Lenovo has announced the availability of its experimental PC, the ThinkPad X1 Fold. You can now buy the foldable PC, starting at $2,499. Featuring a foldable OLED screen and magnetic keyboard attachment, the ThinkPad X1 Fold is the first of a new generation of dual-screen and foldable Windows laptops.
The device was first shown at CES 2020 in January, but Lenovo has made some improvements to the usability of the design since then, both in the hardware and in the software. On the hardware side of things, Lenovo says it has extended the leather kickstand to lean back at a deeper angle. The stylus loop has also been moved from the back of the device to the edge of the keyboard for easier access.
These changes support the first mode the ThinkPad X1 Fold operates in, with the Bluetooth keyboard separated from the device and the screen propped up by the kickstand.
As the name suggests, the device’s headline feature is its flexible screen. The 13.3-inch OLED panel can be folded in half, making for a booklike tablet to hold, or a small laptop when the magnetic keyboard is placed over one side of the screen.
Most importantly, Lenovo explained in a private briefing with the press how it refined the silicone hinge and the layers of the curved screen to make it more durable. This is an issue all devices with foldable screens, such as the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2, or the Motorola Razr, have had to overcome. Lenovo didn’t make any specific promises about durability, however.
The flexible screen allows the device to be folded into a package half the size of a standard 13.3-inch laptop. Unfolded, the ThinkPad X1 Fold is 0.45 inches thick, while it;s 1.09 inches when folded up. For comparison, the iPad Pro is 0.23 inches, and the Surface Pro 7 is 0.33 inches. The whole package, magnetic keyboard included, weighs 2.2 pounds.
Lenovo says the ThinkPad X1 Fold will run Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro. When the device was originally announced, a Windows 10X model was also going to be supported, but the release of that operating system has since been delayed to 2021. Lenovo did not comment on future support for Windows 10X.
The company has developed a software feature for Windows 10, called “mode switching,” that makes it more suited for the flexible screen. It’s a modification of the Windows Snap Assist split-screen mode. If the primary app is already open on one side of the screen, you’re presented with an option for the other open apps to fill in the other side. The options appear in the bottom right corner of the screen for your thumb to reach.
Under the hood, the ThinkPad X1 Fold features an Intel Core Processor with Intel Hybrid Technology, also known as a Lakefield processor. The ThinkPad X1 Fold will be one of the first laptops to use these new processors, which were designed to power more experimental form factors.
Lakefield chips are 10nm five-core processors, combining four low-power Tremont cores (based on the Atom design) for efficiency with one more powerful Sunny Cove core. Intel has both Core i3 and Core i5 Lakefield processors, but the ThinkPad X1 Fold will only support the Core i5.
The hybrid technology means a fanless design and better battery life, without sacrificing performance in more traditional PC workflows. Lenovo says the ThinkPad X1 Fold’s 50 watt-hour battery can last up to 11 hours on a single charge.
The ThinkPad X1 Fold goes on sale today for a starting price of $2,499. That base configuration comes with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD.