Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold 16 Review: Boost Productivity with This Foldable Powerhouse


Testing the Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Fold 16 Gen 1, I was initially regretting my dual-display Yoga Book 9i purchase. Having bought it several months ago, and changing my life in countless unexpected ways, I resolved that I would never buy another laptop that comes with only a single screen again. However, this attitude completely changed when the X1 Fold arrived which comes with its folding OLED screen and made me turn into that Distracted Boyfriend meme as I raised it from the level of a twelve-inch netbook to a sixteen inch sketchpad while calling upstairs, “The laptop is here!”

We then performed a little bit of folding and unfolding of the laptop; sticking the bent midsection close to our faces so as to judge how good a job had been done on seam finish. In no time we stopped thinking about its central fold as we played games and watched films unfolded. Finally, I realized what it means being myself but also why ThinkPad X1 Fold is everything right for a convertible device, thus definitely yes let me have it

Lenovo released the first X1 Fold in 2020, but it was too far ahead of its time. 

Lenovo released the first X1 Fold in 2020

Its well-built and gorgeous OLED display could not make up for a myriad of problems such as; short battery life; small and dull monitor; (weak processor); a $2,500 entry price that doesn’t include stylus or keyboard; and it didn’t sometimes know if it was a tablet or laptop. Lenovo fixed almost all of those issues with its 2024 Fold. 

Lenovo threw in a stylus, which is good because this laptop can double as a drawing tablet

The display is now much bigger and much brighter. The battery life has doubled. The processing and integrated graphics performance have gone through the roof like an oversized puck on top of a strongman’s bell carnival game. The design is still even more awesome. Also Lenovo threw in a stylus, which is good because this laptop can double as a drawing tablet as well as being used as a netbook. It is better than my previous Yoga Book in almost every aspect except price.

Though Lenovo still wants at least $2,500 for one, but this time they give more reasons to justify the price tag. 

Lenovo still wants at least $2,500

The only catch here is that another $300 is needed for Bluetooth keyboard folio which are very important things to go with the Fold experience . Its virtual keyboard works okay, but it isn’t ideal if I need to type anything longer than “let me google that”. Plus I want my ThinkPad Fold propped up next to my 27-inch screen, so I had to buy the folio since that’s how I use my Yoga Book.

Maybe, I could spend $20 on a tablet stand that would fit the Fold’s 16-inch screen, but it wouldn’t be both a keyboard cover and as portable as this is. It took me around one hour to try to find some magnetic keyboards from third parties but I was not able to find an appropriate one. Even if I managed to get one (which I doubt) and if it perfectly matched the bottom side part of the Fold, it might still not command the device to convert into laptop mode when attached. (I tried this with Yoga Book’s built-in keyboard–no joy, plus it is too large for Fold.)

It irritates me that I would have to purchase Lenovo's “optional” keyboard and folio in order to maximize my experience from this foldable laptop; besides the touchpad was difficult to use. If I didn't clean my finger oil off of that track pad often enough it would miss so many swipes. That’s really unfortunate, given how pleasant typing on its keyboard is just like you’d expect from a ThinkPad or any other Lenovo notebook.

It’s fortunate that, just like the Yoga Book 9i I make use of the ThinkPad X1 Fold most of the time: it is connected to my monitor via a standalone keyboard and mouse. 

Yoga Book 9i I make use of the ThinkPad X1 Fold most of the time

The Folding mode proved more effective than the Yoga Book in some aspects. The hinge on the other hand in this case was not visible meaning it could not divide any paragraph into two as opposed to how it happens with most devices such as Yoga Book; well, what else can I say to emphasize that no screen gap haunted me all those days.

In both landscape and portrait orientations, however, my Yoga Book 9i’s two physical displays of 13.3 inches each offer more space to work with compared to the Fold. Besides changing the angle of my top screen according to my external display of choice, I find this feature better in yoga book. If there are one or two windows open, for example when running multiple applications, since its central hinge is noticeable unlike with ThinkPad Fold where it may seem like warping occurs at the center of its screen only because an app starts from left side or right side pane respectively.

Yoga Book 9i’s two physical displays of 13.3 inches each offer more space to work with compared to the Fold

For this reason, while I used the Fold— which was a bit weird but after some time I almost forgot about it—I had to keep that device slanted at roughly same degree as lower display angle of Yoga Book. This is where my criticism of the Fold ends. Among my favorite attributes of the fold is how it opens up into a desktop. With a magnetic hinge that joins to the keyboard, you just open the ThinkPad Fold like a book until it’s completely flat, prop it up against its stand and voila! You only require a Starfleet uniform and an LCARS wallpaper and there you go where few laptops have gone before. (No? Just me?)

The outer surfaces of the laptop are covered in thin woven lines of recycled black synthetic fiber (PET), which feel nice when touched. 

laptop are covered in thin woven lines of recycled black synthetic fiber (PET)

It reminded me of stroking a fabric-woven shopping bag yet smoother. It’s also an exquisite exterior that has minuscule crevices within it that do not show fingerprints easily for some reason. Forget about flat laptop lids, forget about colors for fun — I need more combinations of interesting textures in black! (Sorry Yoga Book!) These very fine lines can get crumbs while eating around this device is absolutely unwelcome. The smaller crumbs are hard to extract with your fingernail though they can be brushed out using small brush sized like kid’s toothbrush if you must eat your snack.

It feels lighter when carried in one hand or tucked into the crook of your arm because its dimensions are well balanced. 

It is as light as a MacBook Air; it’s only 0.68 inches thick and weighs 2.82 pounds (without the folio keyboard) making it one of the lightest laptops on the market. 

It is as light as a MacBook Air

Sorry Yoga Book

I also liked how the magnetic stylus conveniently attaches to the bottom-right side in laptop mode.

Because this device is an amazingly big drawing tablet, I’m glad that Lenovo sends a stylus with this laptop. On the desk, unfolded it was more than 16 inches of oled canvas that did not make me feel like my desk was crowded. I am not an artist but I tried out drawing and painting with the Fold and didn’t have a lot to gripe about. 

It felt almost exactly like the Lenovo 2-in-1s, and other brands’ convertible laptops I’ve tested over the years, hence allowing me to nearly reproduce Bob Ross’s chosen colors in his videos when he mixed paint because the screen boasts a resolution of 2560 x 2024 pixels that cover 96% of dci-p3 color gamut. It has happened sometimes that there were long thin lumps along the length of the middle crease which is quite normal for folding screens. However once whole device warmed up it evened out so it dint affect my writing and drawing abilities. The stylus itself is what gave me most problem.

The display’s color gamut made watching movies and playing ray tracing cloud games awesome, despite the 4:3 aspect ratio. 

Although I had to tweak the in-game resolution settings so nothing looked too squished, Cyberpunk 2077 (I’m finally playing Phantom Liberty) looked even better on my Fold than my Gigabyte M28U gaming monitor did.

Gigabyte M28U gaming monitor

On the other hand, Lenovo did a great job of striking a balance between the design of the ThinkPad X1 Fold and its hardware requirements. I never had an issue with drawing applications that lagged or too many browser tabs (within reason). It is however running on 12th Gen Intel U-series processor which is miles ahead of the original’s Intel Core i5-L16G7 five-core sluggish, five-thread processor that handled about 7W power. (Yes, no Hyper-Threading.)

Unlike Intel Core i5-L16G7’s five-core and five thread processor with only 7W TDP designed for low-loads, Intel Core i5-1230U has two performance cores with hyperthreading (10-core, 12-thread) and eight efficiency cores which greatly contributed to doubling battery life of New Fold. With the display brightness set to its maximum level while playing Cyberpunk 2077 on GeForce Now (446 nits as tested), I averaged about five hours but it hit around nine to ten hours at like between fifty and sixty percent brightness when I was just using my laptop for work purposes.

maximum level while playing Cyberpunk 2077 on GeForce Now

The Fold can be covered by the stylus in laptop mode (it attaches magnetically only at one place and that is it) even if only one of its three vents is blocked. The CPU’s power draw is capped at 26W, despite being made to pull up to 29W. Moreover, the entire chassis did not exceed 31 degrees Celsius, so for an hour I could comfortably have it resting on my thigh as Bob Ross helped me with painting digitally.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold 16 Gen 1 has set a benchmark in the world of foldable laptops although keyboards and folio are critical add-ons to a laptop that was never cheap in the first place. 

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold 16 Gen 1 has set a benchmark

HP’s Spectre Fold or LG Gram Fold may provide similar experience but the latter is available only in South Korea and we haven’t tested the former– let alone the fact that Spectre Fold costs twice as much as ThinkPad Fold.

However, if this Lenovo folding device indicates where other laptop designs are going I am all for it. If they were able to make a folding laptop as small as their Yoga Book incorporating a keyboard and folio into it later on even if it still costs $2,500, I would purchase them.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post