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 08/2/2022 Check out our latest review of the Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Yoga Gen 7. We didn’t include it in our best-of list due to its high price, but if you can afford it, it still makes an ideal 2-in-1 for work and travel. We also reviewed the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro gaming laptop, which offers a ton of connectivity.
1. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 – Best overall
- Roomy 16:10 display
- Thin and light yet rugged
- Stellar keyboard
- Quiet operation
- Booming audio
- Two Thunderbolt 4 ports
- Webcam limited to 720p
- Display color is a bit cool
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.
Read our full
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 review
2. Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 14IIL05 82A4000MUS – Best budget
- Facial and fingerprint biometrics
- Dolby Atmos sound
- Thunderbolt 3 port
- Discrete graphics
- Middling battery life
- Pedestrian design
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.
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Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 14IIL05 82A4000MUS review
3. Lenovo Yoga 9i 14 (2022) – Best convertible and best design
- Sturdy and sleek all-metal chassis
- Long battery life
- Impressive audio output
- Comfortable keyboard
- 16:9 screen feels cramped
- Included stylus is too skinny
- Undersized touchpad
- Limited ports all on left side
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.
Read our full
Lenovo Yoga 9i 14 (2022) review
4. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano 20UN000EUS – Most portable
- Perfect balance of performance and battery life
- Premium keyboard
- Facial recognition and presence detection
- Weighs less than 2 pounds
- Only two ports (Thunderbolt 4, at least)
- No touchscreen on this particular SKU
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.
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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano 20UN000EUS review
5. Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 – Best Chromebook
- Attractive design
- Punchy audio
- Excellent keyboard
- Mediocre performance
- Subpar battery life
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.
Read our full
Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 review
6. Lenovo Flex 5G – Best battery life
- Blisteringly fast 5G data speeds
- Bright FHD display
- Incredibly long battery life
- IR facial recognition and fingerprint reader
- Middling productivity performance
- Limited Verizon 5G coverage
- No USB Type-A ports
- Shallow keyboard
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.
Read our full
Lenovo Flex 5G review
7. Lenovo ThinkPad E14 Gen 2 – Best keyboard
- Keyboard feels great to type on
- Anti-glare display works well in sunlight
- Ethernet and HDMI ports built in
- Trackpad could be smoother and larger
- Mediocre battery life
- Thick and heavy design
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.
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Lenovo ThinkPad E14 Gen 2 review
8. Lenovo ThinkBook 14s Yoga – Best mid-range
- Durable, yet light aluminum chassis
- Strong productivity application performance
- Comfortable keyboard
- Thunderbolt 4 support
- Below-average battery life (about 7 hours)
- Display is dim, and 16:9 aspect ratio isn’t ideal for productivity
- Runs a tad warm
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.
Read our full
Lenovo ThinkBook 14s Yoga review
9. Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon – Best affordable OLED display
- 2.8K OLED display is gorgeous
- Booming audio
- Quiet operation
- Strong application and multimedia performance
- So-so keyboard
- Lid is so thin it flexes a bit too much
- Below-average battery life
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.
Read our full
Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon review
How we tested
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.
- PCMark 10: PCMark 10 is how we determine how well the laptop handles lighter tasks like web browsing, word processing, spreadsheets, and so on.
- HandBrake: HandBrake is more intensive than PCMark 10. It basically measures how long a laptop’s CPU takes to encode a beefy 30GB file.
- Cinebench: Cinebench is a brief stress test of the CPU cores. It does this by rendering a 2D scene over a short period of time.
- 3DMark: 3DMark checks if 3D performance remains consistent over time by running graphic-intensive clips.
- Video rundown test: To gauge battery life, we loop a 4K video using Windows 10’s Movies & TV app until the laptop dies.
- CrXPRT 2: The CrXPRT 2 benchmark tests a Chromebook’s battery life.
- Speedometer 2.0: This test determines a Chromebook’s web browser performance. It simulates this by adding, completing, and removing a to-do list.
- Basemark Web 3.0: This benchmark gauges how well a Chromebook can handle web-based applications.
What kind of laptop should you get?
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.
- Laptop type: The first question you should ask yourself is what kind of laptop you’re looking for. There’s traditional clamshells, 2-in-1’s, Chromebooks, and much more. The displays on convertible laptops (aka 2-in-1’s), for example, can swing around 360 degrees. This allows you to use the laptop like a tablet. They can also be propped up like a tent for viewing movies or participating in video calls. Chromebooks, on the other hand, exclusively run Google’s web-focused Chrome OS and are generally used for everyday tasks. All you need is a Gmail account and boom, you’re in. There are pros and cons to each of them. Chromebooks are affordable and generally have good battery life whereas convertibles are normally lightweight and portable.
- CPU: If it’s CPU power you’re looking for, look for processors with higher numerical names. A Core i7 is more suited to gaming and more intense work than everyday tasks. Intel processors are available in Core i3, Core i5, Core i7, and Core i9. The higher the number, the more powerful the CPU. If you don’t need a ton of power, Intel Core i5 processors are your best bet, as they offer good performance at a decent price. Basic office and web work gets along just fine on a Core i3. As for AMD options, the Ryzen 3 is good for basic productivity and web browsing, while Ryzen 5 chips rival Intel’s Core i5 as solid all-arounders. If you need more power, the Ryzen 7 chip is well suited for content creation like video editing. Finally, if you’re dealing with 4K video, spring for a Ryzen 9.
- Graphics: You’ll want a discrete graphics card for hardcore gaming or editing videos. It’s separate from the processor, so you can expect higher performance out of it. Integrated graphics, on the other hand, are attached to the CPU and uses less power as a result. This is perfectly fine for everyday tasks, especially if you’re not doing anything that’s graphics-intensive.
- RAM: 8GB of RAM is zippy enough for general use. If you’ve got a gaming laptop, 16GB of RAM is the way to go, and content creators will want even more.
- Display size: If you’re a video editor or someone who does a lot of multimedia work, you’ll want a display that’s anywhere from 15- to 17-inches. The sweet spot is really anywhere from 13- to 14-inches, though. The bigger the display, the heavier your laptop is going to be. A 13- or 14-inch display is the best in terms of portability and value.
- Battery life: If you plan on taking your laptop anywhere with you, aim for something that can last 10 to 12 hours on a single charge. That’s more than a full work day, so it should theoretically get you through long flights or a day of classes. Obviously, more is always better. Just know that the bigger the battery, the heavier the laptop.
- Price: The price really depends on your budget. If you’re strapped for cash (been there, trust me), go for a Chromebook or an entry-level business laptop. These laptops are good choices for students or young professionals. If you can afford to spend more, the versatility of a 2-in-1 laptop is really worth it.
- Ports: A wide array of ports is always a plus in my book, as it eliminates the need for an adapter. I’d recommend a laptop that has both USB-C and USB-A. An HDMI port is good, too. This is especially useful for when you want to hook up to an external monitor.
Can you also game on a Lenovo laptop?
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.
Can integrated graphics be used for gaming?
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.
What size laptop is best?
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.