Computers are supposed to make our lives easier. And yet choosing the right PC seems to be getting exceedingly complex. All-in-one computers are more powerful and efficient workhorses than their bulky desktop predecessors yet by definition remain stationary. Conversely, touch-screen tablets are highly portable and great for entertainment purposes but less adept when it comes to hard-core productivity.
In striving to strike a balance between the two, the venerable laptop category has evolved into a growing number of variations that are light, fast and versatile. Some of them bend, swivel and/or detach from their monitor and keyboard, attempting to morph into whatever form factor the user needs whenever and wherever they need it. In this way, Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Fold, the world’s first folding personal computer, may be the most versatile of the bunch. I spent some time with one to determine what it does well, what it doesn’t and who might actually need one.
Neatly folded, this 2.2-pound Windows 10 computer is about the size of a hardcover book (roughly 6 1/4 inches by 9 1/4 inches by 1 inch), a notion reinforced by the classy look and feel of its black leather folio cover. It unfurls into a large rectangular tablet (about 11 3/4 inches by 9 1/4 inches by 1/2 inch), with a brilliant 13.3-inch 2K OLED display sporting 300 nits of brightness. Definitely a huge upgrade from the airplane seat-back monitor and—especially with its built-in foldout kickstand—easy to prop up on a tray table, without the perennial laptop keyboard poking you in the gut.