Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 review: the ThinkPad, evolved

“The ThinkPad Z13 is a ThinkPad unlike any you have ever seen.”


  • Excellent battery life
  • Performance is impressive
  • Small footprint
  • Webcam is solid
  • Unique design

As much as Lenovo has tried, the brand “ThinkPad” probably doesn’t make you’re thinking that of adventurous designs or innovation. Dependable? Sure. Legacy? Yes. But not design experimentation.

The ThinkPad Z13 may not count as “experimental,” but it surely definitely appears like something recent on the planet of ThinkPads. The faux-leather material looks (and feels) unique, and it’s even a bit cheaper than the standard ThinkPad.


  Lenovo ThinkPad Z13
Dimensions 11.59 x 7.86 x 0.55 inches
Weight 2.78 kilos (2.63 kilos for non-touch)
Processor As much as AMD Ryzen 7 Pro 6860Z
Graphics As much as AMD Radeon 680M
RAM As much as 32GB LPDDR5 6400MHz
Display IPS LED (1920 x 1200), touch or non-touch

2.8K OLED (2880 x 1800), touch

Storage As much as 1TB PCIe SSD Gen 4
Touch Optional
Ports 2x USB4 40Gbps, headphone jack
Wireless Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2
Webcam 1080p + IR camera
Operating system Windows 11
Battery 51.5 watt-hour, supports Rapid Charge (80% in 1 hour)
Price Starts at $1,355

Rewriting the formula

The side profile of the ThinkPad Z13.

Calling the ThinkPad Z13 a “ThinkPad” appears like a stretch. Outside the red TrackPoint nub within the keyboard, there’s little or no about this laptop that resembles the classic ThinkPad design.

Nevertheless, this wouldn’t be Lenovo’s first try and expand the design language of the ThinkPad brand to something a bit more modern. We have now the ThinkPad X1 Carbon and X1 Yoga, each of which enterprise out of the familiar ThinkPad formula. Heck, even the foldable ThinkPad X1 Fold is technically a “ThinkPad.”

So, what makes the Z13 stand out? A pair things catch the attention at a look. The primary is the the lid, an often ignored element of laptop design. This one has a faux-leather texture that appears unique and feels grippy. I at all times commend manufacturers for searching for materials to make use of aside from aluminum or plastic, not unlike what HP does with its Dragonfly Folio G3.

Meanwhile, the highest edge, which functions as an inverted notch, is emphasized with a brushed metal protrusion reasonably than downplayed. Lenovo calls it the “Communication Bar.” After all, the purpose of emphasizing the Communication Bar is to inform you, the client, that it is a serious business laptop meant for the trendy employee. Meaning a 1080p webcam (with integrated Windows Hello IR camera) and dual microphones, all housed in that bronze-backed Communication Bar.

As Lenovo points out, it also allows the bezels across the display to be quite narrow without using a notch just like the MacBook Pro.

A top down view of the ThinkPad Z13.

The sensor on the camera is 1.4 micron pixels with an aperture of f/2.0 — and the result’s an honest camera for videoconferencing. Recently, 1080p has turn into the brand new standard for resolution, and I’m glad to see that Lenovo included it here.

The camera handles most lighting situations well enough, managing skin tones and lower-light scenarios with balance. I did find that images are inclined to get grainy and noisy in darker edges of the frame, especially in rooms featuring numerous contrast, reminiscent of a situation where someone is sitting by an open window.

The ThinkPad Z13 is sort of portable too. At 0.55 inches thick, it’s one among the thinnest ThinkPads ever made, coming in barely smaller than each the ThinkPad X1 Nano and the ThinkPad X1 Carbon. Its proportions share most in common with the X1 Nano, as each have a smaller footprint than the usual 14-inch ThinkPad size.

Should this be a ThinkPad?

The keyboard of the ThinkPad Z13.

The touchpad is the last little bit of experimentation that’s price mentioning. That is the primary ThinkPad to incorporate a haptic feedback trackpad, meaning it doesn’t have a physical click mechanism in any respect. This one uses haptics to simulate the sensation of a click, even when there’s no depression of a button by any means. That makes the left and right buttons at the highest of the trackpad that are supposed to be used with the TrackPoint are even less useful. It really makes you wonder why Lenovo bothered making this a ThinkPad in any respect.

Lenovo counters that by allowing some customization of those parts, but not with anything you’ll be able to’t already easily access on the keyboard.

The glass trackpad, or ForcePad as Lenovo calls it, feels good, though the implementation feels a bit less smooth because the haptics on laptops just like the Surface Laptop Studio or Dell XPS 13 Plus. It’s hard to explain, just doesn’t feel quite as convincing, and the simulated click feels a bit sticky.

The keyboard isn’t a chunky ThinkPad keyboard, even when the keycaps look the part. The keys features 1.35mm of key travel, which appears like plenty for such a laptop.

When IPS is enough

The ThinkPad Z13 open on a white table.

The ThinkPad Z13 offers two screen options: an IPS LED model and a dearer OLED option. Each are 13.3-inch screens with a 16:10 aspect ratio. They each even hit the identical 400 nits of brightness. The difference is in contrast and color. My review unit used the cheaper IPS Touch model, and it doesn’t come anywhere near absolutely the black of OLED. That being said, it’s not a nasty screen.

The IPS model also comes with a more basic 1920 x 1200 resolution, in comparison with the 2880 x 1800 resolution of the OLED panel. After all, you don’t get the acute black levels and accurate colours with the traditional IPS LED screen, either. But it is a reasonably nice screen for what it’s, and that OLED option is barely available on expensive high-end configurations with 32GB of RAM that you just’ll probably never need.

Performance and battery life

The ThinkPad Z13 is a capable little machine, but it surely’s not designed with heavy workflows in mind. Somewhat than the standard Intel fare, this laptop comes with the Ryzen 7 Pro 6850U, AMD’s latest business processors. These 8-core chips are great for multitasking and simpler applications, especially for those who work primarily in Microsoft Office or on web applications. That’s not say that a bit of Photoshop, website design, or programming on the side isn’t a possibility — you only don’t wish to buy this for those who plan on living in those applications all day.

This laptop is supposed for the trendy businessperson, and for those purposes, it’s greater than powerful enough. To place things in perspective, it beats a laptop just like the Dell XPS 13 Plus in most tasks in PCMark 10, and even stays fairly quiet and chill while doing so.

The Z13 doesn’t include an Intel option, and that may leave you wondering for those who’d be getting more performance out of the same Intel laptop. After all, when comparing performance between chips in laptops, you never have apples to apples. But AMD’s chips are inside 4% of Intel based on testing of the ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 2. It’s pretty darn close.

(single / multi)
Cinebench R23
(single / multi)
PCMark 10
Lenovo ThinkPad Z13
(Ryzen 7 Pro 6850U)
1428 / 8208 1410 / 7865 5812
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 2
(Core i7-1280P)
1493 / 8668 126 1575 / 7595 5094
Dell XPS 13 Plus
(Core i7-1280P)
1316 / 8207 127 1311 / 6308 4309
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
(Ryzen 7 6800U)
1417 / 6854 112 1402 / 8682 5647
HP Elite Dragonfly G3 (Core i7-1265U) 1699 / 5936 194 16181 / 5601 4975

Lenovo doesn’t sell a model with just 8GB of RAM, which makes the bottom level price of $1,355 a bit greater than other laptops. For instance, the M1 MacBook Air starts at $999, but for a configuration with 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, it’s only $100 cheaper than the bottom model ThinkPad Z13. It’s the same story with Lenovo’s own ThinkPad X1 Carbon. It’s dearer when similarly configured, even when the starting base configuration is comparable. Meanwhile, the ThinkPad Z13 a solid $500 cheaper than the HP Elite Dragonfly G3.

After all, it’s also possible to configure the ThinkPad Z13 with as much as 32GB of RAM and 1TB of storage, but the choices for personalization are slimmer than what you get on other ThinkPads.

The keyboard of the ThinkPad Z13.

Beyond performance, the strength of those Ryzen Pro chips can also be in efficiency. The ThinkPad Z13 gets incredible battery life, lasting greater than 16.5 hours in light web browsing. That is the most effective results from this test I’ve seen on a laptop that doesn’t have an Apple logo plastered to the lid. You’ll likely get less battery life with the higher-resolution OLED model, but either way, you’ll be able to expect the ThinkPad Z13 to outlast most of its rivals.

On a mean day of labor, I used to be finding it easy to make it through without having to seek out an outlet. That’s something most of the ThinkPad Z13’s competitors can’t do, and that features other similar laptops just like the Dell XPS 13 Plus or ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 2.

Must you buy it?

The screen of the ThinkPad Z13.

As a sleeker and fewer conventional tackle the ThinkPad, the Z13 is successful. I appreciate the cheaper pricing, and I benefit from the unique feel and look of the chassis. The weather that make this a “ThinkPad” aren’t a distraction, however the proven fact that it’s a ThinkPad itself might turn off some people from what’s otherwise a particularly modern business laptop.

However it shouldn’t. From the incredible battery life to the impressive performance, there’s little or no to complain about with the ThinkPad Z13 — one of the well-rounded recent ThinkPad designs lately.

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