Lenovo ThinkPad P16 Mobile Workstation Review

An absolute beast in weight and performance

Lenovo ThinkPad P16
(Image: © Future)

TechRadar Verdict

If you're looking for a mobile workstation to allow flexibility of workspace or portability while not compromising on power, take a look at the Lenovo ThinkPad P16. Despite having the form factor of a laptop, the P16 still puts out absurd performance, ensuring your projects can get done on a job site, at the office, on the go, or at home.

Pros

  • +

    Incredibly powerful

  • +

    Durable design and build

  • +

    Full keyboard with numpad

  • +

    Multi-touch, OLED display

Cons

  • -

    Very large size

  • -

    Expensive compared to some of the competition

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The Lenovo ThinkPad P16 is certainly not your average laptop. This massive mobile workstation is not designed for quick runs to the coffee shop or virtual meetings (although it is more than capable of doing this) but for much more. The ThinkPad P16 was created as a high-end workstation that can fit in a lap or on a table, but also be semi-portable while ripping through whatever tests you throw at it.

Unboxing

Unboxing this laptop was fairly similar compared to other laptops outside of one main factor - weight. The ThinkPad P16 weighs 6.5 lbs / 2.95 kg and is 1.2 inches thick, making it almost 2.5x the weight of a MacBook Air M1, our primary workhorse for hardware reviews at TechRadar Pro. Other than the laptop, the box included a relatively large charging brick for the computer, and some essential documentation.

First Impressions

Once we booted up the ThinkPad P16, we were astonished at how snappy it was. Everything started quickly, even navigating through settings to connect to WiFi, download updates, and install benchmark software. As mentioned, this laptop's sheer weight and size is obvious, but we understand that this laptop is not designed to be one that you take for a quick run to the coffee shop or to surf from the couch.

Lenovo ThinkPad P16

(Image credit: Future)

Design and Build Quality

Along with its large size, the Lenovo ThinkPad P16 is also a powerhouse under the hood. The casing is sturdy and feels durable, though a lighter shade than the standard matte black we have seen in other ThinkPad models. 

Specs

* As Tested * 

CPU: 12th Gen Intel(R) Core(TM) i9 2.30GHz

Graphics: Nvidia RTX A5500

RAM: 64GB

Screen: 16-inches (3840x2400, Multi-touch, OLED, 400 nit display)

Storage: 2TB

Connectivity: USB-A (x2), USB-C, Headphone/mic combo, Optional Smart card reader, optional nano-slim card slot, SD Express 7.0 card reader, Power connector, Thunderbolt 4 (x2), HDMI 2.1

There is a full-size keyboard with a full numeric keypad on the right. Further, we noticed a TrackPoint mini joystick, a trackpad, and three physical mouse buttons above the trackpad. There are ports on the laptop's right, left, and backside, facing away from the user. The left side has a USB-A Port, a USB-C port, a headphone jack, and a nano-sim card slot. The right side houses an SD Card reader, an optional smart card reader, and a USB-A port. The back of the laptop has two Thunderbolt ports, an HDMI port, and a power port.

The keyboard is incredibly comfortable to type on for long writing sessions, and the multiple pointing tool options make interacting with this computer a breeze. Having used it for a week to test, we could comfortably use this laptop for an entire day of work without feeling like we wanted to reach for something else. 

Lenovo ThinkPad P16

(Image credit: Future)

In Use

Every time we booted up the ThinkPad P16, we were astonished at its power. Obviously, for spreadsheets, emails, and basic uses, the P16 is absolute overkill. However, this portable workstation can show its true strength for more complex creative or design projects and workflows. 

During our PCMark testing, the P16 scored 7651 on the extended test, meaning that compared to other portable workstations, it stacks up well -  not the absolute fastest, but it is close. While pushing the laptop during benchmark testing, the internal fans kept the laptop relatively cool. And, while we won't frequently have this on our lap, it is good to know that if we want to, we can without cooking our legs.

Lenovo ThinkPad P16

(Image credit: Future)

The focus of this laptop is the raw power under the hood. However, another massive asset to the ThinkPad P16p is the amount of security built into every aspect of the computer. We can sign in with Windows Hello using the integrated fingerprint scanner, facial recognition, or smart card reader.

Lenovo ThinkPad P16

(Image credit: Future)

Looking at this laptop's physical aspects, we were struck by the beautiful matte finish. Upon opening and booting up the computer, we were impressed with the display's brightness, and even during the middle of the day, we could easily see every area on our screen. The keyboard made typing easy and comfortable, even for extended periods, and we also loved how easy the trackpad was to use. We're not used to having three trackpad buttons, though it can benefit specific applications and use cases. The Lenovo ThinkPad P16 also has a TrackPoint in the middle of the keyboard for more input options.

Lenovo ThinkPad P16

(Image credit: Future)

For those looking for even more power, the compartment adding and swapping RAM is easy to access on the laptop's underside. Additionally, Lenovo has integrated several performance modes to fine-tune how the computer will direct its power. These performance mode ranges can extend the battery life at the cost of some power or boost the power by using extra power and more.

Final Verdict

This impressive portable workstation can power through nearly any task thrown at it. The P16 was on or near the top in every test we ran, and while it may not be the laptop you grab for a quick meeting at a coffee shop, it can be the one you grab to knock out intense creative tasks, 3D modeling, and the like.


Collin Probst
B2B Hardware Editor, TechRadar Pro

Collin is the B2B Hardware Editor for TechRadar Pro. He has been in journalism for years with experience in both small and large markets including Gearadical, DailyBeast, FutureNet and more.