Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Twist hands-on review: Silly or genius?

Laptop with a curved hinge? It’s one of those concepts for a laptop that sounds brilliant from an engineering perspective, but is it a good product or not? This is up for debate.

The laptop in question is the ThinkBook Plus Twist, a new Lenovo device that was announced here at CES 2023.

The twisting hinge on the ThinkBook Plus Twist.

A 12-inch e-ink display graces the lid of the laptop, similar to what we’ve seen on ThinkBook Plus laptops in the past. This time, it’s the first color e-ink screen featured on a laptop, which is neat, especially since Lenovo expects you to use this e-ink screen for more than just reading PDFs.

That’s why, using the twisting hinge, the primary screen can be turned around. The rotation speed is quite smooth and doesn’t feel like it sacrifices stiffness. If it’s a gimmick, it’s certainly a well made one.

However, the question of why is important. Lenovo went to great lengths to make the e-ink screen usable as a laptop display. It’s color, as I already mentioned, and it also has multiple levels of brightness.

Most importantly, there are two different refresh rates as well. “Quality Mode” looks better, but is read-only, locking to 6Hz. “Speed ​​Mode” is faster at 12Hz, which makes it more useful for work. Navigating around is still a little slow, admittedly, but it works. But the quality of the screen drops significantly.

ThinkBook Plus twist on the table.

Still, the question is why. Well, according to Lenovo, there are two reasons you’ll be using an e-ink screen as your primary display — namely, it’ll give you longer battery life, and it’s easier on your eyes.

The use case for extended battery life is clear. For example, you can work on a standard OLED screen until the battery life drops to 25% or less, and then continue to work on an e-ink screen for longer. Lenovo just couldn’t provide any specific numbers regarding total battery life.

And while the curved hinge itself is awesome, I’m not sure this use case seems entirely appropriate for it. But neat, nonetheless.

The e-ink screen on the back of the ThinkBook Plus Twist.

Aside from the hinge and E-Ink screen, this is a fairly premium 13-inch laptop in Lenovo’s small business line. It has Intel’s 13th-generation processor, a 13.3-inch 2.8K OLED display, and a 1080p webcam — not unlike Lenovo’s other ThinkBook laptops.

Lenovo says the ThinkBook Plus Twist is expected to be available in June this year, with prices starting at $1,649.

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