Lenovo is finally ready to debut its first folding device and the world’s first folding PC, the ThinkPad X1 Fold.
Lenovo already teased the ThinkPad X1 Fold’s prototype back in 2019 but at CES this week, they are fully unveiling the device. Claiming to deliver “laptop efficiency with smartphone portability,” the ThinkPad X1 Fold is able to transform into multiple modes depending on the user’s needs. Despite housing the power of a full PC, it’s still a lightweight device at under 2.2lbs thanks to the alloys and carbon fiber used for its construction. It’s then covered in a luxurious leather folio cover that comes with a built-in kickstand for support.
According to Lenovo, the X1 Fold underwent 4 years of development and tested four primary designs before landing on what they have today. One of the most common problematic issues folding devices have had in the past is the hinge, but Lenovo’s development team worked with Intel to find ways to address the hinge’s mechanical and electrical engineering challenges. The team’s efforts along with Lenovo’s partnership with LG Display has supposedly created new standards in perfecting foldable screen technology. Among the new developments present in the X1 Fold, is the use of a unique multi-link torque hinge mechanism to manage stress during fold actions, an optimized viewing experience when unfolded flat, and the ability to endure the same testing as other ThinkPad laptops, as well as the ability to endure extensive screen folding cycles, stress tests, and pen usage tests. It’s also through these various testings and research that Lenovo found having a 4×3 ratio for the 13.3-inch display would provide the “best experience and highest level of productivity.”
The company was able to develop clever mode-switching software to “adapt to multiple use cases in new environments.” Fully unfolded, users can enjoy a full 13.3 inches of OLED screen real estate for touch-heavy tasks. With the built-in kickstand, users can opt to use the X1 Fold in landscape mode to do tasks such as review presentations or watch movies. Adding the Bluetooth Mini Fold Keyboard can add more functionality. Once finished, the Bluetooth Mini Fold Keyboard easily stores away and charges inside the system while being safely secured with magnets.
Users can also opt to use the X1 Fold’s full screen in portrait mode to take notes, scroll through documents or use the Active Pen to draw, sketch or even sign legal documents. Bending slightly, users can use the X1 Fold to mimic that of a real book for easy reading.
When folded at an angle, the X1 Fold can be utilized in a more familiar laptop orientation with the added benefit of two screens for multi-tasking. The top and bottom screens act independently which means users can, for example, watch a video on the top screen while taking notes on the bottom or even participate in a video call while editing a document.
Lenovo even thought of the X1 Fold in an office situation by allowing it to connect to a full-size keyboard and mouse as well as second display via USB Type-C. With the optional X1 Fold Stand, the device can be set in either portrait or landscape and users can enjoy a fully functional work station experience.
The Lenovo X1 Fold is powered by Intel Core Processor with Intel Hybrid Technology with 8GB DDR4 of RAM, integrated UHD Gen 11 graphics and up to a 1TB SSD. It also houses a Dolby Audio speaker system for a more immersive entertainment experience. The X1 Fold will initially ship with Windows 10 Pro but Lenovo is planning on offering the more compatible Windows 10X as well as optional 5G compatibility later on.
The Lenovo X1 Fold with Windows 10 is scheduled to be released some time mid-2020 but the Windows 10X and 5G variants have no approximate release date yet.
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