If there's one thing you can assume at CES, it's that the manufacturer is trying to create a new kind of laptop. We've seen the craziest variants over the years, and this year Lenovo is taking a shot at the ThinkBook Plus Gen 5 Hybrid, which is a hybrid of a Windows tablet with a detachable keyboard and an Android tablet.
In fact, it is two separate devices that can work independently, but can also be linked to form a single laptop. The keyboard has all the hardware of a Windows laptop: Intel Ultra 7 CPU, up to 32GB of memory, and up to 1TB of SSD storage. You can also connect this keyboard to an external monitor. However, if you want to use the whole thing as a laptop, then the screen, or rather the tablet, will work.
This is not just a screen that you tap on the keyboard, but a full-fledged Android tablet with a 14-inch OLED panel, 12GB of RAM and a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor. At the bottom of the tablet there is a metal edge where the Coupling mechanism. This works very simply with magnets; Push the tablet to the edge marked on the keyboard and it will retract itself. A small animation then plays on the screen as the device switches from a standalone Android tablet to a Windows laptop screen.
Android remains active briefly in the background in case you want to use your Android laptop as an operating system, because that is also possible. You can easily switch between the two operating systems via a button on the keyboard. If you've been working in Windows mode for a longer period of time, then… Hibernation Tablets, so that the battery is not drained too quickly. The entire device has two separate batteries: a 38 Wh battery for the tablet and a 75 Wh battery for the laptop.
Lenovo has tweaked the software on both devices so they can work better together. For example, there is shared storage that can be accessed from both devices and the manufacturer includes Hybrid Stream software. This makes it possible to stream Android apps to Windows and use them in a small window.
Sometimes these kinds of crazy laptop variants are early prototypes, with the build quality associated with them, but the Gen 5 Hybrid feels sturdy and well-rounded. The keyboard has the famous ThinkBook keys that don't travel as much, but are still nice. The tablet also feels sturdy. With a double dose of ingredients, the whole thing doesn't get too light; The keyboard weighs 970 grams and the tablet 785 grams. That's not much for a 14-inch tablet, but a 14-inch laptop weighing around 1.8kg is far from light. The whole thing is also quite thick at 1.6cm. Due to the large number of components, all this can be easily explained, but this does not make it more comfortable to use.
You have to make a fair number of compromises when starting out with the Gen 5 Hybrid, so who's worth it? After all, there are many similar devices on sale where you can separate the screen from the keyboard. However, they run on Windows or Android, not both. So, if you think Android is a good tablet OS and not a nice laptop OS, and vice versa for Windows, you're in for a treat with this device. I think the market is not huge and Lenovo itself probably won't expect record sales numbers either.
If you belong to the segment dedicated to this product, you can start with the Gen 5 Hybrid starting this summer. The final price has not been announced yet, but Lenovo is aiming to keep the price under $2,000.
“Thinker. Coffeeaholic. Award-winning gamer. Web trailblazer. Pop culture scholar. Beer guru. Food specialist.”