A couple of months back Lenovo released the ThinkPad A285; a 12.5-inch business-class notebook featuring AMD’s Ryzen Pro mobile processor, complementing their 14-inch A485 Ryzen Pro powered model. These are the first two Lenovo ThinkPad models to feature AMD's Ryzen APU, and with it the latest generation of their Pro series, offering enhanced security, and manageability, over the normal consumer variants.

As it so happens, this is also our first time looking at a Ryzen Pro APU. So for those out of the loop on AMD's enterprise-focused parts, what's significant about Ryzen Pro? The Pro in Ryzen Pro is important for IT administrators, where manageability of devices is the key to keeping them secure and up to date. Ryzen Pro offers other features as well which will be of interest to the enterprise, such as a minimum of 24 months of planned availability of parts, meaning volume purchases should be able to maintain repairs and image stability.

Ryzen Pro also offers DRAM encryption as an option, which is OS and application agnostic, with a low performance impact. It also features an dTPM 2.0. And as a business-class device, it offers management via AMD’s implementation of Desktop and mobile Architecture for System Hardware, or DASH, which offers management tools such as the redirection of keyboard, video, and mouse (KVM), remote power-on, and other features for wide-scale device management.

Putting theory into practice, we have the subject of today's review: Lenovo's ThinkPad A285. The staunchy Lenovo laptop ships with AMD's Ryzen 5 Pro 2500U APU, which like its non-pro counterpart is a quad-core processor with eight threads, and a base frequency of 2.0 GHz with a boost frequency of 3.6 GHz. On the GPU side it offers 8 Vega GPU cores (CUs) as well, which is a step below the 10 cores offered on the fastest Ryzen Pro SKU, the Pro 7 2700U.

Lenovo ThinkPad A285
  As Tested: Ryzen 5 Pro 2500U, 8GB, 512 GB, 1080p
CPU AMD Ryzen 5 PRO 2500U
4C/8T, 2.0-3.6 GHz
GPU Vega 8 iGPU
512 SPs, 1.1 GHz
RAM 8 GB DDR4 Dual-Channel
Display 12.5-inch 1366x768 TN
Optional 1920x1080 IPS anit-glare with multitouch
Storage 256-512 GB NVMe
Networking Realtek 8822BE Wireless
802.11ac 2x2:2
Realtek GbE (optional dongle required)
Connectivity USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C x 2
USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A x 1
USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A (always on) x 1
HDMI 2.0
Smart Card Reader (optional)
Headset jack
Security dTPM 2.0
Windows Hello Optional Fingerprint reader
Battery 48 Wh
65-Watt AC Adapter
RapidCharge 80% in 60 minutes
Dimensions 308 x 210 x 17.4 mm
12.1 x 8.3 x 0.7 inches
Weight 1.26 kg / 2.78 lbs
Price Starting at $890.99
As tested: $1209.59

Lenovo has been doing ThinkPads a long time, so the rest of the device fits in well with what businesses would be looking for. Unfortunately, the display Lenovo uses in their base model is a 1366x768 TN panel, but they do offer a proper 1920x1080 IPS model as well with touch. There’s also a fingerprint reader for Windows Hello, and the new ThinkShutter which can be slid over the webcam, which is a great privacy feature Lenovo has introduced.

The Thinkpad A285 offers plenty of connectivity for a small device, with two USB-C Gen 2 ports, one Type-A Gen 2 port, and one Type-A Gen 1 port which offers always-on power. There’s HDMI 2.0, and DisplayPort over USB-C. If you need to dock the laptop, Lenovo offers a couple of options including a USB-C dock. For those that need it, you can add-in a Smart Card reader as well.

On the network side, Lenovo offers an 802.11ac solution, as well as a dongle for a native Ethernet adapter, since laptops are generally too thin now to offer a full-size Ethernet port.

With a starting weight of 2.78 lbs, this ThinkPad is well equipped and should be easy to use on the go.

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  • Brett Howse - Tuesday, December 18, 2018 - link

    The Surface Book 2 was the device I had power draw numbers from for the idle power draw graph so I have no issues including it in the performance graphs as well. The CPU is a 15W i7. The GPU is of course more powerful but that's still a valid point since people may wonder how close Vega in an iGPU factor is coming to dGPUs.

    But the best part is that if you don't think it's important, you can just ignore that data point and compare against all the others. Or, click the links I provide to our Online Bench database and make any comparisons you prefer. We provide all the data.
  • QChronoD - Wednesday, December 19, 2018 - link

    I think that many of the people who were complaining about that would accept the comparison if an estimated price of each machine was given at the beginning. If you knew before looking at the graphs that one of the laptops was 2x the price and it looks like being 2x as fast then everything is fine, but if you aren't aware of the price difference then it looks like this machine is a steaming pile.
  • QChronoD - Wednesday, December 19, 2018 - link

    Just for reference if anyone actually reads the comments:
    Microsoft Surface Book 2 15 - $2600
    Dell Latitude 13" 2-in-1 7390 - $1800
    Asus Zenbook 3 - $1500
    Huawei Matebook X Pro - $1350
    Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga - $1500
    Lenovo ThinkPad A285 - $1200
    Microsoft Surface Pro 6 - $1000
    Acer Swift 3 R7-2700U - $700

    These are just quick prices off amazon trying to get similar specs.
  • IGTrading - Thursday, December 20, 2018 - link

    I agree AnandTech provides "all the data" and that's of course laudable.

    But often times you can bury a good product in all that data. Comparing a 1200 USD notebook with 2600 USD notebooks is way beyond a stretch.

    The potential buyer reading the review for a 1200 USD model is reading it for a reason: because that's what he wants (a 12" portable) or that's his budget (1200 USD) .

    Ok ... you compare it with other similar sized notebooks that are also similarly priced ... such as 900 ~ 1400 USD ...

    But I honestly have the feeling the results of the Lenovo AMD Ryzen-based notebook are buried in "all the data" ...

    Like I've said ... this doesn't look like a review at all and also it doesn't look like a Round-Up (several notebook in a certain price range or with similar characteristics) ..

    Going from 700 USD to 2600 USD as a price range ... And from 12" to 15" as a size range ... makes this look like somebody wanted to make the AMD Ryzen portable look slower than a notebook which is much larger and more than 200% more expensive ....

    This is how a just comparison should look like in my view (Test Product vs. Similar Products in the Same Product Range vs. 1 product from the Upper Product Range as a comparison example) : https://hothardware.com/ContentImages/Article/2690...

    And Ryzen did not beat the CPU+dGPU either ... nor did it ace all the tests ... but I never had the feeling of its results being buried in "all the data" ... just IMHO
  • kaidenshi - Tuesday, December 18, 2018 - link

    Yep, two thin netbooks/ultrabooks I've had in the past had pop-down Ethernet ports, which were the same height as a USB-A port when not in use.
  • thesavvymage - Tuesday, December 18, 2018 - link

    honestly though, why do you need an ethernet port on the device? Its kinda just wasting space since its not like you plug that in separately, it should just be connected to whatever dock you have at someone's desk. If I had to plug in power, monitor, and ethernet separately every time I sat at my desk I'd go mad.

    Right now at work I'm using a macbook and its pretty simple to have all that plugged into a USB-C dock
  • SaolDan - Wednesday, December 19, 2018 - link

    In my line of work i have to be able to connect to lightin controllers and switches thru ethernet out in the field so a Ethernet por would be required.
  • The_Assimilator - Wednesday, December 19, 2018 - link

    Not to mention that you have to fork out extra for the dongle!
  • darkich - Tuesday, December 18, 2018 - link

    .. a 768p TN entry level screen?
    Really? My goodness
  • PeachNCream - Tuesday, December 18, 2018 - link

    12.5 inches. At 1080p on that size screen, scaling will be a thing and some software still sucks at scaling. Scaling will also mean that basically the same quantity of information can be displayed at the same time even if the resolution is higher. The GPU will work harder and consume more power while generating more heat to push pixels that do not benefit productivity.

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