A couple of weeks ago, I got my new Thinkpad E490. It replaces two desktop PCs and my old laptop, so I needed a serious work horse. The most obvious choice within Lenovo’s line-up would be a T480, but I found those to be rather expensive. It’s follow-up model has just been announced, but the new T490 has fewer configuration options.
All in all, the E490 seemed the best choice for me. I got the i7 version with loads of RAM. Here’s a few things I noticed so far:
- Ubuntu 18.04 installed in minutes with all hardware working flawlessly, except for the fingerprint scanner (which you can probably get working with a little effort).
- The E490 is built like a tank. This may be the “economy” model, but it has true Thinkpad build quality.
- When it was announced, there was talk of a plastic and a slimmer metal option for the lid. I did not get an option to pick either while ordering, but the lid on mine is metal. Very nice, but a fingerprint magnet.
- It has more recent Intel CPUs than the T480, which are slightly faster.
- SSD options top out at 512 GB, but the E490 has a trick up its sleeve. It has a standard SATA drive bay, in which I installed a 1 TB SATA SSD. Ideal for a speedy data disk, although not quite as fast as an NVMe drive. Installation requires no special hardware, and the procedure is detailed step-by-step in the manual.
- Yes there’s a red LED in the Thinkpad logo on the lid.
- Man, the keyboard is excellent.
- Hooking up a large display is a bit tricky. Over HDMI, my 3440*1440px screen runs at an “okay-ish” 50Hz. This will probably be 30Hz for 4K screens. The USB-C port supports DisplayPort alternate mode, but you’d need a docking station to simultaneously charge the laptop.
If you’re considering picking up an E490, I’d recommend looking around for coupons. I entered a bunch of codes and got mine at a spectacular price.