Lenovo ThinkPad P15 Gen 2 Assessment

After successful our Editors’ Alternative award for cell workstations with the ThinkPad P15, what does Lenovo do for an encore? The ThinkPad P15 Gen 2 (begins at $1,709) serves refreshments within the type of Intel’s eleventh Era CPUs, Nvidia’s “Ampere”-class skilled graphics, and quicker PCI Specific Gen 4 storage. It is heavy and really expensive—our take a look at unit rang up at $5,382, and that is with out one of many accessible 4K shows—however it’s a first-class alternative for crunching large datasets or tackling robust 3D rendering and design jobs.

From (Not So) Gentle to Wild 

Whereas the bottom mannequin makes do with a six-core Core i5 processor and Nvidia T1200 GPU, our P15 Gen 2 packed in an eight-core, 2.6GHz (5.0GHz turbo) Core i9-11950H and 16GB Nvidia RTX A5000 Max-Q graphics, together with 32GB of reminiscence and a 1TB NVMe solid-state drive. (RTX A-series graphics are the successor to the acquainted Nvidia Quadro line.)

Lenovo ThinkPad P15 Gen 2 rear view

(Picture: Molly Flores)

The RAM restrict is 128GB, with error-correcting-code (ECC) reminiscence accessible for Intel Xeon configurations, and there is room for 3 2TB SSDs. Aside from the 300-nit, 1,920-by-1,080-pixel base show, all of the display selections assist Dolby Imaginative and prescient: our machine’s 500-nit, 1080p IPS panel; a 600-nit, 3,840-by-2,160 IPS; and a 500-nit, 3,840-by-2,160 OLED, the one contact display of the bunch. Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth are normal, with 4G connectivity elective. 

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The ThinkPad P15 Gen 2 is a bruiser amongst 15.6-inch laptops, measuring 1.24 by 14.7 by 9.9 inches and weighing 6.32 kilos. That tops the Dell Precision 7550 (1.1 by 14.2 by 9.5 inches and 6 kilos) and makes the HP ZBook Energy G8, an entry-level cell workstation, appear to be an ultraportable at 0.9 by 14.2 by 9.2 inches and 4.16 kilos.

Lenovo ThinkPad P15 Gen 2 left angle

(Picture: Molly Flores)

Manufactured from robust plastic and glass fiber with a magnesium inner body, the Lenovo has handed MIL-STD 810G torture exams for shock, vibration, and environmental extremes; there’s nearly no flex for those who grasp the display corners or press the keyboard deck. The bezels across the display are unfashionably thick, although the highest bezel makes room for a face recognition webcam with sliding privateness shutter. There’s additionally a fingerprint reader on the palm relaxation, providing you with two methods to skip typing passwords with Home windows Hey.

Lenovo ThinkPad P15 Gen 2 left ports

(Picture: Molly Flores)

An HDMI video output and always-on USB 3.2 Kind-A port share the left edge with an audio jack and elective nano SIM slot. On the correct facet, you will discover one other USB-A 3.2 port, SD and elective SmartCard slots, and a Kensington lock slot.

Lenovo ThinkPad P15 Gen 2 right ports

(Picture: Molly Flores)

Three USB-C ports—two with Thunderbolt 4 functionality—and an Ethernet port be part of the ability connector on the rear.

Lenovo ThinkPad P15 Gen 2 Rear Ports

(Picture: Molly Flores)

A Case of OLED Envy 

Between HP’s flagship DreamColor shows and the rising variety of OLED choices, our requirements for judging cell workstation screens are going up. Our ThinkPad’s IPS show was fairly spectacular, with ample brightness, good distinction, and well-saturated colours, however it lacked the poster-paint pop of colour, black-hole blacks, and normal brilliance of one of the best laptop computer panels we have seen this yr. Positive particulars have been as sharp as 1080p decision might make them, although these days we might advocate a 4K show for severe design work. 

(Whereas our take a look at unit wasn’t outfitted with it, the P15 Gen 2 helps Lenovo’s most dazzling show: the $1,499 ThinkReality A3 enterprise good glasses, which may put a digital wraparound display trio above your desk or a walk-through schematic on a manufacturing unit ground.)

Lenovo ThinkPad P15 Gen 2 front view

(Picture: Molly Flores)

Laptop computer keyboards with a snug 1.5mm of vertical journey have gotten scarcer, however Lenovo boasts that the P15 Gen 2 gives a beneficiant 1.8mm. Not surprisingly for a ThinkPad keyboard, it offers a supremely snappy typing really feel with a responsive contact and simply the correct amount of suggestions (even a super, one-step-above-silent noise degree). The TrackPoint mini joystick, with three buttons south of the house bar, joins a smooth-gliding touchpad for cursor management. 

There’s two-level backlighting, a numeric keypad at proper, and top-row perform keys together with shortcuts for beginning and ending video calls. Purists could quibble that the Fn and Management keys are in one another’s locations at backside left, however you’ll be able to swap them with the supplied Lenovo Vantage software program, which handles system updates and Wi-Fi safety in addition to a wide range of gadget settings. One other utility, Lenovo Fast Clear, briefly locks the keyboard and touchpad when you apply a cleansing wipe in these germ-minded occasions.

Lenovo ThinkPad P15 Gen 2 keyboard

(Picture: Molly Flores)

The 720p webcam captures well-lit and colourful pictures, although focus is mushy and there is a little bit of noise or static. Sound from the speaker grille above the keyboard is loud and clear, by no means distorted or tinny even at max quantity; there’s not a lot bass, however it’s attainable to make out overlapping tracks. Dolby Entry software program consists of dynamic, sport, film, and music presets and an equalizer.

Efficiency Testing: A Workstation Leads the Means 

The one different cell workstation that is accomplished our new benchmark routine is the HP ZBook Energy G8, so I stuffed out our benchmark charts with three different high-end 15- to 16-inch laptops. I selected one gaming rig—the Alienware m15 Ryzen Version R5—and two not-quite-workstations for content material creators, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Excessive Gen 4 and the Dell XPS 15 OLED. You possibly can see their fundamental specs within the desk beneath.

Productiveness Checks 

The primary benchmark of UL’s PCMark 10 simulates a wide range of real-world productiveness and content-creation workflows to measure general efficiency for office-centric duties akin to phrase processing, spreadsheeting, internet searching, and videoconferencing. We additionally run PCMark 10’s Full System Drive take a look at to evaluate the load time and throughput of a laptop computer’s storage. (See extra about how we take a look at laptops.) 

Three benchmarks concentrate on the CPU, utilizing all accessible cores and threads, to charge a PC’s suitability for processor-intensive workloads. Maxon’s Cinebench R23 makes use of that firm’s Cinema 4D engine to render a posh scene, whereas Primate Labs’ Geekbench 5.4 Professional simulates common apps starting from PDF rendering and speech recognition to machine studying. Lastly, we use the open-source video transcoder HandBrake 1.4 to transform a 12-minute video clip from 4K to 1080p decision (decrease occasions are higher). 

Our closing productiveness take a look at is workstation maker Puget Techniques’ PugetBench for Photoshop(Opens in a brand new window), which makes use of the Inventive Cloud model 22 of Adobe’s well-known picture editor to charge a PC’s efficiency for content material creation and multimedia functions. It is an automatic extension that executes a wide range of normal and GPU-accelerated Photoshop duties starting from opening, rotating, resizing, and saving a picture to making use of masks, gradient fills, and filters.

The P15 Gen 2 posted the best PCMark 10 productiveness rating, however all these notebooks are spectacular overkill for on a regular basis Microsoft Workplace or Google Docs work. The Lenovo workstation additionally flaunted super-swift storage and colossal CPU energy, and led the pack in our Photoshop benchmark. To place it merely, it is a monster. 

Graphics Checks 

We take a look at Home windows PCs’ graphics with two DirectX 12 gaming simulations from UL’s 3DMark: Night time Raid (extra modest, appropriate for laptops with built-in graphics), and Time Spy (extra demanding, appropriate for gaming rigs with discrete GPUs). 

We additionally run two exams from the cross-platform GPU benchmark GFXBench 5, which stresses each low-level routines like texturing and high-level, game-like picture rendering. The 1440p Aztec Ruins and 1080p Automotive Chase exams, rendered offscreen to accommodate totally different show resolutions, train graphics and compute shaders utilizing the OpenGL programming interface and {hardware} tessellation respectively. The extra frames per second (fps), the higher.

4 graphics pace exams, 4 wins for the P15 Gen 2. Its Nvidia RTX A5000 is designed for skilled CAD or CGI rendering, not game-playing, however it will possibly preserve tempo with the quickest gaming GPUs for those who’re in search of some leisure after hours. 

Workstation-Particular Checks 

We run two extra packages to simulate workstation functions. The primary, Blender, is an open-source 3D suite for modeling, animation, simulation, and compositing. We report the time it takes for its built-in Cycles path tracer to render two photo-realistic scenes of BMW vehicles, one utilizing the system’s CPU and one the GPU (decrease occasions are higher). BMW artist Mike Pan has stated he considers the scenes too quick for rigorous testing, however they are a common benchmark. 

Our most essential workstation take a look at, SPECviewperf 2020, renders, rotates, and zooms out and in of stable and wireframe fashions utilizing viewsets from common unbiased software program vendor (ISV) apps. We run the 1080p decision exams based mostly on PTC’s Creo CAD platform; Autodesk’s Maya modeling and simulation software program for movie, TV, and video games; and Dassault Systemes’ SolidWorks 3D rendering package deal. The extra frames per second, the higher. 

For these exams, we have been in a position to embrace outcomes from final yr’s first-generation ThinkPad P15, whose Quadro RTX 5000 was Nvidia’s ISV flagship earlier than the RTX A5000 era got here alongside.

The ThinkPad X1 Excessive shocked us by screaming via each Blender subtests, with the P15 Gen 2 sizzling on its heels. Within the all-important SPECviewperf benchmark, the Lenovo workstations led the way in which, with the unique P15 considerably surprisingly edging out the Gen 2 mannequin. The HP has solely Nvidia’s fourth-fastest skilled GPU, so it was a step behind. 

Battery and Show Checks 

We take a look at laptops’ battery life by taking part in a regionally saved 720p video file (the open-source Blender film Tears of Metal(Opens in a brand new window)) with show brightness at 50% and audio quantity at 100%. We make sure that the battery is totally charged earlier than the take a look at, with Wi-Fi and keyboard backlighting turned off. 

We additionally use a Datacolor SpyderX Elite monitor calibration sensor and its Home windows software program to measure a laptop computer display’s colour saturation—what share of the sRGB, Adobe RGB, and DCI-P3 colour gamuts or palettes the show can present—and its 50% and peak brightness in nits (candelas per sq. meter).

The battery-life outcomes have been carefully packed, with all 5 techniques displaying good stamina for highly effective desktop replacements. Getting via a full workday needs to be no drawback. All of the screens delivered effective colour constancy, although the Dell’s OLED panel outdid the others, and all have been splendidly shiny, with the P15 Gen 2’s narrowly the brightest.

Possibly Not a Slam Dunk, However a Excessive Scorer 

The Lenovo ThinkPad P15 Gen 2 ably fills its predecessor’s position because the heavyweight champ of the corporate’s cell workstation lineup; with the Core i9 and RTX A5000, it is highly effective sufficient to race via jobs that will make most laptops whimper and cringe. You will not discover a higher keyboard or port choice wherever, and for those who want greater than 128GB of RAM and 6TB of storage, you want a desktop workstation, not a pocket book.

Lenovo ThinkPad P15 Gen 2 rear ports

(Picture: Molly Flores)

We’re not giving the Gen 2 the Editors’ Alternative award that the primary P15 acquired, primarily as a result of we get a nosebleed at costs over $5,000—our Gen 1 take a look at unit was $500 cheaper and rocked a 4K show—and we’ve not but examined its top-of-the-line rivals, the Dell Precision 7560 and HP ZBook Fury 15 G8. However make no mistake: When you want the Mechagodzilla {of professional} laptops, the P15 Gen 2 succeeds with a vengeance.

Lenovo ThinkPad P15 Gen 2

The Backside Line

If it’s a must to ask the value, you’ll be able to’t afford it, however Lenovo’s ThinkPad P15 Gen 2 smashes into the entrance rank of cell workstations with blazing efficiency.

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