Lenovo ThinkBook 16p Gen 3 review: nice, but not enough

Lenovo ThinkBook 16p Gen 3 front view showing display and keyboard deck.

Lenovo ThinkBook 16p Gen 3 review: nice, but not enough

MSRP $2,359.00

“For a laptop of this price, the Lenovo ThinkBook 16p Gen 3 still lacks the standout features it needs.”

Pros

  • Strong productivity performance
  • Good productivity display
  • Solid 1080p gaming
  • Comfortable keyboard

Cons

  • Inferior build quality
  • Touchpad is small
  • Expensive

When you have an incredibly wide lineup of laptops, like Lenovo, you need to segment them somehow. The ThinkBook, for example, is aimed narrowly at small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), looking to offer the kind of aesthetics and prices that consumers look for with some of the enhanced security and services that businesses demand. Presumably, that’s differentiated from the ThinkPad line that’s all-business in its looks and features.

Indeed, the ThinkBook 16p Gen 3 is an interesting member of the lineup, being a 16-inch machine with high-end components and a smattering of features that SMB buyers will appreciate. It’s a strong performer, if not class-leading, but its build quality is suspect, and it’s quite expensive. That makes it hard to stand out from the rest of the lineup.

Specs

  Lenovo ThinkPad 16p Gen 3
Dimensions 13.96 inches x 9.92 inches x 0.73 inches
Weight 4.38 pounds
Processor AMD Ryzen 5 6600HX
AMD Ryzen 7 6800HX
Graphics Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060
RAM 16GB LPDDR5
32GB LPDDR5
Display 16.0-inch 16:10 WQXGA (2,560 x 1,600) IPS 165Hz
Storage 512GB PCIe Gen4 SSD
1TB PCIe Gen4 SSD
Touch No
Ports 1 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2
1 x USB-C 4.0
2 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2
1 x HDMI 2.1
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
1 x SD card reader
Wireless Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2
Webcam 1080p with infrared camera for Windows 11 Hello
Operating system Windows 11
Battery 71 watt-hour
Price $2.359+

The ThinkBook 16p Gen 3 starts at $2,359 for an AMD Ryzen 5 6600H CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU. Increase to a Ryzen 7 5800H, and you’ll spend $2,619. My review unit with 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD hasn’t been released or priced yet, but will likely approach $3,000.

That makes this a surprisingly expensive 16-inch laptop. Yes, it has nice components, but it’s more expensive than other premium machines like the Dell XPS 15 and XPS 17.

A fresh design that sort of works Lenovo ThinkBook 16p Gen 3 front angled view showing display and keyboard deck.Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The ThinkBook 16p Gen 3 enjoys what’s become an identifiable ThinkBook aesthetic, particularly on the is two-toned lid that has a bold ThinkBook logo. That differentiates it from the rest of Lenovo’s lineup and gives the laptop a bit of panache. Otherwise, the look is a typical business laptop with a dark grey colorway and a standard Lenovo chassis. The lid does connect at a spot that’s set in about half an inch from the rear, which is different, and the keyboard is darker as well. The result is a laptop that looks good and stands out just enough, without being unnecessarily glitzy for a business professional.

It’s also an all-metal build, although it’s not as solid as the Dell XPS 15 or MacBook Pro 16. The lid feels bendable, and there’s some noticeable flex in the keyboard deck. At a price of well over $2,000, it’s hard to overlook the lack of rigidity. The hinge opens with one hand, but there’s a bit of wobble during hardcore typing sessions. Overall, I was a bit disappointed with the ThinkBook 16p’s build quality, and that’s a knock against the machine’s suitability for its target user.

The ThinkPad 16p has reasonably small bezels, with only a larger lower chin making it about an inch deeper than the XPS 15 (which has a slightly smaller display). The ThinkPad X1 Extreme is almost the same size and identically thick at 0.78 inches, versus the XPS 15’s 0.73 inches. The ThinkPad 16p weighs 4.4 pounds, which makes it slightly heavier than the ThinkPad X1 Extreme and slightly lighter than the 4.62-pound XPS 15. It’s a large laptop for sure, but you get a 16-inch screen in exchange.

Lenovo ThinkBook 16p Gen 3 top down view showing keyboard and touchpad.Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

In terms of other creature comforts, the ThinkPad 16p has plenty to attract. The keyboard is light and snappy, with less travel than the ThinkPad’s keyboard but also more comfortable switches overall. The XPS 15 has a slightly better keyboard, but many users probably wouldn’t notice it. The touchpad is smaller than it could be given the available space, but it works well with a smooth, responsive surface and reasonably quiet button clicks. There’s no touch display option, which I prefer to see on a premium laptop.

The webcam is 1080p and provides a quality image that will please business users who need videoconferencing to get their work done. An infrared camera provides Windows 11 Hello passwordless login support, and there’s a fingerprint reader embedded in the offset power button for those who prefer that method for logging in. Lenovo has included Glance software with user presence detection that can put the laptop to sleep when the user steps away and provides digital wellness functionality, although it was disabled on my review unit.

Lenovo’s ThinkShutter privacy screen is there to close off the webcam. In the most pertinent nod to business users, the ThinkPad 16p Gen 3 also incorporates Microsoft’s Secure BIOS.

Finally, connectivity is strong, albeit with a port configuration that you don’t often see outside of larger gaming machines. You don’t get Thunderbolt 4 thanks to the AMD chipset, but everything else is there including USB-C, USB-A, HDMI, and a full-size SD card reader. Some of the ports are arranged along the back, which we don’t typically see, and it’s convenient once you get used to it. There’s a proprietary power connector matched with a massive 230-watt power brick, necessary to keep the high-end components running.

Faster at fun than it is at work Lenovo ThinkBook 16p Gen 3 rear view showing lid and logo.Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Just because you’re a businessperson doesn’t mean you don’t want to play some games. The ThinkPad 16p, with its Ryzen CPU and RTX 3060 GPU, is more adept at play than at work. I’ll start with its productivity and creative performance, because of course, that’s what you’re paying for, but I’ll be sure to cover gaming as well. The ThinkPad’s thermal design was fine, with limited throttling but quite a bit of fan noise when the CPU and GPU spun up. Lenovo’s thermal utility didn’t make a huge difference in any of our usual benchmarks, but I’ve reported those scores where appropriate.

My review unit packed in an eight-core/16-thread 45-watt AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX CPU. That’s top-of-the-line until AMD’s 7000 series comes out, and it’s a fast CPU for sure. Even so, it fell behind our comparison group in Geekbench 5, including machines running Intel’s 45-watt 12th-gen CPUs. As usual, AMD’s single-co

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