Best Lenovo laptops: Best overall, best battery life, and more – PCWorld

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Whether you’re looking for powerful internals or an awesome keyboard, Lenovo laptops are both reliable and highly rated. Here at PCWorld, we’ve personally used and tested a number of Lenovo laptops, from ThinkPads to Yogas and everything in between.
While everything on the list below has its pros and cons, there’s one laptop that really stands out from the rest. The Lenovo ThinkPad Carbon Gen 9 nabbed our top spot because of its roomy display, stellar keyboard, and quiet operation, but the Lenovo Yoga 9i and IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon also wowed us in recent reviews, with both earning spots below.
Read on to learn more, and be sure to visit our guide to the best laptops overall if you want to peruse the cream of the crop from every notebook maker.
Updated 10/13/2022: To include the Lenovo Slim 9i as our pick for best display and the Lenovo Slim 7 Pro X as our pick for best ultraportable for gaming. Check out the reviews below for more info on our new recommendations.
Pros
Cons
ThinkPads are generally hailed as being awesome business laptops because of their comfortable keyboards and silent operation. With its quiet keyboard, security features, and booming audio, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 is one such laptop. It’s packing a quad-core Core i7-1185G7, 16GB of RAM, and integrated Iris Xe graphics. That means it’s well-equipped to handle “Office and other productivity apps” and “a variety of multitasking scenarios.” The real star of the show is the 16:10 display, though, as it gives you plenty of room to work with. If you consider yourself a business professional, you’ll definitely want to pick this one up.
Pros
Cons
The Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 has a lot to offer. Not only is it affordable (well under a grand), but it also features discrete graphics. That’s a pretty unique combination right there. Between the Core i5 processor and the discrete Nvidia GeForce MX350, you can expect a good amount of productivity power out of this machine. It can handle “Office and daily PC duties with ease.” And, as with most Lenovo laptops, the keyboard is an absolute dream to type on. According to our tester, “the keys themselves offer plenty of travel and keystrokes feel snappy and springy.” Battery life is mediocre, but aside from that, it’s a great laptop for all of the features you’re getting.
Pros
Cons
The Lenovo Yoga 9i is a fantastic convertible. It has an attractive design, a dazzling OLED display, and great sound quality. Plus, the 12th-gen Intel processor really boosts performance. According to our tester, the processor “packs four performance cores and eight efficiency cores.” That’s quite a bit of power. The 74 watt-hour battery is quite large for a compact 2-in-1 as well. When we put the laptop through our battery test, it died in about 12 hours. You can expect this laptop to last through the work day. There’s a couple of minor nitpicks to be aware of, though. The 19:9 aspect ratio makes the screen feel a bit squished and the touchpad is smaller than we like. If you can live with those small drawbacks, the Yoga 9i is well worth considering.
Pros
Cons
If you’re looking for all-day battery life, you’ve come to the right place. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano lasted about sixteen hours during our battery test, in which we looped 4K video. That’s pretty impressive for a 48-Watt-hour battery. And, weighing just shy of two pounds, the Nano is also shockingly lightweight. In our review, the tester “loved toting it around” from room to room. If you’re looking for a portable laptop with fantastic battery life, the Nano is a great option.
Pros
Cons
If you prefer using Chrome OS over anything else, you’ll want to check out Lenovo’s Chromebook Flex 5. It has a 1080p IPS display, a responsive keyboard, and an Intel Core i3-1011U processor. Personally, I like Chromebooks because they’re largely virus free and they make great productivity machines. While the Flex 5 isn’t the most powerful laptop in the world, the “processor is a cut above the Pentium- and Celeron-powered machines that sell in the $200 to $300 range.” The 13-inch touchscreen display also produces sharp visuals and can swing around 360-degrees. The fact that this Chromebook is a convertible makes it much more versatile.
Pros
Cons
The Lenovo Slim 9i brings a ton of great features, but its 4K OLED really stands out. It is one of the most impressive laptop displays we have ever seen and it’s on an ultraportable no less. The Slim 9i also packs some seriously strong performance with the latest Intel Core i7 processor, an ample 32GB of RAM, and a decently sized 1TB PCIe SSD. That is plenty to get just about anything you need done while on the go. Additionally, it has a few sneaky features that impressed our reviewer, such as a robust audio system and a 1080p webcam.
For all of these features however, you should expect to pay a premium, and the Lenovo Slim 9i is no exception. But if you have the money to afford it, you will be rewarded with not only a fantastic screen, but also great performance.
Pros
Cons
When it comes to the Lenovo Flex 5G laptop, there’s a lot to love. It has blazingly fast 5G data speeds, a bright FHD display, and super long battery life. What more can you ask for? When we put the Flex 5G through our battery test, which simulates real-world use, it lasted a whopping 27 hours. While that’s all well and good, the laptop weighs around three pounds, as it needs more space to house the massive 60 Watt-hour battery. That means it’s won’t weigh down your backpack, but it’s not the lightest ultraportable laptop around. The Arm-based Qualcomm Snapdragon processor also can run into some software compatibility problems with applications that don’t come from the Microsoft Store in Windows. That said, if you stick mostly to browser and Office-type work and prioritize all day battery life with on-the-go mobile connectivity, the Flex 5G is a great laptop.
Pros
Cons
If you need a basic business laptop, the Lenovo ThinkPad E13 is a good option. It comes equipped with an Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor, Iris Xe graphics, 16GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. The 14-inch 1080p IPS matte finish display is visible in direct sunlight, but the “300-nit brightness level is on the dim side for a higher-end laptop.” The keyboard offers plenty of tactile feedback and the port selection is diverse. The ThinkPad E14 does surprisingly well under heavier loads, too. That said, the trackpad is a bit small and battery life is relatively unimpressive. These tradeoffs don’t come as a surprise, though, as the E14 is an entry-level model.
Pros
Cons
If you’re working with a tight budget, the Lenovo ThinkBook 14s Yoga is a more affordable option. It delivers solid mid-range performance like office productivity tasks, web browsing, video conferencing, and so on. Like most Lenovo laptops, the keyboard feels “snappy and quiet when pressed.” It’s a good keyboard for long typing sessions, that’s for sure. But there are a few trade-offs. According to our tester, the Yoga runs a bit warm and battery life is less-than-stellar. We managed to squeeze out about seven hours on a single charge, which is far from a fully work day. The 1080 IPS touchscreen display is pretty dim, too.
Pros
Cons
From zippy multimedia performance to punchy audio, the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon has a lot to offer. The real star of the show is the 14-inch 2880-by-1800 OLED display. According to the reviewer, “the contrast is outstanding, with the deepest blacks and brightest whites.” As for colors, they’re “accurate and noticeably vibrant.” The screen is a perfect fit for creative professionals who do a lot of photo editing. In addition to the stunning panel, it also weighs just a little over two pounds, making it a capable travel laptop. There are a few minor shortcomings, though. The keyboard isn’t the best and battery life is less-than-stellar. However, we feel the pros really outweigh the cons here.
Pros
Cons
Lenovo’s Legion 5 Pro delivers impressive game performance with a 12th-gen Intel processor and an RTX 3070 Ti GPU. But where this laptop really shines is its astounding array of ports. It somehow finds room for a Thunderbolt 4/USB-C 4 port, two USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 ports, two USB-A ports, an HDMI 2.1 port, an ethernet port, and a 3.5mm audio jack.
The display does have a rather flat color profile, which means it can oftentimes lack vividness and contrast. However, with the terrific price-to-performance and outstanding connectivity features, the Legion 5 Pro makes for a great option.
Pros
Cons
The Lenovo Slim 7 Pro X provides excellent portable performance at an alluring price. It comes with a Ryzen 6900HS, RTX 3050, an ample 32GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD. Given these specs you will find it hits a sweet spot, especially for prosumers who want the best of both worlds with a do-it-all laptop for productivity and light gaming.
It does have a few flaws such as rather weak connectivity with no Thunderbolt 4, ethernet, or a dedicated video-out port. Its screen, while fine for the average user, also doesn’t compare to the other options from Lenovo that have OLED displays. But ultimately, these issues are minor and can be overlooked given the impressive overall performance and flexibility of the Slim 7 Pro X.
The PCWorld team puts each and every Windows laptop through a series of benchmarks that test GPU and CPU performance, battery life, and so on. The idea is to push the laptop to its limits and then compare it against others we’ve tested. Chromebooks, on the other hand, go through a series of web-based tests. It wouldn’t be fair or possible to run the same kinds of tests on a Chromebook, as they’re Chrome OS-based machines. Below, you’ll find a breakdown of each test and the reasons why we run them.
Ah, here we are at the billion dollar question. Do you spring for a basic Chromebook or go for a Windows laptop with more features? Well, it really depends on your personal lifestyle and what you plan on using your laptop for. For example, Chromebooks are a great low cost option for those who just want the basics. I use a Chromebook as my primary work laptop, as it has everything I need for both editing and writing. If you travel a bunch for work, it’s probably a good idea to invest in a laptop with solid battery life. If you’re still unsure, don’t sweat it. I’ve put together a list of quick tips below.
It mainly depends on the type of GPU your Lenovo laptop comes equipped with. Typically, Lenovo laptops are aimed more for the professional business and work crowd, so they don’t tend to focus on GPU performance. They favor productivity operations and therefore focus on optimizing CPU performance, durability, and versatility of use in their design.
Most likely, your Lenovo laptop will come equipped with some form of integrated graphics rather than the more robust discrete graphics needed for gaming. This doesn’t mean you can’t do some gaming on them, but it isn’t their intended use and if gaming is a priority, it might be best to look elsewhere.
Yes, some of the latest processors with integrated graphics can run modern PC games at decent settings. For example, Intel’s latest Iris Xe line of processors with integrated graphics have been shown to run some of the latest games at 1080p and 30 fps. Luckily, it seems that Lenovo favors the Iris Xe, and we have seen many new models come equipped with these new line of integrated graphics. Be careful, however, as not all integrated graphics are up to the task.
Intel—and even AMD’s—integrated graphics have made huge leaps in recent years with regard to gaming performance. So, if you’re in the market for a new Lenovo and you want to do some gaming on the side, with the latest integrated graphics you don’t have to sacrifice one for the other. We recommend checking out Intel’s Core 12th-gen Iris Xe or AMD’s brand new Ryzen 6000 RDNA 2.
This is really personal preference. If you intend to travel a lot with your Lenovo laptop then a smaller, more portable size in the neighborhood of 13 to 14 inches is recommended. If you want to also watch movies or need a large touchscreen on a Lenovo laptop, then you should look for something in the 15 to 17 inch range. Also, keep in mind the weight of the laptop before you buy it. Ultra thin models or 2-in-1s can weigh a featherlight 2 pounds while durable high-processing machines top the scales at three or four times that.
Ashley is a professional writer and editor with a strong background in tech and pop culture. She has written for high traffic websites such as Polygon, Kotaku, StarWars.com, and Nerdist. In her off time, she enjoys playing video games, reading science fiction novels, and hanging out with her rescue greyhound.
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