When someone says “E Ink,” a laptop isn’t the first thing that comes to mind for me.
But Lenovo might just be on to something with its ThinkBook Plus, which the company debuted at this year’s CES.
Starting at $1,199, the laptop comes equipped with a 10.8-inch E Ink monochromatic display.
This isn’t the first time Lenovo has experimented with E Ink. At IFA 2018, the company showcased the Yoga Book C930—a laptop with an E Ink screen in place of the keyboard.
But on the ThinkBook Plus, the E Ink is on the top cover of the laptop.
When the laptop is shut, you can use the E Ink screen to take notes, mark up PDFs, and read documents using the Lenovo Precision Pen (which magnetizes to the side of the device).
The front panel also shows you notifications like the date and time, weather, and calendar alerts. But for privacy purposes, things like emails and other more personal alerts are kept hidden.
You can also access Amazon Alexa, which is built-in to the laptop, right from the E ink display using voice commands. And, as expected, it works with Amazon Kindle so you can use it to read books as well.
When the laptop is turned off, you can also assign a specific wallpaper to it so that it’s not always left blank.
I wasn’t exactly sure how I’d feel about the concept when I first read the press release ahead of CES, but at a demo with Lenovo, I realized I liked how minimalist the laptop is. I mean, standard tablets tend to get really distracting. Even while taking notes, you still have access to browsers and apps.
But the E Ink display is so basic, it helps you focus on what’s right in front of you. You know, rather than scrolling through Twitter when you’re supposed to be reading through that PDF.
The pen was also pretty responsive when I tested it. I only wrote a few notes but I didn’t experience any lag.
Flip open the laptop and you’ll find a 13.3-inch FHD display with 1,920 x 1,080 resolution. On the right side is a power button that also doubles as a fingerprint reader. Additionally, it comes with a variety of ports including a USB Type-C port, two USB Type-A ports, and one HDMI port. There’s also a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Meanwhile, under the hood is a 10th-Gen Intel Core i7 processor running Windows 10 Pro. It also comes with an Intel UHD graphics card.
As for storage, the ThinkBook Plus is available in two different configurations: 16GB of RAM and 256GB SSD or 32GB of RAM and 512GB SSD.
The laptop will also come bundled with a sleeve that has a magnetic overlay closure. The inside is specifically padded with foam to protect the precious E Ink display from being damaged.
As mentioned before, pricing for the ThinkBook Plus starts at $1,119. It’ll be available for purchase in March.