Notebookcheck

Face Off: MSI WT72 vs. Lenovo ThinkPad P70 vs. HP ZBook 17 G2

Serious workstation. We nail down the core differences between these 17.3-inch mobile workhorses. Which one comes out on top?

Comparing mobile workstations is a daunting task due to the breadth of features, configurations, and performance levels required to be categorized as such. Nonetheless, core characteristics such as chassis quality, display brightness, and noise can be analyzed with a bit more ease. This Face Off will focus on the recent MSI WT72 with Intel's new Xeon E3 CPU, the even newer ThinkPad P70, and the older HP ZBook 17 G2. While the ZBook 17 G3 is indeed available, we have yet to review HP's latest as of this writing.

We encourage users to check out our dedicated review pages below for more data and detailed analyses of each of the three models. This comparison is by no means a replacement, but a condensed aid for those on the fence.

MSI WT72
MSI WT72
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
HP ZBook 17 G2
HP ZBook 17 G2

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Case

Starting with the MSI, the WT72 is no different from the gaming-centric GT72 since it utilizes the same chassis. Thus, the workstation has features more characteristic of gaming notebooks than professional alternatives. Case quality is still very good nonetheless with no major complaints. Minor complaints include its glossy finish that collects fingerprints very quickly and hinges that would sometimes creak. Note that the MSI is also considerably larger than both the Lenovo and HP despite weighing about the same at roughly 3.8 kg.

The ThinkPad P70 passes MIL-STD 810G testing with its spill-resistant keyboard and reinforced aluminum-magnesium skeleton underneath the plastic and rubberized chassis. As a result, rigidity is very good around the base and keyboard, though the lid portion is much thinner and more susceptible to twists and depressions. The metal hinges could have been firmer as well, especially since the lid can be opened slightly past 180 degrees.

The ZBook 17 G2 is essentially the same build as the ZBook 17 G1. Its chassis is largely plastic with a metallic finish that is sturdy from top to bottom with no wobbly hinges.

While workmanship is excellent between them, Lenovo takes this round for offering the more rigid base than the two other models and for being smaller and thinner than the MSI without sacrificing quality. The lid could certainly be improved upon on future revisions.

Winner: Lenovo ThinkPad P70

428 mm / 16.9 inch 293.3 mm / 11.5 inch 48 mm / 1.89 inch 3.9 kg8.49 lbs416 mm / 16.4 inch 275.5 mm / 10.8 inch 34.2 mm / 1.346 inch 3.6 kg7.94 lbs416 mm / 16.4 inch 272 mm / 10.7 inch 34 mm / 1.339 inch 3.8 kg8.33 lbs

Ports in Comparison

MSI WT72 6QE
MSI WT72 6QE
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
HP ZBook 17 G2
HP ZBook 17 G2

Connectivity

While the MSI offers plenty of USB options, it lacks key business-centric ports. The notebook carries no legacy VGA ports, no Smart Card or ExpressCard readers, no proprietary docking ports, and not even a fingerprint reader. It does, however, carry the most storage space options with support for up to six individual drives (including the optical drive).

Meanwhile, both Lenovo and HP offer a little bit of everything, though the aging VGA port will only be found on the HP unit. Otherwise, the Lenovo system will be the most future-proof due to its sheer variety and versatile dual USB Type-C ports with Thunderbolt 3.

Winner: Lenovo ThinkPad P70

Ports and Connections

MSI WT72 Lenovo ThinkPad P70 HP ZBook 17 G2
USB 6x USB 3.0, 1x USB 3.1 Gen. 2 (Thunderbolt 3) 4x USB 3.0, 2x USB 3.1 Gen. 2 (Thunderbolt 3) 3x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0
Video-out 1x HDMI, 1x mDP 1x HDMI, 1x mDP 1x DisplayPort, 1x mDP (Thunderbolt), 1x VGA
Other SD reader, optical drive, 4x 3.5 mm audio, Gigabit Ethernet, Kensington Lock SD reader, optical drive, 1x 3.5 mm audio, Gigabit Ethernet, Kensington Lock, Smart Card reader, ExpressCard, Docking port SD reader, optical drive, 1x 3.5 mm audio, Gigabit Ethernet, Kensington Lock, Smart Card reader, ExpressCard, Docking port
Storage Bays 4x M.2, 1x 2.5-inch SATA III 2x M.2, 1x 2.5-inch SATA III 2x mSATA, 2x 2.5-inch SATA III

Input Devices

The MSI notebook offers the quieter typing experience at the cost of firmer feedback. Its column of auxiliary keys are useful, though we wish they were also customizable to better cater to workstation needs. We commend the manufacturer for offering full-size Arrow keys unlike on the ThinkPad P70 or HP ZBook 17. On the flip side, the keyboard offers no TrackPoint.

The keys on the ThinkPad P70 offer very good feedback with no wobbling and are even quiet as well. Typing is comfortable with ample travel and is easy to become accustomed to. Some dedicated auxiliary keys would have been useful here, perhaps along the top of the Function keys.

HP offers shorter travel than both the MSI and Lenovo with adequate feedback, so the transition from a desktop keyboard to the ZBook 17 keyboard is not as smooth.

Touchpad performance is excellent between the three notebooks. The one on the GT72 is perhaps the smoothest since it lacks a physical perimeter between it and the palm rests. On the other hand, it offers only the two basic mouse keys as opposed to the six each on the ThinkPad P70 and ZBook 17. Thus, the Lenovo and HP notebooks are more comfortable to use for extended periods should no external mouse be available.

Winner: Keyboard -- Lenovo ThinkPad P70

              Touchpad -- Tie -- Lenovo ThinkPad P70 & HP ZBook 17

MSI WT72
MSI WT72
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
HP ZBook 17 G2
HP ZBook 17 G2

Display

The MSI notebook loses this round for its inferior gamma, backlight brightless, and contrast compared to the ThinkPad or ZBook. While it's still superior to most displays on mainstream consumer notebooks, it falls short for professional use. Nonetheless, its True Color software allows for easy customization of colors and temperature within the limits of the panel.

The HP ZBook offers the wider color coverage and more accurate colors at a lower FHD resolution and dimmer backlight brightness than the newer ThinkPad P70. Its comparatively dimmer display shouldn't be an issue for most users who intend to primarily use the workstation indoors. Nonetheless, if only sRGB coverage is a priority, then the ThinkPad P70 and its 4K UHD native resolution should be optimal.

Our display data is taken from the ZBook 17 G1 since our reviewer for the ZBook 17 G2 did not perform display measurements. The LGD02FC panel, however, is used for both models.

Winner: Tie -- HP ZBook 17 G2

                        Lenovo ThinkPad P70

MSI WT72
MSI WT72
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
HP ZBook 17 G2
HP ZBook 17 G2
Displays at a Glance

MSI WT72 Lenovo ThinkPad P70 HP ZBook 17 G2

Size

17.3-inch IPS 17.3-inch IPS 17.3-inch IPS

Native Resolution

1920 x 1080 3840 x 2160 1920 x 1080

Pixel Density

127 PPI 255 PPI 127 PPI

Panel ID

LG Philips LP173WF4-SPF1 Lenovo LEN4123 LG Philips LGD02FC

Panel

Matte Matte Matte

MSI WT72-6QMLenovo ThinkPad P70HP ZBook 17 E9X11AA-ABA
Response Times
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
42 (13, 29)
44 (17.2, 26.8)
Response Time Black / White *
26 (7, 19)
27.6 (4.8, 22.8)
PWM Frequency
86 (10, 15)
228 (95)
Screen
Brightness middle
303
365
320
Brightness
298
341
311
Brightness Distribution
94
85
88
Black Level *
0.46
0.4
0.359
Contrast
659
913
891
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
5.77
3.8
2.04
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
4.87
6.09
2.45
Gamma
1.99 111%
2.3 96%
2.28 96%
CCT
7363 88%
6332 103%
6518 100%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
56.04
76.01
93
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
85.27
99.97
100
Total Average (Program / Settings)

* ... smaller is better

MSI WT72 color profile
MSI WT72 color profile
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
HP ZBook 17 G1
HP ZBook 17 G1

Performance

CPU Performance

MSI, Lenovo, and HP all offer multiple configurations beyond what we have here, so this comparison is only between the configurations on hand.

Our three workstations carry different CPUs and GPUs from different families and generations, which should make for interesting raw comparisons between them. In terms of CPU performance, the Xeon E3 is only a few percentage points ahead of the i7-6820HQ in the Lenovo according to CineBench benchmarks, which is already one of the fastest mobile Skylake cores available to consumers. The older i7-4710MQ Haswell core can be found on many gaming notebooks and ranks behind the Xeon E3 by roughly 10 percent in the same benchmarks.

See our dedicated CPU pages on the Xeon E3, i7-6820HQ, and i7-4710MQ for more benchmarks and technical information.

Hardware at a Glance

MSI WT72 Lenovo ThinkPad P70 HP ZBook 17 G2

CPU

2.8 GHz Xeon E3-1505M v5 2.7 GHz Core i7-6820HQ 2.5 GHz Core i7-4710MQ

TDP

45 W 45 W 47 W

RAM

32 GB DDR4, Dual-channel, 4x SODIMM slots 16 GB DDR4-2133, Dual-channel, 4x SODIMM slots 8 GB DDR3-1600, Dual-channel, 4x SODIMM slots

GPU

Nvidia Quadro M5000M (Manual switch) Nvidia Quadro M3000M (Optimus) AMD FirePro M6100

MSI WT72
MSI WT72
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
HP ZBook 17 G2
HP ZBook 17 G2
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
157 Points ∼72%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
153 Points ∼70%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
135 Points ∼62%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
724 Points ∼17%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
699 Points ∼16%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
657 Points ∼15%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
1.77 Points ∼73%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
1.7 Points ∼70%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
1.54 Points ∼63%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
7.85 Points ∼18%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
7.63 Points ∼17%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
7.11 Points ∼16%
Cinebench R10
Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
7421 Points ∼72%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
6965 Points ∼67%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
6635 Points ∼64%
Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
27938 Points ∼37%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
27072 Points ∼36%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
24894 Points ∼33%
wPrime 2.0x
1024m (sort by value)
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
230.77 s * ∼3%
32m (sort by value)
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
7.77 s * ∼2%
Super Pi Mod 1.5 XS 32M - --- (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
528.8 Seconds * ∼2%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
561 Seconds * ∼2%
3DMark
Fire Strike Extreme Physics (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
10516 Points ∼37%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Physics (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
10522 Points ∼32%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
9944 Points ∼31%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
9355 Points ∼29%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Physics (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
7100 Points ∼18%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
7287 Points ∼18%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
6844 Points ∼17%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
48725 Points ∼56%
1920x1080 Ice Storm Extreme Physics (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
47525 Points ∼57%
PCMark 7
System Storage (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
5952 Points ∼83%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
5419 Points ∼76%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
1783 Points ∼25%
Computation (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
16178 Points ∼57%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
10780 Points ∼38%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
8197 Points ∼29%
Creativity (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
11669 Points ∼81%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
8632 Points ∼60%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
5047 Points ∼35%
Entertainment (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
6206 Points ∼58%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
3830 Points ∼36%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
4171 Points ∼39%
Productivity (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
5242 Points ∼48%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
4373 Points ∼40%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
1988 Points ∼18%
Lightweight (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
6172 Points ∼84%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
5257 Points ∼72%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
2672 Points ∼36%
Score (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
6657 Points ∼73%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
5003 Points ∼55%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
3356 Points ∼37%
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
5655 Points ∼87%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
4411 Points ∼68%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
4595 Points ∼71%
Creative Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
4890 Points ∼46%
Home Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
4731 Points ∼78%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
3345 Points ∼55%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
4464 Points ∼73%
X264 HD Benchmark 4.0
Pass 2 (sort by value)
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
44.3 fps ∼1%
Pass 1 (sort by value)
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
160.9 fps ∼60%

* ... smaller is better

GPU Performance

The Quadro M5000M in the WT72 is essentially a repurposed GTX 980M, so raw performance will blow away both the Quadro M3000M and the AMD FirePro M6100. SPECviewperf 12 shows the MSI to be roughly 50 percent ahead in most tests despite the smaller CPU performance differences between them.

See our dedicated GPU pages on the Nvidia Quadro M5000M, M3000M, and AMD Fire Pro M6100 for more benchmarks and technical information.

SPECviewperf 12
1900x1060 Solidworks (sw-03) (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
101.01 fps ∼48%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
52.35 fps ∼25%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
66.53 fps ∼31%
1900x1060 Siemens NX (snx-02) (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
86.87 fps ∼34%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
39.84 fps ∼16%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
50.73 fps ∼20%
1900x1060 Showcase (showcase-01) (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
44.14 fps ∼23%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
39.81 fps ∼21%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
26.31 fps ∼14%
1900x1060 Medical (medical-01) (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
31.35 fps ∼36%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
17.46 fps ∼20%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
16.27 fps ∼19%
1900x1060 Maya (maya-04) (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
69.57 fps ∼36%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
23.08 fps ∼12%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
39.17 fps ∼20%
1900x1060 Energy (energy-01) (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
6.86 fps ∼24%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
4.68 fps ∼17%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
0.59 fps ∼2%
1900x1060 Creo (creo-01) (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
81.34 fps ∼51%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
42.17 fps ∼26%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
42.61 fps ∼27%
1900x1060 Catia (catia-04) (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
94.45 fps ∼48%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
45.24 fps ∼23%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
44.02 fps ∼22%
SPECviewperf 11
1920x1080 Siemens NX (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
61.76 fps ∼44%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
67.36 fps ∼48%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
47.84 fps ∼34%
1920x1080 Tcvis (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
55.94 fps ∼94%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
41.16 fps ∼69%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
28.37 fps ∼48%
1920x1080 SolidWorks (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
49.26 fps ∼60%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
35.28 fps ∼43%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
68.72 fps ∼83%
1920x1080 Pro/ENGINEER (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
17.87 fps ∼74%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
16.08 fps ∼67%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
10.66 fps ∼44%
1920x1080 Maya (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
71.59 fps ∼54%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
85.96 fps ∼65%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
99.72 fps ∼75%
1920x1080 Lightwave (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
59.58 fps ∼64%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
35.34 fps ∼38%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
77.78 fps ∼83%
1920x1080 Ensight (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
73.98 fps ∼35%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
59.49 fps ∼28%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
55.74 fps ∼27%
1920x1080 Catia (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
55.25 fps ∼67%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
43.12 fps ∼52%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
49.28 fps ∼60%
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
11820 Points ∼23%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
8264 Points ∼16%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
5850 Points ∼11%
3DMark
Fire Strike Extreme Graphics (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
4365 Points ∼22%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
9087 Points ∼22%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
6415 Points ∼16%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
4010 Points ∼10%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
61789 Points ∼33%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
38539 Points ∼21%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
26581 Points ∼14%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
324161 Points ∼61%
1920x1080 Ice Storm Extreme Graphics (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
251633 Points ∼34%
Cinebench R11.5 - OpenGL 64Bit (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
94.97 fps ∼56%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
42.4 fps ∼25%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
92.97 fps ∼55%
Cinebench R15 - OpenGL 64Bit (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
109.55 fps ∼44%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
68 fps ∼27%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
112.5 fps ∼45%

Gaming Performance

While gaming is not a primary function of workstations, these systems are wholly capable of playing modern 3D titles. The MSI WT72 can run games at roughly twice the frame rates of both our Lenovo and HP when set on higher graphical settings.

Thief
1920x1080 Very High Preset AA:FXAA & High SS AF:8x (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
80.5 fps ∼57%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
43.1 fps ∼30%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
26.6 fps ∼19%
1366x768 High Preset AA:FXAA & Low SS AF:4x (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
89.4 fps ∼61%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
77.4 fps ∼53%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
54 fps ∼37%
1366x768 Normal Preset AA:FX (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
92.3 fps ∼63%
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
88.6 fps ∼60%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
62 fps ∼42%
1024x768 Very Low Preset (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
97.6 fps ∼65%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
68 fps ∼45%

Stress Test

To test system stability, we run both Prime95 and FurMark to simulate maximum stress. These unrealistic conditions do not represent daily workloads, but are instead meant to put both the CPU and GPU at 100 percent capacity.

All three workstations are able to maintain CPU clock rates above their respective base speeds with the Xeon performing the best in terms of both higher clock rates and lower temperatures. The HP notebook runs the warmest with a core CPU temperature close to 90 C under extreme loads. Throttling may occur more aggressively on the Lenovo as well since its cooling system is smaller than on the MSI with just a couple of smaller heat pipes and fans. Nonetheless, no notebooks showed any major hardware issues for the duration of the stress tests.

Winner: MSI WT72

MSI WT72
MSI WT72
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
HP ZBook 17 G2
HP ZBook 17 G2
CPU and GPU Clock Rates Under Stress

MSI WT72 Lenovo ThinkPad P70 HP ZBook 17 G2
Rated GPU Core Clock (MHz) 962 1050 1100
Stable GPU Core Clock on FurMark (MHz) 772 650 1015
Rated CPU Core Clock (GHz) 2.8 2.7 2.5
Stable CPU Core Clock on Prime95 (GHz) 3.2 2.9 - 3.0 3.0 - 3.1
Maximum CPU temperature 72 C 80 - 82 C 89 C
Maximum GPU temperature 68 C 80 C 76 C

Emissions

System Noise & Temperature

Fan noise when idling is loudest on the MSI as its fans never idle compared to the ThinkPad P70 or ZBook 17. On the other hand, the ZBook 17 is by far the loudest when under extreme stress while the MSI and Lenovo are more similar in the low 40 dB(A) range.

Surface temperatures are very low on all three models even when under the most stressful of processing conditions. This can be attributed to their thick cases and ample interior space preventing direct contact between the heat pipes and chassis.

Winner: Tie -- MSI WT72

                        Lenovo ThinkPad P70

Average Fan Noise and Surface Temperature

MSI WT72 Lenovo ThinkPad P70 HP ZBook 17 G2
Fan Noise when idling 33.3 dB(A) 30.0 dB(A) 29.9 dB(A)
Fan Noise under high loads 38.8 - 40.2 dB(A) 36.5 - 40.8 dB(A) 46.8 dB(A)
Average surface temperature when idling 28.0 C 29.1 C 27.9 C
Average surface temperature under high loads 29.1 C 30.9 C 31.1 C
Ambient temperature 19 C 20 C 20 C

Battery Life

The ThinkPad P70 carries the denser battery module and by far the longer runtimes under WLAN conditions at almost exactly six hours before automatic shutdown. It's worth noting that the battery for the MSI is not easily removable compared to the Lenovo or HP.

Winner: Lenovo ThinkPad P70

MSI WT72-6QM
87 Wh
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
96 Wh
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
75 Wh
Battery Runtime
Reader / Idle
413
464
162
WiFi v1.3
245
361
Load
76
64
49
WiFi
149

Verdict

The WT72 has the beefy performance and cooling muscles, but carries few business-centric features. The ThinkPad P70 covers a broader range of workstation features while the ZBook 17 series is notable for its near perfect AdobeRGB coverage.
The WT72 has the beefy performance and cooling muscles, but carries few business-centric features. The ThinkPad P70 covers a broader range of workstation features while the ZBook 17 series is notable for its near perfect AdobeRGB coverage.

MSI's entry into the mobile workstation world is more of a cautious step than a full jump. Its retro-fitted gaming systems have proven to be excellent on the performance and upgradeability fronts, but they lack key business features that will put off its target audience. The WT72 will work for users who want the CPU and GPU power and don't mind the fact that it carries a lower-quality display with no docking port, Smart Card, fingerprint reader, or TrackPoint options. It's thicker cooling system is very effective at keeping temperatures moderately low during heavy use.

Lenovo's ThinkPad P70 kicks off the new P series with a bang. Its 4K UHD display option, long runtimes, and automatic display calibration are attractive features compared to the ZBook 17 G2 and WT72. It does, however, carry fewer storage options, run warmer than the WT72 despite its less powerful hardware, and is more difficult to tinker with since the bottom panel does not come off in its entirety.

The ZBook 17 series is most attractive for its near perfect coverage of AdobeRGB. Professional designers who require more accurate displays should consider the HP or an equivalent Clevo barebones where wider display options are common. The Zbook 17 G2 is certainly a bit outdated in connectivity features compared to the newer ThinkPad P70, so expect our G3 update review soon. For now, however, there are compelling reasons to choose any one model over the other depending on the demands of the end-user.

MSI WT72 6QELenovo ThinkPad P70HP ZBook 17 G2

+ 6x USB 3.0 ports and 4x 3.5 mm audio ports

+ More extensive storage options

+ Powerful Nvidia Quadro M5000M GPU with manual graphics switching

+ Lower CPU and GPU temperatures under stress

Strong, reinforced chassis

+ Relatively thin and light

+ 2x USB 3.1 Gen. 2 ports with Thunderbolt 3

+ Quiet and comfortable keyboard and touchpad

+ Brighter display backlight; higher 4K UHD resolution

+ Longer battery life; Denser battery module

+ Relatively thin and light

+ VGA-out

+ Wider color gamut

- Hinges can be creaky

- No Docking port, Smart Card reader, VGA-out, or ExpressCard

- Noticeably thicker and larger

- No TrackPoint

- More inaccurate colors and lower contrast

- Non-removable battery

- Louder fan noise during low system loads

- Lid more susceptible to twists and depressions

- No VGA-out

- No USB Type-C, No HDMI

- Shorter battery life

- Warmer CPU temperatures under stress

- Louder fan noise during higher system loads

MSI WT72

Pricecompare

Lenovo ThinkPad P70

Pricecompare

HP ZBook 17 G2

Pricecompare

See more quick comparisons in our Face Off series:

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Face Off: MSI WT72 vs. Lenovo ThinkPad P70 vs. HP ZBook 17 G2
Allen Ngo, 2016-02-15 (Update: 2019-04-30)
Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - US Editor in Chief
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.