This new Lenovo laptop makes me want a second screen built into my MacBook Pro

Should Apple have made the Touch Bar bigger instead of giving it the boot? A new Lenovo laptop unveiled at CES 2022 makes me think so

Lenovo Thinkbook Plus Gen 3
(Image credit: Lenovo)

If what we're seeing at CES 2022 is any indication, some of 2022's best laptops won't necessarily have a single display panel. The latest Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo has a dual-display design, and the Asus Zenbook 17 Fold has a folding OLED. But it's Lenovo's Thinkbook Plus Gen 3 that's really caught my attention, because it has a whopping big screen next to its keyboard.

The main display is perfectly normal, and big: it's a 17.3-inch panel delivering 3072x1440 with a wide aspect ratio of 21:10. But to the right of the keyboard there's also an eight-inch portrait panel with a resolution of 800 x 1200, and it comes with a stylus.

I'm fascinated by this.

Apple isn't the only firm to Think Different

I'm writing this on an M1 MacBook Pro that has the divisive Touch Bar, a thin display that sits above the function keys. With the exception of the Touch ID sensor, I don't use it; because it's so small I forget it's there. There's no danger of forgetting about the second display in the Lenovo, though.

I think with secondary displays, bigger is better. That Lenovo display could be where my Twitter or Messenger app lives, or whatever other widgets I fancy using while I work. If you're drawing or photo editing you could put your palettes in there. And with stylus support it puts a scribble/drawing pad right in front of me, which is handy for signing documents or more likely, drawing moustaches on photos of celebrities / management. And of course it could be handy for gaming, moving unnecessary content off the main display so you can concentrate on the action.

My only worry here is the ergonomics: after RSI-related hand surgery I'm really picky about keyboard positioning and size, so while the Lenovo looks comfortable enough I'd have to use it to be sure that I could type comfortably on an offset keyboard. But with a US price of $1,399 and a really interesting design, I think this unusual Lenovo has a good shout of making it into our best laptops guide this year.

Carrie Marshall
Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written thirteen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote another seven books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com).