September 28, 2022

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

Hands-on: Lenovo's second foldable PC addresses the first's biggest problems
Zoom / Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold 16-inch.

Sharon Harding

Lenovo is giving the foldable PC a second chance. The highly anticipated Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold 16-inch today announced attempts to improve it 2020 ThinkPad X1 Fold With a larger screen, more powerful specifications, and a more convenient operating system for multitasking via the bendable OLED touch screen.

I tried my Windows 11 PC before its expected release in November, and it improved on the weaknesses of the original 13.3 inch ThinkPad X1 Fold.

The new foldable folds more securely than before, its operating system is more suitable for dual monitors, and improved specifications give it greater potential for commercial use. Lenovo may finally have the chops needed for that coveted, natural-feeling Windows experience.

Bigger foldable screen

Lenovo’s next foldable PC has a screen that measures 16.3 inches diagonally when fully opened with a resolution of 2024 x 2560 pixels. The original ThinkPad X1 Fold used a 13.3-inch OLED display, 2048 x 1536.

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

Sharon Harding

Compared to the 13.3-inch screen, the 16.3-inch screen immediately gave me more flexibility when viewing multiple windows. The extra screen space was also great for watching videos, although the 4:3 aspect ratio means decently thick black bars with most modern video content.

Using magnets, the optional, but sometimes necessary, foldable stand looked like it had a secure connection to the PC, whether the system was fully open in landscape or portrait mode.

Lenovo will sell the keyboard and stand together but separate from the PC.
Zoom / Lenovo will sell the keyboard and stand together but separate from the PC.

Sharon Harding

When I set the 16.3-inch device vertically, it provided a unique long view suitable for a continuous news or social media feed. It fit a huge amount of text on the screen when I saw a newspaper-like document on it.

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ThinkPad X1 Fold 16 inch in one of its unique looks.
Zoom / ThinkPad X1 Fold 16 inch in one of its unique looks.

Sharon Harding

Despite having a 22 percent larger screen than its predecessor, Lenovo’s 16-inch ThinkPad X1 Fold didn’t feel burdensome. In fact, it felt a lot less heavy to carry than a typical clamshell laptop in this size class.

The new PC has a chassis that is 25 percent thinner than the 13.3-inch ThinkPad X1 Fold. It is 0.34 inches (8.6 mm) thick when opened 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 fold is folded in half, and the bottom half is covered by Lenovo’s magnetically attached ThinkPad keyboard.

You can use the keyboard like a regular wireless keyboard or have it fixed to the lower half of the screen.
Zoom / You can use the keyboard like a regular wireless keyboard or have it fixed to the lower half of the screen.

Sharon Harding

Using a larger foldable screen required a redesign of the hinge and panel, which are now attached to the spine, allowing them to extend under the chassis when opened.

Lenovo’s ad described a bell-shaped hinged system that “allows the foldable OLED panel to be folded flat in both open and closed scenarios resulting in a thinner system.” It is said that more than 200 parts move simultaneously when the computer is folded and unfolded.

In action, the hinge felt sturdy and required a healthy amount of force to reposition the computer. It doesn’t seem to budge unless you want to. Of course, how well this hinge can withstand heavy use will be a big factor in how well this folding hinge works. Lenovo said it uses the MIL-STD-810H test standards for PC.

“A new display interface has been developed, which folds the inactive area, enhances durability and enables thinner edges,” Lenovo said in its announcement. According to the seller, the screen edges are no more than 0.39 inches (10 mm).

“The hybrid shutter frame has also been redesigned with the multiple advantages of being thinner, more room for antennas, and simplifying field service.”