I am often asked what I think of the Lenovo IdeaPad line of laptops. I love the Lenovo Thinkpad line of business laptops. They are rugged machines that are great for any businessperson and fantastic if they travel and are a little rough with their machine. Lenovo seems to have retained the high quality that IBM had built into the Thinkpad brand.
However about 5 years ago, Lenovo decided to try to offer machines more targeted to the consumer market. No longer just the basic black machines would be offered. In general, I think Lenovo has done an excellent job offering many different models to appeal to various consumers’ needs. They are cheaper than the Thinkpad machines but still have good quality. I think they are among the best consumer laptops on the market.
They are not quite built like the tank that the Thinkpads are known for being constructed. We have seen folks coming in with broken hinges and broken screens. Often it will be a case where someone tried to close the lid with alot of force while something was sitting on the keyboard, obviously not a manufacturing defect!
Some of the models that Lenovo has offered include:
The primary consumer machines are the G and S series. Examples are the G580 and S405 which are great consumer level machines. These machines offer much of what a typical user is looking for in a laptop. They are not quite as rugged as the Thinkpad brand but can easily be a third of the price of a Thinkpad.
The Z series machines are consumer laptops with a little more multimedia functionality.
Yoga 11 and Yoga 13 are hybrid laptop/tablet offerings. We do like the Yoga 13 running Windows 8 for folks that like a laptop but sometimes want to use a tablet. This addresses both needs with its touch screen and rotatable screens.
The S9, S10 and S12 models are netbooks primarily aimed at folks wanting a very small laptop that can do only one or two things at one time. Great for someone that wants to check their email in the coffee shop or just surf the web.
The Y series machines with 15inch and huge 17 inch displays are Lenovo’s attempt to enter the gaming laptop market currently lead by Alienware. The Y450, Y460, Y470, Y480, Y510, Y560, Y570 and Y580 are good initial offerings. They have some good aspects including the ultrabay slot (not in the Y580) that allows you to add a second hard drive, second Nvidia GPU or even a fan. We still like desktops for gaming but if you want a gaming laptop – add this to your consideration in addition to Alienware.
Finally – don’t forget that Lenovo offers the Thinkpad Edge or E Series. This is a machine that has some of the characteristics of the Thinkpad line but for only perhaps $100 more than the equivalent G or S series laptop. I think the Edge is especially well suited for the small business owner that wants a workhorse machine but is looking for a sub $1000 solution.