The Lenovo ThinkBook 13x Gen 4 SPE is a concept computer designed to give users the ability to customize the look of their laptops thanks to an E Ink Prism 3 color display on the lid.

First unveiled last year, E Ink’s Prism 3 technology is a low-power, programmable solution that can display simple graphics and patterns with up to 8 colors. It’s designed for things like retail signage or even color-changing automobiles, but Lenovo’s concept laptop shows a few potential applications for mobile computers.

For example, the low-power screen can continue changing colors and patterns even when the laptop is off without any noticeable impact on battery life. Not only can this give a laptop a distinctive look, but it could also be used to display things like a “dynamic clock” when a laptop is closed.

Lenovo says the ThinkBook 13x Gen 4 SPE is just a proof of concept for now, but it’s showing off prototypes at CES this week with four different design schemes and the company says the system can support up to a thousand different images.

Given the company’s track record of slapping E Ink screens on laptops, I wouldn’t be surprised if this laptop does eventually make it to market… but I’m not sure that an E Ink screen that’s mostly decorative will have quite as much appeal as some of the company’s earlier devices, which offered E Ink screens for reading, writing, and more general purpose usage.

Under the hood, the ThinkBook 13x Gen 4 will have a Intel Meteor Lake processor, support for up to 32GB of LPDDR5x memory, up to 2TB of PCIe Gen 4 storage, and a 74 Wh battery.

The laptop’s actual display is a 13.5 inch, 2.8K, 120 Hz screen and the notebook has quad speakers, three Thunderbolt 4 ports, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a starting weight of just 1 kg (2.2 pounds) for the model without an E Ink lid. I suspect the special edition model might be a little heavier.

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  1. The back display is a nice idea as long as you can use it like a regular monitor, but I hate that it comes with the foul compromise of only two accessible ports when using the charger, and needing adapters for more or less everything you’ve got.