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Hands-on: Lenovo’s second foldable PC addresses the first’s biggest problems

by Ozva Admin
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 foldable 16-inch
Enlarge / Lenovo ThinkPad X1 foldable 16-inch.

Scharon Harding

Lenovo is giving the foldable PC a second chance. The next 16-inch Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold announced today attempts to improve 2020 foldable ThinkPad X1 with a larger screen, more powerful specifications and an operating system more suitable for multitasking through the flexible OLED touch screen.

I tested the Windows 11 PC before its expected launch in November and it improved the weaknesses of the original 13.3-inch foldable ThinkPad X1.

The new Fold folds more securely than before, its operating system is better suited to dual screens, and improved specs give it more potential for business use. Lenovo may finally have the pieces needed for a natural-feeling, desirable foldable Windows experience.

Larger folding screen

Lenovo’s upcoming foldable PC has a screen that measures 16.3 inches diagonally when fully open at 2024×2560 pixels. The original ThinkPad X1 Fold used a 13.3-inch 2048×1536 OLED screen.

The new ThinkPad X1 Fold has a higher pixel density than its predecessor (200.2 pixels per inch vs. 192.4 ppi).
Enlarge / The new ThinkPad X1 Fold has a higher pixel density than its predecessor (200.2 pixels per inch vs. 192.4 ppi).

Scharon Harding

Compared to the 13.3-inch screen, the 16.3-inch screen immediately gave me more flexibility when displaying multiple windows. The extra screen real estate was also nice for watching videos, though the 4:3 aspect ratio meant decently thick black bars with most modern video content.

Using magnets, the optional but sometimes necessary folding stand seemed to have a secure connection to the PC, whether the system was fully open in landscape or portrait mode.

Lenovo will sell the keyboard and they will stay together but separate from the PC.
Enlarge / Lenovo will sell the keyboard and they will stay together but separate from the PC.

Scharon Harding

When I set the 16.3-inch device vertically, it provided a unique long view for current news or social media. It fit an impressive amount of text on the screen when viewing a newspaper-like document.

The 16-inch ThinkPad X1 Fold in one of its unique forms.
Enlarge / The 16-inch ThinkPad X1 Fold in one of its unique forms.

Scharon Harding

Despite having a 22 percent larger screen than its predecessor, Lenovo’s 16-inch ThinkPad X1 Fold didn’t seem much more cumbersome to carry. In fact, it felt much less clunky than carrying around the typical folding laptop in this size class.

The new PC has a 25 percent slimmer chassis than the 13.3-inch ThinkPad X1 Fold. It is 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 clamshell folds in half and the bottom half is covered with Lenovo’s magnetically attached ThinkPad keyboard.

You can use the keyboard as a regular wireless keyboard or dock it to the bottom half of the screen.
Enlarge / You can use the keyboard as a regular wireless keyboard or dock it to the bottom half of the screen.

Scharon Harding

The use of a larger folding screen 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 described a bell-shaped hinge system that “allows the foldable OLED panel to fold flat in both open and closed settings, resulting in a slimmer system.” According to reports, more than 200 parts move simultaneously when folding and unfolding the PC.

In action, the hinge felt sturdy and required a fair amount of force to shift the PC’s position. She didn’t look like she would move unless I wanted her to. How well that hinge can withstand heavy use will, of course, be a major factor in the success of this foldable. Lenovo said that it uses the MIL-STD-810H testing standards for the PC.

“A new display interface has been developed, which folds the non-active area, improving durability and allowing for slimmer bezels,” Lenovo said in its announcement. Screen bezels are “no larger than” 0.39 inches (10 mm), depending on the vendor.

“The hybrid shutter frame has also been redesigned with the multiple benefits of slimness, more room for antennas, and simplified field service.”

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