The Lenovo ThinkPad T490 is an excellent business laptop with or without an NVIDIA GPU. The model without an NVIDIA chip is slightly better than the technically more capable ThinkPad T490 in some areas, which pushes its overall rating up to 91% from the 90% that we gave to its MX250-equipped sibling.
Among other things, our review unit has better battery life than the ThinkPad T490 with a dedicated GPU. The former runs cooler than the latter too and does not suffer from the same annoying speaker noise that plagued our first test device. Lenovo largely eliminated this with a BIOS update, so it should not affect any ThinkPad T490 SKU going forwards.
Additionally, the Intel version of the T490 does not throttle when stress tested on account of its nominally weaker CPU too. The other highlights of the first T490 that we tested remain as well, like the robust and lightweight case, the fantastic input devices along with the bright and colour-accurate display. We are also fans of the versatile selection of ports and above-average CPU performance.
Both models suffer from largely the same drawbacks though. The low-power screen has poor response times, while the inclusion of only a microSD card reader rather than a full-sized one seems like a missed opportunity. Likewise, while we like that Lenovo has included a Thunderbolt 3 port, we cannot understand why the company only allows it to utilise two lanes of PCIe. Moreover, disassembling and re-assembling the case is a pain, and the lack of Power Bridge functionality makes the T490 less flexible than its predecessors.
Cooler and more enduring: The Intel GPU variant of the Lenovo ThinkPad T490 is better than its NVIDIA GPU sibling in some areas and is a fantastic business laptop.
Overall, the T490 with only an Intel GPU should be more than enough for people who do not need the added graphics capabilities that the GeForce MX250 brings. If you occasionally like to game after work or need a laptop on which you can process video edits, then the T490 with an NVIDIA GPU would be a better choice in our opinion.