Laptop

Lenovo ThinkPad T470 Ultrabook running Linux – Part 1

Condition of Refurbished Laptop

The machine was sold as grade B condition. What does that mean?

Refurbished grade B laptops are fully tested and fully functional but will show obvious scratches on laptop case and may feature more excessive use to external surface and normal wear than grade A units will exhibit, this will include scratches on cover / lid and heavier wear on keyboards. Grade B laptops may feature several small dings or dents on covers, small but visible scratches to the case and / or small paint chips on the surface. Grade B laptop screens may feature uneven light diffusion in the screen and may feature blemishes & marks. Grade B laptops will not feature cracks or multiple dead pixels on screens but will feature slight scratching on screen.

It can be a minefield when choosing a grade B laptop, but if you’re aware of the potential risks and what wording to look out for on online retailers, you shouldn’t be disappointed.

Obviously the condition of the laptop will be somewhat of a lucky dip. What was the condition of our Grade B laptop?

Pros

  • No scratches on the laptop lid or chassis.
  • No dings or dents at all.
  • Keyboard and trackpad are in excellent condition although there is normal wear on the trackpad, palm rest, and lid
  • No dead pixels on the display.

If a laptop has been used extensively before, it’s likely that the battery life has depleted over time. Laptops generally only have a lifespan of 3-5 years, so given the age of the T470 and it’s ex-corporate heritage, we didn’t have high expectations for battery use.

The T470 has a key virtue over many other laptops. It has two batteries with our model having a 24Wh internal battery and a 24Wh hot-swappable battery.

The upower command shows our internal battery has gone through a whopping 913 charge-cycles. Instead of 24Wh, the full energy of the battery has reduced to 19.59 Wh. The second battery has gone through 371 charge-cycles. Instead of 24Wh, this battery has only 17.37 Wh. Given the design of the T470, we’d expect the internal battery to have a higher number of charge-cycles (the internal battery is discharged first). It’s not clear though why the second battery has a lower Wh full energy when it has a much lower number of charge-cycles.

The image below shows the internal battery is almost exhausted. We got a mite more than 3 hours of light usage at the time this image was taken.

As the image shows, the machine uses the internal battery first before then drawing on the second battery.

In light usage we obtained around 4.5 hours of battery life (in total). For these heavily used batteries, this is actually a very respectable outcome.

Cons

Not everything was rosy. Besides battery life, the other main concern when buying a refurbished laptop is the condition of the display. Replacing a laptop’s display can be non-trivial particularly as this model involves unscrewing multiple screws and case tabs. Older laptops’ case tabs often go brittle over time.

Our laptop’s display suffers from some light diffusion. There is a small bright light diffusion spot on the far right hand side of the screen. That isn’t too bad given its position.

More disappointing is a small cluster of light diffusion spots in the bottom centre of the display. They are only visible on a white background and are not too obtrusive. When we’re running the Linux desktop with GNOME’s dark mode, we didn’t notice them too much.

Next page: Page 3 – Summary

Pages in this article:
Page 1 – Introduction
Page 2 – Condition of Refurbished Laptop
Page 3 – Summary



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