Lenovo's Dual-Screen ThinkBook Plus Impresses Along With Refreshed ThinkPad Z And Yoga PCs
The main differences in the new models are upgrades to the newest Intel and AMD CPUs as well as incremental upgrades in supporting hardware, such as FHD cameras, Thunderbolt 4 ports, Wi-Fi 6E, and DDR5 memory (where supported). We're not going to go over the full specifications of each model in detail because there's simply too much to cover, but suffice to say that these systems come standard with all the latest laptop goodies.
As it has done at the last two Consumer Electronics Shows, Lenovo once again has a new ThinkBook Plus model. A showcase for innovative dual-screen technologies in ThinkBook form, this year's Plus eschews the e-ink second screen of the previous models in favor of an 8" secondary touchscreen on the bottom half of the laptop. The primary display is 17.3" diagonally, but its ultra-wide 3072×1440 resolution gives it a 21:10 aspect ratio, and makes it shorter vertically than you expect a 17.3" laptop to be. It's an IPS LCD that supports touch input, can reproduce 100% of the DCI-P3 color space, and refreshes at 120Hz.
Closeup of the secondary display with an 800x1280 resolution (click for big)
Meanwhile, the secondary screen is a scratch-resistant 800×1280 display that supports touch or pen input with an included stylus. Lenovo suggests a variety of use cases for the second screen, including as a sort of always-on start menu or app drawer, a handy calculator, a zoomed-in drawing tablet, or as a whiteboard for freehand note-taking.
Besides the secondary display, the ThinkBook Plus is a top-tier premium laptop with all the spiffs you expect: fast LPDDR5 memory, PCIe 4.0 storage, 2x2 Wi-Fi 6E, Thunderbolt 4, and a full-sized backlit keyboard, all wrapped up in a CNC-machined aluminum chassis. Its hefty 69-Whr battery should offer impressive battery life, too, although Lenovo didn't provide any specific estimates.
The other updated ThinkBooks include the standard 16" and 14" models, as well as the 13x. We'll talk about the little one in a moment; aside from the screen size, the two larger systems are quite similar. Both are based on 45-watt Intel 12th-gen CPUs, support up to 32GB of LPDDR5 and a pair of PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSDs, and both can be had with discrete graphics up to the recently-revealed GeForce RTX 2050. Both also include a pile of ports, including Thunderbolt 4, USB-C, USB-A, HDMI, and even RJ-45 Ethernet connections.
The primary difference in the two models is of course their size, particularly the display size. The ThinkBook 16 can be had with a 16" 2560×1600 IPS LCD with a 120 Hz refresh rate, a 60Hz model of the same display, or a 1920×1200 panel. The 14" model also has a 1920×1200 option, but its higher-resolution selections are a 2240×1400 IPS LCD, or a 2880×1800 panel with 400 cd/m² brightness and a 90Hz refresh rate. Either way, both laptops can be had with Wi-Fi 6E and an FHD camera with IR support.
The ThinkBook 13x diverges a little from its larger siblings. Lenovo doesn't specify the specific type of CPU beyond "12th-gen Intel", but it does clarify that the 13x is limited to Intel's integrated graphics, a single SSD slot, and a single screen option. The 13.3" display on the ThinkBook 13x is a 2560×1600 IPS LCD with optional touch input; it boasts 400 cd/m² peak brightness and optional touch input. Notably, the 13x gains wireless charging as a feature over its brothers; it requires an optional charging mat accessory, though.
Lenovo ThinkPad Z And Yoga Series Get Next-Gen Upgrades
Lenovo calls its new ThinkPad Z series a "significant design evolution" over the previous models. These AMD-powered portables come in 13" and 16" variants, and the two differ pretty significantly. The 13" model will host AMD Ryzen Pro processors from the company's 6000 U-series, while the 16" model will pack the more powerful H-series SKUs from the same series. Both sizes will allow for up to 32GB of LPDDR5 memory, but only the Z16 will allow for discrete graphics in some form. (Lenovo didn't specify details beyond "AMD Radeon".)
The smaller ThinkPad Z13 will come with your choice of 1920×1200 IPS or 2560×1600 OLED displays; touch input is available with either. Meanwhile, the Z16 also has a 1920×1200 IPS baseline, but its optional display upgrade is a 3840×2400 OLED with Dolby Vision certification. Lenovo notes that the ThinkPad Z models have the highest screen-to-bezel ratio in the whole ThinkPad lineup. Both machines come with a single PCIe 4.0 SSD, FHD webcams, Wi-Fi 6E, optional 4G LTE, and USB 4.0 support—two ports on the Z13, and three on the Z16.
Lenovo basically invented the 2-in-1 with the original Yoga a decade ago, and today the brand carries on looking better than ever. Lenovo's current Yoga models include the 14" Yoga 9i, the Yoga 7i in 14" and 16", and the little Yoga 6 with a 13" display.
As you could likely guess from the model numbers, the Yoga 9i is a rather premium convertible laptop, although it focuses more on battery life and design than in pure performance. It packs either a Core i5 or Core i7 CPU from Intel's 28W Alder Lake "P" series; both options have 12 cores (4P+8E) but differ in their clock rates and cache configurations. Graphics are supplied by the integrated Iris Xe GPU. You can get 8 or 16GB of LPDDR5 memory, and a PCIe 4.0 SSD up to 1TB.
Screen options on the 14" Yoga 9i start with a simple 1920×1200 IPS LCD, proceed to a 2880×1800 OLED, and top out at a 3840×2400 OLED display. All three are 60 Hz, and both OLEDs are capable of reproducing 100% of the DCI-P3 color space. Lenovo claims that the model with the IPS LCD can run for up to 20 hours of video playback on a single charge, and also notes that a 15 minute charge can give it 2 hours of video playback time. It includes a Precision Pen 2, for artists or folks who like to hand-write their notes.
Lenovo didn't give us any pictures or many details about the 14" version of the Yoga 7i, but we can surmise from the details that we do have that it'll be similar to the Yoga 9i overall. It supports the same 2880×1800 OLED touchscreen, the same Core i7-1260P CPU, and the same 71-Whr battery. It doesn't appear to get the UHD display option, though.
Likely more interesting to most Hot Hardware readers is the Yoga 7i 16" model, which will come in two versions: one that relies on Iris Xe integrated graphics, and one with Intel ARC discrete graphics. Lenovo's documentation indicates that the ARC dGPU will be a "SKU 4" model, which will use a fully-enabled DG2-128 GPU with 1024 shaders and 4GB of GDDR6 memory, at least if earlier leaks are correct.
The Yoga i7 16" with the ARC discrete GPU will also be available with 45-watt Alder Lake "H" CPUs and up to 32GB of LPDDR5 memory, making it likely to be the fastest foldable Lenovo offers. The non-discrete-graphics model will be apparently limited to 16GB of RAM; it's not quite clear from Lenovo's documentation whether it will come with 12th-gen Intel chips from the 28W "P" series or the 45W "H" series. Whatever the case there, you'll get two Thunderbolt ports, two USB 3.2 ports, an HDMI 2.0 connection, and an SD card reader on either model.
Finally, the little Yoga 6 is a 13" convertible powered by AMD's Ryzen 5000U-series processors—either the eight-core Ryzen 7 5700U or the six-core Ryzen 5 5500U. Those chips' integrated Radeons handle display duties, and they output to a 13.3" 1920×1200 IPS LCD touchscreen. The machine can be had with up to 16GB of LPDDR4x memory and NVMe SSDs up to 1TB, while wireless connections include 2x2 802.11ac or Wi-Fi 6 plus standard Bluetooth 5.2.
External connections on the Yoga 6 comprise two USB Type-C ports supporting DisplayPort 1.4, USB 3.2, and power delivery functions, two USB Type-A ports, an HDMI 2.0 connection, and the usual 3.5mm combo audio jack. A stylus pen for the folding touchscreen is supported, but not included. Lenovo claims that the Yoga 6 can run for up to 17 hours on one charge of its 59-Whr battery, while a 15 minute charge gets you 2 more hours of runtime.
The Bottom LineAll of this hardware is due later this year, starting in April with the ThinkBook 16, 14, and 13x. The base models of those will run you $859, $839, and $1,099 respectively, while the charging mat for the ThinkBook 13x will cost you $200. The ThinkBook Plus will show up in May starting at $1,399. Lenovo says the AMD-powered ThinkPad Z models will also come in May, starting from $1,549 for the Z13 and $2,099 for the Z16.
The foldable Yoga laptops are all marked down as coming in "Q2 2022". The Yoga 9i should start at $1,399. The 14" Yoga 7i will come in at $949, while the 16" system will start at $899, though that price surely doesn't include discrete graphics. The little Yoga 6 convertible will start at just $749.