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160 Posts

08-23-2009

United States of America

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Why I'm returning the 4K P50 (with great sadness)

2016-02-15, 22:27 PM
 
Ugh, the Lenovo P50 I was so excited about is probably going back.

The several issues, some more deal-breaking than others, are:

1. The 4K screen is unusable with Windows 10, even the Redstone beta, especially with external monitors with different resolutions. I've already ranted about it here https://plus.google.com/+ArtemRussakovskii/posts/FA6Y1Znjzuy and even after trying various proposed fixes, none of which worked, and even forgetting blurriness for a moment, there are still plenty of other quirks that I don't see MS solving for years.

Not even talking about some apps not supporting hidpi and appearing extremely tiny (my favorite Launchy http://i.imgur.com/IPn3C4S.png, HipChat notifications http://i.imgur.com/ttzBG3w.png, others) or much larger than they should be (DU Meter, sometimes entire OS elements, like the mouse pointer), or just looking all kinds of off in various ways (Chrome, UI dialogs).

And then there's the issue of seemingly being unable to handle this many pixels. For example, while scrolling Google+, there's a noticeable wobble as the screen tries to render the changing text. Sort of reminds me of some games when VSYNC is turned off.
Update: Shows up in videos too - check out the diagonal tear in this video of the screen I just took: https://youtu.be/WBZlUEH1ME8.

Finally, I was expecting to be blown away by the brightness (the 4K screen option was quoted 300 nits, while 1080P only 250 nits, which was one of the main factors in going for 4K), but in the end, I find my 4-year-old Dell's screen to be brighter. I can already barely see anything on a sunny day outside in the shade and have to squint, so I don't envision the P50's screen making this situation any better.

Don't make a mistake of getting a high-density screen on a laptop like I did. The issues are not worth the trouble.

2. Battery life. I've barely loaded 1/10th of the software I use on my Dell Latitude E6520, and the predicted battery life is constantly way worse than it should be (and it does die that fast if I keep working). ~3 hours (sometimes shows 2) on a single charge with the highest capacity battery Lenovo offers. Sample screenshot: http://i.imgur.com/mq7iU6a.png.
 
Update: another shot http://i.imgur.com/xPGXBq5.png.

Yes, I know the P50 is a powerhouse in terms of the chip (Xeon), RAM I stuffed into it (64GB), and graphics (NVIDIA M2000M, which actually should support hybrid mode with the Intel HD graphics and only turn on with external displays, so it shouldn't affect my battery life when not docked), but 3 hours in 2016 on a laptop is unacceptable.

3. To make matters worse, and this is probably the biggest deal-breaker for me, the P50 suffers from extremely weird fan management issue.

Basically, if the fan is on at all while the lid is open and then I close the lid, the computer immediately maxes out all available fans and turns itself into a portable turbine. It then quiets down, then starts again. But it's the fact that it's doing it immediately after closing the lid, pretty much every time unless it's totally silent, is what makes it unbearable to use.

Here's a video I took of this phenomenon in action. Turn up the speakers (disregard the cracking sound, which apparently the Nexus 6P's camera makes in silence when trying to focus, and the lid slam - the 6P's mic was apparently pretty sensitive when recording this).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ni6Un8pxjcc

I've tried everything to mitigate the fan issue, and nothing has worked so far - it's probably a bug in the fan firmware that only a BIOS can fix (I can reproduce it while performing major Windows updates, for example). I'm running the latest BIOS, the latest power management drivers, latest Windows, etc.

https://forums.lenovo.com/t5/ThinkPad-P-and-W-Series-Mobile/P50-fan-control/td-p/2265153
https://forums.lenovo.com/t5/ThinkPad-P-and-W-Series-Mobile/P50-fan-spins-up-to-the-max-after-closing-lid/td-p/2267838

4. There's a cracking/popping sound issue, but that one has been reproduced by Lenovo and is going to be fixed in March, allegedly. https://forums.lenovo.com/t5/ThinkPad-P-and-W-Series-Mobile/P50-P70-sound-issue-quot-pop-crack-quot-and-then-normal/td-p/2244978. I'm only mentioning it because at the moment every P50 and P70 suffers from these, and we're waiting for the fix to be delivered. How this got past QA is beyond me.

5. The built-in color sensor calibrator thingy by Pantone is beyond useless. I can't believe they charge extra for it. The software only works for one calibration, then refuses to run unless fully reinstalled (Lenovo site shows it was last updated in 2011, wow), and the results are absolutely terrible - it makes everything yellow. I had to revert back to native (after having to reinstall the software). Forum posts echo my experience and praise external color calibrators instead. This Pantone one in the P50 was bundled with the 4K screen but otherwise is a $70 add-on. Garbage.
 

So these are the negatives I've found so far, and I' not willing to accept them in a machine that costs roughly $4k.

My next step is to contact Lenovo and see what they say, but I'd argue a 15% restocking fee should be waived in this case, and I should be allowed to return it without penalties. It's really unfortunate considering that I've waited about 5 months for the P50 to be released and looked forward to upgrading for several years now.
 
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187 Posts

01-01-2016

United States of America

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  • Message 2 of 37

Re: Why I'm returning the 4K P50 (with great sadness)

2016-02-16, 3:17 AM

I feel your pain.  I, too, was eager to get my hands on a P50 -- the only Lenovo (or any brand) model to interest me in recent years.  The specs, location of ports, etc. seemed almost perfect.

A percentage of issues posted in this forum can probably be written off to user error or misunderstanding.  A few other issues might or might not be one-offs.  There may be a lot of happy buyers, since mostly unhappy users will be the ones to post here.

But it is apparent to me that Lenovo is guilty of poor planning and execution of the P Series rollout (confusion with and unavailability of parts e.g. SSD trays, HDD cables, HDD frames), and poor quality control (sound pop, non-functioning HDMI, DOA machines, useless color sensor).

Unresolved in my mind are questions concerning the 4K screen (PWM, backlight bleed), ECC RAM enablement, turbo boost (was the notebookcheck.com problem a one-off?), usb performance (another notebookcheck.com one-off?), fan control, and a weak lid structure.

All of this in a high-end computer? Along with the absolutely ridiculous online configurator pricing?  Wow!  Too many questions for me.  Even if some of this is quality control affecting only individual machines, why should I spend big bucks and have to count on luck to get a "good one"?

My plan now is to hold off until more of the Topseller configurations become available at online merchants.  The prices on those will be more reasonable.  I will wait to see what transpires here in the coming months.  If I am convinced the P50 is basically a solid machine, and the known issues are fixed, and the quality control problems are resolved -- then I will consider a purchase.  Otherwise, I can wait for the "P51".

If my current ThinkPad blows up before that happens, well -- I'll have to look elsewhere and Lenovo will be out of luck.

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17 Posts

02-15-2016

taiwan

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  • Message 3 of 37

Re: Why I'm returning the 4K P50 (with great sadness)

2016-02-16, 7:09 AM

i use thinkpad over 20 years, and wait for over two months,  spent a lot of money got the very disappointed P50.

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187 Posts

01-01-2016

United States of America

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  • Message 4 of 37

Re: Why I'm returning the 4K P50 (with great sadness)

2016-02-16, 17:20 PM

Yes.  At least 16 years of ThinkPads for me, since the A21p.  All were excellent.  I don't want to buy anything but a ThinkPad.

 

Very sad.  Very disappointing.

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26 Posts

06-03-2015

USA

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  • Message 5 of 37

Re: Why I'm returning the 4K P50 (with great sadness)

2016-02-16, 21:00 PM

Yes, this is very sad. Especially since it seems that they've done so many things right with the P50 design and it may be (could have been) their best machine in years.

 

I'm still hoping that it will turn out that the vast majority of P50 machines are fine & that there are reasonable solutions to the more pervasive bugs.

 

Then I might buy one.

 

Flycoop

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135 Posts

02-06-2016

Canada

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  • Message 6 of 37

Re: Why I'm returning the 4K P50 (with great sadness)

2016-02-17, 4:31 AM

I got the 1080p screen for a reason as I knew the battery life with 4K would be poor.

 

Never experienced that fan problem on mine.

 

I didn't get the colour sensor because I figure it would be better to get a "real" colour sensor that I could use on any PC.

 

As for the sound issue, it's annoying but if the software patch fixes it, I'm fine.

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664 Posts

10-21-2011

Germany

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  • Message 7 of 37

Re: Why I'm returning the 4K P50 (with great sadness)

2016-02-17, 12:21 PM

Agreed. The 4K panel is a major battery consumer, so the battery life you will get  is of course much shorter compared with the FHD models. One reason I have a FHD model. 3 hrs sounds a little low notheless. 5 hrs should be possible I think.

 

The color sensor by Pantone is - and always was - useless. With any external sensor, you will get much better results. I use my Spyder 4 Pro to calibrate my P50 FHD screen.

 

Don´t have the fan problem, and my machine rests in the dock 80 % of the time with the lid closed.

 

I do have the speaker problem, but only if I use the internal speakers. When the machine is docked its connected with external speakers, so I don´t have a problem to wait a few weeks to get this problem fixed eventually^^ :)

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185 Posts

10-06-2008

United States of America

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  • Message 8 of 37

Re: Why I'm returning the 4K P50 (with great sadness)

2016-02-17, 12:37 PM

I am an IBM retiree.  The IBM that I worked for was always known for producing top quality products that were reliable, well constructed, durable and got the job done.  These products were backed by the best customer service available.  Our credo, to paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, was "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of lower price".  In this instance, the P50/P70 family does not suffer from lower price.  Maybe the response to or the cause of the issues of the P family stems from  a cultural issue or bias; I don't really know.  What I do know however, is that when a product family like the "P" series is announced and that product family has it's heratige from IBM it should be built like a tank, work, have the best quality, fit and finish and be backed by the best and most responsive customer service available. 

I am deeply saddned that Issues described by Archon810 and others continue to be posted to the Lenovo forums.  If I am to pay top dollar for a "P" series thinkpad I expect, no demand, the "Best"; no if ands or buts.  I am very interested in the new "P" series and want to, very much,  upgrade from my T530 but I can't in good conscience spend, at this time, top dollar to buy a new P70 workstation laptop until these basic issues are resolved.  I do hope Lenovo will get it's act together and step up to the plate address thsese issues and problems soon.

P15 Gen2, W-11885M Xeon, 1TB OPAL x2, 64 DDR4 ECC, Nvidia RTX 5000M, 4K UHD/vPro, Win 11 Workstation 64, 21H1, Intel Wi-Fi 6AX201. P51, 1535M Xeon, 512GB SSD x2, 64GB DDR4 ECC, Nvidia M2200M, Win 10 Pro x64 v21H1, 4K IPS , Intel vPro, Sierra EM7455, WWAN, Model 20 HH. Office 2016.
T530,Core i7-3820QM,16GB Ram, Samsung 850 SSD 512 GB, Blutooth 4.0,Ultimate-N 6300, 15.6 FHD, Nvidia NVS 5400M., All software current.,Windows 10 Pro x64 , Office 2013 Professional
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553 Posts

10-03-2011

Canada

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  • Message 9 of 37

Re: Why I'm returning the 4K P50 (with great sadness)

2016-02-17, 15:00 PM

Not sure how much of these really apply to Lenovo, outside of the clicking issue.

 

Being a previous user for more than a decade, starting with T4x and using T410,W520,T530,W540 and now P70 (being a Trackpoint user it's hard to move off Lenovo, tried :) ) , I'd say that P70 is a significant improvement of every single Lenovo device I used, outside of the off-center keyboard and it's layout (still typing this on the old school 7-row Thinkpad keyboard plugged into the laptop).

 

For example, W520 had the wobbly battery, total disaster of nVidia Optimus (can't have more than 2 external monitors when docked), throttling on battery (thanks, ThrottleStop!) , all of those random reboot problems that were mentioned on this forum too many times etc. And a TN screen (I was lucky with a decent 1080p panel though), and with the same calibrator (which does a fair job when calibrating the screen to 'native' white point, not 6500K).

 

Sure, Windows 10 still has a few issues with supporting different resolutions on different screens (and the infamous bug with 175% scaling crashing Windows Explorer), and Lenovo again made a mess with the new! Workstation dock being incapable of handling 2x4K monitors @ 60Hz, but all and all, it's a lot better than it ever was with Windows.

 

And even battery life on P70 with 4K screen is surprisingly decent, for a beast like this, with 48GB of RAM and 3 SSDs. Can't image P50 having less battery than P70, as the screen is smaller other stuff is roughly the same, but with 16% CPU load (i.e. pretty much 100% load of single core) and dozens of Chrome processes running like on the original screenshot, 2-3hrs runtime is probably to be expected.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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187 Posts

01-01-2016

United States of America

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  • Message 10 of 37

Re: Why I'm returning the 4K P50 (with great sadness)

2016-02-17, 16:05 PM

wrote:

Not sure how much of these really apply to Lenovo, outside of the clicking issue.

 


I'd say ALL of it.  As in my post above:


wrote:

But it is apparent to me that Lenovo is guilty of poor planning and execution of the P Series rollout (confusion with and unavailability of parts e.g. SSD trays, HDD cables, HDD frames), and poor quality control (sound pop, non-functioning HDMI, DOA machines, useless color sensor).

Unresolved in my mind are questions concerning the 4K screen (PWM, backlight bleed), ECC RAM enablement, turbo boost (was the notebookcheck.com problem a one-off?), usb performance (another notebookcheck.com one-off?), fan control, and a weak lid structure.

All of this in a high-end computer? Along with the absolutely ridiculous online configurator pricing?  Wow!  Too many questions for me.  Even if some of this is quality control affecting only individual machines, why should I spend big bucks and have to count on luck to get a "good one"?



Who else but Lenovo would be responsible for these?  The CONCEPT of the P Series is what attracted all of us.  The execution as of this date is poor.

 

Note also this comment from above:


wrote:

....What I do know however, is that when a product family like the "P" series is announced and that product family has it's heratige from IBM it should be built like a tank, work, have the best quality, fit and finish and be backed by the best and most responsive customer service available....


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