CES 2018: ThinkPad L480 & L580

ThinkPad L480

The ThinkPad L-series are considered the budget series of ThinkPad used in corporate environments. The E-series are more aimed at entertainment with their faster GeForce graphics cards. The L-series offer slightly better displays than the E-series.

ThinkPad L480

The ThinkPad L480 comes with Kaby Lake Refresh processors, and is the direct successor to the ThinkPad L470.

The graphics card in the ThinkPad L480 is the Intel UHD 620. There is an optional discrete graphics card, the AMD Radeon 530. The ThinkPad L470 also had a discrete graphics card from AMD available, the AMD R5-M430. The AMD Radeon 530 is based on Polaris and can come either with 2GB of DDR3 or GDDR5 memory. There is a theoretical maximum memory bandwidth of 48GB/s. The Intel UHD Graphics 620 is only 21% slower in synthetic benchmarks, we do expect the difference to be higher in real world scenario’s such as gaming.

ThinkPad L480 left side
ThinkPad L480 left side

There are two camera choicesin the ThinkPad L480. You can either choose the 720p camera or go with the optional IR camera which will allow facial recognition.

There are two memory slots in the ThinkPad L480, allowing up to 2 16GB DDR4 SODIMM modules at 2400MHz.

ThinkPad L480 right side
ThinkPad L480 right side

The ThinkPad L480 still uses 2.5″ drives. Standard it will come with a hard drive, but the ThinkPad L480 is also upgradable with a PCIe SSD, making it an interesting budget choice.

Battery life is quite impressive at 12 hours with a 45 Wh battery. It is unclear with configuration is used here. I suspect this is with the integrated graphics card. The ThinkPad L470 lasted 14.48 hours with the 6-cell 48 Wh battery. The ThinkPad L470’s battery life was up to 21.72 hours with the 72 Wh battery. Possibly Lenovo sacrificed battery life to make the ThinkPad L470 thinner. I feel 12 hours is still acceptable for a budget model. RapidCharge is available for faster charging.

ThinkPad L480 with ThinkPad Ultra Dock
ThinkPad L480 with ThinkPad Ultra Dock

The WWAN card is a Fibocom L850-GL or L830-EB. Linux support is unclear at this point. We are still waiting for an answer on this matter.

The display choices are either a HD TN-panel or a FHD IPS panel which can be either touch or non-touch.

I/O Ports:

  • 2x USB-C
  • 2x USB 3.0
  • 4-in-1 Micro SD card reader (SD, MMC, SDHC, SDXC)
  • HDMI 1.4
  • Headphone and microphone combo jack
  • RJ45

The ThinkPad L480 starts at 1.68 kg and is 200g lighter than its predecessor. The ThinkPad L480 is 22.5 mm thin compared to the ThinkPad L470 at 23.9 mm.

ThinkPad L580

The ThinkPad L580 is the 15″ model of the ThinkPad L-series. It also comes with the quad core Kaby Lake Refresh processors which is surprising as the L-series were sometimes limited to Intel Core i5 models in the past.

ThinkPad L580
ThinkPad L580

The ThinkPad L580 uses the same graphics options as its smaller brother, the ThinkPad L480: An Intel UHD 620 or a AMD Radeon 530.

Surprisingly, there is no option for an IR camera. Only a 720p camera is available. This would make sense, as I don’t believe the IR camera is available in L-series ThinkPads. It wouldn’t make much sense in the product lineup. Take the ThinkPad L480 configuration options above with a grain of salt too until we get more clarity on this.

ThinkPad L580 left side
ThinkPad L580 left side

The ThinkPad L580 has two SODIMM slots for up to 16GB DDR4 2400MHz modules, giving a total of 32 GB RAM.

Battery life is slightly lower than the ThinkPad L480, being 11 hours with a 45Wh battery. The ThinkPad L570 lasts 14.8 hours on a 48Wh battery. RapidCharge is available for faster charging.

ThinkPad L580 right side
ThinkPad L580 right side

The ThinkPad L580 also still uses 2.5″ HDD drives but also has options to upgrade to a 512GB PCIe SSD.

There are two options for the WWAN-card, a Fibocom L850-GL or L830-EB.

I/O Ports:

  • 2x USB-C
  • 2x USB 3.0
  • VGA
  • 4-in-1 Micro SD card reader (SD, MMC, SDHC, SDXC)
  • HDMI 1.4
  • Headphone and microphone combo jack
  • RJ45

There are several display options to choose from. You can either go with a HD TN-panel or a FHD IPS-panel with is either touch or non-touch.

The ThinkPad L570 was quite thick at 30.85 mm. Its successor the ThinkPad L580 comes at 22.95 mm. Weight has also been reduced to 2 kg by 0.38 kg.