The best Lenovo laptops you can buy: Expert tested

Lenovo is one of the top PC brands known for making some of the best laptops for business and personal use. If you’re looking to buy a new Lenovo laptop, there are a ton of great options to choose from — so much so that the sheer number of models available can make it difficult to find the right one. There are high-end models, mid-range devices, expensive options, and low-cost laptops.

So what is the best Lenovo laptop for you? ZDNET has got you covered. Our experts have tested many of the best Lenovo laptops available today and rounded up our top picks into this list, based on factors like performance, build, and price.

Our pick for the best Lenovo laptop overall is the ThinkPadX1 Carbon. It has a fantastic 1080p webcam, powerful hardware, and a lightweight design. However, if you are looking for a different type of laptop, the company develops nearly every type of laptop you can think of from gaming machines to low-cost computers. Read on for the rest of our picks for the best Lenovo laptops you can buy.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

Best Lenovo laptop overall

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon tech specsProcessor: 12th-generation Intel Core i5-1240P Processor | Graphics Card: Intel Iris Xe | RAM: up to 32GB | Screen size: 14 inches | Operating system: Windows 11 Pro | Dimensions: 12.4 x 0.6 x 8.7 inches

There is no doubt about it: The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is the best Lenovo laptop you can buy.

With an 11th-generation Intel Core i5-1140G7 vPro Processor, the Intel Evo platform creates a high-performing machine, making it a favorite among users. According to ZDNET contributor Sandra Vogel, it can also be great for business: “Lenovo’s ThinkPad series is regarded by many as the standard-setter for business laptops, with the X1 Carbon at the pinnacle.”

The 13-inch display incorporates Intel Iris Xe Graphics for improved imaging with an anti-glare screen. You get 256GB of storage, and there is a 1080p HD camera to take your photos. A fingerprint reader is included for added convenience.

ReviewLenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

Moreover, the laptop sports a lightweight frame (1.12 kg, roughly 2.5 lbs) yet is quite durable. The lid is carbon fiber, while the body features magnesium alloy. As its thickest, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon features 14.95 mm. Put together, you have a surprisingly tough machine that you can take with you everywhere you go.

And arguably, our favorite aspect of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon has to be the stunning WUXGA (1,920 x 1,200-pixel resolution) IPS touch screen with a matte finish and 400 nits of brightness. The matte coating allows you to work outside thanks to its anti-glare properties. Also, having a touchscreen enhances the laptop’s usability.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is an excellent pick for anyone looking for a trusty work computer.

Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 Gen 2

Best ultraportable Lenovo laptop

Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 Gen 2 AMD tech specs: Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 Pro 7540U Processor | RAM: 16GB | Screen size: 13.3 inches | Operating system: Windows 11 Pro | Dimensions: 11.6 x 7.9 x 0.55 inches

Lenovo is well-known for developing some of the best ultraportable laptops out there. Among its many lightweight models, we recommend the ThinkPad Z13 Gen 2 AMD. It’s a great device with solid hardware and an array of great features making it a worthy candidate as your new main computer. Under the hood, it’s powered by an AMD Ryzen 7 Pro 7840U processor paired up with an integrated Radeon 740M graphics card. Creative professionals, in particular, will appreciate the level of performance this chip pairing will bring to the table. It allows the laptop to handle all sorts of heavy workloads.

TV shows and movies look fantastic on the laptop’s display. It sports a 2.8K OLED screen that is capable of outputting vibrant colors that look like they’re about to pop out. And its quality is made even better due to the thin bezel surrounding the screen. You can enjoy your favorite content in all its glory. The OLED can make the laptop rather expensive. Luckily, you can opt for a lower 1,920 x 1,200-pixel resolution to lower the price.

Lenovo’s ThinkPads are famous for their bright red TrackPoint in the middle of the keyboard. For the first, the TrackPoint has been given new features. Double tapping it opens a Quick Menu on-screen for adjusting certain aspects of the laptop like the microphone’s directionality. There are a few quirks such as the limited array of ports, but the ThinkPad Z13 is still a great pick.

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro

Best Lenovo laptop for gaming

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro tech specs: Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 5800H Processor |  Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 RAM: 16GB | Screen size: 16 inches | Operating system: Windows 11 | Dimensions: 14.02 x 10.41 x 1.07 inches

The Lenovo Legion 5 Pro has become a favorite among gamers as one of the best gaming laptops you can buy, and for good reason. It features some reasonably powerful hardware.

This laptop uses an AMD Ryzen 5000 Series Desktop Processor with Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics card on a generous 16-inch display. Lenovo Legion AI Engine and Auto-Detect mode improve performance, automatically offering system optimization and maximum frame rates to make gaming a far more immersive experience. Imaging is boosted by 34% increased pixel density with 3D Nahimic audio.

And everything you see here gets outputted out of a 15.6-inch Full HD resolution (1920 x 1080 pixel) display.

Review: Lenovo Legion Pro 5i

Of course, it wouldn’t be a good-performing gaming laptop without a slew of software features enhancing the overall quality even more. The Legion 5 Pro supports Dolby and VESA DisplayHDR 400 to show various colors. It covers the entirety of the sRGB color gamut. With over 500 nits of peak brightness, video games look stunning on this laptop.

Gaming laptops are known for running pretty hot. That’s one of their major downfalls. However, Lenovo saw fit to equip the Legion 5 Pro with the company’s own Legion Coldfront 3.0 tech. It consists of hardware and software solutions ensuring the computer stays cool, from multiple fans to AI optimization for “next-gen performance.”

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme

Best Lenovo laptop for creatives

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme tech specs: Processor: 8th-generation Intel Core i7-8750H Processor | Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti | RAM: 32GB | Screen size: 15.6 inches | Operating system: Windows 11 | Dimensions: 14.24 x 9.67 x 0.72 inches

When you want the best laptop for creative professionals, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme is a popular pick.

The laptop features a 9th-generation Intel Core processor with 4K Dolby Vision HDR support and premium graphics cards to significantly improve imagery on the large 16-inch display. A Dolby Atmos Speaker System is also incorporated for better sound and less distortion.

Review: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme

You don’t have to worry about connectivity because Intel Wi-Fi 6/6E connectivity is built in with a 5G WWAN option. Up to 32GB of memory is available, and a 90Wh battery is incorporated for longer battery life. Low blue-light panels are beneficial if you work or play for long periods.

Continuing with the screen, the top lid of the ThinkPad X1 Extreme can be fully pulled back to a fully flat position. This neat trick does serve an essential purpose as it makes it easier for you to share what’s on screen. To further foster compatibility, the display is a touchscreen so that you can write or draw right on it.

We should also mention the ThinkPad X1 Extreme has a lot of utility as it comes with many different ports for all sorts of external hardware. It has a full-sized HDMI port, a 3.5 mm headphone jack, and several USB-C inputs. The company even throws in a dongle with a mini-Ethernet port.

Lenovo Yoga 9i

Best 2-in-1 Lenovo laptop

Lenovo Yoga 9i tech specs: Processor: 12th-generation Intel Core i7-1260P Processor  | RAM: 16GB | Screen size: 14 inches | Operating system: Windows 11 | Dimensions: 0.65 x 9.06 x 12.52 inches

The Lenovo Yoga 9i is one of the most popular 2-in-1 laptops, and users clamor over its top performance. It boasts multiple screen configurations, the highest being a gorgeous 14-inch 4K (3840 x 2400 pixels) OLED screen. It’s tied with the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro in having the best display on this list.

You have a 14-inch 2.8K (2,800 x 1,800 pixels) resolution option and a 14-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,200 pixels) LCD monitor. Of course, they’re not as good-looking as the 4K model, but they’re still fantastic.

ReviewLenovo Yoga 9i

Under the hood, you have a 12th-gen Intel Core i7 1260p processor with an Intel Iris Xe graphics card. This isn’t the world’s strongest or fastest hardware; however, it does the job. A Full HD (1080p) webcam is also on the main screen. With a built-in webcam privacy shutter and fingerprint reader, your privacy is not taken for granted.

The garaged pen is an unexpected bonus in a laptop, and people are certainly not complaining. The computer also features Wi-Fi 6 and four Thunderbolt USB connectors for more effortless connectivity.

Admittedly, the battery life is average, clocking in at eight hours of everyday use. Still, considering everything the Lenovo Yoga 9i has going for it, it’s a fair trade-off. Powerful performance requires a lot of energy.

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i

Best Lenovo Chromebook

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i tech specs: Processor: 13th-Gen Intel Core i3-1315U | Graphics Card: Integrated Intel UHD Graphics Card RAM: 8GB Screen size: 14-inch 1,920 x 1,200 pixel resolution touchscreen Operating system: Chrome OS | Dimensions: 0.8 x 12.4 x 9 inches

Rounding out the list is Lenovo’s IdeaPad Flex 5i. It’s a member of the recently released Chromebook Plus line, a series of Chromebooks from various manufacturers sporting more powerful hardware compared to older models. Every single one is a great pick, however Lenovo’s option stands out from the rest by having one of the best displays. It outputs a resolution of 1,920 x 1,200 pixels, and thanks to its flexible hinge, can be turned 180 degrees. This turns the laptop into a tablet, which goes great with the AI-powered editing features on board, like Magic Eraser.

Review: This $499 Lenovo Chromebook Plus will make you reconsider spending so much on laptops

Even if you’re not a photographer, we still recommend the IdeaPad Flex 5i for everyday work. Its 13th-Gen Intel Core i3 processor delivers great performance for a computer of its caliber. Plus, the keyboard is fantastic. It’s wide with large keys allowing for comfortable typing. Lenovo’s 2-in-1 Chromebook is also lightweight, clocking in at 3.5 pounds. And the best part: It’s cheap. Prices fluctuate, but we haven’t seen it go for more than $500.

There are a couple of issues with it; namely, it can get hot. At high temperatures, typing on the IdeaPad can be uncomfortable.

Show Expert Take

Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon is our pick for the best Lenovo laptop. While it sports limited storage space, the device makes up for it with a high-quality 14-inch screen, solid performance, and a long battery life. This makes the ThinkPad X1 Carbon a great laptop for daily use. Professionals, in particular, will appreciate all of the extra business features.

To see how it compares to the rest, down below is a brief overview of the best Lenovo laptops.

Best Lenovo laptop Cost RAM Screen size
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon $1,249 16GB 14 inches
Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 Gen 2 $1,241 16GB 13.3 inches
Lenovo Legion 5 Pro $1,566 16GB, 32GB, 64GB 16 inches
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme $1,479 32GB 16 inches
Lenovo Yoga 9i $1,399 16GB 14 inches
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i $499 8GB 14 inches

Lenovo makes a wide array of laptops covering all sorts of use cases, so you won’t be wanting for choices. As established, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon is the king of the hill. But that does not necessarily mean it’s the best one for you. The best Lenovo laptop ultimately comes down to what you are looking for as a user. We can help with that with the suggestions down below.

Choose this best Lenovo laptop… If you want…
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon The best Lenovo laptop available today. This top-performing computer provides incredible value and comes highly recommended for business
Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 Gen 2 The best ultraportable Lenovo laptop. The second-generation ThinkPad Z13 manages to pack in a stunning 2.8K OLED display in its lightweight design.
Lenovo Legion 5 Pro The best Lenovo laptop for gaming. This laptop offers extensive connectivity with excellent graphics and processing speed for your gaming needs.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Something worthy of a professional. Creatives love this best Lenovo laptop for its premium performance and features made just for creatives.
Lenovo Yoga 9i Great 2-in-1 functionality. This best Lenovo laptop offers versatility in a convertible design.
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i An inexpensive laptop with solid performance. Lenovo’s best Chromebook also packs in AI-powered features for quick image editing.

There are multiple factors to consider when picking out the best Lenovo laptop, including:

  • Type: There are different types of laptops you can buy; be it a clamshell laptop or a 2-in-1 convertible design. Convertible laptops generally give you greater flexibility and portability, but they can lack some features available on more traditional laptops.
  • Size: If you plan to take your Lenovo laptop on the go, you’ll want a smaller build for portability. It’s important to be mindful of the display size as it directly affects the overall dimensions of a laptop. A large device can get in the way of your daily needs.
  • CPU: A laptop’s processor gives you an idea of how fast a laptop will work. Lenovo classifies its laptops by Core categories, with the Core i9 and Core i7 being the more powerful processors.
  • Graphics: Consider the type of graphics card available with your laptop. If you are a gamer or video editor, a strong GPU is an important feature to consider. Be sure to look for a laptop with a powerful integrated graphics or an advanced graphics card to suit your needs.
  • Battery: It’s important to know what the battery life of a new Lenovo laptop is. If you spend a lot of time traveling, you may need a laptop with longer battery life so you are not constantly fumbling for a charger.

There are many great Lenovo laptops on the market, and we get access to many of them to review. We ultimately relied on our own experiences with these devices in order to make our selections.

We looked at which models had the nicest displays, the best performance, the best keyboards, and so on. Our tests involve surfing the internet with the laptops in order to get a feel for them, then we put them through specific use cases. The goal here is to see what they’re capable of in real-world use.

Once all the testing is complete, the ones we liked the most are reviewed and sorted, given a specific category like best ultraportable Lenovo laptop, and placed on the list.

You can game on any Lenovo laptop, but we don’t recommend it. It depends on the model you purchase. Some are better suited for gaming than others. For example, the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro is specifically geared for video games.

It’s important to understand that most Lenovo laptops are fine for casual or entry-level gaming but nothing more. Think of titles like Stardew Valley or The Sims 4. Games that are more graphically intense won’t run smoothly on something like the ThinkPad X1 Nano.

Lenovo’s own gaming options come with dedicated graphics cards, high refresh rate displays, and a robust cooling system. However, if you truly want the best gaming laptop, there are much better options out there, especially for demanding games. You’re better off buying the Razer Blade 15 or a desktop computer.

The cost of the best Lenovo laptop can vary. Again, it depends on the model you choose. The best Lenovo laptop overall is the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon, which runs a little over $1,000. However, if you have more to spend, the best Lenovo laptops range from $1,200 to around $2,000 for premium models. Inexpensive laptops, like the IdeaPad Flex 5i, are significantly cheaper. That model retails for around $500.

Lenovo laptops are available for purchase directly from the company’s official website, but that isn’t your only option. Many digital retailers sell Lenovo laptops on their platforms. However, make sure the website is legitimate before you buy. There are a lot of scams out there.

We recommend going to either Amazon, Walmart, or Best Buy as your first stop in the buying process. For added convenience, we’ve provided shopping links in each of the entries to save you time buying the best Lenovo laptop.

Lenovo makes several kinds of laptops under different series, from the ThinkPad and Legion lines. The ones above are the best as we’ve established, but there are others that almost made the cut. The three below are worthy of a second look.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply