The Lenovo ThinkPad T470 is the best mainstream business laptop on the market, thanks to its epic battery life, fantastic keyboard and plethora of ports. For users who want a little more power, Lenovo makes the ThinkPad T470p, which ups the ante with a quad-core Core i5 or i7 CPU, an optional 2K screen and optional Nvidia graphics. Starting at $944 ($1,308 as reviewed), the 14-inch T470p has slightly better performance than its slimmer sibling, but for a relatively minor bump in speed, you have to live with a heavier chassis, no Thunderbolt 3 port and half the battery life.
Even among ThinkPads, most of which have the same raven-black aesthetic and boxy shape, the T470p looks boring. Rather than using the same luxurious, soft-touch material as on the regular ThinkPad T470's lid, sides and bottom, Lenovo put plain matte plastic on all sides of the T470p.
At 13.3 x 9.24 x 0.94 inches and 3.6 pounds (with the three-cell battery), the T470p is noticeably thicker and heavier than the regular T470 (0.79 inches thick, 3.48 pounds), the ThinkPad X1 Carbon (2.4 pounds, 0.65 inches thick) and the AsusPro B9440 (2.4 pounds, 0.6 inches thick). Dell's Latitude 5480 (4 pounds, 0.9 inches) is a tad heavier than the T470p. If you use the six-cell battery, which more than doubles the battery life, the T470p's weight increases to 4 pounds, and the bigger battery adds a slight tilt to the laptop's bottom.
Durability and Security
According to Lenovo, the ThinkPad T470p is designed to pass a slew of MIL-SPEC durability tests, including those for extreme temperatures, shocks and vibrations. To protect your data from prying eyes, the laptop offers dTPM encryption.
Depending on which processor you configure it with, the T470p may also have Intel vPro remote management capability.
Display and Audio
The ThinkPad T470p's 14-inch, 1920 x 1080 display isn't particularly bright or vibrant, but it's more than adequate for productivity. When I played a 1080p trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, colors like the purple titles and the blue in Yondu's skin seemed a bit muted, with a slight yellow bias. However, fine details, such as the markings on Drax's skin and Groot's bark, were sharp and prominent.
According to our colorimeter, the T470p can reproduce a mediocre 69 percent of the sRGB color gamut, which is far below the average for a 14-inch laptop (94 percent), the ThinkPad X1 Carbon (104 percent) and the AsusPro B9440 (103 percent). The ThinkPad T470 (73 percent) and the Dell Latitude 5480 (71 percent) were also a bit better.
The screen reached 229 nits of brightness on our light meter, which is below the category average (255 nits), the AsusPro B9440 (291 nits) and the ThinkPad X1 Carbon (275 nits). The ThinkPad T470 (234 nits) was just a bit brighter, while the Dell Latitude 5480 (202 nits) was quite a bit dimmer. Fortunately, colors stayed mostly true at wider viewing angles, fading just slightly as we moved past 45 degrees to the left or right.
The Thinkpad T470p's speakers are loud enough to fill a midsize living room and accurate enough to play music or videos. When I listened to Ed Sheeran's "Shape of You," there was a clear separation of sound between the percussion and vocals, both of which stayed clear. AC/DC's guitar- and drum-heavy "Back in Black" sounded good overall, with just a small hint of tin from the drums.
Like other Lenovo laptops, the T470p comes with Dolby Audio enabled by default and the ability to switch among Music, Movie and Voice profiles. Disabling the Dolby setting made the music sound hollow.
Keyboard, Touchpad and TrackPoint
Lenovo's ThinkPad keyboards have a well-deserved reputation for being among the best in the industry, and the T470p's typing surface lives up to that legacy. With a deep 2.3 millimeters of vertical travel (1.5 to 2 mm is typical) and 74 grams of required actuation force (65 to 70 grams is typical), the keys have plenty of feedback and never let me bottom out.
I managed a rate of 113 words per minute on the 10fastfingers.com typing test, which is well above my 95- to 105-wpm typical rate. However, because I was moving so fast, I got a higher-than-normal 5.3 percent error rate.
Like most other Lenovo business laptops, the ThinkPad T470p has two different pointing devices: a touchpad and a TrackPoint nub. I strongly prefer the TrackPoint because it offers the most accurate navigation you can get on any laptop and allows you to move the pointer without lifting your hands off the home row.
However, even if you don't like pointing sticks, you'll have a great experience with the 3.9 x 2.2-inch buttonless touchpad. In my testing, the pad provided smooth movement through the desktop, several apps and a drawing session in Windows Paint. It also responded accurately to multitouch gestures such as pinch-to-zoom and three-finger swipe.
The ThinkPad T470p has most of the ports a productivity user would want, with one huge exception: Unlike its siblings -- the ThinkPad T470 and T470s -- the laptop lacks a Thunderbolt 3 port. Considering that the T470p is supposed to be the high-performance model in the group, Lenovo's decision to exclude the most powerful port on the market is baffling. High-end users can forget about outputting to multiple 4K monitors, connecting to the fastest external drives or charging the device via a universal docking station. There's no regular USB Type-C port, either.
On its left side, the ThinkPad T470p houses a USB 3.0 port, an audio jack, Lenovo's proprietary power connector and an optional smart-card reader.
The right side contains a Kensington lock slot, a mini DisplayPort, an Ethernet port and two more USB 3.0 ports. An SD card reader lives on the front lip. It's worth noting that, although the T470p uses Lenovo's proprietary flat connector, it requires a 90-watt charger rather than the 65-watt units that come with most ThinkPads.
With its quad-core Intel Core i5-7440HQ CPU, 8GB of RAM and 256GB PCIe solid-state drive, our review configuration of the ThinkPad T470p is more than powerful enough for serious multitasking and major productivity tasks.
On Geekbench 4, a synthetic benchmark that measures overall performance, the T470p scored a strong 11,590, which is much higher than the 8,845 category average, as well as the scores from the Core i5-7200U-powered ThinkPad T470 (6,699) and AsusPro B9440 (7,197) and the Core i7-7600U-enabled ThinkPad X1 Carbon (7,879) and Dell Latitude 5480 (8,530).
Office workers will appreciate the T470p's ability to crunch numbers with great aplomb. The machine completed our spreadsheet macro test, which involves matching 20,000 names with their addresses, in 3 minutes and 22 seconds, which is quite a bit faster than the category average (4:25), the AsusPro B9440 (4:02) and the ThinkPad T470 (4:01). However, competitors with Core i7 CPUs finished the task in similar times. The Latitude 5480 was even 10 seconds quicker.
The T470p's 256GB PCIe SSD took just 17 seconds to copy 4.97GB of mixed media files, for a rate of 299.4 MBps, which is comfortably higher than the 217.2-MBps category average. The regular ThinkPad T470 (267.8) and the X1 Carbon (242) were a bit slower, while both the Latitude 5480 and the AsusPro B9440 were well under 200 MBps.
With its integrated Intel HD Graphics 630 GPU, our T470p scored 80,577 on 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited, a synthetic test that measures graphics prowess. That's slightly better than the category average (78,337) and much higher than the scores from the X1 Carbon, AsusPro B9440, Latitude 5480 and ThinkPad T470, all of which have dual-core processors with Intel HD Graphics 620 GPUs. However, if you plan to do much video or photo editing, we recommend configuring the T470p with an optional Nvidia GTX 940 graphics card ($80 extra).
The ThinkPad T470p stayed pleasantly cool throughout our tests. After we streamed a video for 15 minutes, the touchpad measured a cool 79.5 degrees, the keyboard hit only 81 degrees and the bottom surface maxed out at 87 degrees Fahrenheit. All of these temperatures fall well below our 95-degree comfort threshold.
The ThinkPad T470p can just about last through a workday, but only if you use it with the optional six-cell battery. With the six-cell battery on board, the machine lasted a solid but unimpressive time of 8 hours and 50 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test, which involves continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi. That time is longer than the category average (8:12) and the AsusPro B9440's mark of 8:26. However, the regular ThinkPad T470 with its six-cell battery lasted an epic 17 hours and 25 minutes, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon endured for 12 hours and 21 minutes, and the Latitude 5480 died after 11 hours and 37 minutes.
Don't even think about using the T470p with the default, three-cell battery. With the low-capacity battery on board, the machine lasted only 3 hours and 7 minutes -- less than half the category average. In contrast, the regular T470 lasted an above-average 8 hours and 39 minutes when using its own three-cell battery.
The ThinkPad T470p's 720p webcam takes reasonably accurate photos with just a bit of visual noise.
When I captured an image of my torso under the fluorescent lights of our office, the blue in my shirt and the red in my beard looked true to life, though there was some visual noise behind me.
Software and Warranty
The ThinkPad T470p comes preloaded with a couple of useful Lenovo utilities and a few pieces of common Windows 10 bloatware. Lenovo Settings gives you fine control over aspects of the system, such as the speakers, the battery and the camera, while Lenovo Companion looks for software updates and checks system health. The laptop also has Candy Crush Soda Saga, Sling TV, Minecraft, and March of Empires preinstalled, along with Start-menu tiles for Fallout Shelter and Asphalt 8.
Lenovo backs the ThinkPad T470p with a one-year limited depot warranty that pays for shipping both ways if you need service. See how Lenovo fared on our Tech Support Showdown and Best and Worst Brand ratings.
The ThinkPad T470p starts at $944. For that price, you get the laptop with a 1080p screen, a Core i5-7330HQ CPU, 4GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive, a three-cell battery and Intel integrated HD 630 graphics. Our $1,308 review configuration, which offers the best balance between price and performance, one-ups the base model with a Core i5-7440HQ CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB PCIe SSD and a six-cell battery. You can save $80 on this config by going with the slightly slower Core i5-7300HQ processor.
On Lenovo.com, you can configure the laptop with up to a Core i7 processor, 32GB of RAM, a 512GB PCIe SSD and a 2560 x 1440 display. Whatever else you choose, you should definitely spend the additional $15 to upgrade to the larger, six-cell battery and at least a 256GB SSD, which adds $210 to the price.
Lenovo's ThinkPad T470p offers strong performance, a great keyboard and a durable chassis. If you like the original T470 but feel like you absolutely have to have a quad-core processor in your laptop, a 2K screen or low-end Nvidia graphics, the T470p is a good choice.
However, for everyone else, the regular ThinkPad T470 is a much better choice, thanks to its longer battery life, soft-touch design and Thunderbolt 3 port. Also, at least in the tests we ran, the performance gap between the T470p and the T470 was small and would probably shrink further if you were to get a T470 that had a Core i7 processor. (Ours had the slowest Core i5.) Users who want a much lighter and classier laptop that costs more can go for the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, which has an all-soft-touch chassis and 12 hours of battery life.
However, if you need to squeeze every iota of processing power out of a mainstream business laptop, the ThinkPad T470p could be for you.