If you’ve ever been in the market for a laptop, you’ve likely come across the Lenovo brand. The company offers some wonderful products, but Lenovo truly excels with its laptop creations. The only problem? There are so many different laptops to choose from that picking the right series and then the right specific model is an enormous task.
Lenovo divides its laptops into six categories: ThinkPad, ThinkBook, Yoga, IdeaPad, Legion, and Chromebook. Each category houses a specific style of notebook, but within some of these categories, the laptops are further divided into unique series. There’s a lot of info to sift through before you find your perfect Lenovo laptop.
Whether you’re looking for a laptop to handle special software for work, your favorite video games, all your school projects and essays, or simple media streaming and internet browsing, Lenovo has a laptop for you. It’s easiest to first choose a main category from Lenovo and then narrow it down. But without further ado, here’s all the info you need to make the right decision and choose a perfect laptop for your specific needs.
If you asked any random person to name a Lenovo laptop, if they could name one, they’d probably choose a notebook in the ThinkPad line. But for anyone who knows the Lenovo brand, the ThinkPad line is a classic, and for good reason.
The ThinkPad line of laptops was initially started under an IBM brand and was first released in the early 1990s. Luckily, this wildly popular laptop line was continued under Lenovo and has grown to meet a slew of different consumer needs.
One of Lenovo’s earliest models, the ThinkPad, is the ideal choice for business professionals, especially those who frequently travel for business or have a long public commute home where they can get some work done. Though ThinkPads have a ridiculously long battery life, they’re also equipped with Rapid Charge tech, so you can get to about 80% battery in only 30 minutes. This is such a necessary feature for traveling workers.
ThinkPad laptops also come with Intelligent Cooling Engines, where sensors detect how your device is being used and how hot the system can run before kicking up the fans. Then, most ThinkPads have dual-array, noise-canceling, far-field microphones, so you sound great on video calls and Dolby Atmos speaker systems on the latest ThinkPad models.
Another classic feature of ThinkPad laptops is the red TrackPoint in the middle of the keyboard. While this feature isn’t for everyone, and some might even find it outdated, it helps you avoid moving your hand as much as you would with a mouse. If you’re at your laptop for long hours daily, this could save your hand and wrist unnecessary discomfort. Plus, it’s also handy in cramped spaces, like when you’re on an airplane or working in your car.
ThinkShield is an important aspect of the ThinkPad line as well. Security and personal privacy are something Lenovo takes seriously, which is why most of its laptops have a privacy shutter for the webcam. Because business professionals often use ThinkPads to work with private company data, these laptops get extra security. That includes an integrated suite of security features that detects Wi-Fi network spoofing, uses firmware to encrypt your data, and lets you log in with biometrics.
A few of the best-selling ThinkPad models you can purchase now include the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10, and the ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 2. The ThinkPad Z13 and Z16 are both engineered from recycled vegan leather and aluminum. But if you want to explore all the ThinkPad laptops Lenovo has to offer, here’s a brief look at the main differences between each series:
- T Series: This is easily one of the most classic series of ThinkPads, full of flagship laptops that are professional work-horses. Laptops in the T series are incredibly durable, equipped with powerful processors, and perfect for anyone who needs to get stuff done in short order.
- X Series: If you want a small but mighty laptop, browse through the X series. This is Lenovo’s smallest line of business-focused laptops, but they still pack a performance punch. You’ll have your pick of laptops, 2-in-1s, and detachables, which means you can detach the keyboard from the screen whenever you want. With long battery life and a super-compact form factor, the X series is perfect for people constantly on the go and away from an outlet.
- X1 Series: Laptops in the X1 series are at the top-end of the ThinkPad line. These are premium laptops (and occasionally 2-in-1s) inside and out. Working professionals who want the best of the best turn to the X1 series for top-of-the-line security, peak performance, and a lightweight, stylish form factor. You’ll also sometimes see Xi ThinkPads, which typically have low-power processors that extend the battery life when the laptop is unplugged.
- P Series: If you need a laptop that can handle graphically intensive tasks, check out the P series. These laptops have plenty of RAM, storage, lightning-fast graphics, and processing power. Because of their superior graphics capabilities, Lenovo recommends P series ThinkPads for engineering, web design, and gaming. P series ThinkPads are also ISV-certified, which means they’ve been certified by independent software vendors.
- L Series: This series is best defined as entry-level business laptops. They have all the security and privacy features of other ThinkPads, are incredibly durable and spill-resistant, and come at a super affordable price compared to other ThinkPads. You can find traditional laptops in this series and L series Yoga 2-in-1 laptops.
- E Series: Lenovo’s ThinkPad E series includes affordable business laptops while maintaining a classic style and relatively powerful performance.
- C Series: The ‘C’ in C series stands for Chromebook. All the devices in this series are Chromebooks, meaning that they are cloud-based devices running Chrome OS. Chromebooks can’t usually download anything outside the Google Play store or certain web apps, so only go this route if you’re a Google user and don’t need any particular software for school or work.
- 11e Series: This series holds the perfect laptops for anyone in education, whether you’re a student or a teacher. There are laptops and Chromebooks within the 11e series and a wide range of prices to fit any budget.
The ThinkBook Series
People often mistake Lenovo’s ThinkPad laptops for its ThinkBook laptops because they’re so similar in name. They’re similar in other ways too, but quite a few significant differences make it easy to choose one or the other.
To make it easy, you can consider ThinkBooks as the budget version of a ThinkPad. Both laptop series share many of the same features, but at a lower cost, and usually due to slightly lower-tier specs. Because they’re not as powerful, ThinkBooks are better for people who need a business laptop as a freelancer or a startup business owner. If you need a notebook to run power-intensive specific work programs, you’re likely better off with a ThinkPad.
One of the most noticeable physical differences between the ThinkBook and the ThinkPad series is the lack of a red TrackPoint dot in the center of the keyboard. Other than that, these two laptop categories are stylistically the same. Both are lightweight and travel-friendly, perfect for anyone who has to travel a lot for work or transport their laptop back and forth from work and home.
Lenovo’s Yoga line is essentially premium laptops with 2-in-1 functionality. Although the Yoga laptops are impressive inside and out, let’s start with the outside.
All laptops in the Yoga line are stylish, often with clean, rounded edges and a high-quality metal finish. Some Yoga laptops have an all-aluminum finish, while others have a leather cover. Despite the premium materials, these laptops are incredibly lightweight. Then, with its 2-in-1 functionality, you can use the device in laptop mode to get work done, tent mode to binge your favorite show, or tablet mode to relax with a puzzle at the end of the night.
Lenovo also offers 2-in-1 laptops outside the Yoga line, and you’ll usually be able to tell which ones these are if you see the term ‘Flex’ in its title. However, the Yoga laptops are the most premium 2-in-1 options, giving users the device flexibility they love while not sacrificing performance.
Yoga laptops look and sound fantastic (for a laptop), with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos speakers wrapped up in a rotating 360-degree soundbar. The Yoga 9i, in particular, sounds phenomenal, with Bowers & Wilkins speakers built into the soundbar. Newer Yoga laptops, like the Yoga 9i, have a brilliant 4K OLED display that shows darker blacks and more vivid colors for an unreal visual experience.
Lenovo’s Yoga line also comes with a Smart Power feature, which lets you efficiently manage your laptop’s internal heat and power consumption with three different modes. You can adjust the fan speed, maximize performance, or extend the battery life by pushing a hotkey on the Yoga’s keyboard.
Unlike ThinkPads and ThinkBooks, Lenovo designed the IdeaPad for casual users who need laptops that’ll handle everyday tasks. IdeaPads have a modern, slim form factor ideal for traveling, taking to school, or simply moving around the home.
Although most IdeaPads are well under $1000, there are a few higher-end IdeaPads. For the most part, however, the IdeaPad is a budget-friendly option for those needing a personal or a school laptop.
While the IdeaPad advertises as a laptop suitable for gamers, it’s a cheap gaming laptop, so it’ll likely only run simple games that don’t demand much in terms of performance. If you intend to play more demanding games that require a powerful CPU / GPU combination, you’re better off with Lenovo’s Legion line or even something in the ThinkPad line.
Like Lenovo’s ThinkPads, the IdeaPads are divided into a few different series within the line. Here’s a brief explanation of each:
- IdeaPad 1 Series: If you’re after an affordable IdeaPad, go with this series. IdeaPad 1 laptops are priced for accessibility and can browse the internet, run simple software, and carry out other typical tasks for the everyday user.
- IdeaPad Flex Series: This is one of the top-selling series within the IdeaPad line because it has 2-in-1 functionality, meaning it can operate as a laptop or tablet. Anytime you see a Lenovo laptop with the term ‘Flex’ attached to the title, this indicates that it’s a 2-in-1 laptop. The Flex series is great for students and anyone who wants tablet functionality at home.
- IdeaPad 3 Series: This series is a smash hit for a slightly more powerful laptop that’s still friendly to your wallet. It gets internal hardware upgrades from the IdeaPad 1 series while maintaining an affordable price point for consumers.
- IdeaPad Gaming Series: If you intend to play games on your laptop and you’re set on an IdeaPad, definitely snag something in this series. Although it might not be as powerful as a Legion or ThinkPad laptop, it’ll work for most games but may not be the best possible quality. These laptops have NVIDIA graphics and options for Intel Core and AMD processors.
- IdeaPad 5 Series: The jump from the IdeaPad 3 series to the 5 series includes more improvements to the internal components, making it a more powerful option and ideal for people who need a laptop that can handle more demanding software. It also has a longer battery life, so it’s great for commuters and students.
- IdeaPad 7 Series: This series feels premium and performs better than the 1, 3, and 5 IdeaPad series. It’s slim, extremely portable, and overall pretty dang stylish. With next-gen processors and discrete graphics as standard, these IdeaPads can handle more graphically intense video games and juggle multiple everyday tasks at once.
- IdeaPad 9 Series: The higher the number, the more premium the model. The IdeaPad 9 series contains top-tier IdeaPads designed on the Intel Evo platform. These laptops can do everything other IdeaPads can do, but better. The chassis also gets a premium upgrade, with a leather cover over its slim form factor.
If you’re a gamer, you should pay attention to the Lenovo Legion line. This is Lenovo’s dedicated gaming laptop line that features all the specs you need to play pretty much any game your heart desires.
Most Legion laptops boast NVIDIA graphics, and the price you pay largely depends on how good that graphics card from NVIDIA (or sometimes AMD) is. These laptops have plenty of storage and RAM, powerful processors, and stunning, largeWQXGA displays that make your games look fantastic.
The only spec that’s not so great is the battery life, but that’s no surprise with such a power-hungry gaming laptop. And the “poor” battery life is only really in comparison to Lenovo’s other laptops. Let’s be honest, though, if you’re gaming on a laptop, you’re likely doing so while it’s plugged into a wall, so battery life isn’t an issue.
- Legion 5 Series: These gaming laptops from Lenovo have all the power you need for most games while staying at a relatively affordable price point. You’ll still find cutting-edge GPUs, a gorgeous display, and a beefy processor inside. These laptops are just a step below the 7 series.
- Legion 7 Series: If you want to invest in the best gaming laptop Lenovo offers, go for one in the 7 series. The internal components are perfect for any game you play, performing at near-desktop levels, and the overall build is premium and durable.
Because Chromebooks are simple devices, it’s easy to tell whether or not a Chromebook would work as your next laptop. All Chromebooks, as the name implies, run Google’s Chrome OS. If you don’t have a Google account you use frequently or need to download special software or games on your laptop; a Chromebook probably isn’t for you.
But if all you need is a device that can access the internet, answer emails, write school papers, play games from the Google Play store, and do other basic tasks, you could probably carry out on a smartphone, check out a Chromebook! These nifty devices are affordable and perfect for casual, personal use around the home or to take with you to college. Without demanding software or a ton of downloaded content bogging it down, Chromebooks have super long battery life.
Since Chromebooks use Chrome OS, a Linux-based operating system, you can download most Linux-based apps as long as it meets the hardware and software requirements. Then, there’s also the added benefit of built-in virus protection, with multiple layers of security and data privacy.