The foldable trend isn’t limited to smartphones. While Samsung holds down the fort in mobile, Lenovo’s once again trying to make foldable PCs a thing with a new ThinkPad X1 Fold.
Second-generation — The second-generation X1 Fold has the bells and whistles an expensive laptop should have in 2022, but the important changes Lenovo made are to the actual design of the device and how it hopes people will use it. The original X1 Fold from 2020 is very much a proof of concept. Thick bezels, a smaller 13.3-inch screen, and Windows 10 meant that while Lenovo was definitely onto something, it wasn’t a perfect experience.
Two years later, and hopefully wiser, the new ThinkPad X1 Fold seems to get a fair bit closer. The OLED screen is 16.3 inches and 4:3. It’s “22 percent larger” than the previous foldable PC and in a body that’s 25 percent lighter and has smaller 10mm bezels. The device is thinner, too — 8.6mm unfolded and 17.4mm folded — making for an overall package that certainly seems more “finished” than the previous X1 Fold.
Inside, the foldable has either a 12th Gen Intel Core i5 or i7, up to 32GB of LPDDR5 RAM, and up to 1TB of storage. For ports, there’s even three USB-C slots, two of which are Thunderbolt 4 compatible. The X1 Fold can work entirely on its own thanks to its touchscreen, but like last time, there’s also the option for a detachable ThinkPad keyboard with a built-in trackpad or a magnetic stylus for writing and sketching, to complete the experience.
Folding it — Lenovo imagines the ThinkPad X1 Fold being used in a variety of different ways, some more obvious than others. Folded into a clamshell laptop with the keyboard snapped onto the bottom half of the screen; partially folded into a “book;” unfolded into landscape with the 16.3-inch display fully-usable; rotated into portrait for long web pages and text documents; or just unfolded sans-keyboard for a giant tablet experience.
None seem as entirely natural as a normal desktop computer, laptop, or tablet do, but the point is the ThinkPad X1 Fold is the most flexible (physically and conceptually) device that Lenovo sells. Considering that Asus introduced its own attempt at creating a foldable computer earlier this year, there’s clearly some interest in Lenovo’s general direction. The ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2 seems like a good case that there’s a future in this category, albeit a slightly awkward one.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold will be available in November for $2,499.