Lenovo is looking at the future of work, and it’s pulling out some unexpected solutions. At CES 2022, its new ThinkBook laptops for small businesses are a little weird, but in interesting ways.
The standout notebook is the ThinkBook Plus Gen 3, with a 17.3-inch, 21:10 ultrawide primary touch display with a 3072 x 1330 resolution at 120 Hz (because your spreadsheets need faster refresh?). That aspect ratio makes room for a secondary, 8-inch touchscreen next to the keyboard, with a resolution of 800 x 1280. The ThinkBook Plus Gen 3 will launch in May starting at $1,399.
You can write or draw on that secondary screen with a stylus that’s housed in one of the laptop’s hinges. Some people prefer full-size pens, though I typically prefer the convenience of a stylus that you can store in the laptop because I’m less likely to lose it, so I’m all for that decision.
We got a chance to see the ThinkBook Plus Gen 3 at a Lenovo press event this week and were impressed with all the use cases for the secondary screen. First, company reps showed a demo of Adobe Lightroom where image thumbnails appeared on the second screen and you could open them on the main display by tapping. Then they demoed a feature which lets you zoom in on just a particular part of the screen so, while the main display was showing all of Adobe Lightroom’s menus and content, the second screen was zoomed in on a particular segment of the image.
We also saw how you can use the secondary display as a touchscreen calculator and as a menu to quick launch your favorite apps. You can also draw on it with the stylus or use it as a white board. There’s also a feature called “waterfall display” which will vertically extend the content from the main display so if, for example, you’re reading a spreadsheet, the lower rows would appear on the 8-inch screen. This feature was still a little buggy in our demo on a preproduction unit.
Another feature which lets you mirror the display of your Android phone wasn’t working yet on the demo unit and the touch screen on the preproduction model wasn’t always responsive. However, we’re sure that these will issues will be resolved by the time the laptop comes out and overall the second screen was impressive and seems actually useful, unlike many other secondary laptop displays we’ve seen.
Lenovo is utilizing Intel’s 12th Gen Core H-series processors with Iris Xe Graphics, up to 32GB of RAM and up to 1TB of M.2 PCIe storage.
With the wide screen, the ThinkBook Plus measures 16.14 x 9 x 0.7 inches (410 x 228.7 x 17.9 millimeters). That’s an odd size, so Lenovo is also making a custom backpack to fit the laptop. It will start at $69.99 and should ship in April.
For those looking for a more conventional experience, the ThinkBook 13x Gen 2 may be more your speed. It combines Intel’s 12th Gen Intel Core processors (Lenovo has not specified which) with up to 32GB LPDDR5 GAM and up to 2TB of PCIe Gen 4 SSD storage in a compact chassis that’s just half an inch thick. It has a 13.3-inch, 2560 x 1600 display. It starts at $1,099 in April.
But the ThinkBook 13x will also have wireless charging with the ThinkBook Wireless Multi-Device Charging Mat, which will power the laptop and a mobile device that uses Qi charging up to 10W. This is likely an evolution of the Go Wireless charging kit we saw from the company last year. The charging mat will sell for $199.99 and should be available in April.
Lenovo is also launching the ThinkBook 14 Gen 4+ i and ThinkBook 16 Gen 4+ i at CES 2022, starting at $839 and $859 respectively and set for April launches. These laptops will feature a 16:10 aspect ratio and have lots of configuration options, including Nvidia RTX graphics.