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The world’s first foldable laptop is now available for preorder

Published Sep 29th, 2020 6:06PM EDT
ThinkPad X1 Fold
Image: Lenovo

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  • The world’s first foldable Windows 10 laptop is available for preorder after a prototype was first demoed at CES 2020.
  • The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold retails for $2,499 and features a foldable 13-inch OLED display that supports several use modes.
  • The foldable notebook can make use of a standalone keyboard accessory and a stylus.

The world’s first foldable laptop arrived several months after the world’s first foldable smartphones hit stores.

That happened in early 2020 when Lenovo demonstrated its foldable ThinkPad concept. Nine months later, the ThinkPad X1 Fold is a real product that you can buy. It’s a 13-inch laptop/tablet device that retails for $2,499, which is far more expensive than a traditional Windows 10 laptop. Then again, the technology that makes foldable devices possible isn’t cheap. Still, the X1 Fold might be a better deal than the newly launched Galaxy Z Fold 2, which retails for $2,000.

Comparing smartphones to laptops isn’t fair. Foldable or not, the smartphone is the leading personal computer for many people, and the X1 Fold can’t replace a smartphone. It can support 5G technology and connect to your existing smartphone via Windows 10, but it’s still a regular Windows laptop.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold
Foldable ThinkPad X1 Fold laptop used in book mode. Image source: Lenovo

The foldable ThinkPad features a foldable 13-inch OLED touchscreen with 2048 x 1536 resolution and can be used in various modes. When opened fully, it acts as a Windows 10 tablet, or a laptop, if you use the standalone keyboard. Partially folded, the X1 becomes a laptop featuring two 9.6-inch touchscreens and can be used in a book-like mode.

Other specs include an Intel Core chip with Intel Hybrid technology, Intel UHD 11th-gen graphics, 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM, up to 1TB PCIe SSD, 5-megapixel HD camera, 5G (Sub-6GHz), and 4G LTE (Cat. 20) support, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, two USB-C ports, and a SIM card tray. The laptop delivers 11 hours of battery life, the specs-sheet says.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold
Foldable ThinkPad X1 Laptop and the slim Fold Mini Keyboard accessory. Image source: Lenovo

The X1 Fold supports the Active Pen stylus and a specialized Lenovo Fold Mini Keyboard that chargers wirelessly, but they’re not bundled with the device. An extra $300 will get you both accessories with your preorder.

Samsung struggled with the first Fold smartphone, as it had to face durability issues that somehow did not come up during prototyping. A couple of design flaws favored screen failures, and Samsung had to postpone the launch by several months. Samsung learned a lot from its mistakes, launching two superior foldable phones this year when it comes to durability.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold
The ThinkPad X1 Fold is the world’s first commercial foldable laptop. Image source: Lenovo

It’s unclear how durable a foldable laptop will be, so we’ll have to wait for real-life users to test it. But Lenovo stresses on the innovation this type of product required.

The X1 Fold seems to be slightly thicker than you’d expect it to be, but it’s just 11.5mm when unfolded. That goes up to 27.8mm when folded. The laptop also features a sliding cover on the exterior, which also acts as a stand when you want to use the entire OLED panel as a display.

A “durable multilink torque hinge design” allows the ThinkPad X1 to fold, and a custom motherboard sits inside the chassis. Lenovo says that multiple heat spreaders make heat dissipation possible.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold
The slim keyboard accessory is placed on top the bottom screen of the ThinkPad X1 Fold is used in mini-laptop mode. Image source: Lenovo

That display isn’t made of glass, as the OLED screen is covered by a polymer, according to the company. However, the fact that it can support stylus input indicates the screen might be more durable than the first-gen Fold’s display.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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