System Performance

The Lenovo ThinkPad A285 comes with the AMD Ryzen 5 Pro 2500U processor, which offers four cores, eight threads, and a base/boost frequency of 2.0 GHz / 3.6 GHz. It’s 200 MHz less than the 2700U model on both the base and boost frequency. AMD only supports DDR4 RAM – neither LPDDR3 or LPDDR4 are supported – and as such Lenovo offers 8 GB of DDR4 in a dual-channel configuration, but with no upgrade options available on the US website. It would be nice to see a 16 GB offering, but for office tasks, 8 GB should suffice. The storage offerings are 256 or 512 GB SSDs.

The big difference between the Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 APUs is in the GPU, where Ryzen 7 gets Vega 10, and Ryzen 5 loses two GPU cores and some clockspeed headroom, giving us Vega 8.

To compare performance, the ThinkPad A285 was run through our standard testing suite, and comparisons are of other similar devices. Of note, the Acer Swift 3 that we tested has the Ryzen 7 2700U, and just in case you’re wondering how the A285 stacks up against an older dual-core laptop, we’ve also included the ThinkPad X1 Yoga from a couple of years ago, with the Core i7-6500U. If you’d like to compare the Thinkpad A285 to any other device we’ve tested, please check out our online bench.

PCMark

PCMark 10 - Essentials

PCMark 10 - Productivity

PCMark 10 - Digital Content Creation

PCMark 10 - Overall

UL Benchmark’s PCMark 10 is the latest version of their industry standard set of tests, updated for Windows 10 with new workloads. It tests a wide range of tasks from productivity to digital media creation.

The ThinkPad A285 is middle of the pack, especially in the productivity results. The Ryzen 5 Pro holds its own here, and if compared to the only Core i5 device in the list, the Surface Pro 6, it is generally neck and neck with it.

Cinebench

Cinebench R15 - Single-Threaded Benchmark

Cinebench R15 - Multi-Threaded Benchmark

Cinebench is a purely CPU test, and it can be run as both a single-threaded or multi-threaded workload, which makes it a nice way to take a quick look at the single-threaded performance of a modern CPU, and how well that performance scales to multiple cores and threads. AMD’s single-threaded performance is not quite up to par with the fastest Core i7 models, and the Ryzen 5 Pro in the ThinkPad A285 is near the bottom in both results. With just a 200 Mhz deficit to the Ryzen 7 2700U in the Acer Swift 3, it is just barely behind it in the single-threaded test, but on the mult-threaded variant it falls farther behind.

x264

x264 HD 5.x

x264 HD 5.x

Another CPU test is x264, which converts a 1080p video using the x264 codec, and like Cinebench it loves lots of cores and high frequencies. The Thinkpad A285 is at the bottom of this result compared to other modern devices, but with the extra threads and cores, it is well above the Skylake powered ThinkPad X1 Yoga.

Web Tests

Web tests are important because clearly the web is a fundamental part of computing now, but it’s also difficult to compare devices due to the sizeable impact the browser’s scripting and rendering engines can have. Browsers continue to get updated as well, so our results are a snapshot in time.

For all of our testing, we leverage Microsoft Edge to keep that part of the equation normalized as much as possible, although Edge is updated with every feature update of Windows as well.

Mozilla Kraken 1.1

Google Octane 2.0

WebXPRT 2015

With just a 3.6 Ghz boost frequency, the Ryzen 5 Pro can’t quite match the Intel devices on any of our web tests, and Intel has worked hard to improve its frequency ramp-up speed as well which pays dividends here where workloads tend to be short. It’s very interesting to see just how far the performance has come since we tested the Ryzen 7 2700U in the Acer Swift 3 though, with the slower Ryzen 5 Pro in the ThinkPad A285 trouncing it.

Storage Performance

Lenovo offers both a 256 and 512 GB SSD in the A285, and the review unit ships with the larger one, which will have better performance than the smaller version.

The SSD in the laptop is Lenovo-branded LENSE30512GMSP34MEAT3TA, which appears to have been produced by fellow Chinese firm Ramaxel. Since SSDs tend to be mult-sourced these days, there’s no guarantee this will be in every unit shipped.

This is an NVMe drive though, and as such offers great read speeds capping out the x4 PCIe interface. Write speeds are much lower thanks to the NAND which is almost certainly TLC.

Overall, despite this SSD not being a well-known model, the performance is still more than adequate for office tasks.

Design GPU Performance
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  • Gasaraki88 - Tuesday, December 18, 2018 - link

    I'm just not impressed. I thought an AMD iGPU would be very good and the 4 core/8 threads would be killer. But a Intel i5 with a MX150 is faster, better gaming, and better battery life.

    I was hoping for something from AMD but disappointed once again.
    Reply
  • TheinsanegamerN - Sunday, December 23, 2018 - link

    Agreed. I was really hoping this would be good. A SSD, A series APU, mobile 4G LTE service, all in a compact long battery life device is exactly what I want. But so many compromises, such low performance, for that high of a price? I'll have to pass. I guess the razer stealth will have to be my next laptop instead.

    Lenovo was able to fit a 45 watt dual core I7 and a 100Wh battery in the 12 inch X230, their inability to do that with more modern hardware is stunning.
    Reply
  • hanselltc - Tuesday, December 18, 2018 - link

    This thing is just sad. A laptop with not great components in a not great platform. Lets hope AMD really shake their mobile lineup up. If the idle powerdraw issue as well as the common thermal limitations are resolved, these are single chips that offer more GPU but less CPU, which on mobile could mean decent mobile light gaming. Reply
  • tipoo - Tuesday, December 18, 2018 - link

    As usual Lenovo appears to be being far too conservative on the CPU temperature limit. I get that these are business systems, but even in that workload I notice mine hitting those low clocks after getting warm too.

    I was going to suggest using Intel XTU to up that temperature limit, but...Not Intel. Any way to do that here?
    Reply
  • GreenReaper - Tuesday, December 18, 2018 - link

    Lenovo Vantage is... dubious - I'm not a fan of it auto-installing with admin privileges doing goodness-knows what. The worst part is that the lovely useful battery gauge also leaks handles, which means Explorer (and the system) gets slower over time and maybe even crashes. To turn it off: Right click the taskbar, Toolbars, Lenovo Vantage Toolbar.

    It's not the only Lenovo thing to do that - I've been in the forums a number of times.
    Reply
  • bananaforscale - Wednesday, December 19, 2018 - link

    That Cinebench multicore result is probably a driver/BIOS issue. I have an Acer Nitro 5 with the same APU and the result is 600+. It also rose by 30-ish points after a BIOS update (which also fixed what was probably a power state bug), and before that the original result was 530 that jumped to 570 after removing a "CPU driver". (530 to 604 just with software updates.)

    And it still leaves thermal headroom unused so it could be even better.
    Reply
  • pifaa - Wednesday, December 19, 2018 - link

    In UK, A285 is available with Ryzen7 and 16GB RAM. Several months ago there was a version with second - removable battery, but for some reasons they've cut it. AMD should put extra effort with drivers though. And some cheap SSD for that kind of money is not relevant. Reply
  • LindseyLopez - Wednesday, December 19, 2018 - link

    good laptop Reply
  • RoboJ1M - Wednesday, December 19, 2018 - link

    One thing that they don't really point out in this review is this:
    Finding a Raven Ridge APU with two RAM slots and a dual channel controller is HARD!
    You should point this out! All the other Raven Ridge laptops in that list are single channel but not stated in their specs, it's really hard to find this stuff out.
    My wife bought herself an HP Elitebook 745 with raven ridge after we got a guarantee that is dual channel.
    You need dual channel APUs, it's wants all the bandwidth you can find.
    And out had an Ethernet socket, a spring loaded collapsible one.
    Reply
  • Rookierookie - Wednesday, December 19, 2018 - link

    Basically any Lenovo Ryzen notebook has dual channel options. Reply

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