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Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga

Editor's rating (1-5): rating starrating starrating starrating star

What's Hot: A rare convertible with NVIDIA Quadro graphics. Solid build, great keyboard, good 2K display option. Comes with active Wacom pen.

What's Not: Ultrabook dual core CPU and low end Quadro graphics not up to heavy design tasks. Battery life is just OK.


Reviewed August 26, 2016 by , Editor in Chief (twitter: @lisagade)

Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga

The Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga is both unique and a near copy of another laptop in Lenovo's ThinkPad line. How does that work? The ThinkPad P40 Yoga is the smallest member of Lenovo's portable workstation line (the P50s, P50 and P70 are their 15 and 17 inch models). Mobile workstations are generally beefy, big screen notebooks that don't convert into tablets--that makes the 14.1" P40 with its 360 degree Yoga style hinge and pen input a rarity in the workstation world. It's also a repackaging of the Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 460, a business and prosumer machine that's been in Lenovo's lineup for years (formerly as the ThinkPad Yoga 14). So, it's a low risk, reasonably clever idea from Lenovo--switch the machine to NVIDIA Quadro graphics (albeit low end), add a fingerprint scanner and boom, you have something that can handle entry level CAD and engineering tasks for businesses. Alternatively, you could think of it as the convertible version of the P50s, since they share the same CPU, graphics, RAM and SSD options.


Specs at a Glance

The ThinkPad P40 uses the same chassis and same internals (other than graphics) as the Yoga 460 (video review here) and the Best Buy version that's still called the ThinkPad Yoga 14 (it has NVIDIA GeForce 940M graphics). The ports are the same, the magnesium and carbon fiber casing are the same as are weight and dimensions. The 3.96 lb. ThinkPad P40 won't win awards for convertible lightness, but if you're accustomed to mobile workstations, it will seem light as a feather. Yes, it outweighs consumer counterparts in the 2-in-1 laptop space by a little bit, but you do get a MIL SPEC 810G rugged laptop in trade for those extra ounces.

The laptop has Lenovo's Lift and Lock keyboard with backlighting, the usual TrackPoint eraser stick pointer embedded in the keyboard and a very good trackpad (with discrete buttons for the TrackPoint but not the trackpad). Lenovo offers two display options, and both are glossy and support touch and the included Wacom AES pen: 1920 x 1080 full HD and WQHD 2560 x 1440 (which we have for review). This is a dual core Ultrabook rather than a quad core powerhouse like big mobile workstations and the occasional 14" gaming laptop (Razer Blade, MSI Phantom GS40). It's available with Intel Core i7 dual core, 15 watt CPUs with Intel HD 520 integrated graphics + NVIDIA Quadro M500M 2BG DDR5 dedicated graphics. Legacy ports are abundant, but unlike the P50 and P70 there's no cutting edge USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 here, nor is there a fast PCIe SSD option (2.5" SATA3 SSDs only).

Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga


Keyboard and Trackpad

The 0.8" thick laptop has Lenovo's spill-resistant Lift and Lock keyboard that locks the keyboard when it's taken out of standard laptop mode (opening the display beyond 180 degrees). The keys won't wiggle and jiggle, but they'll still face down against the table or your hands. The backlit keyboard has excellent tactile feel with Lenovo's smile-shaped keys with subtly concave tops. While insanely thin Ultrabooks look nice, they don't allow for the ample key travel you'll find on the Yoga 14. The buttonless trackpad with TrackPoint pointer is as ever very good--it's precise, the cursor is easy to control and multi-touch gestures work well.

Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga


Display and Wacom AES Pen

If you were considering the 1920 x 1080 ThinkPad Yoga 14 latest gen/ ThinkPad Yoga 460 but found the color gamut a little lacking for serious content creation, the 2560 x 1440 display on the ThinkPad Yoga P40 is the answer. It has much wider color gamut that matches consumer products in this price range as well as the ThinkPad X1 Yoga. It has full sRGB coverage and 75% of Adobe RGB. That's significantly better than the full HD Yoga 460 we reviewed that managed just 66% of RGB and 60% of Adobe RGB. Brightness is decent at 281 nits--sufficient to combat indoor glare on the very glossy panel. Black levels are good at 0.58 and that works out to a decent, but by no means class leading 500:1 contrast ratio. Gamma is perfect at 2.2, and the hardware white point is 7100K, which is above the ideal 6600K that we almost never see in laptops. The display calibrates nicely using a colorimeter, and I'd trust it for pro Photoshop work once calibrated.

Like several other ThinkPad convertibles we've reviewed this year (and even some P50 and P70 models), the ThinkPad P40 has a Wacom AES active pen and digitizer with 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity and good palm rejection. The included small pen lives in a silo on the notebook's side, and it charges when in the silo. If you prefer a full size pen, the ThinkPad Pen Pro is available for $40 and it uses an AAAA battery that should last 6 months or more before you need to swap in a new AAAA battery.

Edge detection and parallax (pen tip offset) are excellent, much like N-Trig used on Surface Pro 4, and better than Wacom EMR in that respect. Wacom says EMR is still their most precise and premium technology, but it costs more, adds weight and thickness due to the thicker active digitizer on the display. I actually feel that lack of parallax and good edge detection are more important than absolute accuracy, so I'm content with Wacom AES and the latest N-Trig for my writing and art needs.

Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga

Palm rejection works well (you can rest your hand on the display when writing and drawing), though I've yet to find an active digitizer that doesn't occasionally mistake the side of my hand as input. For art, where you may want to rest your hand on the screen much of the time, I wear a fingerless glove (just cut the fingers off an old thin glove, no need to buy one). That also reduces hand oil transfer and makes for a cleaner screen.

Wacom AES supports WinTab for those who use older art programs that require WinTab for pressure sensitivity rather than the newer Windows Ink API, and it works extremely well in OneNote and a variety of art programs like Corel Painter 2016, ArtRage 4, Adobe Photoshop CC and Clip Studio Paint.


Performance and Horsepower

Not unlike the Lenovo P50s, this is a slimmed down and less powerful version of the usual quad core mobile workstation with heavy-hitting NVIDIA Quadro graphics. There's not enough room for that kind of horsepower in a 14" convertible. There are a handful of consumer gaming 14" laptops with quad core Intel CPUs and NVIDIA 970M graphics, but no convertibles. Even Microsoft's Surface Book uses dual core CPUs and relegates the optional low end dedicated graphics to the detachable keyboard. That said, Lenovo has truly gifted engineers and they're the company that brought the first Yoga design to market. We'd love to see them go back to pushing the envelope to find a way to give us more performance-- even if just as an option at the high end.

The 15 watt Intel Core i7-6500U and 6600U 6th generation dual core CPUs are the same CPUs you'll find in all sorts of 13.3" Ultrabooks and convertibles for consumers and business users. It's perfectly speedy for everyday productivity, but you'll need a little patience for those Photoshop filters and video exports. This isn't your desktop replacement, in other words. It's fine for simple CAD drawings and other engineering tasks, but drawings with hundreds of parts or 3D rendering won't fly. It's fine for coding with programs that are thousands of lines long, but if you're working on a big desktop program that's hundreds of thousands to a million lines of code, you'll want a quad core for shorter compile times.

Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga

The laptop ships with NVIDIA Quadro M500M 2BG DDR dedicated graphics (it can switch to Intel HD 520 graphics when doing non-graphically demanding tasks). That's the only graphics option and it's the lowest end for the current Quadro lineup. In terms of consumer and gaming performance, it's similar to the NVIDIA GeForce 940M. It provides a nice little speed boost over HD 520 graphics in Adobe CS programs and increases FPS by 5-10 in older games like Bioshock Infinite and Skyrim. It's not powerful enough for today's most demanding games like The Division and The Witcher 3.

There's a single RAM slot fitted with your choice of 8 or 16 gigs of DDR3L RAM (not the slightly faster DDR4 we're seeing in other recently released Ultrabooks and convertibles). 16 gigs is the highest capacity RAM module available, so that's max RAM for the P40. The machine has a 2.5" SATA3 drive bay (7mm height), just like the Yoga 460. There's no full height 2280 PCIe slot for faster SSDs, but there's a half height slot for optional WWAN. The Intel 8260AC card is likewise in a half height PCIe slot. Normally I'd expect a mobile workstation to offer the fastest storage technology, so the older and slower 2.5" SATA3 SSD is a bit of a disappointment (and it's the result of the minimal engineering change Lenovo made to rebrand the Yoga 460/ThinkPad Yoga 14 as a P series model).


Deals and Shopping:


Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga Video Review



Lenovo ThinkPad P40 benchmarks

Battery Life

The laptop has the same 3 cell, 53 WHr battery as the ThinkPad Yoga 460. Obviously battery life will be a bit shorter on the P40 Yoga vs the Yoga 460 thanks to the dedicated graphics. It automatically switches from Intel HD 520 integrated graphics to dedicated graphics when using a program that would strongly benefit from the Quadro GPU (you can override this if you wish). Lenovo claims up to 8 hours of use, and in our tests with moderate productivity work that includes web, streaming a few YouTube videos and editing 10 RAW files in Photoshop, ours ran for 6 hours on a charge with brightness at 40% (a little dim for my tastes).

Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga



The Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga is a unique laptop, and thus it's hard to pit it against the competition--there really isn't a direct competitor. The closest would be the Microsoft Surface Book (detachable rather than yoga-style) and Lenovo's own near mirror image ThinkPad 14 with NVIDIA GeForce 940M graphics as sold by Best Buy. If you're a designer, studying CAD in school or an architect who needs the pen feature and the more ergonomic tablet mode (remember, there are some big, non-convertible P series mobile workstations with the same pen) then the P40 Yoga is worth strong consideration. It has entry level NVIDIA Quadro graphics that will give a bit of a boost to CAD work, though it's not any faster overall than the NVIDIA 940M for Photoshop, Adobe Premiere or gaming. It's a handy on the go solution rather than a desktop replacement for CAD work, and it's fine for at least the first two years of college if not more.


Price: starting around $1,500


Related Reviews:

Lenovo ThinkPad P50 and P70 Review

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Review

Microsoft Surface Book Review

Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 460 Video Review


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Display: 14", 2560 x 1440 IPS display. Intel HD 520 integrated graphics and NVIDIA Quadro M500M 2GB DDR5 dedicated graphics. HDMI 1.4 and mini DisplayPort 1.2.

Battery: 3 cell, 53 WHr Lithium Ion rechargeable, sealed inside (must remove bottom cover to service).

Performance: Intel Skylake 6th generation Core i7 dual core processors (core i7-6500U, i7-6600U). 8 or 16 gigs DDR3L RAM in one RAM slot.

Size: 13.3 x 9.30 x .79 inches. Weight: 3.96 pounds.

Camera: 720p webcam.

Audio: Built-in 1.5 watt x 2 stereo speakers, mic and 3.5mm standard stereo headphone jack.

Networking: Intel 8260 dual band WiFi 802.11b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth.

Software: Windows 10.

Expansion and Ports: 3 USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, mini DisplayPort, OneLink+ dock connector, 3.5mm audio and SD card slot.



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