I reviewed Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Fold, the first PC with a foldable display screen, in late 2020. At the time, it was a really cool concept, however not notably, let’s consider, usable. Right now, Lenovo has introduced its second go at this, the “Subsequent-generation” ThinkPad X1 Fold. I spent a couple of minutes with the machine, and let me let you know: I’m rather more optimistic about this one.
A lot of this new X1 Fold will be acquainted to followers not simply of the earlier X1 Fold, however of the ThinkPad line generally. The machine is outfitted with the collection’s customary black and crimson coloration scheme, with the staple ThinkPad X1 emblem on the lid. There’s a ThinkPad-style keyboard with a trackpoint and inverted-T arrow keys. It’s well-built, sturdy, and smooth.
However some adjustments have been made, and I feel they had been the proper ones.
Just about each main subject I had with the authentic X1 Fold was due, indirectly, to its 13.3-inch dimension. It was nice to make use of as a 13-inch pill, however when folded into laptop computer mode (an possibility that’s an enormous a part of the attraction of foldable screens like this), it was too small to be sensible for day by day use.
The second-gen machine is 16 inches, a 22 % enhance in dimension. (It’s also 25 % thinner than the earlier mannequin). Having performed round with the new machine, I feel it’s much more sensible. The display screen is clearly large enough that I could navigate round my normal workflow and have a number of tabs open facet by facet.
The larger chassis additionally permits for an even bigger keyboard. The 2020 X1 Fold’s keyboard was well-made however needed to match horizontally throughout a 13.3-inch machine, which meant it was actually dang cramped. Some keys had as many as 4 characters crammed onto them, and I needed to press three at a time as a way to make a query mark seem.
This new keyboard deck (which attaches magnetically to the decrease half of the chassis when it’s folded in laptop computer mode) is full-sized and backlit. I could sort on it like I usually sort. The keys felt ThinkPad-quality. Evidently, I a lot favor this one.
Whereas we’re speaking about the deck, there’s additionally a haptic touchpad on this factor. We’re beginning to see extra of those throughout Lenovo’s extra compact ThinkPads, together with the super-thin Z-Sequence. I typically discover them a bit thinner than different trackpads, however this one appeared okay. I’ll want extra time with it to get a full impression.
That mentioned, the bar for this touchpad is so low. The first-generation’s was barely large enough to scroll with, not to mention frequently navigate. This one is a transparent enchancment resulting from the dimension alone.
Inside, the X1 Fold is powered by Twelfth-Gen Core i5 or i7 processors with built-in graphics and non-obligatory assist for Intel’s vPro enterprise platform. Lenovo hasn’t outlined the precise fashions that may be out there, however ThinkPads do are likely to be endlessly configurable to the level of stressing me out.
You’ll be in a position to get SSD storage of as much as 1TB and as much as 32GB of DDR5 reminiscence, with the possibility of Home windows 11 Dwelling or Home windows 11 Professional. There’s an non-obligatory Wacom pen, which attaches magnetically to the chassis. The display screen is a 16.3-inch 2024 x 2560 contact OLED that shrinks to 12 inches when folded.
There’s a 48Whr battery (with “non-obligatory extra 16Whr primarily based on configuration”) and no battery life estimate but, which…scares me a bit, since the first X1 Fold gave me below 5 hours to a cost and had a 50Whr battery. Asus’s 17.3-inch Zenbook 17 Fold, additionally introduced this week, has demonstrated that an OLED foldable can be able to breaking six hours. We’ll need to see on that.
In my temporary time utilizing this machine to hop round Chrome and watch some movies, it appeared to work nicely sufficient. That may be a excellent signal. I had fun utilizing the first-gen X1 Fold, however there have been all types of glitches to the expertise, notably with the onscreen keyboard. I’m trying ahead to seeing how Home windows 11 does on this new chassis, as (not like another laptop computer producers) Lenovo shouldn’t be identified to ship glitchy software program left and proper.
After which there’s the elephant in the room: the worth.
This machine, in the event you hadn’t guessed, shouldn’t be going to be low-cost. It’s anticipated to hit cabinets in November with a beginning worth of $2,499. Notice that the stylus and keyboard weren’t included on the 13-inch mannequin, and people added $250 to the worth.
That, apparently, is the identical worth the 13-inch mannequin had (and this can be a greater, thinner, and usually extra usable machine). And it’s considerably cheaper than the $3499.99 Zenbook 17 Fold, the solely different foldable close to this dimension that we’ve seen up to now this 12 months.
This could find yourself being a considerably higher deal for foldable-buyers than the 17-inch Fold — however in fact, we haven’t gotten to extensively take a look at the factor but, so there could be all types of catches.
I don’t anticipate this machine to be good. Even when Lenovo has performed every thing it may right here, the expertise of utilizing the machine could have rather a lot to do with how nicely different corporations can get their software program to behave with it.
However as Lenovo’s representatives walked me by means of this machine, I acquired the sense that they had been genuinely enthusiastic about it. I feel they perceive precisely what the limitations of the 13-inch Fold had been and had been completely happy to have a bigger foldable display screen come alongside. Possibly on this new kind issue, Lenovo can lastly make the groundbreaking machine that they needed the first X1 Fold to be.
The foldable future could not be right here but, however with each one of those releases, it comes nearer.
Pictures by Monica Chin / The Verge