Lenovo’s newest 2-in-1 crams Windows!

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When in laptop mode, the ThinkBook Plus Hybrid behaves like a standard Windows laptop. However, removing the laptop’s display transforms it into an Android tablet. The device’s bottom half, or Windows half, features an Intel Core Ultra 7 processor, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and a 75WHr battery. The upper half features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 processor, 12GB of RAM, 256GB of flash storage, and a 38Wh battery. They have the same 14-inch 2.8K OLED display.

The laptop I got to try was surprisingly well balanced. It was touch-heavy at the top, but not as awful as some other laptop/tablet 2-in-1s I’ve tried over the years. The conversion process was also really simple. Simply yank on the tablet until it disengages. There is no unusual switch or specific process. The trial version I tried would occasionally require some persuading to separate, but this should presumably be resolved by the time the laptop is released in Q2 of this year.

The software side of things is what I’m most excited to see in a final version. Right now, the two computers squeezed together don’t communicate very well. If you’re planning a large presentation in Windows mode, you can’t just turn off the tablet and continue working on it; you must actively share or move files between the OSes. That may change, or become easier, as the launch date approaches. As it is, you have two computers in one: the Windows half for work and the Android side for viewing content on a 14-inch tablet.

Aside from the entertaining 2-in-1, Lenovo also showcased the newest version of the Lenovo ThinkBook 16p. This 16-inch laptop, now on Gen 5, features a 14th Gen Intel processor (up to an i9) and up to an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060, as well as a system of magnets and pogo pins on the back that Lenovo refers to as the Magic Bay. It allows you to attach devices to your laptop, such as the Lenovo Magic Bay Studio, a new 4K webcam released this year.

This type of accessory system appears to be a gimmick, yet it has good intentions. I truly want simple and quick solutions to replace bigger components on my laptop. Lenovo demonstrated a few concepts that leverage the Magic Bay, including an SSD, external display, and AI helper, and I’ll admit to being enchanted by them all. The problem with products based on interesting accessories is that they require a large number of people to accept them before you can see a viable and inexpensive ecosystem.

Other highlights of Lenovo’s CES 2024 announcements were the Lenovo ThinkBook 13x Gen 4 and a relaunch of the Legion gaming laptop line. The ThinkBook 13x Gen 4 is an extremely light 13-inch laptop (imagine the slow-as-heck but still-popular MacBook from nearly a decade ago). It weighs only 2.2 pounds due to its magnesium frame, yet is powered by Intel’s latest Meteor Lake CPUs and features a massive 74WHr battery. This year, it also includes a new stainless magnesium color option that is surprisingly fingerprint resistant. It should go on sale sometime this quarter, with a starting price of $1,399.

Meanwhile, the Legion series has been refreshed with a new white color option that appears to strike a fair compromise between shouting “I’m a gamer” and being presentable in non-gaming situations. This CES, we’ve seen similar design shifts from HP’s and Dell’s gaming brands, indicating that we’re approaching a new phase of the gamer look. While I enjoyed the “dark colors with splashes of RGB” appearance, I have to say that I’m looking forward to seeing something a little more conservative from major gaming laptop manufacturers.

 

 

 

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