Hands-on with the first folding-screen laptop, the Lenovo X1 Fold
We've got a last minute dark horse candidate for most interesting new tech product of the year.
I'm gonna tell you why you should be excited about the new ThinkPad X1 Fold.
It's late in the year, we've already seen just about everything.
We've seen all the new iPhones, we've seen the new PlayStation 5, and the XBox series X. What else is left?
Well something that I saw a prototype of back in January at CES, and just arrived at my doorstep, it's this guy right here.
And it kind of looks like a chunky date book or day planner, but actually it is a 13 inch OLED screen, Windows tablet.
That, as you might be able to guess from the name, Fold, folds right in the middle.
It's kinda like the Samsung Galaxy fold phone, or the Razor folding phone, except it's a Windows device.
It's sort of half tablet, half laptop.
And having used all of these folding phones as well, I think there's a better case to be made for something that's in a bigger form like this.
Something that is more practical, because unlike those folding phones, you're not taking something that has a small footprint, like a phone, and then folding it open to get more screen real estate.
What you're doing here is starting with a 13 inch screen, pretty standard for a laptop, and finding some interesting things to do with it.
The first thing you could do is open it up all the way.
Fold out the little kickstand in the back and then it's got a tiny keyboard you can get with it.
You put the keyboard right in front of it, it's got a touchpad.
And you've got kind of a mini all in one computer, almost like a mini iMac looking thing.
And that's certainly fine for some casual typing or video viewing, or just using it like an everyday laptop, like a 13 inch screen laptop.
Then of course you do the folding bit where you fold it up kind of like it's a clamshell laptop.
Then it asks do you want your window that you have open, the active one on the top of the screen, the bottom.
You wanna split it up, you want it full screen.
So let's say you throw that on the top of the screen, and then you call up the on screen keyboard on the bottom half of the screen then you're typing on this thing.
The 13 inch screen folded in half, the top is what you're working on, bottom is the keyboard.
Okay, is typing on a keyboard ever a fantastic experience?
No, it's not, but at least, you could do it.
I get it.
Then I take that tiny keyboard again.
You see it's super small, super thin.
Of course it fits exactly on the bottom part of the screen.
It even holds itself on magnetically and charges the keyboard inductively.
Just when you lay it on top of that, that's pretty cool.
And then you can just use it as the keyboard and the touchpad while you're working on again, that smaller top half of the screen.
And when you're ready to go somewhere, you just keep folding, fold it all the way down.
And this keyboard is so thin that it actually nestles right inside and you carry it around with you.
And it's the kind of folded date book shape with the keyboard just right inside.
Now listen, I was excited to play around with this, and it clearly does most of the things it says on the box.
It works, but it's an early adopter product.
Let's not get that wrong.
It's 24.99 for the machine itself.
And then you got to pay I think 300 bucks extra if you wanna throw in the keyboard and the pen.
It's kind of like the Surface Pro in that you really do need the keyboard.
It's the cleverest part of the whole thing.
I don't think it would work as your all day everyday laptop right now.
Maybe someday in the future, you'll have something that's kind of like a MacBook Air that can fold in half and go in your backpack.
So it's smaller to carry around with you.
For right now I'm gonna call this kind of a CEO laptop.
I used to use that name to describe things like those old super tiny Sony VAIO laptops they used to have years ago, that were very expensive, very flashy, not always that practical.
And somebody like the CEO or the company or some other executive would see it and go, I gotta get one of those.
Somebody get me one of those.
But it's not your every day laptop.
Now I first saw this back in May 2019 at a prototype.
I saw it again in January of 2020.
And now here it is on sale, ready for people to buy if they want to spend that much on it.
Definitely an early adopter thing.
Not the most practical product in the world, but a lot further along and a lot more polished than a lot of things I see that are really half baked prototypes that they decide to sell because because the company has to do it.
I think a lot of engineering and a lot of thought went into this.
And I'm frankly very excited to see what the next phase of folding laptops looks like.
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