ThinkPad vs. IdeaPad 2020: Which Lenovo Model is Right For You?

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ThinkPad vs IdeaPad: The Main Differences

ThinkPads are a premium line of Lenovo laptops ideal for business users. These provide better durability, speed, and have additional features like the Trackpoint. IdeaPads, on the other hand, cater to budget buyers that need a laptop mainly for entertainment purposes.

Looking for the best Lenovo laptops? Then you are bound to come across two of their most popular series, the Lenovo ThinkPad and IdeaPad.

While they may sound very similar, there are quite a few differences. That means both these series have been designed, keeping in mind specific budgets and users.

So if you are looking for a new laptop, should you be going for a ThinkPad or an Ideapad? And even if you decided on the series which models are worth the money?

Well, we answer those and other burning questions in this detailed Thinkpad vs. Ideapad comparison guide so you can make a better buying decision.

Thinkpad vs. IdeaPad

Lenovo Thinkpad Features

To put it in simple words, Thinkpad is like the Ferrari of the Lenovo brand. Yup, these are professional-grade laptops that are dressed to impress in terms of durability, performance, and design.

If you are at the top of your field and your entire workday revolves around your laptop as you run multiple programs, tabs, attend online conferences, meetings, etc. the Thinkpad is a no-brainer.

The reason these laptops are so durable is that they are usually made with a combination of magnesium, titanium, or carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic, which means they can easily handle a bump or two.

Not just that, they are perfect for the clumsy you and me as well since spilling some coffee, diet coke, or water on the body does zero damage (trust me, been there, had my heart in my mouth).

Adding to the durability is the use of better quality RAM, Processors, HDDs, SSDs, and so on.

And you don’t have to take our word for it. Believe it or not, the Thinkpad series is the only laptop ever to be certified and approved to be used at the International Space Station (no we aren’t kidding, read all about it here).

The Thinkpads also come with one of the most talked-about Lenovo innovations, the TrackPoint. The TrackPoint aims to give you full access to the pointer’s movement without having to take your hand off the keyboard.

Similarly, the backlit keyboards have ample space in between keys, which means the travel distance is perfect for comfortable and quick typing.

Even the arrow keys are no more cramped up as you might find them with laptops of other brands, and you will also find dedicated Home, End, Page Up, and Page Down, unlike the Thinkpad series, which further make navigating around a breeze.

Which Thinkpad is Best for You?

If you are in the market for the absolute best, it hardly gets any better than the Lenovo ThinkPad P71. It is a mobile workstation with power galore. Go ahead, check out its jaw-dropping specs for yourself.

Lenovo ThinkPad P71 17.3'' Premium Mobile Workstation Laptop (Intel i7 Quad Core Processor, 32GB RAM, 4TB SSD, 17.3 inch FHD 1920x1080 Display, Quadro M620M, Win 10 Pro)
  • Intel 7th Gen Quad-Core i7-7700HQ 2.80GHz (6M Cache, up to 3.80 GHz) Kaby Lake Processor + NVIDIA Quadro M620M with 2 GB GDDR5 VRAM
  • 17.3" Full HD (FHD 1920x1080) Matte IPS Display, Webcam: 720p Video, Network: 1 x 10/100/1000 Mbps Gigabit Ethernet (RJ-45)
  • 32GB RAM, ThinkPad Precision Backlit Keyboard with NumberPad, Fingerprint Reader
  • 4TB Solid State Drive (SSD), Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC (2x2) 8265, Bluetooth 4.1, Expansion Slots: ExpressCard/34 Slot, Media Card Slots: SD/SDHC/SDXC MMC
  • Windows 10 Pro 64 (Win 10 Pro), 2 x Thunderbolt 3, 4 x USB 3.0 Type-A, 1 x Docking Connector, 1 x Mini DisplayPort 1.2, 1 x HDMI 1.4 (*Professionally Upgraded by MichaelElectronics2)

Yes, its battery life and audio are a bit of a letdown considering its price, but hey, we are talking about the hulk of ThinkPads here.

With that much speed and power in the bank, the laptop can be used for anything and everything (from video editing, graphic designing, programming to most games, this baby can handle it all).

If you need something cheaper, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is one of the most popular ThinkPads. It is durable, more portable, and has specs that make it ideal for programmers, graphics designers, accountants, realtors, etc.

Sale
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 7th Gen 14" Ultrabook - 1920 X 1080 - Core i7 i7-8565U - 16 GB RAM - 512 GB SSD - Windows 10 Pro 64-bit - Intel UHD Graphics 620 - in-Plane Switch
  • Processor Manufacturer: Intel
  • Processor Type: Core i7
  • Processor generation: 8th Gen
  • Processor model: i7-8565u
  • Processor speed: 1.80 GHz

The only main drawback is that it cannot handle gaming like the P71 as it comes with an integrated Intel UHD graphics card.

On a tight budget? Well, the ThinkPad T480 is perfect for you as it costs less than $1000. But even at this lower price range, the laptop comes with an i5 processor, 256GB SSD, and 16GB RAM (some features a must in a good business laptop for smooth functioning).

Sale
Lenovo ThinkPad T480 14" HD Business Laptop (Intel 8th Gen Quad-Core i5-8250U, 16GB DDR4 RAM, Toshiba 256GB PCIe NVMe 2242 M.2 SSD) Fingerprint, Thunderbolt 3 Type-C, WiFi, Windows 10 Pro - Black
  • Memory: 16GB DDR4 RAM, storage: Toshiba 256B PCIe NVMe 2242 M. 2 SSD (seal is broken for upgrades only, Professional installation Service included)
  • 8th Generation Intel Quad Core i5-8250U 1. 60 GHz Processor (Max Turbo 3. 40 GHz, 4 cores 8 threads, 6MB SmartCache)
  • 14-Inch HD (1366x768), anti-glare, LED backlight, 220 nits, 16: 9 aspect ratio, 400: 1 contrast ratio| integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620: supports external digital monitor via HDMI or USB Type-C; supports three independent displays; Max Resolution 4K: 4096x2304@60hz (USB Type-C); 4096x2160@30hz (HDMI)
  • Intel wireless 8265AC (2x2) + Bluetooth V4. 1 | fingerprint reader | HD 720P Webcam
  • Windows 10 Professional 64-bit - ideal for home, student professionals, small business, school education

Another good ThinkPad on the cheap is the ThinkPad E590. While most of its features are similar to the T840, the major difference is the display.

The E590 has a maximum resolution of 1920×1080 at 60FPS, whereas the ThinkPad T840’s maximum resolution is 4k at 60FPS. So if you are a movie fanatic or get glued to the latest NetFlix series after work, then the T840 is ideal for you.

But if you want to save a $100 bucks or something, the E590 will just as well serve you in terms of business needs.

2019 Lenovo Thinkpad E590 15.6" HD Business Laptop (Intel Quad Core i5-8265U, 16GB DDR4 Memory, 256GB PCIe 3.0(x4) NVMe SSD M.2 SSD) Type-C, HDMI, Ethernet, Webcam, Windows 10 Pro
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4 RAM; Storage: Samsung 256GB PCIe NVMe M. 2 SSD (Seal is opened for upgrade ONLY, Professional Installation Service included)
  • 15. 6-Inch Anti-Glare (1366x768) Display with Front Facing HD Webcam | Integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620 - Supports external digital monitor via HDMI or USB Type-C; Supports dual independent display; Max resolution: 1920x1080 (HDMI)@60Hz
  • Whiskey Lake-U CPU: Intel Quad Core i5-8265U 1. 6 GHz (Turbo 3. 90 GHz, 4 Cores 8 Threads, 6MB SmartCache)
  • Intel 9260 11ac, 2x2 + BT5. 0 Combo | HD Webcam
  • Windows 10 Professional 64-bit - Ideal for Home, Professionals, Small business, School Education

Again, keep in mind, both these laptops are not ideal for graphic-intensive tasks as they both come with an integrated graphics card.

Last of our ThinkPad recommendations is another powerhouse, the ThinkPad P52 Workstation. While it is not as powerful as the P71, it comes with specs ideal for people into 3D architectural designing that run software like Revit, 3DS Max, or Maya. Even graphics designers and video editors can make the most of the laptop.

While it can handle some gaming (yup, you can play Fortnite or Overwatch on it), games like FIFA 20, GTA V will have to be played at a lower graphics setting.

But considering you still can play some games, it is perfect for professional use and is very durable, and its price range makes it a steal. That is because the laptop is available for less than $1500.

Lenovo ThinkPad P52s Mobile Workstation Ultrabook Laptop (Intel 8th Gen i7-8550U 4-core, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD, 15.6" FHD 1920x1080 IPS, Quadro P500, Fingerprint, Backlit Keyboard, Win 10 Pro)
  • 8th Generation Kaby Lake R Intel Core i7-8550U Quad-Cores Processor (1.8 GHz up to 4.0GHz, 8 MB Cache), NVIDIA Quadro P500 with 2 GB GDDR5 VRAM
  • 15.6" Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS Technology LED Backlight Display, 1 x 10/100/1000 Mb/s Gigabit Ethernet (RJ45), 802.11ac; Dual-Band and Bluetooth 4.1
  • 32GB DDR4 Memory, Built-in HD webcam, Full-Size Backlight Keyboard, Numeric Keypad
  • 1TB SSD (Solid State Drive), 1 x Thunderbolt 3, 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C, 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A, 1 x Docking Connector, 1 x HDMI 1.4, 1 x 1/8" (3.5 mm) Headphone/Microphone, Combo Jack, Media Card SD/SDHC/SDXC MMC
  • Windows 10 Professional (Win 10 Pro), 4 (32Wh) cell Battery, 1 Year Manufacture warranty from the Seller

Factoid: The brain behind the design of the first couple of ThinkPads was Richard Sapper. He designed them back in 1990 based on the Bento lunchbox (a black lunch box where you could only view the contents upon opening it). Manufacturing for them started two years later in Japan at the Yamato factory.

Lenovo IdeaPads Features

Are you are a content writer or student that does not want to overpay for a high-end laptop? Or maybe, you are looking for something convertible Either way, IdeaPads are tailor-made for you.

While the ThinkPads were reaping the plaudits for their specs and design, Lenovo did not forget about the budget buyers and their range of IdeaPads in 2008.

But the low price isn’t the only reason to go for the IdeaPad. Like I mentioned above, the IdeaPad Series also includes convertible laptops.

These laptops offer you portability like none other, not just because they can be used a tablet or in the tent mode as well but also because they are very compact and ultralight.

The low-end IdeaPads are made using plastic. While this cuts down the cost, you do not want to be spilling liquids or dropping the laptop by any chance.

On the other hand, the top-notch IdeaPads are made using aluminum. Although that still isn’t as durable as the Thinkpad, considering all these laptops cost less than $1000, it is as good as it can get.

Oh, and some of them even have an excellent display and come with a backlit keyboard, which makes them true value for money.

Which IdeaPad Should You Get?

To start off with, my favorite IdeaPad of all time is the Lenovo Ideapad L340 Gaming Laptop. C’mon, if you are getting a gaming laptop with a large 15.6″ Full-HD display, an SSD, an i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and most importantly, a 4GB dedicated GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card, you really do not want to miss out on it.

In simpler words, this means you can play pretty much all your multiplayer games like Fortnite, PUBG, Overwatch, Call of Duty, and so on. Plus, the laptop has special features like Quick Mode and Quiet Mode to ensure uninterrupted gameplay.

And if you are one of those gamers that pulls off all-nighters with his/her squad, you will be happy to know it even features an Eye Care Mode, which reduces blue light emissions and thus reduces strain (no more red eyes now).

But that’s not all. Find out more about this gaming laptop by hitting the link below (trust me, you want to give it a read).

Lenovo Ideapad L340 Gaming Laptop, 15.6 Inch FHD (1920 X 1080) IPS Display, Intel Core i5-9300H Processor, 8GB DDR4 RAM, 512GB Nvme SSD, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650, Windows 10, 81LK00HDUS, Black
  • A new dimension of gaming performance awaits - with 9th-generation Intel Core i5 processors, the IdeaPad L340 gaming has the power you need to outshoot, outrun, and outsmart anyone. Includes 8GB DDR4 RAM and 512GB NVMe SSD
  • Take it to the next level - with the latest NVIDIA GeForce Graphics behind you, you can tame the hottest titles with faster, smoother, and more power-efficient gameplay. Plus, the 15.6-Inch screen delivers a stunning full HD IPS Display with 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • A portal to a new sound Dimension - hardwired into every IdeaPad L340 gaming is advanced Dolby audio technology. Take your mobile gaming experience to another dimension and have a real blast along the way
  • Control your own Fate - GAME in 'quick' Mode or work in 'quiet' Mode. It's your call with a simple function setting that lets you shift gears between modes, instantly.
  • Final product may vary slightly from image

Want to binge-watch your favorite NetFlix show on the go? Then the Lenovo Flex 14 2-in-1 Convertible Laptop is just what the doctor ordered for.

It costs less than $500 and yet features an i3 processor and an SSD so you can stream movies or browse on multiple tabs without any hassles.

Sale
Lenovo Flex 14 2-in-1 Convertible Laptop, 14.0 Inch HD, Touch screen, Intel Core i3-8145U Processor, 4GB DDR4 RAM, 128GB Nvme SSD, Intel UHD Graphics 620, Windows 10, Onyx Black
  • Up to 8 hours of battery life with quick recharge technology to power your laptop computer up to 80%
  • The (sold separately) Active Pen lets you draw or take notes directly on the screen, anywhere you go
  • The Flex 14 notebook also includes 2 USB ports, 1 USB-C port, a card reader, HDMI port, and audio jack
  • The 14" Hd (1366 x 768), 220 nits, 10-point touchscreen display is ideal for productivity or Creativity,
  • Convenient TrueBlock privacy shutter allows you to physically close your webcam when you're not using it

Did you know that your new laptop can also cost less than $300, and no, it need not be of Craiglist? This IdeaPad was launched just a few months back and has already catapulted itself as a favorite.

The laptop comes with eMMC memory for speed, HD display, 1-year subscription of Microsoft Office 365, and pre-installed Windows 10.

Usually, cheaper laptops come with DOS, which can leads to additional expenses since you need to purchase and install the Windows OS separately, which makes this budget ThinkPad a really attractive pick.

Sale
2020 Lenovo IdeaPad Laptop ComputerAMD A6-9220e 1.6GHz 4GB Memory 64GB eMMC Flash Memory 14" AMD Radeon R4 AC WiFi Microsoft Office 365 Platinum Gray Windows 10 Home
  • ▶ AMD A6-9220e accelerated processor; Dual-core processing. AMD A6 APU handles the AMD Radeon graphics alongside the central processor to balance the load, enabling great performance, rapid multitasking and immersive entertainment.
  • ▶ Beautiful 14" display Typical 1366 x 768 HD resolution. Energy-efficient LED backlight.
  • ▶ 4GB DDR4 Memory for full-power multitasking; 64GB eMMC flash memory: This ultracompact memory system is ideal for mobile devices and applications, providing enhanced storage capabilities, streamlined data management, quick boot-up times and support for high-definition video playback.
  • ▶ 802. 11ac wireless LAN; 2 x USB 3. 0, 1 HDMI 1. 4; 1 headphone/microphone combo, AMD Radeon R4 integrated graphics
  • ▶ Windows 10 Home 64-bit English brings back the Start Menu from Windows 7 and introduces new features, like the Edge Web browser that lets you markup Web pages on your screen. Microsoft Office 365 Personal 1-year subscription for free

Some other IdeaPads worth the consideration are:

Sale
2019 Newest Lenovo IdeaPad 15.6" HD High Performance Laptop PC |7th Gen AMD A9-9425 Dual-Core 3.10 GHz| 4GB RAM | 128GB SSD | 802.11ac | Bluetooth | DVD+/-RW | HDMI | Win 10
  • Windows 10 Home; AMD A9-9425 processor; 15. 6" display; 4GB memory; 128GB solid state drive; Bluetooth; outdoor screen; HDMI output
Sale
Newest Lenovo IdeaPad S145 15.6" HD Business Laptop, AMD A6-9225 Dual-core Upto 3.0GHz, 8GB RAM, 1TB HDD, AMD Radeon R4 Graphics, HDMI, WiFi, Card Reader, Windows 10, Black
  • AMD A6-9225 Dual-core Accelerated Processor (2. 6GHz up to 3. 0GHz), 8GB DDR4 Memory, 1TB HDD
  • 15. 6-inch Diagonal HD SVA WLED-backlit 1366 x 768 Display, AMD Radeon R4 Graphics
  • 802_11_AC, Bluetooth 4. 0, Card Reader, HD Audio with Stereo Speakers, Webcam
  • 2 x USB 3. 1 Type-A, 1 x USB 2. 0, 1 x HDMI, 1 x Headphone/microphone Combo Jack
  • Full-size Island-style Keyboard with Numeric Keypad, Windows 10 Home 64-bit, 2-cell lithium_ion, 4. 08lb, Black

ThinkPads vs. IdeaPads: A Brief Comparison

ThinkPads

  • Suited for professional use like video editing, programming, etc.
  • They are highly durable
  • Comes with the Lenovo TrackPoint for easy navigation
  • Keys on the Keyboard are perfectly placed for comfortable typing
  • You also get dedicated Home, Page Down and Page Up keys
  • Quality of the parts is better
  • Display resolution can vary from Full-HD to 4K
  • Cost on the expensive side

IdeaPads

  • Best-suited for budget buyers
  • They come with backlit keyboards
  • The higher-end IdeaPads are made of aluminum for better durability
  • Some laptops have a Full-HD display

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My name is Eric Smith and I've been working within the tech space for over 10 years, both at one of the largest computer manufacturers (for which I have no affiliation with anymore) but also in the retail sector where I gained a lot of experience in helping people finding suitable tech products.

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