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Grow Your Business Technology

Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga Review: Is It Good for Business?

Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga Review: Is It Good for Business? The ThinkPad P40 Yoga earns 3.5 out of 5 stars. / Credit: Jeremy Lips

Lenovo's ThinkPad P40 combines the power of a desktop workstation with the flexibility of a pen-equipped tablet. The laptop provides graphics performance that's good enough for intensive 3D modeling and CAD work, while a 360-degree hinge gives you easy access to the system's 14.1-inch display for sketching and taking notes. Starting at $1,484, this hybrid system is well-equipped for engineers and artists, but nonconvertible laptops offer faster performance and much better battery life.

The P40 Yoga is pretty portable compared to your average workstation-class laptop. Weighing in at 3.96 lbs., it's a lot lighter than 15-inch rivals like the HP ZBook Studio G3 and Dell Precision 5510, each of which tips the scales at 4.6 lbs. On the other hand, commuters might be better off with a lighter, less powerful machine. The featherweight ThinkPad X1 Carbon, for example, weighs just 2.8 lbs., making it a good pick for workers who need to lug their laptops back and forth between home and the office. 

The P40 Yoga is as durable as it feels. Lenovo says the sturdy system was designed with business-class toughness, so it can withstand dings, drops, humidity, extreme temperatures and shocks. That's a nice perk for workers who need to lug the system along on business trips.

As the name implies, the P40 Yoga is a lot more flexible than your average workstation. The system has a versatile folding design that lets you bend back the display a full 360 degrees and use it like a big tablet. Workers will probably find the most use for the intermediate, stand mode, though, which lets you prop the display up to give a presentation to a small group. This also gives you a nice angled surface for writing and taking notes with the included active pen.

I was a bit disappointed to find that the Yoga P40 lacks an Ethernet port, which is necessary for connecting to wired internet or secure work networks, though you can pick up a USB adapter if you need that functionality. Otherwise, the selection of ports is pretty generous. The left edge includes a USB 3.0 port, an SD card reader to expand the system's internal storage and a docking port for connecting the system to Lenovo's OneLink+ desktop dock.

The right edge adds two additional USB 3.0 ports, HDMI and mini DisplayPort video-out ports, and a lock slot for physically securing the notebook at your desk.

I was a bit disappointed to see the P40 Yoga's glossy screen, which picks up distracting reflections from windows and overhead office lights. I much prefer a matte screen on a work notebook, which is what you get with most ThinkPad models.

At least the display looks gorgeous. My review unit came equipped with a supersharp 2,560 x 1,440 touch screen, so images look clear and vibrant, and text is crisp. The high resolution makes the panel feel extremely roomy, so split-screen multitasking is very comfortable. 

The P40 Yoga's touch screen provides full pressure sensitivity, so writing with the included stylus feels smooth and natural. I could taper my strokes and vary my line width, just like I can with a real pen.

But while plenty of hybrid laptops provide good pen support, the P40 Yoga gives you something you won't find in most rival systems: a slot on the laptop to stow the pen when you're not using it. The accessory slides into a silo on the notebook's left edge, ensuring it's handy whenever you need it.

The P40 Yoga's active pen is shorter and thinner than a typical ink pen, but it's substantial enough for me to get a comfortable grip when I'm sketching and writing. Larger pens, like the one you get with the Surface Pro 4, are a bit more comfortable to use, but there's no place to store them when not in use. 

There are two buttons on the side of the pen, which give you quick access to the eraser tool and right-click button. Plus, Microsoft's excellent OneNote note-taking software comes preloaded on the P40 Yoga, so you can start writing and sketching right away.

You get a strong lineup of business-class security features with the P40 Yoga. For starters, a fingerprint reader located just under the right edge of the keyboard is nice for everyday security, letting you unlock the system with a quick swipe of your finger. The swipe-based reader isn't quite as reliable as the one-touch fingerprint readers you'll find on systems like the ThinkPad T460s, and it occasionally required a second swipe to recognize my print.

You also get TPM-based hardware encryption to keep your files secure, and Intel vPro functionality for secure remote management.

You'll be hard-pressed to find a convertible laptop with a more comfortable keyboard than this. The keyboard on the P40 Yoga is nice and deep, with a generous 1.8mm of key travel, which is well above the 1.5mm we look for in a work laptop. You also get snappy tactile feedback on each stroke, making for a really satisfying typing experience overall.

Meanwhile, backlighting on the keyboard is handy for low-light typing. The keyboard is also spill-resistant, which means it can survive small spills.

Like on other ThinkPad models, you'll find a red TrackPoint nub located amidst the G, H and B keys. It's a handy alternative to the standard touchpad, letting you precisely control the mouse cursor without moving your hands away from home row on the keyboard.

The P40 Yoga lasts longer on a charge than other workstation-class laptops. The system ran for 6 hours and 35 minutes on our battery test, which simulates continuous web browsing over Wi-Fi. That beats the ZBook Studio G3 (5:08) and the Precision 5510 (5:34). The 14-inch laptop average (7:56) is quite a bit longer than that, but the P40 Yoga is still a good pick for mobile workers who have graphically intensive workloads.

Under the hood, you get a powerful Intel Core i7-6600U processor with 16GB of RAM and Nvidia Quadro M500M graphics, a configuration that's good enough for serious 3D modeling and engineering work. Nonconvertible workstations, like Dell's Precision 5510 and HP's ZBook Studio G3, fared even better on benchmarking tests, though. Those models can tackle even more demanding tasks, but they can't match the P40 Yoga's flexibility or excellent pen support. 

The P40 Yoga racked up a very solid score of 6,470 on the Geekbench 3 test, which measures overall performance. That beats out of the average 14-inch laptop score of 6,402, as well as the Core i5-6200U-powered HP Spectre x360's score of 6,376.

Lenovo's system also performed admirably on our spreadsheet test, matching 20,000 names to their addresses in just 3 minutes and 42 seconds. That handily beats the category average of 6 minutes and 3 seconds, and is about on par with the times put up by the ZBook Studio and Precision 5510.

Lenovo sells the ThinkPad P40 Yoga in a huge variety of hardware configurations. The top-end model features in this review comes equipped with an Intel Core i7-6600U processor with 16GB of RAM, 512GB of solid-state drive (SSD) storage, Nvidia Quadro M500M graphics and a supersharp 2,560 x 1,440-pixel display, all for the steep price of $2,028.

The base model might be a better sweet spot for the average worker. It offers a Core i7-6500U processor with 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, Nvidia Quadro M500M graphics and a 1080p display, all for a more affordable $1,484.

Lenovo's ThinkPad Yoga P40 is a solid hybrid laptop that's ultimately a niche device. If performance is your top priority, then you're better off picking up a nonconvertible system, like Dell's precision 5510. That system offers a faster processor and a more powerful graphics card, even if it's bulkier than the Yoga P40. If you don't need much power, you'd be better off with a more portable 2-in-1 like the Yoga 900 or HP Spectre x360 13t.

But for the right user, the ThinkPad Yoga P40 has a lot to offer. You get a durable system with strong security, good performance and a gorgeous display. And the hybrid design is legitimately useful, especially if you plan to take notes with the included stylus. Just make sure you can live with this hybrid's mediocre battery life.

Brett Nuckles
Brett Nuckles

Brett Nuckles has been a working journalist since 2009. He got his start in local newspapers covering community news, local government, education and more before he joined the Business News Daily staff in 2013. He graduated from Ohio University, where he studied Journalism and English. Follow him on Twitter @BrettNuckles.