Best Lenovo Laptops Windows Central 2021
Lenovo's myriad laptop lineups have seen some exciting improvements over the last few years, and there are a ton of best Lenovo laptops, whether you need something for general use, for gaming, for heavy design and development work, or the corporate world. For most people, the Yoga C940 is likely the best bet. It's all thanks to your choice of a 14- or 15-inch frame, beautiful 4K display options, robust soundbar hinge, and stable performance. It's among the very best Windows laptop options available. However, if you need something a bit different, we've rounded up Lenovo's best right here.
- Best Overall: Lenovo Yoga C940 14
- Best Overall: Lenovo Yoga C940 15
- Best Mobility: Lenovo Flex 5G
- Best Gaming: Lenovo Legion 7i 15
- Best Value: Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14
- Best Business: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme (Gen 3)
- Best Business Mobility: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen 8)
- Best Business Convertible: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (Gen 5)
Best Overall: Lenovo Yoga C940
Lenovo has overhauled its premium convertible Yoga C lineup with both 14- and 15-inch sizes for the C940. Both models still have a unique soundbar hinge for robust audio, now set as one piece instead of split into two. It's a more seamless look, and the sound is as good as ever. The bezel is thin around the FHD or 4K touch display, complete with inking support and a pen that's built right into the chassis.
The 15-inch version can be had with up to a 9th Gen Intel Core i9-9880H vPro processor (CPU), 16GB of DDR4 RAM, 2TB M.2 PCIe NCMe solid-state drive (SSD), and dedicated NVIDIA GTX 1650 graphics card (GPU) with 4GB of VRAM. If you need the best performance, you'll want to stick with the larger model. However, the 14-inch Yoga C940 boasts up to a 10th Gen Core i7-1065G7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 2TB PCIe SSD. Just no dedicated GPU here.
With both models, you get two Thunderbolt 3 ports, a single USB-A 3.1, and a 3.5mm audio jack, and both come with a fingerprint reader and webcam shutter for better security. The keyboards are comfortable on both models, but if you prefer a full number pad, you'll have to go with the 15-inch model. If you don't mind a convertible that can work as a tablet and a notebook, the Yoga C940 is one impressive machine.
- Premium convertible design in 14- or 15-inch options
- 4K touch display with HDR
- Soundbar hinge with impressive audio
- Dedicated GPU in 15-inch option
- 10th Gen Intel Core CPUs in 14-inch option
- Prices climb quickly
- Might not need a convertible
Best Mobility: Lenovo Flex 5G
ARM-powered PCs are popular among the crowds that need to stay connected at all times, and Lenovo has taken it a step further by introducing 5G connectivity to the Flex 5G. Coverage is still spotty, but if you're in a 5G zone, you'll be able to experience exceptionally fast mobile internet. A SIM slot and eSIM are included.
The laptop is powered by a Snapdragon 8cx CPU, 8GB of LPDDR4x RAM, and it has 256GB of UFS 3.0 storage for fast read speeds. ARM has some limitations, but you should be able to enjoy just about any app, whether emulated or not. The battery provides about 12 hours of life from a charge, even if you use the laptop all day and have the screen brightness cranked up. Impressive.
Lenovo didn't skimp on the display, injecting precise color reproduction and around 400 nits brightness. It does have a glossy finish, but it shouldn't be too much of an issue unless you're working primarily outdoors. The laptop is a convertible, meaning it comes with a touch display and the ability to rotate around into tent, stand, and tablet modes. It even supports an active pen for inking.
- Unlocked 4G and 5G SIM and eSIM
- Extreme battery life, always on
- Slick design
- Attractive display
- Good performance
- Expensive "5G tax"
- No hibernate
- Glossy screen
- No Wi-Fi 6
Best Gaming: Lenovo Legion 7i 15
Whereas you're going to find mid-range performance from the Legion 5i 15, the Legion 7i 15 steps things up with more hardware options in an otherwise similar design. You can get up to a 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10750H CPU, 32GB of RAM, and 1TB PCIe SSD coupled with a 512GB PCIe SSD (RAM and SSD upgradeable), all backed up by an NVIDIA RTX 2080 Super Max-Q GPU. If you're not looking to spend a ton of money, there are way more configurations available, starting with a Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM, 256GB SSD, and NVIDIA GTX 1660 Ti GPU.
The generous port selection is mostly contained to a rear hub for easy cable management, with a few along the sides, like USB-A and 3.5mm audio, for connecting common accessories. Wi-Fi 6 is included for fast and reliable wireless internet, plus there's an RJ45 Ethernet port if you'd rather go for wired internet. An 80Wh battery does its best, but don't expect more than an hour or two.
The TrueStrike keyboard brings decent travel, whether you're gaming or typing, and Corsair iCue RGB lighting lets you customize the look. The 15.6-inch display comes in a few options, though all are 1080p. The baseline option has a 144Hz refresh rate, 3ms response time, and 100% sRGB color. The mid-range option has a 144Hz refresh rate, 3ms response time, 100% AdobeRGB color, and VESA DisplayHDR 400. And finally, the high-end option has a 240Hz refresh rate, 1ms response time, 100% sRGB color, and VESA DisplayHDR 400.
- Tons of powerful hardware options
- High-end display options
- Upgradeable SSD and RAM
- Understated design with RGB lighting
- Rear port hub layout
- Battery life not amazing
- No 4K display option
Best Value: Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14
The IdeaPad Flex 5 14 got a big boost this year from AMD Ryzen 4000 mobile CPUs. Available with either Ryzen 5 4500U or Ryzen 7 4700U chips, you're going to get stellar performance at a price that can't be beaten by Intel. Battery life in the Ryzen 5 model hit more than eight hours in our testing, enough to get you through a workday without having to plug in.
Top-firing speakers along either side of the keyboard pump out decent audio, and the convertible design means you can rotate the laptop around for tent, stand, and tablet modes. You get a pen with a display for inking, though unfortunately, the screen is the laptop's weakest spot. Poor color reproduction and not a lot of brightness might make some people pass, especially if they're working with photos.
Otherwise, the keyboard is comfortable for long days of typing, the sizable Precision touchpad makes for easy pointing, and the overall design is slick and sturdy. It just so happens to be available at an unreal price, mostly thanks to AMD's hardware inside.
- Strong AMD performance
- All-day battery life
- Comfy keyboard
- Sturdy convertible design
- Affordable price
- Underwhelming display
- No Wi-Fi 6
Best Business: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme (Gen 3)
The ThinkPad X1 Extreme is now in its third generation, and it has been updated with 10th Gen Intel Core CPU options up to an i9-10885H vPro. This chip puts out some serious performance, and it only gets better with an NVIDIA GTX 1650 Ti Max-Q dedicated GPU with 4GB of VRAM. With up to 64GB of DDR4 RAM and a 4TB M.2 PCIe SSD, this is a laptop cut out for power users. Like all ThinkPads, it's been put through the wringer to ensure it will withstand a harsh life on the road.
The 15.6-inch display is available in standard FHD, FHD with Dolby Vision HDR, 4K with Dolby Vision HDR400, or stunning 4K OLED with HDR500 and anti-reflective finish. If you have the budget, OLED is likely going to be your first choice. Above the display is a webcam with a privacy shutter, as well as an optional IR camera for Windows Hello. Other security features include a Kensington lock slot, fingerprint reader, and FIDO authentication.
The chassis is just 0.72 inches (18.4mm) thin, and it weighs in at about 3.75 pounds (1.7kg), keeping it portable. Ports include two USB-A 3.2, two Thunderbolt 3, HDMI 2.0, an SD card reader, Ethernet expansion port, and a 3.5mm audio jack. A Wi-Fi 6 adapter is included for fast wireless speeds, and the 80Wh battery delivers solid battery life for non-UHD models.
- Ridiculous performance
- Awesome 4K OLED display
- High build quality
- Excellent port selection
- Wi-Fi 6 connectivity
Best Business Mobility: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen 8)
The eighth-gen ThinkPad X1 Carbon continues the trend we've seen through the earlier generations, with a black carbon finish on the durable chassis that's been put through a bunch of durability tests. This is a great laptop if you're working in the field, mainly thanks to optional LTE connectivity and Wi-Fi 6 compatibility.
The 14-inch display comes in a few flavors, ranging from low-power FHD to 4K with Dolby Vision HDR400. For something in the middle, there's a QHD option. All displays have excellent color, and the slim bezel around the screen adds to the premium look. PrivacyGuard can be added, which effectively makes the display hard to see unless you're looking straight at it, perfect for working in public. Other security features include a fingerprint reader, camera shutter, and an optional IR camera for Windows Hello.
Performance is stellar thanks to 10th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU options, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB M.2 PCIe SSD. Ports include two Thunderbolt 3, two USB-A 3.1 (Gen 1), HDMI 1.4, Ethernet extension, and 3.5mm audio.
- 10th Gen Intel Core CPU options
- FHD, QHD, or 4K displays available
- Varied port selection
- Comfortable keyboard and touchpad
- Durable ThinkPad build
- Relatively pricey
Best Business Convertible: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (Gen 5)
The fifth-gen ThinkPad X1 Yoga has been refreshed, refining a design that was already quite svelte. It's a convertible ThinkPad with a premium build and premium hardware throughout. It comes in an Iron Gray color scheme, setting it slightly apart from the standard black finish of most ThinkPads.
The 14-inch display comes in multiple options, from FHD low-power or with Privacy Guard, all the way up to UHD with Dolby Vision HDR400. All options are touch-enabled to go along with the build that can be converted into a tent, stand, and tablet modes, and there's an active pen included. A webcam with a privacy shutter is located above the display, and you can add an IR camera for facial recognition to go along with a built-in fingerprint reader.
Add up to a 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10610U CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB M.2 PCIe SSD for solid performance and enjoy optional LTE connectivity to keep in touch even when you're out of Wi-Fi 6 range. If you like a durable business laptop that can be used as a tablet, this is a strong option.
- 10th Gen Intel hardware
- Optional LTE connectivity
- 4K touch display with HDR400
- Plenty of security features
- Beautiful convertible design
- No dedicated GPU
Lenovo makes some fine hardware, but its standard pricing can be intimidating. However, there are almost constant discounts going on when shopping at Lenovo's website, with discounts reaching above $1,000. Always have a look at the website to see any current deals when shopping for a new laptop. So which one should you choose?
The bottom line
Lenovo's Yoga C940 goes above and beyond a standard convertible Ultrabook, bringing two sizes to better suit your needs. Both models are built to a high standard and include either an FHD or 4K touch display compatible with inking. The pen is built right into the laptop and offers a satisfying inking experience.
The best feature is likely the soundbar hinge, which makes watching media on the Yoga C940 a breeze. It's loud, it's clear, and it also looks great in all tablet and notebook modes. Powerful hardware is available in both models, though if you're looking for a boost from a dedicated GPU, you'll want to check out the 15-inch Yoga C940 model.
For most people, it is the best laptop available from Lenovo. However, there are plenty of other options available if you need something for work, heavy design, gaming, or to stay connected no matter where you go.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Cale Hunt Cale Hunt is a staff writer at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on PC, laptop, accessory coverage, and the emerging world of VR. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.
Daniel Rubino is the executive editor of Windows Central. He has been covering Microsoft since 2009, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Surface, HoloLens, Xbox, and future computing visions. Follow him on Twitter: @daniel_rubino.
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