Lenovo’s ThinkPad Z-series, which was first shown off at CES this year, is a modern take on the ThinkPad, a brand that is known for using old parts and, frankly, being a little stale. Now that I’ve reviewed both the Lenovo ThinkPad Z16 and the ThinkPad Z13, I actually believe that the Z16 is the superior product.
This laptop is excellent for business. It has a solid build quality, a superb 1.35mm keyboard, and a 16-inch 16:10 display.
The measures that Lenovo took to modernize this laptop and set it apart from other Lenovo laptops are what I liked most. On the ThinkPad Z16, for instance, there are no buttons above the touchpad. Instead, there is a larger haptic touchpad, and the haptic touchpad’s top sections can be used as buttons for the TrackPoint if you so choose. They can also be utilized in addition to the touchpad. Additionally, there are a few minor details. For instance, unlike most laptops, ThinkPads do not have the Ctrl button to the left of the Fn key.
The only real drawback is that the AMD Ryzen mobile processor performs poorly without power. However, the fact that I did not find that to be as problematic in actual use is the primary reason why I prefer the ThinkPad Z16 to the Z13.
Not at all like the more modest ThinkPad Z13, the Lenovo ThinkPad Z16 just comes in a single tone. You might be familiar with it by its street name, Arctic Grey. silver. It is, in fact, a fairly typical matte silver lid with polished edges that give it a nice appearance.
Additionally, it has a tab at the top, as seen on a number of Lenovo’s newly designed ThinkPads. It not only adds a touch of style but also makes opening the laptop simpler. While this device is entirely silver with a brushed metal appearance on that tab, models like the ThinkPad Z13 can have a two-tone appearance. This is good news for the ThinkPad brand, which has a bad reputation for dull design.
This laptop doesn’t have many ports for a 16-inch laptop, which is a little surprising. Naturally, one of the main goals of this product is to make the ThinkPad more modern. Being modern means that there is no USB Type-A port; rather, all three USB ports are USB Type-C, with two USB 4 ports and one USB 3.2 Gen 2 port. Sadly, none of those ports are actually labeled, so if you purchase this laptop and absolutely require the additional bandwidth provided by USB 4, you will have to guess which ones do. The good news is that you should get it right two-thirds of the time.
Since Thunderbolt is a proprietary Intel feature that would cost money to include, AMD laptops do not include it. However, USB 4 is included. AMD’s absence of Thunderbolt is no longer viewed as a disadvantage. You won’t be left out because USB 4 is comparable to Thunderbolt 3 in that it can support speeds of 20Gbps or 40Gbps.
Additionally, there is a full-size SD card slot, which is uncommon in this day and age and greatly appreciated. It’s easy to point out, and if you think this paragraph is stupid, that’s fine. You probably don’t need a slot for an SD card, but digital camera users do. The ThinkPad Z16 becomes even more appealing to creators as a result.
In the end, I adore the design. It’s a modern take on a ThinkPad, just like the ThinkPad Z13, built from the ground up to use AMD’s new Ryzen processors. Being the 16-inch variant, it’s just not as standard as the 13-inch one, so the ThinkPad Z16 just comes in a single tone — the most standard one. Silver laptops are still the most popular color on the market, similar to a black smartphone, even though I always find them to be a little dull.
There is a 16-inch 16:10 display, which is to be expected. Lenovo sent me the 1920 x 1200 display, which is actually quite nice. Because it is matte, this one is effective at reducing glare from direct sunlight. There is a touch FHD+ option in addition to the non-touch model that I am evaluating.
There is, however, a 4K OLED option if you want the most beautiful screen. As previously stated, the laptop’s SD card slot makes it ideal for video and photo editors. If that describes you, 4K OLED might be a good option. Sincerely, I do not believe that a resolution of 1920 x 1200 is sufficient for a screen of this size.
The screen is fairly solid, with the exception of some pixelation. Because it is 16:10, it is also about 11% taller than older 16:9 displays. As a result, it actually has a screen that is much larger than the 15.6-inch 16:9 laptops that were common a few years ago.
This display supports 100% sRGB, 73% NTSC, 78% Adobe RGB, and 78% P3, according to my testing. Those scores are unquestionably average, but as I previously stated, opt for OLED if you want the best.
Brilliance came in at 350.3 nits, which is lower than guaranteed, yet I had no issue involving it in direct daylight. At 1,590:1, the contrast ratio was satisfactory.
Ideally, the webcam should be FHD. It’s encouraging to see Lenovo focus on a high-quality webcam in this era of working from home. There’s likewise an implicit protection watch, which can be gotten to through the console.
An icon that indicates that the camera will not function appears on the screen when you press the button to block it. The camera does not have a physical indicator, but if you try to use it, you will get a message that it is blocked.
There is no Intel flavor in the ThinkPad Z-series, which is based on AMD Ryzen 6000 processors, unlike many AMD laptops. The ThinkPad Z16 makes use of 45W H-series processors, whereas the Z13 makes use of 15W U-series processors. Although this machine can be purchased with dedicated graphics, Lenovo provided one with integrated graphics that perform reasonably well.
The benchmarks for the ThinkPad Z13 and Z16 are almost identical, as you can see below, but I noticed some significant differences. The Z16 certainly has a stronger feel to it and doesn’t seem to slow down nearly as quickly. Some OEMs have likewise been pushing out PCs with Intel’s 45W H-series processors and coordinated designs, and I’m here to say that the ThinkPad Z16 is superior to those.
As can be seen, there isn’t much of a difference in scores between the ThinkPad Z16’s 45W processor and the Z13’s 15W processor. As with all Ryzen mobile chips, the Ryzen 6000 has one major flaw: If it is running on battery power, performance is significantly slowed down. Utilizing PCMark 10, the ThinkPad Z16 with its 45W processor scored 6,328, while the ThinkPad Z13 with its 15W processor scored 6,281. That score dropped to 5,254 and 5,340, respectively, when power was disconnected. I did, however, notice that performance difference with the Z13. I find the ThinkPad Z16 to be superior in terms of battery life to that device.
Yes, I am maintaining optimal performance for the power slider. When using a Ryzen machine with limited battery life, it’s a must. Best power efficiency is actually the default, which you will absolutely need to disable.
The scores truly do smoke Intel’s twelfth gen processors in many classes. Intel still prevails in single-core, which is crucial, and, of course, when power is not connected, Intel prevails.
Given that AMD shuts off so much when it is not connected to power, I guess AMD has a win here because the battery life is pretty good. As previously stated, the AMD Ryzen power slider must remain set to maximum performance. On Intel machines, I typically use “balanced,” but ultimately, I want to maintain a level of performance and display brightness that is comfortable for me to work at.
The best battery duration I got was precisely 500 minutes, and I really hit that mark two times. That amounts to eight hours and twenty minutes of actual work, not battery benchmarking or looping video streaming. I’d get about six and a half hours on average. Evidently a fluke, my lowest time was three hours and six minutes.
Simply put, the battery life is excellent. Given the powerful CPU, it’s great to get between 6.5 and 8.5 hours out of a machine like this.
The keyboard deck on this large laptop is nice and big. It’s all black, as you’d expect from a ThinkPad, and the silver exterior gives the laptop a nice two-tone look. Additionally, the keys have a depth of 1.35 mm, which is the appropriate depth for ThinkPad keys. You’ll just find it on ThinkPads that were planned as of late, like the ThinkPad X1 Nano, ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga, ThinkPad X13s, and ThinkPad Z13, and it’s simply perfect. Other ThinkPads are deeper than 1.5 mm. To put it another way, the keyboard is nice and easy to use.
It’s also true. There are no mistakes made here. Naturally, there is a TrackPoint in the middle of the keyboard, which is the only feature of the ThinkPad Z16 that has not been updated. However, take note that the Ctrl button is indeed in the right spot. Most ThinkPads put the Fn key the entire way to one side, in contrast to each and every PC available, compelling new clients to construct new muscle memory.
The console is flanked by 2W speakers, which sound genuinely strong. With the speaker and receiver quality, the ThinkPad Z16 is perfect for gatherings, yet as we’ll discuss in the exhibition area, you truly do need to be associated with power.
Even with the dedicated graphics option, the Lenovo ThinkPad Z16 is definitely capable of video editing, but for 4K 60 FPS video editing or gaming, you’ll need something stronger. In addition, Intel is the only option if you require power even when disconnected from power. However, there is an SD card slot, an optional OLED display, and Radeon dedicated graphics for creators.