Lenovo: Best and Worst Laptop Brands of 2014

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The world’s biggest PC maker once again turned in a very impressive performance in our report, finishing second out of nine brands. As expected, Lenovo continued to rock the keyboard and touchpad category, but it also fared well in the design, value and selection, and software categories. Lenovo fell a bit flat in tech support compared with the previous year, but overall, we highly recommend this brand for PC buyers, whether you’re looking for a consumer or business laptop — or a notebook-tablet hybrid.

Reviews (15/20)

In our reviews, 11 Lenovo laptops received a 4-star rating, and five of those received an Editors’ Choice award. The highest marks generally went to the brand’s business-minded systems, such as the ThinkPad X240 and T440s. But we also praised the gaming- and budget-friendly IdeaPad Y510P and the innovative IdeaCentre Horizon 27.

MORE: 9 Best Lenovo Laptops

Tech Support (15/20)

By our count, Lenovo’s tech support has grown steadily worse over the past three years. The company’s website is cluttered, its Community Knowledge Base is too specific to be helpful in general cases and its new social media support is inconsistent. Phone-call service is particularly frustrating and time-consuming: Our average call time with Lenovo was a whopping 49 minutes and 18 seconds, almost twice as long as for any other brand.

MORE: Lenovo: Tech Support Showdown Rating

Design (12/15)

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All hail Lenovo, king of the hybrid. Just look at the IdeaPad Yoga 11, Yoga 11s, Yoga Pro 2 and ThinkPad Yoga to see the right way to create a lightweight, portable tablet-notebook. However, the company dropped to the No. 3 spot in design because of the Flex 14; it’s the boxy, chintzy, less-flexible cousin of the Yoga. Lenovo also lost the fun splash of color we’ve come to expect from the IdeaPad line. Instead, the company has been serving up plastic gray (s400 and s405), with a heaping side portion of dark brown (z400 Touch and G580). At least the Y510 boasts intense red keyboard backlighting.

Keyboards & Touchpads (14/15)

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Thanks to their strong tactile feedback, wide key spacing and curved key shape, Lenovo’s keyboards — on both its business and consumer laptops — continue to set the gold standard. The company’s touchpads offer smooth, accurate navigation, and its TrackPoint pointing sticks are the most precise pointing devices you’ll find anywhere, even though the company compromised the TrackPoint experience slightly by eliminating the stick’s dedicated buttons, and building left and right click into the stiff top of the touchpad. 

Display & Audio (8/10)

While Lenovo’s notebooks offer generally pleasant audio and visuals, there are few instances in which its devices stand out from the competition. For example, the IdeaPad S405 was brighter than some competitors, but its viewing angles were poor. The IdeaPad Flex 14’s 1366 x 768-pixel display boasted colorful visuals but was dimmer than the average notebook. In general, Lenovo’s laptop displays, which averaged 267 lux, were more luminous than the average notebook (242 lux).

The business-minded ThinkPad T440s suffered from muffled audio, but more multimedia-minded machines, like the IdeaPad Y510p, boasted booming JBL speakers. Lenovo’s laptops matched the 85-decibel category average during our testing.

Innovation (7/10)

Lenovo’s innovation score dropped from 10 points last year to 7 this year, but the company is still doing some interesting things. For instance, the ThinkPad Yoga has a keyboard deck that raises to hide the keys when you’re using the hybrid in tablet mode. We are also pleased to see the voice and motion control features in such devices as the IdeaPad U430 Touch.

Value & Selection (5/5)

From business laptops to Ultrabooks, Lenovo has one of the broadest range of laptops of any brand. Within its three main lines — the G Essentials, ThinkPads and IdeaPads — you’ll find good options at a variety of price points. For instance, the ThinkPad line ranges from the rugged X140e ($489) to the $1,343 Helix Ultrabook. You can also customize your laptop via Lenovo’s website. Plus, fans of the traditional Start button will be glad to find a Windows 7 option on many of the company’s laptops.

MORE: Best Windows 7 Laptops Still Available For Sale

Software (4/5)

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Lenovo continues to impress with its software selection, providing handy utilities across flagship notebook lines. IdeaPads, like the Flex 14, feature One Key Recovery for instant backup, a stylish Energy Manager and Lenovo Companion for quick app discovery. Business-minded Lenovo laptops, such as the ThinkPad T440s, pack QuickConnect for controlling your notebook with your Android phone, as well as QuickCast for transferring data between machines on the same network.

Best and Worst Laptop Brands 2014

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  1. joshua Lee Says:

    Hello! I recently purchase a new Lenovo idea laptop and for some reason less then year of have it discovered white pixel in my LCD
    screen not coo.

  2. Amit Says:

    Do not buy Lenovo they have the worst after sales service. They have not responded to me in last 2 months.

  3. Dora Tschirner Says:

    Adquiri há + de 2 anos o note book da Le Novo Z470, nunca tive nenhum problema com ele. Há cerca de 2 meses, enviei msg para a Le Novo sobre uma duvida, e recebi em menos de 2 dias, a resposta. Já não perco tempo ligando nem p/operadoras para os call center’s, resolvo por msg fora ou dentro do fbook.

  4. Popeye Says:

    Stay away from Lenovo at all costs. If I were rate their customer service department, they get a 1/20. These folks tend to lie, cheat and try to have the upper hand against the consumer. The managers are not very helpful either. Not sure how Lenovo came in second in this list, they should be somewhere in the bottom of this list.

  5. Someone Says:

    I’ve disassembled, and repaired many laptops, and i own a lenovo g550. for me hp laptops are the worst kind, they overheat, some of them have problem with the lcd invertor and etc… my laptop is old, and i clean it 1 in two mounts. its never shown me some signs of trouble, never heats much, and its in perfect condition… I’m not quite satisfied with the battery life, but its ok. The only thing i am sure is that lenovo are perfect laptops for me, and i wont buy something else… hope this helps :D

  6. Andrew Joung Says:

    DO NOT BUY LENOVO.

    I bought a laptop from them, and four months the screen is about to detach.

    The issue is that a hinge is way too tight, so when you open it, the hinge exerts pressure on the monitor.

  7. PB Says:

    Touchpad 14/15 ??? You must be joking. I’ve had the misfortune of using two Lenovo laptops (X230 the latest) and both have had these bumpy, totally unusable touchpads. Just terrible. However, the keyboards are good. I’ll give ‘em that.

  8. Daria Says:

    I used to be such a fangirl. I’m at a level of frustration I can’t contain anymore. Lenovo’s build quality is a joke. I’m writing this on a half dead display and a broken key (the second one already. For serious.)
    It’s a bit too much that a manufacturer with a moto such as Lenovo’s delivers the precise opposite.

  9. janet Says:

    Aconnetivitybsolute worst . No cd inserts Terrible So, have you notied nothing in ‘comments’ is in correct order? Crappiest internet ever used.

  10. Lucien Says:

    Don’t buy Lenovo, particularly for gaming. I got one as a high school graduation present nearing three years ago and I do…semi-heavy gaming, enough that I need a heavier-duty dedicated GPU but not enough that I need a high-powered Alienware or other gaming-specific rig.

    I went with the Ideapad Y570, as I’d read that the specs were decent enough, plus the normally $1500 laptop was on sale for $800. A great deal, right? Somewhat. A few months after I got the laptop, I noticed the website had stopped carrying the Y570, which set off warning flags, considering the laptop model was fairly new and still popular.

    Then a year after I got it, conveniently right after the warranty expired? The dedicated GPU failed. The one reason I chose the laptop over cheaper options was now obsolete, making the laptop nothing more than a heavy-duty light activity vessel.

    I can play some games, yes, but mostly only indie ones and Flash games. I’m not so picky with graphics, so I can play few games like Skyrim on the absolute lowest settings possible with no mods, but even so after a few minutes of play I get lag from the terrible cooling system making my computer fry.

    Overall, the build quality is absolutely horrendous with Lenovo. In addition to the failed GPU, my laptop’s outer systems are failing. The body is falling apart, with the paneling around the edges actually coming apart, the screen is starting to detach from the body, there’s dead pixels in my screen…the list goes on. And this is just in two, two and a half years of use with minimal travel and bumping and jostling around. What’s worse? Their tech support is absolute shite. Hundreds, not just me, have had the same issue crop up at the same time, and none have had any resolution in getting their laptops repaired or even acknowledged.

    Honestly, the only reason Lenovo gets so high of ratings is the same reason Apple does time and time again. They act flashy, sell their product and make it look good, and for the first year or so it works great, tricking the user into thinking Lenovo is good until it’s too late. Then when the time comes to speak to someone? There’s no answer. There’s no helpful answers. Only offers to buy more of their products or trade in old ones for a mere twentieth of the product price, if that.

    Don’t buy Lenovo. Whatever you do, just don’t. Your money is much better used somewhere else.

  11. John S Says:

    I WOULD NOT recommend buying Lenovo. I’ve bought many in the past and have 2 brand new ones. They WILL NOT supply any recovery disks unless you pay $70 or $200 for the disks or support. You CANNOT produce recovery disks from a Win 8 build, even though the instructions claim you can. I told them this was a software issue and they should fix it. You also have to mail back in to them for repair.

    It’s just not worth it. No disks, horrible support. The article is right; when IBM ran them, it was much better.

  12. Angelo Says:

    Look at these people who lamented and cried because of buying Lenovo. First of all you are buying a machine that is not suitable for what you wanted to do with it. you know you are a mid-heavy gamer or user so why buy a low cost computer for long hours of usage? then you are going to complain that the computer you bought sucks and not a good buy c’mon before buying something read and study your needs and the capabilities of the machine. you could check each components of the unit based on the manufacturers website. check the processor, video card, number of vents, ODD if it has for godsake and the HDD. check first the specs of each components that is inside of the PC you are going to buy don’t just go out there and buy and trust what your cunning store rep would tell you cause at the end you’re the one who’s going to suffer and call tech support. looking for a recovery disk? didn’t you even asked before buying or right after you unboxed it why there’s no CD? c’mon are you too busy to ask or to call if you have questions prior buying or after getting it out from the box. one tip if there’s no disk that means its embedded on you hard drive a recovery partition is made on the PC. but if you are so nosey and the type of person who would like to play on things and insatiable of what you have of course you might have tried reformatting the HDD because you inflicted yourself by a Virus or your tried upgrading you system to a newer version out there or you are just so stupid and you just did it. you regret the hardware parts then took care of it its not a cellphone that you could just put in your bag and you could slam and throw the bag anywhere else, please its not a table for your juice and coffe nor a study table and even not a pillow that you could just throw or step on. pls its a computer keep away liquids and your cute pets so you wont hate the brand. i myself too proved the toughness of other brands but it’s either you pay for more if you want all terrain computers or handle it with care to avoid regrets.

  13. COVER EACH OTHER'S BACK'S Says:

    As a person with limited knowledge of computers ANGELO SAYS people like me come to these site’s to do what “research” we can , before buying! Your tirade was not only rude, but it sounded as though YOU took people’s comments about this product personnely and might work for this company?If people have a bad or poor experience with this company and they want to share , they are entitled. We pay hard earned money for a product and it isn’t asking a whole lot for them to stand behind what they make “as PROMISED”. If we all had computer degrees we could build our own and wouldn’t need them. you ramble on and on about looking up specs , well that does the lay person squat bit of good! Really wanted to help you would have put yourself out there and made a suggestion for the “gamer” to buy next time , or what to look for!

  14. fahad shaikh Says:

    i want to buy laptop and my budget is 21000 so can you sagest me

  15. Virendra Says:

    Don’t buy Lenovo laptop they have the worst after sales service. They have not responded to me in last 1months … …

  16. Billu Raj Says:

    Well.. I was looking at the costliest one by Lenovo and see that its costlier than Alienware 17.3 and comes no where near the Alienware config for that price. Any ways why isnt Alienware in the list of computers compared?

  17. Billu Raj Says:

    @fahad shaikh … Man, 21000 what? 21000 Mangoes, apples or peaches? Be specific and whole hearted to your own requirement. If u r looking for a good recommendation, I guess you need to be just to yourself first.

  18. John Says:

    Absolutely the worst computer I have ever owned. I have spent as much money in repairs and set up as I paid for the machine. Finally took it out in the driveway and ran over it with my car. This company should be making mousetraps not computers…Lenovo’s suck. Buy one at your own peril

  19. Scott Says:

    This review seems incredibly dishonest. Lenovo make anything but reliable or nice machines. In fact, I would argue they make some of the worst. My work uses them, and have for many years, and we are consistently having problems with the machines themselves. Add to that, my girlfriend purchased one. I advised her not to, but since she was so determined, mostly due to cost, I told her to get a protection plan. She’s used her protection plan to replace the machine three times in the last year and a half.

    I would never recommend Lenovo to anyone.

  20. dad Says:

    Absolutely horrible (non-existant) customer service

    I ordered a “black friday” special – lenovo charged my cc then cancelled the order two weeks later with no explanation – just a phone number that does not even work
    They have failed to reply to 5 emails requesting an explanation

  21. Mark Taylor Says:

    Please read:
    I have worked in several large IT departments over the past 15 years. Over this time I have had to support just about every make and model of laptop, from all the major manufacturer’s. So take it from someone who actually knows what they are talking about – DON’T BUY LENOVO – you WILL regret it.
    In the past ThinkPad’s were built like tanks, they were simply the best made, best specified laptops money could buy. The Rolls Royce option! Even after Lenovo brought the business from IBM they continued to produce some fantastic hardware. Since then each new model has become progressively worse than the last. Key Caps, Palm wrests, and track pads are now made of the cheapest possible plastic. They literally dissolve under your finger tips. That beautiful, shiny £900 ThinkPad may look great in the shop, but trust me it’ll look like it’s had years of heavy use after just a few months. I’ve seen the TrackPads on T410’s wear through to the bare plastic underneath in less than a month! Even cheap unbranded Chinese laptops are better made.
    In the past lids had metal plates behind the screen to protect them – no more – pick up your laptop without fully supporting the screen and it WILL crack. I worked for a large multi-national that ‘Upgraded from HP’s to Thinkpad T430’s. After 6 months they had a store room full of 53 laptops with cracked screens. Compare that to about 10 cracked HP screens over a full 4 years.
    The problems are endless, lid latches have been removed, cases have become progressively thinner and thinner; corners now break with amazing ease. All of this could be forgiven if the laptops were cheap and well supported. Fat chance, I cannot comprehend how Lenovo still manage to trade off past reputation and sell this junk at premium prices. As for the warranty, forget it. Hopeless foreign call centres, staffed by people who speak very poor English will use any excuse under the sun to avoid offering backup. Real life example: A 3 week old T440 ThinkPad. The LAN port is faulty, you have to hold the cable in tight to get it to make a connection. Despite endless calls, Lenovo will not repair it because and I quote “Such issues are ‘covered’ under the ‘Wear and tear’ section of the warranty”. Compare this to Dell who fall over themselves to help, even to the point of ending each warranty call by asking “Does the DVD drive work? Are any key caps or rubber feet missing that we can replace at the same time?”
    Another large company changed from Dells to T410’s, they have a total estate of around 500 laptops. Lenovo use speed sensors in their laptop fans to stop the laptop from booting if the fan stops working. Great idea except they fail constantly, oddly enough this started happening just as the warranty period expired – almost to the day. The 50 or so 8 year old Dell’s they held onto are far more reliable.
    In short: HP: good laptops, very poor support – Dell: Great laptop and Great support (if you have the business warranty package) – Lenovo: The worst of all possible options!

  22. person Says:

    THE KEY BOARD SUCKS!
    WHO BRIBED THEM TO WRITE A GOOD REVIEW?
    THEY ONLY RATED THE EXPENSIVE COMPUTERS!

  23. Matt Says:

    I would be curious to know the price point of all these Lenovo laptops that are falling apart. You get what you pay for, my HP and Sony laptops I had in the past encountered all sorts of problems. The battery went on the hp after a few months and so did half a dozen keys on the keyboard, case cracked on my sony and came apart at the seams, I could peel it apart and look at the motherboard. My Lenovo T431s, bought refurbished, had it for about a year now maybe more. in my clumsiness, I dropped it 4 feet onto hard tile, no damage to the laptop itself, but I needed a new hard drive. Bought a new harddrive, install it in the laptop myself, on a friend’s computer I downloaded windows 7 and decompressed it to a usb drive, zero issues installing windows with the usb drive, the windows key on a sticker on the back of my laptop (presumably the one used originally on my laptop) worked without a problem. I downloaded drivers for Ethernet from the Lenovo support site to another USB drive, moved them over, and they installed no problem. From there I downloaded the driver update utility, it ran no problem and my laptop was like new. My highschool had a laptop cart of r61’s that stood up to everything with no problems, and to my knowledge they still have them. Although I have never needed Lenovo support, I recognize their ridiculous response time to calls, but they are great about the protection plan as evidenced by the guy above with a girlfriend who broke a cheap laptop thrice and received replacements. Lenovo does make some cheaply made laptops, but you get what you pay for. In my opinion, their laptops are on par or slightly superior to others at the same price. It just pains me to read here where people buy the cheapest possible laptop that meets their desired specs, and then complain about how they spent so much when the screen cracks, because all that money went towards the specs and not protection for their screen.

  24. Rowandro Says:

    At least they try out new things, I respect Lenovo for that.

  25. kasztaniak Says:

    @Billu Raj:

    because Alienware is Dell

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