Hands On: Lenovo ThinkPad T490s
The ThinkPad brand has been synonymous with sturdy dependability almost since the laptop class was established. Lenovo has been the careful custodian of that heritage, ensuring a wider range than ever before of the venerable brand.
The ThinkPad T490s is the workhorse option business laptop, but unlike its non-S stablemate, it is sleek, light and stylish. While not encroaching on the eye-wateringly expensive Carbon X-1 model, its dimensions are not all that different. This is a welcome development in the segment, as the T490s loses none of its ThinkPad-ness for being just 328.8mm x 225.8mm x 16.1mm. Yes, that is 16.1 mm thick. Weight varies based on specification options, but starting from 1.27kg, this is an easily handled machine that travels well and can be wielded one handed for those screen sharing sessions.
Core specs are Intel Core i5 or Core i7 in i5-8265U and Core i7-8565U variants. RAM is 8GB expandable to 32GB, with 256GB up to 1TB of SSD storage. The screen is a 356mm (14.0″) FHD, IPS AntiGlare LED backlit, with a 1920 x 1080 resolution. This is driven by Intel’s UHD Graphics 620 GPU, which is competitive enough for a spot of gaming, should you find yourself at a lose end between business appointments, or on the commute. In terms of performance for business tasks, it will happily run even the most demanding apps, from 3D modelling to complex data visualisations.
Opening it up, the chassis has an immediately recognisable layout, with a full size keyboard, large track pad, with full size buttons, as well as the customary red pointer button, should you be accustomed to its use. A 720p camera combines with a fingerprint reader for biometric security, along with Fast Online Identity (FIDO) authentication capabilities via dTPM 2.0. It is worth noting that you do not have to pick up a privacy shutter at a conference stand or tech event, the T490s has a ThinkShutter privacy cover as standard. Along with the security features of the ever-fluid Windows 10, the T490s provides an excellent platform for any managed security scheme.
Connectivity is the usual range of wireless and wired protocols, along with 2 x USB 3.1 (Gen 1), 2 x USB-C (1 Thunderbolt 3), and there is a headphone / mic combo. Despite the slim dimensions, there is also room for an HDMI 1.4 port.
Storage can be further expanded through a MicroSD/Micro-SIM slot.
Power usage profile is up to 20 hours battery life, as tested by MobileMark 2014, with the supplied 65W AC charger providing a fast charge capability.
In use, the keyboard provides a reassuring, positive action, and the antiglare screen is easy to read, and still manages FHD IPS (1920 x 1080, 400 nit) with the privacy guard.
The T490s does a good job of providing a robust platform, with a refinement of light and sleek that is not always available in this segment.
While the aspiration might be for the X-1 option, for a fleet device at which could turn up their nose, the T490s delivers in terms of performance, spec and desirability. This is never a bad thing, as returns, minor niggles and support issues seem to be significantly reduced for fleet devices when people like using what they have been assigned.
The spread of specification options means the T490s can be configured for most needs, further increasing its appeal. The silver option is very attractive in the form of an aluminium cover too.
Prices start from €1,214.99