Lenovo X1 Fold has a split personality

Kishore Bhargava | Updated on June 23, 2021

Military-grade and enterprise-class laptop-tablet that’s super versatile

Is it a laptop or a tablet? Or better still, is it a laplet or a tabtop? Either way, the Lenovo X1 Fold is unique; it is a first of a kind: it is a foldable laptop that also doubles up as a tablet. While we have seen foldable phones, replicating that on a laptop is considerably more challenging. Lenovo has done a good job so far. With years of Thinkpad excellence behind it and in the tradition of the Carbon X1 series, they have created a sturdy enterprise-class machine that is also small and handy and has a cool split personality.

The first thing that strikes you about the Fold is very obviously the design. It looks like a well-built diary of old, complete with good quality leather. Opening the diary reveals a glossy screen and when it is turned on, it is a bright large tablet. Lenovo has worked on the hinges of the Fold and made them exceptionally sturdy. As in the lineage of Thinkpads, the Fold is also military-grade sturdy. The nice thing about the hinges is they have these rubber grooves in them, which help with the grip, and after a while, they tend to fade away, and you don’t notice them anymore.


There are three primary positions for using the Fold; firstly, it can be used fully open as a 13” tablet. It works both in landscape and portrait mode. It can be used as a hand-held tablet or using the built-in kickstand; it can be placed on a table in landscape mode and used along with an external keyboard giving you a laptop kind of experience.

Next up, you can half fold it and use it as a book; though a little heavy (999 grams), it is not uncomfortable to hold. The leather folio provides a good grip, and apps like the Kindle make it the perfect method to read a book.

Finally, the third method is to half fold the Fold and place a keyboard on one half of the screen. Lenovo has built a keyboard specifically for this. The keyboard is a super-thin, almost full-size keyboard that comfortably sits on the screen, is magnetically attached and while in that position, it is also being charged. The keyboard connects to the Fold via Bluetooth. This makes the Fold very much like a 9” form-factor netbook.


The screen of the Fold is an OLED screen, so when used for reading content or viewing media, it is pretty bright and crisp. It is a 2K screen, so video content does look impressive. The one downside of the screen is that it is super reflective. I guess in the next iteration of the Fold this may be considered and potentially changed. For now, the materials used to allow it to fold make it very mirror-like. The screen is touch-enabled, and whether you use it as a tablet or as a PC it is very convenient to scroll or access apps.

The standard device is an Intel Core i5 CPU with 8GB RAM and a 500 GB SSD iIn terms of specifications. The device comes with Windows 10 Pro installed. In terms of performance, it is well suited to the usual tasks of word-processing, Internet access, media consumption and usually what an enterprise worker would want.

For connectivity, the Fold has WiFi 6, and in some models, there is a nano SIM slot. There are two USB-C slots on the device. These are both 10 GBPS ports, and one of them can be used as a display port.


The speaker system is also quite impressive for such a small device and it claims Dolby Atmos support and four microphones. The built-in camera is an HD 5 mega-pixel camera and interestingly, when you look at the camera placement, you would assume that it would only be usable when the fold is being used fully unfolded and in landscape mode is not the case. It works quite well even when it is half folded, and you have the keyboard placed on it.

Battery life is about eight hours, and the charger uses rapid charge technology, so you don’t have to worry too much about it lasting the workday.

In the box, you get the Fold, and its a charger. Additional accessories currently include the keyboard and a pen. The review unit came with both accessories. The pen uses some of the standard Windows software and the usual Lenovo software available on other Thinkpads. The keyboard is specially designed for the Fold and fits perfectly in between the ever so slight gap of the screens when fully folded.

The big question is, who is this device is aimed at? Ideally, it would be for the busy top executives. It is small, reasonably light, can be used tablet or as a laptop and is comfortable reading on and consume media.

The price tag is a little on the higher side. The base model is ₹ 329,000/- while the keyboard is usually sold as an optional accessory, I believe that it is bundled as part of the base model in India.

Overall, it is a fresh and new design, and it would benefit from a different operating system, something that works better as a tablet when in tablet mode and as a PC when being used with the keyboard. It is to be seen whether Lenovo and Microsoft work towards getting either Windows X on it or maybe Windows 11 will weave more magic. Running Android on this would also be an interesting experiment, but I did not attempt that with the review unit.

Price: ₹3,29,000/-

Pros: Compact tablet and PC, great for reading and light work

Cons: A tad bit expensive, keyboard doesn’t always dock, touch fails at times

Published on June 23, 2021

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