For professional laptop users, the ThinkPad has been known as one of the best and most reliable brands for decades. Since the Lenovo acquisition of IBM’s personal computing division in 2005, the ThinkPad lineup has continued to evolve in new and intriguing ways. Be it the X series, the T series, or E series, there are plenty of exciting laptops to choose from. But that can make it tough to find the best Lenovo Thinkpad or you.
The X Series
At the top of the ThinkPad lineup is the X series. These are the best of the lightweight ThinkPad laptops, offering long battery life, robust security features, as well as the classic ThinkPad TrackPoint nub in the keyboard. They’re also designed to be sturdy, with Lenovo proudly claiming that X-Series Thinkpads have been taken all over the world (and crucially, survived), including to the top of Mount Everest, to the bottom of the ocean, and even into outer space on the International and Mir Space Stations.
If you like the sound of the X-Series, the best option is the. All ThinkPad X series laptops come with up to Intel’s 8th-generation processors, speedy fast solid-state-drives, and options for between 4 and 32GB of RAM.
Lenovo also offers Yoga versions of X series devices, including the. Yoga versions of X series ThinkPads feature a touchscreen and are fully convertible thanks to a 360-degree hinge. That means it can be switched to four modes of use — laptop, stand, tablet, or tent mode.
Some Yoga versions also have integrated pens, like the X390 Yoga, which lets you digitally ink on the screen and mark up your PDFs and other documents.
ThinkPad X1 Series: Carbon, Yoga, Extreme
Not to be confused with the X series are the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, X1 Yoga, and X1 Extreme. These are more premium devices, with higher price tags.
The ThinkPad X1 Carbon is the thinnest and lightest ThinkPad machine and it also sports long battery life. While not convertible, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon offers robust security features like a “ThinkShutter” slider to hide the webcam when not in use, and also a fingerprint reader. We reviewed a version of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon in 2019. We found it to be a well-built and well-performing laptop that competes well against other premium clamshell laptops.
Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2. Starting at around $1,700, it packs in options for a 4K AMOLED touch screen powered by a dedicated Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 graphics chip. It also offers up to 64GB of RAM and a high-end Intel Core i7 CPU from the 9th-generation. This gives it powerful capabilities when it comes to productivity tasks like video rendering, but it’s also not bad for off-hours gaming too.is one of the most expensive and ThinkPad options but it comes with the highest specifications, too — especially the
When we reviewed the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 we were big fans of its excellent keyboard, 4K AMOLED display with HDR, and CPU performance.
If you like 2-in-1 capabilities, you can also consider the Yoga version of the ThinkPad X1. In our review, we reviewed and liked for its display, productivity performance, and a new all-aluminum chassis.
ThinkPad X1 Extreme:
The T Series
Beneath the X series it the T Series. These are traditional clamshell-style ThinkPad laptops focused more towards professionals or businesses. Some may also see these devices as alternatives to MacBooks. Current T-series models include the, , and the . 15-inch versions come with a number pad alongside the main keyboard. Some 14-inch T-series laptops also feature long battery life, with Lenovo promising the T490s can last you 20 hours on a single charge.
T-series ThinkPads also feature options for touchscreens, and a wide range of connectivity, including USB-C and USB-A ports. This makes them a great choice if you’re always out and about or not ready to embrace the dongle lifestyle.
If you want a T-Series ThinkPad, we’d recommend T480s. When we reviewed it we liked its versatile connectivity options, battery life, touchpad, and keyboard, all for a great price.
ThinkPad 14-inch T490:
The E Series
You don’t have to spend the Earth to get a great ThinkPad; There are some affordable entry-level options too, namely the E series. Prices start around $550 and most offer great hardware and the usual ThinkPad build quality, but sacrifice weight and portability. For instance, thehas a great 8th-generation Intel CPU and can be had for under $600, but weighs a hefty 4.68 pounds. The cheapest E-series models also feature lower-resolution 1,366 x 768 screens, and there is no option for touch screens anywhere in the lineup.
However, the ThinkPad E490s, which starts at $750, does come with an all-metal chassis and maintains a thin, sleek form, as well as security features like the ThinkShutter webcam and a fingerprint reader. All E series devices come with options for Intel’s 8th-generation processors, but for those on a smaller budget, there are also options for AMD Ryzen processors.
- Lenovo upgrades ThinkPad lineup with Intel; X1 Extreme Gen 3 starts at $1,749
- The best Linux laptops you can buy
- The best OLED laptops for 2020
- These are the AMD Ryzen 4000 laptops you can buy right now
- Need to work from the road? Here are the 5 best laptops with LTE