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There are lighter business laptops and systems with more processing power, but the ThinkPad T470 offers the best balance between portability and usability on the market today. Whether you're a corporate IT manager, a worker in a cubicle or just an individual who needs to get work done at home or school, you'll benefit a great deal from this 14-inch laptop's best-in-class keyboard, wide array of ports and 17-plus hours of battery life. The ThinkPad T470 throws in a durable design, a speedy PCIe SSD and a versatile Thunderbolt 3 port for good measure.
The ThinkPad T470 has the familiar raven-black, rectangular ThinkPad aesthetic, with one small twist. The lid, sides and bottom are all covered in a luxurious soft-touch material that's a slightly darker shade of black than typical Lenovo ThinkPads and looks similar to the outside of the X1 Carbon.
At 33.25 x 23.24 x 2.01 centimetres and 1.58 kilograms, the ThinkPad T470 is noticeably lighter than its predecessor, the 1.72-kilogram, 2.11-centimetre thick ThinkPad T460. Switching from the lightweight 3-cell battery to the extended, 6-cell battery unit adds about 0.19 kilograms to the weight and a small but pleasant incline to the bottom, but it also doubles the battery life. The laptop is made from glass-fiber-reinforced plastic, while the lid is composed of either a magnesium hybrid or plastic material, depending on whether you get the full-HD screen or low-res display.
The ThinkPad T470's body is built to withstand some punishment. Like most other ThinkPads, it's designed to pass MIL-SPEC durability tests for extreme temperatures, shocks and vibrations, along with Lenovo's own bump and drop tests.
Built to satisfy corporate IT departments, the T470 comes standard with hardware dTPM encryption and, if you purchase it with a Core i5-7300U or Core i7-7600U CPU, you get vPro remote-management capability.
The ThinkPad T470's 14-inch, 1920 x 1080 non-touch display outputs sharp images with decent, but unimpressive colour quality and brightness. When a trailer for Thor: Ragnarok was watched, fine details such as the hairs in Chris Hemsworth's beard and the lines in Jeff Goldblum's forehead were pronounced. Colours like the red in the hero's cape or the green of the Hulk's skin were mostly accurate, but not too vibrant. The laptop is also available with a 1366 x 768 display, but we strongly recommend that you get the 1080p panel that was tested, because it allows you to fit a lot more content on the screen at once.
According to our colorimeter, the T470's display can reproduce a modest 73 percent of the sRGB colour gamut, a bit below the 14-inch laptop category average of 91 percent, but about on a par with the Dell Latitude 5480 and ThinkPad 13. However, the AsusPro B9440 and the ThinkPad X1 Carbon both have vibrant screens, capable of outputting over 100 percent of the gamut.
The screen achieved a Delta-E error rating of 2.1 (0 is better), which is very similar to the category average (2.2) and far better than the Thinkpad X1 Carbon (4.4) and AsusPro B9440 (6.7). The Latitude 5480 and ThinkPad 13 were a bit more accurate still.
ThinkPad T470 Display: Test Results
It is wished the T470's screen were a little brighter and had wider viewing angles. Although more than adequate for head-on viewing indoors, the matte panel's colours started to fade when you move more than 45 degrees to the left or right. The display measured 234 nits on our light meter, a bit below the 251 category average, the ThinkPad 13 (243 nits), the X1 Carbon (275 nits) and the AsusPro B9440 (291 nits). Still, the Dell Latitude 5480 is significantly dimmer, registering just 202 nits.
The ThinkPad T470's front-mounted speakers produce sound that's loud enough to fill a small conference room with your presentation or video, but forget about using the laptop as a stereo. When I listened to Ed Sheeran's "Shape of You," the percussion sounded so harsh it felt like my eardrum was being poked with a sharp object.
However, at least I could hear a clear separation of sound with the vocals coming from one side and the instruments and the drums on the other. Both the guitar and drums on Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water" were tinny, but the heavy bass on Patrice Rushen's "Forget Me Nots" was smooth and accurate.
Keyboard, TrackPoint and TouchPad
Discerning typists might want to purchase the ThinkPad T470 for its keyboard alone. The laptop's snappy typing experience is the best I've had on any laptop I tested so far this year. The keys have a deep 2mm of vertical travel (1.5 to 2mm is typical) and a strong 70 grams of required actuation force (55 to 60 is typical). Because the keys were so responsive, I achieved a rate of 107 words per minute on the 10FastFingers.com typing test, which is a bit above my average. The keyboard's backlight is luminous enough at both high and low brightness.
Like almost every ThinkPad, the T470 comes with both a TrackPoint pointing stick and a buttonless touchpad. I much prefer the TrackPoint, which allowed me to navigate around the desktop flawlessly, without lifting my hands off the home row.
However, if you don't like pointing sticks, you'll appreciate the 9.9 x 6.8-centimetre touchpad, which was extremely accurate in tests and responded immediately to common Windows gestures like three-finger swipe and pinch-to-zoom. Right and left clicking provided just the right amount of feedback.
The ThinkPad T470 has every connection a productivity user could want. A Thunderbolt 3 port allows users to connect an entire universe of high-speed Thunderbolt and USB Type-C peripherals, including universal chargers and docking stations. While some notebook manufacturers use firmware that prevents their laptops from using a third-party USB Type-C charger, Lenovo works with any power brick, but protects you from voltage surges with its anti-fry technology
On the left side of the T470, you'll find the Thunderbolt 3 port, a USB 3.0 port and Lenovo's old-fashioned flat power connector; the system comes with Lenovo's traditional 45-watt AC adapter for charging. The T470's right surface leaves room for two more USB 3.0 ports, a 3.5mm audio jack, HDMI out, a full-size Ethernet port, a Kensington lock slot and an SD card reader. What more could you possibly want?
With its seventh-gen "Kaby Lake" Core i5-7200U CPU, 8GB of RAM and 256GB PCIe SSD, our review configuration of the ThinkPad T470 offers more than enough pop for serious productivity and heavy multitasking.
The T470 scored a reasonable 6,739 on Geekbench 4, a synthetic benchmark that measures overall performance. That number is higher than the Core i3-powered ThinkPad 13 (5,488), but behind systems with higher-end processors such as the Core i7-7600U-powered Dell Latitude 5480 (8,999) and the Core 7600U-powered X1 Carbon (8,571). The Core i5-7200U-enabled AsusPro B9440 also scored a little higher (7,197).
Ready for some serious number crunching? Lenovo's laptop took just 4 minutes and 1 second to complete our Spreadsheet Macro test, which involves matching 20,000 names with their addresses. That time is far faster than the category average (4:48) and the ThinkPad 13 (5:18) and about the same as the AsusPro (4:02). The Latitude and X1 Carbon were both between 40 and 50 seconds quicker.
The 256GB PCIe SSD on our ThinkPad T470 took just 19 seconds to copy 4.97GB of files, for a rate of 267.8 MBps. That's much faster than the 196.8 MBps category average and the scores turned in by all of its competitors, including the Latitude 5480 (137.5 MBps), the ThinkPad X1 Carbon (242 MBps) and the ThinkPad 13 (73.8 MBps).
You can't expect to play AAA games with the ThinkPad T470's integrated Intel HD Graphics 620 GPU, but it's fast enough for viewing movies, editing photos and using some low-end titles. The laptop scored 62,912 on 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited, a synthetic test that measures graphics prowess. That's a bit below the Latitude 5480 (73,623), the AsusPro B9440 (69,585) and the X1 Carbon (68,082).
One of the longest-lasting notebooks in the world with its extended battery installed, Lenovo's ThinkPad T470 lasted an amazing 17 hours and 25 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test (continuous surfing over Wi-Fi). That's more than double the category average (8:12) and the AsusPro B9440. It also handily beats the ThinkPad 13 (9:08), the ThinkPad X1 Carbon (12:21) and the Dell Latitude 5480 (11:37). However, with its 0.4-pound lighter, 3-cell battery on board, the T470 lasted a more modest 8 hours and 39 minutes.
Like several other ThinkPads, the T470 uses Lenovo's PowerBridge battery system, which features both an internal 3-cell battery and your choice of a removable 3- or 6-cell battery. If you choose to carry a spare battery, you can swap it in, without even turning off the computer. However, if you get the 6-cell battery, you shouldn't need to carry a spare.
The ThinkPad T470's built-in 720p webcam captured acceptable, but unimpressive images of my face. When I took a selfie under the fluorescent lights of my office, my beige shirt appeared light gray and there was a fair amount of noise in the background. However, this level of quality is on a par with most built-in webcams.
Lenovo packs the ThinkPad T470 with a very minimal set of first-party apps. Lenovo Settings, as its name implies, gives you fine control over the Wi-Fi, sound, battery and other key system components. Lenovo Companion tests your hardware for errors and searches for driver updates.
There's a lot to love about the ThinkPad T470, from its epic battery life to its comfy keyboard, speedy SSD and wide array of ports. If you can spend a couple hundred dollars more and want a lighter laptop with a more colourful display, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon is a great choice, though it lasts about 5 hours less on a charge and has fewer ports. If you're on a budget, a similarly configured ThinkPad 13, though that laptop has far shorter battery life, a smaller screen and lacks a Thunderbolt 3 port.
It's not a perfect laptop -- the screen could be a lot brighter and the palm rest ought to be soft-touch -- but the ThinkPad T470 offers the best combination of performance, durability, flexibility and endurance of any business laptop.