Today, Lenovo is announcing the ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2, a product that’s been a long time in the making. While the first generation felt very much like a proof of concept, as so many first-gen products do, Gen 2 feels so much more refined.
The concept of a foldable from Lenovo was announced in May 2019, with the actual product shipping in late 2020. Back then, Microsoft was still working on the Surface Neo, and alongside that, a version of Windows 10 that was designed for dual-screen and foldable devices called Windows 10X. Lenovo shipped the ThinkPad X1 Fold with Windows 10 Pro, promising a Windows 10X version later on when the OS was ready. Unfortunately, Windows 10X was eventually killed off, along with Microsoft’s own Surface Neo (my own sources say Neo is dead; there’s no official confirmation from Microsoft).
The original ThinkPad X1 Fold has a wide range of shortcomings, and the OS was just the first. It was one of very few PCs to ship with Intel’s Lakefield processors, which debuted the company’s hybrid technology, laying the groundwork for everything it’s doing today, but wasn’t very good.
The ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2 comes with proper Intel 12th-gen mobile processors, along with Windows 11, a larger display, and more. It seems to fix all of the pain points of the original.
Intel 12th-gen is a game-changer
The Lakefield processors used previously were bad, really bad. The Core i5-L16G7 only had five cores, and out of those, just one was a performance core. It had a 7W TDP, which sounds like an old Y-series chip, but I’m here to tell you that it was even worse than that.
The processors in the ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2 are Intel 12th-gen U9 processors. Lenovo hasn’t confirmed SKUs, but you’ll likely see the Core i7-1250U and Core i7-1260U, both of which are 9W 10-core chips with two P-cores, eight E-cores, and a total of 12 threads .
There’s also a big boost in graphics. The Iris Xe graphics included have 96 execution units, and it’s clocked at 950MHz.
This all means that while the original ThinkPad X1 Fold was more like a toy that you could show your friends, this one is built for proper productivity.
The screen is a lot bigger
The OLED screen is now 16.3 inches, which is huge compared to the 13.3-inch display on the original. It’s still 4:3, and the new resolution is 2,560×2,024. The reason that it’s 4:3 is the same; if you fold the screen into a clamshell orientation, you get a 12-inch 3:2. Also impressive is that brightness comes in at 600 nits, which is always nice.
The larger screen also comes with a broader redesign. The screen closes close to flat now, whereas previously there was enough of a gap to fit the keyboard inside of the folded PC. Now, there’s a bit of space around the bezels so the screen isn’t lying flat against itself. The keyboard and a new kickstand magnetically attaches to the back of the folded PC.
You can also use the PC is more modes. You can stand it up horizontally, and now you can stand it up vertically. The Bluetooth keyboard also attaches magnetically (if you want to), so it’s not just standing out there in the open. Of course, if you fold the screen, you can place the keyboard inside, and the screen will automatically adjust to show its contents in the top portion.
There’s a real keyboard now
What’s nice about a larger display is that it can now fit a larger keyboard. This keyboard is full-size, and the keys are a proper 1.35mm. I was told that it’s the same keyboard that you’d find on a ThinkPad X1 Nano.
The touchpad is different though. This keyboard has a haptic touchpad, more similar to the ThinkPad Z-series. The physical buttons that you’d normally see there are replaced by haptic buttons. That means that you can press them as buttons, or you can use them for extra touchpad real estate.
The new keyboard is a major difference from the last one. For one thing, the keyboard on Gen 1 was much smaller, having to fit inside of a folded 13.3-inch display. There was also no TrackPoint; indeed, it was actually the only ThinkPad keyboard not to include one.
The rest of the redesign
The ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2 isn’t covered in leather like its predecessor was. The cover is now Recycled PET Woven Performance fabric, so the whole thing has a very different feel to it.
There are three USB Type-C ports, two of which are Thunderbolt 4. You’ll also find a nano-SIM slot, because Lenovo is once again offering 5G options for the ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2.
The webcam is 5MP, which is really nice to see. It’s combined with an IR camera for facial recognition, and Lenovo is using Intel Visual Sensing Controller (VSC) to automatically adjust orientation, so no matter how you’re looking at it, it should unlock your PC.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2 pricing and availability
If you’re really looking forward to getting your hands on a Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2, you won’t have to wait for that long. It’s going to be available in November.
It’s not going to be cheap though. It’s going to start at $2,499. While that does sound expensive, it’s the same price as the original ThinkPad X1 Fold. Given that the price of computers are increasing across the board, the price can be considered a bit of an improvement.