Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold Review: the future is here, sort of

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold Review: the future is here, sort of

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold is a 2-in-1 hybrid laptop; a laptop with a touchscreen or a tablet with a keyboard – however you look at it But it’s not your average hybrid, this one has a folding screen.

The future, William Gibson has already observed, is already here: it is simply not very evenly distributed. This is absolutely true when it comes to the new technology of folding screens. We’ve seen foldable phones from Samsung and Xiaomi, as well as prototypes of other devices from companies like LG that use flexible displays in a variety of devices, but Lenovo is the first to put one in a laptop that’s available in trade.

The ThinkPad X1 Fold features a 13.3-inch display that folds down smaller than the latest iPad, or roughly the size of a paperback, and weighs just 2.2 lbs (0.99 kg). It’s a fully-functional, lightweight Windows laptop that you can really take anywhere, but portability comes with a trade-off: the screen is rather dark and the small keyboard and trackpad are far away. to be ideal.

It’s cool? Yes very. Should you buy one? Not necessarily. Although it is a smart device, it is the first of its kind and better folding screens, with less compromise, are likely to follow.

Laptop screens are just not meant to bend, so it takes some getting used to.

(Image credit: Lenovo)

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold Review: Price and Release Date

The Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Fold was released in November 2020 and starts at $ 2,499. The configuration we tested (Intel i5 processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD) is priced at $ 2,749, including the optional Bluetooth keyboard and stylus.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold Review: Design and Build

This keyboard is also thin enough to fit between the two halves of the folded screen, producing a convenient and portable package, about the size of a thin paperback. The wraparound leather case makes it much easier to take and carry than a Surface Pro or other non-folding tablet.

Let’s start with the basics: yes, the screen folds and you can’t see the crease. Fold it into the tablet setup and you get the full 13.3-inch OLED display with no visible creases or seams – this is a flat sheet of OLED display. This 2048 x 1536-pixel display has great colors, but isn’t very bright: we measured it at a maximum of just under 300 cd / m2. Look at this in direct sunlight, and you will only see shadows.

In this unfolded position, the X1 looks more like a Surface Pro but with slightly thicker bezels. The screen is also recessed into this bezel frame to protect it when folded closed. However, he doesn’t feel like he’s protected. The touchscreen has a pretty tough plastic cover – we couldn’t scratch it with the stylus or a set of keys.

Folding the screen turns it into two separate screens.

(Image credit: Lenovo)

You can hold the tablet on your desk with the output stand built into the leather back cover, and there are two USB-C 3.2 ports: one on the left short side and one on the lower long side. It’s a nice touch which means you can use the 45 watt charger included with the tablet in landscape or portrait mode.

The hinge which allows this folding is concealed behind the case and the frame of the bezel. It feels sturdy and keeps the screen in any position between flat and fully closed. There are no obvious gaps behind the screen, but dirt could find its way between the laptop and the case over time.

Fold the screen halfway down and the Lenovo Mode Switcher app kicks in, turning it into a dual-screen laptop where you can watch a video on one screen and run a chat app on the other, or use the lower half as a tactile keyboard. You can also drop the optional small Bluetooth keyboard on top of the lower display, where magnets hold it in place, turning it into a laptop with a single 9.6-inch display.

The keyboard is suitable for something so thin. The keys are small and require virtually no movement, and due to their compact size, some characters can only be accessed through unusual combinations. The question mark, for example, is relegated to the unusual combination of Fn-Shift-Period.

The keyboard also has a small touchpad, just large enough for single-digit operation. The keyboard connects via bluetooth and you have to remember to turn it on with a little switch on the right edge. Next to that, there’s a micro-USB port for charging the keyboard battery: a USB-C port would have been a better choice, as that would mean one less cable to carry around. We found the keyboard’s battery to be good for a few days of use, but doesn’t alert you when it’s about to run out.

When closed, the X1 Fold is smaller than an iPad.

(Image credit: Lenovo)

Examen du Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold: performances

Unfortunately, the X1 Fold is quite pedestrian when it comes to processing power. While the 1.4GHz Lakefield i5 processor and 8GB of non-scalable RAM are adequate for basic tasks like web browsing or word processing, it struggled with more complex tasks like sheets. complex calculations or games. He could pretty much handle a Rimworld game, but he began to struggle when things got tough with several settlers and villains on screen.

The Lakefield processor is a bit unusual, with five cores: four low power and one high power, more similar to the standard desktop processor core. The idea is that the four cores perform the simple tasks of normal use, while the high-powered processor steps in when needed.

This saves power, but the downside is that the X1 Fold is not a fast PC: it managed a PC Mark 10 score of just 2477. The contrast to the XPS 13’s latest score of 4241 underscores that the X1 will not reduce it for serious work.

The only hardware upgrade available upon purchase is to increase the SSD capacity to 512GB or 1TB. We would definitely like to see an option for the H series processors which are used in the Yoga line.

With the keyboard placed on the lower half of the screen, it functions like a 9 inch laptop.

(Image credit: Lenovo)

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold review: software

The ThinkPad X1 Fold ships with Windows 10 Home, although 10 Pro is also available as an upgrade. It includes the Lenovo Mode Switcher app, which controls the screen layout based on how the screen is folded. This can be overridden if necessary, forcing the device to full screen, dual screens, or one screen.

It was a mixed bag when it came to working with other apps. Microsoft Office handled a change in screen size and shape when changing position with ease, like most 2D games we’ve tried. Some apps, however, have refused to cooperate with such screen shenanigans.

No app we could find really took advantage of dual-screen mode – everything just worked on one screen or the other when the device was folded. It’s an interesting tip, but the real benefits will come when you can actually use both screens. Imagine a video editing app, for example, that uses the top screen for a large preview and the bottom one for editing tools.

Honestly, what this device is waiting for is Windows X, the next version of Windows designed for multi-monitor and flexible devices. This was delayed due to Covid, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this device was relaunched when Windows X finally arrived.

The X1 Fold also includes Lenovo Voice, their own text-to-speech and translation app, but that requires you to buy “translation time” to do something interesting. A selection of business apps for doing things like asset management is also included.

Some programs adapt to the folding of the screen.

(Image credit: Lenovo)

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold review: screen and speakers

It takes a while to understand how strange it is to take a pill and fold it in half. Don’t try this with your iPad or Surface Pro, my friends. Even when folded, the screen has an incredibly flat lighting, as the OLED backlight is built into the screen itself. It lacks brightness, however, reaching just under 300 candelas per square meter (cd / m2). Look at it in direct sunlight and it is barely visible. The OLED display has decent colors, but there’s no HDR, no wide color gamut, and no display rate above 60Hz. It does bend, but somehow it does. This is a simple and standard 13.3 inch laptop screen.

Two small speakers on one edge of the case provide the sounds. These produce moderately loud sounds, but rather flat and tinny. Most tablets or laptops place speakers on either side of the screen to create stereo separation, but the X1 only has mono speakers on one side of the screen. This makes for a somewhat rambling movie watching experience.

The X1’s speakers are on one side of the device, providing a mono experience.

(Image credit: Lenovo)

Test du Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold: batterie

Half of the bulk of the X1 fold is the battery; a slim 10.1 Wh Li-ion device in the right side of the foldable body that offers pretty standard battery life. In our testing it lasted 7 hours 34 minutes using the PC Mark 10 Video battery test with a screen set to 200 cd / m2. With the more strenuous Modern Office benchmark that performs a series of common tasks, that dropped to 6 hours and 15 minutes. It’s comparable to the Dell XPS 13, which managed 7 hours, 35 minutes for video and 6 hours 16 minutes for Modern Office.

The lower half of the screen can also be used as a touchscreen keyboard when folded.

(Image credit: Lenovo)

Examen du Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold: Conclusion

If you’re going to spend over $ 2,500 on a laptop, it has to do some fancy things. The Thinkpad X1 Fold does just that, with a folding display that will impress anyone who sees it. The process almost seems to defy logic the first few times you do it: tablets just aren’t meant to do it. But being the first isn’t always the best: Most buyers should expect the follow-up model in about a year when folding displays are a more standard feature and get better Windows X support.

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