Lenovo – a technology company that designs and manufactures computers – revealed at CES 2020 their design for a foldable computer: The ThinkPad X1 Fold. Their products never seemed that amazing to me, even if they were. Walking through a campus library, you’d have thought that having anything else besides a Lenovo would have been against campus policy.
This is going to be different, regardless of previous designs Regardless of previous designs – Samsung Galaxy Fold, Motorola Razr, for instance – this time it’s going to be different. It’s going to be a game changer, especially for executives and professionals around the world. I’ve put together an overview regarding the details of it below.
Mechanics & Exterior
This product has been in development for over four years now. It isn’t just another laptop, it’s a completely revolutionary piece of technology. It’s essentially a 3-in-1 personal foldable computer.
One of the biggest problems was the hinge mechanism. Their engineers worked with 6 different hinge designs and over twenty variations. The result is a multi-link torque hinge mechanism pivoting at four separate edges in order to keep the screen perfectly flat when opened. There are also two carbon fiber reinforced plates behind the screen to increase longevity.
The chassis is made of a lightweight magnesium alloy, and sports comfortable bezels for gripping. Some users may think that they are too wide, but in addition to handling, are crucial for product durability. The exterior of this computer needs little to convey. Covered in luxurious leather, when collapsed the X1 Fold’s aesthetics are really something to behold.
As far as the display details go, it is a completely foldable 13.3-inch pOLED display (polymer instead of a glass substrate). It has a resolution of 2048×1536 which equates to a 4×3 aspect ratio – same ratio as the 9.7-inch iPad, but of course, much bigger.
The screen brightness will be 300 nits (candela/m2), with a color spectrum 95% that of DCI-P3 color space. This is equivalent to the Google Pixel 2 with respect to color range. So, besides the myriad of bending positions, nothing uber fancy, but still pretty good.
The processor – co-engineered with intel as a hybrid – will likely be using Intel’s Lakefield microarchitecture. It will have integrated Gen 11 UHD Graphics, 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM and 1TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD. However, there is even some speculation that it may sport 16GB of RAM.
A Bluetooth mini fold keyboard (sold separately) can be placed on top to substitute for the on-screen keyboard, or removed and used however one pleases. While using this keyboard on the display, it’s magnetically secured and charges wirelessly. The X1 Fold is designed in a manner that leaves a gap for this keyboard. When fully closed, the keyboard fits perfectly in place. When the keyboard is not in between, there is however a gap.
Miscellaneous & The Rest
Weighing in at just under 1 kg, the foldable computer will have two USB-C ports. It will also have a SIM card slot so it can be connected to your mobile network. The battery supposedly has a capacity of 50Wh, rated for 11 hours of life, and supports Rapid Charge.
It seems that the X1 Fold will first come equipped with Windows 10 Pro, followed by Windows 10X later on. However, Windows 10 Pro although secure, is not intended for multi-display devices. As a result, they have included their own software workaround – a taskbar button for switching between modes.
This is basically a complete desktop solution – connect a full-sized keyboard and mouse, and connect a second display, and your set. But it can also be picked up, bent, and read like a book. Lenovo has been continuously testing this just as they have with any of their computers. Durability tests, screen folding cycles, stress tests and pen usage (sold separately) were all a part of alpha testing. Testing is a large part of every product evaluation, especially for personal computers.
Their tests rated the X1 Fold at 30 000 folds – 3 to 4 years. This equates to about 10 folds a day, every day, with each fold consisting of an open and a close (so really, 20 folds). Doing the straight math, this comes out to just over 4 years. However, since it can be read like a book, what would moving it from an open position to holding it at a 120-degree angle consist of, a 2/3 fold, or a full fold? Given the nature of the design, it can be seen how they got their life cycle duration.
The forefront of foldable computers
At $2,499 this is no cheap computer, but being a novel design, it may very well be the beginning of foldable computers coming to the market. Its target audience is managers, executives and professionals around the world, but if it becomes more affordable, would be a target for everyone. Students have been waiting for ages for an excuse to drop the pen and pencil, (and erasers, refills, whiteout, rulers, markers, and of course, red pen) the foldable computer may very well be a big reason why.
It was initially intended to be released mid-2020, but at this point it looks more like late 2020, or even early 2021. At the time of editing this article, Lenovo’s latest update came back from the 6th of January 2020.
Note to our readers: This is our first article. We did our best to provide all the facts regarding the X1 Fold, and in a manner as organized as possible. We tried to align ourselves as an affiliate, but unfortunately were declined:
“Lenovo NA has declined your request to work with the campaign Lenovo Canada for the following reason: Not enough traffic.”
In the future, if they decide to approve us, we will update this article accordingly.
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