Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2 hands-on review: a sleek redo

The 2022 ThinkPad X1 Fold is the second generation of Lenovo’s foldable line, which the company says is now bigger, more powerful, and more versatile.

After having launched the foldable PC category in 2020 with the original ThinkPad X1 Fold, Lenovo took what it learned from the first generation to make a more streamlined and modern-looking product that should appeal to a wider audience. After spending some time with the ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2 myself, I came away impressed by how Lenovo has moved the design forward.

The 2022 ThinkPad X1 Fold in landscape mode attached to a keyboard. Specs

  Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2
Dimensions 10.87 x 13.6 x 0.34 inches (unfolded), 6.9 x 10.87 x 0.68 inches (folded)
Weight 2.82 pounds
Processor Up to Intel vPro with 12th Gen Intel Core U9 i5 and i7 Processors
Graphics Intel Iris Xe
RAM Up to 32GB LPDDR5
Display 16.3-inch (2024×2560) foldable OLED 600 nit HDR/400nit SDR, DCI P3 100%, Dolby Vision
Storage Up to 1TB PCIe Gen 4 SSD
Touch On-cell Touch with Pen support
Ports 2x Thunderbolt 4, 1 USB-C 3.2 Gen 2, Nano-SIM card tray3.5mm Combo Audio Jack
Wireless Wi-Fi 6E 802.11 AX (2×2), Bluetooth 5.2,  5G Sub 6 (optional)
Webcam 5-megapixel RGB+IR with Intel VSC option
Operating system Up to Windows 11 Pro
Battery 48-watt-hour (optional additional 16-watt-hour configurable)
Price $2,500

Design

The ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2 is an intricate device with many moving parts, no pun intended. There is so much to consider in terms of its design — the 16.3-inch display itself — its external parts, its internal parts, and its accessories.

Customers had to buy the accessories for the original ThinkPad X1 Fold, such as its keyboard and folio stand separately. This model sells with its magnetic attachable keyboard and kickstand included. When not in use, you can fold the ThinkPad X1 Fold into its 12-inch form and snap both accessories onto the PC for easy carrying without needing an additional case.

The two outer layers of the ThinkPad X1 Fold are made of woven fabric panels that are reinforced with carbon fiber and graphite. Internally, the PC has a fanless design but includes a graphite and copper heat sink as its cooling system to spread heat to protect the most important components in the device.

The hinge has a hidden design so that the two panels wrap around it as the device opens and closes. Lenovo explained that when folded the design creates a bell shape for the display that never fully creases the screen, but rather helps to keep it protected from damage.

Display

The star feature of the ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2 is surely its display, which is a 16.3-inch, 2024 x 2560 resolution, foldable OLED screen with 600 nits brightness in HDR mode and 400 nits brightness in SDR mode, plus a DCI P3 100% RGB color space.

The on-cell touch display also supports Dolby Vision and Pen support, with a Wacom stylus as its tool of choice. The accessory snaps magnetically to the side of the chassis for easy carrying. The grated speakers on the sides of the frame also support Dolby Atmos and Dolby Voice.

The sheer size of the product allows you to imagine it a lot less as a basic tablet and a lot more as it is intended — a foldable PC with several possibilities for its setup and use. At first glance, the OLED colors really pop, as can be expected from this panel type. In addition to its primary 16.3-inch and 12-inch form factors, the ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2 can be melded into different positions with or without the help of its stand and trackpad accessories.

When unfolded, you can use the 2022 ThinkPad X1 Fold in either portrait or landscape mode, with the display automatically adjusting to fit the different orientations. The portrait mode is the new option, which basically gives you an extremely tall vertical display. This is also something this laptop’s primary competitor, the Asus Zenbook Fold 17, doesn’t have.

Then you can fold the new ThinkPad X1 Fold into its clamshell mode, which allows it to be used as a traditional laptop. The foldable features an onscreen keyboard, of course, though the attachable accessory keyboard is what most people will want to use.

The 2022 ThinkPad X1 Fold in portrait mode.

The foldable PC includes a front-facing 5-megapixel IR RGB camera, which powers such built-in AI features as, lock-on-leave and wake-on-face. As described the device can be set to lock automatically when eyes are no longer detected by the camera and to wake again when you are present at the screen once more. Like the older model, this foldable PC also sticks to one camera.

You can also toggle the display to set up several panels, columns, or areas to bring up different browsers, apps, or programs. This is a great option for multitasking and can be configured into a number of unique configurations. Perhaps you need a side-by-side productivity use case that is ideal for the landscape mode. You can do columns in portrait mode and split one column in half still, adjusting the size as you need. There are so many possibilities.

2022 ThinkPad X1 Fold

Lenovo also made improvements over its first-generation ThinkPad X1 Fold, which has a gap at the fold, by ensuring the 2022 model folds completely flat. This not only provides a seamless look when viewing the display but helped in creating narrow bezels for the screen.

There is some bumpiness along the folding point of the display, but I can’t imagine that impedes the look or performance of the display in any way. It’s just something I noted. It could potentially be a result of the hidden hinge, as explained previously.

Lenovo claims the durability of the foldable display exceeds the life cycle of the PC, projecting that the screen could last up to 10 years, as per the results of robust open and close folding tests on the product.

Keyboard and trackpad

Accessories for the 2022 ThinkPad X1 Fold now come included with the foldable PC and are light and magnetically attachable. The ThinkPad TrackPoint Bluetooth keyboard is a full-sized peripheral that is modeled after the ThinkPad X1 Nano keyboard. It includes track point buttons, a haptic trackpad, and a fingerprint reader that supports Windows Hello.

The 2022 ThinkPad X1 Fold in landcape mode.

When not already attached, you can use the keyboard separately from the display while connecting to Bluetooth. Additionally, you can place the keyboard on top of the flat part of the foldable PC in clamshell mode or still use the keyboard attached or separately.

Similarly, the accompanying stand snaps onto the 2022 ThinkPad X1 Fold magnetically and adjusts well for easy use. You can place the device in landscape or portrait mode and adjust the fold to your preference.

Fortunately, many of the problems with the layout of the original ThinkPad X1 Fold’s keyboard have been resolved. No missing keys or surprises — everything’s right where you’d expect on a standard ThinkPad laptop. That’s largely thanks to the larger size, no longer needing to compromise to fit all the keys in.

Performance and battery life

With its professional-grade internals, Lenovo is promising major performance improvements with the 2022 ThinkPad X1 Fold over the prior model based on its own internal testing. The foldable PC offers 12th Gen Intel Core U9 vPro i5 and i7 Processor options, LPDDR5 memory up to 32GB, PCIe Gen 4 SSD up to 1TB, and Intel Iris Xe Graphics.

2022 ThinkPad X1 Fold

Several configurable options are available at Lenovo.c

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