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The best Lenovo laptops to buy: Mainstream, gaming, and business

Looking for your next Lenovo laptop? The search can be insane, but we're here to help with a branding guide and our picks.
November 7, 2021
Lenovo Flex 5G angled brand
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

The search for a new laptop can overwhelm almost anyone, and Lenovo is no different. With six total brands and numerous lineups within each, it’s easy to get lost in the sauce here. We’re here to help in sorting through the differences, pros, and cons between each brand. Here are our picks for the best Lenovo laptops.

See also: The best laptops you can buy

Who is Lenovo?

If you were offered a Lenovo laptop in a store or stumbled across the brand while shopping online and feel as though you’ve never heard of them, chances are you likely have. If you were made to work from home at any point, many laptops, docking stations, and monitors were dished out for use at home.

Lenovo is a Chinese-owned company founded in 1984 that makes quite a number of electronics. If the “ThinkPad” moniker sounds familiar to you, it’s because Lenovo bought IBM’s personal computer division in 2005, including the prestigious “Think” branding. Since then, Lenovo has maintained its status as one of the biggest contenders in the PC world.

Lenovo also owns Motorola after it purchased the smartphone maker from Google in 2014. It now brands Motorola phones as “Moto by Lenovo”.

Buying the right Lenovo laptop for your needs

Lenovo’s stratified lineups breed choice, but we wouldn’t blame you for being a bit confused when looking to find the right one for you. Here’s a breakdown of Lenovo’s brands and who they’re for.

  • Lenovo ThinkPad — Lenovo’s Legacy lineup is the ThinkPad; business-class laptops with enhanced security features, extra ports, and the signature physical click button and TrackPoint that goes by many other names (nub, pointing stick, etc). These are for the worker who has to work on the go from time to time. Oftentimes, ThinkPad’s are the laptops provided by employers.
  • Lenovo ThinkBook — Think all the bells and whistles from above, but in a sleeker, more modern-looking package. No TrackPoint, separate click buttons, nor extra-thick chassis. Thin, light, and still business-class. That’s ThinkBook.
  • Lenovo Yoga — The Yoga lineup is composed of thin-and-lights that are also 2-in-1’s, hence the “Yoga” name. These versatile machines can rotate to convert into a tablet when needed, feature stylus compatibility for handwritten notes and drawing, and come in various sizes. Great for the student who needs a mobile machine that packs battery life, power, and media consumption features in a slim, easy-to-carry package. Also great for those who want a lifestyle machine that can also be used for work.
  • Lenovo Legion — Legion is Lenovo’s gaming lineup. If you know what you’re looking for, you’ll know what to expect here. Stylish chassis with angular accents, great cooling, and most importantly, dedicated graphics inside. These, like most other gaming laptops, won’t be cheap, but they’re great for the on-the-go gamer, or for those who need to do heavy creative work (think video editing) away from the home office.
  • Lenovo Ideapad — The IdeaPad lineup gets down to basics. These are the budget-friendly machines of the bunch. They usually feature midrange to low-end processors, 4-8GB of RAM, and plastic shells. They are fantastic grade school, casual use, or starter machines for cost-conscious buyers. This lineup also includes some of the company’s Chromebooks
  • Lenovo — This sub-brand doesn’t have a nickname, and that’s fitting. This is the barebones lineup that features the lowest-priced machines that the company offers. No bells and whistles, but just enough to complete the job that you want it to get done. These laptops will typically use low-power components such as Intel Celeron, Pentium, AMD A-series, and Athlon processors and 4GB or less of RAM. The Lenovo sub-brand laptops are great for classroom use, as the price is low for these fairly capable machines.

The best Lenovo laptops

  • Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon: With its combination of power, durability, and modern design, the X1 Carbon stands out as the best of the best.
  • Lenovo ThinkBook 14p: Essentially a ThinkPad packed into a more modern chassis. For those who aren’t fans of the ThinkPad look.
  • Lenovo Yoga 7i: The best lifestyle machine Lenovo offers. Fantastic for media consumption and medium-heavy workloads.
  • Lenovo Legion Pro 5: A gaming beast. An RTX 3060 driving a 16-inch 165Hz screen. Need we say more? Yes, read on.
  • Lenovo IdeaPad 5: Down to basics with a powerful machine at an excellent price. Great entry-level machine for students and casual users alike.
  • Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5: The best Lenovo Chromebook when money is a consideration. Great for students, media, and general use.

Best Lenovo ThinkPad laptop: ThinkPad X1 Carbon

lenovo laptop thinkpad x1 carbon gen 9 1

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon is the culmination of ultrabook design.  This machine is the best Lenovo laptop out there for melding so many useful modern features together into a package fit for nearly anyone. 

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon is the culmination of ultrabook design.

Specs include a 16:10 (think; taller than normal) 14-inch IPS screen, A Core i7-1158G7 processor with Iris Xe graphics, 16GB of RAM, 512GB of storage, Windows Hello support via fingerprint or facial recognition, and military standard tested durability. All of this is in a package that only measures .59 inches thick and weighs just 2.49 pounds.

For the best of the best that Lenovo offers, look no further.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Renewed
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Renewed)
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

Looking for other recommendations? While the X1 Carbon is our top recommendation, keep reading below for other choices worth considering.

Best Lenovo ThinkBook laptop: ThinkBook 14p

lenovo laptop thinkbook 14 gen 2

While our first entry to this list was the ultimate workhorse, the ThinkBook 14 tones that down a bit. You won’t find a lot of the ThinkPad design language here, but this machine doesn’t skimp out on power either. 

With an i5-1135G7, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of SSD storage, and Windows 10 Pro, this mid-ranger can get your work done on the go while also serving as a general-use machine. 

Lenovo ThinkBook 15 Gen 2 Laptop Widget Image
Lenovo ThinkBook 15 Gen 2 Laptop (Ryzen 7, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD)

Best Lenovo laptop for students: Yoga 7i

lenovo yoga 7i laptop

The Yoga lineup has always been full of great lifestyle machines. Great screens, speakers, 2-in-1 functionality, and other features have made the lineup some of the best laptops for students. 

This addition to the Yoga lineup is powered by an i5-1135G7, 12GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage. The main draw to this lineup is the 360-degree hinge, which can turn the device into a tablet at will. Combine that with stylus compatibility and you can go from working to taking notes or drawing.

Additional security features are here too, such as a physical webcam switch and a fingerprint reader.

lenovo yoga 7i laptop
Lenovo Yoga 7i 2-in-1 laptop

Best Lenovo laptop for gaming: Legion 5 Pro Gen 6

lenovo legion 5 pro gen 6 gaming laptop

I was going to place a 15-inch Legion here to minimize the footprint, but I figured that if you want to do hardcore gaming on the go, you’re going to want to go all-in. This is the 16-inch Legion 5 Pro. Though prices are a bit messed up at the moment, $2,080 isn’t an awful asking price for this beast. 

Featuring a Ryzen 7 5800H, RTX 3060 graphics, and 16GB of RAM, you’ll be free to drive the 165Hz display to its limit. Thanks to the size of this laptop, Lenovo was able to fit some beefy cooling into the laptop, further benefitting the performance of your games.

Other specs include a QHD+ resolution, 100% sRGB coverage, and RGB backlighting on the keyboard. Game on!

lenovo legion 5 pro gen 6 gaming laptop
Lenovo Legion 5 Pro Gen 6

Best budget Lenovo laptop: IdeaPad 5

lenovo laptop ideapad

Back in my retail days, the machine I’d recommend to any budget-conscious buyer was usually a part of the IdeaPad lineup. Why? Well, a Ryzen 3 processor and 8GB of RAM in a laptop on their own were enough to make this laptop worth it. The addition of fast SSD storage, while a bit skimpy at 128GB, was the icing on the cake. 

Furthermore, $400 for all that, plus a 1080p IPS screen too adds…more icing to the cake. Basically, this is a great machine for anyone seeking out something simple, cost-effective, and long-lasting. It’s quick, big, and perfect for light-medium workloads. Just be sure to remove S Mode from your copy of Windows.

lenovo laptop ideapad
Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15-inch laptop

Best Lenovo Chromebook: Flex 5

lenovo chromebook flex 5

For those looking for a fast machine without paying the premium for performance on a Windows machine: Lenovo makes some of the best Chromebooks out there. The Flex 5 is equipped with a Core i3 processor and 4GB of RAM. 4GB may seem stingy, but keep in mind that ChromeOS doesn’t need beefy components to perform. 

The “Flex” branding on this machine denotes the laptop’s 2-in-1 functionality, which, just like Yogas, can turn the device into a tablet for various uses. This laptop is perfect for those looking for a versatile yet low-cost workhorse to bring along to school or for general use.

See also: Should I buy a Chromebook or a laptop?|The best Chromebooks you can buy

lenovo chromebook flex 5
Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5

Honorable mentions

That’s it for our list of the best Lenovo laptops you can buy, but it’s only a fraction of what’s out there. We also want to give an honorable mention to the following products:

Don’t forget your Accessories!

Not your cup of tea? Check out our picks of the best HP laptops you can buy.