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Lenovo ThinkPad P50 & ThinkPad P70

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

What's Hot: Very strong performance, durable, great keyboards, good battery life. Some configs support a Wacom AES pen.

What's Not: If you're looking for slim and light mobile workstations, these aren't them.


Reviewed June 16, 2016 by , Editor in Chief (twitter: @lisagade)

Lenovo ThinkPad P70

The Lenovo ThinkPad P70 and P50 are lumberjacks among laptops. This mobile workstation series has higher end NVIDIA Quadro graphics and 45 watt, quad core Intel Skylake Core i7 and Xeon CPUs. In fact, our P50 and P70 have the new Intel mobile Xeon, a class of CPUs once found only in servers and heavy duty desktop workstations (in higher wattage desktop form, of course). The ThinkPad P70 is a 17.3" portable with one of the first 4K 17" displays (previously, 13.3" and 15.6" models got the 4K love). For those who find the 7.6 lb. P70 a bit too much to carry around, there's the ThinkPad P50, a near identical 15.6" sibling that's obviously smaller and is 2 lbs. lighter. The ThinkPad P series replaces the W series in Lenovo's lineup.

The workstations are very serviceable and upgradable, as we'd expect from Lenovo mobile workstations, and you can max RAM out at a very impressive 64 gigs (4 DDR4 SODIMM RAM slots) and the battery is removable via a slider latch (just like laptops from the good old days). The notebooks are unassuming, large versions of the classic ThinkPad matte black rectangle with a magnesium-aluminum inner structure, glass fiber on the outside and a MIL-STD 810G rating for humidity, dust, mechanical shock and extreme temperatures. They're meant to hold up in the field as well as they do in the office.

Lenovo ThinkPad P50


Horsepower and Performance

Our P70 workstation is a fairly high end configuration that costs $3,500 (starting price is $1,862). Clearly, given the specs and price, this machine is aimed at 3D CAD, simulation, science and finance types and their companies or universities that buy the laptops for them. For that $3,500 you get a 2.8 GHz Intel mobile Xeon 6th gen Skylake E3-1505M v5 quad core, 8 thread CPU with Turbo Boost to 3.7 GHz and Quadro M4000M graphics. The Xeon has 8 megs of cache, which is more than Intel HQ quad core CPUs, the clock speed is a bit higher and it's compatible with ECC RAM; otherwise it's actually quite similar to the Core i7-6700HQ used in other powerful 15" and larger laptops like the Dell XPS 15. In fact, the ThinkPad P50 and P70 are available with HQ CPUs for those who want to save money. Intel 8260 dual band WiFi 802.11ac plus Bluetooth are standard and the machines have a 720p webcam, a backlit keyboard, stereo speakers with very good volume and a fingerprint scanner. Sierra Wireless LTE-A 4G is optional.

Lenovo ThinkPad P50

Our ThinkPad P50 likewise has a high end configuration with the same Intel Xeon processor as our 17", and it has NVIDIA Quadro M2000M 4GB DDR5 dedicated graphics, 16 gigs of RAM and a PCIe SSD. The M2000M is similar in performance to the consumer and gaming oriented NVIDIA GTX 960M GPU, and the machine is also available with the lower end M1000M 2GB DDR5. Our ThinkPad P70 has the even faster Quadro M4000M graphics card that's roughly equivalent to the NVIDIA GTX 970M (the M5000M is also available). The laptops can house an M.2 SSD (your choice of SATA3 or the faster and more expensive PCIe SSD) and a 2.5" HDD or SSD. You can order it with two matching SSDs and configure them in RAID 0 or 1. Our P50 and P70 also have high color gamut matte, non-touch displays. They're also available with a full HD 1920 x 1080 matte non-touch display or a glossy full HD touch screen with support for the Wacom AES ThinkPad Pen Pro ($40, sold separately). It's rare to see big screen, non-convertible laptops with pen support, and it's a handy feature for precise CAD work.

Ports and Expansion

There's an abundance of ports on the ThinkPad P70, including two Thunderbolt 3/USB-C 3.1 Gen. 2, four USB 3.0, mini DisplayPort for high resolution external monitors at high refresh rates, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI 1.4, an SD card slot, an ExpressCard/34 slot and optional Smart Card reader. The laptop can drive two external monitors and the internal panel via HDMI and mini DisplayPort and additional monitors via USB-C/Thunderbolt 3. It has a traditional docking connector on the bottom. There's a DVD-RW drive, which you can swap out for an additional SATA HDD if desired. The P50 has a single USB-C 3.1 Gen. 2/Thunderbolt 3 port rather than two and no optical drive.

Lenovo ThinkPad P50



Lenovo's clearly going after HP's Dream Color high gamut mobile workstation displays, and they're doing a great job of it here. Our units have the high end 4K matte, non-touch wide color gamut displays and the $70 optional X-Rite calibration hardware built into the keyboard deck with X-Rite Pantone calibration software included. Simply run the calibration program, close the lid and wait for the beeps as X-Rite calibrates the display. We found it wasn't as accurate as an external USB calibration device, but for many it will do the job well enough.

The 17.3" 4K IPS 3840 x 2160 panel has full sRGB coverage, 90% of Adobe RGB and 85% of NTSC. That's excellent. Brightness measured 320 nits, which is above Lenovo's 300 nit claim, and black levels at max brightness are 0.36, which is good. That equals a contrast ratio of 1,000:1, which is quite good for a laptop.

Lenovo ThinkPad P50

Our ThinkPad P50 4K display achieved even higher color gamut with full SRGB coverage, 98% of Adobe RGB and 93% of NTSC. Though Lenovo claims 300 nits of brightness for this panel, our Spyder4Pro colorimeter measured just 250 nits, which is fine for indoor use but not impressively bright. Black levels were excellent with 0.29 measured at max brightness and that yielded a contrast ratio of 730:1.


Deals and Shopping:


Lenovo ThinkPad P50 Video Review


Lenovo ThinkPad P70 Video Review

Keyboard and Trackpad

No surprises here since these aren't waifish ThinkPads and there's plenty of room for good key travel. These are superb spill resistant keyboards with long key travel and excellent tactile feel. They're simply perfection, and the backlighting ensures that you can type in dim to dark environments. The laptops have number pads for number crunchers and occasional gamers and the Synaptics trackpads are very good. They have the usual customizations for gestures and multi-finger work, and the dedicated hardware buttons will be inviting for traditionalists. There's a TrackPoint eraser stick pointer embedded in the keyboard as well with upper trackpad buttons for the pointer. Good stuff!

Lenovo ThinkPad P50


Horsepower and Performance

These laptops are high performance beasts, whether you go for the quad core, 45 watt Intel Core i7-6700HQ or the higher end Xeon for a little performance boost. With NVIDIA M1000M 2BG DDR5 and the more impressive (and recommended) M2000M 4GB DDR5 dedicated graphics switchable with Intel HD 530 integrated graphics, you've got a machine that can handle CAD, architecture and even gaming nicely. This is top of the line mobile workstation performance in terms of CPUs and they offer good graphics performance.

The laptops offer fairly easy access to the upgradeable internals: unscrew a few Phillips head screws and you're granted access to the service bay where the two M.2 SSD drives, single 2.5" drive bay, WiFi/Bluetooth card and RAM slots live. The P50 has two exposed RAM slots here and another two under the keyboard (you'll need to unscrew three more screws to remove the keyboard). Lenovo populates these less accessible slots first to make it easier to upgrade without having to remove the keyboard. The M.2 SSD slots are a pair in case you want to install like drives in a RAID configuration.

Lenovo ThinkPad P50



Lenovo ThinkPad P50 Benchmarks (2.8 GHz Intel Xeon 1505M, NVIDIA Quadro M2000M

PCMark 8 home accelerated: 2933
Geekbench 3: 3607/ 13,439
wPrime: 10.45 sec
Cinebench R15: 35 fps GPU, 725 CB CPU

3DMark 11: P5435/ X1859
3DMark Cloud Gate: 16,936
3DMark Fire Strike: 3861
Unigine Heaven 4.0: high, 1920 x 1080, no tessellation: 13.5fps, temperature: 55C

Lenovo ThinkPad P70 Benchmarks (2.8 GHz Intel Xeon 1505M, NVIDIA Quadro M4000M

PCMark 8 home accelerated: 2982
Geekbench 3: 3552/ 13,257
wPrime: 10.4 sec
Cinebench R15: OpenGL 98.88 fps. CPU: 694 CB

3DMakr 11: P9105 / X3604
3DMark Cloud Gate: 13,476
3DMark Fire Strike: 6884
3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited: 138,886


Battery Life

Mobile workstations aren't known for their great battery life, but when working unplugged for productivity work, they switch to the more power frugal Intel HD 530 integrated graphics for improved battery life. You can manually control which GPU is used for a given program, or let NVIDIA's software decide. Photo editing, video editing, CAD and games will trigger dedicated graphics, and that will reduce battery runtimes. In a mix of productivity and streaming video (tasks that mainly use integrated graphics) with brightness set to 50%, the ThinkPad P50 impressed us with long battery life for this class of machine. It routinely lasted 7 hours on a charge. The high capacity battery certainly helps, but we're still impressed that it offset the demands of the quad core CPU and 4K screen so nicely. The P70 averaged 6 hours in the same scenario, which is also very good for a 17" mobile workstation.

The Lenovo ThinkPad P50 has a 90 Whr battery that's removable and a 170 watt charger that supports quick charging. The ThinkPad P70 has a slightly higher capacity 96 Whr removable battery and ships with a 230 watt power support (it's a huge brick).


If you're in the market for a traditional 15 or 17 inch mobile workstation with a robust build, excellent keyboard and impressive high color gamut 4K displays, the Lenovo ThinkPad P50 and P70 merit strong consideration. Even more interesting is the full HD touch screen option that also supports the optional Wacom AES pen for drawing precise control in CAD and graphics programs. That's a rarity in mobile workstations and sets these models apart from the competition. For those who don't need a precise digital pen but want a high color gamut display, the 4K option does nicely. Though these laptops are relatively light compared to mobile workstations from just a few years ago, they're thick and heavy compared to the skinny competition like the Dell Precision. The upside is that the Lenovos run cooler and quieter, and the durable build makes them perfect for use in the field.


Price: P50: $1,322 to $2,350. P70: $1,862 to $3,500

Related Reviews:

Lenovo ThinkPad W550s Review

Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga Review

Dell XPS 15 Review

2016 Razer Blade Review

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Review

HP ZBook 15u G3 Review


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Display: IPS 1920 x 1080 IPS matte non-touch, 1920 x 1080 glossy with touch and Wacom AES pen support, 4K (3840 x 2160) matte, non-touch displays available. Intel HD 530 integrated graphics + NVIDIA Quadro dedicated graphics (various models available). HDMI, mini DisplayPort and USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 port.

Battery: 90 WHr Lithium Ion in P50, 96 Whr in P70, both removable. 170 watt charger for P50 and 230 watt charger for P70.

Performance: Intel Skylake 6th generation quad core, 45 watt CPUs, Core i7 and Intel Xeon available. Up to 64 gigs DDR4 RAM in 4 RAM slots (ECC available for Xeon). Two M.2 SSD drive bays supporting both SATA3 and PCIe, one 2.5" drive bay.

Size: ThinkPad P50: 14.86" x 9.93" x 0.96" - 1.02". ThinkPad P70: 16.4" x 10.8" x 1.17" - 1.2". Weight: ThinkPad P50 weighs 5.6 to 5.8 pounds. ThinkPad P70 weighs 7.6 pounds.

Camera: 720p webcam.

Audio: Built-in stereo speakers, mic and 3.5mm standard stereo headphone/mic combo jack.

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

Software: Windows 10.

Expansion and Ports: 4 USB 3.0 ports, HDMI 1.4, mini DisplayPort 1.2, USB-C Gen. 2/Thunderbolt 3, 3.5mm audio, ExpressCard /34 slot, Smart Card reader, Ethernet , docking connector (bottom) and SD card slot.



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