Hybrid laptops are all the rage but we’ve never seen anything quite like the Lenovo ThinkBook Plus
Lenovo is well known for unveiling crazy concept devices at trade shows, but you’re actually going to be able to buy its latest novelty.
The Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 5 Hybrid – as well as being a mouthful of a product name – is a Windows 2-in-1 laptop that turns into a fully-fledged Android tablet when you detach the screen.
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Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 5 Hybrid hands-on: Specifications, price release date
- 14in 2.8K touchscreen with stylus support and 100% DCI-P3 coverage
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1
- 12GB LPDDR5x RAM
- 256GB UFS 3.1 storage
- Rear cameras: 13MP and 5MP
- Full HD IR webcam with privacy shutter
- 38Wh battery
- Android 13
- Dimensions: 314 x 224 x 6.6mm (WDH)
- Weight: 785g
- Intel Core Ultra 7
- Intel Arc GPU
- 32GB LPDDR5x RAM
- 1TB PCIe Gen 4 SSD
- 75Wh battery
- 2x USB-C (Thunderbolt 4); 3.5 headset jack
- Dimensions: 314 x 235 x 9.4mm (WDH)
- Weight: 970g
- Price: TBC
- Availability: September 2024
Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 5 hybrid hands-on: Key features and first impressions
Effectively, the ThinkBook Plus is two separate devices, just knitted together in a clever way. There’s an Android tablet in the lid, with a 14in 2.8K OLED touchscreen, stylus compatible display. This is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 SoC with its own RAM and storage. In this case you’re getting 12GB of RAM and a chunky 256GB of UFS 3.1 flash memory. There’s also a pair of cameras on the rear, a Full HD IR webcam at the front and a 38Wh battery to keep the show on the road and away from the mains.
Meanwhile, in the base – Lenovo calls this the “Hybrid Station” – is a full-blown Windows laptop, with one of Intel’s new-fangled Core Ultra 7 CPUs powering affairs, Intel Arc graphics, plus a generous 32GB of RAM and 1TB of PCIe Gen 4 SSD storage. That’s supported by a 75Wh battery, a pretty decent feeling keyboard and a decent level of connectivity, too, with a pair of Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports, a 3.5mm audio jack and support for Wi-Fi 6E.
These are specifications most standalone tablets and Windows laptops would be proud to boast of, let alone a combined product like this.
But there’s more. Not only are you able to use this device as a Windows laptop or an Android tablet, it’s even possible to separate the two and use the base as a mini PC to power an external monitor – and leave the kids, or someone else to take advantage of the media capabilities of the tablet simultaneously.
It’s an ingenious combination of talents, but you wouldn’t know it at first glance. From a distance and even up close the ThinkBook Plus Gen 5 Hybrid looks like any other laptop. Magnetic and mechanical latches hold the screen in place firmly, it doesn’t tip back too readily and it doesn’t feel particularly unwieldy either. The whole thing, with screen and keyboard combined, weighs 1.8kg and measures around 16mm thick when closed.
It’s only when you pull the screen up to a 90-degree angle that the latches release and you can pull the screen away from the keyboard. Wait a moment or two, and the Android interface hoves into view, complete with Google Apps and the Play Store. Connect the two back together again and the Android desktop disappears. Windows 11 doesn’t appear immediately, but you don’t need to wait very long – perhaps five or six seconds.
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The product certainly seems to be well designed, and although the idea behind it seems to be a little off the wall it’s something I can see appealing to quite a few people, particularly those who travel long distances regularly and need to work on the move.
With this machine, you can sit down and do a bit of serious work, and when the person in front of you tilts their seat back, you can detach the keyboard, pop it away and get on with watching the latest series of The Bear – or maybe something a little more relaxing if you’re hoping to get some sleep.
To be honest this isn’t a completely new idea. Remember the old detachable Windows Surface Book? However, the Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 5 Hybrid does feel more practical, somehow, and more versatile. Perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps they’ll sell barely any of them and then retire it after one generation, but I hope not. I’m certainly looking forward to putting it through its paces once we get one in for full review.