Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold 2022 hands-on

Foldable screens are officially here to stay. Years of subpar foldable phone iterations have finally yielded worthy devices like Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Z Fold 4, whose flexible displays have legitimate productivity and portability benefits. Not to be outdone, PC makers have also jumped on this trend by producing full-size foldable computers. However, as we understood with the 2020 Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold, they still had a long way to go.

Fortunately, Lenovo has gone back to the drawing board and refined its foldable PC for 2022, promising a bigger screen and faster performance in a slimmer body that can be easily folded up and stowed in a small bag. We had some hands-on time with this $2,499 computer before its November release, and while it’s still becoming a niche product, it’s still great to see it in action.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold price and release date

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The 2022 ThinkPad X1 Fold is currently slated to launch in November 2022 with a starting price of $2,499. There will also be a $2,999 model for those who want a pen and keyboard included.

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For the uninitiated, the first Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold was basically a giant 13-inch Windows tablet that can serve as a huge canvas for drawing or watching movies when fully expanded, or act as a laptop when you’re using it. bend at a 90 degree angle. and place a keyboard on one half of the screen. And when you close it completely, it’s about as small as an average-sized book and more portable than a typical laptop.

There’s a lot to like about this design on paper, but as we learned while reviewing it, the original 2020 version of the X1 Fold just wasn’t ready for everyday consumers. At the time, Windows 10 wasn’t optimized for foldable screens, resulting in a frustrating and often buggy software experience that made it difficult to use even the most basic apps. Factor in the average performance and short battery life, and you had a device that was extremely hard to justify for its hefty $2,499 price tag — and that’s without the optional keyboard.

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Mike Andronic/CNN

The 2022 Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold is just as expensive — and will likely remain a niche — but I immediately noticed significant improvements when I got my hands on one at a preview event in New York. The first thing that caught my eye was the new screen, which is not only much larger (16-inches versus 13.3-inches), but also more attractive and immersive thanks to much thinner bezels around the screen.

The X1 Fold’s OLED display looked great in action, pumping out vivid colors whether I was watching a vivid Dolby Vision video of an amusement park or just admiring the deep reds and blacks against the backdrop of an amusement park. PC screen. I especially liked using the large screen vertically in portrait mode – a new feature for this year’s model – as I had a ton of space to annotate a text document with a pen (sold separately) or keep an eye on all the big stories on the Underscored homepage.

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I had little time with the X1 Fold in laptop mode, but as with the previous version, using this huge screen as a laptop is as simple as folding it into an L shape and placing the optional Bluetooth keyboard. downstairs. Lenovo makes arguably the best laptop keyboards in the business, and this separate wireless model is almost as good as what I’ve used on their traditional laptops (you can also use your own Bluetooth keyboard if you want) . But you’re not limited to this basic laptop mode – you can also fully extend the Fold’s screen and place it on the included stand while snapping the keyboard down, essentially giving you a giant screen of 16 inches (which you can use horizontally or vertically) and a full keyboard when you need to work. But unlike a traditional 16-inch laptop, this whole setup folds down to the size of a small book once it’s time to hit the road.

The taller, sleeker design of the 2022 ThinkPad X1 Fold is also complemented by more powerful internals, including the latest 12th Gen Intel Core i7 processors, up to 1TB of storage, and up to 32GB of memory for a smooth multitasking. And it comes with new Windows 11 software, which will hopefully be more optimized for various display modes than Windows 10 was for the original X1 Fold. And for those looking to pick one up for drawing or sketching, Lenovo’s newest foldable PC can be configured with a stylus that supports the Wacom protocol, a common standard for artists.

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Mike Andronic/CNN

Let’s put that aside: even with its improved design, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold isn’t made for the average consumer who just wants a good tablet/laptop hybrid. It’s much better suited to artists, creatives, and heavy multitaskers who want to work on a huge 16-inch screen without sacrificing the portability that comes with a small laptop. The device’s starting price of $2,499 will likely be prohibitive for many, and you’ll need to spend at least $2,999 for a model that includes a keyboard and stylus.

Most people looking for this kind of versatile setup are better off with Microsoft’s much cheaper Surface Pro 8, which is our top 2-in-1 laptop pick thanks to its ability to function as both a laptop powerful and a lively 13 inches. stand-alone screen for drawing and binging TV. And if you don’t need the laptop part, our top tablet picks will meet your streaming and drawing needs. But for those looking to invest in a particularly large (but still very portable) screen for work and play, the X1 Fold is worth keeping on your radar. Lenovo’s uniquely flexible computer will launch in November, and we can’t wait to put it to the test later this year.