Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold (2022): Review: Laptops

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BERLIN (Pocket-lint) – When flexible displays first hit the market, they appeared in smartphones. Either in flip phones like the Razr and Galaxy Z Flip or larger book-like phones like the Oppo Find N or the Galaxy Fold series.

At IFA 2022, however, it became clearer than ever that manufacturers see this technology as applicable to other devices. From laptops to gaming monitors, phone makers aren’t the only ones getting in on the flexible act.

We’ve had brief hands-on experience with Lenovo’s latest second-generation Thinkpad X1 Fold, and we think it’s one of the finest implementations of this technology in a laptop yet.

Our quick review

The appeal of the X1 Fold is undeniable. This is an interesting approach to using flexible and collapsible billboards. There aren’t many such devices yet, and it’s one of the neatest implementations we’ve seen so far.

However, there’s no denying that with a price well over the $2,000 mark in the US (with prices starting at $2,499). This is a new technology and of course the price is high. But that’s a lot of money to ask for a technology that still appears to be in its experimental phase.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold (2022): First review: The smooth and flexible laptop in your hands.

To

  • Neat and compact when folded
  • large and bright screen when open
  • Premium performance and ports.
Against

  • It is very expensive
  • It’s still experimental technology that won’t appeal to many people.
  • The keyboard is an additional option.

Design

  • 176.2 x 276.2 x 17.4 mm (folded)
  • 345.7 x 276.2 x 8.6 mm (unfolded)
  • Weight 1.3 kg
  • Magnesium alloy frame, recycled PET plastic fabric cover

The first thing that strikes you about the design of the X1 Fold is its practicality. Unlike Asus’ large foldable OLED machine, Lenovo’s ThinkPad-branded unit is compact and easy to carry when folded, taking up roughly the space of a mini-laptop.

Its recycled and woven outer layer gives it a tactile feel that makes it comfortable to hold, and the fact that it can be magnetically clipped onto the optional keyboard and stand (optional) means it can be tucked away in just about any bag. It almost feels like carrying around a real laptop in its folded form.

Pocket lintLenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold photo 5

Opening it up reveals a 16-inch screen with auto-rotation that lets you use the device in portrait or landscape mode, or you can fold it to an angle, attach a keyboard to the bottom half of the screen, and use it as a small laptop. The key word here is therefore: versatility.

It doesn’t have quite the polished, polished look and design of an ultrabook, but there’s no denying the practicality of finding the benefits of a large screen, but in a package that reduces size for easy portability.

Pocket lintLenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold image 4

When closed, it closes almost completely flush, meaning the form factor is practically as compact as Lenovo has gotten.

Screen

  • 16.3-inch 4:3 foldable OLED panel
  • 2560 x 2024 – HDR support – 600 nits
  • 12 inch size when folded

Given the form factor and open/closed nature of the X1 Fold, the screen is an inherent part of its design, but it’s also engineered to provide a very good viewing experience.

Having an OLED panel means very vivid colors, deep black levels, high contrast and good brightness. It’s hard to get a real feel for the quality of the screen with a short hands-on experience, but colors looked really vibrant.

Pocket lintLenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold photo 9

Our only concern when we see it in the flesh is that the soft plastic surface covering the screen is quite reflective, so any nearby bright light sources can reflect off the screen very visibly.

But as we mentioned, it’s the screen’s versatility and functionality that matter most here. Being able to rotate the screen to portrait mode and use it for example to write a text document and then rotate it to landscape mode to view media is something you can’t do on a normal laptop. Likewise, you usually can’t fit a massive 16-inch machine into a small bag.

Pocket lintLenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold photo 1

The computer also has other advantages, such as the ability to hold it like a book and have a split screen, or use it at an angle and use a touch keyboard to type. It also supports pen input, so with the latter, optional keyboard and touchscreen, there’s no shortage of input options.

Hardware, performance and ports

  • 12th generation Intel Core (up to i7)
  • Intel Iris X graphics card
  • Up to 32 GB LPDDR5 RAM
  • Up to 1 TB of PCIe Gen 4 storage
  • 2 Thunderbolt 4 USB-C 3.2 ports

Of course, it is impossible to get an idea about the performance of a laptop or a PC in everyday life. However, it looks like the X1 Fold should have everything it needs to deliver a responsive and efficient experience.

It is powered by the latest 12th Intel Core processor that can be configured up to Core i7 and paired with Intel’s Iris X graphics card. You can also get up to 32GB of RAM and 1TB of storage, so you have all the memory you need.

Pocket lintLenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold photo 7

It has a pair of USB-C 3.2 ports with Thunderbolt 4 support, which helps speed up data transfers and display output.

To sum up

The appeal of the X1 Fold is undeniable. This is an interesting approach to using flexible and collapsible billboards. There aren’t many such devices yet, and it’s one of the neatest implementations we’ve seen so far.

Written by Cam Bunton.

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