Mobile workstation

Lenovo ThinkPad P1

Relatively light powerhouse

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme

The ThinkPad P1 sets itself apart from the X1 Extreme with optional workstation hardware — including a Xeon processor (CPU), NVIDIA Quadro graphics (GPU), and error-correcting code (ECC) RAM — and a long list of independent software vendor (ISV) certifications.

$1,659+ at Lenovo

Pros

  • Optional Intel Xeon processor
  • NVIDIA Quadro graphics available
  • ECC RAM available
  • Plenty of ISV certifications

Cons

  • Battery won't last a full workday
  • True workstation models are expensive

The ThinkPad X1 Extreme is an outstanding laptop that's suited for those who don't want to pay extra for Xeon and Quadro hardware or ISV certifications. It still manages to deliver performance with an NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti GPU, up to an Intel Core i7-8850H CPU, and up to 64 GB of DDR4 RAM. The P1 is a powerhouse of a business laptop, however, and would be a good purchase for those with specific, intensive tasks.

$1,674+ at Lenovo

Pros

  • Stocked with security features
  • Beautiful 4K display with Dolby HDR
  • Easy upgrades after purchase
  • NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti GPU

Cons

  • Costs more than the competition
  • Battery won't quite last a full day

The ThinkPad P1 and ThinkPad X1 Extreme are both powerful business PCs that demand a relatively high price. Let's take a look at what exactly sets them apart to help you decide on which one makes the most sense for you.

Lenovo ThinkPad P1 vs. ThinkPad X1 Extreme tech specs

ThinkPad P1

ThinkPad P1 ThinkPad X1 Extreme
Processor 8th Gen
Intel Core i5-8400H
Intel Core i7-8750H
Intel Core i7-8850H
Intel Xeon E-2176M
8th Gen
Intel Core i5-8400H
Intel Core i7-8750H
Intel Core i7-8850H
RAM 8, 16, 32, 64 GB
DDR4-2666MHz
8, 16, 32, 64 GB
DDR4-2666MHz
Storage First:
256, 512 GB PCIe SSD
1, 2 TB PCIe SSD
Second:
256, 512 GB PCIe SSD
1, 2 TB PCIe SSD
First:
256 GB SATA3 SSD
256, 512 GB PCIe SSD
1 TB PCIe SSD
Second:
256, 512 GB PCIe SSD
1 TB PCIe SSD
Display size 15.6 inches 15.6 inches
Display resolution 1,920 x 1,080 (FHD) non-touch
3,840 x 2,160 (4K) touch
1,920 x 1,080 (FHD) non-touch
3,840 x 2,160 (4K) touch
Graphics NVIDIA Quadro P1000 4 GB
NVIDIA Quadro Pro P2000 4 GB
NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti 4 GB
Ports Two Thunderbolt 3 (4x lanes PCIe)
Two USB-A 3.1
HDMI 2.0
Mini Gigabit Ethernet
3.5 mm audio
SD card reader
Smart Card reader (optional)
Two Thunderbolt 3 (4x lanes PCIe)
Two USB-A 3.1
HDMI 2.0
Mini Gigabit Ethernet
3.5 mm audio
SD card reader
Smart Card reader (optional)
Biometrics IR camera (optional)
Fingerprint reader
IR camera (optional)
Fingerprint reader
Battery Four-cell 80 Wh Four-cell 80 Wh
Dimensions 14.2 inches x 9.7 inches x 0.7 inches
(361.8 mm x 245.7 mm x 18.4 mm)
14.2 inches x 9.7 inches x 0.7 inches
(361.8 mm x 245.7 mm x 18.4 mm)
Weight From 3.76 pounds (1.7 kg) From 3.76 pounds (1.7 kg)
OS Windows 10 Home
Windows 10 Pro
Windows 10 Home
Windows 10 Pro

Lenovo ThinkPad P1 vs. ThinkPad X1 Extreme design and features

The ThinkPad P1 and the X1 Extreme could be mistaken for the same laptop at a glance due to identical dimensions and the same starting weight. Both are only available with a soft-touch black finish that's traditional in the ThinkPad realm, and both have the same port selection and basic features. It's clear the Lenovo wanted to create something to compete with Dell's XPS 15, both inside and outside.

On the left edge is Lenovo's proprietary charger next to two Thunderbolt 3 ports with 4x lanes of PCIe each for optimal performance. There's also an HDMI 2.0 port and a Mini Gigabit Ethernet slot that does require an adapter for full RJ45, as well as a 3.5 mm audio jack. On the right side are two USB-A 3.1, an SD card reader (ideal for anyone using the 4K display for some photo editing), and a spot for an optional Smart Card reader. To add a bit of security, a Kensington lock slot is also installed.

ThinkPad P1

Both laptops come complete with a solid list of security features. You can opt for an IR camera for facial logins through Windows Hello, and all models come with a fingerprint reader set into the palmrest. If you'd rather stick with a 720p webcam, you'll get a security shutter to easily block its view when not in use. Both laptops have TPM chips to help protect data, and you get FIDO authentication. Not only are these laptops secure, but they both have MIL-STD-810G certification that ensures they can put up with a beating and keep on running.

As for the keyboard and touchpad, you're getting Precision drivers for the latter and a comfortable ThinkPad style for the former. For old-school ThinkPad users, the TrackPoint system remains intact on both models.

Lenovo ThinkPad P1 vs. ThinkPad X1 Extreme display

X1 Extreme

We reviewed both the P1 and X1 Extreme with 15.6-inch 4K touch displays, and both wowed us with near-perfect color reproduction across the sRGB and AdobeRGB gamuts, as well as plenty of brightness. Both the X1 Extreme and P1 are available with Dolby Vision HDR technology.

4K touch models are compatible with Wacom AES pens, though neither laptop comes with an included pen. It's sort of an added bonus, especially when you consider that both models have a traditional clamshell format that doesn't particularly lend itself well to inking. Still, you'll be able to conveniently jot down some notes if you have a compatible pen lying around.

The P1 and X1 Extreme have non-touch FHD display options if you'd like to forego 4K and save some money. You won't get the same brightness from the FHD panel and contrast and color gamut won't compare, but it will certainly make sense for some of you out there who don't care what your screen looks like as long as the laptop is powerful enough to handle your workload.

Lenovo ThinkPad P1 vs. ThinkPad X1 Extreme performance

ThinkPad P1

The performance is really where these two laptops diverge, though they're both very powerful. The P1 is meant to be a mobile workstation, complete with specialized (and pricier) hardware and ISV certifications. Yes, you can choose 8th Gen Intel Core i5 and i7 CPU options, but there's also an Intel Xeon E-2176M CPU available, which is designed from the start to handle a heavier load (like design software) all day, every day. Graphics are handled by specialized NVIDIA Quadro P1000 or P2000 GPUs (also designed specifically to handle rendering tasks, video, or 3D production), and ECC RAM is available at a higher cost. As for ThinkPad P1 ISV certifications, the list is quite long and includes ArcGIS, AutoCAD, CATIA, Creo, Inventor, Microstation, NX, PDMS, Revit, Solid Edge, SolidWorks, and VectorWorks. If you're working with this software, Lenovo ensures it will run optimally on the P1.

If the above list of hardware and software doesn't seem necessary, don't worry; the X1 Extreme is cut out for a more casual business user who's focused on productivity rather than specialized work. Choose from 8th Gen Intel Core i5 and i7 CPUs, get up to 64 GB of DDR4 RAM, and take advantage of an NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti GPU as well as dual SSDs up to 1 TB each and in the RAID 0 or RAID 1 configuration (also available in the P1).

P1 and X1 Extreme configurations with nearly identical hardware — Intel Core i7-8850H CPU, 4K display, 16 GB RAM, 256 GB and 512 GB PCIe SSDs, and baseline GPU options — are not going to cost the same, with the P1 topping the X1 Extreme by about $500. That's before getting into the specialized Xeon and Quadro hardware, which raises the price even further. Bottom line? If you don't need ISV certifications and hardware set up to deal with specialized tasks and software, the X1 Extreme is going to be a better choice that's still extremely powerful but costs less.

Go with the ThinkPad P1 for a mobile workstation

If a Xeon CPU, Quadro GPU, ECC RAM, and ISV certifications thrill you, there's really only one choice between these two laptops. The ThinkPad P1 is truly a mobile workstation, and though it will cost more, it can cover a lot more area for those who need power on the go.

Mobile workstation

ThinkPad P1

Specialized hardware and ISV certifications

It might cost more than the X1 Extreme in most cases, but those who need the features and specialized hardware on offer here will no doubt gladly pay. This is a workstation, but it has a sleek, durable body that makes it easy to carry around with you.

Go with the X1 Extreme for a more casual business partner

Though the X1 Extreme doesn't have the same specialized features as the P1, it's still an outstanding business laptop that delivers performance in a sleek and relatively light body. The addition of HDR in the 4K display is a boon for many, it holds onto robust security features, and it can be easily upgraded down the line.

Portable power

ThinkPad X1 Extreme

HDR display and durable build

It might not have specialized hardware options like the P1, but it can still run circles around most other 15-inch laptops thanks to a Core i7-8850H CPU, up to 64 GB of DDR4 RAM, a GTX 1050 Ti GPU, and up to dual 1 TB PCIe SSDs. It's also stocked with security features, making it a top choice for anyone looking for a business laptop.