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Lenovo ThinkPad P52 review: Big, bulky, and powerful

Lenovo ThinkPad P52 review: Big, bulky, and powerful

Final week, I reviewed the Lenovo ThinkPad P72. On the time that Lenovo despatched me that unit, it additionally provided to ship me the P52, and whereas it has an analogous use case, I accepted it as a result of there are some notable variations. The P52 is smaller, with a 15.6-inch display, making it extra moveable.

That display helps contact as properly, one thing that’s not an choice on the P72. Additionally, the unit that Lenovo despatched me features a Core i7-8850H CPU, whereas the P72 has an Intel Xeon. Naturally, I assumed it was worthwhile to check out each of them.

The ThinkPad P52 is a beat of a cellular workstation, with Nvidia Quadro graphics, a 4K show, 16GB RAM, and extra. Learn on for extra.


CPU Intel Core i7-8850H vPro (four.30GHz)
GPU Nvidia Quadro P3200 (6GB) with Max-Q
Physique 14.86×9.93×zero.96″ (377.four×252.Three×24.5mm), Beginning at 5.4lbs. (2.45kg)
Show 15.6 inches, UHD (3840×2160) 10-point Multi-touch
Ports (2) USB Three.2 Gen 2 Sort-C with Thunderbolt Three
(Three) USB Three.1 (Sort-A), one always-on
(1) RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet
(1) HDMI
(1) SD Card Reader (SD, SDHC, SDXC)
(1) Mini DispalyPort 1.four
(1) Sensible card reader (non-compulsory)
(1) Microphone / Headphone Combo Jack
Reminiscence 16GB (DDR4 2400MHz) non-ECC
Storage 512GB SSD M.2 PCIE NVMe Opal2 + 1TB 7200rpm
Battery 90Wh
Materials Show cowl: GFRP + PPS
Backside: Magnesium/Aluminum
Home windows Hey IR digital camera, fingerprint sensor
OS Home windows 10 Professional
Worth $Three,267.00

Notice that this machine could be configured with an Intel Xeon processor if that’s higher on your use case, and you will get it with as much as 128GB RAM. Oddly although, when you go for the Xeon, you possibly can solely rise up to a 4GB Quadro P2000 GPU. Absolutely specced out, the P52 prices $7,379, with a Core i7-8850H, 128GB RAM, two 2TB SSDs, a 2TB HDD, and a Quadro P3200. The Xeon mannequin maxes out at $7,080.

Day one


The Lenovo ThinkPad P52 is massive and it’s cumbersome, however it’s highly effective. It is available in at slightly below an inch thick, and it weighs over 5 kilos. As all the time although, that’s the worth of energy. If you’d like skinny, mild, and ultra-portable, get an ultrabook. This can be a cellular workstation, for people who need energy.

The bottom is made from magnesium and aluminum, whereas the show cowl is created from glass fiber strengthened plastic. The actually excellent news is that it’s MIL-STD 810G licensed, so like all ThinkPads, it’s constructed to be robust. That is notably notable, as a result of I assume that in case you spend over seven thousand dollars on a laptop computer, you need it to final for some time. Properly, perhaps you bought it like that; I don’t know.

As Henry Ford as soon as stated, you possibly can have any shade you need so long as it’s black. Lenovo has combined issues up a bit, now providing two totally different shades of black on ThinkPads. That is the older shade, additionally together with the older silver ThinkPad emblem. So it’s black, however not blackest. It additionally maintains the silver-colored hinges that we’ve seen in earlier years.

Simply as you’d anticipate from a cellular workstation, this factor is loaded up with ports. On the again of the machine, you’ll discover two Thunderbolt Three ports, able to delivering speeds of as much as 40Gbps. There’s additionally the port for Lenovo’s proprietary charging cable, which is 170W. You’ll additionally discover Ethernet and HDMI again there.

On the correct aspect of the gadget, you’ll discover two USB Three.1 Gen 1 Sort-A ports, a Mini DisplayPort, and a Three.5mm combo audio jack. The left aspect is the place you’ll discover an SD card reader, together with one other USB Three.1 Gen 1 Sort-A port. In case you don’t know, USB Three.1 Gen 1 helps knowledge switch speeds of as much as 5Gbps.

For Home windows Hiya, this machine comes with a fingerprint sensor under the keyboard and an IR digital camera above the show., so you could have your selection in biometric authentication. I want facial recognition, as a result of I feel it’s extra pure on a laptop computer. Additionally, whereas ThinkPads have had fingerprint sensors for a few years now, they’re considerably mediocre.

Above the keyboard, you’ll discover audio system that fireplace proper up at you, powered by Dolby Audio Premium. It’s all similar to the ThinkPad P72, however it’s in a smaller package deal.

The battery is detachable on the P52, which was not the case on the P72. Additionally, the underside panel could be eliminated simply with six Philips-head screws, revealing the internals.


The ThinkPad P52 features a 15.6-inch UHD touchscreen, and it’s considerably totally different from the 17.Three-inch UHD show that’s within the P72. In contrast to the matte anti-glare display on the bigger mannequin, this features a shiny touchscreen. Observe that for those who select the 1080p mannequin, that doesn’t help contact and it’s anti-glare.

I actually can’t inform you which one is best for you. Anti-glare screens are good as a result of you need to use them in brilliant lighting circumstances. Shiny screens are prettier. It actually is determined by the sort of work you’re doing, and you already know that higher than anybody else.

The P52 doesn’t use considered one of Lenovo’s Dolby Imaginative and prescient shows, which is what the corporate has been pushing in its premium ThinkPads. Nonetheless, it helps 100% Adobe shade gamut, and it appears nice.

Audio high quality is fairly good as nicely, though it’s no Dolby Atmos. It’s undoubtedly practical although; for instance, should you’re utilizing this PC to edit movies like I did, the audio high quality is obvious and loud sufficient to do a superb job.

One factor concerning the show that I’ll observe is that the bezels really feel like their a bit too giant. With at present’s tendencies towards shrinking bezels – like Lenovo did within the 15-inch Legion Y740 gaming laptop computer – it might have been cool to see the P52 include a smaller footprint.

Keyboard, trackpad, and TrackPoint

Lenovo’s ThinkPads are famend for having a few of the greatest keyboards round, and the ThinkPad P52 is not any totally different. There’s one thing about it that makes it actually snug to sort on but in addition actually exact. I’ll say although, that whereas ThinkPads have the most effective keyboards, HP’s new EliteBooks are coming actually shut.

The palm relaxation across the keyboard is glass fiber strengthened plastic, so that you don’t get that gentle and funky really feel you’d get from the carbon fiber units. Nonetheless, whereas that may be a pleasant contact, the keys are what’s necessary. There’s a quantity pad to the appropriate of the primary keyboard, which feels a bit odd on a 15.6-inch gadget. Just like the bezels that I identified earlier, I’d gladly sacrifice the quantity pad for this system to have a smaller footprint.

The trackpad isn’t clickable, as was the case on the ThinkPad P72. There are two units of bodily buttons that do the very same factor, one above the trackpad and one under it. Whereas all ThinkPads have the buttons above the trackpad, I used to be stunned at how shortly I turned accustomed to utilizing those underneath it. The highest buttons are actually made to be used with the TrackPoint, that little purple nub that sits between the G, H, and B keys. Nonetheless, I’d fairly simply have a clickable trackpad.

Oddly, Lenovo nonetheless locations the Fn key to the left of the Ctrl key, one thing that’s just about universally hated however is included on all ThinkPads. Fortunately, you possibly can swap the performance of Fn and Ctrl within the Lenovo Vantage app, and that’s one thing I do on each ThinkPad as quickly as I get it.

Efficiency and battery life

The Lenovo ThinkPad P72 consists of an Intel Core i7-8850H CPU, which is a Espresso Lake chip that has a 45W TDP, six cores, and 12 threads. It’s about as excessive finish as you will get from the Core collection until you get a Core i9, which isn’t provided. The H-series is what you’ll discover in any highly effective system, together with gaming laptops.

For graphics, we have now the Nvidia Quadro P3200 with 6GB GDDR5. There’s good and dangerous information right here. I used this machine for modifying plenty of video, and it really works nice. The dangerous information is that Quadro RTX is coming sooner or later.

Nvidia’s new Turing structure is a large bounce from the earlier one. GeForce RTX GPUs can be found for each desktop and cellular, and Quadro RTX graphics playing cards can be found for desktop, providing options like ray tracing and deep studying tremendous sampling. The reality is that you simply may need to maintain off for a bit earlier than shopping for a cellular workstation, as a result of it appears probably that the subsequent era may have Quadro RTX.

But when we’re dwelling in at this time, the ThinkPad P52 is a superb machine. The GPU isn’t as highly effective because the 16GB P5200 that’s discovered within the P72, however it undoubtedly will get the job executed. My check is all the time modifying video in Adobe Premiere Professional whereas compiling one other video in Media Encoder. I did really feel some lag and stuttering, however it was effective.

So far as battery life goes, you’ll get 4 or 5 hours of basic use out of the P52. Clearly, that may begin to drop significantly whenever you begin to do duties that require extra energy. The P52 comes with a 170W energy adapter, so it consumes much less energy than the P72, which shipped with a 230W energy adapter.

For benchmarks, I used PCMark eight and PCMark 10. PCMark eight offers three exams: Residence, Artistic, and Work. The Residence check checks widespread duties like informal gaming, video chat, net shopping, and so forth.

The rating is true about the place you’d anticipate it to be. The subsequent check is Artistic, which checks extra GPU-intensive duties like video modifying, mainstream gaming, and so forth.

The Artistic check is the place the P52 actually shines, as a result of these are the kinds of duties that this machine was engineered for. Lastly, the Work check checks productivity-related duties like writing and spreadsheets.

As you’ll be able to see, this machine doesn’t do fairly as nicely on the Work check. Regardless of having highly effective internals, a standard ultrabook with a 15W U-series processor will outperform the P52 on these kind of duties.

I additionally ran PCMark 10, which supplies an all-in-one check.


Under you’ll see that I listed three cons for the ThinkPad P52. Two of them are battery life and that it’s thick and heavy. These are issues that you simply actually can’t get round relating to a strong machine like this. In reality, it’s truly much more manageable when it comes to portability than the even bigger ThinkPad P72. It additionally has a lot better battery life, primarily due to the much less highly effective GPU.

The most important con although is that Quadro RTX is coming sooner or later, and will probably be well worth the wait. It’s arduous to advocate spending this a lot on a cellular workstation figuring out what comes subsequent.

So the actual query is in case you want a cellular workstation immediately. Should you do, then the ThinkPad P52 is a superb selection, as are all ThinkPads in the event that they suit your specific use case. It has highly effective internals that may be configured with as much as a Core i7-8850H CPU or Xeon E-2186M, Nvidia Quadro P3200 graphics, 128GB RAM, and a complete of 6TB of storage. It additionally has a wonderful 15.6-inch 4K touchscreen, or you will get it in 1080p for higher battery life.

Once more, if you actually need a cellular workstation immediately and a Quadro P3200 fits your wants, you actually can’t do higher. You’ll be able to take a look at the ThinkPad P52 on right here.


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