Chinese PC maker has used the CES consumer electronics show in Las Vegas to claim two world firsts, with a 5G equipment laptop and a foldable computer.
The most catching development was Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Fold, which will cost $2,499 (when it is released this year) and comes with a folding OLED screen so users can use it like a tablet, or attach a magnetic keyboard in order to type like a normal laptop.
It should be noted that Lenovo has worked with chip maker Intel, which has also revealed its much larger Horseshoe Bend foldable concept computer at the CES show.
But first lets start with the Lenovo Yoga 5G, which the Chinese PC maker claims is the world’s first 5G PC.
This laptop supports both millimeter wave full-band and sub-6GHz 5G networks, and was first previewed in May 2019 at the Computex conference in Taipei, as ‘Project Limitless’.
Lenovo and Qualcomm said at the time, that their aim with Project Limitless was to offer the processing power of a laptop with the mobility and always-on connectivity of a smartphone.
The Lenovo Yoga 5G is therefore designed as an ultra-portable 2-in-1 laptop, and is the first-ever PC powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx 5G Compute Platform, for high-speed 5G network connectivity when on the move, coupled with reliable Wi-Fi access at home.
It can offer download speeds of around 4Gbps supported by nine built-in antennas for a stronger signal.
The Yoga 5G weighs just 1.3kg (2.86lbs) to aid portability, and users can log in with a hands-free infrared (IR) camera or integrated fingerprint reader. To aid its portable design, battery life is claimed to be up to 24 hours.
Spec-wise, the 14-inch Full HD IPS touch display has narrow bezels on all sides, and it features the Qualcomm Adreno 680 graphics chip and user-facing stereo speakers powered by Dolby Atmos.
The Snapdragon 8cx 5G Compute Platform allows for multitasking on the Yoga 5G at a fraction of the power consumption.
The Yoga 5G is also paired with a digital pen and the Windows 10 operating system.
The machine also offers software-enabled intelligent temperature control feature, which can adjust performance depending on the user’s activities, keeping the laptop cool and eliminating the need for a noisy fan.
The Yoga 5G will be available in Spring 2023, starting at US$1,499.
At the CES show, Lenovo also unveiled what it claims to be the world’s first foldable PC, the ThinkPad X1 Fold.
It says that that the new ThinkPad is built from a combination of lightweight alloys and carbon fiber and covered in a leather folio cover.
The X1 Fold is said to be a fully functional laptop PC with a 13.3-inch folding OLED display and weighs less than 2.2 pounds/1kg. It can seamlessly morph through multiple orientations from a compact footprint into a fully flat display.
“As it morphs through multiple modes, from a small footprint device into a fully flat 13.3-inch display, X1 Fold will deliver laptop efficiency with smartphone portability,” Lenovo said.
It has been co-engineered with Intel, and is powered by Intel Core processors with Intel Hybrid Technology and will initially be available with Windows 10 in mid-2020.
When the X1 Fold is unfolded, it is best suited for touch heavy content consumption with 13.3-inches of OLED display real estate and weighing less than 2.2 pounds (1kg).
With the landscape mode with the integrated kickstand in the leather folio case, users can review and annotate the latest presentation or use the Bluetooth Mini Fold Keyboard, the Chinese PC maker said.
“When folded closed, the keyboard is stored and wirelessly charged inside the system and secured with magnets,” it said. “When taking a break, watch the latest episode of your favourite series on the bright OLED display with a Dolby Audio experience. In portrait orientation, users can take notes or draw out concepts using the Active Pen or scroll through and sign a legal document.”
So users can fold the screen out completely flat and use as a tablet, or bend it slightly to read a few chapters on their next aeroplane flight like a book.
The X1 Fold can connect a full-size keyboard and mouse and a second display via USB Type-C and quickly place the device in the optional ThinkPad X1 Fold Stand in portrait or landscape mode.
Lenovo said it carefully chose the 4×3 ratio with the 13.3-inch display in order to accomplish the best experience and highest level of productivity.
It said that its engineers had experimented with six different hinge designs and more than twenty different variations, but in the end opted for a multi-link torque hinge mechanism to manage stresses during fold actions.
“The hinge mechanism, combined with lightweight alloys including a carbon fiber reinforced frame plate, optimizes the viewing experience when unfolded flat,” it said.
“Creating the world’s first foldable PC is a major engineering challenge, but Lenovo is more than up to the task,” said Christian Teismann, president, commercial PC and Smart Device Business at Lenovo. “Our legendary ThinkPad heritage has given us the foundation for progressive design over the years to now build an engineering masterpiece with X1 Fold, a new category of device that comes along once in a decade.”
The ThinkPad X1 Fold with Windows 10 is expected to be available mid-2020 with prices expected to start at $2499. The Windows 10X version is expected to be available at a later date.
Meanwhile users interested in the upcoming (but delayed) folding Motorola Razr smartphone, can register their interest here.
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