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Lenovo ThinkBook Plus G2 ITG Review

The Lenovo ThinkBook Plus G2 and its E-ink display are more than a novelty act

 Lenovo ThinkBook Plus G2 ITG Review
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

The Lenovo ThinkBook Plus G2 with two displays is an innovative, thin, lightweight, peppy performer that will last all day and come in handy.

For

  • Super functional E-ink display
  • Bright, crisp main display
  • Good battery life
  • Speedy transfer speeds
  • Peppy performance

Against

  • Pricey
  • Lacks ports

Laptop Mag Verdict

The Lenovo ThinkBook Plus G2 with two displays is an innovative, thin, lightweight, peppy performer that will last all day and come in handy.

Pros

  • +

    Super functional E-ink display

  • +

    Bright, crisp main display

  • +

    Good battery life

  • +

    Speedy transfer speeds

  • +

    Peppy performance

Cons

  • -

    Pricey

  • -

    Lacks ports

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus G2 ITG specs

Price: $1,575

CPU: Intel Core i7-1160G7

GPU: Integrated Intel Iris Xe Graphics

RAM: 16GB

Storage: 512GB PCIe SSD

Display: Main Panel 13.3-inch WQXGA IPS Touchscreen (2560 x 1600) E-Ink 12-inch WQXGA 

Battery: 11:24

Size: 11.73x 8.2 x 0.5 inches

Weight: 2.6 pounds

Lenovo’s been experimenting with the E-Ink display for a while, and I think they’re close to perfecting the formula with its latest creation. The Lenovo ThinkBook Plus G2 ITG improves upon previous iterations of Lenovo’s E-Ink journey by whipping out a larger 12.8-inch panel, mounted to the lid. And you don’t have to pay extra for the pen, which is a plus. Outside of the novelty of the bonus display, the ThinkBook Plus G2 sports the premium specs you’d expect from a laptop of its caliber with an 11th-Gen Core i7 processor with Iris Xe integrated graphics.  

Using the ThinkBook Plus G2 is a very unique and productive experience. The second E-ink screen provides speedy access to information and keeps you productive throughout your day. I admit there was some curious apprehension on my part. However, within 20 minutes I started to bond with the ThinkBook Plus G2, thanks to i. Its smooth performance, sleek lightweight body, and time-saving second display.

At $1,575.40, the laptop is somewhat cost-prohibitive and I definitely would have liked to have seen a longer battery life (However, 11 hours isn’t bad). But mobile professionals, students, and bookworms looking for a stellar laptop for productivity should keep reading to learn more about this unique laptop.

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus G2 ITG pricing and configurations 

The Lenovo ThinkBook Plus G2 I reviewed costs $1,575.40 and comes with an 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1160G7 CPU with Integrated Iris Xe Graphics, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD for storage. It also comes with a built-in Lenovo pen. 

The other version of the ThinkBook Plus G2 features an 11th Gen Core i5-1130G7 CPU with Integrated Iris Xe Graphics, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, the integrated pen and costs $1,578.85.

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus G2 ITG design

The unique design of the Lenovo ThinkBook Plus G2 sets it apart from rivals on the market thanks to its innovative E-ink display on the back of the lid. The rest of the laptop’s chassis is made from a textured flecked gunmetal grey aluminum that exudes an elegant business vibe.

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus G2 ITG Review

(Image credit: Future)

This is the second iteration of the ThinkBook Plus and Lenovo revamped the E-ink design making the screen 12 inches instead of the original 10.8, and improving the screen’s resolution so that it matches the main screens 2560 x 1600-pixels, which improves the overall experience. When the laptop’s powered off, the E-ink screen nibbles microscopic amounts of battery power so that the rear screen shows an image of your choosing and adds a nice amount of joie de vivre.

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus G2 ITG Review

(Image credit: Future)

In many ways, the Lenovo ThinkBook Plus G2 design reminds me of the X1 Nano. When you open the lid to view the main screen you’re met with the scalloped keyboard that our X1 Nano reviewer mentions, a perfectly sized touchpad, and the lovely, colorful 2560 x 1600-pixel nearly bezel-free display. The webcam is located at the top center of the display and has a security shutter to keep prying eyes out. 

The G2’s textured surfaces with a hint of flair with blingy accents like the chromed-out Lenovo logo on the right edge of the deck. It’s just a very aesthetically pleasing design that’s business-suit handsome. 

There’s a fingerprint scanner in the power button that is compatible with Windows Hello allowing you to lock and unlock the laptop with your fingertip.

Measuring 11.7 x 8.2 x 0.5 inches and weighing 2.6 pounds, the ThinkBook Plus G2 is matched in weight by the Acer Swift 3 (2021) with the latter being slightly larger (12.7 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches). The Dell XPS 13 (11.6 x 7.8 x 0.6) and HP Spectre x360 13 (2021) (12.1 x 7.6 x 0.6 inches) both weigh 2.8 pounds, so our group is pretty evenly matched in weight and overall dimensions.

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus G2 ITG ports

The ThinkBook Plus G2 comes with one 3.5mm combo audio jack, two Thunderbolt 4 ports on the left-hand side.

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus G2 ITG Review

(Image credit: Future)

On the right side, we find the fingerprint reader power button, as well as a garage for the included stylus.

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus G2 ITG Review

(Image credit: Future)

Our review unit came with a small port hub that features a USB-Type A port, an HDMI port, and oddly enough, a VGA port just in case you ever travel back in time to 1994.

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus G2 ITG Review

(Image credit: Future)

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus G2 ITG display

The Swift 3’s 13.3-inch, 2560 x 1600-pixel IPS display is crisp and bright with vivid color saturation. I watched a couple of episodes of Cowboy Bebop on Netflix and the ThinkBook rendered the wide color palette of the show very nicely as it reproduced the kaleidoscope of imagery that is the live-action version of the anime classic. Skin tones were accurately reproduced and Mustafa Shakir’s beautiful grey-blue eyes were captivating during close-ups as he portrayed Jet Black. Speaking of eye color, during the first episode’s initial scene where Asimov uses the red-eye, the shot of his eyes was very nicely reproduced by the ThinkBook Plus G2’s display.

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Due to its weight and size, the G2 is a great little laptop to binge-watch your favorite shows on while traveling or at your local coffee spot. 

I know it’s not a gaming laptop but, I did play some Borderlands 2 on it, and its rainbow of animated graphics were saturated nicely, as were the explosive blood splatters caused by my sniper’s rifle.

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Our team of highly skilled lab ninjas measured the panel’s color reproduction, the ThinkBook Plus scored 79.6% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, which is below the ultraportable average of 84.4%. The XPS 13 led our group with a DCI-P3 score of 81.3% followed by the Swift 3 with 72.9% and the Spectre x360 (67%).

The ThinkBook Plus G2 display averages 387 nits of brightness, which is a smidge brighter than the 383 nit average. The Dell XPS registered 417 nits, with the Spectre x360 coming in with 391 nits while the Swift 3’s 300 nits place it way below the average.

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus G2 ITG E-Ink display and pen 

The 12-inch, 2560 x 1600-pixel E-ink display on the outside of the lid, is an improvement over the original 10.8-inch version. Leveling up the resolution creates more functionality, allowing users to read documents, presentations, or books as well as use the browser and other apps you would normally view on the main screen.

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus G2 ITG Review

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The E-Ink display will feel familiar to anyone that has used an E-ink e-reader like a Kindle or Nook.

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus G2 ITG Review

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The integrated Lenovo Pen makes it an even more worthwhile experience as it allows you to quickly jot down notes, and easily manipulate the E-Ink display. Also, it’s very useful to quickly check your calendar, emails and respond to messages as you can use the pen to write back your replies using cursive or standard print. Even better, you don’t have to go through the trouble of actually opening the laptop.

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus G2 ITG Review

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I personally used it to read news and a book I had been meaning to reread and the experience was flawless.

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus G2 ITG Review

(Image credit: Future)

I applaud Lenovo for creating an innovative device that makes excellent use of the E-Ink technology. I also enjoy the unique look of the E-Ink screen saver which can display a photo of your liking even when you turn it off.

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus G2 ITG Review

(Image credit: Future)

The integrated pen works well. It worked in tandem with the display to quickly and accurately with my cursive. I also had the ability to easily respond to emails and Slack messages. It’s a little small for my massive hands, but overall, the experience was excellent.

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus G2 ITG Review

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Lenovo ThinkBook Plus G2 ITG audio

The Harman Kardon speakers on the ThinkBook Plus G2 are not thunderous, but they’re loud and were easily heard across my studio apartment. The speakers do a great job of creating discernable depth.  Although the speakers aren’t pumping out thick thumpy bass, you can hear clear non-distorted bass, separated from the mid and high tones which make for a solid listening experience. It’s an impressive feat on a small laptop. 

I listened to Chris Brown’s “Look At Me Now” and when the bassline kicks after his opening line asking folks “how you can hate from outside the club, you can’t even get in” and giggles, the bass drop was solidly reproduced. Whether listening to music or watching video is damn good for a tiny, super-thin laptop. 

I also listened to Thelonious Monk’s “Dream album., I was immediately entranced by the heavenly horns, snare drums, and that magic that is Monk’s fingers dancing across the keys. The G2 handled the smooth jazz better than the driving hip-hop beats, but that was to be expected since the genre doesn’t have that deep bass. 

When I watched Cowboy Bebop, it was also solid. Actors’ voices were clear and accurate. Even the gunshots and explosions were nicely reproduced. 

I placed a couple of Google Meet calls to my buddy to test the mic array and camera. My friend reported that my voice came through very clearly with minimal background noise and nice depth. 

If you want to enjoy an even better audio experience, with more bass or spatial audio, I suggest you check out our best wireless headphones.

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus G2 ITG keyboard and touchpad

The clicky, scalloped-keyed, backlit keyboard on the ThinkBook Plus G2 was a little intimidating for me and my infamous horror movie monster hands. The keyboard itself is lovely but, due to the overall size of the unit, seemed rather tight but, I soldiered on and went for it.

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus G2 ITG Review

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I took the 10fastfingers.com test and scored 81 words per minute with 87% accuracy, which I found shocking thanks to my paws’ lack of dexterity.  However, the bouncy responsiveness of the keys helped make typing on the smallish G2 easier than I’d expected.

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus G2 ITG Review

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The 4.1 x 2.5-inch touchpad is accurate and responsive. When navigating websites and documents, the smooth surface is adept at performing Windows 10 gestures, such as two-finger swipes and three-finger taps. The bottom corners give firm feedback and are very clicky when using right-or-left clicks.

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus G2 ITG performance

With an Intel Core i7-1160G7 processor, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD, and Intel Iris Xe graphics, the ThinkBook Plus G2 is a peppy little dynamo that can easily handle all your daily emails, Netflix binge-watching, documents, school work and keep you productive. I busted open 30 tabs in Google Chrome with three playing YouTube videos while writing up an article and the Lenovo ThinkBook Plus, never faltered, stuttered, and gave no indication it was straining.

During our synthetic benchmark tests, the G2 scored 5,157 in Geekbench 5.4, which surpassed the premium laptop average score of 4,995. The Swift 3 (Intel Core i7-1165G7 CPU, 16GB of RAM and 512GB SSD) sped past the rest with its tally of 6,205. It blew away the XPS 13’s 4,852 (Intel Core i7-1065G7 CPU, 16GB of RAM and 512GB SSD) and the HP Spectre x360’s 4,749 (Intel Core i7-1165G7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB SSD). 

The ThinkBook didn’t fare so well during the Handbrake video-editing test. It failed to come close to the 14 minutes and 26-second premium laptop average, taking 26:09 to transcode a 4K video to 1080p. The Swift 3 halved that score by transcoding the same footage in just 12:59. The XPS 13 came in at 15:40 with the HP Spectre transcoding in 18:39. 

During our File transfer test which requires duplicating a 25GB multimedia file, the ThinkBook Plus G2 did so in 21.9 seconds at a rate of 1,224.8 megabytes per second, which incinerated the 2 minutes and 9 seconds average at  725.55 MBps category average. That blew by the Acer Swift 3 which garnered 49.9 seconds (538.17 MBps, 512GB SSD), the HP Spectre x360 59 seconds(452.6MBps, 512GB SSD) and XPS 13’s 1 minute 45 seconds (512GB SSD) 238.1MBps.

The Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics chip is not recommended for intense gaming. However, our test unit more than held its own, scoring 57 frames per second during Sid Meier’s Civilization VI: Gathering Storm test (1080p), surpassing the premium laptop average of 35 fps. That score sailed past the competition as the Swift 3 (38 fps), Spectre x360 (23 fps), and XPS 13 (19 fps) were left in the proverbial dust.

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus G2 ITG  battery life

The Lenovo ThinkBook Plus G2 can last through an average workday and then some. The system succeeded in running 11 hours even on the Laptop Mag Battery Test, which consists of continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness. It even surpassed the 10:34 premium laptop average., However, it was overshadowed by the Acer Swift 3 that ran for 14:48. The Dell XPS 13 came in at 12:39 followed closely by the HP Spectre x360 which lasted 12:32.

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus G2 ITG heat

The G2 does an excellent job of dissipating heat and remaining cool, calm, and collected. Despite me throwing everything I had at it, there was no discernible rise in temperature.

Our lab crew ran a fullscreen HD video for 15 minutes and measured specific spots on the laptop once the time elapsed. The touchpad measured 73.8 degrees Fahrenheit, which is well below our 95-degree comfort threshold. Between the G & H keys, we measured 84.9 degrees and on the underside, we got a reading of 90 degrees.

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus G2 ITG webcam

The 720p webcam is par for the course and performs well. Like most webcams, the color is a little off in tone and the details are grainy, especially when the environmental lighting isn’t right. If you need better quality, I suggest purchasing an external webcam. Overall, the camera will be sufficient for Zoom and Google Meet calls.

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus G2 ITG software and warranty

The Lenovo ThinkBook Plus G2 comes with Windows 10 Pro, which means gratefully there's not much in the way of bloatware. You will find Skype, Xbox Game Bar, Microsoft Solitaire Collection, and Spades.

There is the Lenovo Vantage software which helps you keep an eye on your system’s performance and make adjustments to improve productivity and functionality. 

The Lenovo ThinkBook Plus G2 comes with a one-year limited warranty.  See how Lenovo fared in our annual Tech Support Showdown and Best and Worst Brands special reports.

Bottom line

The Lenovo ThinkBook Plus G2 ($1,575.40) is stylish, innovative, and unique laptop designed to appeal to mobile professionals, students, and folks looking for a solid digital sketchpad or e-reader. And while the lid-mounted E-Ink display is a definite conversation starter, it’s a bonafide workhorse thanks to its Core i7 processor with integrated graphics and zippy SSD. It brings a useful new wrinkle to productivity and doesn’t make you pay extra for the pen. 

The ThinkBook Plus G2 does stumble in a few areas such as battery life and the main display that could stand to be more vivid and brighter. If you’re looking for a laptop with comparable performance with longer battery life and a better display, the Dell XPS 13  is available for only $1,146. However, you miss out on the E-Ink display and the pen. But if you’re looking to take your multitasking and productivity to the next level, you can’t do better than the Lenovo ThinkBook Plus G2 ITG. 

Lenovo’s pricing must be taken with a grain of salt and as my esteemed colleague Sean Riley recently mentioned “ there is a significant asterisk on all of that pricing as there are perpetual steep discounts running on all of these laptops.” That expressed, the normal retail price for our review unit is $2,609. However, it is now 39% off retail and available for $1,575.40. Its sibling unit normally retails for $2,429 or 35% off the retail price. 

Mark has spent 20 years headlining comedy shows around the country and made appearances on ABC, MTV, Comedy Central, Howard Stern, Food Network, and Sirius XM Radio. He has written about every topic imaginable, from dating, family, politics, social issues, and tech. He wrote his first tech articles for the now-defunct Dads On Tech 10 years ago, and his passion for combining humor and tech has grown under the tutelage of the Laptop Mag team. His penchant for tearing things down and rebuilding them did not make Mark popular at home, however, when he got his hands on the legendary Commodore 64, his passion for all things tech deepened. These days, when he is not filming, editing footage, tinkering with cameras and laptops, or on stage, he can be found at his desk snacking, writing about everything tech, new jokes, or scripts he dreams of filming.