IFA 2022 | Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold 16 Hands-On: New version is more practical and less practical at the same time
Making headlines - if manufacturers have this goal, foldables are likely not a bad investment. The first Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold generated many reports even in some mainstream media sites, which does not happen that often for PCs these days. Of course, it is something different to create something that is actually good and a sales-hit. In our review, the X1 Fold did not achieve a good rating.
Clearly, the second generation of the ThinkPad X1 Fold had a lot of things to improve. Lenovo gave us the opportunity to take a closer look at the device in preparation for IFA 2022. This hands on is focused on the design, more info on the specifications can be found here.
Holding the new X1 Fold 16, the higher weight is immediately noticeable. While the predecessor was lightweight enough to be used as a handheld tablet, we do not see that type of usage occuring that often with the new X1 Fold.
In exchange for the higher weight, users gain the new 16.3 inch 4:3 display, which seems positively massive. Indeed, this is the ThinkPad that has the tallest screen of all time - going back as far as 1992, no ThinkPad offered more vertical screen space than the X1 Fold G2.
Another advantage of the weight: The ThinkPad X1 Fold 16 feels like an extremely high-quality device. The rock solid feel is due to the materials used by Lenovo for this chassis: The frame of the X1 Fold G2 is made out of CNC Aluminum, the plastic backside has a Carbon fiber reinforcement and the screen is supported by a Magnesium frame. The high price of the X1 Fold can definitely be felt when holding it.
Closed, the X1 Fold Gen 2 is much thinner than the first model. Lenovo has redesigned the hinge to close the gap between the screen halves. This looks nice and it is thinner, but it results in a new design compromise: The Bluetooth keyboard can not longer be put inside the closed X1 Fold. Instead, it has to be mounted magnetically to the bottom of the X1 Fold, as less elegant method compared with the Asus ZenBook 17 Fold.
Clearly improved is the keyboard. The first model had a tiny keyboard that was barely useable. The new X1 Fold 16 has a real ThinkPad keyboard, which mirrors the ThinkPad X1 Nano in terms of typing experience. Lenovo also managed to include the red TrackPoint pointing-stick, which does not have its usual dedicated buttons however. Instead, it uses a the integrated buttons the haptic trackpad beneath the keyboard provides, like the ThinkPad Z13. The keyboard also is backlit, different from the keyboard of the ZenBook Fold. It has to be charged via USB C.
A huge design change happens with the last piece of accessories besides the stylus and keyboard: Lenovo has decided to remove the kickstand, instead opting to use a dedicated, separate stand. With the stand, you can prop up the device horizontally and vertically, which the vertical mode being new. This is certainly an interesting use case for programmers and writers, but it has the huge disadvantage that you need to take the stand with you all the time. It is another accessory that can be lost and that increases the weight.
While we do not like this change, we do like it that Lenovo allowed us to take a look at the inside of the new X1 Fold. Its construction is relatively modular for such a compact device, but users will not be able to access the X1 Fold 16 them selves, as the back is glued down. At least maintenance is easier compared to the first model, enabling Lenovo to offer on-site service. The first X1 Fold had to be repaired in a depot.
With the ThinkPad X1 Fold, Lenovo implements many good changes. The new X1 Fold 16 feels less like a prototype compared with the predecessor, and it seems more suited to be a work device. But there are some changes that we dislike - especially the decision to remove the kickstand in favor of a dedicated stand. If Lenovo should change anything for the next gen of the X1 Fold, this would be one thing we would like to see changed.
Own / Lenovo