Connect with us

Gadget of the Week

Gadget of the Week: Lenovo launches folding power

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold 16 is a foldable powerhouse of a laptop, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

It’s not often that an entirely new form factor lands on our desks. When it does, the comments around the office tend to encapsulate whether the format is a winner or loser. The losers usually elicit “Who would want that?” type comments. The winners get the “Wow!” and the “Whaaaat?”

It was the latter two comments that accompanied the unboxing of the 2024 edition of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold 16 Gen 1.

It truly is a revolutionary device. It’s a foldable PC that unfolds into a massive 16.3-inch tablet and folds down to a remarkably compact size for such a huge screen.  As such, it may well offer a glimpse into the future of mobile computing. But that doesn’t mean it’s perfect.

But first, let’s look at that display. In truth, it’s hard to stop looking. Even the wallpaper images that appear randomly as screensavers are compelling and such a feast for the eyes. You have to force yourself to click through to the inner workings of the machine.

The gorgeous 16.3-inch OLED panel has 2560 x 2024 resolution and a 4:3 aspect ratio – almost square, which makes it an excellent format for reading documents, browsing the web, or multitasking with various applications open, side-by-side. As with OLED on smartphones, it presents vibrant colors and superb contrast, making it an excellent tool for creative professionals who need color accuracy. Its brightness means the display is usable outdoors, but some might be nervous of exposing such a large screen to the elements.

The X1 Fold comes with a 12th Gen Intel Core i5 or i7 processors with integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics. The version we tested, with an i7 processor, handled almost anything we threw at it, from document editing to and video conferencing. However, video editing was a bit of a drag, highlighting the fact that graphics processing was not a priority in the design of the machine.

It promises 11 hours battery life, but videos and other demanding applications could halve this. That still means longer life than lower-cost laptops with far smaller screens, but don’t expect to use it unplugged for a full, intensive working day.

How well does it fold? In a word, beautifully. A robust hinge means it can open or closes to any angle preferred by the user, and does not leave a gap when closed, as we have seen with earlier attempts at the format.

Unfolded, it offers a massive canvas for multitasking or presentations, and in folded clamshell mode becomes usable in tight spaces like airplanes, buses or taxis.

It comes with a detachable keyboard that uses ThinkPad’s signature red TrackPoint, although without they key travel and tactile feel of a regular ThinkPad laptop keyboard. An optional stylus adds to the possibilities of the X1 Fold, offering options like an artist’s easel or a presentation machine.

What does it cost?

Recommended retail price: To be announced.

Why does it matter?

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold 16 Gen 1 is an innovative and versatile technological marvel with a beautiful display. It’s not for a business user on a budget, but is ideal for those who desire both the ultimate in portability and the maximum in a digital canvas.

What are the biggest negatives?

  • It isn’t the fastest machine, considering the hefty price tag. 
  • Battery life is average under heavy use.
  • The detachable keyboard is a great idea, but it lacks the tactile vibe of a regular laptop keyboard.

What are the biggest positives?

  • It’s a real head-turner with its massive, gorgeous 16.3-inch OLED display 
  • Excellent for creative work like photo editing or watching videos.
  • Versatile with the ability to use it in multiple modes, as a large tablet, easel for presentations, portable second monitor, or clamshell laptop.
  • Great design, with a smooth hinge.

* Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx, editor-in-chief of Follow him on Twitter and Instagram on @art2gee.

Subscribe to our free newsletter
To Top