If the number of foldable laptops at CES were any indication, we’ll be entering a Star Trek reality in no time.
Designed for travelling professionals, Lenovo’s ThinkPads are known for their resilience in harsh working conditions. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold is its latest take on bringing a new form factor to the professional crowd.
To uphold its rugged reputation, Lenovo outlined several design considerations that enforced the X1 Fold’s toughness in its press release. Features include a multi-link torque hinge, lightweight carbon fibre reinforced frame plate, and “extensive durability testing” for the OLED display.
If its name wasn’t obvious enough, the 2K pOLED, 13.3-inch, LG-made display folds in half for easy transport. Because the hinge stays sturdy in between every position, the user can hold it as a book or prop it up vertically.
“How many people you know that have a smartphone, a tablet, and a PC?” asked Matt Zielinsk, president of Lenovo North America. “And so there’s our user experience research, which shows that there’s a good subset of users like that, that are looking for an alternative experience. And so I think that’s the genesis of foldable devices.”
Aside from a small subset of users, most people have abandoned the physical keyboard on smartphones. On the laptop, however, a physical keyboard is still deeply valued. The X1 Fold has a thin Bluetooth keyboard complete with a touchpad. When not in use, the keyboard wedges in between the folded displays and charges wirelessly.
In addition, the display supports an active stylus that also magnetically attaches to the chassis.
Lenovo is still dodgy on specifications, which was expected given that it’s still a product under development. At CES, it said that it’s using an unannounced Intel processor. If it’s an unannounced part, then it’s likely something beyond Intel’s Ice Lake since the entire family had been completed. That leaves only Tiger Lake, Ice Lake’s successor, or Lakefield, an Intel processor that features a stacked chip design. The latter has more potential, though, as the press release wrote that it’s an “Intel Core Processors with Intel Hybrid Technology”.
The ThinkPad X1 fold will initially ship with a regular copy of Windows 10 but will be updated to the fold-optimized Windows 10X at a later date. It will also ship with optional 5G connectivity.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold is expected to go on sale in mid-2020 for US$2,500. Its high cost puts it in the lap of early adopters with deep pockets. Lenovo will also sell a separate stand that props up the device at an angle.