Transparent TVs were all the rage at CES 2024, and a little more than a month later, we’re getting our first glimpse at a transparent laptop. At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Lenovo showed off Project Crystal, a complete proof-of-concept laptop that will never see the light of day as a real product, but demonstrates what the see-through technology will look like on a portable PC.

This hefty Windows 11 machine has a 17.3-inch Micro-LED transparent display, the same technology Samsung used to show off its transparent TV concept earlier this year. However, Lenovo did not share who the manufacturer of the display was on Project Crystal.

The screen on the concept is borderless, protected by Gorilla Glass on the front and back, and the glass edges are a bit sharp, but the vision for the tech is at least realized. For this concept, Lenovo also decided to show off what a transparent, digital keyboard would look like.

Unfortunately, you can’t see the inner components of the laptop or anything like that. It’s just a giant touchscreen keyboard at the bottom. I didn’t like it much, however, as I found it hard to type on, not to mention Lenovo said it currently didn’t offer any kind of haptic feedback when you tapped on the virtual keys. You know, concept and all.

The clear concept laptop screen can be seen from both sides, which could pose security issues.

Photograph: Julian Chokkattu

The screen itself can get searingly bright. When I launched WIRED’s homepage on a full-screen browser I wasn’t sure whether I had gone straight to heaven. Lenovo says the display can hit a max brightness of 1,000 nits. For content, Apple’s latest MacBooks hit 500 nits.

However, there was a yellow tinge on the screen, and this is partly because Lenovo says the screen has 55 percent light transmissivity. As the technology improves, expect to see better color accuracy. The colors were still impressively vivid—the photos here don’t quite do it justice.

But why would you want a transparent laptop? Well, it seems like even Lenovo doesn’t quite have a good answer. One of the use cases it suggested was that you can make sure people are following along in a meeting, which is the last thing I’d want.


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