Lenovo ThinkBook Plus review: Second E-Ink screen adds an extra dimension Review

Lenovo’s 1st ThinkBook, introduced final calendar year, was a solidly built laptop computer in the two thirteen-inch and fourteen-inch sort components it wasn’t extremely highly-priced, and was billed as a device that could bridge the perform/participate in divide — it had the strapline ‘Built for Organization, Created for Generation Next’. 

This new thirteen.3-inch ThinkBook Furthermore retains some of the style and design smarts of the previously product, and provides an solely new function — a ten.eight-inch E-Ink display built into the lid. This can produce data, act as an book reader, and also has interactive areas: you can choose notes and annotate PDFs on it, for case in point. There is certainly only a person variation of the ThinkBook Furthermore out there in the United kingdom, a Core i5 product with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD storage, which prices £1,019.ninety nine (inc. VAT £849.ninety nine mex. VAT). Two variants are out there in the US: Core i5/8GB/256GB for $one,299 and Core i7/16GB/512GB for $one,529.


The ThinkBook Furthermore operates on 10th-technology Core i5 or i7 processors. As very well as the most important thirteen.3-inch FHD IPS display, it has a second ten.eight-inch E-Ink touchscreen on the outside of the lid.

Illustrations or photos: Lenovo

So, how valuable is the E-Ink panel, and how very well does the ThinkBook Furthermore complete in standard?

When you assume of E-Ink you likely visualise book visitors from Amazon, Kobo and other individuals. But E-Ink has showcased in other products as well. It acted as a second screen for the YotaPhone smartphone, for case in point, and Lenovo utilised it to supply its 2016 Yoga Guide with possibly a contact-delicate keyboard or a drawing pad in the area usually occupied by a bodily keyboard. This time, a ten.eight-inch E-Ink display occupies the bulk of the lid of the ThinkBook Furthermore. 

The terrific benefit of E-Ink is its low strength usage. Pixels are possibly on, or off, and although energy is demanded to adjust their point out, the moment they are set, you will find no energy attract. Moreover, pixels continue being obvious in their set point out so that whatever they are displaying can continue being continuous. Just like with book visitors, the display is contact-responsive, and you can also interact with it employing the offered Precision Pen stylus. 

E-Ink has some important discrepancies in contrast to a standard laptop computer screen. It is greyscale instead than colour and it is really gradual to refresh, which limits the use instances. It can be also truly worth noting that the E-Ink panel in the ThinkBook Furthermore lacks a backlight.

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This usually means Lenovo can only supply a small set of features for the E-ink display. There are just two apps out there from the tappable icon bar in the bottom right corner: Be aware and Reader, the two of which can perform in portrait and landscape orientation.

Be aware is a crafting and drawing resource. Creations manufactured employing the Precision Pen can be saved immediately onto the desktop as pictures, text, formulae or diagrams. The E-Ink display also synchronises with Microsoft OneNote, so your scribblings are out there in editable format on the laptop computer suitable.


Top: The Reader E-Ink app. Earlier mentioned: Configurations for the E-Ink screen.

Illustrations or photos: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

Reader displays paperwork in PDF, EPUB, MOBI and TXT formats, and enables you to annotate PDFs. Though versions of this laptop computer on exhibit at CES in January sported a Kindle shortcut on the E-Ink screen, there was no Kindle guidance on my critique unit. Nor is there any data at Lenovo’s website or in the E-Ink help on the laptop computer itself about introducing new apps.

There are a pair of further features out there by means of the E-Ink display’s setup area: you can choose to exhibit your Outlook Calendar, Outlook Electronic mail, the weather conditions and the date you can also decide on wallpaper including employing your individual pictures. There is a little battery everyday living icon in the top rated right corner of the wallpaper screen. 


The Precision Pen clings magnetically to the left or right side of the lid.

Picture: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

The E-Ink screen demands defense, and Lenovo offers a significant sleeve for the ThinkBook Furthermore. Regretably neither this nor the ThinkBook Furthermore itself has a housing for the Precision Pen. Alternatively, the pen clings magnetically to the lid’s shorter edges, but it is really not held really firmly and isn’t a satisfactory remedy when the laptop computer is in transit.

To accommodate the E-Ink panel, the lid is instead thicker than usual which usually means an all round thickness of 17.4mm thickness. The desktop footprint is minimum for a thirteen.3-inch laptop computer, at 308mm wide by 217mm deep and the added panel won’t include a terrific deal to the body weight, which is one.4kg. The net outcome is a laptop computer that feels reliable but not overburdened by its second screen.
The most important screen is a thirteen.3-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS panel with three hundred nits brightness and a hundred{d11068cee6a5c14bc1230e191cd2ec553067ecb641ed9b4e647acef6cc316fdd} sRGB colour space protection. It isn’t contact responsive, which arguably is an omission, though this does continue to keep the two the value and the lid thickness down. Screen bezels are a small wider than top rated-flight Lenovo laptops are likely to supply, and the bottom bezel is noticeably deep. I found it challenging to have two operating apps open side by side. If have to have be, the most important screen will open to a hundred and eighty degrees and lie flat on a desk.

The speakers produce reasonable high quality seem. Quantity goes pretty superior, and although the audio is a small shorter on bass tones it need to be great for movie viewing, shows and movie phone calls.


The comprehensive-size keyboard is backlit, with Skype for Organization warm-keys on the right-hand side of the Fn critical row.

Picture: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

The keyboard is regular of Lenovo with its pot-bellied keys furnishing extra of a target than usual. The keys are huge and very well-spaced, and I was pretty happy contact-typing at my usual velocity. The Fn keys are fairly huge, with the right-most pair getting shortcut keys for Skype for Organization phone calls.

The touchpad feels a small cramped, but that’s rarely abnormal in a thirteen.3-inch laptop computer, and it was at ease and responsive to use. It can be effortlessly disabled with a Fn critical. 

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The on/off swap is on the right edge of the chassis and incorporates a fingerprint reader. This spot usually means you can energy up the laptop computer when the lid is down, enabling use of the E-Ink screen. Home windows Good day authentication is also supported through the 1MP webcam.

Our ThinkBook Furthermore critique unit ran on a 10th technology Intel Core i5-10210U processor with built-in Intel UHD Graphics. Discrete graphics would be good, though this would come at a value. There is 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. The ThinkBook Furthermore operates Home windows ten Pro.


The energy button on the right-hand side (top rated) has an built-in fingerprint reader. There are two USB 3. ports and, on the left side (middle), comprehensive-size HDMI, USB-C (with DisplayPort and energy shipping and delivery) and 3.5mm audio.

Picture: Lenovo

Lenovo offers a comprehensive-size HDMI port as very well as two USB 3. ports and a one USB-C port. The latter is out of action when you are charging the laptop computer, and Lenovo need to have offered a second USB-C port, preferably with Thunderbolt guidance. There is also a 3.5mm headset jack. 

In accordance to Lenovo, the battery is superior for up to ten several hours. I put it by means of its usual paces, leaving movie streaming for a a few-hour perform session although also operating in internet apps, viewing internet web pages and once in a while streaming audio. The screen was set immediately to its utmost (three hundred nits) brightness, and I would not want to perform with it a lot decreased than that for extended durations.

In the a few-hour period the battery dropped to 56{d11068cee6a5c14bc1230e191cd2ec553067ecb641ed9b4e647acef6cc316fdd}. I would not say I subjected the ThinkBook Furthermore to a specifically demanding workload, and question that it would energy my regular operating working day from a comprehensive demand. Continue to, you will find superior information in the condition of Swift Cost guidance, which will choose the battery from zero to eighty{d11068cee6a5c14bc1230e191cd2ec553067ecb641ed9b4e647acef6cc316fdd} in an hour.


Picture: Lenovo


Lenovo’s strategy of putting a second screen on the front of the ThinkBook Furthermore, turning what is actually generally lifeless space into an area for effective use, is laudable. The E-Ink screen’s operation is constrained, nevertheless, and it relies greatly on a stylus which you will have to have to carry separately from the laptop computer and be very careful not to eliminate. 

I’d like to see Lenovo examine this strategy more, including integrating connectivity with extra than just Microsoft products and solutions, and introducing the Kindle guidance that was on exhibit at CES in January. I’d like to examine book reading through on this screen in contrast to a devoted reader or a smartphone. 

In other places, the ThinkBook Furthermore is a very well-manufactured, nicely built laptop computer with an ergonomic keyboard and a serviceable most important screen. It could do with a second USB-C port and much better battery everyday living, but it is really absolutely an intriguing advancement for the standard clamshell laptop computer.

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