Lenovo is no stranger to E Ink displays. The original ThinkBook Plus had an E Ink screen on the lid, as did its successor. Strangely, the ThinkBook Plus Gen 3 abandoned E Ink in favor of a secondary display on the keyboard deck, but now, it’s back with the Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Twist. We got to test it out at CES 2023, and we’re huge fans, especially of the color E Ink display. Yes, you heard that right.
The Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Twist and its wild design
There’s more than one thing that intrigued us about the ThinkBook Plus Twist. First off, the lid comes on a swivel, so you can turn it around to look at either side. It’s reminiscent of convertibles from the Windows 8 era, a wild time with a lot of experimental form factors. However, what really caught my eye is that this isn’t just E Ink; the Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Twist has a color E Ink display on the lid.
I’m not entirely sure how practical it is to be able to rotate the display like that. Ultimately, you’re probably not going to be using the E Ink display as a laptop, so you might want to be able to choose between E Ink and OLED when the lid is closed.
It also doesn’t have an infinite rotation. When you twist it around, you have to twist it back the opposite way.
As you can see, the E Ink display just isn’t as vibrant as an LCD would be, nor should it be. But I’ll tell you something, I am really excited about the potential here. I’ve loved E Ink products for years, including when I reviewed the Lenovo ThinkBook Plus that I mentioned earlier. We’ve been hearing about color E Ink for years, and now here we are with it actually shipping in products. I’m somebody who enjoys reading on an Amazon Kindle, but if I want to read a comic book, unless it’s something black and white like The Walking Dead, I have to use a tablet. So a color E Ink display is super appealing.
However, you won’t get Kindle-like battery life from this, even if you’re using a Kindle app. If you sit there and read from that thing all day, you’ll be acutely aware that it still has an Intel processor.
While there’s a custom UI, you can also have it show you a regular Windows shell, not that it’s practical to do so.
The ThinkBook 16p Gen 4 is cool, too
Lenovo always announces a bunch of cool stuff at CES, and when you have a beautiful dual-screen laptop like the Yoga Book 9i and a laptop with a color E Ink display like the ThinkBook Plus Twist, it’s easy for the ThinkBook 16p to get lost in the mix. Still, it’s worth mentioning.
First of all, the Lenovo ThinkBook 16p Gen 4 is a laptop that’s similar to its predecessors. It has Intel 13th-gen H-series processors that are paired with Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics, just like you’d expect. What makes this one different is that it has pins on the lid for modular accessories like the webcam that you see above.
There are three attachments. The webcam is obviously higher quality than the one baked into the product, but the one you see in these images also adds 4G LTE connectivity to the device, which is really cool (although I’m told it probably isn’t coming to the U.S.). You also get a light that you might use while streaming or in a video meeting.
Another thing that’s cool about the webcam is that you can actually fold it back and have it face the opposite direction. In fact, that allows you to have two cameras, one facing you and one facing outward.
Both the ThinkBook Plus Twist and the ThinkBook 16p Gen 4 are interesting, cool ideas. What always worries me, however, is that I don’t know if they’ll be refreshed in next year’s products. These things tend to feel like concepts you can buy, not ones that will be implemented in the long term. Still, they’re cool ideas that I want to see developed further, just as a fan of laptops.
The Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Twist is coming in June, while the ThinkBook 16p Gen 4 is coming in May.