Lenovo’s initial ThinkBook, introduced final yr, was a solidly constructed laptop in both 13-inch and fourteen-inch form aspects it wasn’t extremely high-priced, and was billed as a product that could bridge the work/participate in divide — it had the strapline ‘Built for Enterprise, Built for Era Next’. 

This new 13.3-inch ThinkBook As well as retains some of the layout smarts of the previously design, and provides an completely new characteristic — a ten.eight-inch E-Ink display screen constructed into the lid. This can provide details, act as an book reader, and also has interactive factors: you can choose notes and annotate PDFs on it, for instance. There’s only one version of the ThinkBook As well as readily available in the British isles, a Core i5 design with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD storage, which expenses £1,019.99 (inc. VAT £849.99 mex. VAT). Two variants are readily available in the US: Core i5/8GB/256GB for $one,299 and Core i7/16GB/512GB for $one,529.

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The ThinkBook As well as runs on 10th-era Core i5 or i7 processors. As nicely as the key 13.3-inch FHD IPS display screen, it has a 2nd ten.eight-inch E-Ink touchscreen on the outdoors of the lid.


Visuals: Lenovo

So, how helpful is the E-Ink panel, and how nicely does the ThinkBook As well as conduct in standard?

When you consider of E-Ink you possibly visualise book audience from Amazon, Kobo and other folks. But E-Ink has showcased in other equipment too. It acted as a 2nd monitor for the YotaPhone smartphone, for instance, and Lenovo utilized it to deliver its 2016 Yoga Guide with both a touch-delicate keyboard or a drawing pad in the spot ordinarily occupied by a actual physical keyboard. This time, a ten.eight-inch E-Ink display screen occupies the bulk of the lid of the ThinkBook As well as. 

The fantastic edge of E-Ink is its low vitality use. Pixels are both on, or off, and whilst ability is essential to change their point out, once they are established, you will find no ability draw. In addition, pixels continue being obvious in their established point out so that regardless of what they are exhibiting can continue being continual. Just like with book audience, the display screen is touch-responsive, and you can also interact with it using the provided Precision Pen stylus. 

E-Ink has some vital dissimilarities as opposed to a typical laptop monitor. It is greyscale fairly than colour and it really is slow to refresh, which limitations the use circumstances. It is also value noting that the E-Ink panel in the ThinkBook As well as lacks a backlight.

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This signifies Lenovo can only offer you a little established of capabilities for the E-ink display screen. There are just two applications readily available from the tappable icon bar in the bottom right corner: Take note and Reader, both of which can work in portrait and landscape orientation.

Take note is a creating and drawing tool. Creations made using the Precision Pen can be saved immediately onto the desktop as photos, text, formulae or diagrams. The E-Ink display screen also synchronises with Microsoft OneNote, so your scribblings are readily available in editable format on the laptop right.

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Prime: The Reader E-Ink app. Above: Configurations for the E-Ink monitor.


Visuals: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

Reader shows paperwork in PDF, EPUB, MOBI and TXT formats, and permits you to annotate PDFs. While variations of this laptop on clearly show at CES in January sported a Kindle shortcut on the E-Ink monitor, there was no Kindle support on my overview unit. Nor is there any details at Lenovo’s web-site or in the E-Ink help on the laptop by itself about introducing new applications.

There are a couple of extra capabilities readily available by the E-Ink display’s setup spot: you can choose to clearly show your Outlook Calendar, Outlook Email, the temperature and the date you can also select wallpaper such as using your have photos. There is a small battery everyday living icon in the major right corner of the wallpaper monitor. 

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


Impression: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

The E-Ink monitor wants protection, and Lenovo offers a substantial sleeve for the ThinkBook As well as. Sadly neither this nor the ThinkBook As well as by itself has a housing for the Precision Pen. As an alternative, the pen clings magnetically to the lid’s quick edges, but it really is not held very firmly and isn’t a satisfactory remedy when the laptop is in transit.

To accommodate the E-Ink panel, the lid is fairly thicker than usual which signifies an all round thickness of seventeen.4mm thickness. The desktop footprint is minimum for a 13.3-inch laptop, at 308mm vast by 217mm deep and the extra panel does not increase a fantastic deal to the excess weight, which is one.4kg. The web result is a laptop that feels good but not overburdened by its 2nd monitor.
 
The key monitor is a 13.3-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS panel with three hundred nits brightness and 100% sRGB colour room protection. It isn’t touch responsive, which arguably is an omission, though this does hold both the cost and the lid thickness down. Display screen bezels are a tiny broader than major-flight Lenovo laptops are inclined to offer you, and the bottom bezel is significantly deep. I identified it challenging to have two doing work purposes open up side by side. If will need be, the key monitor will open up to a hundred and eighty degrees and lie flat on a desk.

The speakers provide affordable high-quality seem. Volume goes fairly high, and whilst the audio is a tiny quick on bass tones it must be great for online video watching, shows and online video calls.

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The full-dimensions keyboard is backlit, with Skype for Enterprise scorching-keys on the right-hand side of the Fn important row.


Impression: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

The keyboard is regular of Lenovo with its pot-bellied keys furnishing much more of a concentrate on than usual. The keys are big and nicely-spaced, and I was fairly happy touch-typing at my usual velocity. The Fn keys are fairly big, with the right-most pair remaining shortcut keys for Skype for Enterprise calls.

The touchpad feels a tiny cramped, but that’s rarely unconventional in a 13.3-inch laptop, and it was snug and responsive to use. It is effortlessly disabled with a Fn important. 

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The on/off switch is on the right edge of the chassis and incorporates a fingerprint reader. This spot signifies you can ability up the laptop when the lid is down, enabling use of the E-Ink monitor. Home windows Hello authentication is also supported by means of the 1MP webcam.

Our ThinkBook As well as overview unit ran on a 10th era Intel Core i5-10210U processor with built-in Intel UHD Graphics. Discrete graphics would be pleasant, though this would appear at a cost. There is 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. The ThinkBook As well as runs Home windows ten Pro.

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The ability button on the right-hand side (major) has an built-in fingerprint reader. There are two USB 3. ports and, on the left side (center), full-dimensions HDMI, USB-C (with DisplayPort and ability shipping and delivery) and 3.5mm audio.


Impression: Lenovo

Lenovo offers a full-dimensions HDMI port as nicely as two USB 3. ports and a single USB-C port. The latter is out of motion when you are charging the laptop, and Lenovo must have provided a 2nd USB-C port, preferably with Thunderbolt support. There is also a 3.5mm headset jack. 

According to Lenovo, the battery is superior for up to ten hours. I set it by its usual paces, leaving online video streaming for a a few-hour work session whilst also doing work in world wide web applications, viewing world wide web pages and occasionally streaming songs. The monitor was established instantly to its highest (three hundred nits) brightness, and I wouldn’t want to work with it a lot reduce than that for prolonged intervals.

In the a few-hour time period the battery dropped to 56%. I would not say I subjected the ThinkBook As well as to a significantly demanding workload, and doubt that it would ability my regular doing work working day from a full demand. Even now, you will find superior information in the form of Speedy Cost support, which will choose the battery from zero to 80% in an hour.

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Impression: Lenovo

Conclusions 

Lenovo’s plan of putting a 2nd monitor on the entrance of the ThinkBook As well as, turning what is actually ordinarily lifeless room into an spot for effective use, is laudable. The E-Ink screen’s features is confined, though, and it relies heavily on a stylus which you will will need to carry independently from the laptop and be careful not to get rid of. 

I would like to see Lenovo check out this plan additional, such as integrating connectivity with much more than just Microsoft merchandise, and introducing the Kindle support that was on clearly show at CES in January. I would like to check out book examining on this monitor as opposed to a devoted reader or a smartphone. 

In other places, the ThinkBook As well as is a nicely-made, properly developed laptop with an ergonomic keyboard and a serviceable key monitor. It could do with a 2nd USB-C port and improved battery everyday living, but it really is definitely an intriguing improvement for the regular clamshell laptop.

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