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Best Lenovo laptops in 2021

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon gen 9
(Image credit: Phillip Tracy/Laptop Mag)

The best Lenovo laptops consistently rank near the top of our overall best laptops rankings. From the excellent ThinkPad business laptops to the sleek Yoga notebook and affordable Ideapad laptops, Lenovo offers something for all types of users. 

We recently reviewed the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold, the first PC with a flexible, foldable display. It didn't make this list but it's worth checking out anyway. If you're looking for something more traditional, the ThinkPad X1 Nano is a 13-inch competitor to the XPS 13. 

Still not sure which Lenovo business laptop to buy? Check out our best Lenovo ThinkPad guide that compares the top models. And to maximize productivity at work, make sure you buy the right ThinkPad accessories. If you're a business user and aren't sold on buying a ThinkPad, check out the best Dell Latitude and Precision laptops

What are the best Lenovo laptops?

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon isn't just the best Lenovo laptop, it's one of the best laptops on the market. Great for business users but also students or everyday users who want a lightweight machine, the X1 Carbon weighs just over 2 pounds yet delivers fast performance in a military-tested chassis. The only subset of consumers the X1 Carbon doesn't suit are those on a budget and gamers. 

If you're looking to save some money, the ThinkBook 13 is another great option. It has fast speeds, a comfortable keyboard and decent battery life. If you'd prefer a laptop made for consumers, rather than enterprise users, the Lenovo Yoga 9i is an outstanding option and a good alternative to the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 or HP Spectre x360 14. You should also put the new ThinkPad X1 Nano on your list if you need the absolute most potable business laptop. 

For gamers, the Legion 5 Pro is a great choice and, depending on your configuration, can play the latest AAA games. And if you're on a very tight budget, the Chromebook Duet is a fantastic detachable 2-in-1 that sells for just $279.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon gen 9

Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Carbon is, once again, the best business laptop thanks to its sleek design and fast performance.  (Image credit: Phillip Tracy/Laptop Mag)

1. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen 9)

Best overall business laptop

Specifications
CPU: 11th Gen Intel Core i5/Core i7
GPU: Iris Xe
RAM: 8GB/16GB/32GB
Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB SSD
Display: 14-inch, 1920 x 1200-pixel 16:10
Size: 12.4 x 8.7 x 0.6 inches
Weight: 2.5 pounds
Reasons to buy
+Slim, lightweight design+Good 14-inch, 16:10 FHD+ display+Class-leading keyboard+Great quad speakers+Epic battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Poor 720p webcam-No card slot

Lenovo made several welcome changes to the 9th Gen edition of its flagship business model. On top of fast performance from 11th Gen Intel CPUs, you get epic battery life, powerful quad speakers, a new 14-inch display with a 16:10 aspect ratio, and plenty of ports, all in an impossibly lightweight chassis (2.5 pounds). 

But it's still those classic ThinkPad features —  a durable design (with MIL-STD-810G strength), best-in-class keyboard and stealthy black/red aesthetics — that carry the X1 Carbon to greatness.

Yes, we wish the ThinkPad X1 Carbon hadn't ditched the SD card reader in the previous, and top configurations can get very expensive, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a better overall business machine.

See our full Lenovo ThinkPad Carbon X1 (Gen 9) review.

Lenovo Yoga 9i

Lenovo's Yoga 9i refines a proven formula, making it one of the best Lenovo laptops around.  (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

2. Lenovo Yoga 9i

The best 2-in-1 consumer laptop

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i7-1185G7
GPU: Iris Xe
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 512GB
Display: 14-inch, 1080p
Battery life: 11:15
Size: 12.6 x 8.5 x 0.6 inches
Weight: 3 pounds
Reasons to buy
+Fast overall performance+Colorful 14-inch, 1080p display+11+ hour battery life+Great rotating speaker
Reasons to avoid
-No IR camera

The successor to the excellent Yoga C940, the Lenovo Yoga 9i takes a proven formula and refines it. Subtle design improvements, long battery life (11:15) and refreshed 11th Gen Intel processors make the Yoga 9i a worthy successor to one of last year's top 2-in-1 laptops. 

As you'd expect from a Yoga-series laptop, the Yoga 9i has a premium, ultra-portable chassis and a unique hinge that doubles as a rotating soundbar speaker. As a 2-in-1, that hinge can rotate 360-degrees to convert the Yoga 9i into a tablet or be placed in tent mode so you can watch movies without a keyboard in the way. When it comes to viewing content, the Yoga 9i's 1080p (4K is available) display is crisp, vibrant and bright.

For all the basics it gets right, my favorite things about the Yoga 9i are its extra features, which include a webcam cover (no more need to buy tape), a slot for the improved Active Pen and a fingerprint sensor. Unfortunately, there is no IR camera. 

See our Lenovo Yoga 9i review.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (Gen 6)

Artists and writers who prefer to write/draw by hand will appreciate the ThinkPad X1 Yoga, the best 2-in-1 laptop.  (Image credit: Phillip Tracy/Laptop Mag)

3. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (Gen 6, 2021)

The best 2-in-1 laptop

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i7-1165G7 CPU
GPU: Iris Xe
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 512GB SSD
Display: 14-inch, 1920 x 1200-pixel IPS (16:10)
Size: 12 x 8.5 x 0.6 inches
Weight: 3 pounds
Reasons to buy
+Bright, vivid 1080p and 4K displays+Solid, sleek design+Fantastic keyboard+Speedy performance+Long battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Heavier than some competitors-No SD card slot

We still love the signature matte-black carbon fiber found on most ThinkPads, but the aluminum and magnesium ThinkPad X1 Yoga is a gorgeous change of pace. Not only does it have a slim design, but this convertible 2-in-1 flaunts a bright display and offers a best-in-class keyboard and long battery life. These combine to make the best Lenovo laptop for anyone who those looking for a convertible. 

You also get loads of extra goodies, like a built-in stylus slot and webcam cover. We love the ThinkPad X1 Carbon for its super-lightweight chassis, but you should definitely get the Yoga instead if you want to use a stylus or prefer a convertible design. If you're looking for something more unique, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga steps things up with a durable yet ultra-lightweight design. 

See our full Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (Gen 6, 2021) review.

If you want a value pick, the ThinkPad X13 is the best Lenovo laptop for under $1,000. 

If you want a value pick, the ThinkPad X13 is the best Lenovo laptop for under $1,000.  (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

4. Lenovo ThinkPad X13 (AMD)

The best laptop for under $1,000

Specifications
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 Pro 4650U
GPU: AMD Radeon
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 256GB
Display: 13.3-inch, 1080p
Size: 12.3 x 8.6 x 0.7 inches
Weight: 2.8 pounds
Reasons to buy
+Outstanding performance+Durable chassis+Best-in-class keyboard+Plenty of ports
Reasons to avoid
-Subpar battery life-Thick display bezels

A Lenovo business laptop for under $1,000? It's time to have a chat with your IT manager. The budget-friendly ThinkPad X13 with AMD chips delivers some of the best elements of the ThinkPad lineup at a much lower price than we're used to. 

Some of those features include a portable, minimalist chassis with military-grade durability, an outstanding keyboard and plenty of security features, including a fingerprint sensor and IR camera. And thanks to its AMD Ryzen CPUs, the ThinkPad X13 has incredible performance at this price. The only major downside is the subpar battery life, but around 8 hours isn't terrible. 

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon remains the best Lenovo laptop if you can afford one, but the ThinkPad X13 is an excellent, low-price alternative. 

See our full Lenovo ThinkPad X13 (AMD) review

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano

Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Nano is the best 13-inch Lenovo laptop.  (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

5. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano

The best 13-inch laptop

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i7-1160G7
GPU: Iris Xe
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 512GB
Display: 13-inch, 2K (2160 x 1350)
Size: 12.7 x 8.5 x 0.66 inches
Weight: 2 pounds
Reasons to buy
+Stylish, stealthy design+Bright 13-inch, 2K display+Weighs 2 pounds+12-hour battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Limited ports-Small touchpad

The X1 Nano is the new kid on the block, and it has a few tricks up its sleeve. Weighing only 2 pounds, the Nano is the lightest ThinkPad laptop ever. It gains portability by trading screen real estate. However, its 13-inch, 2K panel is gorgeous and the 16:10 aspect ratio makes up for the smaller size. 

On top of that, the X1 Nano gets blistering performance out of its 11th Gen Intel CPUs and its 12 hours of battery life is baffling considering the high-res screen and ultra-lightweight design. 

There are a few downsides to consider, like its limited ports and small touchpad, but overall, the X1 Nano achieves what Lenovo set out to do — deliver everything you already love about the ThinkPad brand in the smallest package yet.

See our full Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano review.

Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable

The Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable is the closest thing you can get to a Surface Pro 7, and it's even better that one. (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

6. Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable

The best Surface Pro alternative

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i5-1130G7
GPU: Intel Iris Xe
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 512GB
Display: 12.3-inch, 1920 x 1280-pixel
Size: 11.2 x 8 x 0.3 inches
Weight: 1.7 pounds (2.4 pounds with keyboard)
Reasons to buy
+Long battery life+Good 12.3-inch display+Excellent keyboard+Accessories come bundled
Reasons to avoid
-Terrible speakers-No USB Type-A

The Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable is, in short, a better version of the Surface Pro 7. It has the same detachable form factor and uses a kickstand that can rotate to about the same 160-degree angle. The 12.3-inch display is almost identical to the one on the Surface and, like the Pro 7, the detachable keyboard is fantastic. You even get military-grade durability from its rigid chassis.

Why is it better than the Surface Pro 7 and Pro 7+? Because the ThinkPad X12 Detachable lasts longer on a charge, enduring for more than 11 hours, and it weighs slightly less than its magnesium alloy competitor.  Better yet, the X12 Detachable comes bundled with the keyboard and pen, although you'll need to spend a pretty penny on this business-focused detachable. 

If you need good speakers or a USB Type-A port, then you might go with the Surface Pro 7, otherwise, we prefer the X12 Detachable.

See our Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable review

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

7. Lenovo Legion 5 Pro

The best gaming laptop

Specifications
CPU: Ryzen 7 5800H CPU
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 512GB SSD
Display: 16-inch, 2560 x 1600-pixel
Size: 14 x 10.4 x 1.1 inches
Weight: 5.4 pounds
Reasons to buy
+Bright 16-inch, QHD 165Hz display+Fantastic keyboard with numpad+Excellent productivity and gaming performance+Solid battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Bland and heavy chassis-Only four-zone RGB

Lenovo's Legion 5 Pro proves what's possible when two opposing forces come together for the greater good. Those forces are AMD and Nvidia, and the greater good is the gaming community. Armed with an AMD Ryzen 7 5800 CPU and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 graphics, the Legion 5 Pro gives gamers the power they need to run the latest AAA titles at Ultra graphics settings. 

What it lacks in flashy aesthetics, it makes up for with a gorgeous 16-inch QHD display, an exceptional keyboard and touchpad, plenty of ports, and outstanding performance from the one-two punch of an AMD CPU and Nvidia GPU. And despite harnessing so much power, the Legion 5 Pro delivers respectable battery life at more than 6 hours on a charge. This is, without question, Lenovo's best gaming laptop for the money. 

See our full Lenovo Legion 5 Pro review.

Lenovo Chromebook Duet

Whether you're a student or just love Chrome, the Chromebook Duet is the best Lenovo Chromebook.  (Image credit: Future)

8. Lenovo Chromebook Duet

The best Chromebook

Specifications
CPU: MediaTek Helio P60T
GPU: ARM G72 MP3
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 64GB
Display: 10.1-inch, 1920x1200
Size: 9.6 x 6.7 x 0.7 inches
Weight: 2 pounds
Reasons to buy
+Lasts long on a charge+Comes with keyboard/kickstand+Colorful display+Decent performance
Reasons to avoid
-Cramped keyboard

The Chromebook Duet is one of the cheapest computing devices on the market and yet it delivers in so many areas. First and foremost, battery life. This detachable 2-in-1 tablet lasted for nearly 13 hours on our battery test, making it one of the longest-lasting Chromebooks on the market. 

What really makes this device such an incredible value is that for $279, you get an 10.1-inch tablet with a kickstand plus the accompanying keyboard. And that panel is somewhat both sharp and vivid despite the incredibly low cost of the Chromebook Duet. No, it won't break any speed records, but for those who want to spend the least amount of money, the Chromebook Duet is the best choice.

See our full Lenovo Chromebook Duet review.

How to pick a Lenovo Laptop

Lenovo's our top-rated laptop brand for good reason. The company offers an extensive product lineup with some of the best notebooks you can get from any manufacturer. Lenovo makes laptops for just about every type of user, from children in school to gamers and business executives.

We've listed our favorite current Lenovo laptops above, but if you're doing research, it helps to know the difference between the company's major product lines.

  • ThinkPad: Lenovo's business laptops have some of the best keyboards in the world and many have extremely long battery life. They're a great choice, even if you're not planning to use them for work.
  • Yoga: These premium 2-in-1s have great designs, colorful screens and strong battery life.
  • Legion: The gaming line offers solid performance at reasonable prices.
  • Flex: A line of 2-in-1s that is less expensive than Yoga, but still full-featured.
  • IdeaPad: These mainstream consumer laptops range in price from low-end budget systems to more premium Ultrabooks.

How we test Lenovo laptops

We put each Lenovo laptop through extensive benchmark testing — both synthetic and real-world — before they end up in the hands of our reviewers. We evaluate each aspect of the laptop, including its performance, battery life, display, speakers and heat management.

In our benchmark testing, we use a Klein K10 colorimeter to detect the brightness and sRGB color gamut of the laptop's display. For performance testing, we run the laptop through a gauntlet of benchmarks, including Geekbench 5.0 and 3DMark professional graphics tests. 

To determine real-world performance, we task the laptop to convert a 4K video to 1080p resolution and to duplicate a 25GB multimedia file. Our real-world graphics test is the Sid Meier's Civilization VI: Gathering Storm benchmark with medium settings at 1080p resolution. 

We also run heat tests by playing a 15-minute full-screen video and measuring temperatures in different areas of the laptop. Last but not least, our battery test consists of continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness. For MacBooks and premium Windows 10 laptops, a runtime of over 9 hours is considered a good result whereas gaming laptops and workstations that can stay powered for longer than 5 hours deserve praise. 

These tests are complemented with extensive hands-on testing from our reviewers who critique everything from the laptop's materials to the feel of its touchpad. 

Phillip Tracy

Phillip Tracy is the assistant managing editor at Laptop Mag where he reviews laptops, phones and other gadgets while covering the latest industry news. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Phillip became a tech reporter at the Daily Dot. There, he wrote reviews for a range of gadgets and covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity. Prior to that, he wrote for RCR Wireless News covering 5G and IoT. When he's not tinkering with devices, you can find Phillip playing video games, reading, traveling or watching soccer.