Lenovo ThinkBook 16p Gen 3 First Impressions

The Lenovo ThinkBook 16p is powered by AMD processors and NVIDIA graphics, and it’s aimed at creative professionals and content creators.

As you may know, I’m a big fan of the ThinkBook line, which Lenovo uses to bring ThinkPad-like quality to users at smaller businesses who, to date, have often been forced to choose consumer-focused or even gaming PCs. And as this product line evolves, we’re starting to see Lenovo address a broader swath of this important market. Case in point, the creator-focused ThinkBook 16p, which provides the performance that power users demand.

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It’s a gorgeous PC, with the ThinkBook dual-tone cover design I like so much, and the ThinkBook and Lenovo logos each add a bit of classy gray accent to the professional-looking exterior. But this is no Ultrabook: the 16-inch display, .73-inch thickness, protruding bottom rear, and cooling vents on both sides and the rear all hint at the potential power lurking within.

That power is delivered by AMD Ryzen 7 6000-series H-series processors, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 graphics, up to 32 GB of LPDDR5 RAM, and up to 2 TB of PCIe Gen 4 SSD storage. The review unit, perhaps predictably, is a beast, with an 8-core Ryzen 9 6900HX processor, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 graphics with 6 GB of dedicated GDDR6 RAM, 32 GB of soldered RAM, and 1 TB SSD.

Like other PC makers, Lenovo is quickly shifting its products to 16:10 displays, and so the 16-inch IPS non-touch panel in the ThinkBook 16p follows suit with a 2560 x 1600 (WQXGA) resolution, 400 nits or 500 nits of brightness and a 60 Hz or 165 Hz refresh rate, depending on configuration, each with low blue light capabilities, and very narrow bezels. And the 1080p (Full HD) webcam is contained in Lenovo’s “reverse notch” (as I think of it), which, again, I like very much.

The keyboard is where things get a bit iffy for me, though I know some will cheer this decision: Lenovo outfits the 16p with a full-sized, 6-row, island-style keyboard with LED backlighting, but its burdened—and pushed to the left—by a number pad, which I feel is superfluous to most of the target market. And will result in some typing mistakes, especially for sloppy typists like myself.

The buttonless mylar multi-touch precision touchpad, however, is excellent.

Audio performance should be excellent, thanks to a four-speaker stereo speaker system with Dolby Atmos capabilities. If you opt for the higher-end display panel, you also get Dolby Vision HDR, rounding out the multimedia experience nicely.

Security is handled by a fingerprint reader hidden in the round power button and by the webcam’s IR capabilities, so it supports Windows Hello fingerprint and facial recognition. There’s also a manual ThinkShutter privacy shutter on that webcam and a microphone mute key in the keyboard’s function row.

The ThinkBook 16p includes a 71-watt-hour battery and can be rapid charged to 50 percent in just 30 minutes thanks to the large 230-watt power supply. I don’t see any battery life estimates, but I will of course be testing that.

The most striking thing about the 16p, perhaps, is that it utilizes both the sides and rear for cooling and ports. Each of those three sides includes large cooling vents, which I’m not sure I’ve seen before.

The left side features a combo headphone/microphone jack and a full-sized SD card reader.

The rear has three ports—a USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 port, a second USB 3.2 Gen 2 port with Always On capabilities, and a full-sized HDMI 2.1 port—plus a proprietary ThinkPad-style power connector.

And the right side has a USB4 port, a USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 port, and a Kensington nano security slot.

Oh, and the labels on those rear ports light up so you can easily identify them, which is a nice touch.

Finally, I should mention the software loadout, which isn’t as squeaky clean as what we see on ThinkPad, but is still much, much better than your typical HP consumer/prosumer PC. There’s not much in the way of real crap besides McAfee LiveSafe, but there are five Lenovo-branded utilities and several third-party hardware utilities. Not horrible.

Looking at Lenovo’s website, it appears that pricing starts at about $2350.

More soon.

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