From the Microsoft Surface Duo to Samsung's doomed Galaxy Fold, it seems one of the main current obsessions in the tech world is foldable devices. Yet another has just entered the fold (sorry): the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold. It's available to pre-order right now – and the company claims it is unlike any other device on the market.
The main difference between the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold and its foldable rivals is that the X1 Fold isn't considered a mobile device. Unfolded, it features a full 13.3-inch OLED display, and Lenovo calls it the world's first foldable PC. But can it compete with our best laptops for graphic design?
Speaking of laptops, Lenovo has a very clear message for you: don't call this one. "I want to make a bold statement," says Lenovo's vice president Jerry Paradise, "X1 Fold is NOT a laptop." So what is it? "The best way to describe X1 Fold is that it is the chameleon of personal computing devices, adapting to its environment." Foldable chameleon it is, then.
Indeed, the X1 Fold can be used in multiple ways. An easel stand (sold separately) will allow it to stand in portrait or landscape orientation, while an onscreen keyboard when the device is half-unfolded will allow the user to type on it like a laptop (sorry, Jerry).
Tech-wise, the device features Intel’s Core i5 Lakefield processors, along with 8GB of RAM and up to 1TB of storage. The display itself is OLED, which means brighter colours and higher contrast than a standard LCD display.
But perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the X1 Fold is the price. Starting at $2,499, this is a very, very expensive device. And Lenovo knows it. "A revolutionary folding display does not come cheap and manufacturing costs for such a device are high," says Paradise. "In that context the X1 Fold that starts at $2,499 for a first of its kind, category defining PC device doesn’t look so bad." Okay, then.
Curiously, it seems the company is even pre-empting a less-than-warm response to the X1 Fold. "Often, public reception to a completely new technology can be indifferent at best, even frosty," says Paradise. "Human nature is typically averse to change. But ultimately those that truly change the way we do things, perceive things, enjoy things, will be successful."
To be fair, the device could eventually be a game changer for creatives on the move. A portable device that can unfold into a full-size digital canvas could well rival our best drawing tablets, offering a larger screen, but with a smaller footprint when folded.
If you're tantalised buy this powerful and multi-functional non-laptop (and can stomach the price), you can preorder the ThinkPad X1 Fold from Lenovo's website. And if you are looking for an incredibly powerful laptop, you could do a lot worse than the 2020 MacBook Pro – check out today's best offers below.