Laptops

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus: Gimmicky but gets the job done

A plus for the right person

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Lenovo’s never been shy to try new things on their notebooks and laptops. Their whole Yoga line is a testament to this. But they’re also applying that line of thought to their other notebooks. Specifically, the Lenovo ThinkBook Plus.

They don’t say it outright but that Plus, I’d wager, refers to the e-ink screen on the laptop’s hood. Dual screen laptops are slowly on the come up — most of which targeted towards the multimedia-heavy users. The ThinkBook Plus is more deliberate.

The ThinkBook Plus has a 10.8-inch e-ink screen. It’s meant for taking notes, reading e-documents and seeing notifications while the laptop is closed.

Yes, the ThinkBook Plus comes with a stylus out of the box.

ThinkBook Plus

It magnetically attaches to the sides of the notebook.

The e-ink screen is fun, except for someone like me who has terrible handwriting

ThinkBook Plus

What happens when you’re not using the e-ink screen? You get this default screen. 

ThinkBook Plus

Or you can customize it with any image saved on the laptop. 

ThinkBook Plus

Now isn’t that so much better?

That image acts as a wallpaper when you’re using the ThinkBook plus, making it truly personalized.

I even tried a quick 10-minute sketch on the thing. 

But after a while, the novelty of the e-ink screen really wears out. It doesn’t help that I’ve mostly been working at home so there aren’t any opportunities to be in physical meetings and really take down notes.

Using the e-ink screen is also a hit or miss. It’s not readily responsive when you want to use it. But it the stylus to screen experience drastically improves once you’ve launched the notepad app. It also has great palm rejection so you don’t have to worry about placing your palm on the display as your write.

I can imagine how this can be useful in certain situations for certain people. However, unless you’re the type who actually likes to take notes, the e-ink screen will feel like a pricey gimmick.

The ThinkBook is a performer 

While the e-ink screen may be what gets you to turn your attention to the ThinkBook Plus, it’s not the only thing it has going for it.

It’s powered by an Intel Core i7 10th gen processor accompanied by Integrated Intel UHD Graphics, 16 GB DDR4 2666MHz RAM, and 512 GB PCIe SSD onboard storage.

That is to say, any productivity task you can think of, this thing can handle without breaking a sweat.

It’s been particularly useful in my daily tasks which include a lot of writing and copy-editing.

As well as basic image editing.

ThinkBook Plus

And of course, it’s useful when it’s time to put those words and images together on the website.

ThinkBook Plus

Quick side note: The more I go through my daily tasks, the more I realize how Core i7 laptops are completely overpowered for what I usually do. Especially since I still prefer to do my video editing on Final Cut Pro which only runs on Mac.

That said, working on the ThinkBook Plus has been as smooth an experience as can be. There was just a lot to love about it as a steady work machine.

The backlit keyboard was super easy to transition to.

The trackpad was also pretty darn good. 

ThinkBook Plus

But as is the case with most trackpads on Windows machines, they still can’t hold a candle to MacBook trackpads. That’s just a crying shame but it is what it is.

After soldiering for a day to use only the trackpad, I gave in and turned to the comforts of a mouse.

The webcam is located on the top-bezel.

This actually feels like a throwback as it doesn’t have the shutter or a built-in way to cover the camera. One time, I had to put an electrical tape over it during a zoom call as I wanted to show only the virtual background, without me in the shot.

There’s also no shortage of ports. This isn’t the thinnest of laptops so you get a decent amount of physical connectivity.

On the left are the HDMI Port, a USB-C port, and the 3.5mm headphone jack.

ThinkBook Plus

Over to the other side you have two USB-A ports and the power button.

ThinkBook Plus

Also a leisure companion

In between work or while I have lunch I like to watch a few videos. The 13-inch FHD display is more than enough for these quick breaks.

I’m either watching a few K-Pop fancams…

ThinkBook Plus

Risky risky wiggy wiggy this is an emergency

Or indulging in a quick anime episode on Netflix. 

ThinkBook Plus

Anime title: Ahiru no Sora

My room is pretty dark most of the time so the 300 nits of brightness is more than enough. You might encounter some glare and visibility issues, though, if you whip this out under broad daylight.

The audio by Harman sounds okay and works as expected during zoom calls. However, it does feel like it’s lacking in the overall volume department. It just doesn’t get loud enough in certain situations or for certain videos that already had a low volume to begin with. But it’s passable and the quality is generally okay.

It also comes with a carrying case inside the box.

ThinkBook Plus

This is a low-key really good inclusion. It adds an extra layer of protection and makes you feel safe about carrying the ThinkBook Plus even if you’re only using a tote bag.

ThinkBook Plus

The carrying case itself feels pretty premium and matches the overall price tag of the product.

Is the ThinkBook Plus your GadgetMatch?

At PhP 104,950/ US$ 1,529, it might feel pricey. You’re paying extra for that 10.8-inch dual screen so unless you see yourself really taking advantage of that feature, it’s best to steer clear.

However, as I mentioned earlier, for anyone who does make it a habit to jot down notes, the e-ink screen on the Lenovo ThinkBook Plus can be a valuable tool. And it’s not like you’re only paying for that additional screen.

The ThinkBook Plus can be relied upon to handle your daily tasks without any sort of hiccup. It feels sturdy and can certainly be your work companion for years. It’s hard to recommend to everyone, but for the right person, this notebook is indeed a plus.

India

Lenovo launches Yoga 6, a convertible laptop with 18 hours of battery life

Powered by a Ryzen 4000 CPU

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Lenovo has launched the Yoga 6 in India, and its unique selling point is its 360-degree design that can also accommodate a stylus. Designed for folks who’re on the go, the notebook claims to offer exceptional battery life without compromising processing capabilities.

The Yoga 6 incorporates a new design consisting of a fabric-wrapped lid that’s treated with fire and stain-resistant finishing. At first glance, you’d actually think Lenovo has covered the laptop with a neat piece of jeans.

Coming to the specs, it sports a 13.3-inch Full HD LCD with touchscreen support and a maximum brightness of 300 nits. Moreover, as it’s a 2-in-1 device, the Yoga 6 features a 360-degree hinge, designed to provide stability while transitioning from laptop mode to tablet and vice-versa.

It packs the latest AMD Ryzen 4000-series processor along with built-in AMD Radeon graphics. To be precise, it sports the AMD Ryzen 7 4700U SoC which comes with a maximum clock speed of 2.0Ghz. The company claims the GPU can offer up to 59 percent faster graphics when compared to previous generation Vega graphics.

Backing the processor is 16GB DDR4 RAM and 1TB SSD for internal storage. The laptop weighs 1.32kg and supports Lenovo Digital Pen for sketching, doodling, and browsing. It ships with Windows 10 Home operating system out-of-the-box.

Most importantly, the Yoga 6 incorporates a 50WHr battery that’s claimed to offer up to 18 hours of usage. There’s a fingerprint sensor for authentication and connectivity options include Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5, two USB Type-A ports, two USB Type-C ports, and the headphone jack.

The laptop is available for pre-order on Lenovo.com and shall cost INR 86,990. It’ll go on sale starting March 10 via Lenovo.com, Amazon, and Flipkart, as well as other offline retail channels

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Laptops

2021 LG Gram laptops now available in Singapore

Starting at SG$ 1,899

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First unveiled in CES 2021, the latest models of LG Gram laptops are now available to buy in Singapore. The complete lineup ranging from the Gram 14 up to the Gram 17 can now be had on all authorized retailers nationwide.

As a refresher, all LG Gram laptops feature a 16:10 display for 2021.  As such, users can expect more screen real estate, making the laptops better for web browsing and office work. The displays of the 2021 models also boast 99% DCPI-P3 coverage, delivering picture-perfect quality.

Accompanying the change in aspect ratio is the reduction in overall bezels. For this year, LG touts a much-reduced bezel on all four sides across all laptop models. Thankfully, LG didn’t sacrifice the keyboard and touchpad and made them bigger instead.

Like with most laptop refreshes, LG fitted the 2021 models with 11th-generation Intel Core processors and Iris Xe graphics for better performance all around. Expect 2 x USB 4 40GBps Type-C, 2 x USB 3.2 5GBps Type-A, HDMI, microSD card reader, and a headphone jack for the ports. However, LG Gram 14 2-in-1 excludes the HDMI port.

Lastly, the LG Gram laptops retain their thin and light profile while packing more features and upping their screen-to-body ratio by up to 90%. As for the only 2-in-1 model, LG Gram 14 2-in-1 packs an innovative 360-degree hinge and comes bundled with a stylus.

Local prices

All models come with 16GB of configuration and various choices of colors including green, black, dark silver, and white. Prices for the models and their respective configuration are as follow:

LG Gram 14

  • Intel Core i5-1135G7, 16GB/512GB — SG$ 1,899
  • Intel Core i7-1165G7, 16GB/512GB — SG$ 2,199

LG Gram 14 2-in-1

  • Intel Core i5-1135G7, 16GB/512GB — SG$ 2,199
  • Intel Core i7-1165G7, 16GB/512GB — SG$ 2,499

LG Gram 16

  • Intel Core i5-1135G7, 16GB/512GB — SG$ 2,099
  • Intel Core i7-1165G7, 16GB/512GB — SG$ 2,299

LG Gram 17

  • Intel Core i5-1135G7, 16GB/512GB — SG$ 2,199
  • Intel Core i5-1165G7, 16GB/512GB — SG$ 2,499
  • Intel Core i7-1165G7, 16GB/1TB — SG$ 2,699

LG Gram laptops can be had on all authorized retailers including Best Denki, COURTS, Harvey Norman, Gain City, Challenger as well as LG Lazada and LG Shopee.

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Laptops

Future MacBook Pro models will have an HDMI port again

One less dongle to carry

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Just a few weeks ago, rumors started spreading that future MacBook Pro models will likely have an SD card reader. It seems like Apple is not  stopping there, as famed tipster Ming-Chi Kuo predicts that future models will feature an HDMI port once again.

The change will be a significant one for Apple. All MacBook Pro models today only feature the USB-C port, so a dongle is necessary for connecting to other devices and peripherals. The inclusion of an HDMI port will also eliminate the need for dongles and will appease power users who require the port for their workflow. HDMI ports are still present on many devices especially on displays, which in some cases only have one or two of these ports.

Aside from the inclusion of an HDMI port, Kuo also predicts that the new MacBook Pro models will be a major redesign, featuring flat edges like those found in the latest iPhone and iPad models. The divisive Touch Bar is also going away on the new models, as per Kuo’s predictions.

Other rumors point to Apple resurrecting the MagSafe connector which is present on older models. However, it is unclear how the company plans to reintroduce the connector. Others are speculating a novel mechanism for wireless charging on the new models should Apple reintroduce MagSafe.

These new MacBook Pro models will come with either a 14-inch or 16-inch display. Both models will also likely sport a much beefier processor than the M1. Apple is expected to launch the new MacBook Pro in the second half of 2021.

h/t: MacRumors

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