Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold (16-inch) review: a foldable flop

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The ThinkPad X1 Fold unfolded connected a couch, pinch nan keyboard disconnected.

Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Fold

MSRP $3,240.00

“The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold suffers from a fewer fatal flaws.”

Pros

  • Performance thumps different foldables
  • Thinner erstwhile folded
  • Excellent haptic touchpad
  • Bright OLED display
  • Decent webcam

Cons

  • Keyboard is cramped
  • Stand is unreliable
  • Inferior OLED colors
  • Inconsistent artillery life

Lenovo collapsed crushed connected foldable PCs pinch nan original ThinkPad X1 Fold, a instrumentality pinch a 13.3-inch OLED show that folded down nan middle. It could beryllium utilized arsenic a tablet, a clamshell pinch nan outer keyboard attached beneath nan fold, and a “desktop” pinch nan included stand. The instrumentality was a novelty, though, held backmost by mediocre capacity and a cramped keyboard and touchpad.

The company’s 2nd effort is nan ThinkPad X1 Fold, an wholly caller merchandise that retains nan sanction and serves arsenic Lenovo’s existent foldable laptop. It increases nan show size to 16.3 inches, which makes for a larger 2-in-1 that’s much useful arsenic a clamshell but much cumbersome arsenic a tablet. I recovered it an absorbing but flawed return connected nan foldable PC that has overmuch stiffer title this clip around.

Specs and configurations

  ThinkPad X1 Fold
Dimensions 13.61 inches x 10.87 inches x 0.34 inches (unfolded)
10.87 inches x 6.94 inches x 0.69 inches (folded)
Weight 4.16 pounds (with keyboard/stand)
2.78 pounds (without keyboard/stand)
Processor Intel Core i5-1230U
Intel Core i5-1240U vPro
Intel Core i7-1250U
Intel Core i7-1260U vPro
Graphics Intel Iris Xe
RAM 8GB
16GB
32GB
Display 16.3-inch 4:3 2.5K+ (2,560 x 2024) OLED
Storage 256GB SSD
512GB SSD
1TB SSD
Touch Yes
Ports 1 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2
2 x USB-C pinch Thunderbolt 4
Optional: NanoSIM slot
Wireless Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.1
Optional WWAN
Webcam 5MP pinch infrared camera for Windows 11 facial recognition
Operating system Windows 11
Battery 48 watt-hours
64 watt-hours (48Wh + 16Wh 2nd battery)
Price
$2,499+

Lenovo offers a wider scope of configurations than its superior competitors, pinch a starting value of $2,499 for a Core i5-1230U, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and without an progressive pen, keyboard, aliases stand. It’s different to omit a pen connected a instrumentality for illustration this, and adding 1 successful is simply a $50 option. The keyboard and guidelines are a $300 option.

Fully configured, nan ThinkPad X1 Fold costs $4,211, pinch a Core i7-1260U vPro, 32GB of RAM (available only pinch this CPU option), a 1TB SSD, optional WWAN connectivity, an progressive pen, and nan keyboard and stand.

The laptop is acold little functional without nan keyboard, stand, and pen, truthful scheme connected spending nan other $350. The Asus Zenbook Fold 17 costs $3,500 successful its sole configuration of nan aforesaid CPU pinch 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD, pinch nan pen, keyboard, and integrated guidelines included, while nan HP Spectre Foldable PC is $5,000 pinch its only configuration being nan aforesaid arsenic nan Asus. That makes nan ThinkPad X1 Fold a little costly entry-level action but successful betwixt nan Asus and HP astatine nan precocious end.

Design

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold 2023 beforehand angled position showing show and keyboard.Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

The 2 different foldable laptops we’ve reviewed, nan Asus Zenbook Fold 17 and nan HP Spectre Foldable PC, are akin successful creation and built astir about 17-inch foldable OLED panels. That makes nan ThinkPad X1 Fold pinch its 16.3-inch show somewhat smaller, some erstwhile folded and unfolded. I noticed nan biggest quality erstwhile nan ThinkPad X1 Fold was closed, making for a much compact folio-like instrumentality to tote around.

The Lenovo is besides heavier erstwhile nan keyboard and guidelines are included, while nan tablet is astir nan aforesaid weight. That gives it a denser feel.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold 2023 apical down position showing folio.Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

One important creation quality is that nan ThinkPad X1 Fold has a much fierce folded hinge design, pinch nan folded halves lying level against each different alternatively than sporting a gap, arsenic pinch nan different machines. The consequence is that nan Lenovo is thinner erstwhile folded, astatine 0.69 inches versus nan HP’s 0.84 inches.

There’s a catch, though — dissimilar nan HP’s, nan ThinkPad X1 Fold’s keyboard can’t beryllium stored inside. The ThinkPad’s guidelines is besides a abstracted component, whereas nan HP and Asus stands are built into nan tablet portion. The consequence is that pinch nan ThinkPad X1 Fold, nan keyboard and guidelines must beryllium carried separately aliases attached magnetically to nan bottommost of nan folded display. That makes for a thicker and arguably little convenient package.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold 2023 afloat package assembled.Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

The ThinkPad X1 Fold is conscionable 0.34 inches bladed arsenic a tablet, which is thinner than nan Asus Zenbook Fold 17’s 0.61 inches and astir nan aforesaid arsenic nan HP Spectre Foldable PC’s 0.33 inches. The Lenovo is much comfortable arsenic a tablet, fixed its smaller dimensions, but that’s not saying a lot. A 16.3-inch tablet is rather ample to usage successful manus and is champion erstwhile laid retired connected a surface.

That makes nan progressive pen easier to usage for inking, and nan ThinkPad X1 Fold is nary much comfortable than nan HP aliases Asus successful tablet mode. Lenovo highlights utilizing nan ThinkPad X1 Fold arsenic a ample reference device, pinch nan show partially folded, but I recovered that format cumbersome. The ThinkPad’s hinge required much unit to unfastened than I retrieve needing pinch nan HP, and nan HP felt much balanced connected each broadside of nan fold.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme 2023 apical down position showing tablet.Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

In clamshell mode, pinch nan keyboard lying connected nan bottommost half of nan fold, nan ThinkPad X1 Fold wasn’t arsenic comfortable to use. The keyboard layout is much cramped, though nan keycaps are ample and characteristic nan ThinkPad’s iconic sculpted creation pinch nan accustomed TrackPoint nubbin for those who for illustration to usage it.

The keyboard switches are ray and snappy, which is great, but I preferred typing connected nan HP Spectre Foldable PC’s keyboard a batch much pinch its much freely layout. The Lenovo’s clamshell show is besides smaller, astir 12 inches. Some surface is mislaid to nan fold, which successful clamshell mode forms a curve betwixt nan apical of nan show and nan keyboard.

At nan aforesaid time, Lenovo built a haptic touchpad into nan keyboard, and while it’s smaller, it benefits from enabling clicks complete its full solid surface. The haptic system is accelerated and offers natural-feeling clicks, and I liked it rather a spot amended than HP’s mechanical touchpad. My only problem was that nan keyboard goes to slumber aft a fewer minutes and you person to property a cardinal to aftermath it up. I usually pat a laptop’s touchpad, and I had to break immoderate musculus memory.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold 2023 apical down position showing keyboard.Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

The last portion of nan ergonomic puzzle is desktop mode, pinch nan tablet information propped up utilizing nan guidelines and nan keyboard sitting successful front. As mentioned above, nan ThinkPad X1 Fold’s guidelines is simply a abstracted constituent alternatively than being built in. It magnetically adheres to 1 separator of nan tablet successful scenery and 1 separator successful portrait, and I recovered it problematic. First, it’s different portion to transportation around, and it adds bulk. Second, you person to take your edges carefully.

If you accidentally effort to prop nan tablet up on nan incorrect edge, it won’t adhere, and you’ll trial your reflexes trying to drawback it from falling. I did that a mates of times and quickly learned my lesson. Unfortunately, it doesn’t activity that well, moreover erstwhile you’re attaching to nan correct edge. Fortunately, I was lucky, and it ne'er slid disconnected my desktop. The HP and Asus featured built-in stands that debar this menace.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold 2023 broadside position showing stand.Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

Physically, then, I recovered nan ThinkPad X1 Fold little comfortable to usage successful 2 of its 3 modes, clamshell and desktop, and nary amended successful tablet mode. None of nan foldable PCs I’ve utilized were awesome to usage arsenic a clamshell without nan beingness keyboard, fixed nan unsuitability of a package keyboard for typing thing different than short text.

The HP Spectre Foldable PC has a mode wherever nan keyboard sits connected nan bottommost two-thirds of nan folded tablet and adds a 2nd screen, and that’s missing connected nan Lenovo.

Ports

Tablets are bladed devices and, arsenic such, can’t fresh successful bequest ports for illustration USB-A and HDMI. The ThinkPad X1 Fold is nary different, and it offers conscionable USB-C ports pinch and without Thunderbolt 4. Lenovo besides skips a 3.5mm audio jack, which is ever unfortunate, and there’s besides nary SD paper reader. The Asus includes an audio jack, and neither has an SD paper reader.

So, nan Lenovo’s a mixed design. The tablet charges via USB-C, arsenic does nan keyboard. The pen that was included successful my reappraisal configuration uses batteries. On nan HP Spectre Foldable PC, nan keyboard and pen complaint magnetically erstwhile attached to nan tablet.

The ThinkPad X1 Fold has Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.1, which is typical, while it adds optional WWAN that nan different 2 machines lack.

The ThinkPad X1 Fold’s camera matches nan HP’s 5MP resolution, offering a value image for videoconferencing. It’s on a short edge, though, making nan perspective weird successful scenery mode. It has a built-in infrared camera for Windows 11 Hello that useful quickly and reliably. The webcam was champion successful clamshell mode.

Display

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold 2023 beforehand position showing display.Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

The ThinkPad X1 Fold uses a 16.3-inch OLED sheet pinch an almost quadrate 4:3 facet ratio and a 2560 x 2024 resolution. That’s sharper than some nan Asus and HP foldable PCs and conscionable crisp capable to debar evident pixels successful text. The facet ratio makes for a much comfortable tablet while making nan clamshell show rather small.

According to my colorimeter, nan show was brighter than astir OLED screens astatine 438 nits, and it had nan technology’s accustomed cleanable blacks and inky contrast. Its colors weren’t arsenic wide arsenic most, astatine conscionable 93% of AdobeRGB, wherever astir OLED displays are person to 100%, and its colour accuracy was conscionable okay astatine a DeltaE of 1.52 (most are nether 1.0).

Overall, nan ThinkPad X1 Fold was an fantabulous ocular acquisition for productivity and media consumption. The show supports Dolby Vision precocious move scope (HDR) video, but I was unusually unimpressed erstwhile moving Netflix HDR content. Dark scenes weren’t arsenic elaborate arsenic is emblematic pinch nan format, which was an unpleasant surprise.

Audio is provided by 2 speakers connected nan edges of nan tablet. In clamshell mode, they constituent to nan sides, while successful scenery desktop mode, 1 speaker is firing up, and nan different is firing down and muffled by nan stand. Overall sound value was bully but not great, pinch clear mids and highs but zero bass.

Performance and artillery life

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold 2023 beforehand position showing desktop mode.Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

The ThinkPad X1 Fold uses Intel 12th-gen low-power CPUs, pinch options for vPro exertion that tin plugged into endeavor information and guidance systems. I tested pinch nan Core i7-1250U, nan aforesaid 10-core (two Performance and 8 Efficient), 12-thread CPUs utilized successful nan HP Spectre Foldable PC and nan Asus Zenbook Fold 17. These are 9-watt chips that meet nan ratio requirements and aren’t presently disposable successful Intel’s 13th- and 14th-gen chips.

Even so, nan ThinkPad provided faster capacity than nan different 2 machines. Whether this is nan consequence of Lenovo’s amended cooling (each foldable instrumentality is fanless) aliases much fierce tuning, I don’t know. Not that while nan Lenovo is faster, that doesn’t make it a accelerated machine. It’s competitory pinch different likewise configured laptops, and it does hit nan higher-power Core i7-1355U successful nan Lenovo Yoga Book 9i successful immoderate of our benchmarks successful balanced mode while falling down successful capacity mode.

The ThinkPad X1 Fold is accelerated capable for wide productivity usage and media consumption. These are nan champion uses for nan machine, truthful nan capacity is capable — but conscionable barely. And don’t moreover deliberation astir gaming connected this laptop.

Geekbench 5
(single/multi)
Handbrake
(seconds)
Cinebench R23
(single/multi)
PCMark 10
Complete
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold
(Core i7-1250U)
Bal: 1,672 / 6,880
Perf: 1,672 / 7,440
Bal: 160
Perf: 139
Bal: 1,489 / 5,246
Perf: 1,541 / 6,356
4,841
HP Spectre Foldable PC
(Core i7-1250U)
Bal: 1,684 / 4,569
Perf: 1,684 / 6025
Bal: 269
Perf: 179
Bal: 1,380 / 3,911
Perf: 1,507 / 4,785
4,556
Asus Zenbook Fold 17
(Core i7-1250)
Bal: 1,584 / 5,821
Perf: N/A
Bal: 219
Perf: N/A
Bal: 1,172 / 3,319
Perf: N/A
N/A
Lenovo Yoga Book 9i
(Core i7-1355U)
Bal: 1,797 / 6,926
Perf: 1,804 / 7,815
Bal: 181
Perf: 118
Bal: 1,681 / 6,303
Perf: 1,758 / 7,576
5,514
Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 3
(Core i5-1235U)
Bal: 1,179 / 5,652
Perf: 1,524 / 6,226
Bal: 194
Perf: 214
Bal: 1,118 / 5,170
Perf:  1,534 / 4894
4,227
Apple MacBook Air M1
(M1)
Bal: 1.727 / 7,585
Perf: N/A
Bal: 156
Perf: N/A
Bal: 1,479 / 6,680
Perf: N/A
N/A

Two artillery capacities are disposable for nan ThinkPad X1 Fold: a azygous 48-watt-hour artillery and 64 full watt-hours pinch an further 16-watt-hour battery. My reappraisal portion was configured pinch nan afloat capacity, and pinch a 16.3-inch OLED display, I wasn’t expecting miracles.

As it turned out, artillery life was distinctly mixed. In clamshell mode pinch nan keyboard attached and, presumably, one-half of nan OLED show turned off, I saw conscionable 4 hours successful our web browsing trial and 11.5 hours successful our video looping test. With nan show unfolded and successful desktop mode, I saw 7 hours of web browsing and 10.25 hours of video looping. The HP Spectre Foldable PC demonstrated immoderate of nan aforesaid artillery performance, pinch a longer artillery life pinch nan afloat display. It lasted greater than 8.5 hours of web browsing, though, truthful its artillery life was importantly better.

I can’t relationship for nan discrepancy betwixt clamshell and desktop modes. But I tin opportunity that you’re improbable to get to a afloat time of activity without plugging in.

A disappointing option

As I utilized nan ThinkPad X1 Fold, I was perpetually disappointed successful 1 facet aliases another. The guidelines wasn’t reliable, which is simply a very bad point erstwhile it’s meant to prop up a tablet that starts astatine $2,499. Lenovo’s Yoga Book 9i has a overmuch much analyzable origami guidelines that holds that dual-display 3-in-1 firmly successful place. So, Lenovo knows really to get it correct and conscionable didn’t. I besides recovered nan clamshell mode excessively mini and, without its keyboard, excessively difficult to use.

Performance was amended than nan different 2 foldable PCs we’ve used, but artillery life was worse. The Asus Zenbook Fold 17 is little costly pinch a reasonable configuration. The ThinkPad X1 Foldable isn’t nan champion action among today’s starring foldable PCs.

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