One of the longest-lasting laptops I’ve tested is not a MacBook or Asus

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Cesar Cadenas/ZDNET

ZDNET’s key takeaways

  • The Lenovo IdeaPad Pro 5i is a 16-inch versatile laptop for the office, home, and everywhere in between for $1,500.
  • It’s powered by the latest Intel and Nvidia hardware, and has a battery that can last all day.
  • However, the device has a disappointing webcam and comes loaded with too much bloatware. 

When it comes to laptops, professional and student users have more in common than you might think. Both groups want a flexible machine that can handle the whole day’s work, while doubling as an entertainment center at night. And both would agree that a long-lasting battery is a must. 

Well, I’ve found the perfect laptop for both groups: Lenovo’s 2024 IdeaPad Pro 5i. This 16-inch laptop has everything a professional could ask for in a work machine, while also making a solid choice for college students. 

Also: Dell XPS 16 (2024) review: This Windows laptop gives the MacBook Pro a run for its money

Lenovo’s device is nothing short of powerful. Under the hood, you’ll find an Intel Core Ultra 9 185H processor alongside an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 graphics card, resulting in rock solid performance. I tested the hardware by running many common workplace tasks from web browsing to writing documents and video conferencing platforms simultaneously. It handled everything I threw at it without skipping a beat. 

Additionally, it has 32GB of memory, ensuring load times are partially nonexistent. This hardware configuration even allows the IdeaPad Pro 5i to act as a capable gaming laptop, perfect for when you have those long days and want to relax with a game.

View at Costco

All this power can be thoroughly enjoyed on the IdeaPad Pro’s hi-res 2K (2,048 x 1,280) OLED screen that’s capable of showing off content in stunning detail. Thanks to its hardware, the screen has a speedy refresh rate of 120Hz, enabling realistic movies and a silky-smooth visual display.

However, unlike many other laptops with OLED displays, Lenovo’s machine doesn’t sport much image-enhancing software. There’s no Dolby Vision, nor does it cover 100% of the sRGB color gamut. As a result, colors aren’t as vibrant as some of its competitors. It does support HDR for high contrast, but that’s about it. 

I should point out that the display is a touchscreen, however given that this device is not a convertible 2-in-1, I found the feature to be a little gimmicky.

Sitting above the OLED screen is the device’s 1080p webcam. It’s passable for video calls, although honestly, its quality is quite lackluster. Recordings are grainy, and there is no way to improve the feed without third-party software, either. All the webcam features do is reposition the camera.

The IdeaPad Pro’s generous heft allows for a full-sized keyboard, which, when paired with the rubber-like keycaps, result in a very comfortable tying experience. I also appreciate how the arrow keys jut out from the bottom, making them easy to access. Manufacturers, in my experience, tend to make the Page Up and Page Down keys on 14-inch laptops too small. The IdeaPad Pro 5i has solved this problem, fortunately. 

Also: Lenovo’s latest 2-in-1 laptop wowed me with clever design and a bold outlook

When it comes to other design aspects, Lenovo made interesting choices here. The speakers, for example, are located above the keyboard. I’m always glad to see laptops include upward-firing speakers, as I’ve never been a fan of muffled audio. However, what makes the IdeaPad Pro’s speakers stand out is their support of Dolby Atmos, a surround sound technology. It allows the drivers to be powerful enough to fill a room with sound. Not bad for a laptop.

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Cesar Cadenas/ZDNET

Battery life is great, as well. The IdeaPad Pro 5i ran for about 8.5 hours straight while running my usual livestream tests without the battery saver setting on. With that active, rest assured the device will last you the whole day and then some. However, in order to charge the laptop, you’ll have to use Lenovo’s proprietary 230W AC adapter. You can’t use a spare USB-C charger. Luckily, the adapter isn’t super bulky so it’s easy to carry around, although it would’ve been great to have the option.

Also: The best Lenovo laptops: Expert tested

I also need to mention a couple of things that may be deal breakers for some. First off, it’s a hefty machine that weighs 4.27 pounds. Carrying this device around for an extended amount of time may prove tiring for some. Also, be aware the IdeaPad Pro 5i comes with a bunch of bloatware. The laptop’s 1TB of storage is more like 880 GB, taking into account all the apps Lenovo has preinstalled.

ZDNET’s buying advice

Lenovo’s IdeaPad Pro 5i has all the right hardware components to make it the premiere laptop for professionals and students. It has a strong CPU/GPU pairing, a 2K OLED display, and a decent keyboard, but its price tag of $1,500 will place it on the higher end of the typical student’s budget. 

If you’re looking for a less expensive 16-inch laptop, Lenovo’s Yoga 7i will is several hundred dollars cheaper, although you’re trading in the OLED screen for one that’s much more low-key. If you want an OLED laptop in a slightly less expensive package, check out the Acer Swift X 14





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