Design

I think branding is one of the most difficult things for any company to accomplish. When Lenovo purchased the ThinkPad lineup from IBM over a decade ago, they didn’t just purchase the laptop lineup. They also purchased the ThinkPad brand. There is pretty much no chance of mistaking a ThinkPad, and the P70 model features the same styling and unmistakable feel of the rest of the ThinkPad lineup. It has the same matte black finish, and the strong chassis as others in the lineup.

This is not a thin and svelte laptop though; it’s made for work. At 3.43 kg, or 7.56 lbs, there would be no doubt about when this laptop was in your travel bag. Mobile workstations are not really designed for ease of travel, but just the fact that they can travel while providing the performance required by the end user is enough. It’s large and heavy enough to keep the workstation class components cool.

The display doesn’t feature especially thin bezels, but the matte black finish isn’t distracting either. There is a larger bezel on the top and bottom, with the top featuring the webcam. You can open the display 180° if necessary.

Under the lid, we see the traditional ThinkPad keyboard, which features dished keys and two-level white backlighting. Being a 17-inch notebook, there is plenty of room on the right for the number pad, and unlike many, Lenovo keeps the full size zero key which is most appreciated. Keyboard layouts are often a sore spot, but Lenovo has done a good job with the P70 layout, which also features good size arrow keys, and well-marked function keys at the top. Traditionally, ThinkPads have the Fn key on the very far left, next to the Ctrl key, and that is the case here as well. If you are more used to them being the other way around, you can reverse their function in the BIOS.

One of the highlights for me on any ThinkPad is the TrackPoint navigation stick. I find it to be much more precise than a mouse, and you can go from typing to mouse without removing your keys from the keyboard. There are left, right, and center buttons right under the space bar to use with the TrackPoint, and while it’s not for everyone, those that like it will not be disappointed in the implementation here. It’s very natural, fast, and accurate.

For those that prefer a trackpad, the ThinkPad P70 delivers a quality unit here too. It’s somewhat compromised in absolute size, due to the TrackPoint buttons taking some of the space away at the top, and the buttons on the bottom removing more space, but the surface is great to glide over and the use of physical buttons will be appreciated by many.

Also on the keyboard deck are two more features. The first is very welcome – and again something that we’ve seen on ThinkPads for years – and that is a fingerprint reader. The difference now is that Lenovo has moved from the swipe-over style to a capacitive press and unlock type, and it is much easier to activate, and less prone to error, than the slide-over model; at least in my experience. I found with the slide ones you had to be conscious of the direction your finger moved over the unit, but with the capacitive models, it’s not an issue any longer.

The other feature on the keyboard deck is a built-in X-Rite color calibration sensor. X-Rite is the same company that makes the colorimeters and spectrophotometers that we use for all of our display testing, so it was excellent to see a built-in option. You can always buy a USB meter of course, but having it built-in should be a nice benefit. We’ll check in with it later on the display section.

Being a workstation, there is also plenty of access on the bottom. Removing a few screws gives you direct access to the hard drive bays, as well as the SODIMM slots, and WiFi and M.2 drive slots. Workstations are a big investment, so it’s nice that maintenance will be easy for the future.

Overall, the design is distinctly ThinkPad. Lenovo hasn’t strayed too far from what made the brand successful in the past, and really the only thing that you could nitpick on the design is that it isn’t offered with a 16:10 aspect display, but unfortunately for us, that aspect ratio seems to have died off in laptops over the last several years.

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  • rxzlmn - Thursday, June 30, 2016 - link

    That's a really strange outcome with the calibration sensor. Did you review other Lenovo models with a similar sensor before (such as the W540)? Did you contact Lenovo about these results, if yes, did they comment? Reply
  • krumme - Thursday, June 30, 2016 - link

    I flat out dont understand what is happening. Why is there a calibration sensor? - ofcource thats going nowhere and a stock calibration must always be better than what this can do? is it to adapt the display then to surroundings?

    Secondly. On my thinkpad t460 1080 ips the problem is not so much calibration that seems okey out of the box but far to small a spectrum. Its far to limited. IMO hunting that last accuracy is nonsense. Sold my x-rite a year ago. Most screens today come good enough calibrated, the problem is in spectrum and contrast.
    Reply
  • osxandwindows - Thursday, June 30, 2016 - link

    I will install VMware ESXi on this and then run OS X on it. Reply
  • BillyONeal - Thursday, June 30, 2016 - link

    1. That would not be legal.... 2. ESXi doesn't have a console; manageable only remotely. No reason for it to be a laptop at that point. Reply
  • adamto - Friday, July 01, 2016 - link

    I did similar and it run very smooth. A free Mac with 32G dual channel memory!
    http://screencast.com/t/hZCm8YLMF1l9
    Reply
  • fanofanand - Thursday, June 30, 2016 - link

    This article appears to contain malware, moatads kept trying to download onto my machine. This isn't the first time either. Ryan please tell me you are not selling your readership out by authorizing tracking software for 3rd parties to be downloaded. Reply
  • bill.rookard - Thursday, June 30, 2016 - link

    Hmmm... didn't get anything pulling up for any DbD (drive by downloads) but I am running Ad-Block... Reply
  • extide - Thursday, June 30, 2016 - link

    Never had that problem here and I do not block ad's on this site. Perhaps your machine is compromised? Reply
  • skifiddle - Thursday, June 30, 2016 - link

    I've got it too, along with profile.json. Time for the penicillin. Reply
  • wolfemane - Thursday, June 30, 2016 - link

    Yeah I can't even view this site anymore on movile. I load an article and a full screen ad comes up. Browser Insta close. If its not full page ads it's the unbearable promoted stories bull crap at the end of the article. Slows the hell out of my browser. Anantech is getting to the point it's unreadable on mobile devices. Reply

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