Lenovo Think book Plus Introduction
Lenovo’s first ThinkBook, launched last year, is a solid 13-inch and 14-inch form factor laptop. It’s inexpensive and is considered a device that can bridge the gap between work and screening – there’s the line, “Built for Business, Designed for the Next Generation”.
The new 13.3-inch ThinkBook Plus retains some of the smart features of the previous model and offers a completely new one – the 10.8-inch e-ink display that fits on the lid. It can provide information, act as an eBook reader, and also have an interactive aspect: for example, you can take notes and annotate PDF files. There’s only one ThinkBook Plus version in the UK, the Core i5 with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD storage, which costs £ 1,019.99 (including VAT; £ 849.99 including VAT). There are two options in the US: Core i5 / 8GB / 256GB for $ 1,299 and Core i7 / 16GB / 512GB for $ 1,529.
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How useful is the e-ink panel and how well does it perform in general?
When you think about e-ink, you probably think of e-book readers from Amazon, Kobo, and others. E-Ink is also available on other devices. It serves as a second screen for a YotaPhone smartphone, for example, and Lenovo uses it to complement the 2016 Yoga Book with a touch-sensitive keyboard or a drawing board in an area normally occupied by a physical keyboard. This time around, the 10.8-inch e-ink display took up most of the ThinkBook Plus coverage.
The big advantage of e-ink is its low energy consumption. Pixels on or off. As long as the power is required to change its state after setting, no power is drawn. In addition, pixels remain visible in their fixed state, so everything displayed can remain constant. Like an e-book reader, the screen responds to touch and you can also interact with it with the included Precision pen.
E-Ink has several key differences from standard laptop screens. It is gray, not tinged, and slowly refreshes, which limits its use. It’s also worth noting that the e-ink panel on the ThinkBook Plus doesn’t have a backlight.
This means that Lenovo can only offer a small number of features for e-ink displays. There are only two apps on the toolbar in the lower right corner: Notes and Reader, both of which can work in portrait and landscape mode.
Notes are tools for writing and drawing. Creations made with a precision pen can be saved directly to the desktop, eg. B. images, text, formulas, or diagrams. The e-ink view also syncs with Microsoft OneNote, so your sketches are available in an editable format on your own laptop.
The reader displays documents in PDF, EPUB, MOBI, and TXT formats and allows you to comment on PDF files. Although the version of this laptop that was showcased at CES in January supports the Kindle shortcut on the e-ink screen, there is no Kindle support in my review unit. There is also no information on the Lenovo website or how to use e-ink on the laptop itself to add new applications.
There are several additional functions available in the E Ink display setup area: You can view your Outlook calendar, Outlook email address, time, and date. You can also choose a background image, including using your own. There is a small battery icon in the upper right corner of the wallpaper screen.
E-ink displays need protection, and Lenovo makes an essential case for the ThinkBook Plus. Unfortunately, neither this nor the ThinkBook Plus itself has a precision pen sleeve. On the other hand, the stylus sticks magnetically to the short edge of the cover but cannot be held very tightly and is not a satisfactory solution when the laptop is in motion.
To accommodate the e-ink panels, the cover is much thicker than usual, which means a total thickness of 17.4mm. Minimum desktop space requirements for a 13.3-inch laptop with a width of 308 mm and a depth of 217 mm and the additional panels do not add significant weight, namely 1.4 kg. The end result is a laptop that feels solid but isn’t overwhelmed by the second screen.
The main display is a 13.3-inch (1920 x 1080) IPS FHD panel with 300 nits of brightness and 100% sRGB color space coverage. It’s unresponsive to the touch, which can be an overstatement, even if it keeps the price and thickness of the lid on. The screen bezel is slightly wider than usual on Lenovo laptops, and the bottom feels deep. I find it difficult to open two work applications side by side. If necessary, the main screen opens up to 180 degrees and rests on a table.
The speakers produce the sound of reasonable quality. The volume gets quite high and although the sound is a little short for bass, it should be good for watching videos, presentations, and video calls.
Lenovo signature keyboard. The navel offers a bigger target than usual. The keys are large and well placed, and I enjoy typing at regular speeds. The Fn key is quite large, with the far-right pair being keyboard shortcuts for Skype for Business calls.
The touchpad feels a bit cramped, but this isn’t uncommon for a 13.3-inch laptop and it’s comfortable and responsive. Deactivate easily with the Fn key.
two USB 3.0 ports and one USB-C port. The latter doesn’t work when you charge your laptop and Lenovo should provide a second USB-C port, ideally with Thunderbolt support. There’s also a 3.5mm headphone jack.
According to Lenovo, the battery can last up to 10 hours. I got to it at my usual pace, leaving video streaming for a three-hour work session while also working on web apps, browsing websites, and streaming music occasionally. The screen is automatically set to its maximum brightness (300 nits) and I didn’t want to work with it much lower than for extended periods of time.
Lenovo’s idea of putting a second screen at the front of the ThinkBook Plus and turning normally-dead space into productive areas is laudable. However, the e-ink display’s functionality is limited and relies heavily on a pen which you have to carry separately from your laptop to avoid losing it.
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