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Lenovo X1 Fold 16 (2024) review: Half a job well done

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £4389
inc VAT

The Lenovo X1 Fold 16 is an engineering marvel but it’s a horrid thing to use


  • Zero-gap folding mechanism
  • 16in screen in a compact package
  • Bright, vibrant display


  • Fiddly keyboard and stand
  • Slow, old 12th Gen CPU
  • Exorbitant price

The latest hybrid laptop from Lenovo – the Lenovo X1 Fold 16 – is a curious thing. By any standards it is fabulously well engineered: its massive 16in OLED display folds up like a Samsung Galaxy Fold 5, with no gap at the sides; it’s speedy, the screen is a beaut and it packs down to a compact size that, frankly, beggars belief.

Lenovo’s design team has had to make some pretty big sacrifices where the device’s convenience is concerned, however. Because of that oh-so-trendy zero-gap fold, you can’t store the keyboard between the two halves of the screen, making it fiddly to use on the move. And there’s no built-in kickstand, which means it’s even more fiddly to set up when you want to unfold it fully and use it as a mini desktop computer.

All of which puts a dampener on what could have been the best folding hybrid laptop yet. Alas, having used it on and off for the better part of a month, this isn’t a Windows laptop I’ll be particularly sad to see the back of.

Check price at Lenovo

Lenovo X1 Fold 16 (2024) review: What you need to know

Lenovo has been making folding hybrids for a while now but this one is slightly different from the Fold devices that have preceded it. It has a bigger screen, for one – it measures 16.3in across the diagonal, has a resolution of 2,560 x 2,024 and a practical aspect ratio of 4:3. The original X1 Fold only had a small 13.3in folding screen and wasn’t all that practical to use as a laptop.

The Fold 16, on the other hand, is a more practical device, or at least it should be. Like previous Folds, it can be used in multiple configurations: as a standard laptop (with an 11.5in screen), by opening up the screen and attaching the keyboard to the lower part of the display; as a giant 16.3in tablet; or as a desktop machine by fully unfolding the screen, propping it up on the supplied stand and placing the Bluetooth keyboard on the desk in front of it.

Also supplied in the box is a stylus for sketching and note-taking and it’s available in two configurations: one with a 4.4GHz 12th Gen Intel Core i5-1230U, 16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD; the other with a Core i7-1250U with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD.

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Lenovo X1 Fold 16 (2024) review: Price and competition

Configuration tested: Intel Core i7-1250U, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD. Price when reviewed: £4,599 inc VAT

The hybrid folding laptop is still a bit of a new area for manufacturers so there aren’t all that many direct rivals for the Lenovo X1 Fold 16. Economies of scale, such as they are, mean that prices are pretty high, too: my review unit’s RRP is an absurdly high £4,599 while the basic Core i5 model goes for £4,389.

At this price, the most obvious comparison to make is with the HP Spectre Fold 17, which has similar specs and an equally high price of £4,999. It’s not as well-made as the Lenovo in some respects but more practical in others (I’ll get into the details on this lower down).

Alternatively, if you don’t fancy remortgaging your house to buy a laptop, but you still want more screen real estate, you could consider a lightweight 17in laptop like the LG Gram 17 or a dual-screen machine like the Asus ZenBook Duo (2024, UX8406), which comes with twin 14in 3K OLED touchscreens and a detachable Bluetooth keyboard. Both of these alternatives are much cheaper and, despite not being quite as exotic, much more practical to use.

Lenovo X1 Fold 16 (2024) review: Design and key features

The design of the X1 Fold 16’s folding display is beyond reproach. The hinge feels smooth and rigid, it doesn’t creak at all (unlike the HP Spectre Fold 17) and it folds shut leaving no gap around the edges, just like a giant Samsung Galaxy Fold 5.

The outside is covered in what looks and feels like Kevlar but turns out to be recycled synthetic fibre. I worry that it will collect dirt and grime in its various nooks and crannies after a few months of use, but it certainly shrugs off fingerprints effectively and it feels rather nice under the finger.

Opened up, the Fold shows off all of Lenovo’s experience with this type of machine, with barely any crease to distract the eye when it’s fully unfolded. Even viewed at an oblique angle, towards a light source, I had trouble discerning any kind of undulation and with the screen on – to all intents and purposes – it looks like a regular laptop screen or tablet. It feels rigid, even though it’s a mere 8.6mm thin, and it’s remarkably compact when folded up, measuring 276 x 176 x 17.4mm (WDH) and weighing 1.28kg.

You can make or break a folding hybrid like this, however, with a poor stand or a frustrating keyboard, and I’m sorry to report that the X1 Fold 16’s accoutrements fall firmly into this category. They’re utterly dismal.

I didn’t mind typing on the keyboard. It’s backlit, has a nicely damped action and key travel is good. The up arrow key is flanked by the PageUp and PageDn keys, which is frustrating, but something I could learn my way around. Plus it charges via USB-C, which is an improvement on the HP Spectre Fold 17’s proprietary dongle, and it has a fingerprint reader built in.

However, to my mind, setting it all up is just too fiddly. With everything folded away, it’s neat enough: the keyboard and stand attach magnetically to one side and it’s all pleasingly compact. When the time comes to unfold it to use as a laptop or desktop machine, though, it’s a faff.

In laptop mode, you have to first unfold the screen halfway, then remove the keyboard part from under the laptop and attach it so it obscures half the display – but you need to be careful not to drop the whole thing on the floor because it’s top-heavy in this mode. Need to stop working? Hold on, don’t shut the screen as you might normally or you risk damaging the hinge. Now remove the keyboard, attach it to the bottom of the device and then close the screen.

To use it in desktop mode is even more fiddly. First, you separate the stand and keyboard from the display unit, and find somewhere to put the latter while you set up the stand on your desk. Then unfold the screen and pop it into the groove between the two. It’s a much bigger faff than necessary and could have been avoided by engineering the display so it sandwiched the keyboard between the two halves of the display.

And that’s before I get to the webcam. It’s nice and sharp at 1440p but exposure control isn’t great, blowing out highlights, skin tones look oversaturated and it can only capture in portrait orientation when you have the screen fully unfolded in desktop mode. This makes you look like you’re taking the call on your phone, which isn’t very professional.

Ultimately, though, you have to ask yourself how much benefit the folding screen provides. To my mind, the only advantage is how small the whole lot folds up and even then, I’m not convinced. It’s not as if it’s particularly lightweight – with the keyboard and stand attached, the device is pretty hefty at 1.92kg. That’s heavier than, for example, the Apple MacBook Air 15in (1.5kg) and the HP Spectre Fold with the keyboard attached (1.62kg).

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Lenovo X1 Fold 16 (2024) review: Test results


  • 16.3in, OLED, folding
  • 2,560 x 2,024
  • 60Hz

The X1 Fold 16 performed well in testing but it’s no creative powerhouse. It has a nice 16.3in OLED display that’s rated at a peak brightness of 600cd/m2 and delivers vibrant colours and the infinite contrast typical of OLED panels. That brightness rating is for HDR playback, however. In normal use, it peaks at 467cd/m2. That’s fine for use in most scenarios, however.

It isn’t particularly colour accurate out of the box, though. I measured the average colour Delta E variance at 2.8 vs DCI-P3 and it wasn’t much better vs sRGB (2.8) or DisplayP3 (3.3). Most good laptops are closer to a Delta E error of 1. It clearly produces plenty of colours – 122.9% of DCI-P3 – so it’s perfectly capable, but you’ll have to calibrate it yourself if you plan on doing any colour-critical work with it.

Where it does perform well, is that it has a decent anti-reflective coating. It’s glossy, but I didn’t find overhead office lights reflected in the screen too distracting.

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  • Intel Core i7-1250U, 10 cores (12 threads), max 4.7GHz
  • 16GB RAM
  • 512GB SSD

Just like the HP Spectre Fold 17, the CPU inside the Lenovo X1 Fold is a 12th Gen part – it’s getting on in age and it shows in the benchmarks. In both our in-house test and the Geekbench 6 benchmarks, it was soundly outperformed by the Asus ZenBook Duo, which is half the price. It is slightly faster than the HP Spectre Fold 17 but not to the point where you’d notice the difference.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold 16 Gen 1 (2024)4K media benchmarks (6)

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold 16 Gen 1 (2024)Geekbench 6 CPU

The GPU is the older integrated Intel Iris Xe, which lags a long way behind the current generation of Core Ultra chips and its new, far more powerful Intel Arc Graphics.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold 16 Gen 1 (2024)Geekbench 6, GPU openCL

The one bright spot is that the SSD is pretty speedy, with read speeds for sequential files averaging 4,065MB/sec and write speeds at 3,251MB/sec. That’s competitive, even if the size of the drive for the money is pretty small at 512GB.

Battery life

  • 64Wh, 3-cell lithium-ion battery

The Lenovo X1 Fold has two batteries totalling 64Wh inside the screen units and it lasted 8hrs 16mins in our video playback test. That is, however, the best-case scenario, with only half of the display showing, in laptop mode.

With the screen fully unfolded, it lasted 7hrs 24mins. Again, compared to the Asus Zenbook Duo and HP Spectre Fold 17, that’s a disappointing result.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold 16 Gen 1 (2024)Battery life (4)

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Lenovo X1 Fold 16 review (2024) review: Verdict

It all adds up to a pretty uninspiring overall picture for the Lenovo X1 Fold 16 (2024). Not only is this machine incredibly expensive, its performance is relatively slow, its battery life is underwhelming and its keyboard and stand are infuriatingly awkward to use.

Don’t get me wrong; there are elements that I like about it, such as the build quality of the display unit, the textured finish on the outside and the fact that the folding screen shows barely any crease.

However, those qualities don’t make up for this laptop’s many annoyances or the fact that you can buy something that’s faster, more practical and lighter for a lot less. If you want a laptop with extra screen real estate, consider the Asus Zenbook Duo (2024) with its twin 14in OLED displays or just buy a regular laptop with a 16in or 17in display like the LG Gram. Whatever you do, though, don’t go out and splash the better part of five grand on one of these.

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