Today we’re taking a look at Lenovo’s fourth-generation ThinkBook P1. We took their P15 Gen 2 for a spin a short while ago, and what we found there was a behemoth of a machine. The P1 shoots for a far lighter and portable build while still being able to provide workstation power with high-end Intel chips and NVIDIA graphics. Right now this machine starts at about $1,800 at Lenovo with an i7 and T1200 GPU, but our test machine specs will set you back closer to $3k. Here are the specs of our test machine:
- OS: Windows 10 Pro/Enterprise
- Proc: Intel Xeon W-11855M Processor with vPro (3.2 GHz, up to 4.9 GHz with Turbo Boost, 6 Cores, 12 Threads, 18 MB Cache) [i9-11950H also available]
- Memory: 64GB DDR4, 3200MHz
- Graphics: NVIDIA RTX A2000 4GB [Up to A5000 Max-Q 16GB / RTX 3080 Max-Q 16GB available|
- Screen: 16″ WQXGA (2560 x 1600) IPS, antiglare, 400 nits, 16:10, 100% sRGB, low blue light [up to 3840×2400, 600 nits, HDR400, Dolby Vision HDR]
- Storage: 2TB M.2 NVMe PCIe Gen 4 SSD [up to 4TB]
- Connectivity: Intel WiFi 6E AX210 + Bluetooth 5.2 vPro (includes USB-C RJ45 adapter)
- Optional WWAN: Qualcomm Snapdragon X55 5G, Quectel EM05CEFC 4G LTE CAT4
- Other: 16+ ISV certifications, including 3dsMax, AutoCAD, Adobe, SolidWorks
Specs and Design
Like we mentioned up top, this P-series ThinkPad is a light and portable version of the P15 we took a look at a while ago. We give up some potential storage capacity and memory (128GB memory and RAIDed M.2 drives down to 64GB / 4TB max) but we’re not lugging around a monster. The P1 starts art 3.99lbs as opposed to the P15’s 6.6lbs, and gives us the 16:10 screen resolution that is the new norm in the ThinkPad line. We can still pack an Intel Xeon and high-end NVIDIA graphics in this thing to buckle down to work with our engineering and art software we may need.
The chassis is nice and thin at 0.7″ thick, over a 20% reduction over the P15. Like the rest of the ThinkPad line, we have a clean black finish all the way around, with the ability to upgrade the lid to a carbon fiber weave pattern for any display choice above the 2560×1600 option. Opening it up we have a 1080p camera (IR optional) at the top of the frame with a privacy shutter. We had a 400 nit screen (brighter than the P15’s 300 nits) and was able to tune it up to be plenty bright. But going with the 3840×2400 models you’re treated to 600 nits instead.
The deck has the ThinkPad keyboard we love, with up-firing speakers on the side and of course, the signature trackpoint button in the middle. The small round power button has a built-in fingerprint scanner. South of the keyboard is a lot of space for your wrists and a large touchpad mouse with three hard buttons for clicking.
Even if it is the thinnest P-series ThinkPad, we’re not really making a huge sacrifice on ports. On the left side we have the power button, headphone/mic combo jack, HDMI 2.1/2.0, and 2 USB-C Thunderbolt 4’s. On the right we have 2 USB-A 3.2 Gen 1’s (1 always-on), a Kensington Nanosaver lock slot, an SD card reader, and SIM slot for your optional WWAN. You’ll notice an RJ45 isn’t listed in those ports but don’t worry! There’s a USB-C to RJ45 adapter in the box so you can still plug into your ethernet networks and not work fully wirelessly like other <1″ laptops. You can see here how thick it is compared to Lenovo’s Legion 7.
The feel is similar to the X1 Extreme Edition which is more of their multimedia focused workhorse in more than a few ways, but still keeps its own identity.
We were curious to see how a workstation with portability in mind would fare in our tests. What we found was mostly expected, with the exception of the Port Royal test for ray tracing, which gave us a very low outlier. We spoke to the benchmark company and this seemed to be an issue that they have to refine their software for, so we’re not really considering it a valid result, especially given scores on other benches. Here we go:
PCMark 10: 6,540 (10,181 Essentials, 9,395 Productivity, 7,937 Digital Content Creation). This score is just about in line with a gaming desktop PC (6,739), beating 85% of all other results
3DMark Time Spy: The DirectX 12 test gave us a 5,156 – in line with the gaming laptop range of scores. It makes sense that this is the test that fell short of the P15 with its superior A5000 16GB card.
3DMark Port Royal**: This test gave us a 499 which as we mentioned is an outlier due to benchmark limitations. The mobile A2000 is a brand new edition in the 3dMark suite.
Procyon Photo Editing: This test gave us a 5,583 for editing and working with large photos in Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom.
Procyon Video Editing: The video editing benchmark that tests rendering and editing in Adobe Premiere Pro gave us a 4,469.
For some frame of reference on those Procyon scores, a laptop with a 9th-gen i7 and GTX 1660 posts around 4,800 for photo editing and 3,800 for video editing, while a machine with an AMD Ryzen 9 5900X and an RX 6900XT average around 8,900 and 7,800 respectively. In short, heavy Adobe users can rejoice.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider: The A2000 GPU was definitely assisted by the Xeon processor here on Lara Croft’s adventures, still allowing us to get good frame rates at FHD with ray tracing tuned all the way up:
- FHD / highest / high shadows: 79 fps
- FHD / highest / ultra ray-traced shadows: 49 fps
- 2560×1600 / highest / high shadows: 43 fps
- 2560×1600 / highest / ultra ray-traced shadows: 29 fps
Final Fantasy XV: We got good results here with the A2000 GPU, but not as good as the higher end A-series and Geforce cards. But as long as you’re not in 4k, this configuration still provides a good experience:
- FHD / standard graphics: 6,459 – High
- 2560×1440 / standard graphics: 4,530 – Fairly High
- 4K / standard graphics: 2,455 – Low
So we were able to see the direct difference between the RTX A2000 card and the RTX A5000 in the bigger and bulkier P15. But by no means did we feel that we were robbed of too much performance for a machine that’s far more mobile. And you can still spec this machine out with an A5000 if you really need to. Of course battery will be a tradeoff.
Also, keep in mind that the P1 will work with your ThinkReality A3 smart glasses.
Real-world Battery Test
Lenovo advertises 10 hours for the P1, so I was expecting about 8 with our current configuration, and less if I had one of the UHD 600 nit screens and an A5000 / RTX 3060 in here instead of the A2000 I was working with. We tuned our screen brightness to 60% and went off of wifi only to see what we got.
Starting with media I went the first couple episodes of Netflix’s Tiger King season 2 (what can I say, I reserve the right to enjoy trash every once in a while) before I turned off the smut and turned to work. Well, sort of. Being the holiday season most of what I was doing was holiday shopping and looking at all the sales trying to part me from the contents of my wallet. And while some were successful thankfully I was able to keep the number of dollars thrown away relatively low.
Next up was actual work. This involved a multitude of VPN sessions to servers around the area to run updates and checkups to make sure everything was running smoothly and a bunch of boring work administering Microsoft 365 licenses and users in Azure.
All in I got about 6.5 hours of battery. This will of course go down as we climb the processor and GPU ladder. Perhaps with the i7 and T1200 we would have gotten more juice.
Lenovo’s ThinkPad P1 Gen 4 is great for a workstation on the go. Other laptops in the P-line like the P15 Gen 2 are straight-out desktop replacements with immense storage and upgradability, and not having that is the tradeoff for portability. Even the A2000 does show though that it can provide good ray tracing in gaming as well as in your CAD/Adobe work.The max specs really don’t get hit on processor and GPU though, so if you have the money you can get both extreme performance as well as portability in a 0.7″ thick notebook. This could be your all-in-one laptop if that’s the case. The “P” in P1 is for potential.