Lenovo’s latest take on the small business laptop has an interesting surprise: a 10.8-inch E ink display on the lid.
The ThinkBook Plus was announced here at CES 2020, and it comes with a secondary display meant to foster collaboration. While the main, 13.3-inch FHD display is closed, the E Ink screen can show email and calendar notifications from Microsoft Outlook. You can also use it to take notes with Lenovo’s included stylus. The idea is you’ll only do what you’ll need to on the screen during meetings, rather than being engrossed entirely in your laptop. It will start at $1,199 when it goes on sale in March.
Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Specs
|Up to 10th Gen Intel Core i7
|13.3-inch FHD display (inside), 10.8 E Ink monochromatic display (outside)
|Up to 16GB DDR4
|Up 512GB M.2 PCIe SSD, Intel Optane H10 memory: 16GB+256GB SSD or 32GB +512GB
|12.1 x 8.5 x 0.7 inches / 30.7 x 21.6 x 1.8cm
Lenovo is using Intel’s 10th Generation Comet Lake processors with Intel UHD graphics, up to 16GB of RAM and up to 512GB of SSD storage with Intel Optane H10 memory. The company claims the 45Wh battery will last up to 10 hours on a charge.
Besides the second screen, there are a few other tricks up the ThinkBook’s sleeve. It has Amazon’s Alexa assistant built in, which will also work when the laptop is closed. There are also hotkeys for Skype and a power button with an integrated fingerprint reader. With a stylus, you can use it to take notes, and they will be saved to OneDrive. This lets you choose a level of activity in a meeting that you find suitable, but I'm not sure how much less distracting it is than using a laptop.
We’ve seen second screens on a number of laptops, including the HP Omen X 2S, Asus ZenBook Pro Duo and even the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar, but we’ve never seen one on the opposite side from where you usually look.
We’ll have to wait to spend more time with the ThinkBook Plus to decide just how useful a second screen on the lid can be.
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Andrew E. Freedman is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware focusing on laptops, desktops and gaming. He also keeps up with the latest news. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Tom's Guide, Laptop Mag, Kotaku, PCMag and Complex, among others. Follow him on Threads @FreedmanAE and Mastodon @FreedmanAE.mastodon.social.