Lenovo demos laptop that rolls from 13 to 15 inches with the flip of a switch

raising / A 12.7-inch screen opens from under the keyboard to grow to 15.3 inches.

Lenovo’s laptop with a screen that can roll from 12.7 inches to 15.3 inches is just a proof of concept, but it’s a serious looker. The company first teased the versatile OLED laptop online in October but showed it off in person ahead of an appearance at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week. Marked by an OLED screen available in two different sizes and resolutions, it is described as subtle looking and decently polished.

As a proof of concept, Lenovo may not release a rollable screen PC like this. However, the company told Windows Central that it prefers to develop “concepts that we hope to sell.” Additionally, Lenovo is no stranger to releasing laptops with alternative screen designs. Its 2020 ThinkPad X1 Fold was the first to attempt a foldable PC and it will be followed by the 16-inch ThinkPad X1 Fold this year. This year should also see the release of the Lenovo Yoga Book 9i, which connects two 13.3-inch OLED screens on a hinge.

The Yoga Book 9i is an actual product that is set to come out this year.
raising / The Yoga Book 9i is an actual product that is set to come out this year.

Sharon Harding

In its current form, the rollable-screen laptop prototype “looks and feels like a regular laptop,” Android Authority reported. The publication also backed Lenovo and called the prototype “polished” enough to show in person. Even thought the system looked less clunky than Asus’ ZenBook 17 Fold, a 12th-gen Intel-based foldable PC that currently costs $3,500.

The rollable-screen laptop that Lenovo demoed is in the chassis of a ThinkBook, one of Lenovo’s more experimental laptop lines. The Verge reports that the prototype panel comes from Sharp, which also makes the foldable screens of the ThinkPad X1 Fold and the upcoming 16-inch ThinkPad X1 Fold.

The screen of the prototype can offer 2024 × 1604 pixels on a 12.7-inch size with a 4:3 aspect ratio or 2024 × 2368 pixels on a full 15.3 inches with an 8:9 aspect ratio. The pixel density remains almost the same on each screen (203.4 and 203.6 pixels per inch, respectively).

That alone should be stopped. Almost square-shaped screens are rare in laptops, although many premium options are moving away from 16:9 in favor of 16:10 and higher displays. Users appreciate taller screens for their classic feel and computing capabilities for tasks such as navigating long news and social media feeds, spreadsheets and articles, coding, and multi – tasking.

Lenovo’s prototype offers a look that’s different from what’s currently available in laptops. The 8:9 ratio is like having two 16:9 screens stacked on top of each other (the Yoga Book 9i puts two 16:10 screens). And the laptop can offer an amazing side-by-side imaging experience. When speaking to Android Authority, Lenovo pointed out that users of the ThinkPad X1 Fold often use the device in portrait mode.

In the current form of the concept, however, getting from point A to point B requires using a switch on the deck of the laptop and enduring an awkward waiting period of about 10 seconds (in The Verge’s measurement ) and the sound of whirring motors. Tech Advisor said the machine also relies on springs and rails to adjust its screen but noted that Lenovo could eventually opt for a “manual slide-out” version.

With the laptop hiding some of its screen under the keyboard, it is possible that the final laptop will have a trimmer design than expected for a 15-inch class PC. The Verge says it is not authorized to lift the prototype or know its weight. But the system is reportedly a bit thicker than usual.

The proof of concept is the same, though. Tech Advisor reports that while the OLED screen slides under the keyboard, its pixels remain lit. The Verge also highlighted the prototype’s crease “where its screen was originally bent under the keyboard,” which is visible when the screen is at its maximum size..

Durability is also a work in progress, with Lenovo reportedly targeting 20,000 to 30,000 rolls. It is also unclear how much battery power the movement mechanism uses.

That said, it’s not hard to imagine a world where this is a real product, from Lenovo or otherwise. LG’s $100,000 rollable TV works similarly by removing the OLED screen when you don’t need it. Bendable TVs and monitors have arrived again, looking to appeal to users who sometimes want a curved display instead of a flat one.

And if Lenovo doesn’t release a PC with a screen you can hide, there probably will be another, as computer and chip makers have been eager to shake up the design of PC screens for years.

Last fall, Samsung Display and Intel demoed a PC concept that was essentially a 13-inch tablet that could slide into a 17.3-inch one.

A Samsung Display exec demos sliding the screen of an Intel-based device at Intel Innovation Day in October.
raising / A Samsung Display exec demos sliding the screen of an Intel-based device at Intel Innovation Day in October.

Earlier this year, Samsung Display also showed off the Flex Hybrid, which is a slideable OLED screen that can be folded in half and can be viewed as a 10.5-inch 4:3 display or slide into a 12.4-inch, 16:10 one.

And with Windows 11 offering the kind of flexible windows management that its predecessors didn’t, foldable PCs seem almost ready to become a viable product category.

Right now, there’s a lot of experimentation and prototyping going on around bendy OLED-based laptops, and buyers will be able to try or reject those efforts soon.

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