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Hands-on Lenovo ThinkPad P1 Review: Workstation Brawn in an Ultrabook Body

Lenovo just refreshed its workstations with the latest 9th Gen Intel CPUs and Nvidia Quadro graphics. The laptop maker unveiled three new ThinkPad P series laptops: the ThinkPad P53, ThinkPad P73 and the second-generation ThinkPad P1.

ThinkPad P1 Gen 2 goes on sale at the end of June, with a starting price of $1,949 while the ThinkPad P53 will be available in July for $1,799 and the ThinkPad P73 will ship in August starting at $1849.

For those who aren't familiar with Lenovo's P-series workstations, these are the company's most powerful notebooks and are meant for business professionals and content creators. Each of these notebooks is MIL-SPEC tested and comes with Lenovo's suite of security features.

Lenovo ThinkPad P1, P53 and P73: Prices and Specs

Lenovo ThinkPad P1Lenovo ThinkPad P53Lenovo ThinkPad P73
Starting Price$1,949$1,799$1,849
Display15.6-inch OLED; Up to 3840 x 216015.6-inch OLED; Up to 3840 x 216017.3-inch IPS, Up to 4K UHD
CPU9th Gen Intel Xeon and Core (8-core)9th Gen Intel Xeon and Core (8-core)9th Gen Intel Xeon and Core (8-core)
RAMUp to 64GBUp to 128GBUp to 128GB
GraphicsNvidia Quadro T1000 or T2000Up to Nvidia Quadro RTX 5000Up to Nvidia Quadro RTX 5000
StorageUp to 4TB NVMe SSDUp to 6TB NVMe SSDUp to 6TB NVMe SSD
Ports2 USB 3.1, 2 Thunderbolt 3, HDMI 2.0, SD Card Reader, Mini Gigabit Ethernet, Headphone/Mic2 USB-A 3.1, 2 Thunderbolt 3, 1 USB-C, HDMI 2.0, SD Card Reader, RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet, Headphone/Mic3 USB-A 3.1, 2 Thunderbolt 3, 1 USB-C, HDMI 2.0, SD Card Reader, RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet, Headphone/Mic
Size14.2 x 9.7 x 0.68 inches14.9 x 9.9 x 1.1 inches16.4 x 11.1 x 0.98 inches
Weight3.7 pounds5.4 pounds7.5 pounds

 

Lenovo ThinkPad P1

Of these laptops, I'm most excited for the second-gen ThinkPad P1, Lenovo's thinnest and lightest 15-inch workstation, at 0.7 inches and 3.7 pounds. The new model is getting a nice performance boost and will ship with Intel 9th Gen Xeon and Core CPUs as well as the latest Nvidia Quadro T1000 and T2000 GPUs.

Other key specs include up to 64GB of RAM, up to 4TB of NVMe SSD and two Thunderbolt 3 ports.

MORE: The Best Laptops for Business and Productivity

I was enamored with the 4K Dolby Vision display on last year's ThinkPad P1, which provided an exceptionally vivid picture. The new model takes things a step further and comes with an optional OLED touch screen with Dolby Vision HDR and 400 nits of brightness.

OLED panels offer perfect black levels, higher contrast and better viewing angles than traditional LED display, so you can expect gorgeous image quality on the new P1 when you're streaming your favorite TV shows.

While the ThinkPad P1 looks similar to its predecessor, the UHD model will come with a carbon fiber finish.

In my review of the first-generation ThinkPad P1, I praised the workstation for providing tons of performance in a small, portable package. Along with the stunning display and sleek chassis, the P1 also featured a world-class keyboard. However, the P1’s battery life and heat management disappointed, so we're hoping the new model improves on those areas.

Lenovo ThinkPad P53

Lenovo's most powerful 15-inch laptop, the ThinkPad P53, will come with 9th Gen Xeon and Core i9 CPUs, up to an Nvidia Quadro RTX 5000 GPU, up to 128GB of RAM and up to 6TB of NVMe storage.

Like the ThinkPad P1, you can configure the ThinkPad P53 with a 4K OLED panel with 400 nits of brightness and Dolby Vision HDR.

At 5.4 pounds and 1.1 inches, the ThinkPad P53 is a chunky notebook, but it's not too heavy to carry around the office between meetings. Still, it’s noticeably heavier than the 3.7-pound ThinkPad P1.

Other P53 highlights include two Thunderbolt 3 ports, Lenovo's ThinkShield security features and a new power brick that Lenovo claims to be 35% smaller than the previous version.

Lenovo ThinkPad P73

The ThinkPad P73 is for people who want raw power and don't care as much about portability. At 7.5 pounds and 0.98 inches thick, the ThinkPad P73 is better kept at a desk than in your backpack or briefcase. But it's no wonder the P73 has such a hefty chassis when you consider the beefy components it houses.

Those include up to an 8-core Intel Xeon or Core CPU, up to Nvidia Quadro RTX 5000 graphics, up to 128GB of RAM and up to 6TB of NVMe SSD. While there is no OLED option, Lenovo is offering the next best thing in a 17.3-inch, 4K IPS panel with 400 nits of brightness and Dolby Vision HDR.

Outlook

While only a modest upgrade from their predecessors, the addition of a 4K OLED display makes the ThinkPad P1 and ThinkPad P53 appealing to content creators, while the upgraded CPUs and GPUs should have no problems powering the most demanding programs.

None of these laptops' predecessors did particularly well on our battery life test, so we'll find out if any improvements were made on that front when we put a review unit throughout testing later this year.

Looking to give your ThinkPad a boost? Check out our roundup of the best ThinkPad accessories.

Image Credits: Laptop Mag

Lenovo Laptop Guide

Phillip Tracy is a senior writer at Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where he reviews laptops and covers the latest industry news. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Phillip became a tech reporter at the Daily Dot. There, he wrote reviews for a range of gadgets and covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity. Prior to that, he wrote for RCR Wireless News and NewBay Media. When he's not tinkering with devices, you can find Phillip playing video games, reading, listening to indie music or watching soccer.