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2020 Lenovo ThinkPad P17, P15 and P15v debut, replace the P53/P73 lineups

By Andrei Girbea - @ andreigirbea , last updated on June 17, 2020

While the 2020 updates of the ultraportable 15-inch ThinkPad lineups are mostly incremental improvements of the 2019 versions, Lenovo have majorly updated this 2020 generation of their full-size performance ThinkPads.

The ThinkPad P17 replaces the ThinkPad P73 as the 17-inch full-size performance workstation, with the ThinkPad P15 as the smaller 15-inch variant (replacing the P53).

Lenovo claims these have been redesigned from scratch, primarily in order to improve performance and cooling, and that’s great news giving our past experience with the P53 and P73 (links to our reviews). They’ve also been bumped to 2020-level hardware specs and slightly tweaked here and there.

Furthermore, Lenovo also launched a brand new ThinkPad P15v model, as a lower-specced, more compact, and more affordable alternative to the ThinkPad P15. This could be a good value 15-incher if done right.

Here’s a specs sheet of these three, and we’ll further dig into the details down below.

Lenovo ThinkPad P17 gen 1 (2020) Lenovo ThinkPad P15 gen 1 (2020) Lenovo ThinkPad P15v gen 1 (2020)
Screen 17.3-inch FHD (1920×10800 px), 300 nits, non-touch, matte
17.3-inch UHD (3840×2160 px), 500 nits, Dolby Vision HDR, non-touch, matte
15.6 inch, FHD 1920 x 1080 px, IPS, non-touch, matte, 300-nits
15.6 inch, FHD 1920 x 1080 px, IPS, non-touch, matte, 500-nits (Dolby Vision HDR)
15.6 inch, 4K 3840 x 2160 px, IPS, non-touch, matte, 600-nits (Dolby Vision HDR)
15.6 inch, 4K 3840 x 2160 px, OLED, touch, glossy, 500-nits
15.6 inch, FHD 1920 x 1080 px, IPS, non-touch, matte, 250-nits
15.6 inch, FHD 1920 x 1080 px, IPS, non-touch, matte, 300-nits
15.6 inch, 4K 3840 x 2160 px, IPS, non-touch, matte, 600-nits (Dolby Vision HDR)
Processor up to 10th gen Intel Coffee Lake Core i9 or Xeon, 8C/16T up to 10th gen Intel Coffee Lake Core i9 or Xeon, 8C/16T up to 10th gen Intel Coffee Lake Core i9 or Xeon, 8C/16T
Graphics Intel UHD + up to Nvidia Quadro 5000 16 GB GDDR6 (110W) Intel UHD + up to Nvidia Quadro 5000 16 GB GDDR6 (90W) Intel UHD + Nvidia Quadro P620 4 GB GDDR5 (40W)
Memory up to 128 GB DDR4 2933 MHz (4x DIMMs), optional ECC support up to 128 GB DDR4 2933 MHz (4x DIMMs), optional ECC support up to 64 GB DDR4 2933 MHz (2x DIMMs), optional ECC support
Storage 2x M.2 PCIe slots with RAID 0/1 support, up to 4 TB 2x M.2 PCIe slots with RAID 0/1 support, up to 4 TB 2x M.2 PCIe slots with RAID 0/1 support, up to 4 TB
Connectivity Gigabit LAN, Wireless 6 (Intel AX201) 2×2, Bluetooth 5.0, CAT16 WWAN option Gigabit LAN, Wireless 6 (Intel AX201) 2×2, Bluetooth 5.0, CAT16 WWAN option Gigabit LAN, Wireless 6 (Intel AX201) 2×2, Bluetooth 5.0, CAT94 WWAN option
Ports 3x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, 1x USB-C, 2x USB-C with Thunderbolt 3, LAN, HDMI 2.0, SD card reader, Smartcard reader 2x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, 1x USB-C, 2x USB-C with Thunderbolt 3, LAN, HDMI 2.0, SD card reader, Smartcard reader 2x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, 1x USB-C with Thunderbolt 3, LAN, HDMI 2.0, SD card reader, Smartcard reader
Battery 94 Wh, 170 or 230 Watt charger 94 Wh, 170 or 230 Watt charger 68 Wh, 135 Watt charger
Size 416 mm or 16.37” (w) x 281 mm or 11.06” (d) x 30.2 mm or 1.18” (h) 375 mm or 14.76” (w) x 252 mm or 9.92” (d) x 29.1 mm or 1.14” (h) 367 mm or 14.44” (w) x 250 mm or 9.84” (d) x 22.7 mm or .89” (h)
Weight from 7.7 lbs (3.5 kg)+ 2.05 lbs (.93 kg) for 230W charger and cables, EU version from 6.1 lbs (2.74 kg)+ 2.05 lbs (.93 kg) for 230W charger and cables, EU version from 4.6 lbs (2.07 kg)+  0.99 lbs (450 g) charger and cables, US version
Extras backlit keyboard, HD webcam with ThinkShutter, IR camera, fingerprint scanner, TPM, Intel vPro, NFC (optional) backlit keyboard, HD webcam with ThinkShutter, IR camera, fingerprint scanner, TPM, Intel vPro, NFC (optional) backlit keyboard, HD webcam with ThinkShutter, IR camera, fingerprint scanner, TPM, Intel vPro, NFC (optional)

As mentioned already, the ThinkPad 15v is a more affordable mid-range 15-inch notebook, an option somewhere in between the ultraportable ThinkPad P1 and the full-size ThinkPad 15.

It lacks some of the features available on those two, such as the options for an OLED panel or the higher-tier graphics, and that’s its major culprit. From what we know so far, the 15v will only ship with an entry-level Quadro P620 dGPU, which can’t do much.

On the other hand, Lenovo bundle this with the same powerful processors available with the other lineups, making it a fairly weird configuration that would target those in need of strong CPU processing power, but without a need for a GPU. This could perhaps cater to some creators and Solidwork/Blender works, especially if properly cooled and aggressively priced.

Lenovo have been offering this sort of specs on the previous ThinkPad P1 lineups, and they were well received. The P1 is a lighter and more portable product, but at 23 mm and 2.1 kilos, this P15v is not a chunky notebook either. Plus, it includes a larger battery and full-size keyboard with NumPad, which I’d reckon will interest some of you.

The ThinkPad P15v is set for retail around July, starting at $1349. You’ll want to stay away from that base-level screen, but I’d expect a competently specced all-round model to go for around $1600-$1800, which could put this on many desks.

The high-performance ThinkPads P15 and P17 have been redesigned from scratch according to Lenovo. They’re still full-size notebooks with chunky builds and big bezels around the screen, as the redesign primarily focuses on the internal layout and the thermal module. That’s smart imo, especially since thermal limitations have plagued the previous generations, and Lenovo can cater to those searching for a more portable device with their other options, such as the ThinkPad P1.

Back to the P15/P17s, Lenovo aim to keep noise-levels down with their workstations laptops in recent years, at under 38 dB, and that’s difficult without sacrificing the performance. In fact, it was pretty much impossible in the past, and I’ve complained about the limited thermal performance of the P72/P73 models, as well as the lack of fan/power customization.

Sure, I understand why some people would want a quiet laptop in their office, but at the same time, I wanted the ability to unleash the full power of my device if required. That was not an option before, but hopefully is going to be possible with these 2020 generations, through what Lenovo advertises as the “Ultra Performance Mode”, which lifts up the noise (and temperatures) limitations and allow the hardware to tap into its potential.

This setting, corroborated with the redesigned thermal module also mentioned in the official literature (quote: with “13 percent more airflow, a 30 percent larger CPU heat sink, larger vents, and even a new thermal mesh to dissipate heat faster”), should make the 2020 P15 and P17 notebooks much more compelling in their niche, and I’m looking forward to testing them and document the improvements.

The P15 and P17 share most aspects in terms of both the internal and exterior design. Specs wise, both are available with 10th gen Intel processors, 4x slots for memory, 2x slots for SSD storage, and a 94 Wh battery, plus Nvidia Quadro graphics in various assortments. The P15 tops at an RTX Quadro 5000 90W in this 2020 generation (up from the 80W model in the P53), while the P17 tops at a 110W RTX Quadro 5000 (up from the 90W model in the P17). They both get pretty much all the connectivity that you’d need on a work computer, including optional broadband Internet, as well as what looks like the same keyboards and clickpads from the 2019 models.

The P53 does offer more screen choices, with several bright FHD matte IPS and an OLED touch option, while the P73 is only available with matte screens in either FHD or UHD resolutions. The latter in excellent picks for content creators, with wide color gamut coverage and Dolby Vision HDR.

Brand new 2020 Lenovo ThinkPad P17 workstation

Both the ThinkPad P15 and P17 are expected in stores around July, with the 15-inch model starting at $1979, and the 17-inch versions starting at $2119, but expect to pay a lot more for the beefier configurations.

Keep an eye out for our updates in the months to come, I’m truly excited about reviewing these products and figure out their real-life worth with these much-awaited updates, and hopefully Lenovo are still willing to lend them to me for some proper reviews.

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Andrei Girbea, Editor-in-Chief of Ultrabookreview.com. I've been covering mobile computers since the 2000s and you'll mostly find reviews and thorough guides written by me here on the site.

5 Comments

  1. Francis

    June 18, 2020 at 5:54 am

    Disappointed that there is no AMD graphic options. My use case is Linux with open source drivers and after a previous bad experience with a P50 there is no way I will go with another Nvidia graphic card.

    • bittricks

      June 22, 2020 at 10:00 pm

      The only full AMD option that I have seen is the System76 Serval. However, every single one that I have seen over the years in person has had a trashy display. The display is rated as 300 nits but the thing was awfully dim.

      I imagine that OEMs are not willing to jump on the AMD bandwagon yet. To this day, despite all the AMD hype, it just does not have the capacity to deliver large orders. And I'm sure the issue gets a lot more complex beyond what is commonly known.

  2. david

    July 29, 2020 at 9:57 pm

    if 10th gen is there support for up to 2.5 gigabit Ethernet ?

  3. Ravi Sriram

    September 15, 2020 at 3:33 am

    Thank you for a most informative article. I've been researching the P53 and P73 and was close to buying one of them when the issue with their thermals and the overheating and the concerns regarding overheating of the two laptops made me hesitate. It appears as though these issues have been resolved with the introduction of the P15 and P17 and now makes my decision a lot easier; I am also looking forward to your reviews of these machines in the near future. My alternate choices are the Dell Precision 7540 15" and its larger 17" stablemate, the 7740, whose reviews I also look forward to reading.

  4. juan

    September 17, 2020 at 8:53 pm

    What about the X1 Extreme. How is it different from the P15?

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