Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Fold is a wild concept, a foldable device that can be used as a tablet and a laptop.
The device smells good, after all, being a natural material, leather has its own unique smell. But the material has a tendency of being scratched or scuffed over time. I don’t know what the outer case looks like as the leather starts aging. Anyway, a built-in kickstand adorns the back portion of the X1 Fold. Although useful for watching movies or video chatting with colleagues, the kickstand doesn’t feel sturdy as the one found on the Surface Pro. Lenovo needs to come out of a way to make the kickstand snappy and less flimsy.
I have always liked ThinkPad laptops. They have a macho build and the minimalist design language combined with black exteriors make them different from other business laptops. The ThinkPad X1 Pro is a handsome-looking device; it feels superior whether it’s closed or open.The entire laptop is encased in genuine leather, and that shows the choice of materials being used to design a device that will mostly appeal to golf-playing executives and CEOs
Moving on from the kickstand, the device features two USB-C ports. When used in tablet mode (unfolded), one of the USB-C ports can be found on the lower-left corner, while the other is placed on the bottom edge. Both the power button and volume buttons sit on the upper-right side of the device. A model with the nano-SIM tray will also be available complete with 5G connectivity.
A webcam, meanwhile, can be found on the left of the center in the bezel around the screen. My issue is the orientation of the webcam on the device. See, if I use the X1 Fold in laptop mode, I will show up as if I am standing on the side in video calls. The problem is the camera is placed on the right side of the display, though I had no issues attending Zoom calls when I used the X1 Fold in tablet mode. Another thing that irked me about this device is the availability of a mere two USB-C ports. Since this device is pitched as a proper work machine, I was expecting the X1 Fold to have more USB-C ports. The problem is that if I need to use a keyboard and USB mouse while charging the X1 Fold, I am left with only one USB-C port.
While I liked the robustness of the device, I am not so sure about the screen and the unique hinge mechanism stays the same as Lenovo promised in the long run (It claims the X1 Fold underwent the same MIL-STD 810H testing as other ThinkPad laptops). The device’s bezels are large and have a rubbery feel to them, though I think they help protect the display.
That said, the X1 Fold is an impressive device from the design point of view: the X1 Fold opens and closes like a book, and thanks to a foldable screen, the device becomes a13-inch tablet. More impressive is how small and compact this device is. I can carry the X1 Fold in a small bag and won’t notice the weight. Though the X1 Fold isn’t as light as shown in Lenovo’s product videos. The device still weighs 1 kg to be precise.
The touchscreen measures 13.3-inches diagonally, with a resolution of 2,048 x 1,536 pixels. Although maximum brightness is limited to 300 nits, the 2K OLED panel is really sharp and bright. The display is bright indoors, but not that much outdoors. Touch responsiveness is okay, and the supplied stylus also works fine. But, of course, what separates this type of plastic OLED display from others is that it has folding capabilities. This is the coolest part of the ThinkPad X1 Fold. But at the same time, one has to be extra careful using a device like the X1 Fold. Similar to the Galaxy Fold, marketed as the first foldable smartphone, the display on the X1 Fold is covered in a protective layer.
I am not against Windows 10. It’s a fantastic desktop operating system but it’s not made for a device like the X1 Fold. Since the X1 Fold isn’t designed for Windows 10, Lenovo had to add the Mode Switcher to use the device in different ways. Mode Switches appear whenever you want to switch between different viewing modes. Although it works well, I would not call the experience smooth. For instance, jumping from laptop mode to tablet mode takes time. This is the basic problem with the X1 Fold, unfortunately. I would not entirely blame Lenovo; it’s not the company’s fault. Microsoft should be held accountable because it has not designed the software for a futuristic product made by its top OEM partner.
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