For the NXT Magazine November 2020 issue, I tested the ThinkPad X1 Fold and published my review. I was rather surprised at how usable the device is. To me, the most important features on a laptop is lightweight, responsive, and long battery life, and the ThinkPad X1 Fold has them all.
The X1 Fold feels really organic thanks to the exterior leather finish that wraps around like a premium folio. When fully folded out, the leather surface covers the entire rear of the device, but as it folds in, the leather slides back to reveal a glossy panel that accentuates the book style. The bezels around the flexible OLED panel is made of silicon material so that they bend along with the hinges bend to provide better protection against foreign particles.
The X1 Fold is easily the most adaptable computing device that lets you be productive in many situations. The optional wireless Fold Mini keyboard is sized perfectly to magnetically dock on the lower half of the foldable table, making the X1 Fold appear as a mini laptop.
But I find the keyboard is too compact for extended work and many keys are missing which reduce typing efficiency. The price is rather exorbitant for a Bluetooth keyboard. The display resolution is also reduced with only half the usable display, but I guess the benefit of working in tight spaces for quick replies outweighs the screen space. The keyboard charges automatically when docked to the X1 Fold, or you can charge manually over the micro-USB port.
When working on a proper desk, I would flatten the X1 Fold and flip out the integrated stand to prop up the display, placing the wireless keyboard at any distance or position to achieve the optimal comfort. I could connect another external monitor via USB-C for better productivity. The experience is like an all-in-one desktop PC, and the QXGA OLED display achieves excellent colour reproduction with vivid reds .
The availability of the optional Active Pen provides yet another interactive option to take notes, sketch ideas, or sign documents on the X1 Fold. While the display surface could handle normal-pressure pen strokes, I would probably not use it extensively for creating digital artwork.
The screen is also large enough for me to use as a piano score sheet to practice my pieces digitally.
The ability to fold the display partially means the X1 Fold can be used in a smaller footprint while still getting the visual benefits of a full 13.3-inch display. This allows work to be carried out in tight places like on a bus or a crowded train.
I am also impressed with the battery life. Powered by a Core i5-L16G7 processor, the X1 Fold runs the usual productivity tools and the latest Microsoft Edge browser smoothly, thanks to the fast LPDDR4X RAM and SSD storage. The 50Whr battery life manages to run a whole day without unexpected power drain. The ability to rapid-charge the X1 Fold using USB-C PD is a plus point too so I can carry a generic charger.
The ThinkPad X1 Fold turns out to be more usable than expected. It offers versatility, mobility, connectivity and productivity that no other laptops or smartphones could offer. With a starting price of S$3759, you are paying a high premium for innovation, style and productivity.
- Good performance response, balanced battery life
- Versatile use in many situations, even in cramp areas
- Expensive, but you pay for innovation
- Optional accessories to make the experience complete (pen, keyboard) are similarly pricey