Lenovo ThinkPad P15 Gen2 review

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Created as a desktop replacement workstation, the Lenovo ThinkPad P15 Gen2 is a powerful laptop for those who need serious computing power for CAD, engineering and other very intensive tasks.

This 15.6 inch The laptop is not your typical thin and light computer designed to be comfortable to carry in your backpack. Instead, the computer is relatively bulky and heavy, but it has plenty of potential upgrades that thin and bright people can only dream of.

Specifications Highlights and configuration options

Our specific test unit is equipped with Intel Core i9-11950H Processor, 32GB RAM, RTX A5000 16GB GPU, 1TB SSD storage and FHD 500 NIT display option. It sells for $ 5,381.99 at CDW.

To meet as many use cases (and price points) as possible, Lenovo is flexible with the configuration and processor options include Core i5, i7, i9, and Xeon processors. RAM options vary between 16, 32, 64 and 128 GB, spread over four memory modules.

512 or 1TB of storage can be included by default, and Lenovo has two additional m.2 2280 slots if you want to add even more. This is a fantastic possibility for a laptop.

GPU options range from NVIDIA Quadro T1200 to RTX A2000 to A5000 and cover a wide range of use cases since the T1200 has 1,024 GPU cores while the A5000 has 6,144 cores. For example, an i7 CPU + T1200 GPU version can cost around $ 2,200.

Industrial design

As mentioned in the introduction, the ThinkPad P15 Gen2 chassis has large dimensions: 375.4 x 252.3 x 25.25-32.2mm and 3070g for the heavier touch models, and 2870g for the non-touch ones.

Typically, people who buy these workstations know this, but our data suggests that a lot of people compare the ThinkPad P15 with the Carbon X1, so we will also present comparisons with the X1 and with the ThinkPad P1 (2020) since it’s also a popular comparison to the P15.

The frame is made of magnesium alloy. It is a hardware and overall design language very similar to other ThinkPads, minus the dimensions. As usual, the keyboard is still tough, and the laptop has MIL-STD-810H certification, an updated version of the MIL-STD-810G standard.

Keyboard and touchpad

The ThinkPad keyboard and trackpad use the classic and proven ThinkPad keyboard design, and there is room for the key stroke (1.3mm?). The chassis is large enough to have a numeric keypad on the right. Overall, I find it very pleasant to use, and it’s no surprise since we test quite a few ThinkPads every year.

I always stress that the physical trackpad buttons are crucial for click accuracy, and that’s even more important for a workstation, especially if you’re working on CAD applications that require careful mouse selections.

Ports

One advantage of larger laptops is the high number of ports. This is perfect if you are using the laptop as a stationary computer, but if you plan on moving it around every day, check out the right Thunderbolt 4 docks, including Lenovo’s unique 230W TB3 dock, which I don’t have yet. tested.

2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 (one always on)
1x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 (supports data transfer, Power Delivery 3.0 and DisplayPort ™ 1.4)
2x Thunderbolt 4 / USB4 ™ 40Gbps (supports data transfer, Power Delivery 3.0 and DisplayPort 1.4a)
1x SD card reader
1x Ethernet (2.5 GbE RJ-45)
1x headphone / microphone combo jack (3.5mm)
1x HDMI 2.1 (RTX) or 1x HDMI 2.0 (T1200)
1x smart card reader (optional)
1x Nano-SIM card slot (optional)

Scalability

If you are not sure how much capacity you need at the time of purchase, the Lenovo ThinkPad P15 Gen2 offers plenty of upgrade options. It is also relatively easy to repair as the main modules are removable and separate (GPU, WIFI, BT, Broadband, main motherboard).

There are four RAM slots: two under the keyboard and two hidden under the back cover intended for easy access. Next to these two RAM slots, you will find two m.2 2280 (Opal compatible) SSD slots, which are super convenient. You could potentially save a ton of money by upgrading RAM and storage later.

Sound quality

The two 2-watt speakers are located just above the keyboard and deliver precise sound. If you watch a movie in your hotel room, the sound is powerful enough and you will enjoy a good multimedia experience.

Audio isn’t as good as the exceptional Lenovo Yoga 9i, which has a better soundbar, better spatialization, and more bass. I know this is a “working” computer, but it might be possible to improve the sound quality given the size of the chassis.

Display

Our test unit comes with a 500 NIT (Dolby Vision) non-touch FHD display with 100% sRGB color and high contrast ratio of 1200: 1. Factory calibrated, it performs well and is suitable for jobs requiring good color rendering.

As the table below shows, you have plenty of options if you need slightly lower or much higher display capabilities. The 4K OLED option looks particularly impressive in (infinite) contrast and color rendering. OLED may be the best option if you do professional video editing.

Webcam

As usual, the laptop has a 720p camera with an infrared sensor for a secure connection by facial identification. There is also a privacy shutter, but if your organization is very paranoid, Lenovo has a display without a camera, according to official specifications.

The image quality is similar to what you can find on other laptops: fairly average. If you need something better, Lenovo has external cameras, or you can use an old smartphone as a webcam, and chances are it’s a lot better.

Performance

Our test unit performed exceptionally well with one of the most powerful CPU and GPU configurations (Core i9-11950H, 32GB, RTX A5000 16GB).

Even in low-key productivity benchmarks, the difference to last year’s Carbon X1 or ThinkPad P1 workstation is palpable. own.

Something like Geekbench is a great proxy for CPU tasks like Cinebench. Cinebench’s R23 benchmark shows excellent results, in line with what we expected looking at only Geekbench numbers.

Absolute performance is where these heavier laptops shine, but even if we take a look at the performance-to-weight ratio, the ThinkPad P15 Gen2 graphics come out on top. That said, the ThinkPad X1 Gen9 Carbon has an excellent CPU performance-to-weight ratio, thanks to its exceptional design.

The internals can get very hot when pushed to their limits, with the processor hitting 99.9 ° C and the GPU hitting 80 ° C in some tests, although I bet it could climb a bit higher as well. The thermal throttle on thinner laptops would prevent them from withstanding this type of heat, although you might have similar “paper specs”.

SSD performance is also strong and easily exceeds the SSD figures we typically see in “productivity” laptops, including the lighter ThinkPads we recently tested. Your large scientific or 4K video database will be accessible as quickly as possible on a laptop.

Battery life

These laptops are intended to be used at full power when connected to an outlet, but the 94Wh the battery is there when you need to be mobile. That’s a relatively large capacity, but keep in mind that laptop components use a lot of power.

It is possible to opt for a slower processor, GPU and FHD 300 NIT display to maximize battery life at the expense of performance.

“THE THINKPAD P15 GEN 2 CHARGES VERY QUICKLY”

The Battery life test results 6h47mn * for office productivity type applications show that you can get work done away from an outlet, but keep in mind that any computing or graphics task will dramatically reduce that time, and that’s okay.

* PCMark 10 modern desktop battery test at 110 NIT and battery settings set to “best battery life”.

The ThinkPad P15 Gen 2 charges extremely fast at a speed of 1.5 watt-hours per minute, almost twice as fast as the Carbon X1 Gen9 and 3.5 times faster than the new ThinkPad X1 Titanium. This charging speed compensates for the shorter battery life, and you could get almost 50% of the battery charge in about 30 minutes.

Conclusion

The Lenovo ThinkPad P15 Gen2 is a great mobile workstation, and according to our Google research data, potential buyers compare it to the X1 Carbon, ThinkPad P15s, P15v, T15 and P1, in this order. Google points out that buyers aren’t even looking for non-Lenovo alternatives to the ThinkPad P15.

We’ve shown that the ThinkPad X1 Carbon falls into a whole different category, but buyers comparing ‘P15 vs X1’ now have enough data to decide what’s best for them. The ThinkPad P15s (official page) has been discontinued and the ThinkPad P15v probably isn’t as fast by the specs I’ve seen.

“A FANTASTIC OFFICE REPLACEMENT”

If you want that kind of ThinkPad P15 performance in a smaller chassis and are fine with fewer upgrade options, check out the new ThinkPad P1 Gen4. With identical CPU / GPU specifications, performance could compete with the P15 Gen2, but I’m curious to test its sustained performance considering it’s a much thinner laptop.

The raw performance of the ThinkPad P15 Gen2 is excellent and I consider it a fantastic desktop replacement, with a ton of ports and plenty of room for future upgrades. This configuration flexibility is THE differentiator from smaller Lenovo workstations with comparable specifications.

Deposit Computers. Learn more about Laptop Reviews, Lenovo, Lenovo Reviews, and Lenovo ThinkPad.


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