Lenovo is giving the foldable PC a second chance. The upcoming Lenovo 16-inch ThinkPad X1 Fold announced today tries to improve ThinkPad X1 Fold 2020 with a bigger screen, more powerful specs and an operating system better suited to multitasking on the foldable OLED touchscreen.
I Tried the Windows 11 PC Ahead of Its Scheduled November Launch, and It Improved on the Original’s Weaknesses 13.3-inch foldable ThinkPad X1.
The new Fold folds more securely than before, its operating system is more suitable for dual screens and its improved specifications give it greater potential for professional use. Lenovo can finally have the necessary parts for a desirable and natural foldable Windows experience.
Larger foldable screen
Lenovo’s next foldable PC has a screen that measures 16.3 inches diagonally when fully open with 2024×2560 pixels. The original ThinkPad X1 Fold used a 13.3-inch, 2048×1536 OLED display.
Compared to the 13.3-inch screen, the 16.3-inch screen immediately gave me more flexibility when viewing multiple windows. The extra screen real estate was also nice for watching videos, although the 4:3 aspect ratio meant fairly thick black bars with most modern video content.
Using magnets, the optional, but sometimes necessary, foldable stand seemed to have a secure connection to the PC whether the system was fully open in landscape or portrait mode.
When I set the 16.3-inch device upright, it provided a unique long-range fit for current news or social media feeds. It matched an overwhelming amount of text on the screen when I saw a newspaper-like document on it.
Despite having a 22% larger screen than its predecessor, Lenovo’s 16-inch ThinkPad X1 Fold didn’t seem much bulkier to carry around. In fact, it was a lot less clumsy than carrying around the typical clamshell laptop in this size class.
The new PC has a 25% thinner chassis than the 13.3-inch ThinkPad X1 Fold. It measures 0.34 inches (8.6 mm) thick when open and 0.69 inches (17.4 mm) thick when folded, compared to 0.5 inches (11.5 mm ) and 1.1 inches (27.8 mm), respectively, with the first fold.
The 16.3-inch screen also allows for a 12-inch clamshell experience, where the foldable is folded in half and the bottom half is covered with Lenovo’s magnetically attached ThinkPad keyboard.
Using a larger foldable display required a redesign of the hinge and the panel, which is now attached to the spine, allowing it to flatten under the chassis when unfolded.
Lenovo’s announcement describes a bell-shaped hinge system that “allows the foldable OLED panel to be folded flat in both open and closed scenarios, resulting in a slimmer system.” More than 200 parts would move simultaneously when folding and unfolding the PC.
In action, the hinge felt solid and required a good amount of force to move the positioning of the PC. It didn’t look like he would move unless I wanted him to. The ability of this hinge to withstand heavy use will, of course, be a big factor in the success of this foldable. Lenovo said it used MIL-STD-810H testing standards for the PC.
“A new display interface has been developed that flexes the non-active area, improving durability and allowing for thinner bezels,” Lenovo said in its announcement. The screen bezels are “no more than” 0.39 inches (10mm), according to the vendor.
“The hybrid shutter frame has also been redesigned with the multiple benefits of thinness, more space for antennas, and simplified field maintenance.”