Which Lenovo ThinkBook should you buy?

Lenovo Thinkbook 13s Gen2 Review
(Image credit: Windows Central)

Lenovo's ThinkBook laptops often live in the shadow of the mighty ThinkPad, quietly offering popular business features, a host of different sizes and designs with a modern style, and many Intel and AMD performance options to help you get exactly what you need. 

Compared to ThinkPads, ThinkBooks can also generally be had for quite a bit less money. All those different models and configurations can be a bit confusing when first diving in, but this ThinkBook buying guide should help make the process of choosing the perfect laptop just a little bit easier.

Lenovo's 13-inch ThinkBooks are portable and powerful

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Lenovo Thinkbook 13s (Gen 4) (Image credit: Windows Central)

The smallest ThinkBooks available are sized at 13 inches, making them some of the best laptops for anyone who likes to travel light. Lenovo currently offers the ThinkBook 13s (Gen 4) with AMD and Intel hardware, the ThinkBook 13x (Gen 2) with Intel processors, as well as the ThinkBook Plus (Gen 2) which didn't get a bump up to 17 inches until the third generation.

Should you buy the ThinkBook 13s?

The ThinkBook 13s (Gen 4) is one of the more expensive laptops you'll find from this lineup, with prices starting at around $1,369 for a model with AMD CPU and about $1,439 for Intel. These are non-convertible PCs with a thin aluminum body, two-tone lid style, modern ports and wireless connectivity, the latest performance hardware, and added security features to keep your data safe.

Intel models are stocked with 12th Gen Core P-Series CPUs up to an i7-1260P, as well as LPDDR5-4800MHz RAM and speedy PCIe 4.0 SSD storage. AMD models have the latest Ryzen 6000 CPUs, up to a Ryzen 7 6800U with LPDDR5-6400MHz RAM and PCIe 4.0 SSD storage. Both laptops come with integrated graphics.

Lenovo's ThinkBook 13s (Gen 4) is a slim high-end Ultrabook with modern AMD and Intel processor options.

Display options differ depending on the CPU platform. The Intel version gets two 13.3-inch options, both with a 2560x1600 (2.5K) resolution, 16:10 aspect ratio, and your choice of touch or non-touch panel. The AMD version gets just one display option with a 1920x1200 resolution and Dolby Vision.

Both platforms have a 56Wh battery, dual 2W speakers, FHD webcam, and Wi-Fi 6. Ports differ slightly depending on the CPU platform; Intel has Thunderbolt 4 while AMD has just standard USB4 and USB-C 3.2 (Gen 2). Otherwise, you get USB-A, HDMI, and a 3.5mm audio jack.

As for security measures, there's a fingerprint reader built into the power button, a privacy shutter for the webcam, a TPM chip inside, and a Kensington lock slot. The AMD version of the ThinkBook 13s (Gen 4) also offers human presence detection through Glance Mirametrix.

If you're looking for a compact Ultrabook with extra security and the latest processors from Intel and AMD, this should be a great option if you don't mind the premium pricing. But there are plenty more options for those with a smaller budget or for those who need higher-end performance for specialized tasks. Check out my ThinkBook 13s (Gen 2) review for a closer look at an older model.

Should you buy the ThinkBook 13x?

Lenovo's ThinkBook 13x is a more expensive version of the 13s, available strictly with Intel hardware. I already wrote an article comparing the ThinkBook 13x with the ThinkBook 13s that goes in-depth on the topic, but the basic difference here is price and feature set. The latest ThinkBook 13x (Gen 2) is still listed as "Coming Soon" at Lenovo's official website, but the first-gen models are still for sale. We'll focus on the newer Gen 2 version here. 

It's still available with the latest 12th Gen Intel Core CPUs, LPDDR5 RAM, and PCIe 4.0 storage, as well as Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5. There are fewer ports (just two Thunderbolt 4 and a 3.5mm jack), but you get the same 56Wh battery size and a similar typing and pointing experience.

Lenovo Thinkbook 13x Gen2 Press

(Image credit: Lenovo)

The ThinkBook 13x adds Dolby Vision to its QHD+ displays, as well as Dolby Atmos for its speakers. There's an IR camera to go along with the 720p webcam, plus human presence detection to automatically lock and unlock your PC when you approach or depart.

The ThinkBook 13x is just a bit thinner and lighter than the 13s, but it does command a higher price tag. If budget is no option, this is the 13-inch Ultrabook for those who want the most features possible. It should be available to buy soon; until then, you can still find first-gen ThinkBook 13x models for sale.

Lenovo's 14-inch ThinkBooks include a convertible option

Lenovo Thinkbook 14 Gen4 Press

Lenovo ThinkBook 14 (Gen 4) (Image credit: Lenovo)

Lenovo's 14-inch selection includes the ThinkBook 14 (Gen 4) with AMD and Intel CPUs, as well as the convertible ThinkBook 14s Yoga (Gen 2). These laptops are priced a lot more competitively, with the non-convertible options sitting firmly in the mid range.

The ThinkBook 14 (Gen 4) with Intel CPUs starts at about $749 while the AMD version starts at about $719. The ThinkBook 14s Yoga starts at about $1,007. These are some of the best Lenovo laptops for those who'd like extra security, modest performance, and a modern design without overspending.

Should you buy the ThinkBook 14?

The ThinkBook 14 (Gen 4) is the latest version available from Lenovo, complete with 12th Gen Intel Core U-series or AMD Ryzen 5000 CPUs, DDR4-3200MHz RAM, and either PCIe 3.0 (Intel) or PCIe 4.0 (AMD) SSD storage.

The 14-inch displays are limited to an FHD resolution with 16:9 aspect ratio, but there are multiple touch and non-touch options to choose from. These are fairly basic screens best reserved for general productivity work or college classes. You can get the webcam with up to an FHD resolution for clearer video conferencing, Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E are available, and there are plenty of ports.

The Intel model has a Thunderbolt 4 port as well as USB-C 3.2 (Gen 2), while the AMD model has dual USB-C 3.2 (Gen 2) without Thunderbolt. There's also dropjaw Ethernet, HDMI, dual USB-A 3.2 (Gen 1), and a 3.5mm audio jack. There's no IR camera here, but you do get a fingerprint reader, firmware TPM 2.0, and webcam shutter. 

If you're on a tight budget and need an Ultrabook for your home or small business, the ThinkBook 14 should be quite attractive.

Should you buy the ThinkBook 14s Yoga?

The ThinkBook 14s Yoga is essentially a convertible version of the regular ThinkBook 14, with the ability to convert into tent, stand, and tablet modes. Coupled with the built-in active pen with a dedicated silo on the side, this laptop is great for anyone who often likes to sketch out ideas or jot down notes.

You can get up to a 12th Gen Intel Core i7-1255U CPU, 16GB of DDR4-3200MHz RAM, and up to 1TB of M.2 PCIe 4.0 storage, all powered by a 60Wh battery. There's just one 14-inch touch display available, with an FHD resolution, 100% sRGB color, and Dolby Vision. Above the display you can get up to an FHD webcam with privacy shutter.

Lenovo ThinkBook 14s Yoga (Gen 1) (Image credit: Windows Central)

Other security measures include dTPM 2.0, fingerprint reader built into the power button, Kensington Nano lock slot, and Mirametrix Glance for human presence detection. Ports are plentiful, with Thunderbolt 4, dual USB-A 3.2 (Gen 1), USB-C, HDMI, microSD card reader, and 3.5mm audio jack.

You'll pay more for this convertible 14s Yoga compared to the standard ThinkBook 14, but it'll be worth the money if you need the added versatility. Check out our Lenovo Yoga buying guide if you love the idea of a Lenovo convertible and want some extra options.

Get more screen, more performance with a 15-inch ThinkBook

Lenovo Thinkbook 15p Review

Lenovo ThinkBook 15p (Gen 1) (Image credit: Windows Central)

Need even more screen space and want the opportunity to add some powerful performance hardware? Lenovo's 15-inch ThinkBooks might be the key. This lineup includes the ThinkBook 15 (Gen 4) with Intel and AMD hardware, as well as the ThinkBook 15p (Gen 2) with Intel CPUs only.

ThinkBook 15 (Gen 4) laptops with AMD chips start at $719, while their Intel counterparts start at about $759. The ThinkBook 15p with Intel's H-series CPUs and dedicated NVIDIA GPUs start at about $1,139.

Should you buy the ThinkBook 15?

The ThinkBook 15 (Gen 4) is an affordable Ultrabook available with Intel or AMD hardware. Like its smaller siblings, it brings a two-tone lid design, extra security features, and plenty of ports. Get up to an AMD Ryzen 7 5825U or Intel Core i7-1255U CPU, 16GB of DDR4-3200MHz RAM, and a 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 SSD. Graphics are integrated; you'll have to step up to the ThinkBook 15p if you'd like a dedicated GPU.

The 15.6-inch display is available only with an FHD resolution, but there are multiple touch and non-touch options. The most expensive screen has an anti-glare finish, 300 nits brightness, and 100% sRGB color.

Extra chassis space means there's room for a number pad, ideal for those who often work with spreadsheets. Port selection is quite generous, with Thunderbolt 4 (or USB-C for AMD systems), RJ45 Ethernet, HDMI 2.1, dual USB-A 3.2, SD card reader, and 3.5mm audio jack. Wi-Fi 6 is available, and you can get an FHD webcam if you often find yourself in online meetings. 

Security features include a fingerprint reader, webcam shutter, firmware TPM 2.0, and Kensington Nano lock slot. If you want a larger screen and don't want to spend as much on your business laptop, the ThinkBook 15 (Gen 4) should fit your needs.

Should you buy the ThinkBook 15p?

Lenovo's ThinkBook 15p (Gen 2) starts at a higher price than the standard ThinkBook 15 (currently about $1,139), but that's due to the addition of a discrete GPU for extra performance. 

This laptop comes with up to an 11th Gen Intel Core i7-11800H CPU, 16GB of DDR4-3200MHz RAM, 1TB M.2 PCIe 4.0 SSD, and NVIDIA RTX 3050 Ti Laptop GPU. You can also get GTX 1650 and RTX 3050 Laptop GPUs if you don't need quite as much power.

Lenovo ThinkBook 15p (Image credit: Windows Central)

If you're looking to get into some specialized work with the discrete GPU, there's a 4K display option with 600 nits brightness, 100% AdobeRGB color, and X-Rite Pantone color calibration. There's also a more affordable 1080p display with 100% sRGB color.

Get up to an FHD webcam, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, and dual 2W speakers with Dolby Audio. Security measures include a fingerprint reader, webcam shutter, firmware TPM 2.0, and a Kensington lock slot. As for ports, you get Thunderbolt 4, dual USB-A 3.2, HDMI 2.0, Ethernet, SD card reader, and 3.5mm audio jack.

This is the right laptop if integrated graphics and an FHD display won't cut it. Check out my Lenovo ThinkBook 15p review for more information.

Go all out with a ThinkBook Plus (Gen 3)

Older ThinkBook Plus laptops, including the second-generation version, were sized at 13 inches, but that has changed for the ThinkBook Plus (Gen 3) announced at CES 2022. It now has an enormous 17.3-inch ultrawide touch display with 3072x1440 resolution, 21:10 aspect ratio, 120Hz refresh rate, 100% DCI-P3 color, and Dolby Vision.

The primary display is joined by a second 8-inch touchscreen with 800x1280 resolution and inking support. It's located right next to the keyboard, acting as a sort of notepad, launcher, phone mirror, and calculator. There's a built-in active pen with a silo on the side to keep it charged up and nearby at all times.

Lenovo Thinkbook Plus Gen3 Press

(Image credit: Lenovo)

There's no dedicated GPU option, but the laptop comes with up to a 12th Gen Intel Core i7-12700H CPU, 32GB of LPDDR5 RAM, and 1TB M.2 PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD powered by a 70Wh battery. There are dual 2W speakers with Dolby Atmos, FHD webcam, Wi-Fi 6E, and Bluetooth 5.2.

Security features include a fingerprint reader, IR camera, TPM 2.0 and camera privacy shutter. Some of the ports, including Thunderbolt 4, dual USB-A 3.2 (Gen 1), and HDMI are located on the rear edge for easier cable management. There's another USB-C 3.2 (Gen 2) port and 3.5mm audio jack on the side.

These laptops start at about $2,309, which reserves them for those with deep pockets and who like to use unconventional laptops.

Cale Hunt
Senior Editor, Laptop Reviews

Cale Hunt is formerly a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full-time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.