Recommended Posts

goretsky

Hello,

 

At the end of last year, I received a ThinkPad P43s from Lenovo for review purposes.  After six months of use, now would be a good time to share my impressions and opinions of it.

 

You can view the companion picture album for this review of the ThinkPad P43s at https://imgur.com/a/6eK0Xrd/.

 

The model I received, 20RH-0010US, had the following specs as shipped from the factory:

 

CPU:  Intel Core i7-8665U (4C / 8T, 1.9 / 4.8GHz, 8MB)
GPU:  NVIDIA Quadro P520 2GB GDDR5
RAM:  16GB DDR4-2400 (soldered) + 1 empty SO-DIMM slot
SSD:  512GB M.2 2280 PCIe NVMe with Opal2 support
LCD:  14" FHD (1920×1080) Low Power IPS 400nits Anti-glare, 72% Gamut
WLAN:  Intel 9560 802.11ac, 2×2, Bluetooth 5.0
Webcam:  720p + IR with ThinkShutter
Other:  Fingerprint Reader, Windows 10 Pro (x64)

Dimensions:  13×8.9×0.7 inches, 3.24 lbs (330×226×18 mm, 1.47 kg)

 

This is a model from Lenovo's ThinkPad P-series which consists mostly of 15" and 17" desktop replacement workstation laptops. The P43s represents a 14" slim model, for when users still need workstation features, but in a much slimmer, more portable form-factor.

 

Packaging
The ThinkPad P43s arrived in a sturdy brown corrugated cardboard box.  Inside, the laptop is packed in an anti-static bag sealed with anti-tamper stickers and held in place by green plastic packing inserts and closed cell foam.  While this may not feel like a "premium" experience for such a premium device, it is important to remember that ThinkPads are enterprise systems, and typically go to an organization's IT department for provisioning with line-of-business software,  management and security features, and so forth.  So, fancy packaging is going to be of less importance to the corporation who has ordered several dozens or hundreds of laptops at once:  What is important is that the shipping cartons protect the laptops while in transit, and that they are made from materials that can be easily disposed of through recycling.  Inside, the laptop is secured in an anti-static bag with an anti-tamper sticker on it.  Lenovo gets an A+ for solid shipping materials.

 

Design
Once opened, we see the iconic black ThinkPad wedge shape, with its distinct blend of chamfered, beveled, and rounded edges.  And, of course, the red TrackPoint pointing stick.  While people seem to either love or hate the ThinkPad design with little compromise, there is no denying that ThinkPads have a distinctive look.  The ThinkPad P43s is no different in this regard.

 

Details
Removing the laptop from its protective bag, we can see, from left to right, the following ports:

smart card reader (not installed in this model)

  • USB 3.1 gen 1 Type A port
  • fan exhaust grill
  • full-sized gigabit Ethernet jack
  • Kensington lock slot

 

The inclusion of a full-sized Ethernet jack is welcome.  As laptops get slimmer and slimmer, many reply on using a separate dongle or USB port for wired connectivity.

 

On the opposite side of the unit, we see, from left-to-right, the following ports:

  • Thunderbolt 3 port
  • dock port (contains a USB Type-C port)
  • USB 3.1 gen 1 Type A port
  • HDMI port
  • audio jack
  • Micro SDXC Card reader
     

I am a bit disappointed that a Micro SDXC Card reader was provided, as opposed to an SDXC Card.  The latter is still commonly used for a variety of applications, including photography, and can read Micro SDXC Cards using adapters, which are widely-available and inexpensive.  I order to use SDXC Cards, a separate USB adapter or dock must be purchased.

 

Once opened up, the P43s' six-row island-style keyboard is visible.  The TrackPoint pointing device is nestled between the G, B and H keys, and there is are three buttons for use with it below the space bar.  A fingerprint reader is located to the right of them.  Performance of the keyboard is superb, and the TrackPoint works as well as any I have used before.  The unit came equipped with a TrackPad below the keyboard, but I did not use it.

 

Inside
The rear cover of the ThinkPad P43s is secured by screws and plastic tabs, but is easily enough removed with the proper tools, gaining access to the system board.

Once inside, we can see the 49Wh battery taking up most of the space beneath the wrist rest.  In the center of the system board is a single DDR-4 SO-DIMM memory slot beneath a Mylar sheet.  To the left is an M.2 2280 SSD for storage, and above that, a M.2 2230 slot for a WWAN card.  I installed 32GB DDR4-2666 SO-DIMM into the memory to bring the memory up to 48GB, and replaced the 512GB Western Digital SN730 NVMe SSD with a 2TB Western Digital Black NVMe SSD.  The P43s uses a low-profile M.2 slot for its SSD, which (currently) limits it to 2TB SSDs (the WWAN slot does not accept SSDs).  If you need more storage space, check out the 15" or 17" models from the ThinkPad P-series.

 

Use
I normally use a laptop when traveling, commuting to and from work, etc., which gives me a chance to put them through their paces.  This year has been… different in that regard, as I mostly worked from home.  This made it a little more difficult to judge, but with the ThinkPad P43s I was able to perform the following tasks without issue:

  • run Microsoft Office 2019 and perform typical business tasks
  • attend lots and lots of virtual meetings online
  • run VMware Workstation with 4-5 virtual machines running Windows, with quite acceptable performance
  • run some internal LOB applications developed by my employer without issue (these tend to be single-threaded, but often more bound by disk I/O than anything else)

 

What is interesting about some of the virtual meetings I attended is that I had to run them on battery power and using a cellular hot spot, as my normal home office was unplugged due to lightning storms overhead.  Battery life was fantastic, being at 85% after hour-long meetings, and the webcam was adequate as well.  I did, however, use a headset to block out external noise.  One thing I did not test, though, were any games. That is more the realm of gaming laptops than slim workstations, so I did not bother trying to install any actual games on the unit.

 

The screen looked fine in terms of color and angles.  I did not notice any issues with flickering or eyestrain, even after several hours of use.

I also used the P43s with a ThinkPad Thunderbolt 3 Dock Gen 2 (type 40AN), Dell P2416D 24" WQHD LED LCD Display, MK Night Typist Warm White LED Mechanical Keyboard, Kensington M01306 Expert Mouse USB Trackball and Logitech G432 headset, all of which performed without issue.

 

Conclusions and Final Thoughts
The ThinkPad P43s excels when you need a laptop with workstation-like performance, but in a very portable package.  It is more than adequate for productivity and "road warrior" (highly-mobile workforce) needs, and moves into workstation territory with its nVidia GPU and capacity for RAM.  Its slim design comes with what may be a trade-off in storage for some, being limited to 2TB and not having an SDXC card reader built in.  That aside, there's little reason not to recommend the ThinkPad P43s.  If you are looking for a highly-mobile workstation, this one would be hard to beat.

 

Disclaimer:  I received this review unit from Lenovo.  All opinions expressed are 100% my own and independent of Lenovo.  

 

Regards,

 

Aryeh Goretsky

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By anmol112
      2020 Holiday Gift Guide: Gaming Laptops
      by Anmol Mehrotra



      The year 2020 has been tough for everyone as they had to adjust to a new normal of working from home. This has prompted people to go out and buy laptops, furniture and other accessories that will help them improve their work from home experience.

      This holiday season if you are looking to gift someone a laptop that can double as a gaming machine, then we have got you covered. While gaming laptops usually are not value for money when compared to their PC counterparts, but they have come a long way in the last couple of years. We have curated a list of gaming laptops that can be a perfect gift for someone you love.

      Asus TUF A15
      Asus TUF A15 is a budget-friendly gaming laptop that packs a punch. The laptop features the new AMD Ryzen 4000 mobile processors that are paired with Nvidia GTX 1660Ti GPU. The laptop has a sleek design as well as a full RGB keyboard.

      Unfortunately, Asus has cut some corners to bring the price of the laptop down. For starters, the cooling is not adequate and the display has poor colour calibration. The colour calibration will not matter much while playing games but if you have a media-oriented workflow then the Asus TUF A15 won’t cut it. You can check out our detailed review here to learn more about the laptop.

      Overall, the laptop, while lacking in some aspects, is a great gift for someone who occasionally games and wants a decent gaming laptop.

      Buy Asus TUF A15 ($899) (Ryzen 5 4600H, 8GB RAM, GTX 1650) Buy Asus TUF A15 ($986.99) (Ryzen 7 4800H, 16GB RAM, GTX 1660 Ti) Buy Asus TUF A15 ($999) (Ryzen 7 4800H, 8GB RAM, RTX 2060) Dell G5 15 SE (2020)
      The Dell G5 15 SE is another very capable gaming laptop. It is powered by AMD’s new Ryzen 4000 mobile processors and Radeon RX 5600M GPU. The laptop has an excellent display and a good build quality. However, like the Asus TUF, Dell has also cut some corners to bring the cost down. The build quality is subpar at best and the heat management is just 'okay'.

      However, for work from home professionals on a budget, the Dell G5 would be a great entry level gaming laptop, provided you can add an external cooling fan.

      Buy Dell G5 15 SE (2020) ($939) (Ryzen 5 4600H, 8GB RAM, Radeon RX 5600M) Buy Dell G5 15 SE (2020) ($1,048.38) (Ryzen 7 4800H, 8GB RAM, Radeon RX 5600M) Acer Nitro 5 (2020)
      Acer Nitro 5 is another laptop that is powered by an AMD Ryzen 4600H processor paired with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 GPU. The laptop borrows its design from the 2018 Nitro 5 and comes with a red keyboard with no RGB support.

      However, Acer dropped the ball when it comes to gaming performance as the GTX 1650 cannot compete against laptops with a GTX 1660Ti. To add insult to injury, the laptop has just 256GB of NVMe storage which is not enough to install recent AAA titles. That being said, the Nitro 5 has an extra M.2 slot as well as a 2.5-inch drive bay.

      Overall, the Nitro 5 is a decent laptop and is recommended for someone who likes to game occasionally and does not want to drop thousands of dollars on a high-end gaming laptop.

      Buy Acer Nitro 5 ($858.54) (Ryzen 5 4600H, GTX 1650, 16GB RAM) Buy Acer Nitro 5 ($958.43) (Ryzen 5 4600H, GTX 1650 Ti, 8GB RAM) Acer Predator Helios 300 (2020)
      Predator is Acer’s premium range of gaming laptops and it has its own perks. The 2019 Predator Helios 300 was praised by almost everyone in the industry. Acer has taken the same design and refreshed the specs making the Predator Helios 300 one the best laptops you can pick right now.

      The Predator Helios 300 has an excellent chassis, and it sports a 240Hz 1080p display. There is plenty of storage to install all of your games, as the laptop comes with two M.2 slots and a 2.5-inch drive bay. The laptop is powered by Intel’s 10th gen 10750H CPU and a Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q GPU. Acer does have different CPU, GPU and storage combinations available so you can choose the one that suits your needs.

      Unfortunately, the laptop is not perfect. The laptop gets toasty under load especially if you are using the Turbo mode that overclocks the CPU and GPU for better performance.

      Buy Acer Predator Helios 300 ($1,169.71) (i7-10750H, RTX 2060, 16GB RAM) Buy Acer Predator Helios 300 ($2,121.99) (i7-10750H, RTX 2070 Max-Q, 16GB RAM) Lenovo Legion 7i/ Lenovo Legion 5i
      Lenovo has achieved great success with its Legion branded gaming hardware. The company’s Legion Y740 laptop was touted as one of the best gaming laptops of 2019. Lenovo has continued its streak with the Legion 5i and 7i laptops. Both the laptops borrow design elements from last year’s Legion laptops and have refreshed specs.

      Like the Legion Y540 and Y740, Lenovo’s line up for 2020 includes the mid-range 5i and the high-end 7i gaming laptop. Both the laptops are powered by Intel’s 10th generation processors which are paired with GeForce RTX GPUs. Both the laptops come with beautiful displays and a premium chassis.

      The laptops are priced differently but personally, I feel like 5i is a sweet spot for someone who plans to game at night and work in the morning. However, the Legion 7i has its perks including the RGB keyboard and the support for Thunderbolt 3. You can check out the review of Lenovo Legion 5i and Legion 7i to learn more about both the laptops.

      Buy Lenovo Legion 5i (starting at $889.99) Buy Lenovo Legion 7i (starting at $1,229.99) Asus ROG Zephyrus G14
      Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is one of the more balanced offerings from Asus. At 14-inches, it is one of the smallest laptops on the list but it packs quite the punch. The laptop is powered by AMD’s latest Ryzen 4000 series CPUs which are paired with a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650.

      The laptop has a clean design with a great display but it is capped at 60Hz for the GTX 1650 model. There are other models available with 1660Ti and RTX 2060 Max-Q but the availability of these vary from region to region.

      Like others, Zephyrus G14 is not perfect. The laptop lacks a webcam which can be a deal-breaker if you plan to use the laptop for meetings. This can, however, be solved with an external webcam. Another issue that might bug some users are the loud fans. While the laptop is quiet during normal operations, it tends to get a bit noisy during extended gaming sessions.

      Overall, the laptop packs a lot of hardware in a relatively compact form factor making it a great choice for those who have to travel with their laptop. The inclusion of a dedicated GPU means this laptop can handle all sorts of games without breaking a sweat.

      Buy Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 ($1,197.97) (Ryzen 7 4800HS, GTX 1650, 16GB RAM) Buy Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 ($1,599) (Ryzen 9 4900HS, RTX 2060 Max-Q, 16 GB RAM) Razer Blade 15 (2020)/Razer Blade 15 Advanced Edition (2020)
      Razer has always been at the forefront when it comes to gaming and Blade 15 is no exception. The device again borrows design elements from last year’s Blade 15 but comes with new specs. The 2020 Blade 15 is powered by i7-10750H CPU and up to GeForce RTX 2080 Super GPU. The laptop has a premium chassis which does a great job of keeping heat away from your palms. Razer has also introduced the Blade 15 Advanced Edition which is an incremental upgrade to the Razer Blade 15. Razer also gives an option between 144Hz FHD or OLED 4K display and 300Hz FHD or OLED 4K touch display.

      While both the laptops are great to look at and can handle absolutely any game you throw at them, they are also expensive. You will need some serious cash to grab one of these and if you are on a tight budget then Razer might not be the one for you.

      Buy Razer Blade 15 ($1,299.99) (i7-10750H, GTX 1660 Ti, 16GB RAM) Buy Razer Blade 15 ($2,099.99) (i7-10750H, RTX 2070 Max-Q, 16GB RAM) Buy Razer Blade 15 Advanced Edition ($3,199.00) ( i7-10875H, RTX 2080 SUPER Max-Q, 16GB RAM) Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15
      Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 is definitely one of the unique laptops on the list. The laptop features a second screen just above the keyboard and has a mechanism that tilts the display for a better viewing angle.

      The laptop is powered by 10th gen Intel processors that are paired with Nvidia GeForce GPUs. Both the displays on the laptop are beautiful to look at and the keyboard is decent but the small size means you will need some time to get used to it. The trackpad is on the right side of the keyboard and it can be converted into a number pad with a press of a button.

      One downside of the laptop is the 60Hz screen that does not do any justice to the powerful RTX GPU. Moreover, the unique design means you will be paying a premium for it making this one of the most expensive laptops on the list. Another major issue that professionals might face is the lack of webcam.

      Overall, Zephyrus Duo 15 is a great laptop to own as long as you are okay with its high price.

      Buy Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 ($2,949.68) (i7-10875H, 32GB RAM, RTX 2070 Super) Buy Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 ($5,999.99) (i9-10980HK, 32GB RAM, RTX 2080 Super) As an Amazon Associate, Neowin may earn a commission from qualifying purchases.

    • By Rich Woods
      Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold unboxing: The first foldable PC is here
      by Rich Woods

      It was May 2019 when Lenovo first announced that it was working on a new Windows-powered ThinkPad X1 device with a foldable screen. Some more details were unveiled at CES this year, when it was officially dubbed the ThinkPad X1 Fold. That's also when Lenovo said that it would come with Windows 10 Pro, with a Windows 10X version coming later. Of course, the fate of the Windows 10X version is unknown now.

      But now, the ThinkPad X1 Fold is here, and so far, I have to say that Windows 10 Pro is pretty good. Lenovo built some custom software to get it up and running with window switching and such. Also, one thing that didn't work in earlier demos was having the UI automatically react to the keyboard being attached. That's something that's been resolved. It's a much smoother experience than when I went hands-on at CES.

      It uses Intel's new Lakefield processors, specifically the Core i5-L16G7. That means that it uses Intel's take on big.LITTLE, something that's been used in ARM processors. Of course, Intel calls it big-bigger, because it's Intel and it won't ever admit that it has any small cores. Nevertheless, the idea is that a single powerful core can work on powerful tasks, while the four smaller cores can do tasks that require less power, all while using less battery life.

      The foldable OLED display is 13.3 inches with 2048x1536 resolution, making it 4:3. When folded, that offers two 9.6-inch 3:2 displays, but it has a kickstand for full-screen use. It also comes with a Bluetooth keyboard, so it can either be used when magnetically attached on the inside, or externally when using it in full-screen mode.

      Check out the unboxing video below:

    • By Rich Woods
      Lenovo Yoga 9i 14 unboxing and first impressions
      by Rich Woods

      Announced at IFA this year, Lenovo's Yoga 9i is the company's flagship convertible, and it makes some really interesting improvements on an already-great laptop. For one thing, it's getting the improvement that pretty much all Intel-based laptops are getting: 11th-generation processors. Intel Tiger Lake not only brings faster CPUs and more powerful Iris Xe graphics, but it also supports Thunderbolt 4 and faster memory. It's pretty great.

      It also comes in a new Shadow Black color with a leather cover, and I never realized how much I wanted this from Lenovo. I've criticized the firm for making laptops that are magnificent, but have designs that just feel bland. Seeing this in black is sexy, and then adding in the leather cover really gives it a nice touch.

      That's not all though, because it has a haptic Smart Sensor Touchpad and an Ultrasonic fingerprint reader. The entire palm rest is completely smooth, and if you click the touchpad, it gives a vibration to make it feel like it's moving. Of course, if you power down the PC, you'll realize that there are no moving parts.

      The Yoga 9i still has the other bits that make it an excellent convertible, such as the rotating Dolby Atmos soundbar. It comes with four 2W speakers, including two woofers and two tweeters. It's also got a 14-inch 4K touchscreen that supports Dolby Vision HDR. That touchscreen has pen support, and the pen is stored inside of the device, which has a pen garage.

      Check out the unboxing video below:



    • By Rich Woods
      2020 Holiday Gift Guide: Laptops
      by Rich Woods

      It's time for more holiday gift guides, and this one will be focusing on Windows 10 PCs. After all, many are working from home this year, so a new laptop might just be the perfect gift. Of course, when it comes to laptops, there are a lot to choose from. Here are some ideas.

      HP Spectre x360
      Convertible, pen support, ultrabook or more powerful form factors

      HP's Spectre x360 is one of our favorite convertibles on the market. It has a stunning two-tone design, narrow bezels on all sides without compromising an IR camera, and B&O speakers. It comes with Intel's Ice Lake processors, Iris Plus Graphics, and an optional 4K OLED display.

      The 13-inch model is great for the average user, but for someone that needs more power for editing photos and such, take a look at the 15-inch model that has a 45W processor and dedicated graphics. You can check out our review here.

      Microsoft Surface Pro X
      Tablet, ultra-portable, always-connected, battery life, pen support

      The Surface Pro X is Microsoft's own Windows on ARM PC, using a custom SKU of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx. With its ARM chip, it's always connected with cellular connectivity, it gets better battery life, and it has instant-wake. It's also thinner with a fanless design, and it's quite stylish. It's a fantastic PC to take on the go.

      It starts at $999, although there are some solid deals where you can get over $100 off. The base model comes with a Microsoft SQ1 processor, although the higher-end ones come with the newer SQ2 and have a Platinum color option, instead of just black. you can check out our review here.

      Dell XPS
      Clamshell, premium, ultrabook to super-powerful

      Dell's XPS lineup comes in 13-, 15-, and 17-inch sizes, and the amount of power you get from them is respective to the size. The 13-inch model comes with Intel's Tiger Lake processors, Iris Xe graphics, and Thunderbolt 4. Meanwhile, the XPS 17 has a 45W processor and Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 graphics.

      All of them are known for their slim bezels and stylish designs. Even with the InfinityEdge displays, they still maintain the webcam and IR camera on top. You can check out our reviews for the XPS 13, XPS 15, and XPS 17. You can check out the products here, here, and here, respectively.

      Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7
      Clamshell, mainstream, balance of power and portability

      Lenovo's IdeaPad Slim 7 is more for the mainstream category than the premium devices above, but it packs a punch. It has AMD's Ryzen 7 4800U processor, which not only has eight cores and 16 threads, but the TDP has been jacked up to 25W for some of the best performance that you'll find in a thin and light ultrabook. It's a nice combination between power and portability.

      You can check out our review here. This laptop actually isn't available anymore, but the product link is here. I asked PR if it's coming back and it seems to be a possibility, so in other words, I'm leaving it on the list because the product is so good that if you can find it, you should definitely grab it.

      HP Envy x360
      Convertible, mainstream, pen support

      At $799.99, HP's Envy x360 13 is a great high-end PC that doesn't break the bank. It's got AMD's Ryzen 4000 processors, a 13.3-inch FHD display, 8GB RAM, and 256GB SSD. It comes in a stylish Nightfall Black color, and frankly, has an excellent keyboard.

      We gave it a 9.5 in our review, and you can check it out here.

      Microsoft Surface Laptop Go
      Clamshell, budget, thin and light

      Microsoft's Surface Laptop Go is the newest PC from the Redmond firm, and it starts at just $549. It comes in colors like Sandstone, Ice Blue, and Platinum, and unlike the Surface Go 2, the Surface Laptop Go has a full Core i5 processor. It has a fingerprint sensor instead of an IR camera and is missing a backlit keyboard, but it definitely looks and feels premium.

      You can check out the review here and the product here.

      HP Pavilion x360 14
      Convertible, budget, always-connected

      HP's Pavilion x360 14 made some weird compromises, such as not offering any Windows Hello, having a dim display, and not having a backlit keyboard, but it also offered some solid value propositions. Along with solid performance and excellent value, this $699 PC offers 4G LTE. It's probably the most inexpensive Intel-powered PC to have cellular connectivity.

      You can check out the review here, and the product here.

      Lenovo Legion 7i
      Gaming laptop, high-end, powerful

      Lenovo's Legion laptops offer a subtle design that makes them stylish for work, but powerful enough for play. The Legion 7i is the premium one that has more powerful configurations and RGB lighting, although for more of a budget gaming laptop, check out the Legion 5 or Legion 5i. I like to think of it like the Legion 5 series is more about a work PC that can play games, and the Legion 7 series is about being a gaming PC that's also great at productivity.

      You can check out our reviews of the Legion 7i, Legion 5i, and Legion 5, you can find the products here, here, and here, respectively.

    • By Rich Woods
      Lenovo Yoga 7i 15 unboxing and first impressions
      by Rich Woods

      Lenovo's new Yoga 7i is here, and it's a 15.6-inch convertible with Intel's 11th-generation 'Tiger Lake' processors. It's a bit different from the Yoga 9i that I'm currently reviewing, because while they're both 15.6-inch PCs, the Yoga 9i has a 45W processor and dedicated graphics. This one has a regular U-series processor and Intel's brand-new Iris Xe graphics.

      That also means that it comes with Thunderbolt 4 ports, which means that you can power two 4K displays and get data transfer speeds of up to 40Gbps. In fact, if the integrated graphics aren't enough for you, you can always hook up an external GPU.

      There are some compromises over the flagship Yoga 9i though. The Yoga 7i does have Dolby Atmos speakers, but the rotating soundbar isn't there. There's also no pen garage; in fact, for this mainstream PC, you'll have to buy the pen separately.

      One thing that I really like is the new Dark Moss color. I'm really tired of Lenovo producing these gunmetal gray types of colors, so it's nice to see the change of pace. Check out the unboxing video below: