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.