The new Lenovo ThinkPad Plus, the most interesting 2-in-1 laptop of the year

Estimated read time 5 min read

The new Lenovo ThinkPad Plus, the most interesting 2-in-1 laptop of the year

Lenovo’s ThinkPad Plus series has always been very heterogeneous. The original ThinkPad Plus had kicked off by integrating an e-ink screen on the back of the laptop screen. It was an interesting choice, but it didn’t really pay off, because e-ink technology has only had limited use.

The situation remained practically unchanged with the second model. Then, with the third generation of the ThinkBook Plus, Lenovo decided to place the additional screen next to the keyboard. The reviews were mixed, with some pointing out that it was difficult to type on the Gen 3 model due to the clutter due to this small side screen.

But with the new ThinkBook Plus Gen 4, the rear e-ink screen is back and in color! There is now a 2.8K resolution main screen, and the other improvements make this notebook a solid option for buyers who want something truly unique.

I note that the screen has a very noticeable ghosting effect

Of course, since the outer panel is an electronic ink screen, the colors are not as vibrant as those of a standard LCD or OLED screen. But if you are a creative professional and you prefer to work directly with an e-ink screen, this is the best solution available to you.

I note that the screen has a very noticeable ghosting effect, as is often the case with electronic ink screens. The ghost effect, if you don’t know it, is when objects on a screen leave persistent images when they are moved. Below is a photo of this effect.


Cesar Padlock/ZDNET

Fortunately, this is not permanent. Switching to the other screen or putting the laptop to sleep solves the problem. By the way, the OLED main screen looks great. With a size of 13 inches, it displays a resolution of 2.8K (2,880 x 1,800 pixels), with a refresh rate of 60 Hz.

“Is the OLED screen blocked on only one side?”

OLED monitors usually have a refresh rate of 120 Hz, but the clarity and vividness of the Lenovo display, even at 60 Hz, are more than enough. The brightness is set at 600 nits, so the screen can shine even in sunnier environments. The OLED display is also equipped with a large number of image enhancement functions. My two favorites are the anti-reflective coating, which guarantees visibility outside, and the anti-fingerprint properties, which protect against stains.

I’m guessing what you’re thinking. “Is the OLED screen blocked on only one side? What if I need to work with a wider range of colors than that of the electronic ink screen and keeping the computer closed?”There is a solution to this problem. When this device was first revealed at CES 2023, it was known as the ThinkPad Plus Twist because its hinge can rotate 360 degrees. This means that the OLED screen can be placed on the back, while the E-Ink screen becomes the main screen. Both are touch screens, so you can use the stylus from one side or the other without problems.

Lenovo ThinkPad Plus

You can rotate the ThinkPad Plus screen to switch from the e-ink screen to the OLED screen. Lenovo

It’s very ingenious. This shows that Lenovo has thought it through well by deciding not to force people to use the e-ink display at inopportune times. This is by far my favorite thing about the e-ink screen. I like the fact that you can choose between the two, and I would recommend using the e-ink screen as the main image when working. This technology is much more pleasing to the eyes than OLED, thanks to the TÜV Low Blue Light certification and the Lenovo EyeCare program.

There is no place for the stylus, which makes it too easy to misplace

This computer has a few sticking points. First of all, I am worried about its fragility. Lenovo claims that the ThinkBook Plus Gen 4 meets sustainability standards. The model has apparently been subjected to more than 200 quality controls to guarantee its robustness. I want to believe Lenovo; the keyboard seems rather robust.

But it is still a convertible laptop, one of the sides of which is permanently exposed. Neither screen is protected by a Corning Gorilla glass or other. So I wonder about its ability to survive slight brutal manipulations, despite the company’s claims.


Cesar Padlock/ZDNET

The ThinkPad Plus is a lightweight device, weighing 1.35 kg and measuring at least 18 mm thick. Due to its thinness, there is no place for the stylus, which makes it too easy to misplace.

It also does not have many ports. You have two Thunderbolt 4 ports and an audio jack. That’s it. It’s a good thing that Lenovo has included the audio jack, but a little more variety would take this computer from the premium category to the super premium category! However, Lenovo automatically includes with the purchase of the ThinkPad Plus a USB-C hub to connect HDMI cable and USB stick to the computer.

ZDNET’s buying tips for the ThinkBook Plus Gen 4

If you are a creative professional, I highly recommend the ThinkPad Plus. It is a treat to use, even for someone who is not a professional artist. I really enjoyed writing on the e-ink side; it saved me from tiring my eyes, which is useful when we face a long day of typing on the keyboard.

The price of this laptop varies depending on the hardware configuration chosen. The model equipped with a 13th generation Intel i7-1355U processor, an Intel Iris Xe GPU, 16 GB of RAM and 512 GB of storage space, for a total price of € 2,790.

Yes, these are expensive laptops, and I wouldn’t blame you for opting for a cheaper but equally high-performance laptop. But the ThinkPad Plus is one of the most refreshing devices you can buy right now, and it’s worth every penny.

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