It’s been more than a decade since IBM stopped making ThinkPad laptops, yet you’re still likely to see them in the halls of industry, thanks to Lenovo. The company formerly known as Legend computers of Beijing, China, still produces the well-regarded laptop line, with its beloved AccuType keyboard, but it’s not content to rest on its laurels. Rather, it continues to innovative with radical designs like the Yoga line, which has influenced other PC manufacturers to adopt its basic mechanism in their 2-in-1 convertible laptop designs.
Lenovo’s laptops are centered on two main model lines: ThinkPads and IdeaPads. ThinkPads are the classically styled, business-oriented laptops. You’ll find small- and medium-business (SMB) support with the ThinkPad E series, which are aimed at deployments from one to a couple dozen systems at once. If you’re buying for a large to enterprise-class business, ThinkPad systems can be purchased with disk images for your IT folks (which allows you to share the same desktop image or setup across all your systems), and since they don’t refresh quarterly, you can be assured that the ThinkPads you buy a year from now will have accessory and driver compatibility with whatever you buy today.
Lenovo IdeaPads are aimed mainly at consumers, though design-forward business people may gravitate toward using an IdeaPad as a primary PC. You’ll find some preloaded apps on many IdeaPad systems, particularly those bought from big box stores. Look for Microsoft Store– or Microsoft Signature–prepped systems to avoid preinstalled bloatware.
Chromebooks are popular choices for buyers on a budget. Google’s Chrome OS is simple to manage and use, since it centers on the Chrome Web browser and related apps. Lenovo has a few chromebook choices, including inexpensive consumer models, and more rugged ThinkPad chromebooks for businesses and schools.
Then there are the hybrid systems, the ones that can function as both laptops and tablets. The company’s Flex and Yoga laptops pioneered the 2-in-1 convertible laptop movement. Yoga laptops have the ability to flip into four positions: conventional Laptop mode, video-viewing Stand mode, game-playing Tent mode, and reading-oriented Tablet mode. Lenovo’s initial designs were so influential that other major PC manufacturers like Dell, HP, and Toshiba have released systems using similar hinges.
For more, check out our 10 favorites overall, as well as our lists of the best chromebooks, cheap laptops, business laptops, and gaming laptops.
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Lenovo ThinkPad T450s
The Lenovo ThinkPad T450s is the latest, refined version of the quintessential business laptop, with a hot-swappable battery, a full set of connectivity options, and a chassis that can take a licking.
Lenovo IdeaPad 100S-11 (80R2003XUS)
The Lenovo IdeaPad 100S-11 is a well-built ultraportable laptop that features a lightweight design, competent performance, and more than 11 hours of battery life, at a very low price.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (4th Gen, 2016)
Durable and long-lasting, but slick and thin, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is the business laptop to beat.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga
The ThinkPad X1 Yoga draws from the best aspects of our favorite Lenovo business laptops, offering a slim convertible design, long battery life, and enough ports and features to help you stay productive at the office or on the road.
Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 260
The Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 260 is an excellent business-oriented convertible-hybrid laptop with best-in-class performance in a lightweight, but sturdy, body.
Lenovo Yoga 900
The Lenovo Yoga 900 premium convertible-hybrid laptop is a wonder of engineering, with a complex multimode hinge that lets you use it in a wide variety of positions. Yet it measures just a half-inch thick.
Lenovo IdeaPad Y700-17 (80Q0001NUS)
The Lenovo IdeaPad Y700-17 is an excellent entry-level gaming laptop with a big screen and fast hardware. It can play demanding games smoothly at moderate to high settings, and you get plenty of storage, good port options, and a killer sound system in the bargain.
Lenovo ThinkPad 11e Chromebook
The Lenovo ThinkPad 11e Chromebook is a Celeron-powered, Chrome-based laptop built to endure the rigors of the classroom.
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s
The Lenovo ThinkPad T460s is slimmer and lighter than its predecessor, and is a prime example of what your mobile office workers need in a business laptop.
Lenovo Yoga 900S
The Lenovo Yoga 900S is one of the thinnest and longest-lasting convertible-hybrid Windows laptops you can get. It’s highly portable and has a full-size keyboard, but you will pay for these conveniences.