Lenovo ThinkPad P70 Mobile Workstation Review: Xeon And Quadro On The Go

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ThinkPad P70 Design and Layout

The ThinkPad P70 is a large and weighty system, as 17.3-inch laptops tend to be. It also boasts MIL-STD-810G military certification for a certain level of ruggedness, details of which you can read here (PDF).
Lenovo ThinkPad P70 Closed

Even when closed, the ThinkPad P70 leaves a big footprint. That's because of its comparatively large frame. There are chunkier and heavier laptops out there, but this one definitely trends towards the upper end of the spectrum—you won't be mistaking this bad boy for an Ultrabook.

Other than its sheer size, the ThinkPad P70 sports a bit of a stealthy design. It doesn't have aggressive angles or a bunch of blinking LEDs to draw attention from onlookers, though the dot in the letter "i" of the silver "ThinkPad" branding in the upper left corner of the lid does pulsate red, like many if not all models in the ThinkPad line-up.

The only other visual mark is the word "Lenovo" carved into the lower right. Otherwise you're left with an all-black lid made from glass fiber and PPS (polyphenylene sulfide) plastic, a combination that's resistant to heat (important if you're out in field baking under blazing sun), flame retardant, and durable. It also has a pleasant rubberized feel and is mostly resistant to finger smudges.

Lenovo ThinkPad P70 Open

Lifting open the lid reveals the spacious 17.3-inch IPS (In-Plane Switching) display panel with a 4K Ultra HD resolution (3840x2160). The 4K upgrade option doesn't support touch input (the Full HD 1080p panel comes in both touch and non-touch options), though aside from that, it's tough to find fault. As expected, viewing angles are excellent, and the display is accurate with Lenovo rating color reproduction at 90 percent of the NTSC color gamut. Of note, however, is that the display could be a bit brighter. We had to turn up the brightness levels a touch more than some notebooks in our battery test suite on the forthcoming pages, in order to get the same level of lux output.

There's somewhat of a thick bezel surrounding the display, especially on the top and bottom. If Lenovo was interested in shrinking the physical size of the ThinkPad P70, one way it could do that in a future revision is to an edge-to-edge glass panel, though that's only half the battle.

While the 4K panel on the ThinkPad P70 isn't a touch display, it does lean back 180 degrees to lay flat. There's not as much utility there without touch support, though it might come in handy when trying to show images or data with other project participants in the field and certainly it helps a lot for optimizing viewing angles in various positions.

Lenovo ThinkPad P70 Keyboard

Lenovo found room on the ThinkPad P70 to fit a full-size spill-resistant keyboard with a dedicated number pad, the latter of which is a huge convenience to any professionals who have to punch a bunch of numbers as part of their work. Just as importantly, the keyboard is comfortable to type on, as we've come to expect from Lenovo's ThinkPad line.

The keys on the ThinkPad P70's keyboard have curved key caps that are slightly indented. There's more key travel here than most laptop keyboards, including Lenovo's own Yoga 700, with deliberate force required to register a keystroke—you don't have to worry about accidental key presses from simply resting your fingers on the keyboard. A while LED backlight adds uniform lighting when typing in the dark.

There's a six-button touchpad with a crystal silk surface underneath the keyboard positioned a little to the left. The three top buttons serve the same purpose as the three bottom buttons, but are more easily accessed when using the the nub controller that's situated between the G,H, and B keys.

Finally, a touch-style fingerprint reader sits to the right of the number pad. Security is a point of focus on the ThinkPad P70, which uses a built-in Trusted Platform Module (TPM). All of this sits in a thick and sturdy base made of magnesium and aluminum.

Lenovo ThinkPad P70 Ports Left Side
Lenovo ThinkPad P70 Ports Right Side
Lenovo ThinkPad P70 Ports Rear

There are plenty of ports and connectivity options on the ThinkPad P70. On the left side is a USB 3.0 port "Always On" port and a Smart Card Reader, while the right side is home to a 3.5mm audio jack, two more USB 3.0 ports, a 4-in-1 memory card reader, ExpressCard slot, mini DisplayPort, and security lock slot.

Many laptops would stop there and call it a day, but rather than let all that space go to waste, Lenovo outfitted the rear of the ThinkPad P70 with even more connectivity. Around back you'll find two USB 3.1 Type-C Gen 2 / Thunderbolt 3 ports, HDMI output, Gigabit Ethernet, and Lenovo's proprietary power connector.

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