home CES, Laptop, News, Reviews, Ultrabook, Workstation Closer look at: 2016 ThinkPad T-Series – T460, T460s, T460p & T560

Closer look at: 2016 ThinkPad T-Series – T460, T460s, T460p & T560

Skylake T-Series Hero Image


T-Series, the bread-and-butter, the heart and soul of the ThinkPad series. Lenovo is continuing this legendary series now with four new models based on Intels 6th generation Core i CPUs codenamed “Skylake”. This is the 2016 ThinkPad T-Series.

T460s: The Flagship model of the T-Series

Since its inception in 2009 with the T400s, the T4xxs models are the flagship models of the T-Series. They are the thinnest and lightest, and offer the most advanced technologies.

The newest model, the T460s, follows this tradition. Unlike the T450s, which was a mere T440s with Broadwell CPUs and TrackPoint buttons (basically, although there are more, smaller changes), T460s features a completely new chassis. Its overall design is like a mixture of the T450s and the X1 Carbon (Gen 3). The new chassis is much thinner, just 16.9 mm thin at its thinnest point and 18.9 mm at its thickest point, which is a big step down from the 21 mm thick chassis of the T440s/T450s. Its also features slightly chamfered edges, which makes it look even sleeker and gives the design a more aggressive note similar to the ThinkPad X1. Maybe even more important: The T460s is the lightest T model yet. With just 1.4 kg / 3.0 lbs, its entering the territory of the X260, which is, depending on the configuration, either a little bit lighter or slightly heavier then the T460s. Like the X1 Carbon, the T460s has a large removable cover at the bottom of the base unit, which you have to remove to gain access to all the internal components. T450s had a different design where you had to remove the entire base unit to get access to the components.12052342_10153622345173418_3195605756234816959_o

 

To make this new chassis possible, Lenovo had to make a few changes of course, changes some people may not and will not like: Unlike the T450s, the T460s does not feature a hot-swappable, expandable battery. This is one point where the T460s is closer to the X1 Carbon line then the older T440s/T450s models. Instead, the T460s features an integrated battery with a capacity of 47 Wh, which is like the T450s in its 3 + 3 cell battery configuration. Still, this is likely going to turn off some people. Luckily, Lenovo still offers models with expandable batteries – T460 & X260 are good alternatives for people who absolutely need the expandable battery option. Another change necessary for the thin & light chassis: The 2.5″ SATA III bay is removed in favor of a 2280 M.2 NVMe PCIe slot, which naturally also means the T460s is a SSD only systems – no more HDDs in the slim T-Series. This change is likely going to be welcomed by most buyers, as HDDs are only a legacy option anyway these days. Lastly, it also helps that the VGA port is going away, replaced by a slightly smaller HDMI port.

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Another notably area of improvement over the T450s are the screens: Where the T450s had a 1600×900 TN screen as the low-end option, T460s is upping the ante with a 1920×1080 IPS screen as the low-end option (also available with as a touch-screen). As the 1920×1080 IPS option is now to be considered the new low-end here, Lenovo introduces a 2560×1440 IPS screen as the new high-end option, which means the T460s is equal in the screen area now with the X1 Carbon (Gen 4). Its also the first 14″ T model sold with a resolution beyond Full HD.

You may ask in the end, where´s the point of the T460s, if its so close to the new X1 Carbon now? Well, there are still plenty of differences between the two models. Very notably, the ports – as the T450s, the T460s features a full-size Ethernet port, a standard-sized SD card reader and a docking port for mechanical docks (compatible with ThinkPad Basic, Pro and Ultra docks). Its also optionally available with a smartcard reader, an important security option for some company buyers. These are all features the X1 Carbon Gen 4 does not have. Also, the T460s features not only soldered on RAM (either 4 or 8 GB), but also one DIMM slot, which gives you the option to expand the RAM to up to 24 GB DDR4 RAM (8 GB soldered on + 16 GB as one module). The X1 Carbon 2016 is limited to 16 GB DDR3 RAM, and you have to buy it with 16 GB to the get the maximum capacity, as all the RAM is soldered on the motherboard. As all T-Series models, the T460s features a keyboard removable by the user, which is a nice option, as you can exchange worn out keyboards after the warranty ended yourself. And lastly, the T460s has an option for a dedicated GPU (nVidia GeForce 930M, 2 GB VRAM), which is a nice option for people who want to do some light gaming sometimes.

Here are the full specs of the T460s:

  • Processor: Up to Intel Core i7-6600U
  • GPU: Intel HD 520 or nVidia GeForce 930M (2 GB VRAM)
  • Memory: Up to 24 GB DDR4 RAM (1 DIMM slot + 4/8 GB soldered down)
  • Storage: Up to 1 TB PCIe SSD, 2280 M.2
  • Battery: 47 Wh, internal battery
  • Display: 14″ 1920×1080 IPS (with touch optional) or 14″ 2560×1440 IPS
  • Footprint: 331 x 226.8 x 16.9 – 18.8 mm
  • Weight: Starting at 1.4 kg / 3.0 lbs
  • Ports: RJ45, HDMI, mDP, 3x USB 3.0, 4-in-1 SD card, Combo Audio-jack, Mechanical Dock-Port (CS13)
  • Communication: Intel 8260 (2 x 2, 802.11 a/c), Broadcom WLAN card (2 x 2, a/c), Sierra EM7455 LTE (optional), Bluetooth 4.1, WiGig (optional), 720p webcam
  • Security: Touch Fingerprint sensor (optional), Smartcard reader (optional), TPM, Kensington Lock, vPro
  • Audio: Dolby Home Theater v4

T460s will be available starting in February 2016, starting at 1059 $ in the US.

T460p: The most powerful 14″ ThinkPad

If the T460s is the flagship of the T-Series when it comes to portability, the T460p is the flagship when it comes to performance. It is the long-awaited update of the 14″ ThinkPad performance line and the successor of the T440p. As such, its not using Intels standard dual-core U CPUs. Instead, the T460p is solely based on Intels HQ line of Quad-Core processors, with no dual-core options available at all. Its also available with a mid-range nVidia GeForce GPU (nVidia GeForce 940XM). Like the T440p, the T460p offers two DIMM slots, but unlike the old model, the T460p can accept up to 32 GB of DDR4 RAM.

lenovo-laptop-thinkpad-t460p-front-2

These relatively powerful components necessitate the chassis to be thicker and heavier then the standard T460. Although in this case, not much thicker. With 24.4 mm, its slightly thicker then the 21 mm thick T460. Its still the thickest T model in the current lineup. Its also not exactly light with 1.8 kg. Still, the T460p is a great improvement over the nearly 3 cm thick & 2.2 kg heavy T440p. How is this possible? The T460p finally ditches the integrated DVD drive that was still present in the T440p. It also has only three USB ports, instead of four, but all the USB ports are finally USB 3.0. Other notable design changes include the jump to drop down hinges and the return of dedicated TrackPoint buttons. Design wise, the T460p is much more like a T460 on steroids, unlike the T440p, which was a completely different machine compared with the T440. It also features the same base-cover design, which means you have to remove the entire base-unit to gain access to the internal components.

lenovo-laptop-thinkpad-t460p-cover-1

The T460p follows the T460s when it comes to the display options, offering only IPS displays and no TN options at all. Unlike the T460s however, the T460p does not have the option for a touchscreen.

Other new features compared with the T440p: The new touch-fingerprint sensor, a HDMI port (instead of VGA) and the option for a 256 GB PCIe SSD. Unlike the T460, the T460p seems to be lacking an internal battery, which means the maximum battery capacity is limited to 72 Wh (with the 72 Wh 6 cell battery that sticks out of the bottom).

Here are the full specs of the T460p:

  • Processor: i5-6300HQ / i5-6440HQ / i7-6700HQ / i7-6820HQ
  • GPU: Intel HD 530 or nVidia GeForce 940MX
  • Memory: Up to 32 GB DDR4 RAM (2 DIMM slots)
  • Storage: 2.5″ HDD/SSD, up to 512 GB SSD / 1 TB HDD, M.2: Up to 128 GB SATA III SSD
  • Battery: Up to 72 Wh, external battery
  • Display: 14″ 1920×1080 IPS or 14″ 2560×1440 IPS
  • Footprint: 339 x 235 x 24.4 mm
  • Weight: Starting at 1.8 kg / 4.0 lbs
  • Ports: RJ45, HDMI, mDP, 3x USB 3.0, 4-in-1 SD card, Combo Audio-jack, Mechanical Dock-Port (CS13)
  • Communication: Intel 8260 (2 x 2, 802.11 a/c), Broadcom WLAN card (2 x 2, a/c), Sierra EM7455 LTE (optional), Bluetooth 4.1, 720p webcam
  • Security: Touch Fingerprint sensor (optional), Smartcard reader (optional), TPM, Kensington Lock, vPro
  • Audio: Dolby Home Theater v4

T460p will be available in January 2016, starting at 1249 $ in the USA.

T460 & T560: The business standard

The T460 is the standard model of the T-Series and the most inexpensive one. Its like the middle of the road model – not quite as powerful or thick as the T460p, but also not as portable as the T460s. Unlike the other two 14″ T models, the T460 is a rather small upgrade over the T450 (which was a even smaller update of the T440), using nearly the same chassis as the T450. New features include the optional GeForce 940XM GPU, optional 256 GB PCIe M.2 storage, as well as HDMI and WiGig docking.

Thinkpad_T460_04_Skype

The same is true for the T560. The T560 is the only 15″ model left in the T-Series, since the T540p does not get a Skylake successor, which means the 15″ T-Series Quad-Core line is discontinued (I guess Lenovo wants people to buy the P50 instead). T560 is also a small upgrade over the T550, with the same new feature set: GeForce 940XM, 256 GB PCIe storage, HDMI, WiGig docking. It also is available with a FHD IPS option (with touch optional), which is new, as the T550 did have a FHD TN option. Oh, and a small downgrade unfortunately: Instead of a 2880×1620 IPS display, T560 offers a 2560×1440 IPS display as the high-end option. Thats something that doesn´t make much sense for as the P50s still offers a 288×1620 IPS display, but it seems Lenovo decided to differentiate these machines more, so, its 2560×1440 now.

Thinkpad_T560_07_Win 10 MiniStart

T460 full-specs:

  • Processor: i3-6100U / i5-6200U / i5-6300U / i7-6500U / i7-6600U
  • GPU: Intel HD 520 or nVidia GeForce 940MX
  • Memory: Up to 32 GB RAM (2 DIMM slots)
  • Storage: 2.5″ HDD/SSD, up to 512 GB SSD / 1 TB HDD, SATA Express: Up to 256 GB PCIe, M.2: None
  • Battery: Up to 95 Wh, 23 Wh internal battery, 72 Wh external battery
  • Display: 14″ 1366×768 TN or 14″ 1920×1080 IPS (touch optional)
  • Footprint: 339 x 232.5 x 21 mm
  • Weight: Starting at 1.7 kg / 3.8 lbs
  • Ports: RJ45, HDMI, mDP, 3x USB 3.0, 4-in-1 SD card, Combo Audio-jack, Mechanical Dock-Port (CS13)
  • Communication: Intel 8260 (2 x 2, 802.11 a/c), Broadcom WLAN card (2 x 2, a/c), Sierra EM7455 LTE (optional), WiGig (optional), Bluetooth 4.1, 720p webcam
  • Security: Swipe Fingerprint sensor (optional), Smartcard reader (optional), TPM, Kensington Lock, vPro
  • Audio: Dolby Home Theater v4

T560 full-specs:

  • Processor:  i5-6200U / i5-6300U / i7-6600U
  • GPU: Intel HD 520 or nVidia GeForce 940MX
  • Memory: Up to 32 GB RAM (2 DIMM slots)
  • Storage: 2.5″ HDD/SSD, up to 512 GB SSD / 1 TB HDD, SATA Express: Up to 256 GB PCIe, M.2: None
  • Battery: Up to 95 Wh, 23 Wh internal battery, 72 Wh external battery
  • Display: 15.6″ 1366×768 TN or 15.6″ 1920×1080 IPS (touch optional) or 15.6″ 2560×1440 IPS
  • Footprint: 380.6 x 258.2 x 22.45 mm
  • Weight: Starting at 2.3 kg / 5.0 lbs
  • Ports: RJ45, HDMI, mDP, 3x USB 3.0, 4-in-1 SD card, Combo Audio-jack, Mechanical Dock-Port (CS13)
  • Communication: Intel 8260 (2 x 2, 802.11 a/c), Broadcom WLAN card (2 x 2, a/c), Sierra EM7455 LTE (optional), Bluetooth 4.1, 720p webcam
  • Security: Swipe Fingerprint sensor (optional), Smartcard reader (optional), TPM
  • Audio: Dolby Home Theater v4

T460 and T560 will be available in February, T460 starts at 909 $ and T560 starts at 969 $ in the US.


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  • Lo Phi

    This T460p looks disappointing to me:
    – no 7-row classic keyboard!!
    – no clam shell
    – huge bezel borders around the screen,
    – no mechnic shut-off for the camera lens, Wifi and Microphone

    – ridiculous 16:9 LCD form factor!! … I nee a machine for work.

    – From the photos I am not convinced that the new black is the same trusted rubberized Thinkpad Black.

    – Any word on the removal of spyware infested bloatware?

    asoasf.

    • ImThink

      ThinkPads never had any spyware or anything like that installed.

      The camera, the microphone and WiFi can be disabled in BIOS, if you are feared someone might spy on you.

      • Lo Phi

        I’d prefer a mechanic switch, which would disconnect those functions in hardware.

        Re bloatware insecurity:

        Lenovo Caught Preinstalling Security Risk Bloatware, Again
        http://techraptor.net/content/lenovo-caught-preinstalling-security-risk-bloatware-again

        (BTW: quite interesting user comments underneath this article.)

        I just wanted to know, if Lenovo for the new models now officially guaranties, that their software will be made secure or completely removed, After all, there are the same decision makers inside Lenovo management responsible for the infested and supposedly not infested models.

      • ImThink

        Lenovo has cleaned up their Windows 10 preloads to not include anymore 3rd party software, besides the obligatory McAffee test version. It does still ship with Lenovo´s own ThinkVantage tools and apps.

        Actually Thinkpads and IdeaPad/consumer models are managed by completely different teams, and their preloads are also not the same.

      • Lo Phi

        OK. Looking at the organigramm of Lenovo:

        Which two top managers are those two independent heads of Thinkpad- and IdeaPad Management?

        http://www.theofficialboard.de/organigramm/lenovo

        with pictures
        http://www.lenovo.com/lenovo/us/en/management.shtml

        and restructuring 2014
        http://news.lenovo.com/news-releases/lenovo-statement-on-january-2014-reorganization.htm

        “PC Business Group(including Lenovo and Think brands), led by Gianfranco Lanci, who currently leads Lenovo EMEA. This group will ensure we continue to innovate, drive profits and expand our lead in our core PC business worldwide.”

      • ImThink

        This is top managment structure. There is the entire middle-managment beneath that. Gianfranco Lanci leads the entire PC group, but inside the PC group, there is still a big division between consumer devices and Think devices.

        Mr. Lanci doesn´t manage the preloads himself, thats done by the individual teams. For example, the consumer range is mostly managed in Lenovo China, and the business range is managed in the Lenovo US headquarters in Raleigh, NC.

      • Lo Phi

        In fact, is Mr. Lanci then leading his independent teams?
        Spyware or insecure software might endanger profits, he will be asked for.

        Observing the Volkswagen-Winterkorn-effect I wonder, if we should forward some press snippets to Mr. Lanci. Just to be on the secure side.

      • ImThink

        A question: In the company you work (just guessing that you have a job), is every single little decision done by the CEO/highest executive?

        If so…I don´t believe you^^

      • Lo Phi

        “Data Security” is not a “little decision”.

      • retrospooty

        As mentioned by others, the main business lines (Thinkpad T and X series) never had any of that spyware. It was lower end consumer models.

      • jay

        Lo Phi an idiot!

    • Hammad Manzoor

      Agree specially on the design (thick bezel).

  • You missed a T550/T560 difference: the T550’s 3K screen was 2880×1620, but the T560’s 3K screen is now 2560×1440.

    While the new 3K resolution is more “standard”, I’m really disappointed Lenovo chopped off so many pixels.

    • ImThink

      Oh, yes, thats true. Maybe its because I couldn´t belive this was happening. 😀

      Its also strange to me, considering the 2880×1620 panel is still available on the P50s.

  • El Ninja

    What? No PS/2 connector?? Don’t they know I need a WORK laptop!?!?

    OK, seriously–thanks for the great info–much appreciated. I do have 2 questions:

    1) any clue as to whether or not the PCIe is 2.0×4 or 3.0×4

    2) you mention that the T460 1080P screen is IPS–but the spec sheet on Lenovo’s site does not mention IPS. Is it, indeed, the case?

    The T460 looks perfect, assuming that’s an IPS panel. Thanks again for the detailed info!

    • ImThink

      Regarding 2), that may or may not be a mistake on Lenovo site. I do hope it is. It would make any sense, since Lenovo does not use FHD TN displays anywhere else, and T450 also was available with FHD IPS. I guess we have to wait for the product to hit the market to finally know. The spec sheets have some other mistakes so thats why I am thinking it might be a mistake after all.

      Regarding 1), no, I am not sure. Lenovo simply says these are PCIe. As with the other question: This might clear up once the machine is listed in the PSREF, or if not, then when it hits the market.

    • ImThink

      So I have asked my contact who works at Lenovo, and yes, the screen should be IPS.

      • El Ninja

        OK, thanks! I know there was a 1080P TN panel on the X1 carbon–so they’ve done it in the past. That was my main reason for asking. Funny enough, Lenovo US is now showing the 1080P IPS screen as an option for the T450.

  • miki

    I don’t need papercuts from my laptop, I need secondary HDD. Ditching DVD means ditching Ultrabay, one of ThinkPad’s aces, compared to other brands. I’ve been ThinkPad user for over a decade and I hate to see this decay of the TP’s unique features. What’s next? Dock-Port? (it’s still the most comfortable way to plug in at least a power cord)

    • ImThink

      Well, you are in a minority, sad but true. The UltraBay is no longer considered to be a feature worth preserving.

    • ykee

      Perhaps for them 2 HDD/SSD (SATA + M2) is deemed enough? Anyway I too wish that they have kept it.

      • miki

        I have absolute no experience and only a little knowledge about M2. All I googled in the past was somehow uncertain. If I can have bootable at least 128GB M2 drive with system and backup on it, so I can use SATA for large HDD, I’d have no problem then.

      • ImThink

        Yes, this would work on the T460p. M.2 drives are available up to 512 GB in this size if I remember correctly.

  • The Dan

    So this mentions that all of the 460 line will have discrete graphics cards, but only Intel HD 520 seems to be available on Lenovo’s site. Did Lenovo backpedal, or is the customization webpage wrong?

    • ImThink

      T460p, T460 and T460s will all be available with dGPUs. Just not right from the start, dGPU configs will be available later (I have heard late March/April).

      T460s will be only available with a dGPU in the US. Europe won´t get the dGPU models this time.

  • Nik Y

    “T460 and T560 will be available in February” – almost in the 3rd week of Feb, still not available. Any word on when?

  • Kumar

    I am interested in T460s. Where do I get “1 TB PCIe SSD”? Is it even available in the market?

    • ImThink

      The 1 TB PCIe SSDs are not yet available, they will be eventually.

  • aadhil salim

    why there is no dvd drive. ,?which model having dvd drive

    • ImThink

      DVD drives are not considered to be an important people to be built into a notebook anymore. There is not T-Series ThinkPad with a DVD drive left.

      The only two new ThinkPads with a drive are P70 and L560. Slightly older models with a DVD drive are T440p, T540p, L440, L540 and W540/W541.

  • Glemes

    Does the 460s support miracast?

  • Misternighttime

    I was about to buy a T450s. Now I’m thinking about buying a T460. T460s is too expensive. Wouldn’t T460 be equivalent to T450s (1920×1080 IPS screen, weight, building materials) or is it a kind of T450?

    • ImThink

      The T460 is the T450 with newer components. Chassis, keyboard, touchpad, all exactly the same, with very little differences (like for example HDMI instead of VGA). T450 was also available with FHD IPS Displays.

      T460s has more premium materials, just like the T450s.

  • Jerry

    This is a great review / comparison brief, thank you! I am now considering buying the T460p but noticed that Lenovo charges an extra £160.00 for the i7-6820HQ processor instead of the i7-6700HQ processor when by checking Intel’s site (http://ark.intel.com), both processors have the same Tray Customer Price of
    $378.00. I consider this a marketing scam! Any comments will be greatly appreciated!

    • ImThink

      How the OEM prices for these come to life, I don´t know. I would simply choose the i7-6700HQ though if I were you, I don´t think the premium is really worth it. Everything the 6820HQ can handle the 6700HQ will handle as well. Its a pretty good CPU, I have it in my P50.

  • dee

    I have a T460S, brand new. I’ve uninstalled and re-installed the drivers for an external AOC second monitor. Anyone have any issues getting it to connect? I’ve tried multiple monitors including a dell monitor, and the same thing happens. The monitors appear to go in to sleep mode and I cannot see anything. However, when our IT guys log in and take control of my system, they can see the second screen on their end. Thoughts??? Anyone???

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