Lenovo's ThinkPad P1 portable workstation has just gone on sale, and it's an attractive option for anyone with around £2,000 to £4,500 to spend on a serious business machine. It delivers a top-end Xeon/Quadro specification in a 15.6-inch format that looks more like a ThinkPad X1 Carbon.
It has ISV certifications from leading independent software vendors such as ArcGIS, AutoCAD, CATIA, Creo, Inventor, Microstation, NX, PDMS, Revit, Solid Edge, SolidWorks and Vectorworks. If you run one or more of these, you're in the target market. The ThinkPad P1 should also appeal to Adobe Creative Cloud users, especially those who run Premier Pro.
The ThinkPad P1 looks like a bigger version of the X1 and shares the carbon fibre construction to reduce the weight to 1.7kg (3.75 pounds). The overall dimensions are 361.8mm by 245.7mm by 18.4mm (14.2 x 9.7 x 0.7 inches).
The key features include the ability to pack in 64GB of memory and two SSD drives. Buyers also get a choice of two screens: FHD (1,920 x 1,080) non-touch and 4K UHD (3,840 x 2,160) touch. Most options can be customised.
All models have a decent selection of ports. The left side of the ThinkPad P1 has two Thunderbolt 3 ports, HDMI 2, a mini Gigabit Ethernet port, a headphone jack and a power socket. The right side has two USB 3.1 (Type A) ports, a smart card slot, and a Kensington lock. There's also space for an optional SD card reader.
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If you can justify buying a top-of-the-range machine, you can have an 8th-generation Intel Xeon E-2176M, 64GB of RAM, an Nvidia Quadro P2000 graphics card with 4GB of memory, 2TB of NVMe M.2 SSD storage, a smart card reader, a 4K UHD (3,840 x 2,160) touch screen and three years of on-site service. In the UK, that comes to £4,695.40 (inc. VAT).
An entry-level system with an Intel Core i5-8400H, Quadro P1000 graphics card, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB hard drive is a more affordable £1,929. However, upgrading the standard 1,920 by 1,080 non-touch screen to the 4K version - which offers 100 percent Adobe colour gamut -- adds £322.80 to the price.
A good compromise -- with a Core i7-8850H, 32GB of RAM and high-res screen -- comes in at around £3,000, which is roughly the same as a 15-inch MacBook Pro with a Core i7 and 32GB (£3,059). The obvious difference is that all the ThinkPad P1 models in the UK come with three years of on-site service, whereas the Mac buyer would have to add £329 for AppleCare.
The specifications and service options vary in different geographies, so check your local Lenovo website for details.
While the ThinkPad P1 may attract some MacBook buyers, its real competition includes the Dell XPS 15, which is a bigger version of the hugely successful XPS 13, and Dell's Precision portable workstations. HP's ZBook 15 mobile workstation will be another contender.
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