Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold hands-on: Big upgrades inside and out

For 2022, the new ThinkPad X1 Fold features a brand new design and a much larger 16.3-inch flexible display.
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As the first laptop with a flexible OLED display, Original ThinkPad X1 Folding It was incredibly ambitious. It was also very experimental. While the concept showed potential, its software, performance and design were clearly not ready for prime time. But almost two years later, Lenovo is back with a second attempt and has made some serious generational leaps.

The first major upgrade on the new X1 Fold is Sharp’s larger 16.3-inch OLED display. Not only does it have a slightly higher 2.5K resolution, but the larger size means you have significantly more screen space. But more importantly, when folded, you now have a device closer to a 12-inch laptop, rather than a 10-inch system like the previous model. This should make the X1 Fold much more practical when space is an issue, such as when working on an airplane without feeling cramped.

On top of that, Lenovo redesigned the X1 Fold’s Bluetooth keyboard. It now uses the same keys as the ThinkPad X1 Nano so you get longer and more comfortable operation, plus it has a new fingerprint sensor that works with Windows Hello. And while in laptop mode it continues to dock the keyboard on top of the bottom half of the Fold, it also magnetically attaches to the base of the system when resting on its included stand, which supports both landscape and portrait orientation.

Another big change is that instead of storing the keyboard inside the Fold, it magnetically attaches to the stand, making it a single piece that is easier to manage. So, when you need to pack, all you have to do is tilt the stand forward until it snaps into the keyboard, double the Fold, and then slam everything together. Lenovo says this change was made in response to feedback from customers who preferred to use the system as a portable all-in-one rather than a convertible laptop. And because there’s no longer room for the keyboard inside the system, Lenovo was able to install a new folding hinge so everything is sleeker and more compact. It’s like the X1 Fold has spent the last two years going to the gym and donning a new, tailored suit.

In addition to a new design, the 2022 ThinkPad X1 Fold features outer panels made from recycled plastic bottles.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

For the next generation, Lenovo also wanted to improve the serviceability of the Fold so it was easier to replace things like the SSD, batteries, and other components in the field. Unfortunately, the X1 Fold still isn’t water resistant, but it should still be pretty rugged, as the Fold has undergone the same mil-spec 810G testing required on other ThinkPads. And despite a significantly larger screen than its predecessor, the new X1 Fold weighs just 2.8 pounds, but when you factor in the revamped stand and keyboard, you’re looking at a kit close to 4.2 pounds.

I also appreciate some of Lenovo’s little touches like the addition of a third USB-C port (two of them support Thunderbolt 4) and an improved location for the Fold’s 5MP IR webcam to be more useful. Lenovo has even added a third speaker so you can enjoy full stereo sound with Dolby Atmos support regardless of orientation.

Gallery: Hands-on photos of the 2022 Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold | 5 Photos

As for performance, we’re seeing a serious jump in processing power with the Fold supporting a 12th-gen Intel Core i7 U-series CPU, 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD while still having a completely fanless design. For those concerned about the short battery life on the previous model, Lenovo has made room for an optional 16 Wh power cell to supplement the standard 48 Wh battery. And since Windows 11 has much better support for various layouts and window capture compared to Windows 10, everything felt significantly smoother and more responsive from my short time with the new X1 Fold.

So while I should point out that this is still a pre-production device, I really like what I’ve seen so far from the new X1 Fold. But to get a real idea of ​​how this thing will continue, we’ll have to wait a little longer until it starts at $2,800 in Q4.

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