Thin and Light Laptop on the Cheap: Lenovo ThinkPad T470s

A light, slim and small laptop with a decent keyboard has been on my casual “to-buy” list for a few months now as I wish to get back in to writing here on RedBlueGreen.ca. I had stopped for a few months as I had been busy with work but also the laptops I had access to were either too bulky or really too slow.

When it comes to laptops I typically won’t buy new. Mostly because there are so many decent off-lease business laptops out there on the market that will do any job that I really request. If I want to game on the road, I’ll game on my Nintendo Switch or Valve Steam Deck. I do have a gaming laptop but it’s just too big and heavy to take with me to work. And typically I am not anywhere where I can do any real online gaming anyway.

Over Christmas I was watching for refurbished deals on Ebay and I stumbled upon two laptops that caught my eye. One was a small twelve inch laptop from Japan that had been converted for use in Canada. The next was something from the Lenovo.

With that all in mind it made sense to look at an off-lease refurbished ThinkPad. I have always liked Lenovo. I have had several in the past and my Mom just recently purchased an IdeaPad herself after using an ancient Lenovo that was old when I bought it.

The legendary T series is where I went immediately. I have owned several Lenovo’s in the past but never one of the T series models. While researching I believe I found the sweet spot just before Christmas on Ebay. A ThinkPad T470s.

As you know, if you are a frequent reader here, I prefer AMD powered systems if at all possible but I have to admit, in most cases you can’t find anything AMD powered off-lease and refurbished for a good price. There are just so many Intel business laptops out there that the deals to be had are with laptops equipped with those processors.

I picked up a T470s powered by an Intel i5 – 7300U. That’s a low power dual-core hyper-threaded CPU that is still decent today. The T470s also has 8GB of soldered memory (which I have upgraded to 24GB with a 16GB 2400MHz SODIMM module) and a 256GB NVMe SSD. Pretty solid specs as far as I’m concerned. Especially since I’m only planning on doing some writing with it and some occasional web browsing. It also has a really decent 14 inch 1080P IPS display.

Ports include an always on USB 3.0/3.1 port, two USB 3.0/3.1 ports, a USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 (supporting Thunderbolt 3), HDMI, gigabit Ethernet, headphone/mic jack and a full-size SD Card reader. My T470s also came equipped with a Sim card slot and a smart card reader built in. There is also a docking port on the bottom of the laptop.

Let’s talk about the condition of the T470s I received. You always gamble a bit when you buy refurbished units from anywhere and since this was basically the cheapest listing on Ebay I honestly was not expecting a lot. So when it arrived with a genuine Lenovo power supply I was blown away. The unit came clean and opening it up looked like it had been barely used.

Looking closer I did find some minor scoring around the bottom corner of the track-pad. The track-pad itself looks like it has had some damage to the outer edges. Both of these things are barely noticeable though. The keyboard has been used a bit as you can see where the keys have been worn in some places. The “H” key is half broken though still usable. I didn’t even notice that until I really started writing stuff up for RBG. I have ordered a replacement keyboard so that wont be an issue much longer. Oh, and I was blown away to discover this T470s has a back-lit keyboard.

Stickers on the bottom are worn but not important really. The lid is missing the Lenovo logo sticker but not the ThinkPad one. Not a big loss there.

If it sounds like a lot of things it really is not. I expect things like this on a refurbished office laptop. And at the price at which I bought the T470s, it’s still a bargain.

One other thing I like to check when getting a refurbished laptop is the health of the batteries. Most refurbished laptops are sold with the warning that the battery is “as-is” and cannot be expected to work as it did when it was new (or even at all). The T470s has two internal batteries and I am happy to see that the primary battery has only 200 full cycles on it and the secondary battery has only 100. And according to Lenovo’s Vantage software they are both within 85% collectively of their original capacity. I may buy a couple more batteries in the near future just to have them on hand to replace down the road but these units are fine for now.

Gaming is pretty much out of the question. The on board Intel HD 620 graphics are not stellar by any means. In fact they can’t hold a candle to the integrated graphics on the ancient AMD A8 APU in the old “lenny” my Mom used. Limiting factor here is the 512MB the iGPU dedicated to itself (though it does have access to another 4GB of system memory). It does, however, manage to run Pinball Arcade which I was actually surprised to see.

Since the T470s is not really a gaming power house I thought I would check out how the remote streaming from my main machine through Steam. Once I figured out the only way to get the picture full screen on the laptop was to set graphics to full screen and not windowed full screen my gaming sessions went great. Oh and you have to be in Big Picture mode on both the streaming system and the client system. I ran Ace Combat 7 and Final Fantasy VII Remake and they both ran flawlessly. There is a very slight delay on control input but I only noticed this because I could see the video on my main system at the same time as the stream. During game-play this really was not an issue. Colours were slightly muted as well but I may have been able to up the stream quality to get better colour. All of this was run with my main rig hooked up via gigabit Ethernet to my network and the T470s hooked up via WiFi 5 (5GHz 802.11AC).

Overall the performance of this T470s has been quite satisfactory for the price paid. And what did I pay? $229.99 CAD plus $19.99 shipping. Of course your mileage may vary depending on the unit but as far as I am concerned this laptop is well worth the price.

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