Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 3 dual-screen laptop is appealingly weird

Lenovo may be known for its serious business laptops, but that doesn't stop it from making some more outlandish designs: for CES 2022, that means the new ThinkBook Plus Gen 3. The third in the "Plus" series changes tack from the dual-display approach of its predecessors, doing away with the secondary e-paper screen of before and instead putting a sizable 8-inch display alongside the keyboard.

The ThinkBook Plus Gen 3's primary screen is a 17.3-inch ultra-wide 21:10 aspect IPS panel. It's a hefty 3K resolution (3072 x 1440) with a 120Hz refresh rate, touch support, and 100% DCI-P3 color gamut coverage.

Smaller, but no less attention-grabbing, is the secondary screen however. It's an 8-inch LCD touchscreen positioned to the right of the keyboard, running at 800 x 12800 resolution. As well as accepting finger input, it'll work with Lenovo's pen stylus; there's an anti-scratch coating to avoid that scuffing the surface.

The result, Lenovo argues, is the best of dual-screen productivity in a notebook you can still take on the road. Yes, the ThinkBook Plus Gen 3 tips the scales at 4.4 pounds and is a not-inconsiderable 0.7 inches thick, but that's still a lot more bag-friendly than a regular laptop and a secondary screen.

The second display can be used for application-specific tools, such as art brushes and the like in Photoshop. Or, it can be used for a persistent chat window, or as a digital notepad during meetings. The Magic Launcher along the bottom has shortcuts for key apps, and there's a calculator button which instantly pulls up that app too.

With the stylus, the 8-inch screen can be used as a graphics tablet instead. Alternatively, there's support for smartphone mirroring with select phones.

Given all that chassis space, Lenovo has unsurprisingly packed in some serious specifications too. There's a 12th Gen Intel Core H-Series processor, up to 32GB of LPDDR5 memory, and up to 2TB of M.2 PCIe Gen 4 SSD storage. Intel Iris Xe graphics drives both displays, and there's a Full HD IR webcam – with a physical privacy shutter – above the upper display. Dual array microphones, 2x2W Harman-Kardon speakers with Dolby Atmos support, and a 69 Whr battery round things out.

For connectivity, there's a Thunderbolt 4 port, one USB-C with DP and PD support, two USB Type-A, an HDMI output, and audio jack. No 5G option, sadly, but you do get WiFi 6E and Bluetooth 5.1. There's a fingerprint reader baked into the power button, too.

Arguably what's most surprising about the ThinkBook Plus Gen 3 is how affordable it is. Where the Gen 2 model started at $1,549, this new version with its dual displays will begin at $1,399 when it goes on sale in May. There'll be a special Sling Backpack for it too, priced at $69.99.