We took a look at Lenovo’s third iteration of the ThinkBook Plus from last year’s CES offerings – and suffice it to say the new form factor was a bit of a departure from what we would call a traditional laptop! Sporting an ultrawide main display, the Gen 3 uses that extra space to add a 2nd touchscreen and pen-capable display on the deck. This adds a bit of fun additional productivity or entertainment if you’re so inclined. Before we jump in, here are the specs, which are available at Lenovo starting just south of $1,200 right now with sales and discounts:
- OS: Windows 11 Home [Windows 11 Pro available]
- Proc: 12th Generation Intel Core i5-12500H Processor (E-Core Max 3.30 GHz, P-Core Max 4.50 GHz with Turbo Boost, 12 Cores, 16 Threads, 18 MB Cache) [up to i7-12700H available]
- Memory: 16GB LPDDR5 4800MHz [up to 32GB]
- Graphics: Integrated Intel Iris Xe Graphics
- Main display: 17.3″, 21:10, 3K (3072 x 1440), 120Hz, 400 nits, >90% STBR, Dolby Vision
- Secondary display: 8″ (800 x 1280), multitouch
- Storage: 512GB PCIe SSD Gen 4 [up to 1TB available]
- Connectivity: WiFi 6E 802.11AX (2 x 2), Bluetooth 5.1
- Other: Firmware TPM 2.0, SD card reader, 1080p IR webcam with privacy shutter, stylus
Design and Specs
This one required some extended use to check out all of the bells and whistles. The big 17.3″ 3K screen has this notebook measuring at 16.1″ x 9″ x 0.6″, still keeping the form factor around half an inch thick. Even with the expanded chassis it still also weighs in at 4.4lbs, so it’s not a super bear of a laptop to travel with. For the primary screen we have some great real estate at 3072×1440, which serves not only to make for good media streaming, but for productivity for excel sheets or datasets. On the top of the frame is an FHD IR camera with privacy shutter.
Moving down to the deck, we have a 13″ keyboard and glass touchpad on the left side – and instead of a numpad we have that second screen. It’s an 8″ display at 800×1200, and can be operated in different modes. First is simply as a secondary display for Windows. Other modes include being able to take notes with the built-in stylus, organizing your apps for easy multitasking, or even specific functionality for Adobe apps.
As for ports we don’t have as many as we do other business laptops like in Lenovo’s X1 line, but we’ve still got some options. On the left side is a headphone/mic combo jack and a USB-C 3.2 Gen 2. On the right is a full size USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, a USB-C Thunderbolt 4, and an HDMI out. On the back is where the stylus is garaged.
Overall it’s a creative form factor for both productivity and entertainment, and we were really able to dig in for our testing.
Performance and Experience
The ThinkBook Plus Gen 3 is running integrated Iris Xe graphics, so we expected it to run some basic Adobe multitasking properly, but not so much for gaming. Here’s what we got.
PCMark 10: Our standard benchmark for office applications gave us a 5,728 (Essentials 11,562, Productivity 6,919, Digital Content Creation 6,374). This actually benched in line with the X1 Carbon and other super-business-tuned notebooks, which is mighty impressive for the i5 it’s packing compared to others’ i7’s.
3DMark Time Spy: Time Spy gave us a 1,537 – short of the X1 line, but as expected.
3DMark Night Raid: 15,654 is still in league with the X1’s.
Procyon Office Productivity: This productivity test gave us a 5,410, falling into the same range.
Procyon Photo/Video Editing: The test for Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom gave us a 5,606, and we got a 2,601 for testing Adobe Premiere Pro.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider: Were we able to accompany Ms. Croft on her adventures? In short, no. Turning everything down ended our tests early as we didn’t see the virtue in testing at higher resolutions.
- 1280×720 / lowest: 12 fps
Final Fantasy XV: We had the some better luck hanging out with Noctis and the boys – FHD resolution gave us some low readings, but dropping down to 1280×720 we were able to get “standard” performance. Of course this is the i5 model so we probably would have gotten a bit more with the available i7.
- FHD / standard graphics: 2,096 – low
- FHD / lite graphics: 2,745 – slightly low
- 1280×720 / standard graphics: 3,302 – standard
- 1280×720 / lite graphics: 4,023 – standard
We were able to play some older (much older) titles from our Steam library, but as expected this notebook just isn’t a gamer. The surprise we did see though was that with its i5 and Iris Xe graphics we still got productivity numbers that rival Lenovo’s i7-packing X1 notebooks, including their business king the Carbon. As far as your Adobe suite, we can safely say this notebook is going to be great for your photo editing with Photoshop and Lightroom. With the i5 model though, you’ll fall a bit short video processing with Premiere Pro.
Now as for the experience, we had a blast playing with this. First here’s the expanded screenshot for Shadow of the Tomb Raider that includes both screens – it was super convenient to jot down our test results while running our benches. We were super glad the stylus was garaged unlike some other models to make it even easier to take notes.
It was also nice to have a second screen to share on Zoom calls while still being able to work on the main screen.
Another way I used the second screen was to stream media while I was working. I need a little bit of noise myself to work properly, and on my desktop that’s through having Netflix or another streaming service up on my 2nd monitor or another window on my ultrawide. This notebook let me run that on the 8″ second screen while having full space on the main 3K display for running things like Microsoft Power BI and those big annoying spreadsheets. The new form factor really does provide a fun and productive user experience. It served well for multitasking, work, media, and even a little bit of play.
Real-World Battery Life
As always, we set the Gen 3 up on wifi, 60% screen brightness, and “balanced” battery mode to see how long we could keep it going. After kicking off the day with some standard browsing and emails, we hit it with some media consumption using AppleTV+’s Slow Horses (which is phenomenal by the way) for a couple of episodes. That was soon followed up by getting back into the grind, slogging through queries and data in Microsoft Power BI and remote sessions to a couple of systems for some maintenance.
By the end of a standard use day, we hit about 6 hours and 45 minutes of battery, short of the 8 hours advertised by Lenovo. That’s less than a lot of other productivity-focused or business laptops, but we know the 2nd screen is a bit of an additional power draw so we shouldn’t really expect it to be up to the battery level of Evo platform systems. So while this is great to set up and plug in wherever you’re going, don’t expect it last during travel on battery.
Lenovo’s always been creative with their ThinkBook Plus line, and replacing the e-ink second screen with an embedded touchscreen on an ultrawide format is a decision we simply love. Even the i5 version holds up not only for productivity, but working with photo processing in Adobe suite without issue. You’re not going to be playing the latest games, but adding a dedicated GPU into this notebook would only drain the battery down to nearly nothing. That said we would love to see some additional firepower to make video editing easier, to make this a much more effective machine for creatives. This new form factor from Lenovo includes some very smart design choices, and is a great first swing only to get better for the Gen 4.