Lenovo ThinokayBook Plus Gen 2

MSRP $1,696.00

“The Lenovo ThinkPad Plus Gen 2 is just fast enough for productivity users and has adequate battery life, but its e-ink display stands out as a unique and useful feature.”

Pros

  • Innovative e-ink panel
  • Excellent IPS primary show
  • Very good keyboard and touchpad
  • Good construct high quality
  • Thin and lightweight

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Performance is missing
  • Inadequate connectivity

If you’re an avid reader, as am I, e-ink is magic. You doubtless respect how e-ink makes studying extra nice whereas producing far much less eye fatigue and taking a minuscule toll on battery life.

But is there an software past primary e-readers? Lenovo has been on the forefront of experimenting with e-ink, and it’s newest creation embeds a 12-inch e-ink show proper on the lid of a laptop computer often called the ThinokayBook Plus Gen 2. The laptop computer is an enhanced model of the skinny and lightweight ThinokayBook 13x, a tool aimed towards small companies.

I reviewed a high-end configuration of the ThinokayBook Plus Gen 2 with a Core i7-1160G7 and a 13.3-inch 16:10 WQXGA (2,560 x 1,600) show that sells for a premium value of $1,696. Like the ThinokayBook 13x, it’s a bit overpriced for a primary enterprise laptop computer. The e-ink display, although, is perhaps definitely worth the premium for anybody who needs to learn e-books, write notes on a extra snug show, or take numerous notes with out the battery operating down.

E-ink show

The Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 in e-ink mode.Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

We’ll begin with the e-ink show as a result of, in fact, that’s what units this laptop computer aside. It’s a 12-inch panel in comparison with the ten.8-inch model within the earlier era — it takes up extra of the lid’s out there area, with massive bezels that might have appeared regular on a regular show only a few years in the past. The e-ink display is 16:10 like the principle show, and it’s sharp on the similar WQXGA decision.

It’s additionally not backlit, and so like all such e-ink screens, you’ll be able to solely use it with direct lighting. There will probably be extra on that in a bit, nevertheless it’s typically an excellent factor. It’s designed to save lots of your eyes from the blue mild that commonplace shows emit and make it theoretically much less fatiguing to make use of for lengthy studying classes.

To comfortably use the e-ink show, I wanted to have numerous ambient lighting.

The e-ink show works similar to those you’ll discover on the Amazon Kindle and different devoted e-book readers. Its picture is created from tiny black-and-white particles that electronically align in the appropriate route to create a grayscale picture. As such, the show is mounted till it’s refreshed, which takes noticeable time and causes the standard warping impact you get with the expertise. That makes the show appropriate for issues like viewing paperwork and different data, studying e-books, and taking notes. It doesn’t work nicely for watching movies or the rest that requires a quick refresh fee.

When the laptop computer is asleep or turned off, the static picture offers some personalization — you’ll be able to select your personal background picture, which turns into the lid’s aesthetic. When it’s turned on, you’re introduced by default with a set of panels offering customization data, like your Outlook calendar (if configured), the climate, a sticky pocket book, and customizable buttons to open supported purposes.

I used to be ready so as to add and run any software that I had put in on the laptop computer, together with the complete suite of Office apps, Google Chrome, and the Kindle reader for PC, though not each software will work nicely with the e-ink expertise. Certainly, gaming is out of the query, and also you’ll need to keep away from apps that require instant response to enter.

If I have been to purchase the laptop computer, I’d improve to Windows 11, be a part of the Windows Insider Program, and set up the Android model of the Kindle app. That would give me an enormous e-book reader that’s nearly as good as a Kindle, minus the lighting.

The e-ink display on the Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 while in tablet mode. Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

And for me, there’s the rub. To comfortably use the e-ink show, I wanted to have numerous ambient lighting. My house workplace, which is normally lit by some oblique daylight, didn’t have sufficient mild by default. I wanted to actively activate a lamp straight above the ThinokayBook Plus Gen 2’s e-ink show to realize a transparent view of the picture. It’s the identical with my Kindle Paperwhite with its lighting turned off and never a knock in opposition to the e-ink show itself. It’s simply that the expertise requires good lighting circumstances, and that limits its usefulness.

At the identical time, if you’d like one thing to take to the seashore (inside a plastic bag or one thing to maintain it shielded from the sand), then the show seems to be implausible below direct daylight. In truth, that’s one of many biggest strengths of the e-ink show. It provides you one thing to make use of once you’re outdoors or in any unusually shiny atmosphere. Standard laptop computer shows are not often shiny sufficient to beat the Southern California solar, and I can see myself utilizing the e-ink show on such events for issues like triaging e-mail, internet shopping, and — in fact — e-book studying.

Design

Closeup on the Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 2's webcam.Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The ThinokayBook Plus Gen 2 shares an virtually equivalent chassis to the ThinokayBook 13x, a skinny and lightweight sibling to the ThinokayBook 13s Gen 2. All three small business-oriented laptops share comparable builds, together with aluminum within the lid and aluminum-magnesium alloy within the chassis. The ThinokayBook 13s is a bit more stable than the opposite two, which have slight bending within the lid, whereas the keyboard deck and backside chassis are stable. That bending is a bit more regarding within the ThinokayBook Plus Gen 2, given its e-ink display.

The Dell XPS 13 is one instance of a extra sturdy 13-inch laptop computer, as is the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano. The ThinokayBook Plus Gen 2 advantages from the identical army testing for sturdiness as all ThinokayBook and ThinkPad laptops.

In phrases of measurement, the ThinokayBook Plus Gen 2 and ThinokayBook 13x are the identical width and depth due to equivalent 16:10 13.3-inch shows with small bezels. The ThinkPad 13x is barely thinner at 0.51 inches and lighter at 2.49 kilos, in comparison with the ThinokayBook Plus Gen 2 at 0.55 inches and a pair of.56 inches — doubtless because of the e-ink show. The ThinokayBook 13s is simply barely thicker but at 0.59 inches and heavier at 2.78 kilos.

The XPS 13 is a bit smaller in width and depth and is available in at 0.58 inches and a pair of.8 kilos, whereas the ThinkPad X1 Nano is barely thicker at 0.68 inches and the lightest of all at 2.14 kilos. If you’re going to stay an e-ink display on a clamshell laptop computer, the ThinokayBook Plus Gen 2 is a fairly skinny and lightweight candidate.

The ThinokayBook Plus Gen 2 sports activities an virtually equivalent aesthetic to the ThinokayBook 13x, with evenly tapered edges alongside the edges and a rounded rear edge on the chassis. It’s the darker Storm Gray coloration in comparison with our Thinkpad 13x overview unit’s extra silver Cloudy Gray, and it has a snug soft-textured coating on the keyboard deck that the ThinkPad 13x lacks. Overall, the design is tasteful and simple, following a latest development I’ve seen towards minimalist designs.

Of course, the ThinokayBook Plus Gen 2 doesn’t share the two-tone lid loved by the ThinokayBook 13x, having the e-ink show as an alternative. The XPS 13 is sleeker and extra elegant, however the ThinokayBook Plus Gen 2 stands out much more due to its distinctive lid.

Two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4 and a 3.5mm audio jack on the left-hand side of the Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 2.

Power button on the right-hand side of the Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 2.

Just just like the ThinokayBook 13x, the ThinokayBook Plus Gen 2 is connectivity challenged. There are two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4 and a 3.5mm audio jack, and that’s it. Its the identical unlucky compromise in connectivity that’s wanted to supply a thinner chassis. Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 present wi-fi connectivity. One fascinating choice that’s out there on sure fashions (and never my overview unit) is wi-fi charging. Those variations include pogo pins on the underside of the chassis that join with a $200 wi-fi charging package — simply set the laptop computer on the pad and you may cost with out plugging in. That’s a pleasant comfort.

Performance

Like the ThinokayBook 13x, the ThinokayBook Plus Gen 2 equips a low-power Eleventh-gen Intel Core CPU, on this case, the Core i7-1160G7. It, too, runs at as much as 15 watts in comparison with the 28-watt Core i7-1165G7 that’s extra well-liked in skinny and lightweight laptops. That guarantees longer battery life however slower efficiency. I didn’t discover any slowdowns throughout my testing, however then once more, my overview course of isn’t very demanding. The 16GB of RAM and quick 512GB SSD helped issues transfer alongside, and so I discovered the ThinokayBook Plus Gen 2 fast sufficient for many productiveness staff.

My benchmark outcomes weren’t spectacular. The ThinokayBook Plus Gen 2 completed third to final in Geekbench 5, forward of simply the ThinokayBook 13x and the ThinkPad X12 Detachable. Its Handbrake consequence, reflecting how lengthy it takes to encode a 420MB video as H.265, was useless final, though after I used the Lenovo utility to go from default to efficiency mode, the outcomes improved to 206 seconds from 303 seconds — sooner, however nonetheless behind the pack.

The ThinokayBook Plus Gen 2 completed second to final within the Cinebench R23 check, beating solely the ThinkPad X12 Detachable, and its multi-core check elevated from 3,949 to 4,254 after I engaged efficiency mode. The ThinokayBook Plus Gen 2 was extra aggressive within the PCMark 10 Complete benchmark, coming in third place. Its scores have been respectable in each the Essentials and Productivity parts of the benchmark and never so aggressive within the Content Creation portion.

Overall, the benchmarks supported my subjective expertise: The ThinokayBook Plus Gen 2 is okay for an inexpensive productiveness workflow, however demanding customers and significantly inventive professionals will need to look elsewhere for his or her major laptop computer. As with the ThinokayBook 13x, Lenovo selected a low-power CPU to higher match the thinner chassis, and it was a poor compromise.

Geekbench (single/multi) Handbrake
(seconds)
Cinebench R23 (single/multi) PCMark 10 3DMark Time Spy
Lenovo ThinokayBook Plus Gen 2 (Core i7-1160G7) 1396 /  5115 303 1377 / 3949 4861 1580
Lenovo ThinokayBook 13x (Core i5-1130G7) 1337 / 4863 271 1282 / 4037 4590 1363
Lenovo ThinokayBook 13s Gen 2 (Core i5-1135G7) 1406 / 5379 178 1357 / 5502 4668 1511
Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable (Core i5-1130G7) 1352 / 4796 185 1125 / 3663 4443 926
Dell XPS 13 (Core i7-1185G7) 1549 / 5431 204 1,449 / 4,267 3,859 1,589
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 (Core i7-1165G7) 1327 / 5201 170 1469 / 4945 5147 1776
Samsung Galaxy Book (Core i5-1135G7) 1401 / 5221 175 1361 / 5391 4735 1584
Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 (Ryzen 7 5700U) 1184 / 6281 116 1287 / 8013 5411 1247

The ThinokayBook Plus Gen 2 did surprisingly nicely within the 3DMark Time Spy check. That didn’t translate to our Fortnite check, although, the place it managed simply 18 frames per second (fps) at 1200p and Epic graphics. This isn’t a gaming laptop computer.

Main show

I’ve talked about that the ThinokayBook Plus Gen 2 and ThinokayBook 13x are virtually equivalent outdoors of the previous’s e-ink show, and I seen that similarity the minute I began working with the principle 16:10 IPS show. It positive appeared the identical to me, with the identical excessive decision, the identical dynamic and pure colours, and the identical deep distinction (for an IPS show). I couldn’t inform the 2 aside after I checked out them facet by facet.

The ThinokayBook Plus Gen 2 enjoys a superb IPS show that may serve inventive sorts in a pinch.

According to my colorimeter, these are certainly the identical panels. The ThinokayBook Plus Gen 2 was shiny at 418 nits, had barely above-average coloration width at 76% of AdobeRGB and 100% of sRGB, very correct colours at a DeltaE of 1.03 (1.0 or much less is superb), and a robust distinction at 1,440:1. The ThinokayBook 13x got here in at 417 nits, the identical coloration width, a DeltaE of 1.04, and distinction at 1,430:1. Lenovo selected a superb show for each machines, to its credit score. The Dell XPS 13’s 4K show was equally good at 420 nits, 79% of AdobeRGB and 100% of sRGB, accuracy of 1.3, and distinction at 1,360:1.

The ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 enjoys an excellent IPS display.Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The ThinokayBook Plus Gen 2 enjoys a superb IPS show that may serve inventive sorts in a pinch. It doesn’t have extensive sufficient colours to be a full-time inventive laptop computer, however the colours are correct and the distinction is excessive sufficient that much less demanding creators can do some work. It’s greater than adequate for productiveness customers, and its Dolby Vision excessive dynamic vary (HDR) assist makes for glorious Netflix and Amazon Prime Video bingeing.

Two downward-firing audio system present audio duties, and I discovered them a bit louder within the ThinokayBook Plus Gen 2 than the ThinokayBook 13x — however not by a lot. Mids and highs have been good and clear with zero distortion, however the bass was missing. Headphones could be most well-liked for bingeing Netflix and listening to music, however the sound high quality was positive for the occasional YouTube video.

Keyboard and touchpad

Closeup on the Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 2's keyboard and stylus.Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Lenovo has two keyboards it makes use of on most of its laptops, the enduring model on the ThinkPad line and the equally recognizable however not fairly as well-known model on laptops just like the IdeaPad and ThinokayBook. The ThinokayBook Plus Gen 2 has the latter keyboard, in fact, and it enjoys the identical sculpted keycaps, copious key spacing, and snappy switches that present a snug bottoming motion. There’s not a ton of journey, although, which makes the keyboard rather less appropriate for lengthy typing classes than the keyboards on the HP Spectre and Dell XPS strains.

The Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro has an improved model of the identical primary keyboard with even snappier switches, and it’s unlucky that it didn’t make it into the ThinokayBook Plus Gen 2. The three-level backlighting is shiny and constant in any respect however its lowest setting, and the keyboard is spill-resistant with name buttons for videoconferencing — two nods to small enterprise customers.

The touchpad is simply massive sufficient to be snug, with a grippy floor that made for delicate and exact swiping. It’s a Microsoft Precision touchpad, that means that each one Windows 10 multitouch gestures are supported. The show was touch- and pen-enabled, supporting the Lenovo energetic pen that comes with the ThinokayBook Plus Gen 2 and docks in a slot on the right-hand facet of the chassis. The pen isn’t so snug to make use of on the principle show, nevertheless it works nicely with the e-ink panel and permits for taking notes that look much more like ink on paper.

Drawing a line on the Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 with the pen.Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Windows 10 Hello password-less login assist is offered by a fingerprint reader embedded within the energy button. It labored nicely throughout my testing, and it helps waking the laptop computer and logging in when the lid is closed, activating the e-ink show. Note {that a} dialogue field pops up on the e-ink panel providing to proceed working or put the laptop computer to sleep once you shut the lid. It’s a pleasant contact that makes it simple to change to e-ink mode.

Battery life

The e-ink display on the Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 2.Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The ThinokayBook Plus Gen 2 packs in 52 watt-hours of battery life, barely down from the 56 watt-hours within the ThinokayBook 13s and one other compromise made in favor of a thinner chassis. There’s a low-power processor inside however a high-resolution show, so I wasn’t positive what battery life to anticipate. My impressions have been additionally coloured by the outcomes I noticed on the equally configured ThinokayBook 13x, which have been decidedly blended.

In our web-browsing check that cycles by means of a sequence of complicated web sites, the ThinokayBook Plus Gen 2 lasted for 7.75 hours, about 40 minutes lower than the ThinokayBook 13x. That’s not a horrible rating, however we see extra skinny and lightweight laptops exceed 10 hours on this check. The ThinokayBook 13s managed 9.3 hours, and the Dell XPS 13 4K was worse at 6.3 hours.

In our video check that loops an area 1080p film trailer, the ThinokayBook Plus Gen 2 made it to only 12.75 hours, lower than the 15.57 hours the ThinokayBook 13x achieved and greater than the Dell XPS 13’s 10.5 hours. Note that the ThinokayBook 13x performed very uneven video throughout the check, indicating that maybe it wasn’t powered up sufficient to make for easy video and thus unfairly prolonged its rating. The ThinokayBook 13s lasted for 13.4 hours within the video check.

I additionally used the PCMark 10 Applications battery check to see how the ThinokayBook Plus Gen 2 performs as a productiveness machine. It hit 9.25 hours, which is an effective rating that’s near the ten hours we prefer to see on this check. The ThinokayBook 13x lasted for 8.5 hours, whereas the ThinokayBook 13s hit 11.5 hours and the XPS 13 4K made it to eight.7 hours. In the PCMark 10 Gaming battery check, which reveals how exhausting a laptop computer is working whereas unplugged, the ThinokayBook Plus Gen 2 went for two.25 hours, lower than the ThinokayBook 13x’s 2.75 and across the similar because the ThinokayBook 13s. The XPS 13 4K hit 3.5 hours, indicating that it throttles down fairly a bit throughout the check, however I didn’t discover any choppiness in its video.

All in all, the ThinokayBook Plus Gen 2 had respectable battery life for a skinny and lightweight laptop computer. It ought to get you thru a full day’s work, which is the usual we prefer to see. Of course, in the event you use the e-ink show, you’ll get considerably longer battery life, though our suite of benchmarks isn’t geared towards testing that show expertise.

Our take

Judged as merely a skinny and lightweight laptop computer, the ThinokayBook Plus Gen 2 lacks any compelling characteristic to suggest it. It’s lots just like the ThinokayBook 13x in that respect — sure, it’s barely thinner and lighter than its bigger sibling, the ThinokayBook 13s, nevertheless it’s additionally slower, has much less battery life, and lacks the connectivity of the bigger machine. Those are unlucky compromises for only a tiny bit much less thickness and weight.

Toss within the e-ink show, although, and that modifications the dynamic. It’s not for everybody, however in the event you’re an e-ink lover and need to have the ability to use your laptop computer in shiny lighting environments whereas giving your eyes a break, then it’s an amazing characteristic. It provides simply sufficient worth to make the ThinokayBook Plus Gen 2 a standout laptop computer for many who will make the most of this distinctive characteristic.

Are there any options?

If you don’t care in regards to the e-ink show, then the ThinokayBook 13s is a more sensible choice. It’s cheaper whereas providing the identical small enterprise options, it’s sooner with higher battery life, and it has higher connectivity. There are two variations to select from, with the Gen 2 operating both Intel or AMD or the marginally upgraded AMD-only Gen 3 mannequin.

Again, in the event you don’t care in regards to the e-ink panel, then the Dell XPS 13 stays a greater different. The XPS 13 is not any dearer whereas providing a superior and better-looking construct, it’s sooner and longer-lasting relying on the show, and also you get the choice of an unbelievable 3.5K OLED show.

If a convertible 2-in-1 is extra up your alley — and, once more, you don’t care in regards to the e-ink show — then HP’s Spectre x360 14 makes for an excellent choice. It’s even better-looking, has a superb 3K OLED show in the popular 3:2 facet ratio, and it’s constructed higher. You’ll spend the identical type of cash, however get extra worth.

How lengthy will it final?

The ThinokayBook Plus Gen 2 has a adequate construct high quality you can be assured that it’s going to final for years, and its parts are updated. The one-year guarantee is at all times disappointing, and also you’ll need to watch out with the e-ink show.

Should you purchase it?

Yes, if you’ll profit from the e-ink panel for extended studying and note-taking classes. It’s a reliable skinny and lightweight laptop computer with some compromises, however the e-ink show suggestions it excessive.

Editors’ Recommendations



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