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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold hands-on: A foldable mega tablet!

NextPit lenovo thinkpad x1 fold stand
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With the ThinkPad X1 Fold, did Lenovo present a foldable tablet or an all-screen notebook at IFA 2022? No matter what you call the new product category, the ThinkPad X1 Fold is fun and impressive in our first hands-on. In this first mini review, we reveal what we particularly liked—and what we did not like at all.

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Good

  • Gigantic display in a compact format
  • Versatile use is possible thanks to its ingenious stand
  • Great, bright screen without a crease

Bad

  • Short battery life
  • Heavy case
  • Expensive

Design and display

Whether it looks like a notebook on the table, like a newspaper on the sofa, or in portrait or landscape format on the stand: The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold looks like something that was pulled out from a science fiction movie, as if it had been cut straight out of the Star Trek universe.  But the big question remains: Is the format a gimmick or really suitable for everyday use?


What I liked:

  • Enormously flexible usage scenarios.
  • Appears to be solidly manufactured.
  • Strong science fiction factor.

What I disliked:

  • Heavy and relatively thick.

When folded close, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 looks a lot like a netbook from the 00s - plastic as far as the eye can see, relatively heavy at just under 1.3 kilograms and quite thick at 1.74 centimeters. However, the plastic feels high quality like its ThinkPad predecessors, and opening it makes for wide eyes.

The 16.3-inch screen is simply gigantic and beautiful to look at thanks to OLED technology. The generous resolution of 2560 x 2024 pixels as well as the maximum brightness of 600 nits (HDR) or 400 nits (SDR) naturally help here, as do the bezels that have shrunk considerably compared to its two-year-old predecessor. When opened, the ThinkPad X1 also feels much more modern with a thickness of 8.6 millimeters.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold
The ThinkPad X1 Fold is a huge tablet when opened. / © NextPit

It is also pleasing that Lenovo offers a sophisticated stand for the mega-foldable. You can place the tablet on it in landscape or portrait mode - and also bend it for a vertical "curved" effect in the latter case. Finally, you can magnetically attach the optionally available keyboard to the bottom of the stand, and you can build a desktop computer within seconds.

Of course, you can also simply place the device on the table like a conventional notebook and split the screen if desired. You can watch a soccer game on the top and follow the social media comments on the bottom - just the type of stuff you can do with a foldable. Since typing on a virtual keyboard is not much fun, you can place the aforementioned keyboard on the lower part of the ThinkPad X1 Fold, and you are sitting with a "normal" 12-inch notebook with a physical keyboard.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold
The hinge looks solid and prevents the formation of an overly conspicuous crease. / © NextPit

And what else is there? Lie down on the sofa with the thing and use it as a 16-inch tablet - Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra says hello. Or open it up like a newspaper, although the heavy weight will probably spoil the fun at some point.

Speaking of Galaxy tablets: The accessories for the ThinkPad X1 Fold also include a stylus, which is of course perfectly suited for writing, drawing, marking, etc. on the large screen - and which is magnetically attached to the side of the case.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold
You can either attach the keyboard magnetically to the bottom of the stand or place it on the lower half of the display when you place the ThinkPad X1 Fold on the table like a "normal" notebook. / © NextPit

Performance and battery

1he Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold costs over $3.000. However, you do not receive top performance at that price point, but hardware from the mid-range segment and probably a pretty mediocre battery life.


What I liked:

  • Optionally available as 5G version.
  • Decent computing power in a slim case...

What I disliked:

  • ... but you get much more performance for > $2,500 otherwise.
  • Probably a short battery life.

Lenovo offers the ThinkPad X1 Fold with two different processors: with i5 or i7 options from the 12th generation. The corresponding Intel Iris Xe onboard graphics solution should do well in everyday use, but it will not be sufficient for demanding games in combination with the processors. There is no upgrade option, but depending on the configuration, up to 32 GB of RAM and a maximum of 1 TB of SSD storage are available under the hood.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold
Have you always wanted a notebook with a portrait display? Then you've come to the right place! / © NextPit

There are also compromises in the battery: Power storage is not particularly large with 48 Wh and offers quick-charging at 65 watts. According to the manufacturer, 30 minutes of charging time is enough to deliver four hours of runtime. Unfortunately, there is no information about the runtime with a fully charged battery in the press materials. Spoiler alert: According to Adam Riese, it will not be much longer than four hours. Nevertheless, you can optionally configure the ThinkPad X1 Fold with a more powerful 64 Wh battery.

In terms of connectivity, the ThinkPad X1 Fold is average even from an Apple user's perspective. There are just three USB-C ports on the chassis, two of which support Thunderbolt 4.0—and c'est ça. If you were to configure the 5G version, there is also a micro-SIM slot. Speaking of wireless: Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 are part of the deal as standard. Finally, there's a 5-megapixel webcam for video calls.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold is definitely fun - but you should not expect performance fireworks. / © NextPit

Early Verdict

Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Fold impresses with its versatile concept even though the foldable tablet still looks rather thick, and is clunky and heavy. It does not help that the pre-production device we tested still runs rather clumsily in parts. A detailed test will show whether the folding concept works in everyday use or is primarily a flashy gimmick.

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