versatile, enjoyable to use, and has security features sufficient to keep your IT department happy.

Whether you work in a corporate environment or not, freelancers from all walks of life after a reliable Windows 10 laptop will likely appreciate this utility workhorse. Although the price of the ThinkPad T490 may be too high for some students (the range starts at £ 1399.99), I am aware of this appeal for anyone who is about to start a BA or BSc, especially s & # 39 he needs a reliable and resistant device that will see him over the years.

As far as style is concerned, the T490 is not the most stylish computer on the market, although its unapologetic anti-aesthetics are part of the ThinkPad’s charm. If appearances are simply, if not more, important to you in terms of performance, then you can choose Asus ZenBook 15. the HP EliteBook 1050 G1 Also remains an excellent choice for business users and comes with a privacy screen feature at no extra charge.


Lenovo ThinkPad T490 is synonymous with business. Beyond the anachronistic and provocative styles, you’ll discover a solid and reliable machine that offers a higher level of security than most other consumer devices.

Laptop Windows 10 powerful, powerful and intelligent, even if it is retro.

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