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The ThinkBook Twist’s twisting hinge is either pure genius or totally silly

A laptop with a twisting hinge? It’s one of those concepts for a laptop that feels brilliant from an engineering standpoint, but whether or not it makes for a good product? That’s 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.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

A 12-inch e-ink graces the laptop’s lid, which is something we’ve seen on the 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, can rotate around as the primary screen. The motion of the rotation is pretty smooth and doesn’t feel like it sacrifices rigidity. If it’s a gimmick, it’s certainly a well-built one.

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The question of why, though, is important. Lenovo went through a lot of trouble to make the e-ink screen usable as a laptop display. It’s color, as I already mentioned, and it even has multiple levels of brightness.

Most importantly, there are also two different refresh rates. The “Quality mode” looks better, but is for reading only, being locked at 6Hz. The “Speed mode” is faster at 12Hz, which makes it more usable for work. Navigating around is still a bit slow, obviously, but it works. But the quality of the screen drops pretty significantly.

The ThinkBook Plus Twist on a table.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Again, though, the question is why. Well, according to Lenovo, there are two reasons you would use the e-ink screen as your primary display — namely, that it’ll get you longer battery life, and that it’s easier on your eyes.

The use case for extended battery life is obvious. You could, for example, work on the standard OLED screen until the battery life is down to 25% or so, and then continue working on the e-ink screen for much longer. Lenovo couldn’t provide any specific numbers on total battery life just yet.

And while the twisting hinge is awesome in its own right, I’m just not sure this use case feels fully justified for it. But neat, nonetheless.

The e-ink screen on the back of the ThinkBook Plus Twist.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

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-gen processors, a 13.3-inch 2.8K OLED display, and a 1080p webcam — not unlike many of Lenovo’s other ThinkBook laptops.

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

Luke Larsen
Luke Larsen is the Senior editor of computing, managing all content covering laptops, monitors, PC hardware, Macs, and more.
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