Best Lenovo laptops for 2022

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Published Jun 3, 2022 4: 00 PM

Lenovo laptops aren’t always given the credit they deserve. Although the Lenovo name isn’t as well-known as Apple, HP, and Dell, it offers a huge catalog that rivals, and sometimes exceeds, its competition. The Lenovo lineup includes a wide range of models, from powerful creative machines to student-oriented productivity model, and everything in between. To make it easier, we have grouped these models into common categories. These are the top Lenovo laptops right now.

How we selected the best Lenovo laptops

I’ve covered laptops and other PCs for dozens of publications, including Digital Trends, How-to-Geek, and, of course, Popular Science. To this end, I have used my computing knowledge and experience as well as the perspectives of users and critics.

These categories and recommendations were chosen to connect all types of users with the best machines. We focus on models that have solid features and current hardware that will last for many years, rather than needing an upgrade in the future.

Things to consider before buying a laptop

Laptops require compromises as manufacturers try to squeeze powerful components and long-lasting battery packs into smaller spaces. These machines are limited in their hardware capacity, so they must be portable or power-efficient. A laptop with a powerful CPU or GPU will be bulky and heavy, and have a shorter battery life. You will have to give up on a discrete GPU for gaming if you want something light and thin.

Furthermore, rising costs as you upgrade components quickly reach prices most people can’t afford. It’s important to keep track of where money is best spent and where it’s okay to save. By investing a little more now (if you can), you can save money over the long-term by increasing the space between purchases.

Processor (CPU)

The central processing unit (or CPU) is the brain of your laptop. It is the engine that drives every process on your computer, so it is important to get one that is fast and versatile.

While many factors can affect your computer’s performance, the CPU is what makes it run fast. You want a higher clock frequency (often denoted by “GHz”), which is often denoted as 4. 20GHz), Core count, thread count, and cache, although the cache is not always that important. Different applications depend on different parts of the CPU to function better, such cores and threads in audio production.

There’s only two major brands when it comes CPUs: AMD and Intel. Unless you are in the high-end bracket, there isn’t much difference between their CPUs. But that’s unlikely to be a problem.

Graphics

All laptops have some processing power for creating graphics-animating videos, playing games, or visualizing other things. Many productivity laptops are built on integrated graphics, which is a chip embedded into the motherboard. This chip is used for word processing and crunching data. A discrete GPU is a separate processor that’s dedicated to graphics. This will allow you to play new games and run Adobe Photoshop and Premiere.

Your GPU is a priority. However, it will also be a place where compromises may be necessary. Even for smaller laptop GPUs, a larger graphics card will mean a heavier, more powerful, and more expensive laptop. If you’re buying a gaming laptop, the GPU is arguably your top priority, even over the CPU. If portability is your priority, you should focus on the processor. Many machines can find a happy middle ground between graphics power and weight.

There are two types of GPUs on the market: Nvidia or AMD. They both use the same AMD as the CPUs, they do both. Your first question might be “Do I need to pair AMD CPU with AMD GPU?” The answer to that is no. They are interchangeable and can work with any brand.

RAM & storage

Random Access Memory, or RAM, temporarily stores information for high-speed recovery. It allows your computer to take shortcuts and perform small tasks quickly. There is a correlation between how fast your computer runs and how much memory you have, as well as specific programs such as web browsers.

We recommend most people get a laptop with between 8GB to 16GB of RAM, but more is always better. Many laptops offer 32GB configurations, but it’s often overkill needed only for high-end gaming and video processing, and often comes at a steep premium.

Storage has proven difficult to pin down in recent years, as use-cases vary greatly. Even if you embrace storing all your files in the Cloud, apps and secure storage can fill up a 512GB hard drive before too long. Upgrades to 1TB or 2TB are great for those who work with files or images in games.

Technically, you always augment your laptop’s core storage with an external hard drive, so more important than size is the type of drive. Solid-state drives, especially Non-Volatile Memory Express drives (NVmE), offer faster read and writing speeds which allows for faster computing across the board.

The best Lenovo laptops: Reviews & Recommendations

Now that you have a general overview of the features and terms, let’s get into our recommendations for the best Lenovo laptops. Although we have listed the specific categories for each model, there is often overlap. We recommend that you read the entire list before making a decision. A gaming machine can also be used as a creative work rig.

Best overall: Yoga 9i (15.6-inch)

Buy it used or refurbished: eBay

Why it made the cut: This powerful machine is a great value considering its specs.

Specs

  • Display: 15.6” 1080p touchscreen.
  • HDR: HDR400
  • CPU: 10th Generation Intel Core i7-10750H
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti
  • RAM: 12GB
  • Storage: 512GB-2TB

Pros

  • Sturdy build
  • Slim, portable, and good looking
  • Excellent performance
  • Great value

Cons

  • Surprising lack of USB ports
  • 720p webcam

Very few laptops have everything you want at a price you can afford, but the 15-inch Lenovo Yoga 9i is one of those rare machines that do it all for a wide range of users. Though its 10th-generation Intel i7-10750H CPU and an Nvidia 1650 Ti graphics aren’t the latest and greatest processors, they offer mid-to-high-level performance for productivity, creative production, and gaming. The 15.6-inch touchscreen display, available in 1080p or 4K, looks sharp and bright.

The Yoga line is loved for its 2-in-1 design. It can be turned around to make your clamshell a tablet. Throw in 12GB of RAM, 512GB-2TB of SSD storage, and luxury features like Dolby Atmos support, and you have a goldilocks laptop for all kinds of PC owners.

It’s worth noting that Lenovo released an updated version of the 14-inch Lenovo 9i at the beginning of 2022, which features a newer Intel 12th-Gen processor, a much-needed 1080p webcam, a rotating Bowers & Wilkins soundbar, a 4K OLED screen options, and other upgrades. That said, it is much more productivity-focused, ditching its GPU for integrated graphics. We are currently reviewing this model, but we have decided to keep the slightly older but more complete model for this roundup. We believe it will be more useful for a wider variety of people.

Best for gaming: Legion 7i with RTX 2080

Why it made it: This gaming laptop is the best of the bunch.

Specs

  • Screen: 15.6” FHD, 240Hz refresh with HDR 400 and 500 nits of peak brightness
  • CPU: 10th Generation i9-10980HK
  • GPU: Nvidia RTX 2080 Super Max-Q 8GB
  • RAM: 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) of DDR4 at 2933MHz
  • Storage: 1 TB PCIe SSD & 512 GB PCIe SSD

Pros

  • Powerful GPU
  • Lots of storage
  • Generous amounts of RAM
  • Three months of Xbox game pass included

Cons

  • Gets hot

Gaming laptop technology has made some notable leaps over the past few years. This offering from Lenovo is pleasantly adept in adding portability to its power without sacrificing its performance. Lenovo crammed a powerful RTX 2080 into a relatively thin laptop that’s rather nice to look at.

While some companies will often pair a powerful GPU with a terrible CPU and cause a lot of bottlenecks, Lenovo has thankfully given us a 10th Generation i9-10980HK, a top-five CPU by Intel, with little chance of a bottleneck. The CPU is so powerful that you can do CPU-heavy tasks like playing intense strategy and simulation games, or audio production.

This hardware configuration should be able to run most games at very respectable graphics settings. In fact, the seemingly underpowered screen helps here, as the max resolution of 1920 x 1080 doesn’t push the GPU hard, so it’s much easier to run higher quality settings. We’ll also mention it’s an IPS panel, and, combined with the HDR 400, it provides some great color contrast, which is good if you want to do some creative work.

As for the rest of the specs, you get a very generous 32GB of RAM, so you’ll likely never have to worry about running Chrome again … probably. You also get both 1TB and 512GB SSDs, so there’s ample space compared to some other gaming laptops, although an external hard drive will help with larger games.

Before closing this out, we do want to mention that there’s a model of the Legion 7i with an RTX 2060, which is a good alternative if the RTX 2080 version is out of budget.

Best for video editing: ThinkPad P1 Gen 4 Intel

Why it made the cut: Ultimately, the decision between going with this version vs. the version with an RTX A4000 Max-Q is the value proposition, with the RTX A2000 version coming out slightly ahead.

Specs

  • Screen: 16.0” WQUXGA touchscreen with HDR 400 and 600 nits of peak brightness
  • CPU: Intel Xeon W-11855M Processor with vPro
  • GPU: NVIDIA RTX A2000 4GB
  • RAM: 64 (2 x 32 GB) GB DDR4 3200MHz
  • Storage: 1 TB PCIe SSD

Pros

  • GPU designed specifically for graphics processing
  • Generous amounts of RAM
  • Has a touchscreen
  • Thin and portable

Cons

  • A little bit pricey
  • Covers only 90% of DCI-P3

Nvidia’s RTX A-series GPUs are made specifically for photo and video editing, built using the same silicon manufacturing process as the RTX 3050 and RTX 3060. They can handle some gaming but not as well as Nvidia’s gaming GPUs.

The GPU drives the screen and, in this case, you get a 16-inch WQUXGA beauty with HDR 400 and an IPS panel. It provides really excellent contrast that will help you in your editing work, although it only covers 90% of the DCI-P3 color space. It’s not a dealbreaker. The touchscreen makes it a little more functional. The Intel Xeon CPU is a processor that professionals use, and one you might not be familiar with if your only experience with the consumer market. As for the Intel Xeon W-11855M that’s specifically in this laptop, it’s a top-of-the-line CPU and is mostly beat out by the eight-core version.

As for the rest of the specs, the most eye-bulging part is the massive 64GB RAM, which is really more than enough for a desktop and probably more than you’ll likely use. You get a 1TB SSD for storage, which is great for any type of activity, except heavy gaming.

If you’re willing to pay an extra $400-$500 or so, then grabbing this ThinkPad P1 Gen will give you access to 8GB of VRAM and the A4000 Max-Q, which will be a bit better for editing work. Just bear in mind you get less ram (32GB), no touchscreen, and a slightly less powerful CPU.

Best for students: IdeaPad Gaming 3 15”

Why it was selected: Balancing price vs. features is not an easy task, especially for students. But the Gaming 3 does it quite well.

Specs

  • Screen: 15.6” FHD with 120Hz refresh and 250 nits of peak brightness
  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 4800H Processor
  • GPU: NVIDIA GTX 1650 Ti 4GB
  • RAM: 8 GB DDR4 3200MHz
  • Storage: 1 TB 5400 RPM HDD & 512 GB PCIe SSD

Pros

  • Versatile laptop
  • Great pricing
  • Minimal to no CPU or GPU throttling
  • 120Hz refresh rate

Cons

  • Low peak brightness of 250nints
  • Battery life of only 4-5 hours

The 15-inch model provides quite a bit of display real estate, which can come in handy when trying to run several tabs or productivity software at the same time. This is compared to other budget laptops that are targeted at students, which often don’t go above 14-inches. You’ll still get an excellent experience if you watch movies or play video games on the FHD screen.

Speaking of gaming, the Gaming 3 comes with a GTX 1650 Ti, a relatively powerful GPU even if it’s not in the RTX lineup. You won’t be playing AAA games, but you can manage AA and lower. More importantly, though, the GTX 1650 Ti allows you to do graphics and video editing work without having to spend thousands on a specific laptop for that.

Of course, you also get the AMD Ryzen 7 4800H, which is a CPU that leans toward the higher end of the middle bracket in terms of performance. This means that you can do audio editing and streaming, if necessary.

As for the rest of the specs, the storage is surprisingly roomy, as you get a 1TB HDD and a 512GB SSD, which should be more than enough for most needs, even light gaming. The RAM is a little bit on the low side at 8GB, and we would have liked to have seen it at 16GB, but given that they’re trying to keep the costs down, it makes sense. The Gaming 3 is easy to open and upgrade, so you can always add more later.

The biggest downside to the device is its battery life. You won’t get more than four to five hours of use from it, and maybe six if it’s being cared for. It all depends on how easy you can access power for your daily usage. The screen’s peak brightness doesn’t reach blazing levels, so it will be difficult to use in direct sunlight.

Best for business: ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 (14”, Intel)

Why it made it: Its extreme portability and good specs make it a clear winner in business use.

Specs

  • Screen: 14.0” WUXGA with 400 nits of brightness
  • CPU: 11th Generation Intel i5-1135G7
  • GPU: Integrated Intel Iris Xe Graphics
  • RAM: 8 GB 4266MHz
  • Storage: 256 GB PCIe SSD

Pros

  • Slim and portable
  • Great battery life
  • Excellent keyboard
  • Perfect screen for its usage

Cons

  • Mediocre webcam
  • Lack of SD card reader

While business needs can vary greatly, portability is always a key factor. The Carbon Gen 9 does a pretty excellent job of that, measuring 12.4 x 8.7 x 0.6 inches and weighing 2.5 pounds, making this one of the lightest laptops around.

Even better, it packs an 11th gen Intel i5-1135G7, a pretty powerful CPU for business needs. That being said, there are only 8GB of RAM, and while it runs on a very high 4266MHz speed, it still might be a bit too little for power users. If you open many Chrome tabs and apps at once, you might have some issues.

Storage is also slightly on the lower end with a 256GB SSD, although truthfully, most business cases will likely see you using some form of external storage, so ultimately it isn’t going to be an issue. The integrated Iris Xe graphics will be sufficient to run presentations and movies at higher resolution.

The biggest positive here is the battery life, which can be anywhere between 15-17 hours at maximum, assuming you lower the brightness to 50%. That’s incredibly impressive for a laptop and easily beats out other competitors like the Dell XPS 13 and the Asus Expertbook. Of course, if you’re running 1080p at 100% brightness, it’s going to be a bit lower, maybe around 9-10 hours, but that’s still very impressive for a laptop.

We appreciate the inclusion a fingerprint reader. This is an important feature that makes security more simple. While you’ll likely need to pick up a hardware security key to do two-factor authentication, it’s one less hurdle to make your life difficult. That being said, the camera is only a 720p which isn’t the end of the world, but a nicer one would have been appreciated.

Finally, if you’re willing to pay the extra $500, the upgraded model is really good, with 32GB of RAM, 512GB of storage, and a nicer 11th Gen Intel i7-1185G7.

Best budget: IdeaPad Flex 3 (11″, AMD) 2 in 1 Laptop

Why it made it: Although the specs aren’t the best, they’re balanced well against the price.

Specs

  • Screen: 11.6” FHD touchscreen with 300 nits of peak brightness
  • CPU: AMD Athlon Silver 3050e Processor
  • GPU: Integrated AMD Radeon Graphics
  • RAM: 4 GB 2400MHz
  • Storage: 64 GB

Pros

  • Great build quality
  • Good battery life
  • Keyboard is nice to use
  • Touchscreen

Cons

  • Dated design
  • Lack of USB-C

Most laptop tasks don’t require heavy duty hardware. A budget model such as this can be a great option for users who only need to perform basic tasks. The Flex 3 is a very affordable keyboard that can be used to type articles or reports. This is in addition to the touchscreen. This means that even if you don’t use the keyboard, you can flip the screen over to use it as a tablet. This helps you save space. It is also easy to transport, which is a huge advantage if you live in a complex environment that requires a lot of moving.

While the CPU and GPU may not be very powerful, they can still get the basics done. Productivity software like Microsoft Office 365 won’t have an issue running on it, or really most simple applications. It won’t run any gaming, but it’s not high on the priority list of budget laptops. And it’s perfectly fine for streaming movies and shows for off-the-clock entertainment.

In terms of build quality, it is made from plastic. Storage is a bit lackluster at 64GB, but then you can always get a super-cheap USB to help supplement that, so it’s not a dealbreaker.

Finally, battery life is pretty excellent, and it should last eight or nine hours performing basic taste at 50% brightness.

FAQs

Q: Is Lenovo a good make of laptop?

Yes, Lenovo has a great reputation that it has earned through the years. Although there have been some bumps in the road, the company’s current lineup is solid. The company has also increased its product range, so you can be sure to find the right laptop for you.

Q: How much does a Lenovo laptop cost?

Lenovo laptops can cost as low as $375 and as high as $5,000; it depends wholly on what you’re buying and what your needs are, but suffice to say, they have a laptop for pretty much every budget.

Q: Which is the best gaming laptop of Lenovo?

The best gaming laptop from Lenovo is the Legion 7i with RTX 2080. The RTX 2080 is a powerful GPU and it’s well-priced for the spec; going for a more expensive GPU gives diminishing returns compared to the price.

Q: What is the best Lenovo budget laptop?

The best Lenovo budget laptop is the IdeaPad Flex 3. It’s less than $400, has good battery life, is sturdy, and is great if you just need a device to do work and get online for work or study.

Final thoughts on the best Lenovo laptops

Lenovo has developed a comprehensive range of laptops. This can make it difficult for people who aren’t tech-savvy to make a decision. However, you shouldn’t be too worried.

The deciding factor in choosing the best Lenovo laptop is your budget. Next, consider any special needs such as screen size, battery life, and general use. Although we believe we have done a good job in giving you the best laptops in various categories, there is no reason to not consider other models with better or worse specs. The comparison feature on Lenovo’s website gives you a quick overview of their computers. You can choose up to four devices and it will compare them all.

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