Ideapad vs. Thinkpad: What Are The Differences?

IdeaPad vs. ThinkPad

Ideapad vs. Thinkpad: What Are The Differences?

Lenovo has been producing laptops for over two decades, and the IdeaPad and ThinkPad are some of its best-selling models. Several significant differences between these two laptop series – such as price range, battery life, and weight – make them difficult to compare without a bit more information.

In today’s article, we’ll tell you all you need to know about both models of laptops from Lenovo. You’ll discover the key differences between them and if one might be better suited for your needs than the other before finally choosing what is best for you.

IdeaPad vs. ThinkPad: Side-by-Side Comparison

Developed byLenovoIBM, Lenovo
Original release date20081992
Target MarketConsumerBusiness
Designed forMultimedia and gamingOffice and travel
OS SupportWindows and LinuxWindows and Linux
PricingBudget-focusedPremium and high-end

IdeaPad vs. ThinkPad: Must-Know Facts

  • Both IdeaPads and ThinkPads are made by Lenovo, one of the most trusted PC brands in the world.
  • ThinkPads have been produced for over 20 years and have been used by NASA in space.
  • IdeaPads are a relatively new creation and are marketed toward home users.
  • ThinkPads can be more costly than IdeaPads due to their premium construction and rugged features.
  • IdeaPads come in a variety of models, from budget systems all the way up to high-performance gaming systems.

IdeaPad vs. ThinkPad: What’s the Difference?

With years of experience in designing computers and hardware, Lenovo knows a thing or two about making a great laptop. As a result, both the Thinkpad and Ideapad models are competent laptops with much to offer. So why do so many people find it challenging to know which one they should get?

We must examine each laptop more closely to understand the differences between the IdeaPad and the ThinkPad. While the same company makes both laptops, they have evolved to meet the demands of different markets. As such, each model has its pros and cons. Let’s discuss what makes the IdeaPad and the ThinkPad unique in their own way.

Lenovo Thinkpad: Better For Business and Portability

Originally made by IBM, the ThinkPad has an illustrious and successful history. ThinkPad laptops have long been the businessman’s choice. ThinkPads have been consistently voted as the best laptops for the workplace, and they are Lenovo’s bestselling models. They are also favored in universities and across the education sector in general. However, ThinkPads are not typically sold at the consumer level so you will find them more frequently in organizations.

ThinkPads are typically designed in a basic, no-frills manner. While other laptops will focus on flashy design and aesthetics, the ThinkPad is all business. Because of this, they often have a bulky and dated appearance to them. Almost every ThinkPad has maintained a characteristic black design, with a red TrackPoint in the middle of the keyboard.

Instead of looks, ThinkPads focus on performance. ThinkPads offer strong battery life, durable construction, and upgradeable RAM configurations. Many Thinkpads use different processors, including Intel processors, on their higher quality and more expensive models. AMD processors are also used in some of the more affordable models. Because of this, the ThinkPad has often been voted as one of the best laptop lines for mobile computing performance.

ThinkPad displays are focused on usability and durability. Whereas other laptops will focus on high-refresh rates and color accuracy, the ThinkPad takes a more utilitarian approach. Screen sizes are generally in the 13-inch to 15-inch range, making for the perfect mixture of portability and usability. Thick bezels and matte finish coatings make the ThinkPad display easy to use outdoors or in harsher environments.

Lenovo ThinkPad
The Lenovo ThinkPad is bulky and business-focused. Here you can see a prime example with the characteristic “red nub” trackpoint.


Different ThinkPad Models

There are dozens of different ThinkPads, each with its own special features and designs. Some focus on ultra-lightweight portability, while others focus more on workstation performance. Let’s discuss a few of the most common models.

Lenovo Thinkpad X Series

Best Ultrabook
Lenovo ThinkPad X1
  • 14.0" FHD (1920 x 1200) IPS, touch
  • Intel Core i7-1280p, 32GB RAM 1TB SSD storage
  • 2 x USB-C Thunderbolt 4 , USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, HDMI
  • Windows11 Pro comes pre-installed
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The ThinkPad X1 Carbon is currently the most popular ThinkPad on the market. The laptop was traditionally meant to be a business line but can be used just about anywhere. This laptop is a serious competitor to Apple’s laptops and Dell’s XPS computers.

It typically comes with a 14-inch screen and a high-quality display. Their 720p camera makes them perfect for Zoom meetings. Additionally, the lightweight and extensive battery life make them highly portable.

Lenovo ThinkPad E Series

Lenovo ThinkPad E15 (20T80005US) Laptop, 15.6" FHD Display, AMD Ryzen 5 4500U Upto 4.0GHz, 8GB RAM, 256GB NVMe SSD, HDMI, DIsplayPort via USB-C, Card Reader, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Windows 10 Pro
  • 15.6-Inch Full HD (1920x1080) Display with Front Facing HD Webcam, AMD Ryzen 5 4500U 2.3GHz to 4.0GHz 6-core Processor
  • Storage: 256GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD, RAM: 8GB DDR4 RAM
  • Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac); Dual-Band (2.4 & 5 GHz) + Bluetooth 5.0 Combo, HD Webcam, Full keyboard with 10-key numeric keypad, Integrated Fingerprint Reader
  • USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A ports, single USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port, and USB 2.0 Type-A port, 1 x HDMI, AMD Radeon Graphics graphic card
  • MicroSD Card Reader, Windows 10 (64-Bit) Pro operating system
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09/17/2023 03:39 am GMT

The ThinkPad E Series is designed for those working with a more limited budget. The E Series still offers many of the premium features of high-end ThinkPads, but without the high-performance specs. As such, the price tag is often lower on E Series models. If you’re looking to buy an E Series, you’ll easily find 14-inch and 15-inch models available with Intel or AMD processors.

Lenovo ThinkPad L Series 

The L Series ThinkPads are focused on energy efficiency. They are made with highly efficient batteries and are known for their generous battery life. As such, they often come with relatively underpowered CPUs and graphics to conserve power. The L Series may be just what you need if you’re traveling for work.

Lenovo ThinkPad T Series 

Lenovo ThinkPad T14 Gen 2 20W0001NUS 14" Notebook - Full HD - 1920 x 1080 - Intel Core i7 11th Gen i7-1165G7 Quad-core (4 Core) 2.80 GHz - 16 GB RAM - 512 GB SSD - Black
  • Intel Core i7 2.80 GHz processor provides lightning fast speed and peak performance for the toughest of tasks and games
  • With 16 GB DDR4 SDRAM of memory, runs as many programs as you want without losing the execution
  • The 14" 1920 x 1080 screen provides a great movie watching experience
  • With Windows 10 Pro edition, enjoy your favorite content all at once on a larger view edge browser. Share your thoughts with the world by writing directly on web pages.
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09/17/2023 06:31 pm GMT

The T Series is one of the longest-running models in the ThinkPad lineup. This model has enjoyed more success than any competing model and is still one of the most popular ThinkPad models. The T Series is known for its durable construction and business-focused design. Like other ThinkPads, this model enjoys great battery life but also offers incredibly powerful hardware like the latest Intel processors.

Lenovo ThinkPad P Series

Great for Gaming
Lenovo ThinkPad P1 Gen 5 Intel Core i9-12900H, 14C, 16.0" WQUXGA (3840x2400) IPS 600nits, 64GB RAM, 2TB SSD, NVIDIA RTX A5500, Backlit KYB, Fingerprint Reader, Windows Pro
  • Processor: Intel Core i9-12900H, 14C (6P + 8E) / 20T, P-core 2.5 / 5GHz, E-core 1.8 / 3.8GHz, 24MB
  • Memory: 2x 32GB SO-DIMM DDR5-4800 non-ECC; Storage: 2TB SSD M.2 2280 PCIe Performance NVMe Opal2
  • Display: 16.0" WQUXGA (3840x2400) IPS 600nits Anti-reflective, Anti-smudge, 16:10, 100% Adobe RGB, Low Blue Light, Dolby Vision, HDR 400, DC Dimming; Graphics: NVIDIA RTX A5500 16GB GDDR6 ECC
  • Dimensions (WxDxH): 359.5 x 253.8 x 18.2 mm (14.15 x 9.99 x 0.72 inches) Weight:1.86 kg (4.1 lbs)
  • WLAN + Bluetooth Intel AX210 11ax, 2x2 + BT5.2
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The P Series is a workstation laptop designed for resource-intensive applications. If you use your laptop for Photoshop or graphic design, the powerful GPU and processor in the P Series will give you all the computing power you need. Additionally, this model is favored by engineers for running AutoCAD and mathematical software. All of this power comes at a hefty price tag. The P Series can cost several thousand dollars, depending on the configuration.

Lenovo Ideapad: Better For Gaming and Multimedia

The ThinkPad may be the premium Lenovo laptop, but its business-focused design may be a turn-off for some buyers. If you’re looking for a laptop for school and don’t need anything too expensive, an IdeaPad can be a great choice. While more budget-friendly, IdeaPads are still solid laptops. 

In fact, the IdeaPad beats the ThinkPad in gaming and multimedia. While ThinkPads focus on energy-saving displays, and bulky, durable construction, the IdeaPad series makes a critical change. IdeaPads are designed to be as slim and attractively designed as possible. Additionally, they often come with vivid, high-resolution displays, perfect for watching movies.

The IdeaPad series competes with similar budget laptops from manufacturers like Acer, Dell, HP, and Asus. As such, you can often find great deals on newer model IdeaPads. IdeaPads are available with both Intel and AMD processors, depending on your preferences, and often come with similar RAM and storage specs. 

Lenovo IdeaPad lid view
As you can see, this Lenovo IdeaPad sports a more minimalist and sleek design than the ThinkPad.


The catch with IdeaPads is that the internal hardware is more difficult to access. Since they are aimed at the consumer market, component access and upgradeability are less of a concern, and as such, cheaper models are more difficult to upgrade. If you want the most powerful and future-proof IdeaPad, you will want to look at the gaming-focused models.

Let’s examine some of the most popular IdeaPad models you can choose from.

Different IdeaPad Models

The IdeaPad is available in several configurations, each with a different specialty. Many IdeaPad models are cheaper, stripped-down versions of the ThinkPad with lower specs and weaker hardware. However, certain models, like the Gaming IdeaPad, are more potent systems with powerful graphics cards and processors.

Lenovo IdeaPad S Series

Lenovo Newest IdeaPad S145 15.6" FHD Thinlight Laptop, AMD Ryzen 3 3200U(Up to 3.5GHz), 12GB DDR4 RAM, 1TB NVMe SSD, Radeon Vega 3 Graphics, Webcam, HDMI, WiFi, Win 10 S + CUE Mousepad Accessorie...
  • 【Upgraded Memory & Storage】Upgraded to 12GB DDR4 RAM and 1TB NVMe SSD, High-bandwidth dual-channel memory and high-speed hard drives unleash processor performance, allowing for faster system and...
  • 【Display & Video Garphics】Its antireflective finish reduces eyestrain. 1920 x 1080 resolution with native 1080p support showcases your games and HD movies with impressive color and clarity, Radeon...
  • 【Processor】AMD Ryzen 3 3200U, 2 Cores & 4 Threads, 2.6GHz Base Clock, Up to 3.5GHz Max Boost Clock, 4MB Cache, Advanced process technology significantly improves the energy efficiency ratio, the...
  • 【Full keyboard with 10-key numeric keypad】Type comfortably, input numbers quickly, and maneuver through games with ease. Touchpad with multitouch control
  • 【Windows 10 Home in S Mode】Effectively avoid installation of harmful applications. You may switch to regular windows 10: Press "Start button" bottom left of the screen; Select "Settings" icon...
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09/17/2023 06:27 pm GMT

When people think of the Ideapad, the S series is what they imagine. The S series has been available for over a decade and is still one of the most popular releases from Lenovo. A general characteristic of the Ideapad series is that they are designed to be lightweight, and the Ideapad S series is no exception. A modern, lightweight design combines decent battery life and specs, making the S Series the perfect all-around IdeaPad.

Lenovo IdeaPad C Series

Launched in 2019, the C Series quickly became a commercial success for Lenovo. With the C340 paving the way, the C Series combines the performance and quality of the S Series with an innovative convertible design, allowing it to be used as a tablet.

Lenovo IdeaPad L Series

Also launched in 2019, the L Series is intended to be a mid-range compromise between the low-end IdeaPads and the high-performance models. With suitable RAM and storage specs, the L Series is ideal for someone looking for a competitive laptop on a budget. 

Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3

Lenovo - 2021 - IdeaPad Gaming 3 - Laptop Computer - 15.6" FHD Display -120Hz - AMD Ryzen 5 5600H - 8GB RAM - 256GB Storage - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 - Windows 11 Home
  • Fueled by the revolutionary AMD Ryzen 5000 H-Series mobile processor, this IdeaPad gaming laptop delivers the wins; with 6 ultra-responsive cores, it's the new standard for gaming performance in...
  • Includes free 3-month trial of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate - Play over 100 high-quality PC games on Windows PC; includes iconic Bethesda games, new day one titles, and the EA Play on PC catalog
  • 15.6" FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS display with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 GPU to supercharge your favorite games - Slingshot your gaming visuals with 120Hz refresh rate for tear-free gaming
  • 8GB 3200 MHz DDR4 RAM memory and 256GB M.2 PCIe SSD storage
  • 2 x 2W speakers with Nahimic Audio for Gamers; spacious gaming keyboard with white backlight; RJ45 Ethernet, 2x2 WiFi 802.11 ax, Bluetooth 5.0; 720p HD webcam and microphone array with privacy...
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09/17/2023 06:27 pm GMT

The “Gaming 3” series is the shining gem of the IdeaPad lineup. Initially launched in 2020, the Gaming series is still in its infancy. Even so, it has garnered praise and dozens of positive reviews online. Many users are pleased with the mixture of high performance, gaming abilities, and stylish design. It is also a great laptop for coding, video editing, and graphic design.

The IdeaPad Gaming 3 is not a monstrous gaming computer like Alienware or Corsair, but it still packs some heavy gaming punch. Depending on your configuration, you can play all the latest games on mid to lower settings. Even the entry-level models are decent gaming performers.

IdeaPad vs. ThinkPad: Which One is Better? Which One Should You Choose?

For most buyers, the question comes down to what you will use it for. If you want a highly portable, durable laptop to take with you to the office, airport, or coffee shop for work, then a ThinkPad is a wise choice. The durable construction and lightweight will ensure that your laptop stands up to demanding use.

On the other hand, if you mainly use your computer at home and you care more about having a beautiful display and quality sound system, then the IdeaPad is the superior laptop. Since these laptops are designed for home users and consumers, they are packed with premium multimedia features.

Additionally, IdeaPads are often more attractively priced if you are on a budget than their ThinkPad counterparts. That’s not to say you can’t find a good deal on a ThinkPad, though, as plenty of cheaper models exist.

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Ideapad vs. Thinkpad: What Are The Differences? FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Which is better, IdeaPad or ThinkPad?

This depends on your use case, but more often than not, ThinkPads are superior laptops. With more powerful hardware, durable construction, and upgradeable components, ThinkPads take the win.

Are IdeaPads as durable as ThinkPads? 

No. IdeaPads are much less rugged and are usually built with plastic or polycarbonate construction. ThinkPads, on the other hand, are often made with magnesium alloy and carbon fiber materials.

Which series of Lenovo is the best for gaming? 

There is no beating the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 when it comes to gaming. It is the best Lenovo gaming laptop.

Which series of Lenovo is most portable? 

The most portable Lenovo laptop is the ThinkPad X1 Carbon. This laptop is ideal for portability, weighing less than three pounds, and is made of durable and lightweight carbon fiber.

Are ThinkPads the most durable laptops? 

Lenovo has focused on durability above all else with the ThinkPad series, which are some of the most durable laptops on the planet. ThinkPads are tested to military standards of ruggedness, making them built to withstand heavy use and the occasional bump or drop.

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