Lenovo is giving the foldable PC a second chance. Lenovo’s upcoming 16-inch ThinkPad X1 Fold today announced attempts to improve on 2020’s ThinkPad X1 Fold with a larger screen, more powerful specs, and an operating system better suited to multitasking via the bendable OLED touchscreen.
I tried the Windows 11 PC ahead of its expected November launch and it improved on the weaknesses of the original 13.3-inch ThinkPad X1 Fold.
The new Fold folds more securely than before, its operating system is better suited for dual screens, and improved specifications give it greater potential for business use. Lenovo may finally have the parts needed for a desirable, natural foldable Windows experience.
Bigger foldable screen
Lenovo’s next foldable PC has a 16.3-inch diagonal screen when fully open with 2024 × 2560 pixels. The original ThinkPad X1 Fold used a 13.3-inch, 2048×1536 OLED screen.
Compared to the 13.3-inch screen, the 16.3-inch display immediately gave me more flexibility in viewing multiple windows. The extra screen real estate was also good for watching videos, although the 4:3 aspect ratio meant decently thick black bars with most modern video content.
Using magnets, the foldable’s optional but sometimes necessary kickstand appeared to have a secure connection to the PC whether the system was fully open in landscape or portrait mode.
When I placed the 16.3-inch device in a vertical position, it offered a uniquely long view that was perfect for running news or a social media feed. It fit an impressive amount of on-screen text when I was looking at a newspaper-like document on it.
Though Lenovo’s 16-inch ThinkPad X1 Fold had a 22 percent larger screen than its predecessor, it didn’t feel much more cumbersome to carry. In fact, it felt a lot less clunky than lugging around a typical clamshell laptop in this size range.
The new PC has a 25 percent thinner chassis than the 13.3-inch ThinkPad X1 Fold. It is 0.34 inches (8.6mm) thick when open and 0.69 inches (17.4mm) thick when folded, compared to 0.5 inches (11.5mm) and .1.1 inch (27.8 mm) at the first fold.
The 16.3-inch screen also allows for a 12-inch clamshell experience, where the foldable is bent in half and the bottom half is covered with Lenovo’s magnetically attached ThinkPad keyboard.
Using a larger foldable screen required redesigning the hinge and the plate, which now attaches to the spine to allow it to flatten under the case when unfolded.
Lenovo’s announcement detailed a bell-shaped hinge system that “allows the foldable OLED panel to fold flat in both open and closed scenarios, resulting in a thinner system.” More than 200 parts are reported to move simultaneously as the PC folds and unfolds.
In action, the hinge felt sturdy and required a healthy amount of force to shift the PC’s positioning. It didn’t seem like it would move unless I wanted it to. Of course, how well this hinge stands up to heavy use will be a big factor in how successful this foldable device is. Lenovo said it uses MIL-STD-810H testing standards for the PC.
“A new display interface has been developed that folds the non-active area, improves durability and allows for thinner bezels,” Lenovo said in its announcement. According to the manufacturer, the frames of the display are “no more than” 10 mm (0.39 inches).
“The hybrid shutter frame has also been redesigned with the numerous advantages of thinness, more space for antennas and simplified field maintenance,” the announcement also says.
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