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Lenovo's ThinkBook Plus has a 10.8-inch E Ink display on its lid

By Koh Wanzi - on 8 Jan 2020, 5:52pm

Lenovo's ThinkBook Plus has a 10.8-inch E Ink display on its lid

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus

Lenovo is once again flirting with E Ink displays. The company has announced the ThinkBook Plus, a 13.3-inch notebook that is for most intents and purposes just like any other regular laptop, save for the large E Ink display stuck on its lid.

The 10.8-inch E Ink display is supposed to help you be more productive when multi-tasking, such as by allowing you to take notes in OneNote using the integrated Lenovo Precision Pen even when you don't want to open up the laptop. E Ink generally has a slow refresh rate, but Lenovo says small portions of the display, such as the areas you're working on, are capable of refreshing more quickly than the entire image.

It also lets you access potentially useful information when the lid is closed, such as calendar events, weather information, and email notifications. This stuff is normally on your phone, so Lenovo thinks it's saving you a step and helping you focus better. That said, you're mostly limited to viewing this information, and you won't be able to edit your schedule or reply emails from the E Ink screen.

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus

Of course, this data will be hidden when you open the laptop, so the person sitting across from you can't see it. You can also have a so-called private zone that you must tap to show your notifications. Alternatively, the E Ink screen can be set to simply display a screensaver.

The display also has built-in integration with the Windows Kindle app, which is probably the most obvious application for any E Ink screen. However, given that the laptop weighs just under 1.4kg, it's going to be quite heavy to hold in one hand for any extended period of reading. This is no Kindle, and I can't imagine reading this way for long periods

The ThinkBook Plus has a pretty small 45Wh battery, which Lenovo says should be good for about 10 hours on a single charge. E Ink displays generally don't consume a lot of power – in fact they only need juice when refreshing – so I don't expect that it'll affect battery life by much. 

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus

Elsewhere, the ThinkBook Plus' specifications hold few surprises. It comes with a 1,920 x 1,080-pixel IPS main display, a 10th Gen Intel Core i7 chip, either 8GB or 16GB of DDR4 memory, and a 512GB PCIe M.2 SSD. There's an option for Optane Memory H10 as well.

It also supports Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5, and ships with Windows 10 Pro. Amazon's Alexa app is built-in, and Lenovo hopes you'll take advantage of the integrated far-field microphones to talk to your laptop like a smart device.

The ThinkBook Plus will be available in March starting at US$1,199.