Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold review: a glimpse at the future of folding PCs | Lenovo

Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Fold is a completely new type – a pill PC that closes like a guide with a foldable display screen. It could simply be the future of the pc.

The £2,500-plus X1 Fold joins a rarefied group of leading edge folding-screen units that embody the reinvention of the flip cellphone and a cellular pill that folds in half to slot in your pocket.

Aside from hefty value tags, all of them have one factor in widespread: massive screens that fold into extra compact shapes. The leather-bound X1 Fold is about the measurement of a massive paperback guide when closed, however opens absolutely to disclose a attractive 13.3in OLED display screen about the identical as a laptop computer.

The way in which it opens and closes is pure sci-fi. However absolutely unfolded it’s exceptional how mundane the X1 Fold seems to be: it appears to be like and works like another flat Home windows pill similar to Microsoft’s Floor Professional with a kickstand out the again to prop it up. Simply attending to that stage of normality for one thing fairly so unique as that is a powerful achievement.


You possibly can’t see a crease down the center at all with the display screen on, and provided that you place a shiny gentle at simply the proper angle are you able to see it with the display screen off. You must push fairly exhausting on the centre along with your finger to really feel it too. It’s a lot much less apparent than different folding-screen units. The display screen is crisp, handsome and nice for indoor working, however it isn’t fairly shiny sufficient to see in direct daylight.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold review
Unfolded and propped up by the built-in kickstand the Fold X1 capabilities like a actually good Home windows pill, with a 3:2 display screen ratio offering a lot of area for getting work performed with a number of apps. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Pill mode works nice at a desk with an ample display screen for getting work performed. However if you wish to transfer to kitchen desk or the couch, simply fold the display screen into a laptop computer configuration and the hinge will maintain it there. The highest half acts as the display screen and the backside can both show a second display screen, similar to Zoom up prime with notes on the backside, or a digital keyboard. You may as well use Lenovo’s elective mini Bluetooth keyboard, which snaps into place through magnets masking half the display screen.

With the keyboard in place the X1 Fold behaves like a very small however surprisingly succesful laptop computer. The highest display screen could solely be 9.5in on the diagonal, however its 1,536 x 1,204 decision shouldn’t be dissimilar to many mid-range laptops, which implies apps and websites work as regular. The super-compact nature would make it supreme to be used on a airplane or practice on cramped seat trays.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold review
With the keyboard hooked up to the decrease half of the display screen the Fold X1 converts into a mini laptop computer. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

When work is finished you may ditch the keyboard and use it like a guide. A pdf or Phrase doc or Kindle guide via Amazon’s Cloud Reader set to point out two pages on display screen in panorama is a fairly good match for the two halves of the display screen. And of course it capabilities as a handheld pill simply superb for watching Netflix or Amazon Prime. Lastly, you need to use Lenovo’s Mod Pen for sketching or signing paperwork, which works simply in addition to different prime PC styluses.

There are a lot of multi-talented units accessible, however none of them function fairly like the X1 Fold. The surface sliding leather-based cowl, the sturdy magnesium physique and nice display screen make the Lenovo really feel like it’s value its hefty sum.


  • Display screen: 13.3in versatile OLED 2,048 x 1,536 (192PPI)

  • Processor: Intel Core i5-L16G7

  • RAM: 8GB

  • Storage: 256, 512GB or 1TB SSD

  • Graphics: Intel UHD

  • Working system: Home windows 10 House or Professional

  • Digicam: 5MP front-facing

  • Connectivity: wifi 6 (ax), Bluetooth 5.1, elective 5G, 2xUSB-C (Gen 2),

  • Dimensions unfolded: 299.4 x 236.0 x 11.5mm

  • Dimensions folded: 158.2 x 236.0 x 27.8mm

  • Weight: 999g

Strong efficiency and 5.5-hour battery life

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold review
You should use the X1 Fold with out the keyboard too, both with a digital keyboard or the handwriting recognition constructed into Home windows 10. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The X1 Fold has Intel’s Core i5 hybrid processor, which is a lower-power chip than the common Core i5 present in most laptops. It was first utilized in the Samsung Galaxy Ebook S, which had a barely disappointing efficiency.

The X1 Fold handles surprisingly nicely, nevertheless. It received’t win any uncooked efficiency awards, however it was usually snappy and completely succesful of doing every part I requested of it, from pretty advanced edits in Affinity Photograph to wrangling 30 tabs in Chrome. It has followers however I heard them solely when the machine was doing updates.

The battery lasts about 5.5 hours of work in laptop computer or desktop mode, or nearer to six.5 hours simply used for shopping as a pill, which is a little shorter than the eight-plus hours anticipated of a common Home windows pill.

The compromises

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold review
Lenovo’s little mode switcher utility sits in the activity bar and helps format the display screen correctly when folded and unfolded. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

As remarkably nicely as the X1 Fold works, there are some compromises which have needed to be made to get it to market, past the very excessive value.

The pill was intended to run Microsoft’s new Windows 10X software program, which is designed for folding and dual-screen units however is delayed by a yr or so and subsequently not accessible but. As a substitute Lenovo needed to ship the X1 Fold with common Home windows 10 and a small utility to assist break up the display screen in two when it folds, which works nicely sufficient however couldn’t be described as a clean and polished expertise. Transitioning between pill and laptop computer modes makes the display screen flash and every part takes a second to resize.

There are two USB-C ports, however one of them is on the backside edge and subsequently blocked when stood up with the kickstand. There isn’t any headphone socket, both.

The machine has an infrared digicam for biometric login with Home windows Hi there, however it isn’t supported but with an replace promised for Home windows this yr rendering it redundant till that time.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold review
The leather-covered kickstand props up the pill nicely in panorama however can’t maintain it reliably in portrait. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The deal-breaker for me is the keyboard. The mini keyboard is a marvel and infuriating in equal measure. It wirelessly fees when hooked up to the X1 Fold and suits the display screen completely with good-feeling, virtually regular-sized keys. However to make it match Lenovo needed to minimize out two rows of keys from the proper facet of the customary UK keyboard, together with the sq. brackets, query mark and apostrophe keys, putting these symbols behind combos of modifiers similar to Fn+Shift+L for the @ image.

Most of altered keys I can dwell with, apart from apostrophe, which is Fn+L on this keyboard. I didn’t realise how a lot I exploit the apostrophe till I began hitting return accidentally when making an attempt to write down “I’m” or “it’s” in chats. Even after two weeks I nonetheless couldn’t get used to it.

The design of the US model of the mini keyboard appears to be like higher, because it has fewer of the predominant punctuation marks hidden behind modifier keys.

Notice, too, that the sturdiness of foldable screens remains to be a fear in contrast with flat, glass-covered variations, regardless of different varieties having survived each day life nicely.


Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold review
Folded in half you may stand the pill up or maintain it like a guide with apps facet by facet, similar to Chrome on the left and a new reader on the proper. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold is mostly repairable by authorised service centres and the battery is replaceable. The battery has a life expectancy of at least 1,000 full cost cycles whereas sustaining at least 70% of its unique capability. The display screen is rated for 1000’s of folds.

Lenovo doesn’t function trade-in or recycling schemes in the UK, however does publish environmental impact and carbon footprint assessments for its merchandise. The X1 Fold comprises 5.5% post-consumer recycled plastic.


Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold review
The leather-based cowl wraps round the hinge at the again however leaves a small hole, which you’ll wish to preserve mud and filth out of. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
  • The X1 Fold has undergone the identical MIL-STD-810H sturdiness testing as other Lenovo machines.

  • The bezels round the display screen are soft-touch rubber, that are magnets for mud.

  • The audio system are loud however a bit tinny in contrast with the greatest in a pill.

  • The display screen doesn’t really feel any completely different however you must be a little bit extra cautious to not press too exhausting with a (elective) stylus as it isn’t fairly as powerful as a common glass show.


The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold begins at an RRP of £2,551.43 with 256GB of storage or £3,089.99 with the keyboard and pen. The mannequin with 512GB of storage prices £3,209.99 or £3,239.99 with 5G additionally.

The Mod Pen prices £90 and the Mini Keyboard prices £200 individually.

For comparability, a Microsoft Floor Professional 7 begins at £799 whereas Lenovo’s X1 Pill prices £1,679.99.


The Lenovo X1 Fold is a tremendous piece of expertise that works much better than a proof of idea ought to.

It’s not excellent in any means, however it’s exceptional simply how nicely it really works on condition that the software program it was designed for – Home windows 10X – isn’t accessible but. It’s far too costly and there are a few too many compromises for me to really suggest anybody purchase one, however it stands as proof that folding screens will be helpful at any measurement and the ultra-compact PCs of the close to future are going to be implausible.

However in the event you’re the type of well-heeled one that wears couture clothes to conferences and desires to be the envy of everybody pulling out a PC display screen that folds in half, the Lenovo X1 Fold is for you. There’s nothing else fairly prefer it.

Execs: implausible folding display screen, enticing book-like design, USB-C, cheap efficiency, a number of modes, sensible keyboard design, suitable with stylus.

Cons: costly, software program expertise wants work, battery life a little quick, sturdiness of folding display screen unproven, no headphone socket, awkward second USB-C port place, no Thunderbolt 3/4 assist, IR digicam not but supported by Home windows Hi there.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold review
The leather-based cowl slides again to disclose a glass part as you fold the display screen closed in a tremendous clean movement. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

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