The fourth generation of Lenovo’s ThinkBook 16p laptop comes with a unique feature: the ability to add modular accessories. Using the magnetic pin connector at the top of the display, you can attach the devices from Lenovo’s lineup of modular Magic Bay accessories, including the 4K wireless webcam, webcam light, and even an accessory that enables LTE connectivity.
The device, which starts at $1,349 without the accessories, comes with a 16-inch IPS display running at either 120Hz or 60Hz. It also features up to a 13th Gen Intel Core H-series processor and offers an optional discrete graphics chip from Nvidia’s most recent GeForce RTX lineup. There are plenty of storage options, too, with Lenovo providing up to 32GB of DDR5 RAM, along with up to 2TB of space split across two PCIe 4.0 SSDs.
The Magic Bay modules are made specifically for the ThinkBook 16p and seem like handy little accessories if you’re looking to free up some USB ports or are just tired of dealing with cables. The 4K webcam attachment, for one, offers auto-framing to keep the camera on you during video calls (just like Center Stage), auto ambient light adjustment, and a 270-degree hinge that allows you to rotate the webcam.
Meanwhile, the Magic Bay Light offers up to 200-lux of adjustable brightness and automatically switches on when the webcam’s active. There’s also the Magic Bay LTE attachment for mobile connectivity on the go, which comes with a USB-C cable in case you want to use it on another laptop. It doesn’t look like you can use two modules at once, though, which is a bit of a bummer if you were looking to combine the Magic Bay Light with the 4K webcam module.
According to Lenovo, the Magic Bay accessories can only be purchased with the ThinkBook 16p. While the 4K webcam adds $149.99 to the laptop’s price, the Magic Bay Light adds $19.99, and the Magic Bay LTE attachment adds $99.99.
While modular systems may seem like a good idea, they don’t always work out — especially when they’re not executed properly. Motorola, which is owned by Lenovo, notably attempted to upend the mobile market by launching Moto Mods, accessories that you could add to Moto Z devices.
The system never really took off, as users had to pay for the price of the add-ons in addition to an already-expensive phone. It also limited Motorola’s ability to update the design of the Moto Z in the future since the modules are supposed to work across all generations. The Magic Bay system faces the same challenges, as paying for a $149.99 webcam that’s compatible only with one (already pricey) device doesn’t seem all that logical. The Framework laptop, on the other hand, is an example of a modular device done right, as you can swap out and upgrade just about everything on the device — not just add accessories that could eventually become obsolete.
Even if you don’t end up purchasing Lenovo’s webcam module, the ThinkBook 16p still comes with a built-in full HD webcam with a privacy shutter. The laptop has a handy fingerprint reader on the power button as well, along with plenty of ports: two for USB-A, two for USB-C, one for HDMI, one SD card reader, and one headphone jack. The Lenovo ThinkBook 16p will become available for purchase starting in May 2023.