If you're looking for something a little different in your next laptop, perhaps you'd care to give Lenovo's next experiment the once-over.

As reported over on CNet, the Chinese notebook manufacturer – most famous for purchasing the rights to the ThinkPad brand and design from IBM – is launching a new notebook that features dual displays in a still-portable body.

Designed as a workstation replacement rather than an ultra-portable, the new ThinkPad W700ds is to come equipped with a high resolution 1920x1200 17” display from which extends an additional 10.6” 768x1280 portrait screen to the right-hand side. When not in use, the additional display can be slid back into the lid of the unit to turn it into a fairly standard notebook design.

The remaining specs are what you'd expect from a workstation-class notebook: Core 2 processors, including Quad and Extreme units; Nvidia's Quadro Express discrete graphics; wireless networking as standard; and the ability to have two internal hard disks in a RAID configuration. You've even got the option of a 64GB SSD if your budget will stretch.

Another feature which makes the unit, aimed at photographers and artists, stand out is the presence of an on-board Wacom digitiser in the palm rest area, next to the touchpad. While the relatively small – 12.8cm by 8cm – area of the digitiser won't replace a real pad for serious work, the inclusion means that it can be treated as an all-in-one solution for quick image editing on the go.

Due to début at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next month, the W700ds was supposed to ship this month according to documents on IBM's website but has clearly been delayed so as to bolster the company's showing at the Show. Pricing information, unsurprisingly, has not been made available.

eWeek has managed to get their sticky mitts on a pre-production unit, and have a range of photographs with the second screen deployed and stowed. It certainly looks like a useful addition, but it's something I'd have to play with myself before making up my mind.

Any artists thinking that this could be the laptop they've been waiting all their lives for, or is the second screen and on-board digitiser nothing more than gimmicks? Share your thoughts over on the forums.
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