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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold review



(CNN)—

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold is one of the most futuristic devices of the year-the world’s first foldable PC. But like many other first-generation products, it is not for everyone.

Suitable: As the world’s first foldable PC, ThinkPad X1

Fold is suitable for early adopters and people who use imperfect machines. Lenovo’s design is correct, and it’s a ThinkPad, so we don’t have too many durability issues. However, Windows 10 is not optimized for foldable, it is displayed on the X1 fold.

What you need to know: The price without the keyboard is 2499 US dollars, and the price with accessories is 2749 US dollars, which is very expensive to say the least. In addition, its faulty software, interline performance and long battery life also make it unusable. ThinkPad X1 Fold is not suitable for most people, unless you really don’t mind spending money on cutting-edge but niche equipment, you should not buy it.

Comparison method: The ThinkPad X1 Fold feels as durable as any other ThinkPad. It has a classic black color and is durable. We won’t bother to open and close it multiple times a day. Windows 10 started to have problems. The entire operating system is not yet suitable for such a device. In use, it lags behind other laptops and 2-in-1 laptops such as Surface Pro 7. It is not the best choice for Photoshop, video editing or games.

Lenovo’s ThinkPads can be traced back to the days of IBM, and are still applicable to this day. They are the best in the computer world. They are neither fragile nor fragile. On the contrary, they are strong and can be beaten.

ThinkPad X1 Fold packs durability into a foldable package. Unlike Galaxy Z Flip 5G, Motorola Razr or Galaxy Z Fold 2, we don’t need to worry about opening and closing X1 Fold.

The physical frame of the X1 folding is a combination of carbon fiber and magnesium alloy. It also has only one color: black. What makes the X1 Fold unique in terms of materials is that the leather back feels very high-end, making the PC look like a luxury device. It feels very good, when the X1 Fold is closed, it is like a classic laptop or case.

Part of the leather back cover can be folded, basically allowing you to support it when the X1 folds fully open. This way, it can act as a monitor, and you can also use it as a desktop-although, in fact, the experience is more like a Windows tablet, such as Surface Pro7. After all, it is only a 13.3-inch display.

When closed, you will see the shiny finish of the X1 Fold on the top, because the leather itself shrinks when folded. But when fully opened, the leather will cover the back of the device. There are only two USB-C ports on the X1 Fold, and both ports can handle device charging. You won’t find many buttons, only a power button with LED indicator and volume rocker.

It’s best to think of it as a 13.3-inch clamshell Windows tablet that can be completely folded in half. You can use it vertically or horizontally. It can be folded into a 90-degree angle like a Z Flip and can be used like a netbook or a mini-notebook with an optional keyboard. But, frankly: If you buy X1 Fold, get the keyboard. There is no reason not to do so.

The design of X1 Fold is both futuristic and practical. It is relatively compact, weighing only 2 pounds. In contrast, it is lighter than the MacBook Air, but heavier than the iPad Air. The hinge highlights this design, allowing the device to adopt a multi-mode approach that is completely different from traditional laptops.

Because of the large bezel around the display, you will know exactly where the hinge is. The hinge is actually open on the side. This is a bit worrying, but we also did not experience folding problems, nor did we put items in small openings.

And, if you choose a keyboard, you can leave it on the display when you fold the PC. It will actually fill up the folder, where there may be paper clips or sharp objects that may slip in and pierce the display.

When unfolded, the display will stretch to fill the entire 13 inches and create tension. This is by design, and the display effect is stronger in this position. Remember, this is an OLED polymer display, not glass. You don’t have to be too gentle when opening or closing the X1 Fold-it’s significantly different from a folding phone. However, when using it in a laptop-like format, we noticed that it would change color because the lower half of the display was noticeably darker.

The ThinkPad X1 Fold’s display is a 13.3-inch OLED with a resolution of 1536 x 2048. The image can be reproduced accurately, but it is lagging compared to other laptops with a full 4K display. The plasticity of the display improves the gloss because it is super reflective. It is difficult to use it under direct light or outdoors, especially when you can’t get such bright brightness by adding it.

ThinkPad X1 Fold has two big shortcomings: Windows is not optimized for foldable devices, while Lenovo’s custom features are the same. Intel’s Lakefield stacked processors can provide the expected performance, but are not efficient enough to meet the needs of high-power tasks.

Lenovo’s answer to switch from a large screen to a flip is a mode switcher. At work, it will detect when you fold through the accelerometer or turn X1 fold. In this way, you can choose which application is where according to your direction. This is an easy way to make you succeed, and it is convenient to stay in both apps. But too many times, when we needed it, we ended up not participating.

You will also find that many applications are not optimized for running in smaller scenes or mini flip mode. Essentially, you stuck the keyboard on the right side (or lower half) of the X1 Fold, then turned off that part of the display, leaving the upper half. It allows you to use X1 Fold as a mini laptop. You can browse the 7-inch display using the keyboard and touchpad. Quickly sorting email inboxes is very convenient, but there is not much else.

However, more importantly, the keyboard can operate normally for applications that use it. You will also find that magnetically connected keyboards and wirelessly charged keyboards consume a lot of power. In this mode, we recommend that you plug in the power source, which will avoid the practicality of using it on the go.

Moreover, when the X1 Fold is working properly, it only takes a few seconds to recognize that the keyboard is there. The base will be lifted and you will be able to swing. Although the failure to recognize the keyboard before multiple updates is more prominent, it still occasionally occurs after opening the X1 fold or restarting.

It boils down to the fact that Windows 10 was not designed for such devices. Windows 10X is an optimized version of foldable Windows 10. It may solve many problems, but it is delayed. It was teased along with the Surface Neo (folding Surface device), but it was also delayed. Many updates fall on Lenovo, and it tries to solve as many problems as possible. The other half is used by a single application developer.

When the X1 Fold works (ie the mode switcher), it is great. However, if not, it does feel like a first-generation product. As far as the processor is concerned, the X1 Fold performs well on Intel’s mobile architecture chips. Specifically, it is an Intel hybrid processor i5-L16G7 with 8GB RAM. For most tasks, powering them is sufficient; web browsing, word processing, large spreadsheets, and even occasional photo editing work well on X1 Fold.

It just cannot be expanded, but the X1 Fold is once again designed as a business laptop. We tried some games on it, “The Sims 4” is playable. However, when we try to try, any powerful title will crash or not work. We also found that for some games, automatic positioning will cause the app to crash or exit, so please be careful when using this PC.

In order to understand the performance, we ran the ThinkPad X1 Fold in Geekbench 5, which used real use cases to stress test the machine. The ThinkPad X1 Fold scored 822 in the single-core test and 1,738 in the multi-core test. It’s in the middle position, lagging behind multiple devices, including Intel MacBook Air, M1 MacBook Air and Surface Laptop Go.

In its current state, it is not a very efficient processor. The efficiency problem also extends to battery life. In daily use, we find that the keyboard consumes a lot of power, thus shortening the working time. When we use the X1 folding printer throughout the working day, we need a charger near it.

In the battery test, it lags behind all the above laptops and several other laptops, with a timing time of 6 hours and 15 minutes.

Judging from the expensive price alone, ThinkPad X1 Fold is not suitable for most people. And the fact that it is a foldable PC makes its sales more difficult. In the current state, ThinkPad X1 Fold is a very niche product. You may get better service from ThinkPad X1 Carbon, Dell XPS 13, Surface Pro X and even Surface Pro 7. Has excellent hardware and almost perfect software experience.

Even so, we still appreciate what Lenovo has done here. The hardware and design of X1 Fold are excellent. This is the first foldable screen that we are not afraid of applying pressure. But there is still work to be done here-the software experience needs to be improved, a large part of which belongs to the Windows team.

However, Lenovo will obviously make a difference on the X1 Fold.


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