At CES 2022, Lenovo introduced the brand-new ThinkPad Z series of business laptops. This is a different take on the ThinkPad design, modernizing it in a few ways and keeping some of the iconic elements of ThinkPad laptops. These new laptops are also powered by AMD Ryzen processors, whereas the most popular ThinkPads usually use Intel CPUs.
There are two models in the ThinkPad Z series: The ThinkPad Z13 and the ThinkPad Z16, with the names naturally being based on their display size. However, there are other differences beyond that. Let’s dive into the specs, release date, and everything else you need to know about the Lenovo ThinkPad Z series.
Lenovo ThinkPad Z series specs
|Lenovo ThinkPad Z13||Lenovo ThinkPad Z16|
|Size (WxDxH)||294.4 x 199.6 x 13.99 mm (11.59 ×7.86×0.55 in)||354.4 x 237.4 x 15.8 mm (13.95 × 9.35 × 0.62 in)|
|Dimensions||Starts at 1.25kg (2.76 lb)||Starts at 1.97kg (4.3lbs)|
|Price||Starting at $1,549||Starting at $2,099|
What is the release date of the Lenovo ThinkPad Z series?
Both the Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 and Z16 are using new processors that aren’t available yet, and they’re only expected to be available in May of 2022. However, that can always change, especially with ongoing supply shortages making it harder to secure parts.
It’s also possible that not every configuration option will be available at launch in order to ensure the supply can meet demand. Plus, cellular-enabled laptops tend to launch later in many cases. We’ll have to wait for further confirmation from Lenovo.
What is the price of the Lenovo ThinkPad Z series?
For now, Lenovo has only shared the starting price of the Lenovo ThinkPad Z laptops. The smaller ThinkPad Z13 will start at $1,549, while the ThinkPad Z16 will start at $2,099. From there, there will be numerous configurations available, which will drive up the price by different amounts. Typically, you can upgrade the processor, RAM, storage, display, and add optional ports and connectivity like LTE. Processor upgrades and LTE support tend to be some of the most expensive configurations.
If you’re buying directly from Lenovo, discounts are also frequent on the company’s website, so the actual price may vary significantly over time. We’ll have to wait until the laptops are actually available to see what prices are like.
What are the highlights of the Lenovo ThinkPad Z series?
The ThinkPad Z series is a completely new line of products from Lenovo, so it’s not just iterating on previous designs from the company. Because of that, there’s quite a bit that’s different when you compare it to, say, the ThinkPad X1 laptops. Here are some of the big differences.
A new design
One of the big standout features of the new Lenovo ThinkPad Z series laptops is their design, especially compared to the Lenovo’s typical business laptops. First off, the laptops come in different colors from most ThinkPads. The ThinkPad Z16 is only available in an arctic grey model, which is grey on the outside and has a black keyboard deck, but the ThinkPad Z13 has a few different versions. Most notably, there’s a model with a black leather lid and copper accents around the edges, making for a premium yet stylish look. You can also get it in arctic grey or just black.
But that’s not all. The laptops also have a redesigned touchpad, and one of the noteworthy changes is that there are no longer mouse buttons above the touchpad to use with the TrackPoint. The TrackPoint itself is still there, but the touchpad uses pressure sensors and haptic feedback now, rather than having traditional buttons.
Speaking of the TrackPoint, the ThinkPad Z series adds a new feature where you can double-tap the TrackPoint to open a communications quick menu. This lets you access microphone and camera settings quickly if you’re getting ready for a meeting.
Another big deal with the Lenovo ThinkPad Z series (though the ThinkPad X1 models are also getting it) is the new 1080p webcam that’s housed above the display. The laptops actually have something of a reversed notch which Lenovo calls the “communications bar”, which houses the Full HD camera with an f/2.0 aperture. This should help ensure you look great during video meetings, and it’s great to see Lenovo care about webcams now.
The camera also includes Windows Hello facial recognition support, another great feature to have. The “communications bar” also houses dual-array microphones so you should be heard clearly by others during meetings.
New AMD Ryzen processors
This isn’t exactly a standout feature, but most of Lenovo’s most popular ThinkPads tend to be powered by Intel processors, and the ThinkPad Z series bucks that trend. Both the Z13 and Z16 models come with the latest AMD Ryzen 6000 series processors, and the Z16 even makes use of the H-series processors for extra power. Plus, it has the option for discrete AMD graphics, though Lenovo didn’t say exactly what GPU that would be.
These are also some of the very first laptops announced with these AMD processors, so while they’re not necessarily unique, they’re on the bleeding edge in that sense. Having this new generation of processors also means support for faster DDR5 RAM, which is included alongside a PCIe Gen 4 SSD for even more performance.
16:10 display with OLED options
We’ve seen a trend over the past couple of years where companies move on to taller screens compared to the typical 16:9 aspect ratio. 2022 seems to be the year where a ton of laptops are making that shift, and the Lenovo ThinkPad Z series is one of them. Both models come with displays in the 16:10 aspect ratio, starting at Full HD+ (1920 x 1200) resolution.
This taller screen is a big boon for productivity, and it can truly make screens feel that much bigger than the numbers might suggest. Having that extra vertical space means more text is visible in a document, more rows in an Excel spreadsheet, or more UI elements in complex apps like photo and video editors.
Something else that’s new is that Lenovo is embracing OLED displays a lot more for its laptops now, and both models come with OLED as an option. On the ThinkPad Z13, you can get a 2.8K OLED display, while the ThinkPad Z16 goes all the way to a 4K panel for an even sharper image. OLED displays don’t require a backlight, so they can display true blacks, but also vivid colors, and they give you very high contrast ratios and quick response times.
Where can I buy the Lenovo ThinkPad Z series?
As we mentioned above, the Lenovo ThinkPad Z series laptops are set to be released in May, so they’re not available to buy at writing time. However, when they launch, it’s likely that one of the best places you can find them is Lenovo’s own website. Business laptops typically offer a lot of configuration options, so if you want access to them all, buying straight from Lenovo is your best bet.
There’s a good chance some configurations will be available standalone at other retailers, however. We’ll have to wait until launch to see if the laptops show up on places like Best Buy or Amazon.
How can I configure my Lenovo ThinkPad Z series laptops?
Being business laptops, the Lenovo ThinkPad Z series offers a wide range of configuration options to choose from so it can fit your specific needs. We don’t yet know how these configurations will be combined, but based on past ThinkPads, you should be able to mix and match many of these components at will, so you can get a high-end processor without going overboard with RAM, or vice versa. You can also prioritize the display quality over raw performance.
Because this results in a ton of combinations (which we aren’t even fully aware of at this time), it would be difficult to compile all of them. You should be able to configure aspects such as the display, processor, RAM, and storage up to the maximum values mentioned in the specs list at the top of this page. This also results in a wide range of pricing options, which change often because of constant ongoing discounts on Lenovo’s website.
Does the Lenovo ThinkPad Z series come with 5G or LTE?
Cellular connectivity is a big deal if you want to get work done away from home or the office. It lets you connect to the internet even when you’re away from Wi-Fi networks, and secure Wi-Fi networks. It can also be helpful if you’re working from home and your power goes out for whatever reason.
Thankfully the ThinkPad Z series does give you the option to add cellular connectivity to your laptop. Specifically, you can add 4G LTE (Cat16) to the laptop, with maximum theoretical speeds of 1Gbps. Unfortunately, there’s no 5G option, at least for now. That shouldn’t matter much for now, as 4G LTE speeds are still fast enough for most uses.
Does the Lenovo ThinkPad Z series have Windows Hello?
Windows Hello is a feature that makes it easier to unlock your PC, sign in to apps and websites, or make payments using biometric authentication. Essentially, instead of using a password, you can use facial recognition or a fingerprint reader to identify yourself.
The ThinkPad Z series laptops come with both forms of Windows Hello. The laptop has a fingerprint reader on the keyboard so you can tap it to unlock your PC. Additionally, the webcam on the ThinkPad Z laptops has an IR camera so you can unlock your PC and sign into your PC and supported websites just by looking at the camera.
Does the Lenovo ThinkPad Z series have a touchscreen?
Adding touch support to your laptop’s screen gives you a more intuitive way to interact with it, making it easier to zoom, scroll, or tap certain options on the screen. The ThinkPad Z series gives you options for touch support, but it’s not included by default.
First off, you can add touch support as an option on top of the default display option with a Full HD+ (1920 x 1200) resolution. This is the cheapest way to add touch support to your laptop, and it doesn’t change the rest of the display qualities.
If you opt for the OLED panels on either the ThinkPad Z13 and Z16, you also get touch support out of the box. That gives you the benefits of OLED, a high-resolution panel, and a touchscreen.
Does the Lenovo ThinkPad Z series come with a warranty?
Warranty services are essential and required by law to some extent. By default, any ThinkPad Z series laptop you buy from Lenovo will have a one-year warranty with depot and carry-in services, which is the standard for consumer electronics in the United States.
While the ThinkPad Z series isn’t yet available to buy, we can extrapolate from other models Lenovo sells. You should be able to expand the warranty service to include on-site support, and also extend the length of the warranty period up to five years, so you can rest assured your laptop will stay functional for years to come. Of course, these warranty upgrades and extensions cost extra, but it’s worth it if you want to avoid unexpected costs later on.
Can I upgrade the RAM and storage on the ThinkPad Z series?
Typically, business laptops tend to offer upgrade and servicing options so you can easily make repairs or improve your experience after you’ve already bought the laptop. However, that’s not always the case, and Lenovo hasn’t specifically mentioned anything on this front.
Looking at other laptops in Lenovo’s lineup, like the ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen 9), the RAM on those models is soldered onto the motherboard, so it can’t be upgraded after the initial purchase. On the other hand, storage can be upgraded after the fact. It’s possible that a similar situation will happen here, but we’ll have to wait to hear more from Lenovo to know for sure. We’ll update this article when that information is available.
Can I replace the battery in the Lenovo ThinkPad Z series?
Similar to RAM and storage, the battery is something you might want to replace yourself later down the line. Batteries wear out over time, and it can often result in you having a laptop that isn’t reliable, despite still having more than good enough performance. In those cases, replacing the battery can solve all your problems for a much lower cost.
Unfortunately, Lenovo has yet to share whether you can replace the battery inside the ThinkPad Z series laptops yourself, but it wouldn’t be surprising if you can. Other ThinkPad laptops, like the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, give you that ability, and Lenovo even provides a guide on how to do it yourself. We’ll have to wait for the company to share more information on that, which should happen by the time it’s available to buy.
Can the Lenovo ThinkPad Z series run Linux?
Not everyone is a big fan of Windows 11, and if you want to use Linux instead, it’s nice to know you have that option. Unfortunately, out of the box, that doesn’t seem to be the case, so you’ll need to buy your ThinkPad Z laptop with Windows 11 out of the box.
However, you can always install a Linux distribution on your PC after the fact, including a dual-boot setup with Windows 11. The downside with this is that, without official support from Lenovo, you might run into some problems that won’t be covered by official support. Still, most drivers should provide at least basic functionality in Linux, and the community generally works to have almost any device work with the OS.
Does the Lenovo ThinkPad Z series have Thunderbolt?
Thunderbolt support can be essential if you’re using your laptop in an office setup with external displays and lots of peripherals. With a Thunderbolt dock, you can connect just about anything you want to your PC, but only use one port on the laptop, which is especially important in a laptop that only has USB Typ-C ports.
However, Thunderbolt is also proprietary Intel technology, and it’s expensive to license. Because the ThinkPad Z series laptops are powered by AMD processors, they don’t support Thunderbolt, but they do include USB 4.0. This technically offers the same bandwidth as Thunderbolt 4, but it’s not guaranteed that you’ll get the same experience overall, and accessories designed for Thunderbolt may not work with standard USB 4.0 ports.
Do the Lenovo ThinkPad Z series laptops have a good webcam?
Webcams have been tremendously important over the past couple of years, after being neglected by most PC manufacturers for a very long time. Thankfully, companies are starting to catch up, and Lenovo’s latest laptops come with Full HD cameras, so you can look great during video calls and meetings.
With the ThinkPad Z series, Lenovo has also separated the primary camera from the infrared (IR) sensor that’s used for Windows Hello facial recognition. These sensors are often combined to save space, but that can reduce the picture quality of the camera, so by separating them, you should get a clearer image for calls. That applies to both the Z13 and Z16, so even the smaller laptops have space for a good camera.
Does the Lenovo ThinkPad Z series have a pointing stick and duplicate mouse buttons?
Lenovo’s business laptops have traditionally included the iconic red TrackPoint (pointing stick) on the keyboard, giving you a more old-school way to move the mouse pointer on your laptop. To go along with that, there are usually buttons above the touchpad so you can easily click while using the TrackPoint.
With this major redesign, Lenovo has kept the TrackPoint around, but the the mouse buttons are gone. That’s because the ThinkPad Z series laptops using a “ForcePad” without actually buttons. It has a pressure sensor and haptic feedback to simulate clicks. When using the TrackPoint, you can use the touchpad itself to click. with the mouse “buttons”. Additionally, the TrackPoint now has a new double-tap feature that opens a quick menu for communications so you can change settings for your webcam and audio before a meeting.
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