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What’s the Difference Between Lenovo’s Many Laptop Models?

If you’ve ever been in the market for a laptop, you’ve likely come across the Lenovo brand. The company offers some wonderful products, but Lenovo truly excels with its laptop creations. The only problem? There are so many different laptops to choose from that picking the right series and then the right specific model is an enormous task.

Lenovo divides its laptops into six categories: ThinkPad, ThinkBook, Yoga, IdeaPad, Legion, and Chromebook. Each category houses a specific style of notebook, but within some of these categories, the laptops are further divided into unique series. There’s a lot of info to sift through before you find your perfect Lenovo laptop.

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Whether you’re looking for a laptop to handle special software for work, your favorite video games, all your school projects and essays, or simple media streaming and internet browsing, Lenovo has a laptop for you. It’s easiest to first choose a main category from Lenovo and then narrow it down. But without further ado, here’s all the info you need to make the right decision and choose a perfect laptop for your specific needs.

The ThinkPad Series

If you asked any random person to name a Lenovo laptop, if they could name one, they’d probably choose a notebook in the ThinkPad line. But for anyone who knows the Lenovo brand, the ThinkPad line is a classic, and for good reason.

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The ThinkPad line of laptops was initially started under an IBM brand and was first released in the early 1990s. Luckily, this wildly popular laptop line was continued under Lenovo and has grown to meet a slew of different consumer needs.

RELATED: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 Review: A Beautiful (and Expensive) Laptop

One of Lenovo’s earliest models, the ThinkPad, is the ideal choice for business professionals, especially those who frequently travel for business or have a long public commute home where they can get some work done. Though ThinkPads have a ridiculously long battery life, they’re also equipped with Rapid Charge tech, so you can get to about 80% battery in only 30 minutes. This is such a necessary feature for traveling workers.

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ThinkPad laptops also come with Intelligent Cooling Engines, where sensors detect how your device is being used and how hot the system can run before kicking up the fans. Then, most ThinkPads have dual-array, noise-canceling, far-field microphones, so you sound great on video calls and Dolby Atmos speaker systems on the latest ThinkPad models.

RELATED: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 4 Laptop Review: Powerful and Well-Rounded

Another classic feature of ThinkPad laptops is the red TrackPoint in the middle of the keyboard. While this feature isn’t for everyone, and some might even find it outdated, it helps you avoid moving your hand as much as you would with a mouse. If you’re at your laptop for long hours daily, this could save your hand and wrist unnecessary discomfort. Plus, it’s also handy in cramped spaces, like when you’re on an airplane or working in your car.

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ThinkShield is an important aspect of the ThinkPad line as well. Security and personal privacy are something Lenovo takes seriously, which is why most of its laptops have a privacy shutter for the webcam. Because business professionals often use ThinkPads to work with private company data, these laptops get extra security. That includes an integrated suite of security features that detects Wi-Fi network spoofing, uses firmware to encrypt your data, and lets you log in with biometrics.

A few of the best-selling ThinkPad models you can purchase now include the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10, and the ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 2. The ThinkPad Z13 and Z16 are both engineered from recycled vegan leather and aluminum. But if you want to explore all the ThinkPad laptops Lenovo has to offer, here’s a brief look at the main differences between each series:

The ThinkBook Series

Lenovo

People often mistake Lenovo’s ThinkPad laptops for its ThinkBook laptops because they’re so similar in name. They’re similar in other ways too, but quite a few significant differences make it easy to choose one or the other.

To make it easy, you can consider ThinkBooks as the budget version of a ThinkPad. Both laptop series share many of the same features, but at a lower cost, and usually due to slightly lower-tier specs. Because they’re not as powerful, ThinkBooks are better for people who need a business laptop as a freelancer or a startup business owner. If you need a notebook to run power-intensive specific work programs, you’re likely better off with a ThinkPad.

RELATED: The 7 Best Lenovo Laptops

One of the most noticeable physical differences between the ThinkBook and the ThinkPad series is the lack of a red TrackPoint dot in the center of the keyboard. Other than that, these two laptop categories are stylistically the same. Both are lightweight and travel-friendly, perfect for anyone who has to travel a lot for work or transport their laptop back and forth from work and home.

The Yoga Series

Lenovo

Lenovo’s Yoga line is essentially premium laptops with 2-in-1 functionality. Although the Yoga laptops are impressive inside and out, let’s start with the outside.

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All laptops in the Yoga line are stylish, often with clean, rounded edges and a high-quality metal finish. Some Yoga laptops have an all-aluminum finish, while others have a leather cover. Despite the premium materials, these laptops are incredibly lightweight. Then, with its 2-in-1 functionality, you can use the device in laptop mode to get work done, tent mode to binge your favorite show, or tablet mode to relax with a puzzle at the end of the night.

Lenovo also offers 2-in-1 laptops outside the Yoga line, and you’ll usually be able to tell which ones these are if you see the term ‘Flex’ in its title. However, the Yoga laptops are the most premium 2-in-1 options, giving users the device flexibility they love while not sacrificing performance.

RELATED: Lenovo Yoga 9i Laptop Review: The Best 2-in-1 Companion

Yoga laptops look and sound fantastic (for a laptop), with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos speakers wrapped up in a rotating 360-degree soundbar. The Yoga 9i, in particular, sounds phenomenal, with Bowers & Wilkins speakers built into the soundbar. Newer Yoga laptops, like the Yoga 9i, have a brilliant 4K OLED display that shows darker blacks and more vivid colors for an unreal visual experience.

Lenovo’s Yoga line also comes with a Smart Power feature, which lets you efficiently manage your laptop’s internal heat and power consumption with three different modes. You can adjust the fan speed, maximize performance, or extend the battery life by pushing a hotkey on the Yoga’s keyboard.

The IdeaPad Series

Levovo

Unlike ThinkPads and ThinkBooks, Lenovo designed the IdeaPad for casual users who need laptops that’ll handle everyday tasks. IdeaPads have a modern, slim form factor ideal for traveling, taking to school, or simply moving around the home.

RELATED: Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon Review: A Beautiful, Powerful Machine

Although most IdeaPads are well under $1000, there are a few higher-end IdeaPads. For the most part, however, the IdeaPad is a budget-friendly option for those needing a personal or a school laptop.

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While the IdeaPad advertises as a laptop suitable for gamers, it’s a cheap gaming laptop, so it’ll likely only run simple games that don’t demand much in terms of performance. If you intend to play more demanding games that require a powerful CPU / GPU combination, you’re better off with Lenovo’s Legion line or even something in the ThinkPad line.

Like Lenovo’s ThinkPads, the IdeaPads are divided into a few different series within the line. Here’s a brief explanation of each:

The Legion Series

Lenovo

If you’re a gamer, you should pay attention to the Lenovo Legion line. This is Lenovo’s dedicated gaming laptop line that features all the specs you need to play pretty much any game your heart desires.

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Most Legion laptops boast NVIDIA graphics, and the price you pay largely depends on how good that graphics card from NVIDIA (or sometimes AMD) is. These laptops have plenty of storage and RAM, powerful processors, and stunning, largeWQXGA displays that make your games look fantastic.

The only spec that’s not so great is the battery life, but that’s no surprise with such a power-hungry gaming laptop. And the “poor” battery life is only really in comparison to Lenovo’s other laptops. Let’s be honest, though, if you’re gaming on a laptop, you’re likely doing so while it’s plugged into a wall, so battery life isn’t an issue.

Lenovo’s Chromebooks

Lenovo

Because Chromebooks are simple devices, it’s easy to tell whether or not a Chromebook would work as your next laptop. All Chromebooks, as the name implies, run Google’s Chrome OS. If you don’t have a Google account you use frequently or need to download special software or games on your laptop; a Chromebook probably isn’t for you.

But if all you need is a device that can access the internet, answer emails, write school papers, play games from the Google Play store, and do other basic tasks, you could probably carry out on a smartphone, check out a Chromebook! These nifty devices are affordable and perfect for casual, personal use around the home or to take with you to college. Without demanding software or a ton of downloaded content bogging it down, Chromebooks have super long battery life.

RELATED: Lenovo's IdeaPad Duet Chromebook Might Be My Favorite Thing at CES

Since Chromebooks use Chrome OS, a Linux-based operating system, you can download most Linux-based apps as long as it meets the hardware and software requirements. Then, there’s also the added benefit of built-in virus protection, with multiple layers of security and data privacy.

Sarah Chaney
Sarah Chaney is a professional freelance writer for Review Geek, Android Authority, MakeUseOf, and other great websites. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English with a Creative Writing concentration. Her degree, paired with her almost two years of professionally writing for websites, helps her write content that is engaging, yet informative. She enjoys covering anything Android, video game, or tech related. Read Full Bio »