Hands-on with AMD-powered Lenovo ThinkPad Gen 2 Z16 and Z13 AI PCs

Hands-on with AMD-powered Lenovo Z16 and Z13 AI PCs
(Image credit: Future)

During my time with Lenovo in Austin, Texas, I've learned a great deal about the future of AI PCs. Including how they can improve your work life by freeing you from mundane duties, allowing you to focus on the task at hand. 

Today, after a Q&A with executives from both Lenovo and AMD, we were introduced to several new laptops — with the ThinkPad Z16 Gen 2 and Z13 in particular catching my eye thanks to their sleek and stylish, all-aluminium, super thin and lightweight designs.

Both Z series Thinkpads will come packing CPU options from AMD. You can choose from an AMD Ryzen 5 / 7 / 9 processor, with each being partnered with any of the following GPUs: AMD Radeon 760M Graphics (integrated), AMD Radeon 780M Graphics (integrated), or an AMD Radeon RX 6550M.

Let's have a quick peek at these two AI PC laptops further. 

ThinkPad Z13 Gen 2

Hands-on with AMD-powered Lenovo ThinkPad Gen 2 Z16 and Z13 AI PCs

(Image credit: Future)
ThinkPad Z13 Gen 2 specs

CPU: Up to AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 7840U

GPU: Up to AMD Radeon 780M Graphics (integrated)

RAM: Up to 64GB LPDDR5x-6400, soldered

Storage: Up to 1x 2TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD

Display: Up to 13.3" (2880x1800) OLED, 400nits, 100% DCI-P3, OGS touch, DisplayHDR 400, Dolby® Vision, TÜV Low Blue Light

The ThinkPad Z13 Gen 2's all-aluminum build quality feels durable in the hand yet is surprisingly lightweight, weighing in at just 2.78 pounds. There is a bit of weight variance due to different available displays and materials, as the Flax Fiber units weigh between 2.80 and 2.84 pounds. Measuring 11.59 x 7.86 x 0.55 inches in size, this Z13 is perfect for those in a hybrid work environment or for serious travelers where portability is key. 

Of course, you will get the beloved Lenovo keyboard with that magical nub some still take for granted. Seriously, try it sometime, it's pretty helpful. Below the keyboard is a 2.79 x 4.72-inch glass-surfaced touchpad that features haptic response. On the left, there is one USB Type-C port. On the right, we find a combo audio jack, a nano SIM card slot, a power button, and another USB Type-C port. 

I had a brief chance to play with it during our visit and found it was very responsive, and the 13-inch OLED panel on the demo unit was bright, colorful, and crisp. 

Lenovo ThinkPad Z16 Gen 2

Hands-on with AMD-powered Lenovo ThinkPad Gen 2 Z16 and Z13 AI PCs

(Image credit: Future)

I will admit I was crushing on the ThinkPad Z16 Gen 2 and it's all-aluminum design. Weight varies due to three different display options, ranging from 4.28 pounds for the WUXGA (920x1200) multi-touch display model, 3.99 pounds for the OLED (3840x2400) panel model, and 4.04 pounds for the WUXGA non touch model. 

You get three AMD CPU options, starting with the AMD Ryzen 5 PRO 7640HS which is partnered with an AMD Radeon 760M GPU. You can also choose the AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 7840HS CPU and AMD Radeon 780M GPU or the AMD Ryzen 9 PRO 7940HS CPU with the same 780M GPU. You can also pack up to 64GB of RAM and 2TB of SSD storage. 

The ample keyboard (with nub) is responsive and has good travel. The 3.15 x 4.72 inch glass surface multi-touch Haptic ForcePad was responsive and a treat to use too. The Z16 looks to be an excellent productivity option, that will give users an immersive 16-inch panel that is bright, crisp and well saturated. 

Final thoughts

AI PCs are here; they are the future, and if these ThinkPads are any indication of what's to come, color me very excited. It's not every day we witness the dawn of a new technology that could prove life-altering for so many. 

In the past couple of months, PC makers and their partners have taken direct aim at the Cupertino fruit factory known as Apple's computing crown and 2024 is setting itself up to be a year of rebirth for PCs and Windows laptops. I'll close with this: These AMD-powered Lenovo ThinkPads are purported to have 16 hours + battery life. If that holds up in our testing, it will signal the dawn of a new era. 

Mark Anthony Ramirez

Mark has spent 20 years headlining comedy shows around the country and made appearances on ABC, MTV, Comedy Central, Howard Stern, Food Network, and Sirius XM Radio. He has written about every topic imaginable, from dating, family, politics, social issues, and tech. He wrote his first tech articles for the now-defunct Dads On Tech 10 years ago, and his passion for combining humor and tech has grown under the tutelage of the Laptop Mag team. His penchant for tearing things down and rebuilding them did not make Mark popular at home, however, when he got his hands on the legendary Commodore 64, his passion for all things tech deepened. These days, when he is not filming, editing footage, tinkering with cameras and laptops, or on stage, he can be found at his desk snacking, writing about everything tech, new jokes, or scripts he dreams of filming.