Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 3 two-minute preview
Here is the one Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 3 Configuration shown to TechRadar during our hands-on preview:
CENTRAL PROCESSOR: Up to 12th generation Intel Alder Lake
Graphic: Intel Iris Xe
Audio: Harman Kardon speakers, Dolby Atmos
R.A.M: up to 32GB LPDDR5
Screen (primary): 17.3 inch, 21:10 (3072 x 1440p), 120 Hz IPS, TÜV EyeSafe, 400 cd / m², 90% screen-to-body | (Secondary): 8 inch LCD touch display 800 x 1280p with pen support
Warehouse: up to 2 TB PCIe 4.0 SSD
Ports: 1 x HDMI | 1 x USB Type-C | 1 x Thunderbolt 4 | 2 x USB Type-A | 1 x 3.5 mm combo socket
Connectivity: WLAN 6E | Bluetooth 5.1
Camera: 1080p IR webcam with privacy screen
Weight: 4.40lbs | 2kg
Size (W x D x H): 16.14 x 9 x 0.7 in | 410 x 228.7 x 17.9 mm
When we first heard about Lenovo’s new 21:10 laptop with a second built-in side display, we were honestly ready to write it down. Well, we got the chance to test the Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 3 for ourselves this week at Lenovo CES 2022 Showcase in New York City, and we have to admit that Lenovo may be on to something here.
First things first, we immediately questioned the portability factor, e.g. long Laptop. At 16.14 inches in length, this will be too tall to fit into almost any of the best backpacks We tested it this year. But not all.
And if you’re a photographer, your “backpack” is likely to look more like those giant insulated cubes that GrubHub and DoorDash suppliers heave around. In all fairness, you will likely be able to get the ThinkBook Plus Gen 3 to fit if you are serious about your craft.
If you’re not a photographer you might have a bigger problem, but it’s not insurmountable, and the usefulness of having a built-in second display next to the keyboard could override any other inconveniences you might have to endure.
You’ve probably already carried a Wacom tablet around with you along with all the other cables and the like, so the simplicity is a huge benefit too.
In addition, there is an optional pin docked on the laptop’s rear hinge. So, if you’re looking for an all-in-one graphic design platform, the ThinkBook Plus Gen 3 could very well be the laptop you’ve been waiting for your entire career to buy.
Speaking of purchases, the ThinkBook Plus Gen 3 isn’t a one-off concept device, it actually hits the market in May 2022 and prices start at just $ 1,399 (around £ 1,080 / A $ 1,960) which makes it a lot cheaper than that as the Asus ZenBook Duo 14 or the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo 15.
In addition, the ThinkBook Plus Gen 3 is a much more natural workspace for a photographer or designer than the ZenBook Duo, and you don’t have to sacrifice your keyboard space.
Assuming you’re right-handed, with the secondary touchscreen placed more naturally to the right of the keyboard than above, this replicates the experience of using a separate Wacom or similar tablet by the side.
In short, for someone looking to edit photos or digital artwork, this laptop was designed just for you, and it’s affordable enough to take on a four year university arts program using this laptop.
Most apps like Adobe Photoshop have already implemented functionality that uses secondary displays and tablets for creative workflows, and this works seamlessly with the tablet display of the ThinkBook Plus Gen 3.
The ThinkBook Plus Gen 3 also offers some features for non-photographers and artists.
The laptop also has the option of dividing the main display into two parts, with a 16:10 display on the left and a 1: 2 display on the right, the latter blending perfectly with the display next to the keyboard. This allows you to “collapse” documents from the main display to the secondary display as you read them.
The secondary display also integrates seamlessly with note-taking apps like OneNote so you can take notes during meetings or during class.
While these other features aren’t as enticing as the more artistic ones, they still bring a lot to the table for students who appreciate the multitasking skills, and given the price, we can see this is popular with students.
There are, of course, some tradeoffs, and not just with the size and weight of the laptop. There’s no separate GPU, so this probably won’t be the best laptop for professional movie editing or 3D modeling.
If you’re a student working on short films or learning 3D modeling, the Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 3 should work fine, but it will definitely fall short in a production environment.
Intel Iris Xe’s integrated graphics are pretty good at integrated graphics, but there are only a few Blender workloads that will take forever to render without a separate GPU. Ditto for encoding 4K videos.
Even so, thanks to the 12th generation Intel Alder Lake CPU, you can still take advantage of the LPDDR5 memory, which is definitely helpful. The laptop is limited to a PCIe 4.0 SSD and amazingly lacks an SD card slot, but it has a Thunderbolt 4 port, along with a standard USB Type-C port, two USB Type-A ports -Ports and HDMI output.
The laptop also uses Lenovo’s standard aluminum alloy chassis so it’s solidly built, but all of this adds up to a 2.40kg laptop that, thanks to its length, feels heavier than it actually is. It also comes with Harman Kardon speakers with Dolby Atmos, so at least your Spotify sounds great while you work.
We’ll be able to give you a better idea of how well this laptop works in real life once we get it to test, but without question, this is one of the most interesting laptop innovations we’ve seen at CES year.
We are definitely excited to put it through its paces and see if Lenovo has found gold with this creative set.