Lenovo T480 vs T480s – What’s the difference?

When you’re looking to invest in a new laptop, then you’ll likely come across a lot of different Lenovo laptops out there. And when you’re talking about the best Lenovo laptops, then some of the best they have to offer are the Thinkpad series.

Under the Thinkpad series, Lenovo have released both the T480 and the T480s over the past few years. But out of these two different laptops, which of them would prove to be the better choice? And what’s the difference between them? Well, let’s look at the T480 in closer detail to see how these two Thinkpads differ.

Lenovo T480 vs T480s

The main difference between these two Lenovo Thinkpad models is that the Lenovo T480s is lighter and thinner than the T480. However, the T480 has more upgradeable options, as you can add more RAM and increase swap the batteries with this device.

So despite the T480 being the older of the two laptops, sometimes it might actually prove to be the better choice for some people. Having 2 slots of RAM to use as opposed to only one and one soldered with the T480s will be a dealbreaker for many.

You could originally get the T480 with a cheaper TN display, whereas the T480s only comes with a display that uses IPS panels. I’d advise you to check and avoid TN panels if you’re thinking about buying one secondhand. The display quality will be much better and sharper with IPS panels.

But the thing is that for the most part, they’re very similar to one another. They both come with an Intel Core i5 processor as a base model, though this can be upgraded to an Intel Core i7 processor if necessary for both of them too. They’re also very similar when it comes to graphics, connectivity and build.

However, these are only the main similarities and differences between the two. Let’s look at them in a little closer detail.


Both laptops have the option of different displays, and depending on what you’re looking for, one will undoubtedly suit you more than the other. You can opt for a regular 1080p display, but you can also opt for wide quad high definition display too, which is essentially just 1440p, and higher definition.

Both models are designed with IPS technology for the most part, which helps when you’re looking at the screen from certain angles.

Build Materials

This is an area where these two laptops are pretty equal, although the T480s is probably the better finished of the two. They use the same quality of materials in their design, so it’s difficult to say there’s a massive difference here between them because there’s not.

But overall, the T480s has the better overall build based on user experience.

Weight & Height/Thickness

One of the main differences between these two laptops is their weight. The T480 weighs in excess of 1.6KG, which is a little heavier than the T480s, which comes in at slightly under 1.3kg.

As well as this, the height (or thickness) of the T480 is 20mm thick. This isn’t much different to the T480s, but it’s around 0.2cm thicker, with its own measurements being 1.8mm.

Battery Life

Another area where these two laptops differ is their battery options. Whilst you can add an additional battery with the T480, you cannot do this with the T480s. This means that with the T480, it’s pretty easy to get a 10 hour battery life by just adding a battery. So, this might make a big difference in your decision.

In terms of charging speeds, both of the laptops are actually the same. They both use a 65w charger, so if you buy the base model, there won’t be any difference here.

Other differences – Memory

Something else to mention is that with the T480, you can eventually upgrade the device to 32GB of RAM if you want to. There isn’t the option to do this with the T480s, as 8GB of RAM is actually soldered in place.

So, you can only upgrade the T480s to 24GB of RAM. This isn’t going to be a noticeable difference for most people, but it’s worth considering.

This is especially true if you want to keep your laptop for a good while. The ability to upgrade the laptop further will only prolong the lifespan of your laptop. And with a Thinkpad, you’ll want this to be as long as possible.

An additional area where the T480s is also a little better is the SSD speeds, because it has a dedicated NVME slot on the motherboard of the device. But again, this difference is only going to be minimal.

The main differences between the two

We’ve run through the main ways that these two laptops are different to one another. But just to clarify, the main reasons to opt for the T480s over the T480 are;

One of the key differences is that the T480s is around 300 grams lighter than the T480, and it’s around 0.1 inches thinner than it too.
You can’t upgrade the T480s as much as you can with the T480, but for 90% of people, this isn’t going to make a difference.
The overall build quality of the T480s is a little better than the T480, but the difference is minimal in reality.
You have the ability to swap batteries with the T480, but not with the T480s. This means you can easily get a better battery life without spending too much.
Typically you can find the T480 at a cheaper price than the T480s, which could be one reason for you to opt for it instead.


All in all, there is barely any difference between these two devices, and if you already have the T480 then there’s of course no point upgrading to the T480s. However if you haven’t bought either of these devices yet and are trying to decide between the two, then opt for the T480s.

All round, it’s the better option out of these two Thinkpad laptops. Having a lighter and smaller laptop is more beneficial than what the T480 offers. But, keep the lack of upgrading both RAM slots in mind when you make a purchase.

About Jon

Hey, I'm Jon. I'm an engineer by trade, so it makes sense that I'm obsessed with anything technology related! On the weekends, you can find me playing around with my computers or fixing something around the house. Feel free to leave a comment if you want to get in touch.

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