Lenovo’s new ThinkPad Z series comes with upgraded specs and a ‘Flax Fiber’ design

The new design is meant to be more environmentally friendly, and it's actually really nice.

Lenovo is unveiling a lineup of refreshed ThinkPad laptops at MWC 2023 in Barcelona, led by a refreshed pair of ThinkPad Z series devices. The new ThinkPad Z13 Gen 2 and Z16 Gen 2 offer upgraded specs and designs using an environmentally-friendly “Flax Fiber” material for the lid.

I was able to go hands-on with the Z13 and Z16 a couple of weeks ago, and they felt similar to the previous-gen Z13 I reviewed last year. They’re thicker than you’d expect and weigh a bit more than other laptops in their price range, but it makes for a device that feels incredibly solid and premium. The Z13 I reviewed had a faux leather lid, whereas the new devices can be configured with a woven Flax Fiber material that’s made from “100 percent agricultural product collected by harvesting flax plant fibers.” The result is a design that looks and feels like wood, but is a lot more flexible and adaptable to the lid of a laptop. I was really into it compared to how boring the standard aluminum lid looked next to it.

The rest of each laptop is made from 75 percent recycled aluminum which helps to alleviate Lenovo’s impact on the environment, while the packaging is fully recyclable and is made from recycled plastics and papers itself.

The second-gen Z series sticks with the haptic trackpads from the previous version. I found it to be okay on the original Z13, if a bit unreliable at times. There’s also the iconic TrackPoint that can be pressed to bring up a set of quick tools and settings, like audio device settings and turning on or off your camera and mics.

Under the hood, the Z13 and Z16 get AMD’s latest Ryzen 7000 series processors with up to 64GB of LPDDR5X RAM and 2TB of PCIe Gen 4 storage. Integrated graphics come out of the box, while the Z16 can be configured with dedicated Radeon 6550M graphics. The Z13 sticks with a 13.3-inch 16:10 panel that sports a 2.8K resolution and is available in OLED, while the Z16 has a 16-inch 16:10 screen with a 4K resolution and optional OLED panel.

Ports are decent across both machines. The Z13 comes with two fourth-generation USB-C ports and a headphone jack, while the Z16 adds an additional USB-C 3.2 port and a full-fledged SD card reader. Both models have Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.1, Full HD webcams with Windows Hello IR sensors, and dual Dolby Atmos speakers. The Z13’s battery weighs in at 51.5WHr while the Z16’s is 72WHr.

Lenovo says the ThinkPad Z13 Gen 2 will launch this July starting at $1,249, while the Z16 Gen 2 will cost $1,749 and launch in August. I should get at least one of these machines in to review soon, so stay tuned.