Lenovo ThinkPad L570

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Pros
  • Fairly rigid
  • Excellent input devices
  • Wide range of I/O
  • The screen doesn’t use PWM above 60 cd/m2
  • Outstanding battery life
Cons
  • Subpar TN display with too cold color temperature, inaccurate color reproduction, limited sRGB coverage and low maximum brightness
  • Hefty chassis, clunky appearance
  • Either M.2 SSD or 2.5-inch HDD/SSD, no room for both

To be honest, Lenovo has over-saturated the business segment with so many models that it’s hard to keep up with them. The good news is that there’s a model for everyone but we are still puzzled by the existence of the L-series. The one we got is the ThinkPad L570 and offers pretty much all the features an upper mid-range to higher-end business notebook would offer but it’s a little bit too clunky for a 2017 device in our opinion. In any case, the laptop surprises with extraordinary battery life, comfortable working experience overall and plenty of I/O, although USB-C is nowhere to be found. In short, it’s a remake of a 2010-ish notebook.

On top of the usual Intel Core i7-7500U CPU, integrated graphics, 8GB of DDR4-2400 RAM and 256GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD, the laptop comes with a Full HD IPS panel if you opt for the more expensive variant but we are disappointed to see an HD TN panel as a default at this starting price. And as it seems, there are regions that are stuck with only an FHD TN panel so we strongly recommend that you look closely to what you are buying – not all models come with Full HD IPS. In any case, we suggest looking into the ThinkPad E-series, which are reasonably priced notebooks with great specs but lack the SmartCard and ExpressCard readers, which might be the only deal-breaker here.

Retail package

The laptop comes in a standard package with the usual user manuals, power cord and charging brick.

 

Design and construction

The design might be considered as “unattractive” or even clunky and we can agree to some extent – the design goes way too much into the ThinkPad classic appearance (including the thick base) but fortunately doesn’t disappoint in build quality.

We found the case to be pretty sturdy, although at a cost – it weighs 2.38 kg and it’s a little over 30 mm thick. That size and weight are usually intrinsic to 15-inch gaming laptops that carry a big cooling system while the chassis provides enough headroom for the hardware to perform.

The lid doesn’t make any exception and looks clunky as hell – hard roughened plastic finish on top with the usual ThinkPad logo in the lower right corner. Opening the lid reveals reasonably sized bezels. The plastic on the back isn’t too easy to bend but it does cause ripples to appear on the LCD panel when pressed while also being fairly resistant to torsion. As for the hinges, they provide smooth travel, firm grip over the lid and make the notebook possible to open with just one hand. The bottom piece features the same roughened plastic and provides some vent openings for the air intake.

The sides of the machine are pretty thick and the port distribution is rather good. On the left, you will find a mini DisplayPort, VGA, a standard USB 3.0 connector, an ExpressCard reader and the standard SD card slot.

On the right, there are two USB 3.0 ports, a SmartCard reader, the 3.5 mm audio jack and the optical drive. The remaining USB 3.0 connector is on the back of the machine.

The interior continues the same design concept and uses the same material – doesn’t feel premium but doesn’t attract fingerprints as well. Pressing the various regions of the surface result in slight bending – mostly in the middle of the keyboard – but there’s nothing to worry about during normal usage. The keyboard itself features the usual AccuType design with slightly concaved keycaps while the keys provide long and tactile feedback. The TrackPoint is in its usual fashion and it’s a good replacement of the standard clickpad provided below. The latter, of course, provides comfortable experience on the go – no wobbling, registers swipes, gestures and clicks accurately.

So overall, yes, the case is a bit clunky, heavy and thick but provides decent stability, excellent input devices and plenty of I/O.

Disassembly, maintenance and upgrade options

The good thing about the ThinkPad L570 is that you can access practically everything by only removing the big service cover. There’s no need for a full disassembly for anything. All upgrades and swaps can be done under the service cover.

Storage upgrades – 2.5-inch HDD/SSD, M.2 SSD

To our surprise, the notebook features only an M.2 SSD slot or you can swap it out for a 2.5-inch drive but you can’t have both. This is rather disappointing since the ThinkPad L570 is business-oriented 15-inch laptop and having both options at the same time has become a standard nowadays. Anyway, the M.2 SSD slot, in our case, is taken by a PCIe NVMe SSD from Intel with 256GB capacity.

Slot Unit Upgrade price
M.2 SSD 2280 slot 1 256GB Intel M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD Upgrade options
2.5-inch HDD/SSD slot Free Upgrade options
RAM

The motherboard holds two RAM chip slots one of which is taken by a single Samsung 8GB DDR4-2400 chip but you can go as far as 32GB of DDR4-2400.

Slot Unit Upgrade price
Slot 1 8GB Samsung DDR4-2400 Upgrade options
Slot 2 Free Upgrade options
Other components

The Wi-Fi adapter is also easily accessible and it’s Intel 8265NGW.

The battery unit is user-replaceable and can be released with the two lever switches. The unit is rated at 48Wh.

Cooling system

The cooling design is quite simple – a small heat pipe connected to the cooling fan and the CPU heatsink.

Display quality

The Lenovo ThinkPad L570 features a Full HD (1920×1080) TN panel from Innolux with model number N156HGA-EAB. Since it measures 15.6 inches, the display has a pixel density of 142 ppi and a pixel pitch of 0.18 x 0.18 mm. The screen can be considered as “Retina” when viewed from a distance equal or greater than 60 cm.

Viewing angles are poor due to the TN panel.

The maximum brightness that we measured is 220 cd/m2 while the color temperature at maximum brightness is exceptionally high – 11000K. This means that colors will appear noticeably blue-ish/cold. Our custom profiles take care of the issue and reduce the color temperature to a more optimal 6500K.

Color reproduction

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction of the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.

Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people in HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.

Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.

The laptop’s screen covers just 50% of the sRGB color gamut so it’s not suitable for multimedia – only for general browsing and office work.

Below you will see practically the same image but with the color circles representing the reference colors and the white circles being the result. You can see main and additional colors with 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% saturation inside the sRGB gamut pre and post calibration.

The “Design and Gaming” profile is created at 140 cd/m2 brightness, D65 (6500K) white point and optimal gamma in sRGB mode.

We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.

The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle and the surrounding light conditions.

Response time

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and reverse.

We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 13 ms.

PWM (Screen flickering)

Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.

Fortunately, the PWM that we detected is absent above 60 cd/m2 but even if you go under 60 cd/m2, for whatever reason, the frequency of the emitted light is pretty high so it might not affect all users – only those with extra sensitive eyes.

Blue light emissions

Installing of our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.

Conclusion

It’s rather common for budget business-oriented laptops to come with TN panels but the ThinkPad L570 includes a particularly bad display with exceptionally inaccurate colors, high color temperature, it’s color deficient, too dim but at least doesn’t use PWM for regulating screen brightness. With a little help from our custom profiles, though, the color temperature, gamma and color accuracy are greatly improved.

Sound

The sound quality is decent and we couldn’t find any noticeable distortions in the low, mid and high frequencies.

Lenovo ThinkPad L570 technical specifications table
Acer
Upcoming
CPU : Intel Core i7-7500U 44
GPU : Intel HD Graphics 620 146
Display : 15.6”, Full HD (1920 x 1080), TN
HDD/SSD : 256GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD
M.2 Slot : M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD slot See photo
RAM : 8GB DDR4, 2400 MHz
Dimensions : 377 x 255 x 28-31 mm (14.84″ x 10.04″ x 1.10″)
Weight : 2.38 kg (5.2 lbs)
Body material : Polycarbonate, ABS Plastic
Ports and connectivity  :
  • 4x USB Type-A  : 3.0 (3.1 Gen 1)
  • HDMI : X
  • VGA : V
  • DVI : X
  • Displayport mini : V
  • Card reader : MMC, SD, SDHC, SDXC
  • Ethernet lan  : 10, 100, 1000 Mbit/s
  • Wi-Fi  : 802.11ac
  • Bluetooth : 4.1
  • Audio jack : combo audio/microphone jack
Features : 
  • Fingerprint reader : V
  • Web camera  : 720p HD
  • Backlit keyboard : X
  • Microphone : dual array microphone
  • Speakers : 2 x 1.5W
  • Optical drive : V
  • Security Lock slot : V
  • Spill-resistant keyboard, MIL-STD-810G military certification : V
Lenovo ThinkPad L570 configurations
Lenovo ThinkPad L570 - $932.00
  • Intel Core i5-7200U
  • Intel HD Graphics 620
  • 256GB SSD
  • 4GB RAM
Lenovo ThinkPad L570 - $1028.94
  • Intel Core i5-7300HQ
  • Intel HD Graphics 620
  • 128GB SSD
  • 4GB RAM
Lenovo ThinkPad L570
  • Intel Core i7-7500U
  • Intel HD Graphics 620
  • 256GB SSD

Battery

Battery life on this thing is just amazing. Although the unit sports just 48Wh battery, the energy-efficient Intel Core i7-7500U and the not so demanding Full HD TN panel work well together and provide even full workday away from the grid depending, of course, on the type of usage. This ranks the notebook among the most durable 15-inch machines we’ve tested.

All tests were performed under the usual conditions – Wi-Fi turned on, screen brightness set to 120 cd/m2 and Windows’ battery saving feature switched on.

Web browsing

In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.

Oustanding battery runtime – 676 minutes (11 hours and 16 minutes).

Video playback

For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.

A little bit lower but still impressive result – 561 minutes (9 hours and 21 minute).

Gaming

We recently started using F1 2017’s built-in benchmark on loop in order to simulate real-life gaming.

Of course, the laptop isn’t made for gaming away from the power source but it’s good to know that it can handle heavy workload for almost four hours – 236 minutes (3 hours and 56 minutes).

CPU – Intel Core i7-7500U

The Core i7-7500U is part of the latest Intel Kaby Lake generation of CPUs built upon 14nm manufacturing process – or 14nm+ as the company markets – and should offer marginal performance gains over the Skylake generation while improving overall power efficiency. It’s a direct successor to the Core i7-6500U (Skylake) and Core i7-5500 (Broadwell) but opposed to previous architecture refreshes, the Kaby Lake Core i7-7500U is bringing much higher clock rates. Now the chip is clocked at 2.7 – 3.5 GHz (compared to the 2.5 – 3.1 GHz on the Skylake Core i7-6500U) and still adopting the 2/4 core/thread count using the HyperThreading technology with a maximum 4MB cache.

However, the Core i7-7500U’s TDP is still rated at 15W including the iGPU and dual-channel memory controller that supports DDR4-2133, LPDDR3-1866 and DDR3L-1600. And as far as the iGPU is concerned, it integrates a slightly improved Intel HD Graphics 620 clocked at 300 – 1050 MHz, which is slightly higher than the iGPU on the Core i5-7200U (300 – 1000 MHz).

  • Cinebench 11 – Results are from the Cinebench 11 test (higher the score, the better)
Laptop Results Result
difference
Lenovo ThinkPad L570 Intel Core i7-7500U (2-cores, 2.7 – 3.5 GHz) 3.80
HP ProBook 450 G4 Intel Core i7-7500U (2-cores, 2.7 – 3.5 GHz) 3.95 +3.95%
Dell Vostro 15 3559 Intel Core i5-6200U (2-cores, 2.3 – 2.8 GHz) 3.20 -15.79%
Dell Latitude 15 3570 Intel Core i5-6200U (2-cores, 2.3 – 2.8 GHz) 3.21 -15.53%
  • NovaBench CPU – Results are from the NovaBench CPU test (higher the score, the better)
Laptop Results Result
difference
Lenovo ThinkPad L570 Intel Core i7-7500U (2-cores, 2.7 – 3.5 GHz) 522
HP ProBook 450 G4 Intel Core i7-7500U (2-cores, 2.7 – 3.5 GHz) 521 -0.19%
Dell Vostro 15 3559 Intel Core i5-6200U (2-cores, 2.3 – 2.8 GHz) 444 -14.94%
Dell Latitude 15 3570 Intel Core i5-6200U (2-cores, 2.3 – 2.8 GHz) 442 -15.33%
  • Photoshop – Results are from the Photoshop test (lower the score, the better)
Laptop Results Result
difference
Lenovo ThinkPad L570 Intel Core i7-7500U (2-cores, 2.7 – 3.5 GHz) 17.65
HP ProBook 450 G4 Intel Core i7-7500U (2-cores, 2.7 – 3.5 GHz) 17.45 -1.13%
Dell Vostro 15 3559 Intel Core i5-6200U (2-cores, 2.3 – 2.8 GHz) 20.21 +14.5%
Dell Latitude 15 3570 Intel Core i5-6200U (2-cores, 2.3 – 2.8 GHz) 20.15 +14.16%
Fritz

Fritz is a chess benchmark that tests the computing capabilities of the CPU with various chess moves. The Intel Core i7-7500U scored 6.873 million moves per second. In comparison, one of the most powerful chess computers, Deep(er) Blue, was able to squeeze out 200 million moves per second. In 1997 Deep(er) Blue even beat the famous Garry Kasparov with 3.5 to 2.5.

GPU – Intel HD Graphics 620

intel_hd_graphicsIntel’s HD Graphics 620 is a direct successor to the integrated HD Graphics 520. The latter is found in ULV (ultra-low voltage) processors from the 6th Generation (Skylake) of chips while the former is in the 7th (Kaby Lake) generation of CPUs.

Intel’s HD Graphics 620 uses the GT2 version of the graphics chip with 24 EUs (Execution Units) reaching as high as 1050 MHz and it has a base frequency of 300 MHz. However, the maximum operating frequency depends on the CPU, whether it’s the Core i3-7100U or the Core i5-7200U or the Core i7-7500U. Since the iGPU doesn’t have a dedicated memory – or eDRAM for that matter – it uses the available RAM on the system which is 2x 64-bit DDR3 or DDR4.

The TDP depends on the CPU model but it’s usually equipped with a SoC rated at 15W including the memory controller. Its performance should be enough for multimedia activities, light applications and gaming on really low resolution and minimum graphics settings.

  • 3DMark Cloud Gate (G) – Results are from the 3DMark Cloud Gate (G) test (higher the score, the better)
Laptop Results Result
difference
Lenovo ThinkPad L570 Intel HD Graphics 620 7394
HP ProBook 450 G4 NVIDIA GeForce 930MX (2GB DDR3) 9106 +23.15%
Dell Vostro 15 3559 AMD Radeon R5 M315 (2GB DDR3) 5036 -31.89%
Dell Latitude 15 3570 Intel HD Graphics 520 7199 -2.64%
  • 3DMark Fire Strike (G) – Results are from the 3DMark Fire Strike (G) test (higher the score, the better)
Laptop Results Result
difference
Lenovo ThinkPad L570 Intel HD Graphics 620 998
HP ProBook 450 G4 NVIDIA GeForce 930MX (2GB DDR3) 1570 +57.31%
Dell Vostro 15 3559 AMD Radeon R5 M315 (2GB DDR3) 919 -7.92%
Dell Latitude 15 3570 Intel HD Graphics 520 380 -61.92%
  • 3DMark (Sky Diver) – Results are from the 3DMark (Sky Diver) test (higher the score, the better)
Laptop Results Result
difference
Lenovo ThinkPad L570 Intel HD Graphics 620
HP ProBook 450 G4 NVIDIA GeForce 930MX (2GB DDR3) 5070
Dell Vostro 15 3559 AMD Radeon R5 M315 (2GB DDR3) 3052
Dell Latitude 15 3570 Intel HD Graphics 520 3125
  • Unigine Heaven 3.0 – Results are from the Unigine Heaven 3.0 test (higher the score, the better)
Laptop Results Result
difference
Lenovo ThinkPad L570 Intel HD Graphics 620 301
HP ProBook 450 G4 NVIDIA GeForce 930MX (2GB DDR3) 443 +47.18%
Dell Vostro 15 3559 AMD Radeon R5 M315 (2GB DDR3) 242 -19.6%
Dell Latitude 15 3570 Intel HD Graphics 520 235 -21.93%

Temperatures

The two-stage test doesn’t represent real-life usage but it’s still the best way to assess the overall stability of the cooling design and its effectiveness.

After one hour of CPU stress testing, the software showed low temperatures and full utilization of the CPU cores – at first, the Core i7-7500U ran at 3.4 GHz and shortly after went down to 3.0 – 3.1GHz. What got our attention, though, is the extremely quiet operation of the cooling fan even under extreme workload.

Turning on the GPU stress test forced the CPU to throttle in order to give enough headroom for the iGPU to perform. It’s absolutely normal for such a laptop.

Temperatures on the surface were within normal range and the cooling fan remained pretty silent during the whole test.

Verdict

If we don’t get too picky, we can easily say that the ThinkPad L570 is an excellent budget business solution but it’s rather hard considering the current alternatives on the market including HP’s ProBook 450 G4. Build quality-wise, the L570 feels solid a bit clunky at first sight and a little bit too hefty but delivers ideal user experience due to the excellent input devices – both, the keyboard and the touchpad are great.

However, we would have really appreciated a bit better display, even if it’s going to be TN. This one has only one con and it’s the absence of PWM above 60 cd/m2 luminance. The rest of drawbacks like low maximum brightness, particularly inaccurate color reproduction, limited sRGB coverage and extremely high color temperature will mess even with the least pretentious user out there. Luckily, our custom profiles can fix some of the problems like color accuracy, gamma and color temperature.

But despite all that, the ThinkPad L570 excels in some key areas that will be much appreciated by some users – it has great battery life, plenty of I/O and it’s extremely easy to upgrade or replace most of the hardware, including the battery. Speaking of hardware, we would like to point out that the laptop comes only with an M.2 SSD slot or a 2.5-inch drive – you can’t have both. That’s a big miss, especially for a 15-incher.

So would we recommend the ThinkPad L570? It really depends on how much you are willing to give up for one of the best in class battery life and input devices. On the other hand, we strongly recommend looking into the HP ProBook 450 G4 as well since it’s the more balanced solution. Another similar solution is Dell’s Latitude 15 3570.

(laptopmedia.com, https://goo.gl/6s92kw)

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