Lenovo’s Second Foldable PC Solves The First’s Biggest Problems
Hands-on: Lenovo’s second foldable PC solves the first’s biggest problems
Lenovo is giving the foldable PC a second chance. Lenovo’s upcoming 16-inch ThinkPad X1 Fold today announced efforts to improve the 2020 ThinkPad X1 Fold with a larger screen, more powerful specs, and an operating system better suited for multitasking on a flexible OLED touchscreen.
I tried out a Windows 11 PC ahead of its expected release in November, and it improved on the shortcomings of the original 13.3-inch ThinkPad X1 Fold .
The new Fold folds more securely than ever before, has an operating system better suited for dual-screen operation, and improved specs open up more business opportunities. Lenovo may finally get the components needed for the desired, natural foldable Windows experience.
Large folding screen
Lenovo’s next foldable PC has a 16.3-inch diagonal screen when fully opened with a resolution of 2024×2560 pixels. The original ThinkPad X1 Fold used a 13.3-inch OLED screen with a resolution of 2048×1536.
Compared to the 13.3-inch screen, the 16.3-inch display immediately gave me more flexibility in displaying multiple windows. The extra screen space was also handy for watching videos, although the 4:3 aspect ratio meant decently thick black bars with most modern video content.
Using magnets, the optional but sometimes necessary folding stand seemed to have a secure connection to the PC, whether the system was fully open in landscape or portrait mode.
When I mounted the 16.3-inch device vertically, it provided a unique experience for viewing current or social media news. When I viewed a newspaper-like document on it, it fit an impressive amount of text on the screen.
Despite having a 22% larger screen than its predecessor, Lenovo’s 16-inch ThinkPad X1 Fold doesn’t feel bulkier to carry around. In fact, it felt far less clunky than a typical clamshell laptop in this size class.
The new PC case is 25% thinner than the 13.3-inch ThinkPad X1 Fold. It is 0.34″ (8.6mm) thick when open and 0.69″ (17.4mm) folded, compared to 0.5″ (11.5mm) and 1.1″ (27mm) .8 mm) respectively for the first Fold device.
The 16.3-inch screen also allows for a 12-inch clamshell, where the folding design folds in half and the bottom half is covered by a Lenovo ThinkPad magnetically attached keyboard.
The use of a larger folding screen necessitated a redesign of the hinge and panel, which is now attached to a stem, allowing it to collapse under the body when unfolded.
Lenovo’s announcement describes a bell-shaped hinge system that “allows the foldable OLED panel to fold flat in both open and closed scenarios, resulting in a thinner system.” It is reported that more than 200 parts move simultaneously when folding and unfolding the PC.
In action, the hinge felt solid and required considerable force to reposition the PC. It seemed like he wouldn’t budge if I didn’t want him to. How well this hinge can withstand heavy use will of course be an important factor in the success of this foldable device. Lenovo has stated that it uses MIL-STD-810H testing standards for PCs.
“A new display interface has been developed that rolls up the inactive area, improving durability and making bezels thinner,” Lenovo said in a statement. According to the manufacturer, the display bezels are “no more” than 0.39 inches (10mm).
“The hybrid shutter frame has also been redesigned with numerous benefits of thinness, more antenna space and easier maintenance in the field.”
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