Lenovo’s second-generation X1 Fold may be a game-changer that wasn’t the first

I reviewed Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Fold, the first computer with a foldable screen, in late 2020. At the time, it was a pretty cool idea, but not particularly, if we’d say usable. Today, Lenovo announced its second launch in this, the “next generation” ThinkPad X1 Fold. I spent a few minutes with the device, and let me tell you: I’m more optimistic about this device.

Much of the new X1 Fold will be familiar to fans of not only the previous X1 Fold, but the ThinkPad line in general. The device is equipped with the series’ standard black and red color scheme, with the primary ThinkPad X1 logo on the cover. There’s a ThinkPad-style keyboard with a trackpoint and inverted T-shaped arrow keys. It’s well built, powerful, and elegant.

But some changes were made, and I think they were the right ones.

Pretty much every major issue I had with the original X1 Fold was due, in some way, to its 13.3-inch size. It was nice to use as a 13-inch tablet, but when folded into laptop mode (an option that’s a big part of the appeal of foldable screens like this), it was too small to be practical for everyday use.

The second generation device is 16 inches, an increase of 22 percent in size. (It’s also 25 percent thinner than the previous model.) Having played with the new device, I think it is more practical. The screen is clearly large enough that I can move around my usual workflow and open several tabs side by side.

Lenovo says this is the lightest 16-inch commercial laptop available at £2.82.

The larger chassis also allows for a larger keyboard. The 2020 X1 Fold’s keyboard was well-made but had to fit horizontally across the 13.3-inch, which meant it was really narrow. Some keys had as many as four characters crammed into them, and I had to press three at a time to bring up the question mark.

This new keyboard deck (which attaches magnetically to the lower half of the chassis when folded into laptop mode) is full-size and backlit. I can write on it as I usually write. The keys felt ThinkPad quality. Needless to say, I Many prefer this.

While we’re talking about the deck, there’s also a haptic touchpad on this thing. We’re starting to see more of these across Lenovo’s more compact ThinkPads, including the ultra-thin Z-Series. I often find them to be a little thinner than other trackpads, but this looks good. I’ll need more time with her to get a full impression.

However, this touchpad bar is So a little. The first generation was barely big enough to scroll, let alone move around regularly. This is a clear improvement due to size alone.

ThinkPad X1 Fold in tablet mode with Bluetooth keyboard in the display area.  The screen displays a vortex image.

It makes a very beautiful picture.

Inside, the X1 Fold is powered by 12th-generation Core i5 or i7 processors with integrated graphics and optional support for the Intel vPro business platform. Lenovo hasn’t specified the exact models that will be available, but ThinkPads tend to be endlessly configurable to the point of putting pressure on me.

You’ll be able to get up to 1TB of SSD storage and up to 32GB of DDR5 memory, with the option of Windows 11 Home or Windows 11 Pro. There is an optional Wacom stylus, which attaches magnetically to the chassis. The screen is a 16.3-inch OLED 2024 x 2560 touchscreen that shrinks to 12 inches when folded.

There’s a 48Wh battery (with an “optional extra 16Wh based on configuration”) and no battery life estimate yet, which… scares me a bit, because the first X1 Fold gave me less than five hours to charge and had a 50Wh battery. . Asus’s 17.3-inch Zenbook 17 Fold, which was also announced this week, showed a foldable OLED Can Be able to break six hours. We have to see that.

ThinkPad X1 Fold opens in left-hand corner laptop position.  The screen shows a pastoral night scene.

Use it this way on your lap and open it to your desk.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold seen from below, closed, in the display area.

Oh look, it even has an outlet.

In the short time I’ve used this device to move around Chrome and watch some videos, it seemed to work well enough. This is a very good sign. I had a great time using the first generation X1 Fold, but there were all kinds of holes in the experience, especially with the onscreen keyboard. I’m looking forward to seeing how Windows 11 performs in this new chassis, where (unlike some other laptop manufacturers) Lenovo isn’t known to ship catchy software left and right.

ThinkPad X1 Fold is seen from the right side in the display area.

They weren’t lying – it’s not thick!

Then there’s the elephant in the room: the price.

This device, if you had not guessed, is not going to be cheap. It’s expected to hit shelves in November, with a starting price of $2,499. Note that the stylus and keyboard were not included on the 13-inch model, and those added $250 to the price.

This, interestingly, is the same price as the 13-inch model (and this is a larger, thinner, and generally more usable device). It’s significantly cheaper than the Zenbook 17 Fold at $3499.99, and it’s the only foldable device close to this size we’ve seen so far this year.

This may ultimately be a much better deal for foldable buyers than the 17-inch Fold — but of course, we haven’t been able to test the thing extensively yet, so there could be all kinds of catches.

Lenovo X1 Fold closed from above on a white table.

I don’t expect this device to be perfect. Even if Lenovo does everything it can here, the experience of using the device may have a lot to do with how well other companies can get their software to work with it.

But while Lenovo representatives were guiding me through this device, I felt they were really excited about it. I think they understood exactly the limits of a 13-inch foldable and were happy to have a larger foldable screen. Perhaps in this new form factor, Lenovo could finally make the flagship device they wanted to be the X1 Fold.

The foldable future may not be here yet, but with each of these releases, it’s getting closer.

Photography by Monica Chen/The Verge

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