Lenovo: 2018 Brand Report Card
Lenovo took first place for the second year in a row because of its excellent, highly rated laptops. With its eye-popping, HDR screen (an industry first) and long battery life, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon is the business laptop to beat, while the Yoga 920 has been our favorite consumer 2-in-1 in the past year. Lenovo received 10 Editors' Choice awards — more than any other brand — and a full 53 percent of its laptops scored 4 stars (out of 5) or higher.
Unfortunately, Lenovo's tech support really declined from last year, with the company's phone reps bungling the answers to a number of our questions. But the company continues to be an innovator and a leader in value and selection.
Lenovo's Key Strengths
- ThinkPads: Even if you're not working for a company, Lenovo's business laptops are the gold standard for productivity, thanks to their industry-leading keyboards, great build quality and long battery life.
- Great value and selection: Lenovo offers great laptops in every major category, from the low-cost Ideapad 120s, to the premium Yoga 920 2-in-1, to the gaming-centric Lenovo Legion Y920.
- Always innovating: Lenovo is often first or among the first to offer a new technology, as it did with the HDR screen on the X1 Carbon and the Qualcomm processor in the Miix 630.
Lenovo's Main Weaknesses
- Poor phone support: The company's web support resources are solid, but phone agents had difficulty answering even simple questions correctly.
Thanks to a combination of great build quality, long battery life and strong performance, Lenovo turned in an impressive average review score of 3.8 (out of 5), based on the 34 systems we tested over the past year or so. The company's laptops took home an industry-leading 10 Editors' Choice awards — three more than the next-highest competitors (HP and Acer).
On the strength its industry-leading keyboard, epic battery life and eye-popping HDR screen, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon (6th Gen) was the only laptop from any brand that received a perfect 5-star rating. In addition, not a single Lenovo laptop scored under 3 stars (a passing grade). Other standout products include the Yoga 920, which blew us away with its attractive design and all-day endurance, and the ThinkPad T470, which lasted the longest of any notebook we tested.
Budget pricing doesn't have to mean cheap looks and shoddy construction — at least not for Lenovo laptops. The company pushed out the Ideapad 120s and the Ideapad 120s (11.1-inch), whose polycarbonate frames could fool you into believing they were made of metal like their more expensive cousin, the Ideapad 720s.
Lenovo also has a wide variety of ThinkPads; most of them sport a black, carbon-fiber, MIL-SPEC-tested (dust, vibration, shock and temperature resistant) chassis. But there are some exceptions, like the ThinkPad 13, which is available in silver, and the X1 Carbon, which has a soft-touch finish.
The company's Yoga line set the bar for how a convertible system should look and function. The Yoga 920 has a lovely bronze hue and watchband hinge, but the Yoga 720 is less exciting visually. Other 2-in-1s, such as the Miix 320, have small design issues, like requiring too much force to separate the tablet from the keyboard.
Support and Warranty (14/20)
Lenovo makes it easy for you to get a technical support agent on the phone, but the reps rarely gave us a correct answer during our Tech Support Showdown. Online support was more accurate, but poor organization made that information harder to find.
Lenovo covers shipping in both directions for most of its laptops, excluding certain cheaper models. We wish it gave this care for all of its systems.
In 2018, Lenovo has been the first laptop manufacturer to incorporate HDR displays and will be one of the first to release a laptop powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 CPU. On the gaming front, it finally embraced the Legion branding, adding G-Sync display options and overclockable components. And don't forget that Lenovo also put out a 25th anniversary edition ThinkPad, combining old aesthetics with modern functionality.
Value and Selection (14/15)
We've reviewed a lot of Lenovo's laptops this year, and the company showed range. Sure, you know Lenovo for its ThinkPads, including the superpremium X1 Carbon, which runs over $1,500, and last year's flagship, the ThinkPad T470. But we also saw cheaper business notebooks, like the $600 ThinkPad 13.
MORE: The Best Lenovo Laptops
The company is also in the consumer market, offering clamshells and 2-in-1s of all prices, like the detachable Miix 320, the convertible Yoga 920 and the midrange Flex 5. The lineup also includes Chromebooks, like the Flex 11 Chromebook.