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Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 3 found a weird new place to add a second screen, and we're into it

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 3's fresh take on the dual-screen laptop is a highlight of CES 2022.

This story is part of CES, where CNET covers the latest news on the most incredible tech coming soon.

I've seen many PC makers try to squeeze a second display into a laptop over the years at CES. But Asus and Lenovo are the only companies that are still experimenting with the idea and, for the most part, succeeding. Asus is at CES 2022 with its latest dual-screen ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 gaming laptop, which puts a secondary 14-inch touchscreen under its main 16-inch display, giving it the look of one large display (or at least something close to it). Lenovo's taken a different route with its latest ThinkBook Plus Gen 3, though.

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Now that's a wide screen.

Richard Peterson/CNET

With the first two generations of the ThinkBook Plus, Lenovo put an E Ink display on the lid of a 13-inch laptop. The external display lets you read, take notes, get notifications and see your work calendar, all without opening the laptop. It's a cool idea but also kind of limiting. Aside from being a laptop with two displays, the third-gen model seen at CES 2022 is nothing like its predecessors.

For starters, it's an ultrawide 17.3-inch laptop with a 21:10 aspect ratio and a 3,072x1,440 resolution at 120Hz and with 100% P3 color gamut, which could be interesting if this were a gaming laptop. But it's not, it's made for doing work. The second display, an 8-inch color pen-enabled touchscreen with an 800x1,280-pixel resolution, is embedded in the laptop deck to the right of the keyboard and touchpad. It's like if you set down an 8-inch tablet on your laptop's keyboard and it just latched on and wouldn't let go. 

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The 8-inch display can be used for lots of things including taking notes. 

Richard Peterson/CNET

For creatives, the second display could be used to view tools or an image library or to draw quick sketches or edit with the included pen. It can be used to waterfall a document from the main display so you can work with less scrolling (though Asus' design would seem to work much better for this scenario). It can be used as a calculator since the second screen takes up space where the keyboard's number pad would sit. 

Lenovo also suggests using it with Microsoft's Your Phone app to mirror your phone on the display and have mobile notifications as well as access to your phone's photos and files directly on the laptop. You could use it as a launchpad for your most-used apps, too. 

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You're gonna need a bigger bag. 

Richard Peterson/CNET

Aside from the dual displays, though, the laptop isn't too unusual. It'll be powered by 12th-gen Intel Core H-series processors and have up to 32GB of LPDDR5 memory and an up-to-1TB PCIe NVMe Gen 4 solid-state drive. It has security features you'd expect to find on a Lenovo business laptop in addition to a fingerprint reader in the power button and a full-HD webcam with an IR camera for face recognition and a privacy shutter.

The Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 3 will be available in May starting at $1,399 (approximately £1,040 or AU$1,940), which seems reasonable for what you're getting.