Imagine a Chromebook that looks like any other ChromeOS laptop powered by a CPU. What if it had a removable display that was a standalone Android tablet? You’ll have to simply imagine it for now because this device doesn’t exist. However, the Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 5 Hybrid is a Windows laptop version of this very concept.
Announced at CES 2024 this week, the Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 5 Hybrid is a traditional Windows 11 laptop. The chassis houses an Intel Core Ultra 7 processor, 32 GB of memory, a 1 TB NVMe SSD and 75 WHr battery. A standard keyboard and trackpad are also present, as are a number of I/O ports. It looks like a laptop because it is. It’s just one with a detachable display that has its own internal hardware.
The 14-inch touch and pen capable 2.8K OLED screen is both your laptop display when attached and an Android 13 tablet when detached. Inside is a first-generation Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ SOC, 12 GB of memory, and 256 GB of UFS storage capacity. Remove the screen from the laptop then and you have a very capable Android tablet.
Both the laptop base and the tablet have their own Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3 radios. So either can be connected to a network or wireless peripherals.
Each part has speakers as well. And the laptop cameras are actually part of the tablet. A pair of rear sensors (13 and 5 megapixel) are available for photos or videos, and the FHD front web cam is for video calls. The tablet also has its own 38 WHr battery.
Again, this is a Windows laptop. And by offering two complete devices in one, along with high end internals, this is a pricey beast. Lenovo says the ThinkBook Plus Gen 5 Hybrid will debut at $1,999 in the second quarter of 2024.
What I’d love to see is a Chromebook version from Lenovo, capably configured with a price in the $1,299 to $1,499 price range.
No I don’t think there would be a huge market for this in Chromebook form at this price. It could spur additional designs from other ChromeOS hardware partners though, giving some freshness to the Chromebook lineup.
Currently, the Windows part of this Lenovo laptop doesn’t “speak” to the Android part. Meaning that your data is separate between the two.
I’d like to see these components share data natively and it shouldn’t be a challenge if this were a ChromeOS and Android combination. In a worst case situation, you could use the Nearby Self Share feature in ChromeOS 120 to move data between the laptop and tablet.
A Chromebook edition of the Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 5 Hybrid would offer Android apps in either mode. No you wouldn’t have a desktop-class browser on the tablet part. But most common use cases for tablets are centered around app usage and content consumption. Content creation could still be handled in either ChromeOS or Android when using this mythical laptop in a traditional manner.
While I doubt Lenovo will go this route, I’d still like to see them try it. Or perhaps there’s a refreshed HP Chromebook X2 that uses this concept. Again, the cost would have to come down by at least 25 to 30%, if not more.
Even then, the ChromeOS hybrid would only find a niche audience. Admittedly, I’d probably be in that audience and use this dynamic product to replace my current Chromebook and my iPad Pro.