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

Lenovo’s very first ThinkBook, released previous 12 months, was a solidly constructed laptop computer in both thirteen-inch and fourteen-inch kind things it was not extremely high priced, and was billed as a gadget that could bridge the operate/engage in divide — it experienced the strapline ‘Built for Small business, Intended for Technology Next’. 

This new thirteen.3-inch ThinkBook Moreover retains some of the structure smarts of the before product, and adds an entirely new attribute — a ten.eight-inch E-Ink exhibit constructed into the lid. This can supply details, act as an book reader, and also has interactive aspects: you can consider notes and annotate PDFs on it, for instance. There is only one model of the ThinkBook Moreover out there in the United kingdom, a Core i5 product with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD storage, which prices £1,019.99 (inc. VAT £849.99 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 Moreover operates on 10th-technology Core i5 or i7 processors. As nicely as the most important thirteen.3-inch FHD IPS exhibit, it has a 2nd ten.eight-inch E-Ink touchscreen on the exterior of the lid.

Images: Lenovo

So, how practical is the E-Ink panel, and how nicely does the ThinkBook Moreover conduct in general?

When you imagine of E-Ink you almost certainly visualise book viewers from Amazon, Kobo and many others. But E-Ink has showcased in other devices much too. It acted as a 2nd screen for the YotaPhone smartphone, for instance, and Lenovo utilised it to give its 2016 Yoga E book with possibly a contact-sensitive keyboard or a drawing pad in the space commonly occupied by a physical keyboard. This time, a ten.eight-inch E-Ink exhibit occupies the bulk of the lid of the ThinkBook Moreover. 

The good gain of E-Ink is its reduced vitality use. Pixels are possibly on, or off, and although ability is needed to improve their state, when they are set, there’s no ability attract. Moreover, pixels continue being visible in their set state so that whatsoever they are exhibiting can continue being continuous. Just like with book viewers, the exhibit is contact-responsive, and you can also interact with it using the delivered Precision Pen stylus. 

E-Ink has some critical dissimilarities in comparison to a normal laptop computer screen. It is greyscale rather than color and it really is gradual to refresh, which limits the use conditions. It’s also value noting that the E-Ink panel in the ThinkBook Moreover lacks a backlight.

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This means Lenovo can only give a compact set of functions for the E-ink exhibit. There are just two apps out there from the tappable icon bar in the base proper corner: Notice and Reader, both of which can operate in portrait and landscape orientation.

Notice is a producing and drawing tool. Creations manufactured using the Precision Pen can be saved immediately onto the desktop as images, text, formulae or diagrams. The E-Ink exhibit also synchronises with Microsoft OneNote, so your scribblings are out there in editable structure on the laptop computer good.


Major: The Reader E-Ink application. Over: Configurations for the E-Ink screen.

Images: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

Reader displays documents in PDF, EPUB, MOBI and TXT formats, and enables you to annotate PDFs. Although versions of this laptop computer on clearly show at CES in January sported a Kindle shortcut on the E-Ink screen, there was no Kindle help on my overview unit. Nor is there any details at Lenovo’s web-site or in the E-Ink help on the laptop computer by itself about introducing new apps.

There are a couple of added options out there via the E-Ink display’s setup space: you can opt to clearly show your Outlook Calendar, Outlook E-mail, the weather and the day you can also decide on wallpaper including using your personal images. There is a little battery lifestyle icon in the prime proper corner of the wallpaper screen. 


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

Impression: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

The E-Ink screen wants protection, and Lenovo presents a considerable sleeve for the ThinkBook Moreover. However neither this nor the ThinkBook Moreover by itself has a housing for the Precision Pen. As a substitute, the pen clings magnetically to the lid’s brief edges, but it really is not held incredibly firmly and just isn’t a satisfactory alternative when the laptop computer is in transit.

To accommodate the E-Ink panel, the lid is rather thicker than normal which means an overall thickness of 17.4mm thickness. The desktop footprint is negligible for a thirteen.3-inch laptop computer, at 308mm vast by 217mm deep and the additional panel will not insert a good deal to the body weight, which is one.4kg. The internet final result is a laptop computer that feels good but not overburdened by its 2nd screen.
The most important screen is a thirteen.3-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS panel with 300 nits brightness and one hundred% sRGB color room coverage. It just isn’t contact responsive, which arguably is an omission, even though this does retain both the rate and the lid thickness down. Display screen bezels are a minor wider than prime-flight Lenovo laptops have a tendency to give, and the base bezel is noticeably deep. I located it demanding to have two performing 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 supply affordable high quality seem. Volume goes pretty high, and although the audio is a minor brief on bass tones it ought to be good for video observing, presentations and video calls.


The complete-dimensions keyboard is backlit, with Skype for Small business scorching-keys on the proper-hand side of the Fn important row.

Impression: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

The keyboard is typical of Lenovo with its pot-bellied keys giving additional of a focus on than normal. The keys are massive and nicely-spaced, and I was pretty content contact-typing at my normal velocity. The Fn keys are fairly massive, with the proper-most pair becoming shortcut keys for Skype for Small business calls.

The touchpad feels a minor cramped, but that is hardly strange in a thirteen.3-inch laptop computer, and it was relaxed and responsive to use. It’s effortlessly disabled with a Fn important. 

SEE: Windows ten Get started menu hacks (TechRepublic Premium)

The on/off swap is on the proper edge of the chassis and incorporates a fingerprint reader. This place means you can ability up the laptop computer when the lid is down, enabling use of the E-Ink screen. Windows Hi authentication is also supported through the 1MP webcam.

Our ThinkBook Moreover overview unit ran on a 10th technology Intel Core i5-10210U processor with built-in Intel UHD Graphics. Discrete graphics would be great, even though this would occur at a rate. There is 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. The ThinkBook Moreover operates Windows ten Professional.


The ability button on the proper-hand side (prime) has an built-in fingerprint reader. There are two USB 3. ports and, on the left side (middle), complete-dimensions HDMI, USB-C (with DisplayPort and ability supply) and 3.5mm audio.

Impression: Lenovo

Lenovo presents a complete-dimensions HDMI port as nicely as two USB 3. ports and a single USB-C port. The latter is out of action when you are charging the laptop computer, and Lenovo ought to have delivered a 2nd USB-C port, preferably with Thunderbolt help. There is also a 3.5mm headset jack. 

According to Lenovo, the battery is fantastic for up to ten hrs. I put it via its normal paces, leaving video streaming for a three-hour operate session although also performing in net apps, viewing net web pages and once in a while streaming tunes. The screen was set immediately to its utmost (300 nits) brightness, and I would not want to operate with it much decrease than that for prolonged durations.

In the three-hour time period the battery dropped to fifty six%. I would not say I subjected the ThinkBook Moreover to a notably demanding workload, and question that it would ability my typical performing working day from a complete cost. Still, there’s fantastic information in the condition of Immediate Cost help, which will consider the battery from zero to eighty% in an hour.


Impression: Lenovo


Lenovo’s concept of putting a 2nd screen on the front of the ThinkBook Moreover, turning what is commonly dead room into an space for successful use, is laudable. The E-Ink screen’s operation is restricted, although, and it relies seriously on a stylus which you will have to have to have separately from the laptop computer and be very careful not to lose. 

I would like to see Lenovo investigate this concept even more, including integrating connectivity with additional than just Microsoft products and solutions, and introducing the Kindle help that was on clearly show at CES in January. I would like to investigate book reading through on this screen in comparison to a dedicated reader or a smartphone. 

In other places, the ThinkBook Moreover is a nicely-manufactured, nicely intended laptop computer with an ergonomic keyboard and a serviceable most important screen. It could do with a 2nd USB-C port and far better battery lifestyle, but it really is unquestionably an intriguing enhancement for the regular clamshell laptop computer.

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Maria J. Danford

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