Lenovo is giving the foldable PC a second chance. The upcoming Lenovo 16-inch ThinkPad X1 Fold today announced efforts to improve the 2020 ThinkPad X1 Fold with a larger screen, more powerful specs, and an operating system better suited to multitasking via the bendable OLED touchscreen.
I tested the Windows 11 PC before its expected November launch, and it improved the weaknesses of the original 13.3-inch ThinkPad X1 Fold.
The new Fold can be folded more securely than before, the operating system is better suited for dual screens and the improved specifications offer more possibilities for business use. Lenovo may finally have the parts needed for a desirable, natural-feeling foldable Windows experience.
Larger foldable screen
Lenovo’s next foldable PC has a 16.3-inch diagonal screen when fully opened 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 displaying multiple windows. The extra screen real estate was also nice for watching videos, although the 4:3 aspect ratio meant quite thick black bars with most modern video content.
Using magnets, the optional, but sometimes necessary, folding stand 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 vertically, it provided a unique long-view fit for ongoing news or social media feed. An impressive amount of text fit on the screen when I looked at a newspaper-like document on it.
Despite having a 22 percent larger screen than its predecessor, Lenovo’s 16-inch ThinkPad X1 Fold didn’t feel much more bulky to wear. In fact, it felt a lot less awkward than carrying the typical clamshell laptop in this size class.
The new PC has a 25 percent thinner 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 provides a 12-inch clamshell experience, with the foldable one bent in half and the bottom half covered with Lenovo’s magnetically attached ThinkPad keyboard.
The use of a larger folding screen required a redesign of the hinge and panel, which is now attached to the spine, allowing it to lie flat 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 scenarios, resulting in a thinner system.” Reportedly, more than 200 parts move simultaneously when folding and unfolding the PC.
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 budge unless I wanted to. How well that hinge withstands heavy use will, of course, be a big factor in the success of this folding one. Lenovo said it uses MIL-STD-810H testing standards for the PC.
“A new display interface has been developed that folds the idle area, improves durability and allows for thinner bezels,” Lenovo said in the announcement. The bezels of the screen are “no more than” 0.39 inches (10 mm), according to the seller.
“The hybrid shutter frame has also been redesigned with the many benefits of thinness, more space for antennas and simplification of maintenance in the field.”