The MWC 2024 conference is already off to a phenomenal start as we witnessed the announcement of Lenovo’s transparent laptop among a series of other, more official releases. Titled Project Crystal, Lenovo’s transparent display laptop is currently just a concept piece more than an official release, the prototype device intended to show off the kind of fantastical innovation the company is capable of right now. Touted to be the world’s first laptop with transparent microLEDs, the ThinkBook looks quite futuristic and is exactly what sci-fi movies will have you believe about the future of laptop technology, so we’re quite fascinated to see what the company does next with this tech. While Lenovo did release other laptops that are going to be out on the market soon, let’s first give Project Crystal the attention it deserves.

Sci-Fi Comes To Life: Lenovo's Transparent Laptop Showcased at MWC 2024

Image: Lenovo

What is Lenovo’s Transparent Laptop? 

The newly showcased transparent laptop by Lenovo is a 17.3-inch notebook with a screen that is entirely see-through. Bezel-free with a microLED display, the screen becomes more opaque when it is turned on, providing 1000 nits peak brightness paired with high color saturation for you to see the content on the screen. They state that the brightness is sufficient enough for you to even work outdoors, but we’ve yet to see any demos on how well this might perform in the sunlight or with a cluttered environment to back your screen. Celebrated as the world’s first laptop with transparent microLEDs, the screen lets you see what you’re working on while also letting you see what is behind your screen, providing a very unusual viewing experience as you work. The microLEDs were reportedly a conscious choice over OLED screens as stated by The Verge, as it helped maintain the resolution at 720p over 480p, and promoted greater text clarity rather than a focus on just imagery, which is necessary for a laptop.

The company doesn’t elaborate on exactly how it integrates AI but it does state that “Through the power of Artificial Intelligence Generated Content (AIGC), the transparent screen opens up new avenues of work collaboration and efficiency by enabling the interaction with physical objects and overlaying digital information to create unique user-generated content.” A camera placed on the central hinge bar of the transparent laptop by Lenovo was used to capture images behind the laptop and recognize the objects placed there, showing off how AI could be used on the device. 

Does Lenovo’s Transparent Display Laptop Also Have a Transparent Keyboard?

Does Lenovo’s Transparent Laptop Also Have a Transparent Keyboard?

The transparent laptop screen might be fascinating on its own but the keypad further enhances the design of the device. The flat touch keyboard is also a kind of light-up display that responds to touch rather than having physical keys that you can tap away at. This looks quite futuristic, but typing on it will take some getting used to. It doesn’t give you the satisfaction of a keypad click nor does it help with the spatial awareness that you’ve developed to type without looking at your keyboard. The reason for the projection keyboard is reportedly to allow the surface to transform into a blank drawing tablet screen when you bring a stylus to the device.

While the additional compatibility with the stylus is going to find good use, the keyboard is somewhat lacking as is. The reflection of the screen on the keyboard surface doesn’t make the keyboard any easier to use, and the brighter you make your screen to be able to see clearly the more inconvenient it will be to use the keyboard. Overall, the device appears all too fragile, if beautifully sleek and classy.

What Is the Use of Lenovo’s ThinkBook Transparent Display Laptop?

Lenovo’s transparent ThinkBook has a very specific target audience in mind—artists who could benefit from having a versatile device that they can draw on while seeing their hand-drawn samples or other material on the other side. They can draw on the keyboard surface and watch their designs appear on the transparent screen, making it a very useful tool for their creative pursuits. Reports suggest that according to the company, Lenovo’s transparent display laptop could perhaps be used by architects who want to sketch a building in front of them or by artists who want to take a concept from the external world and trace it into their art somehow. That seems like a very novel use for a laptop and could definitely set off a whole chain of innovation in future devices designed for this target audience.

It does seem like a lot of work to design a device with such a specific use case, but if launched, I’m sure there will be more than just artists trying out the device for their own fields, especially with the AI integration prioritized by Lenovo. 

What Is the Disadvantage of Lenovo Transparent Laptop?

We love Lenovo’s ThinkBook Transparent Display laptop and appreciate the number of unique design details that highlight the technical finesse they brought with the device, but it is very clearly still at the prototype stage. Project Crystal showcases the possibilities and future of technology but the transparent screen does have limited use as of now. The device appears quite fragile and difficult to create protective cases for and will likely be limited to a few settings only. The device will have to be put to the test in different settings and users will have to see how long they can use it without getting a headache. The device also appears to have a limited number of ports right now which makes it inconvenient to use. 

Fragility and purpose aside, the transparent laptop screen also brings up the question of privacy and how comfortable a user might be with the contents of their laptop for everyone to see and the screen will be visible from the other side as well. “The technology also offers more possibilities in the future with further optimization of image quality, durability and adjustable transmittance to provide more privacy or more transparency to interact with real-world objects,” the company states in their announcement. This implies that an actual release of the laptop could have adjustable transparency levels to protect your work. If this is true, you will likely spend most of your time working on the device with transparency turned off so we do struggle to see an actual application of Lenovo’s transparent laptop so far. 

What Is the Disadvantage of Lenovo Transparent Laptop?

When Will Lenovo’s Transparent Display Laptop Be Available?

The release date for the transparent laptop by Lenovo has not been set and we likely will not see one anytime this year. The world’s first laptop with transparent microLED was showcased as a concept laptop, a representation of the kind of technology the company is capable of creating, but the device has not been slated for large-scale production just yet. Based on the response to the device, the company will go back to the drawing board—or perhaps the drawing tablet—and redesign the device considerably before considering a release. 

For now, Project Crystal’s transparent laptop is more of an attention grabber and conversation starter than a product with a release date. If you’re wondering about Lenovo’s transparent laptop price, then just as it does not have a release date, it doesn’t have a market price set either.

There is a lot to love about Project Crystal—Lenovo’s transparent display laptop will be fun to experiment with if it is ever officially released for purchase. Until that day comes, it’s great to see how far the company is willing to push technology, working with various elements in a bid to see what our current technology is capable of. If the company works the kinks out and commits fully to making the transparent ThikBook more user-friendly, the company could have a major hit in its hands.