Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2 is bigger, better, and more powerful

Today, Lenovo announces the ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2, a product that has been in the pipeline for a long time. While the first generation largely felt proof of concept, as with many first generation products, the Gen 2 feels more refined.

Lenovo’s foldable device concept was announced in May 2019, with actual product shipping in late 2020. At the time, Microsoft was still working on the Surface Neo, and along with that, a version of Windows 10 that was designed for dual screens and foldable devices. It’s called Windows 10X. Lenovo shipped the ThinkPad X1 Fold with Windows 10 Pro, and promised to release Windows 10X later when the operating system is ready. Unfortunately, Windows 10X eventually shut down, along with Microsoft’s own Surface Neo (my own sources say the Neo is dead; no official confirmation from Microsoft).

The original ThinkPad X1 Fold has a wide range of shortcomings, and the operating system was only the first. It was one of the very few computers shipped with Intel’s Lakefield processors, which debuted the company’s hybrid technology, laying the foundation for everything it does today, but it wasn’t very good.

The ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2 comes with the right portable Intel 12th-gen processors, along with Windows 11, a larger screen, and more. It seems to fix all the pain points in the original script.

Intel 12th-gen is a game-changer

Previously used Lakefield processors were bad, really bad. Core i5-L16G7 had only five cores, and among them, only one was the performance core. It had a 7W TDP, which sounds like an old Y chip, but I’m here to tell you that it was even worse.

Foldable computer in clamshell mode

The processors in the ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2 are Intel 12th-gen U9 processors. Lenovo hasn’t confirmed the SKUs, but you’ll likely see the Core i7-1250U and Core i7-1260U, both of which are 9W 10-core chips with two P-cores, eight E cores, and a total of 12 threads.

There is also a significant increase in graphics. Iris Xe’s embedded graphics contain 96 execution units, and are clocked at 950MHz.

All this means is that while the original ThinkPad X1 Fold was more like a game that you can show your friends, this one is designed for proper productivity.

The screen is much bigger

The OLED screen is now 16.3 inches, which is a huge size compared to the original 13.3-inch screen. Still 4:3, and the new resolution is 2560 x 2,024. The reason why 4:3 is the same; If you fold the screen toward the clamshell, you get a 12-inch 3:2. It’s also impressive that the brightness comes in at 600 nits, which is always great.

ThinkPad X1 Fold in portrait mode

The larger screen also comes with a wider redesign. The screen closes close to flat now, whereas previously there was enough gap to fit the keyboard inside the folded computer. Now, there’s a little room around the edges so the screen isn’t lying on itself. The new keyboard and kickstand attach magnetically to the back of the folded computer.

You can also use the computer is more modes. You can stand horizontally, now you can stand vertically. The Bluetooth keyboard also attaches magnetically (if you wish), so it doesn’t just stand out in the open. Of course, if you fold the screen, you can put the keyboard inside, and the screen will automatically adjust to show its contents at the top.

There is a real keyboard now

The nice thing about the larger screen is that it can fit a larger keyboard. This keyboard is full size, and the 1.35mm keys are suitable. I’m told it’s the same keyboard you’ll find on the ThinkPad X1 Nano.

Top-down view of ThinkPad keyboard

The touchpad is different though. This keyboard has a tactile touchpad, much like the ThinkPad Z series. The physical buttons you usually see are replaced by tactile buttons. This means you can press them as buttons, or you can use them to get additional real estate on the touchpad.

The new keyboard is significantly different from the last. For one thing, the keyboard on the Gen 1 was much smaller, and had to fit inside a folded 13.3-inch screen. There was no trackpoint either. In fact, it was actually the only ThinkPad keyboard that didn’t include one.

The rest of the redesign

The ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2 is not covered in leather like its predecessor. The cover is now made of high-performance recycled PET woven fabric, so everything has a very different feel to it.

Angled View for ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2

There are three USB Type-C ports, two of which are Thunderbolt 4. You’ll also find a nano-SIM slot, because Lenovo is once again offering 5G options for the ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2.

The webcam is 5 megapixels, which is really cool. Combined with an infrared camera for facial recognition, Lenovo uses an Intel Visual Sensing Controller (VSC) to automatically adjust orientation, so no matter which way you look at it, you have to unlock your PC.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2 Pricing and Availability

If you are really looking forward to getting the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2, you don’t have to wait for long. It will be available in November.

It wouldn’t be cheap though. It will start at $2,499. While that sounds pricey, it’s the same price as the original ThinkPad X1 Fold. Given that the price of computers is increasing across the board, the price can be considered some improvement.


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