The most desired qualities for hybrid work devices are portability, versatility, and simplicity. Whether you are at the office, working from home (WFH), or somewhere in between, mastering a hybrid workflow involves seamless and consistent transitions. You should be able to do work and be as efficient in the office as at home and vice versa.
While hybrid work-oriented devices will look different than devices we have seen in the past, I believe many of the same device trends we have seen in the past decade, like 2-in-1 designs, have prepared us well for hybrid work. I also believe device trends that have come about in the past half-decade will lead the way in innovation for hybrid work-specific devices.
Lenovo has announced new products and services that establish some of these device trends for hybrid work. Let’s take a look at the new devices Lenovo announced.
Lenovo IdeaPad 5i Chromebook, Tab P11 and Tab P11Pro
One device category that excelled in the hybrid world when workers and schools went remote was Chromebooks. Chromebooks are designed for simplicity and value. It is why you rarely see an expensive Chromebook.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 5i is Lenovo’s first 16-inch Chromebook. I believe a 16-inch Chromebook could be great for work and home, as most Chromebooks fit within the 13-inch design. A larger display is always better for viewing content at home or balancing different apps for work.
I do think Lenovo could have given the Lenovo IdeaPad 5i more options for better internal hardware. It has the option of an Intel Pentium or Core i3-1215U processor with either 4GB or 8GB of memory. With the 17-inch display pushing more pixels than a smaller display, I could imagine it having trouble running multiple tasks. Nevertheless, It should be great for viewing content and work tasks.
The Tab P11 (2nd Gen) is one of the first devices to feature Android 12L, Androids tablet, and foldable-specific variants of Android. Lenovo is one of the few companies that has consistently released android tablets, and I’m glad to see an Android 12L design win for Lenovo. The Tab P11 and Tab P11 Pro feature MediaTek octa-core processors with up to 6GB of RAM on the Tab P11 and 8Gb of RAM on the Tab P11 Pro. I would prefer to see these tablets with Qualcomm Processors with better optimization.
Lenovo ThinkBook 16p Gen 3
The Lenovo ThinkBook 16p Gen 3 is targeted at content creators with up to AMD Ryzen 9 6000 H-Series processors, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 graphics, and 32GB of memory. I believe it has enough portable power to finish any task in a hybrid work setting. It has a 16-inch 2.5K IPS display with the option of a 400 nit 60Hz panel or a 500 nit 165Hz VESA Certified panel.
One of the challenges of hybrid work environments is having one device that works wherever. It is a hassle to use a laptop for the office and the coffee shop and then use a desktop at home. I believe the ThinkBook 16p Gen 3 is powerful enough to run a full multi-monitor desk setup and portable enough to use in remote locations. It has optimal display and internals for content creators and power users who do not feel they need to be in the office to finish creating or working.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold
I was given the opportunity to use the first-generation ThinkPad X1 Fold, and I found that for a first-generation device, it was very innovative. Interestingly, I believe Lenovo has addressed some of my biggest concerns with the ThinkPad X1 Fold with more memory and more durability.
Lenovo went with a different hinge design this time, where the device can fold flat (not the crease) so that there are no gaps between the clamshell design. I believe this is great for the protection of the display and makes the device overall smaller. At the same time, Lenovo has increased the display size from a 13-inch display to a larger 16.3-inch display. I believe this is great on two fronts. Firstly, it gives more screen real estate when the device is all the way open and on its kickstand. The larger display brings it more into the 16-inch device range for times when a 16-inch device would be preferable. Secondly, when the keyboard is docked on the device, it has a larger display that still passes the plane test but is only slightly smaller than the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano has a 13-inch display, while the ThinkPad X1 Fold has a 12-inch display in laptop form.
The keyboard has also been refined with an added signature red nipple from Lenovo. Although the keyboard cannot stay in the ThinkPad X1 Fold when folded, I believe it is a worthy sacrifice and would not mind lugging the keyboard around separately with the kickstand.
I believe more changes need to be discussed for the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold, which will be addressed in a future review. I have used the first generation ThinkPad X1 Fold a lot and am excited to get my hands on this second generation, especially with the new design changes.
Lenovo Glasses T1 Wearable display
The Lenovo Glasses T1 Wearable display is Lenovo’s first consumer glasses targeted for work and play. The Lenovo Glasses T1 can connect to any device with a USB -C port and to iPhones with a Lightning Connector adapter.
While Lenovo has been doing a lot of work with its ThinkReality A3 glasses, I believe these AR glasses play into Lenovo’s goal to be the #1 in the AR/VR space. Although its AR efforts have been locked in on the enterprise space, I believe it could successfully step into the consumer side with the right positioning of the Lenovo Glasses T1 Wearable.
Lenovo is positioning the Glasses T1 as a monitor in your pocket, and rather than a full-on virtual reality (VR) experience, I believe this is the right step toward popularity. While glasses and sunglasses are normal in public, having a large screen attached to your face is not normal. As Lenovo continues to improve the design to look more like glasses, I believe it could be as normative as wearing headphones. We have all heard of the portable speaker (headphones), but now its time for portable monitors.
I like that Lenovo has included speakers in the glasses for a completely immersive experience. I am also not mad about the glasses being a wired connection. Although a wireless experience would be preferred, it makes battery-less worrisome and gives the device a smaller size. If anything, it also brings back the style of a wire hanging out of your pocket and going to your face—a trend we have not seen since the popularization of truly wireless earbuds, truly nostalgic of forward-looking technology.
As smartphones continue to grow in complementary devices like earbuds and smartwatches, I believe that AR glasses could give smartphones the capabilities to be the one device for all. Although I am not saying the desktop or laptop are dying anytime soon, the ability to have a portable monitor that displays content on theoretically any size screen at any distance is very powerful.
I believe Lenovo continues to innovate with its Think lineup of devices. Lenovo is not afraid to push the boundaries of innovation, whether that is creating a 16-inch Chromebook for work and home or refining a foldable device.
I believe the ThinkPad X1 Fold has many great improvements over its first generation, making it a more practical and useful hybrid work device than a bleeding edge device. Likewise, as Lenovo gets its feet wet with consumer AR glasses, I believe it has the chance to innovate on the consumer side. I am excited to get my hands on the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold and Lenovo Glasses T1 Wearables.
Note: Moor Insights & Strategy co-op Jacob Freyman contributed to this article.