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Lenovo Magic Bay Brings Plug-and-Play Accessories to Select ThinkBooks

by Elizabeth Harper on January 17, 2024

One of Lenovo’s latest ThinkBook laptops come with an interesting feature: Magic Bay, a modular expansion connector along the back of the display. Magic Bay accessories snap into the dock for easy plug-and-play expansion. It’s a neat idea, potentially allowing you to expand your laptop’s capabilities in unique ways, but there aren’t many accessories taking advantage of Magic Bay so far, which makes us wonder how useful it will be. The new Lenovo ThinkBook 16p Gen 5 includes Magic Bay, with a single Magic Bay accessory arriving soon: the Magic Bay Studio 4K videoconferencing camera.

Lenovo Magic Bay Studio 4K camera accessory

This high-end webcam connects to the Magic Bay slot on your ThinkBook, where it sits perched above your screen, ready to record. It’s a 4K camera with two speakers, and it leverages AI to ensure images are crisp and color-accurate. It looks to be an ideal camera setup for videoconferencing or streaming, and Magic Bay will make it easy to snap on the Studio whenever you need it. If you don’t have Magic Bay, you can still use the Studio via a USB-C cable, though it’s much less sleek.

Read more: How to Use Your Phone as a Webcam

At CES 2024, Lenovo demoed a wide range of Magic Bay accessories, from the practical to the bizarre – but only the Studio is slated for release in North America. Other concepts included an SSD for extra storage, an additional 10” screen, a ring light with mirror, a fan, and even an aromatherapy diffuser. Perhaps one of the most clever was the Magic Bay Robot, an animated emoji face that perches on the top of your laptop. Though it doesn’t seem terribly useful (yet), it could potentially be an extension of an AI-powered personal assistant. However, don’t expect to see any of these concepts on store shelves soon.

Lenovo Magic Bay concepts from the top left: robot, mirror, fan, ambient light, the next row is Aromatherapy concepts, the third row from the left includes a display, power bank, and card reader.

The real question about Magic Bay is whether it’s actually necessary. While the Magic Bay Studio seems like a quality webcam, and though using AI to improve image quality is an interesting addition, you can get professional quality webcams that do the same thing and attach to your laptop with a mount and a USB cable. The Magic Bay makes it easier to connect such things, but does the ThinkBook really need a special port specifically for such accessories?

We’re interested in seeing how this technology develops – and whether it expands to other Lenovo laptops and other accessory manufacturers. If we start seeing lots of great Magic Bay accessories, this could be a great feature. For now, it’s a novel way to add a good webcam to select model ThinkBooks – currently only the new ThinkBook 16p Gen 5 and the older ThinkBook 13x Gen 4 feature Magic Bay.

Read more: The Best Gaming Laptops of CES 2024

The ThinkBook 16p Gen 5 is due out in the first quarter of 2024, with a starting price of $1,599. Whether you make use of Magic Bay or not, it’s a solid laptop in the ThinkBook lineup. If you also want to add the Magic Bay Studio, it will be available in April 2024 for $199 – a high price for a webcam, but it’s in line with similar cameras of its quality.

For now, though, we’re interested in seeing where Lenovo takes this technology next. Magic Bay will be much more interesting when there are more accessories – and more computers – that take advantage of it.

[Image credit: Josh Kirschner/Techlicious]

Elizabeth Harper is a writer and editor with more than a decade of experience covering consumer technology and entertainment. In addition to writing for Techlicious, she's Editorial Director of Blizzard Watch and is published on sites all over the web, including Time, CBS, Engadget, The Daily Dot and DealNews.


News, Computers and Software, Computers & Accessories, Laptops, Accessories, Blog

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