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Lenovo's dual-screen ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 adds polish to the unique e-ink laptop

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 with e-ink display
(Image credit: Lenovo)

The Lenovo ThinkBook Plus caught our eye at CES 2020 with its unique take on a dual-screen laptop, offering an e-ink display on the cover for note-taking, reading and other tasks without taxing the system by powering on the 13.3-inch touchscreen found within.

It was a bold design and Lenovo has really upped the ante with a new Gen 2 model, improving on virtually every feature of the original with a larger and higher resolution e-ink display, Intel 11th Gen processors and even longer battery life. While last year's model was an interesting concept, Gen 2 looks like it is ready to be a compelling solution for students or business users.

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 pricing and availability

The Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 will be available later in Q1 of this year starting at $1,549.

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 internal screen angled down

(Image credit: Lenovo)

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 design

The basic design concept of an exterior e-ink touch screen remains the same, but everything has been polished and refined. The e-ink display is now 12 inches with a 2560 x 1600-pixel resolution, matching the resolution of the 13.3-inch touch screen inside the laptop. This translates into a much more usable space and a much cleaner look on the front with a 68% screen-to-body ratio compared to 48% on the original.

On the original model, the Lenovo Precision Pen relied on magnets to stick to the side of the laptop; the ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 now has a silo to house the pen, ensuring that you always have it available. Considering that note-taking ability on the cover is one of the most compelling features of the laptop, this is a very welcome change.

Despite these added features, the laptop has managed to slim down considerably, now measuring just 11.7 x 8.2 x 0.54 inches and 2.86 pounds. The dual-screens keep it from being one of the lightest laptops around, but dropping 0.16 pounds is no small feat with this form factor. That's a result of the magnesium body which offers solid weight savings while still delivering durability and rigidity.

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 internal screen angled up

(Image credit: Lenovo)

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 specs

Inside, things have improved as well with up to an Intel 11th Gen Core i7 processor, although it does opt for the Intel UHD graphics rather than the more impressive Intel Iris Xe. 

The 13.3-inch IPS touch screen display features a 2560 x 1600-pixel resolution and 400 nits of brightness. Lenovo also has added Dolby Vision support and TUV low blue light certification so even when you aren't relying on the e-ink display you can go easy on your eyes.

You get 16GB of LPDDR4x memory standard with up to a 1TB M.2 PCIe Gen 4 SSD. Given its size, you won't be shocked that it comes up a little short on ports, but there are two Thunderbolt 4 USB Type-C ports and a headphone/mic combo jack.

The ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 should be a solid video conferencing companion with an HD webcam and four mics onboard. Connectivity is future-proofed with Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0. 

Battery life is improved all-around with a claimed 15 hours when using the internal display and up to 24 hours when using the e-ink display. 

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 in e-reader mode

(Image credit: Lenovo)

Bottom line

The ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 looks like a great example of a company sticking with a somewhat unique concept and making some excellent improvements on the design. 

It's still certainly a niche offering, but with the much larger exterior display and now integrated pen, this feels like a polished product that would be an excellent option for anyone who relies on their laptop for a lot of reading or note-taking. We can't wait to get our hands on it.

Sean Riley

Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more.  Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.