The ultra-mobile Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold changed how I work from home

Open confession to Lenovo: I nonetheless have your ThinkPad X1 Fold. I promise I’ll ship it again quickly. Apologies for the delay, however what I believed could be a short examination of your revolutionary foldable PC changed into an extended exploration of how this ultra-mobile system modified how I labored—at a time after I didn’t go anyplace.

In any case, who’d have thought that the world’s first foldable Home windows PC, a design meant for businesspeople on the run, might show equally helpful for somebody who sheltered in place for months on finish? Positive, the ThinkPad X1 Fold has its limitations. However the mixture of the folding show and the removable keyboard provide a versatility that’s made my work-at-home life surprisingly simpler. 

Why the ThinkPad X1 Fold is exclusive

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 folding tablet Adam Patrick Murray

When folded, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold is about as a giant as an ordinary hardbound ebook. (A pre-production unit is proven right here.)

Let’s recap the fundamentals of the ThinkPad X1 Fold. Introduced at CES 2020 (in these final, harmless weeks earlier than the USA went into pandemic lockdown), it’s nonetheless the world’s solely foldable PC.

The system consists of a 13.Three-inch, QXGA (2048×1536), 300-nit foldable OLED show, with a full-fledged PC crammed beneath it. The ThinkPad X1 Fold is sheathed in black leather-based, together with its fold-out kickstand (which is cunningly dyed ThinkPad-red beneath, like Christian Louboutin heels).

lenovo thinkpad x1 fold kickstand Melissa Riofrio/IDG

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold’s kickstand permits you to prop up the system as a small show. And it is crimson!

What makes the ThinkPad X1 Fold utterly distinctive amongst PCs, after all, is its foldability. Lenovo says its engineers spent years creating the difficult hinge mechanism, which permits the show to unfold from a book-size object (measuring about 9.Three by 6.23 x 1.09 inches, per Lenovo) right into a half-open ebook or clamshell form, or unfold flat for use as a big pill.

As massive tablets go, The ThinkPad X1 Fold is heavy. It weighs about 2.2 kilos, in comparison with about 1.7 kilos for the 12.Three-inch Floor Professional 7+  and about 1.5 kilos for the 12.9-inch iPad Professional. You can maintain it in your lap, however not within the air for lengthy. 

Lenovo labored laborious to ensure the display screen didn’t crease or develop air bubbles with repeated folding. When unfold out flat, you possibly can see a ghost of a double crease in the course of the ThinkPad X1 Fold’s display screen. You must look laborious. When the show is folded into clamshell mode, you possibly can see a barely lighter space demarcating the double-crease. It’s not bothersome.

lenovo thinkpad x1 fold visual crease in folded display Melissa Riofrio/IDG

When the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold show is folded, you possibly can see a barely lighter space onscreen alongside the fold. 

Inside is an Intel Core i5-L16G7 CPU, a hybrid Lakefield CPU designed for skinny, gentle PCs. This can be a low-power chip. It could’t play Crysis. However my unit is working 64-bit Home windows 10 Professional, and I’ve my attribute 20-plus browser tabs going for work and analysis, and the CPU is holding up its finish. The one time I seen the ThinkPad X1 Fold getting relatively heat and throttling a bit is after I connected a USB-C hub to attach ethernet and HDMI.

Lenovo did a powerful job with the show expertise and the packaging, so it’s no shock that that is an costly funding. The pill alone is $2,499 from Lenovo, while a bundle with keyboard and pen is $2,799 from Lenovo. (A Lenovo Fold Mini Keyboard would in any other case be $229 from Lenovo, whereas the Lenovo Mod Pen could be $99 additional). However bear in mind, that is the one PC that folds!

A cellular PC saves my work-at-home life

lenovo thinkpad x1 fold clamshell 3qtr view Melissa Riofrio/IDG

As a small clamshell laptop computer, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold makes it simple to peek at e mail from any armchair.

I doubt my stuck-at-home/work-from-home scenario was one thing Lenovo thought-about when it developed the ThinkPad X1 Fold. Even I did not contemplate it, a minimum of not as a long-term scenario. We at PCWorld typically counsel that individuals who use their PCs solely at residence might use a desktop, or tolerate a heavier laptop computer. We bemoan the dearth of a big show once we’re on the highway.

As the necessity to isolate dragged on, nonetheless, my perspective modified. I spent a good period of time with my laptop computer tethered to a full show. However generally I needed to take my PC to the kitchen, the lounge, the den, or my workplace house. Making this circuit with my 14-inch every day driver was attending to be a drag. The laptop computer was too heavy and heat to have on my lap. Anytime I couldn’t snag a tough work floor, I used to be balancing it unsteadily on a ebook on high of a pillow. 

lenovo thinkpad x1 fold mode switcher Melissa Riofrio/IDG

The onscreen Mode Switcher permits you to select which mode you intend to make use of.

The ThinkPad X1 Fold’s magic method is its many modes. Each time you unfold it, the onscreen Mode Switcher pops as much as verify the way you want to use the show—whether or not as a cut up display screen or one massive picture. You can even summon the Mode Switcher anytime utilizing an icon within the taskbar.

As a small clamshell, the ThinkPad X1 Fold sat frivolously on my lap and let me do basic items like reply e mail and browse the net simply. I might use the on-screen keyboard, or connect the Bluetooth keyboard, on the decrease half of the clamshell. The leather-based exterior felt good in my fingers and didn’t slide off my lap like laborious plastic or metallic do.

As a small show, I might set it up on a floor and place the Fold Mini Keyboard someplace close by the place it was comfy for me. After I had entry to a full-size show, I might connect a hub to one of many ThinkPad X1 Fold’s two USB-C ports and get a desktop-like expertise, with the X1 Fold as my second show. 

lenovo thinkpad x1 fold with keyboard Melissa Riofrio/IDG

You should utilize the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold with the Fold Mini keyboard.

Units this compact at all times have limitations, after all. The 2 USB Three.2 Gen 2 (SuperSpeed 10Gbps) Kind-C ports are nice, however you possibly can’t use them each concurrently until you stand the show upright (portrait mode). When in portrait mode, the kickstand on my unit tended to slip misplaced a bit, as if the load distribution had been a bit off-kilter. It had no such issues when the show was oriented in panorama. Lenovo confirmed that the kickstand was actually meant for use solely in panorama mode.

The Fold Mini Keyboard is a necessary accent until you actually love typing on a display screen. You can use one other Bluetooth-connected keyboard, however the Fold Mini is the one one that you may tuck into the center of the ThinkPad X1 Fold for straightforward transport. Some keyboards this flat have an inferior typing expertise, however I’ve used it comfortably for hours at a time. To avoid wasting house it squishes as much as 4 characters on some facet keys, nonetheless, forcing you to hit the Fn key and generally additionally the Shift key to make use of a sure character. I can see this driving a contact typist loopy. I’m not a contact typist, however I created a whole lot of typos as I aimed for buttons that weren’t truly there. 

The last word cellular PC

lenovo thinkpad x1 fold front edge ports Melissa Riofrio/IDG

The entrance fringe of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold gives one of many two USB-C ports, in addition to the ability and quantity buttons.

The ThinkPad X1 Fold has already made me take a look at my conventional laptops in a different way. They’ve extra horsepower, however this light-weight, foldable PC does a greater job than they do on the mobility a part of computing, becoming simply into small areas or spreading out a bit when you will have extra room.

The one killer function this system would not have is LTE. There is a blocked SIM slot, however this function is not obtainable but on delivery fashions. As soon as it is obtainable, the ThinkPad X1 Fold might be the perfect PC to take anyplace, whether or not you are working for an airplane or curling up on the sofa. 

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