Lenovo ThinkPad P16 (Gen 1) review: A killer mobile workstation for power-hungry professionals

Lenovo combined the P15 and P17 to become the P16, a mobile workstation with tons of performance overhead.


Lenovo unveiled its ThinkPad P16 (Gen 1) in 2022 as a successor to the ThinkPad P15 and P17. Lenovo decided to take the average size and run, serving up a completely new laptop that’s designed to act as a mobile desktop replacement. The bottom and back edge of the laptop are noticeably different from the usual ThinkPad style, and you would be forgiven for thinking, at first glance, that this is a gaming laptop. Indeed, it has some extreme performance hardware inside, but it’s more geared toward design, creative, and development work that requires a discrete GPU and sizzling 14- or 16-core performance from the 12th Gen Intel Core HX-series CPUs.

The high-end performance hardware is matched by up to a 16-inch UHD+ OLED touch display with 100% DCI-P3 color and X-Rite Pantone factory color calibration. There are lesser displays available at a cheaper price, including the UHD+ non-touch IPS screen that I have in my review unit as well as QHD+ and FHD+ options. The ThinkPad P16 (Gen 1) is large, expensive, and powerful enough to act as a mobile replacement for your desktop. Is it right for you and is it worth the money? Let’s find out.

Lenovo ThinkPad P16

Lenovo’s ThinkPad P16 (Gen 1) combines the P15 and P17 into a redesigned model. It’s still thick and heavy, but its available performance and set of high-end features makes it a viable desktop replacement for specialized work.

Storm grey (top), Thunder black (bottom)
2TB M.2 PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD
12th Gen Intel Core i9-12950HX
64GB DDR5-4000
Operating System
Windows 11 Pro
Two Thunderbolt 4, USB-C 3.2 (Gen 2), two USB-A 3.2 (Gen 1), HDMI, 3.5mm audio, SD card reader, Nano-SIM slot (optional)
FHD + IR, privacy shutter
Display (Size, Resolution)
16 inches, 3840×2400 (UHD+), IPS, 600 nits, anti-glare, Dolby Vision, DIsplayHDR 400
From 6.5 pounds (2.95kg)
NVIDIA RTX A5500 Laptop (115W)
Mobile Workstation
14.3 x 10.5 x 1.2 inches (364mm x 266mm x 30.23mm)
Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.1, 4G LTE (optional), NFC (optional)
Dual 2W speakers, Dolby Atmos


  • High-end performance for specialized work
  • Gorgeous 16-inch display options
  • Superb keyboard
  • Optional 4G LTE connectivity
  • Better battery life than expected


  • Can get very expensive
  • Hollow touchpad click
  • No Ethernet port
  • Heavy and thick

Lenovo ThinkPad P16 (Gen 1): Pricing and availability

  • Available at Lenovo and some third-party retailers
  • Regular pricing starts at $3,490, often deeply discounted

The first-gen ThinkPad P16 is primarily available at Lenovo’s official website. There you’ll find a number of pre-built configurations as well as a “Build Your PC” tool that can be used to outfit a model to your liking. Regular retail prices start at about $3,489 at the Lenovo website, though frequent sales knock huge chunks off that price. For example, at the time of writing Lenovo is offering up to 53% off the P16. That brings the starting price down to $1,639 which is much easier to digest.

You can also find the ThinkPad P16 for sale at some third-party retailers like Amazon and B&H, though there you won’t have the option to configure a model to your liking.

Design: Halfway between a gaming laptop and a workstation

  • A new 16-inch size sits between the 15-inch P15 and 17-inch P17
  • New rounded-edge design on the bottom
  • No Ethernet port

Lenovo’s first-gen ThinkPad P16 was launched as a replacement for the 15-inch ThinkPad P15 and the 17-inch ThinkPad P17. The 16-inch size is a nice landing spot that many laptop manufacturers are currently focusing on; the ThinkPad T16 and ThinkPad Z16 are more examples from Lenovo’s own business stable. This is still by no means a laptop that’s easy to tote around. It’ll slip into a large backpack or other laptop bag, but you’re definitely going to notice the 6.5-pound (2.95kg) starting weight.

A relatively slim bezel around the screen helps keep the overall laptop footprint down to about 14.3 inches by 10.5 inches, and the redesigned bottom portion of the laptop has curved edges and a bit of a forward wedge shape to make it look slimmer. The bottom case is made from a blend of plastic and glass fiber, while the lid is a mix of aluminum, magnesium, and chromium. It all feels very solid and holds onto most of the ThinkPad aesthetic. The Storm Grey lid color is offset by a lighter silver color along the top antenna cutout, and the keyboard surround shares the same Storm Grey color. The bottom of the laptop has a darker Thunder Black finish.

The ThinkPad P16 (Gen 1) lacks Ethernet but otherwise has a generous selection of ports.

More permanent ports like HDMI, dual Thunderbolt 4, and the AC plug are located along the back the laptop to help with cable management. There are two large exhaust vents flanking the row of ports, and the edge is highlighted by a red stripe. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this accent. On one hand, it gives the laptop a bit of extra style you usually only see on gaming laptops, but on the other it sort of detracts from the professional aura you usually get from a ThinkPad. Whichever way you land, it’s not something you’re going to often see while working at the laptop.

The ThinkPad P16 also includes along the sides USB-C 3.2 (Gen 2), two USB-A 3.2 (Gen 1), a UHS-II SD card reader, 3.5mm audio jack, Kensington lock slot, and optional Nano-SIM slot if you decide to check out with 4G LTE connectivity. This is a native port selection that should keep you away from most dongles and adapters, though you can always hook up one of the best Thunderbolt docks should you need more ports. One major pain point is the lack of RJ45 Ethernet. The ThinkPad P15 and P17 included this port, so it’s a shame that it’s gone in the new model.


Dual 2W speakers are located between the keyboard and display hinges. They’re boosted by Dolby Atmos and can get quite loud without crackling or distortion. Bass is also adequate, and you shouldn’t have any issues listening in on calls or listening to music while you work. The 1080p (FHD) camera is outstanding, offering up a clear picture that can handle low light and oversaturation equally well. An onboard Lenovo View app also lets you fine-tune exposure, intensity, and color. It doesn’t look like there’s any human presence detection capabilities to automatically log you in and out, but there is a privacy shutter and IR sensor for facial recognition through Windows Hello. A fingerprint reader is also built into the power button.

Wireless connectivity includes Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.1 as standard. If you need to stay connected everywhere, even outside of Wi-Fi range, there is optional 4G LTE available.

Keyboard and touchpad: Comfy typing, so-so touchpad

  • Less key travel than its predecessors
  • Hollow touchpad click
  • Still a very comfortable typing experience

ThinkPad keyboards have a fairly unblemished reputation, and the P16’s keys are hard to dislike. Travel was cut down to 1.5mm from 1.8mm compared to the P15 and P17 (which likely has to do with the keyboard removal requirement during servicing), but it’s still comfortable even when typing for hours on end. The cupped keys are spaced perfectly, a number pad can boost productivity, and the backlight helps with working after hours. The top row of the keyboard includes a wide array of Function shortcuts to help tackle calls and media, plus there are dedicated nav keys for Home, End, PgUp, PgDn, and Insert.

Lenovo might decide at some point to axe the red pointing nub and physical mouse buttons on its ThinkPads, but for now, the TrackPoint system remains in place. It’s joined by a sizable Precision touchpad that tracks accurately and feels smooth to the touch. The only thing I dislike about it is the hollow feel when physically clicking down instead of just tapping. A laptop at this price should have a better touchpad.

Display: Bright UHD+ screen with Dolby Vision

  • Four displays to choose from
  • Up to OLED UHD+ with 100% DCI-P3 color

My ThinkPad P16 review unit sports the second most expensive display option that Lenovo has to offer. It has a 3840×2400 (UHD+) resolution, IPS panel, 16:10 aspect ratio, anti-glare finish, Dolby Vision, DisplayHDR 400, and X-Rite Pantone factory color calibration. It’s non-touch, but Lenovo does offer a UHD+ upgrade to include touch functionality and inking support via the Precision Pen 2. The touch upgrade also lands you an OLED panel, anti-reflective finish, and 100% DCI-P3 color.

Focusing again on the non-touch UHD+ display in my review unit, I tested color accuracy and brightness with a SpyderX Pro colorimeter. It was able to hit 100% sRGB, 99% AdobeRGB, and 92% DCI-P3 color, and it managed 640 nits peak brightness. These are all excellent results and should satisfy those who are working in the specialized color spaces. And you can always drop to a 2.5K or FHD+ resolution and keep sRGB coverage (though you’ll miss out on Dolby Vision support).

I love the middle ground between 15- and 17-inches, and the taller 16:10 aspect ratio is right in line with what we expect from a laptop today. This was a fun screen to use for daily work, and I didn’t have to worry about finding too bright of a space thanks to the high nit count.

Performance and battery: Better battery life than expected

  • Available with Intel’s 12th Gen HX-series CPUs
  • Up to an NVIDIA RTX A5500 Laptop GPU
  • Memory and storage are easily upgradeable

Intel introduced its 12th Gen HX-series laptop processors in 2022 as a way to cram near-desktop-class performance into gaming laptops and mobile workstations. The processors run at a 55W TDP and a max Turbo power draw can climb to a whopping 157W for short sprints when required, and they can be overclocked. Note that Intel’s 13th Gen HX-series CPUs have now hit the market, as we saw in our MSI Titan GT77 HX review, with slightly better performance and efficiency. What you get here in the ThinkPad P16 from the 12th Gen HX-series CPU is still quite impressive.

The Intel Core i9-12950HX processor in my review unit has sixteen cores spread out equally across Performance and Efficient sides. It also has 24 threads, a maximum frequency of 5.0GHz for Performance cores, and a 30MB cache. It’s supported in part by two large fans with chunky heat pipes and spreaders; there’s also a rather beefy GPU that needs to be cooled. To test for throttling and temperatures, I ran a 15-minute stress test with all major components at 100% load on the ThinkPad P16.

The ThinkPad P16’s chunky cooling system keeps the performance hardware running smoothly without thermal throttling.

Following the Intel Turbo burst where CPU temps climbed to 99 degrees Celsius, the system balanced out and kept the CPU between 72 and 77 degrees Celsius pulling about 46W of power. The GPU also leveled off at about 78 degrees Celsius pulling about 121W of power. The CPU was able to hit 4.4GHz during the Turbo, balancing itself back to 1.9GHz for the rest of the test. The GPU remained steady at about a 1.5GHz clock speed. There was no evident CPU or GPU throttling during the test, though Lenovo has in the last few years has carefully balanced its power profiles to keep all hardware running at an appropriate temperature.

Testing surface heat at the end of the stress test, a hot spot on the keyboard (between the 8 and 9 keys) climbed to about 45 degrees Celsius. The bottom of the laptop, just above the RAM and SSD access hatch, hit about 51 degrees Celsius. This isn’t likely going to be a PC you enjoy using on your lap, at least if the system is under load, but overall Lenovo has done a good job of keeping the laptop cooled.


The ThinkPad P16’s primary M.2 SSD slot and two primary SODIMM memory slots are accessible through a maintenance hatch on the bottom of the laptop. Not having to remove the entire bottom panel for a quick hardware upgrade is a huge boon, but it’s not all perfect. To get at the other two SODIMM slots and M.2 SSD slot, you have to remove the laptop’s keyboard and some metal plates beneath. To go even further, you must remove the bottom panel completely. This gives access to the battery, cooling system, and discrete GPU. Interestingly, you can swap out the graphics card if required. You can configure the system with up to 128GB of DDR5 RAM and up to 4TB of M.2 PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD storage straight from the factory.

I ran a number of benchmark tests to see how well the ThinkPad P16 (Gen 1) competes with other hardware. I’ve included the 12th Gen Intel Core i9-12900K desktop CPU and 13th Gen Intel Core i9-13980HX desktop CPU to compare.

Benchmark Core i9-12950HX Core i9-13980HX Core i9-12900K
Geekbench 5 1,836 / 15,464 2,008 / 18,853 1,980 / 18,500
CPU-Z 791.3 / 9,308 880 / 14,001 820 / 11,400
7-Zip 105.3 GIPS / 121.8 GIPS 139 GIPS / 184 GIPS NA
Cinebench R23 1,868 / 19,410 2,089 / 29,460 1,978 / 26,390
Corona 1.3 71 seconds 45 seconds 60 seconds

These benchmarks show the i9-12950HX’s potential as a desktop replacement, coming close in a number of tests to the i9-12900K. Keep in mind that the i9-13980HX that I also compared has eight more cores and a higher clock speed than the 12950HX. I ran more benchmarks to get a better idea of how the GPU and overall system perform.

Benchmark Core i9-12950HX
PCMark 10 6,782
CrossMark 1,879
3DMark Time Spy 10,410
3DMark Fire Strike 26,213
CrystalDiskMark (MB/s) 6,967 (read) / 5,124 (write)

Surprisingly, despite all this performance hardware inside, the ThinkPad P16 (Gen 1) was able to go for seven hours and one minute in PCMark 10’s Modern Office rundown test. This mainly focuses on standard productivity work without really pressing the CPU or GPU, but it’s good to know that you’ll be able to eke out a full day’s battery life if you’re just tackling lighter work. Note that this test was run with the laptop on Best Performance mode, so dropping to a Balanced profile will get you even better life.

There is a caveat: if you’re pushing the laptop with CPU and GPU running heavy, don’t expect more than two or three hours of life from the 94Wh battery. One other thing to make note of is that the included 230W charger can’t seem to keep up when the laptop is under full load. You won’t lose battery quickly, but don’t expect the laptop to charge and go full throttle at the same time.

This being a workstation, Lenovo has been sure to include plenty of popular ISV certifications to ensure that design and development software works optimally on the system. These include ANSYS, Creo, SolidWorks, NX, MicroStation, 3DExperience, and more.

Should you buy the Lenovo ThinkPad P16 (Gen 1)?


You should buy the Lenovo ThinkPad P16 (Gen 1) if …

  • You want near-desktop-class performance from a laptop
  • You handle design, development, and creative work that requires professional A-series NVIDIA GPUs and hefty CPU
  • You appreciate the ThinkPad keyboard and durability

You should not buy the Lenovo ThinkPad P16 (Gen 1) if …

  • You’re a casual user looking for a laptop for general use
  • You want a laptop for gaming
  • You can’t spend thousands on a new laptop

The P16 (Gen 1) is an impressive Thinkpad and makes the cut as one of the best Lenovo laptops out there. Lenovo made the best of its required thickness by redesigning the bottom case for a more rounded look, keeping an aluminum lid for more stability and a more premium look. This laptop is aesthetically pleasing (except, maybe, for the red strip on the back), which isn’t always easy to pull off with a mobile workstation. Take note, though, that the P16 isn’t for everyone.

If you’re buying this laptop, you likely already know that you need a beefy PC to handle your workload. While a desktop PC will always remain at the top of the performance pile, Intel’s HX-series chips are catching up quickly and Lenovo has done a good job of keeping it from throttling. The storage, memory, and GPU are also impressive. ISV certifications help ensure popular design and development software runs optimally, and the available performance overhead should satisfy plenty of professionals.

This is an incredibly expensive laptop if you can’t find it on sale (and even then it’s not exactly cheap), and it’s absolutely not going to be a great pick for most people. But if you do need the durability and security of a ThinkPad, mixed with an outstanding keyboard, camera, and speakers, with the ability to compete with desktop performance for specialized work, the P16 is certainly worth consideration. Be sure to check out more of the best laptops if this one doesn’t quite fit your needs.

Lenovo ThinkPad P16

Lenovo’s ThinkPad P16 is intended as a mobile solution for development, design, and creative work that would normally be assigned to a desktop PC. It has plenty of high-end features, its displays are gorgeous, and the keyboard is hard to beat.