In the last 20 years, Lenovo has launched various brands of laptops. The most popular brands of the companies are IdeaPad and ThinkPad. Below, I’ve compared the differences and similarities between the two brands of Lenovo laptops. Am I the right person to compare the brands? Yes, I own a ThinkPad as well as an IdeaPad.
Lenovo IdeaPad vs ThinkPad
ThinkPad series of laptops are further grouped into subseries – E, P, X, and L, T. The P series ThinkPads are among the costliest non-Apple laptops in the world. E series laptops cost lower than P, X, and L series ThinkPads. Although they are cheap, E series laptops are robust and long-lasting compared to the Dell, Lenovo, HP, Acer, Asus laptops priced in the same range.
IdeaPads can belong to one of these subseries – D, S, Flex, and Gaming. According to Lenovo, D series laptops can be used as tablets or laptops. Flex series feature thin and touch-enabled laptops. S series have thin everyday use laptops.
ThinkPad is a business line of laptops that was first built and launched by software giant IBM 30 years back in 1992. Although they were made for business use, you can play games on them, use them for entertainment, etc. IdeaPad laptops are all-rounded laptops. They can be used for gaming, business, or home use. The first-ever laptop in the IdeaPad series was introduced in 2008.
What distinguishes Thinkpad from other laptops is its branding on the laptop’s lid and keyboard. ThinkPad keyboards have a red-colored round button called TrackPoint. The TrackPoint enables you to adjust the position of the mouse cursor.
ThinkPads also feature three mouse buttons above the trackpad. The functions of the buttons are the same as that of a PC mouse. ThinkPads also have a red-colored LED on their lid. The LED glows when it is connected to the charger. Many models of IdeaPads have a venting system on the left or right side of the keyboard and they’re built using plastic. ThinkPads don’t boast a side venting system. They have either a metallic or a magnesium body.
IdeaPads are available for purchase in a variety of colors, and they look much better than other brands of laptops introduced by the company. ThinkPads are available in grey/black color options. Lenovo has launched some red-colored ThinkPads as well. I like the default color combination used in ThinkPad. Thus, I wouldn’t say they are unattractive.
Most of the IdeaPads are equipped with an IPS display. Cheap ThinkPads have TN displays, and expensive ones have an IPS display. The screen resolution supported by the two laptop series is FHD, 2K, and 4K. IdeaPads can have 1366 x 768 pixel resolutions.
ThinkPads are very quiet even under a severe workload. You have to move your ears very close to the laptop if you want to hear the sound of the fan. Frankly speaking, you’ll be fortunate if you hear the fan’s sound. IdeaPads can be noisy. You could listen to their fans in operation even when you’re a few meters away from the laptop.
Certification, security, and durability
A laptop’s hinge may break, or the color may become dull as time passes by. ThinkPads can last for a long time as they pass 12 military-grade tests and they have a TPM 2.0 chip. IdeaPads are not extensively tested as ThinkPads and not all of their models are equipped with a TPM 2.0 chip. They are energy certified only.
Chip manufacturers don’t develop a special processor for ThinkPads and IdeaPads, but Lenovo is very picky when it comes to equipping a ThinkPad with a processor. This is the reason why the performance of most of the ThinkPads is outstanding. You’ll find IdeaPads with low-end as well as high-end processors. Most ThinkPads you’ll find in the markets have AMD Ryzen 3, Ryzen 5, Ryzen 7, or the Intel Core i3, i5, i7, and i9 processors. Lenovo sells IdeaPads with dual-core Celeron as well as the core i7 processor.
ThinkPads are equipped with 2666 to 3200 MHz RAM manufactured by SK Hynix. They support up to 128GB RAM. The higher-end models of IdeaPads may have SK Hynix and support 16 to 32GB RAM. The lower-end models may have RAM manufactured by competitors of SK Hynix.
ThinkPads have a very long battery backup compared to IdeaPads. My first IdeaPad’s lasted for 2 hours only on a full battery charge. The ThinkPad I currently own offers 6+ hours of backup power. According to Lenovo, IdeaPad Slim 5, priced at 1000 dollars, can last for 7 hours. E14 costs around 750 dollars can work for around 11 hours. From this difference, it is clear that ThinkPads are well-optimized laptops.
ThinkPads running on the Windows/Chrome/Linux operating system are costlier than IdeaPads. The following table shows the price of Lenovo budget, mid-range, and high-end ThinkPad and IdeaPad laptops:
|E14||AMD Ryzen 3 processor, 8GB RAM, Windows 10, TN display||750|
|L13||AMD Ryzen 3 quad-core 5th generation, 8GB RAM, IPS display with 1080p resolution, DOS OS||1000|
|Slim 7i||11th Generation core i7, 8GB DDR4 RAM, 512GB SSD, FHD display||1044|
|IdeaPad 5||12GB RAM, i7 11th Generation, 512GB SSD, touchscreen FHD display||799|
|P15||Core i7, UHD display, up to 64GB RAM||1300|
|Gaming3||16GB RAM, i7 processor, 120Hz FHD display||950|