Tech Lingo
ThinkPad X1 Fold (Half-folded)

Trying out the world’s first foldable PC: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold Review

Ever had trouble deciding between a tablet or a laptop? Getting a tablet brings about portability while a laptop could provide that additional processing power that you need on the go. Perhaps your choice won’t matter anymore.

ThinkPad X1 Fold Unboxed
ThinkPad X1 Fold Unboxed

Lenovo is blurring the line between tablets and laptops by releasing the world’s first foldable PC, the ThinkPad X1 Fold. We were lucky to get our hands on this hybrid device, which we were quick to nickname “tabtop” or “laplet”.

A quick rundown

Processor Intel i5- L16G7 Core Processor with Intel Hybrid Technology 3.0 GHz
OS Windows 10 Home or Pro
Graphics Integrated Intel UHD 11th Gen Graphics
Memory 8 GB LPDDR4
Storage 256 GB/ 512 GB/ 1TB PCIe-NVMe M.2 2242 SSD
WLAN & Bluetooth Wi-Fi 6 WLAN 802.11 AX
5G sub 6GHz with 4G LTE coverage (Optional)
Bluetooth 5.1
Display 13.3” Flexible QXGA OLED 4:3 (2048 x 1536, 300 nit) DCI-P3 95% Touch
WLAN & Bluetooth Wi-Fi 6 WLAN 802.11 AX

5G sub 6GHz with 4G LTE coverage (Optional)

Bluetooth 5.1

Ports 2 x USB 3.2 Type C Gen 2

1 x micro SIM card slot

Camera 5MP HD RGB + IR camera
Battery 50 Wh (Battery Life 8.5 hours MM18 & 10.4 hours video playback)
Dimensions/ Weight Unfolded: 299.4 x 236.0 x 11.5 mm (11.8” x 9.3” x .45”)

Folded: 158.2 x 236.0 x 27.8 mm (6.23” x 9.3” x 1.09”)

999g/ 2.2 lbs.

Build

Let’s start off by talking about the overall build of the ThinkPad X1 Fold. With an aluminium and magnesium structure, it certainly feels like a well-built device as it is very rigid in the hands. Furthermore, it is enclosed with an authentic black leather cover that is non-removable, further enhancing its premium looks.

ThinkPad X1 Fold Kickstand
ThinkPad X1 Fold Kickstand

The leather is not only for aesthetics purposes. Part of it can also fold out to act as a kickstand. It allows the X1 Fold to stand independently on the desk without any sort of mount. This certainly extends the various uses cases which the following User Experience section will go into more detail.

Accessories

It might be classified as accessories, but these 2 items are essential in getting a wholesome experience with the ThinkPad X1 Fold – they are the Lenovo Mod Pen (stylus) and the Lenovo Fold Mini Keyboard.

ThinkPad X1 Fold Manual
ThinkPad X1 Fold Manual

The Lenovo Mod Pen sports a removable cap to expose a USB-C charging port. With just a quick 5-minute charge, the stylus is capable of providing you with 250 minutes of use. Charging it for 2 hours should provide you with up to a month of usage.

Lenovo Fold Mini Keyboard
Lenovo Fold Mini Keyboard

On the other hand, the Lenovo Fold Mini Keyboard is a Bluetooth enabled keyboard that is light and thin enough to be nestled between a folded X1 Fold; though we did find that the keys have a rather light travel distance. The trackpad may be small but it is very responsive in our use.

Something to note is that since the keyboard layout is rather tight, some symbols would require you to hold both Fn + Shift keys to type them. For example, these symbols: | _ + { }

To pair the Lenovo Fold Mini Keyboard with the ThinkPad X1 Fold, simply press and hold the Bluetooth key for about 3 seconds.

What really impressed us about the keyboard is the ability to wirelessly charge the keyboard while being attached (magnetised) to the screen of the X1 Fold. Alternatively, you could also charge the keyboard via a Micro USB port.

Ports

What is productivity without being able to plug in your external peripherals? You would be happy to know that the X1 Fold comes equipped with 2 USB 3.2 Type C Gen 2 ports and a micro SIM card slot.

The two USB-C ports are also positioned apart from each other for good reason – so that one port is always accessible regardless of which mode you are operating the device in.

The micro-SIM card slot also provides you with a 5G (sub 6GHZ) or 4G LTE connection so that you can remain online while on the go.

The Foldable Display

ThinkPad X1 Fold (Fully Unveiled)
ThinkPad X1 Fold (Fully Unveiled)

Fully unveiled, the ThinkPad X1 Fold sports a 13.3-inch flexible QXGA OLED display at a resolution of 2048 x 1536. The screen is also capable of producing 300 nits of brightness which we found sufficient in daylight conditions.

ThinkPad X1 Fold (Half-folded)
ThinkPad X1 Fold (Half-folded)

Since the X1 Fold is capable of folding, you might be thinking that a noticeable ugly crease might show up in the center. We were rather surprised that it was not the case.

When folded 90-degrees, the screen curves pretty naturally. But of course, you may not be using it in this mode fairly often due to the odd viewing angles.

When fully unveiled, any indication of a crease in the middle is honestly barely noticeable, especially when the screen is on. This is definitely a relief as our viewing experience is not affected at all.

Lenovo also stated that the X1 Fold underwent vigorous military testing and certification (MIL-STD 810H). This was done to ensure that the screen could handle the stresses of being opened and closed thousands of times, including the effects of any object being wedged between the screen.

User Experience

The ThinkPad X1 Fold can be used in all sorts of modes. This includes using it as a tablet, laptop (full-screen) or even laptop (half-screen).

Tablet Mode

In tablet mode, the display is basically fully unveiled and you would interact with the device as you normally would do with any other tablet. The touch screen was very responsive during our day-to-day use and we had no qualms about it.

ThinkPad X1 Fold Tablet Mode with Stylus
ThinkPad X1 Fold Tablet Mode with Stylus

The Lenovo Mod Pen acts as a stylus, allowing you to handwrite on the display. In our testing, we did find that the pen is pretty responsive and a breeze to write with. However, it did have a little more friction than we were used to. This is probably due to the unique plastic-like material used on the screen to give it that flexibility. Fortunately, it did not hinder our writing as we quickly got used to it after some time.

Laptop (full-screen)

ThinkPad X1 Fold on Kickstand
ThinkPad X1 Fold on Kickstand

Now this is the mode that impressed us the most. A full-screen laptop experience can be achieved by utilising the kickstand at the back of the X1 Fold. This allows the screen to stand independently on the desk, without the need for any sort of mount.

Paired with the Lenovo Fold Mini Keyboard, it magically becomes a portable desktop-like setup with a wireless keyboard on the desk. You could even pair it up with your own wireless mouse. This is certainly our most favourite mode of all as it was the most comfortable and productive setup.

Laptop (half-screen)

Alternatively, you could fold the X1 Fold 90-degrees and magnetically attach your keyboard to the bottom of the display so it operates just like a laptop. This of course would halve the screen real estate and you would be confined to just the upper portion of the display.

We found this mode really useful for tight spaces, especially when you don’t have much table space while working in cafes or even while travelling via public transport.

ThinkPad X1 Fold Reading
ThinkPad X1 Fold Reading

You could also use the slightly folded X1 Fold as an e-reader to browse the latest news articles and e-books.

Little Quirks

Due to the unique form factor of this device, we did find that the screen is not entirely responsive system-wide. That is, there are still occasions where the screen would not automatically adjust or rotate to the current mode you are in.

For example, the screen would not resize or rotate the way you would expect on boot-time or during the first Windows setup. We highlight this because the starting screen may appear blank at times but the loading icon is actually hidden below the keyboard (if you do happen to have it magnetically attached to the bottom half of the screen). We wouldn’t say this is a problem with the device but rather a little something to take note of.

Speakers

The audio experience on the Lenovo X1 Fold was pretty average. Music playback did sound a bit flat, lacking on the low frequencies. This is probably expected for such a thin device.

Battery and Charging

The ThinkPad X1 Fold comes with a 50 Wh battery that is capable of 8.5 hours of usage or even up to 10.4 hours of video playback at 50% brightness and default volume level.

In our testing, we were only able to obtain about 5 hours of battery life while using the device in a moderate workload (i.e. a few Chrome tabs opened and music listening).

Included in the package is a 65W USB-C charger – a pretty common wattage to charge the X1 Fold.

Conclusion

As the ThinkPad X1 Fold is the first generation device of its kind, it not exactly priced affordably. As such, it may be more suited for early adopters or business customers where having a portable yet performant device is a crucial criterion.

Availability and Pricing

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold is now available in Singapore at a recommended retail starting price of S$3,700 (including GST) via the Lenovo website. You can customise it further by expanding the storage capacity to 512GB and opt for the Windows 10 Pro edition instead.

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