Lenovo was brave enough to debut the first Windows foldable screen PCs, but its follow-up has been “coming soon” for longer than seems reasonable. We reviewed the original Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold (13.3-inch) back in Dec 2020, but the new and improved 16.3-inch model we had hands-on time with in September 2022 has never been released. However, one of the unreleased Lenovo prototypes has now appeared in an eBay listing. This “Ultra RARE Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold 16″ Unreleased Prototype 16+256GB Foldable,” is currently listed at $1,999 (Buy It Now or Best Offer) plus applicable shipping from Beijing, China.
Lenovo’s revamped Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold addressed many of the shortcomings raised in our review of the smaller device. It was immediately clear that the larger 16.3-inch folding screen was better suited to use in laptop mode, and replacing the original Intel Lakefield chip with Alder Lake options was a welcome upgrade. However, we didn’t have enough time during the hands-on to assess whether other original model weaknesses like software bugs, and if battery life had been ironed out.
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WC-William on eBay provided quite a thorough description of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold Prototype for sale. The specs he shared showed the model in his possession is pretty much the same as our hands-on system, but the CPU / RAM / SSD config is near the lower limits for this device. In other words, Lenovo’s official spec shows that this machine is supposed to be configurable better than this listing: 12th Gen Intel Core i7 ES model, 16 GB of DDR5, and 256 GB SSD.
|CPU||Up to 12th Gen Intel Core i5 and i7 U-series|
|Display||16.3-inch, 2024 x 2560 foldable OLED, 12-inch diagonal in laptop mode|
|Graphics||Intel Iris Xe (integrated)|
|RAM||Up to 32GB LPDDR5|
|Storage||Up to 1TB PCIe Gen 4 SSD|
|Battery||48 WHr (optional extra 16 WHr battery in some configurations)|
|Camera||5 megapixel, infrared|
|Networking||Wi-Fi 6E, Optional 5G Sub 6 and LTE, Bluetooth 5.2|
As a prototype, this machine might have been passed around, poked, and prodded a lot, so there is some wear present. For example, the listing mentions two screen flaws: a noticeable black dot (group of stuck pixels?), and some irregular screen shading on part of the display panel. Also, the webcam doesn’t open, but that is expected as a driver issue. The seller asserts that the ThinkPad’s flaws “does not really impact everyday use.” To sweeten the deal, it is claimed that the $1,999 asking price is “about $1200 below the released price,” and a matching unreleased stylus, which would retail at $100, is included in the sale.
One last warning is given to potential buyers, asking them not to tinker with the driver, BIOS, or system updates as changes might upset the prototype’s current state of functionality. No returns will be accepted, says the seller.
Now we are more than halfway through 2023, and rival 17-inch foldable devices have been available for some time, it is feasible that the ThinkPad X1 Fold (16.3-inch) might never be released in the form outlined above. Anyone looking for a cutting-edge portable upgrade today, especially based on Intel processors, will probably be keeping their powder dry for news of the exciting mobile refreshes that are frequently leaking.