Lenovo Thinkpad vs Ideapad – What is the Difference?

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Both the Thinkpad and Ideapad are created by Lenovo, and they remain the best-selling models of the company. The success of these two models is not so surprising since they are incredibly competent laptops with a lot of great features. This might make it difficult for those seeking to buy a computer right now. 

The Thinkpad is a bit older and has been a reliable laptop since the 90s, while the Ideapad can be called a much newer design, having been around for only a little over ten years. “Newer” models, however, do not automatically mean “better,” as we know. 

So if you are eager to find out the difference between both laptops, you have come to the right place. Follow along as we take you through the difference between the two. 

Lenovo Thinkpad vs Ideapad: the difference

The main difference between the two is that the Lenovo Thinkpad is created with business users in mind. On the other hand, the Ideapad is designed to satisfy the needs of average daily users as they have lower-end components but costs less at the same time. 

Lenovo, a Chinese company, has grown tremendously over the years and keeps competing real hard against American tech giants – HP and Dell.

With the two top laptops of Lenovo, it might be challenging to know which would best meet your needs.

Lenovo ThinkPad E15 (2021 model)
CPU: Intel Core i5-10210U (1.6 GHz base frequency, up to 4.2 GHz with Intel Turbo Boost Technology, 6 MB cache, 4 cores)
Storage: 512GB SSD
Display: 15.6 inch FHD (1920x1080) IPS Anti-glare LED
GPU: Intel UHD Graphics
Lenovo IdeaPad 3
CPU:AMD Ryzen 5 3500U Mobile 2.1 GHz
Storage: 256GB SSD
Display: 14-inch FHD
GPU: AMD Radeon Graphics

Let us start with the popular Thinkpad. 

Lenovo Thinkpad overview

This laptop series is simply the businessman’s top pick. It has undoubtedly been voted the best as far as working is concerned. It is also unsurprisingly one of the bestselling Lenovo models as well. 

This laptop is not just a top player in the business world but also in the educational sector. Many universities all across the globe use the Thinkpad for everyday work. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly laptop, the Thinkpad is the best pick for you.

One interesting thing to note is that the Thinkpad was initially a creation of IBM, and it was a bestseller for them in the 90s. Lenovo, however, in 2005 bought the manufacturing rights for the Thinkpad, and it has been on a steady climb of the top laptop successes since then. 

lenovo thinkpad x1 yoga gen6

Thinkpad design

The Thinkpad is made for work; hence it does not bother about any fancy physical designs. The standard X or T series often comes to mind when looking at the Thinkpad. The simple yet effective design remains ever popular amongst consumers, with many even appreciating its minimalism. 

Thinkpad performance

The performance is often taken more seriously over laptops’ design, and this is especially the case for the Thinkpad series. It comes with highly effective and high-quality RAM, a very strong battery life, and Intel processors, which ranked it one of the best high-performance laptops. 

Most Thinkpads feature an 8GB RAM, which can be upgraded anytime. A great option if you need a laptop that would take you for five or more years.

Thinkpad processors 

Thinkpads processors often vary. The more expensive and higher-quality models come with Intel Processors. An example is an X1 Carbon, which uses an Intel Core i5 processor at a minimum while also tending to feature the more powerful i7 processor. 

In other cost-effective cases, they could come with AMD processors. An example is the Thinkpad T14 which features an AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 4750U. Although it is cheaper, it is also a potent 8 core processor. 

Thinkpad display

When it comes to the display, the Thinkpad is praised for its high-quality display. A fully 4K screen is often featured in many high-end models, but this model features a 14-inch size. This is a very clever spot in between the 13.3-inches and 15.6-inches. Apart from the 14-inch, the Thinkpad could also come in other sizes too. 

Thinkpad models

The numerous series of Thinkpads can be overwhelming, thereby making a list challenging to choose from. Here is a breakdown of these different series.  

Lenovo Thinkpad X Series

The X series often comes to mind when the Thinkpad is thought of. It is unarguably the best Thinkpad series laptop and is usually more expensive than others. With the value this series provides, it is probably worth the extra cost. It often competes with the MacBook Pro for the best laptop of the year. 

The most popular Thinkpad X series right now is the Thinkpad X1 Carbon. Many often describe it as the lightest ultrabook currently available. It usually comes with up to 16GB RAM, which is upgradeable to up to 64GB RAM, which might not be necessary for most users. 

The Thinkpad X1 Carbon basically offers all essential features, and it should be your top choice if you need something of the sort. Even though it was explicitly meant to be business laptops, you can use it for basically any operation. It is, in fact, a very tough competitor of Apple laptops and even the XPS Series. 

The business laptop comes with a unique display and usually a 14-inch screen size. It features Windows 10 and will probably come with an Intel i5 or even an Intel Core i7 processor. Since it is a business laptop, it will do well in meetings as it also offers a 720p camera which produces crystal clear pictures. 

The thin design also makes it very portable and especially suitable for traveling. One of the most incredible features of all is the battery of this X1 Carbon, which can take up to 15 hours of usage time. These features combine to prove that this is the best Lenovo Thinkpad series available right now. 

E series

This model is particularly for consumers who do not have a high budget for a premium laptop. It comes with pretty much the same Thinkpad design but can not measure up to other models in power. You will find this model in 14 inches or 15.6 inches. 

L Series

These Thinkpads are a little more efficient than the E series but still below the X series. The price is just average, and it comes with a commendable power as well. 

T Series

These Thinkpad series also come with slight improvements and are mainly designed to last long due to their strong batteries.

P Series

These Thinkpad series come with more power and are made explicitly for architects and designers. The P series is compelling, and although it is also costly, it may just be what you need. 

Yoga Series

This is a hybrid of the Thinkpad and Yoga series. It is a 2 in 1 laptop that can be easily converted and used in tablet form. 

In conclusion, the Lenovo Thinkpad is the most influential business laptop available on the planet at the moment. Whether you’re looking for a study or work laptop or you want a Windows OS laptop, the Lenovo Thinkpad is your best pick. 

Lenovo Ideapad overview

Even though the Thinkpad seems to have taken all the great reviews, this Ideapad is also worth the hype. While the Thinkpad does more on the business side of things, this Ideapad does focus more on the consumer’s side. This makes it much similar to the Acer Aspire, which is consumer-focused. 

You will find that the Ideapad models are usually cheaper than the Thinkpad models because they are not made for a specific audience. The Ideapad remains a highly effective laptop with its great features. 

lenovo ideapad 3

Ideapad design

A simple glance at the Ideapad and Thinkpad models will immediately reveal the difference between them. The Thinkpad focuses more on power and less on looks, while the Ideapad is generally better looking. The Ideapad is smart and portable, which makes it easy to carry around without any discomfort. 

Ideapad performance

The Ideapad is not as powerful as the Thinkpad, but it is lighter and more portable. It comes with a lower RAM when compared to the Thinkpad. Despite this, it can still effectively serve up to 80% of average users out there. Problems only occur when it is made to deal with larger files and more power-intensive operations. 

Ideapad processors

The Ideapad features both the Intel and AMD Processors on their laptops. In cheaper models, however, the AMD processors are the most used. You could get these models for just a few hundred dollars in most cases. 

Ideapad display and audio

The Ideapad’s display is commendable even though it may be lower than the Thinkpad’s range. Its contrast ratio may also be lower as well. The Ideapad can not measure up to the Thinkpad, but that does not make it an incompetent model. 

The Ideapad comes with Dolby quality speakers to give you better audio than most laptops within the same price range. 

Ideapad models

Lenovo Ideapad S Series

This series is over a decade old and is the perfect example of what an Ideapad is. These series usually come in lightweights, and the S series is the best example. The combination of a commendable battery, lightweight design, and modern features makes it an impressive laptop. 

One thing to note is that the S series is designed for more casual use. This also applies to the Ideapad in general. It will be perfect for you if you need a laptop for your day-to-day typing or regular use. 

Lenovo Ideapad Gaming 3 Series

This Gaming 3 series is a new laptop introduced into the Ideapad series in April 2020. This is a long-awaited move by Lenovo to dive into the gaming market after the HP Omen series and ASUS TUF series became so popular in the gaming industry. 

This series of gaming laptops are made explicitly for individuals on a lower budget since it is not as expensive as Alienware brands which provide very high-budget gaming laptops. 

The Gaming 3 Series comes with an impressive i7 processor even while being a very low-budget laptop. It also includes Nvidia GTX graphics cards. We cannot tell how well this laptop will do yet because it just got into the market. We will, however, keep an eye to see what happens. 

C Series

This series was released in 2019 alongside the rapidly successful C340. It is a convertible laptop that comes with the dynamic ability to be used as a tablet while also featuring the impressive qualities of the S series. We also wait eagerly to see other Lenovo releases of the C series. 

L Series

These laptops come at average prices, and they feature very impressive RAMs. They were launched alongside L340 in 2019, bringing along with their designs specific to gamers. 

lenovo laptop


To wrap it up, the Lenovo Thinkpad and the Ideapad provide great experiences for users, which is why they are the main contributors to Lenovo’s market share, which continues to grow over the years.

Many regular users have found the Thinkpad beneficial and the better option for them even though it was specifically made for business and work. 

The Ideapad, on the other hand, is one most suitable for average users who don’t have to deal with complex operations. The Ideapad is the best option if you need a laptop to browse the internet, type some documents, or watch videos. 

This is the reason why Ideapad laptops dominate that list of low-budget laptops, while Thinkpad is often found on high-end laptop guides.

Alex Berg
Alex Berg

Founder, writer, editor-in-chief at LaptopTalks. Starting LaptopTalks is like a dream come true, combining two of his passions – writing and technology. Even in his free time, you can often find him by his gaming laptop playing the latest video games.

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