OnePlus Launches Its First Book-type Foldable – The OnePlus Open

  • Foldable smartphones made up a little more than 2% of US smartphone sales in 2022 but remain a growing and promising segment.
  • OnePlus is the third OEM to enter the US market with a book-type foldable featuring strong hardware specifications rivaling Samsung and Google.
  • The OnePlus Open will sell unlocked and retail for $1,699.99 at, and with pre-orders beginning on October 19 and full launch on October 26.

OnePlus launched its first foldable smartphone, the book-type OnePlus Open, on Thursday to enter the small but growing US foldable market. The new launch, which is now open for pre-orders, makes OnePlus the third OEM with a book-type foldable in the US market, competing with Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Google’s Pixel Fold. Motorola is the only other OEM that has foldable smartphones in the US market, namely the new RAZR and RAZR Plus, but these are clamshell-style foldables.

In 2022, US foldable smartphone sales accounted for just over 2% of overall smartphone sales in the country. The portion has grown further in 2023. Foldables are an important segment for the Android market as they are one of the few categories where we are seeing iOS to Android conversion.

OnePlus Open in Voyager Black and Emerald Green

The OnePlus Open is a strong contender versus both Samsung’s Fold 5 and Google’s Pixel Fold, as the company spent over a year on R&D with the help of OPPO. The new device is currently the lightest (239g) and one of the thinnest (5.8mm unfolded) foldables available in the US. It also supports one of the lightest hinges with only 69 parts made with various metals and materials to make the hinge lightweight but durable. OPPO will release the same phone as the Find N3 in other markets. Compared with the other two devices on the market, OnePlus is priced very competitively. It is $100 cheaper than its counterparts and has better or on-par top-line specs, aside from not having wireless charging.

A table comparing the specs between OnePlus Open, Samsung Galaxy Fold, and Google Pixel Fold


A short review – a multimedia powerhouse with a strong camera and Open Canvas

Having personally tested the device over the last two weeks – the OnePlus Open holds up to the hype. The flagship specs make the device a breeze to use. The fingerprint sensor is snappy, the battery lasts a full day, and pictures turn out great, especially if you like the signature Hasselblad look.

Hasselblad 3x portrait mode at night

OnePlus has also added a new feature called Open Canvas which enables multi-window operations and promises to be able to resize 95% of apps without weird, forced visuals or use adjustments. Up to three windows can be displayed on the screen at the same time.

OnePlus Open Canvas triple split mode

OnePlus also added a desktop-like taskbar for easy application access. Unfortunately, it does not have a desktop mode like Samsung’s DeX, which would have enabled even more productivity with the device. There is no compatibility with the OnePlus Stylo either. However, the overall device was quite impressive and OnePlus’ commitment to make a competitive foldable flagship is commendable.

Source: OnePlus Open event

OnePlus’ foldable outlook – promising if branding efforts continue

The key for OnePlus will be getting the media and consumers’ attention with its Open since it is not being ranged in carrier channels. This is where the Pixel Fold and the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 will have a leg up as over 90% of smartphone sales happen within a postpaid or prepaid channel sale. Selling open market is often challenging as consumers are used to getting “free” devices from carriers with an upgrade and/or trade-in or new line offer creating the illusion of bargains that are ultimately recouped by carriers via higher service plans or customer loyalty to a carrier.

OnePlus is offering some very competitive promotions on its website to gain a competitive advantage in the open market. Customers can trade in any device, any condition, and receive at least $200 off on the Open, and get up to $1,000 off. This matches Samsung’s Fold 5 trade-in value promotion while Google Fold’s maximum trade-in value is $590. Additionally, OnePlus is giving customers free OnePlus Buds Pro 2 ($150 value), offering 24 months 0% APR financing, three months of YouTube Premium, and a six-month Google One 100GB membership.

If OnePlus is able to get deeper into the public eye with its brand and new foldable, the device could become a strong contender in the still-nascent US foldable market. In the past, OnePlus has partnered with the Boston Marathon, Riot Games, and the UFC to get its name out to different customer segments. It needs to continue these efforts to drive potential customers to the open market sales channels for the device to be successful.

The OnePlus Open will sell unlocked and retail for $1,699.99 at, and with pre-orders beginning on October 19 and a full launch on October 26.

Global Foldable Smartphone Market Continues to Expand, Underpinned by China

  • In Q1 2023, global foldable shipments grew 64% YoY to 2.5 million units.
  • China’s overall smartphone market fell in Q1 2023 but the domestic foldable market rose.
  • OPPO, Samsung grew rapidly in the Chinese foldable market.
  • Apple is likely to enter the foldable smartphone market in 2025.

Beijing, Hong Kong, Seoul, New Delhi, London, San Diego, Buenos Aires – July 7, 2023

According to the Counterpoint Research Foldable Tracker and Foldable Insight Report, the global foldable smartphone market increased 64% YoY in Q1 2023, based on sell-in volume, to reach 2.5 million units. This is quite significant because the foldable market rose amid a 14.2% year-on-year decline in the overall global smartphone market during the same period. Foldable smartphone markets in almost all major regions, including China, North America and Western Europe, displayed strong growth in Q1 2023.

Global Foldable Market YoY Growth Rate by Major Region, Q1 2023

chart1The robust growth in the global foldable market was largely driven by the growth in the Chinese foldable market. Although the Chinese smartphone market declined by about 8% YoY in Q1 2023, the domestic foldable market continued to grow, surging 117% YoY to 1.08 million units. Commenting on this phenomenon, Research Analyst Woojin Son said, “In China, new foldable products such as the OPPO N2 and N2 Flip had grand releases. These big launch events constantly pique the market’s interest. Consequently, Chinese consumers have become more familiar with foldable products compared to other regions.”

China Foldable Market Share by OEM, Q1 2023 YoY

chart2OPPO’s strong Q1 2023 performance is noteworthy as it reflects the brand’s success in the Chinese foldable market, which is emerging as the world’s largest foldable smartphone market. OPPO ranked second in the Chinese foldable market with a slight gap with leader Huawei, helped by the N2 Flip and N2 which were released at the end of 2022. In particular, the N2 Flip, OPPO’s clamshell-type foldable, contributed a lot to the increase in the sales of clamshell-type products in China, beating Huawei’s Pocket S. Samsung’s growth in the China foldable market is also noteworthy. Samsung made efforts to target the Chinese market by launching the W23 and W23 Flip, which are variants of the Z Fold 4 and Z Flip 4, respectively, produced mainly for the Chinese market and MEA market. This helped Samsung grow rapidly in the Chinese foldable market in Q1 2023. Commenting on the foldable smartphone market outlook for 2023, Senior Analyst Jene Park said, “We believe that, in 2023, there will be 1) intensifying competition among OEMs in the global foldable market due to more aggressive target market expansion; 2) intensifying price competition; and 3) increasing sales volume of clamshell-type foldable smartphones through various product launches. Also, the Chinese foldable market is expected to continue to grow through 2023 mainly due to the Chinese consumers’ recognition of ‘foldables’ as a premium smartphone, coupled with continuous and frequent new product launches in the country.” Addressing the big question around Apple’s entry into the foldable market, Park said, “Apple is still absent from our short-term forecasts. However, since overall consumer response to foldable phones is improving and Apple will be possibly releasing non-phone foldable products soon, the brand’s participation in the foldable smartphone market is likely to occur after 2025.”

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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 Long-term Review: Great Combination of Durable Design, Productivity Features for Power Users

Foldables have been around for over three years now. They bring in good innovation by combining the smartphone and tablet experiences into one device. But still, questions like “Do we really need foldables?” and “Do foldables solve any problem that regular smartphones can’t?” continue to remain among the most asked when it comes to foldables. Well, the user needs and use cases are evolving. Consumers today are more demanding and look for productivity on the go. Samsung addressed this with the Galaxy Note and S-series flagship smartphones, and it is now doing the same with the Galaxy Z Fold 3.

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 shows how far foldables have improved in just three generations. The smartphone now has a more durable design, comes with ultra-thin glass on the main folding screen, and supports the S Pen stylus for taking notes and signing documents on the go. The folding smartphone also comes with an IP rating for water resistance.

We have been using the Galaxy Z Fold 3 for over nine months now, and Samsung has delivered on its promise of durability. Below is our detailed analysis of how the foldable smartphone has held up in the long term, its performance as a daily driver, and how the user experience has improved with consistent and timely software updates.

WATCH: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 Long-Term Review

1) Sturdy Hinge: Unfolding Confidence

For any foldable smartphone, the hinge is the most crucial piece of hardware. The longevity and durability of the device are determined by the hinge design and mechanism. Even after eight months of using the Z Fold 3 as my primary driver, the hinge mechanism is still strong as it was when I first unboxed the smartphone.

The Galaxy Z Fold 3’s stable hinge shows off a solid engineering feat.

The Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 are the only folding smartphones with an IPX8 rating for water resistance, allowing you to submerge the device under 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes.

counterpoint samsung galaxy z fold 3 review water resistance

During my usage, I did put the Z Fold 3 through the water test – submerging it in a bucket full of water and using it for clicking photos and making calls when caught in unexpected rains – and it survived without a hitch. Do note that the smartphone does not come with dust resistance, so avoid taking it around the beach or dusty area and avoid dunking it in the pool or seawater.

Now, while the hinge is sturdy and all, there is still some gap left when the screen is folded. This results in making the crease easily visible, especially when viewed from different angles.

counterpoint samsung galaxy z fold 3 review hinge gap

You can feel the hinge gap when moving your fingers across the foldable screen. But it is not too intrusive during day-to-day use. We can expect Samsung to improve the hinge design for its next foldable smartphones to minimize the crease marks.

The crease is still visible on the folding screen, but it does not bother when the content is being played.

counterpoint samsung galaxy z fold 3 review crease

Flex Mode: Folding Screen Unlocks New Use Cases

Samsung has designed the hinge in such a way that the screen can hold itself between 75 and 115 degrees. This is where the Flex Mode gets activated, enabling some interesting use cases for compatible apps. Basically, the app interface is split into two parts where the view is on the top and the controls are at the bottom.

counterpoint samsung galaxy z fold 3 review flex mode

In the case of the camera app, the viewfinder is on the top, whereas the shutter button, gallery, and camera modes are at the bottom half. This also allows you to use it as a tripod when clicking photos and videos. Similarly, on the Netflix app, the viewing area is on the top half and the bottom half has play/pause, volume, and screen brightness options.

The Flex Mode is an interesting feature, but more apps need to adopt it.

Durable Folding Display: Great for Multimedia Consumption & Productivity

One of the biggest changes to the Z Fold 3 display over the Z Fold 2 is that the screen is now 80% more durable, as per Samsung’s claim. It does feel more like glass than plastic like it used to feel in the previous generation, thanks to Samsung now using UTG (Ultra-Thin Glass).

The screen is also brighter at 1200 nits of peak brightness, making it readable under direct sunlight. It is a 7.6-inch foldable Dynamic AMOLED 2X LTPO panel that supports an adaptive refresh rate of 120Hz. Lastly, the screen also supports HDR10+, making it perfect for all types of content consumption, whether you are reading eBooks, surfing the internet, gaming, or watching your favorite movies or TV shows. Being an LTPO panel, it can adjust the refresh rate between 1Hz and 120Hz depending on the screen content.

counterpoint samsung galaxy z fold 3 review full screen

The Galaxy Z Fold 3’s folding screen has one more trick up its sleeve in the form of the under-display selfie camera. The Fold 3 is Samsung’s first smartphone to come with this solution, offering a great full-screen and uninterrupted viewing experience, be it while watching videos or gaming.

counterpoint samsung galaxy z fold 3 review under display camera

However, the technology is still in its nascent stage. Due to the low-pixel density covering the camera sensor, it is easily visible when the screen is off, or under light background. We will talk about the image quality of this under-display camera later in the camera section.

The folding screen now feels more like glass and offers a great multimedia experience.

Content like music videos and movies are shot in a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio. However, the folding screen has an aspect ratio of 5:4, due to which there are thick black bars at the top and bottom while watching videos. There is an option to zoom in for full screen, but it ends up cropping a significant part of the video.

Cover Display: Traditional Smartphone Experience

Moving to the cover screen, you have a 6.2-inch AMOLED panel with HD+ resolution and a tall 25:9 aspect ratio. With a 120Hz refresh rate and vibrant color reproduction, the cover screen offers great viewing angles.

counterpoint samsung galaxy z fold 3 review cover screen

With its traditional smartphone experience, the cover screen is good for most tasks such as scrolling through your social timeline, surfing the internet, replying to messages, and more. However, apps like Instagram are not optimized for this aspect ratio, resulting in a poor experience.

Also, the tall aspect ratio and narrow width make typing a little cumbersome, resulting in many typos. A slightly wider cover screen, like in the OPPO Find N or HONOR Magic V, will be a welcome change to see in the Galaxy Z Fold 4.

2) Cameras: Good Performance But Could be Better with High-Res Sensor

Unlike Samsung’s flagship S-series, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 does not come with a high-resolution 108MP camera sensor or a periscope zoom lens. However, it does pack powerful cameras that can click some great pictures. Color science is good, and photos clicked between different lenses offer consistent results. Hopefully, with the Galaxy Z Fold 4, we can see an even better camera system.

counterpoint samsung galaxy z fold 3 review cameras

There are a total of five cameras, including three 12MP sensors at the back, featuring ultrawide, wide and 2X telephoto lenses. Thanks to Samsung’s AI algorithms and post-processing expertise, you can capture some stunning photos, be it in daylight or low light. Portrait mode photos are also good with nice edge detection and proper separation of background from the foreground. Below are some samples:

The Galaxy Z Fold 3 cameras capture good photos under proper lighting conditions.

For selfies and video calling, there is a 10MP camera on the cover screen, which is good enough. There is also an under-display camera under the main folding screen. The quality is just decent for video calls on platforms like Zoom, Teams, or even WhatsApp.

counterpoint samsung galaxy z fold 3 review cover screen camera

Photos captured in bright outdoor settings may be passable on social media, but as the lighting gets dull, the under-display camera struggles to capture details. As it is a first-gen under-display solution, there is a lot of room for improvement. Below are some camera samples:

Day Light Camera Samples (Wide & Ultra wide Lens)






2X Telephoto Zoom


Close-up Camera Samples





Portrait Mode Camera Samples



Low Light Camera Samples




Selfie: Cover Camera vs Under-Display Camera

3) Smooth Performance: Thanks to Software & Hardware Optimizations

Under the hood is the Snapdragon 888 flagship SoC from Qualcomm paired with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. This hardware combination together with software optimizations does all the heavy lifting, making it a great productivity tool.

Whether you are playing the most demanding games or have three apps open in split-screen multitasking mode, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 handles all the difficult tasks without a hiccup.

counterpoint samsung galaxy z fold 3 review gaming

Battery life with the 4,400mAh unit is good enough to last a day with moderate to slightly heavy usage, offering a screen-on time of up to five hours. Like other Samsung smartphones, there is no support for crazy-fast charging speeds, but even at 25W, the Fold 3 fully charges in about 90-100 minutes.

Swift performance and good battery life make the Galaxy Z Fold 3 a good choice for power users.

WATCH: Why the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is a Great Productivity Tool

Timely Software Updates and Bug Fixes

Samsung has upped its software update game – the Z Fold 3 will get four major Android upgrades, and five years of security updates. Shipped with Android 11 and One UI 3.1, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 got an Android 12 upgrade with One UI 4 skin within three months, which is faster than most OEMs. The smartphone has also been getting regular monthly security patches that bring bug fixes and stability improvements.

One UI 4: A Big Differentiator Among Competitor Foldables

The best part of the folding display smartphone is that you get more screen real estate to run multiple apps side by side. To take full advantage of the folding form factor, Samsung has baked in some interesting features in One UI 4. For instance, the lock screen and home screen wallpapers can be different for the cover screen, and the same goes with the apps, thus offering a different identity to both.

Pop-up View

Second, select apps can open in a floating pop-up window that remains on top of other apps, offering a multitasking experience. This floating app can also be moved around the screen.

counterpoint samsung galaxy z fold 3 review pop-up view

This feature comes in handy in scenarios like the one where you are surfing the internet on a browser and have a YouTube video playing in a floating pop-up window.

Multi-window Multitasking

There is also a multi-window, multitasking feature that allows you to run two apps side by side or one on top and the other at the bottom.

counterpoint samsung galaxy z fold 3 review multi tasking

You can also add a third app to the mix, allowing you to have one vertical app on the left and two apps on the right with one below the other, or you can have one horizontal app on the top/bottom and two at the top/bottom, depending on your preference.

Multi-window feature in the Galaxy Fold series offers the best multitasking experience compared to any other smartphone.

Pinned Taskbar

Then there is the taskbar which can be pinned on the side of the screen with your favorite apps. These apps are easily accessible from anywhere in the UI, as they remain pinned on the side. You can also drag and drop apps to open or run in multi-window mode.

counterpoint samsung galaxy z fold 3 review pinned taskbar

App Continuity

Another important feature is that apps on the cover screen can quickly scale to the big folding screen when you open it, offering an app continuity experience. The feature also works the other way where apps from the folding screen scale down to the cover screen when you close it.

counterpoint samsung galaxy z fold 3 review app continuity

This feature comes in handy when using apps like Google Maps on the cover screen. You get a full-screen experience when you open the folding screen, without having to open the app and search again. This also works on apps like Gmail, Chrome, LinkedIn and Netflix.

Microsoft Integration & DeX Mode

Besides these features, the integration with Microsoft apps takes the productivity and experience even further. For instance, the photos from the Gallery app can be synced with OneDrive. Even Samsung Notes can be synced with Microsoft OneNote, which is another good addition.

Samsung DeX mode is also included on the Z Fold 3, both wired and wireless, offering a desktop experience on your Galaxy smartphone. Simply connect to a TV or monitor using a keyboard and mouse, and you have a PC-like experience right from the smartphone. The DeX mode also works on Windows 10-powered PCs.

But there is more to Microsoft integration, one where Samsung Reminders can sync across the Microsoft To-Do app. On Windows 10 OS, Samsung smartphones have deeper integration with the YourPhone app, enabling cross-device continuity. The integration also allows users to access the notifications and messages, make or receive calls directly from the PC, and much more such as Xbox integration for cloud gaming.

Microsoft integration adds great value and differentiates the Galaxy Z Fold 3 from the competition.

4) S Pen Support: Galaxy Note with a Folding Display

The Galaxy Z Fold 3 is the first folding display smartphone to come with S Pen support, but this is sold as a separate accessory that consumers need to buy. Samsung has two different S Pen models – the first is a regular stylus called S Pen Fold Edition ($49) and the other is a Pro ($99) model with Bluetooth functionality that lets you remotely control the music/video playback, control slides, use it as a camera shutter to click photos, and much more.

counterpoint samsung galaxy z fold 3 review s pen fold edition

Unlike the Galaxy Note series, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 does not come with a slot to tuck the S Pen, and you need to buy a cover separately for that. While it does make the smartphone bulky, it does add good protection to it.

Low latency of S Pen offers a good writing and sketching experience.

Do note that the S Pen support is only for the main folding screen and not for the cover screen. It supports ultra-low latency of under 9ms, which makes the writing experience smoother and like you are writing on a paper. While the S Pen is thick and big as an actual pen, it offers a great in-hand feel when holding. The S Pen is good enough for signing documents on the go, taking notes, or just sketching on apps like Pen Up or Sketchbook.

counterpoint samsung galaxy z fold 3 review app s pen experience

The Samsung Notes app is very well optimized to use with the S Pen. It can also convert the handwriting to text, which is a good feature, and it works quite accurately, provided your handwriting is clear.

counterpoint samsung galaxy z fold 3 review app s pen signature

Key Takeaways:

• The Galaxy Z Fold 3 comes with a durable design and IPX8 rating for water resistance.
• Both the cover and folding displays support 120Hz screen refresh rates and offer a good viewing experience, be it multimedia or gaming.
• The smartphone is equipped with capable cameras that let you capture beautiful photos in good lighting conditions.
• Performance-wise, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 does a lot of heavy lifting without any issues.
• Samsung has been consistent in delivering timely software updates with new features, bug fixes and security patches.
• Samsung has upped the software game by a notch by committing to four major Android upgrades and five years of security updates.
• Features like multi-window multitasking, app continuity, pinned taskbar and pop-up window add to the versatility of the folding smartphone.
• S Pen compatibility makes the Galaxy Z Fold 3 a great productivity tool, making it easier to take notes, sign documents on the go, or even sketch.

ALSO READ: Other Strategic Reviews on Smartphones, Smartwatches, TWS & More

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold Review: Folding Screen PC Hits a Sweet Spot Between Laptops & Tablets

  • The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold is the world’s first foldable PC.
  • It flaunts a crisp and vibrant 2K folding display.
  • The folding PC features a sturdy, durable build that feels premium too.
  • It supports eSIM-based 5G/LTE connectivity (in select regions).

The personal computer (PC) market had been on a steady decline for years, but that did not stop companies from innovating. Over the years, Lenovo introduced cool products like the Yoga series laptops with a 180-degree or even 360-degree rotating hinge for the display. It also introduced the Yoga Book Touch with a capacitive touch-sensitive surface that can be used as a sketchpad or a full QWERTY keyboard. Continuing the innovation, Lenovo has introduced the world’s first folding PC – the ThinkPad X1 Fold, with prices starting at around $2,499 in the US (around $3,300 here in India).

The foldable form factor on smartphones has some interesting use cases that we have seen on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold and Flip, Huawei Mate X, and Moto Razr devices. But how can a folding screen be useful on a laptop when it comes to offering convenience and usability? We try to answer that in our in-depth review after using the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold for close to two months now.

Design: Premium Materials and Sturdy Build Offers Good Durability

Lenovo’s ThinkPad range of laptops are known for their design and durability, and the X1 Fold continues this legacy. It is cleverly engineered and well-crafted to stand out from the crowd. When folded, the ThinkPad X1 Fold looks like a diary with a black leather cover with a textured finish. This offers a good grip when you hold it in your hand, and looks premium too. From a distance, not many will be able to make out if it is a diary or a laptop.

counterpoint lenovo thinkpad x1 fold review leather cover

Upon opening/unfolding, reveals a full 13.3-inch foldable OLED screen, which is the same size as the laptop. There are thick bezels along all four sides of the screen and they have a rubberized finish on them which makes it easy to hold in tablet mode.

counterpoint lenovo thinkpad x1 fold review tablet

Unlike foldable smartphones where the crease is easily noticeable, the same isn’t the case with the X1 Fold. You will only notice a sight crease when seen from an angle, that too when you know that you are looking for it. Others will not even notice it.

The ThinkPad X1 Fold weighs a little under 1kg, which is impressive.

But one of the key highlights of the ThinkPad X1 Fold is the engineering that has gone behind the hinge that holds the two back panels together. Lenovo said it took years of R&D in making the opening and closing mechanism smooth, sturdy, and durable.

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Though, you will need both hands to open and close the foldable PC. And even after two months of usage, the hinge mechanism is still solid, and it locks the display at the perfect angle, which is impressive.

counterpoint lenovo thinkpad x1 fold review folding display

The hinge has sufficient tension to keep the screen in an upright 90% position to use it as a mini laptop.

The back right side of the leather cover also acts as a built-in kickstand allowing you to prop up the X1 Fold on the desk. This is a good addition, as seen on other devices like the Microsoft Surface Pro 7, offering a laptop screen/desktop monitor-like experience.

counterpoint lenovo thinkpad x1 fold review kickstand

In terms of ports, you only get two USB Type-C ones – one located on the left panel, and the other at the bottom. So, when the screen is in an upright position, only one port is accessible.

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One other thing worth mentioning is that when folded, there is a slight gap that is noticeable as the display does not completely fold. But this gap is filled when you dock the tiny keyboard, which magnetically attaches to the bezel’s frame. The Keyboard can be charged using a micro-USB port. But it can also charge wirelessly when docked on the bezel.

counterpoint lenovo thinkpad x1 fold review bottom vent

Display: Great Viewing Experience, Especially for Multimedia Consumption

  • 3-inch OLED touchscreen, 300 nits brightness.
  • QXGA resolution, 2048x1536pixels, 4:3 aspect ratio.
  • Intel Integrated UHD Graphics.
  • Supports Lenovo Stylus Pen for creative doodling and sketching.

Besides the hinge, the folding display is the biggest highlight of the ThinkPad X1 Fold. The text looks crisp, the colors are punchy and the panel is bright enough to offer a great viewing experience whether you are indoors or using outdoors. The touch response is good too and I did not notice any delay when using it for tasks like opening or closing apps or scrolling through settings. I was a little worried at first thinking about the screen’s durability, but my confidence has only risen in the two months of usage. Kudos to Lenovo for making a strong product, especially when the folding screen is one of the most delicate parts of the PC.

counterpoint lenovo thinkpad x1 fold review display

The OLED screen offers good viewing angles and vibrant color reproduction to enjoy watching content.

In terms of the viewing experience, the vibrant color reproduction of the screen ensures you enjoy all types of content, be it reading e-books, surfing websites, or even binge-watching favorite shows on Netflix or Amazon Prime Video. For instance, when watching the Art of Flight, the screen produced bright whites for the snow, clear blue skies, and colors of the helicopter, the pattern on jackets of those skiing, and more. The Intel UHD integrated graphics is good enough for casual gaming or basic photo/video editing on apps, but is not intended for heavy gaming.

Talking about folding screen laptops, Senior Analyst Jene Park said, “PC makers are now offering laptops with OLED panels as a differentiator. These OLED screens not only consume less power, but also offer rich colors, even at low brightness. They also enable adding features like high refresh rate to offer smooth video viewing experience. Unlike regular laptops, foldable screen laptop form factor is compact which greatly adds to its portability and mobility. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold display panel is a foldable OLED in a tandem structure with polyimide as the cover window. Using polyimide over UTG (Ultra Thin Glass) lowers the display price for Lenovo, and the tandem structure on the panel will extend its lifespan as well.”

To take advantage of the screen real estate, Lenovo has also added a utility tool in the software – Lenovo Mode Switcher. Whether in landscape or portrait mode, it lets you run programs in full screen, or multi-task easily by dividing the screen into two parts – each running one program.

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Lenovo Mode Switcher makes multitasking easier.

Then there is another mode that is activated when you dock the keyboard on the frame. The screen automatically shrinks just to the part that is visible above the keyboard. It takes a couple of seconds for the screen to adjust, and the ThinkPad X1 Fold quickly transforms into a netbook. Of course, you will need to fold the screen upright position for that.

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It may not be a great experience switching from a full big screen to a tiny netbook size, but this could be useful when working from cramped spaces, such as in an airplane while keeping it on the seat tray.

Docking the keyboard and putting the screen in an upright position transforms the foldable PC into a small netbook.

Lenovo’s idea of adding a magnetic detachable Fold Mini keyboard is commendable, something that makes using this PC with a new form factor more exciting. The keys have decent travel and good feedback. They also have a rubberized finish which makes typing easier. I have written this entire review typing on the Fold Mini keyboard. Typing was tough initially due to the small size, but after getting used to it, typing experience was fun.

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But Lenovo has crammed too much in the keys, the one where it gets a little frustrating where you need to use the Function key to add frequently used characters like – ?, /, [, ], { and }. Also, while the trackpad addition is good, it is too tiny to move the cursor properly.

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The Fold Mini keyboard could have had a better layout to better accommodate frequently used characters.

Lastly, the touchscreen display also supports using the Lenovo Stylus Pen for sketching and doodling. It uses Wacom protocol and supports 4096 levels of pressure and during my usage, the sketching experience was good. It is thick enough to comfortably hold and use as a regular pen for taking notes.

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The Pen charges using the Type-C port on the top. Lenovo says that a single charge offers good battery life of over 150 hours, and while I was not able to test the claims, I have only charged it once in the last two months and used for five to six hours so far.

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Lenovo Stylus Pen support is another good addition for taking quick notes and sketching for amateur digital artists.

Experience: Future Ready for Windows 11, But Ships with Buggy Windows 10

  • Intel Core i5-L16G7, 5-Core/5 Threads, 1.4GHz Clock Speed, Turbo Boost 3.0GHz.
  • Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 6, (Optional 5G).
  • 64-bit Windows 10 Home.
  • 5MP IR Camera (supports Windows Hello, but not enabled yet).
  • 4 Cell 50Wh battery with 65W fast charging.

Initial Hiccups Due to Poorly Optimized Windows 10

Now, when you are spending a premium on a folding PC, it all gets down to performance and there is a lot more to talk about in here. My ThinkPad X1 Fold experience started with bugs in the pre-loaded Windows 10 OS. I believe the software was corrupt, which was resulting in a “software crash with the blue screen of death” every few minutes. I went to Reset the PC when the OS completely crashed.

The only way to recover at that point was to use a USB Keyboard to boot into the startup menu, and of course, also have a USB Pen Drive with recovery media. But with two Type-C ports, it would have been difficult to recover without dongles. Luckily, I had two Type-C to regular Type-A dongles that eased the recovery process. While not everyone could encounter this issue, the full touch input and Type-C ports do have their setbacks.

Now even after restoring the system, Windows 10 was still buggy, where the programs would hang and the X1 Fold became unresponsive. At times, the touchscreen would also become unresponsive and the only way to resume was to do a hard reboot. These issues arise as Windows 10 is not properly optimized for this type of form factor, the one where Lenovo’s UI runs on top for the Mode Switcher feature.

Installing Windows 11 Gave ThinkPad X1 Fold A New Lease of Life

While talking to Lenovo, the company did mention that the X1 Fold was to be shipped with the Windows 10X OS, which was to be optimized for new foldable form factors. But Microsoft scrapped the ambitious OS, and those features are now baked in Windows 11. So, I went ahead and installed the Windows 11 Developer Preview, which has come a long way in optimizing the OS, with regular updates, ahead of upcoming official rollout.

counterpoint lenovo thinkpad x1 fold review lead

Windows 11 brings a fresh new UI with softer visuals and transparent background. All new repositioned Start Menu, new Snap Groups and Layouts to make the best of screen real estate, Microsoft Teams integrated within the OS, and much more. All these refinements along with optimizations did make the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold experience more enjoyable.

Good Overall Performance, but a Powerful Processor Could Have Been Even Better

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold is powered by Intel’s Core i5-L16G7 CPU based on Lakefield architecture. It is one of those “hybrid” processors for thin and light devices and is designed to be efficient. They are Intel’s answer to ARM chips from Qualcomm and Apple that we are now seeing in laptops. Paired with 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM and Integrated UHD graphics, the X1 Fold does not have powerful hardware to suit content creators or gamers, or those with heavy usage.

counterpoint lenovo thinkpad x1 fold review cover

But the overall performance was surprisingly good, having a Core i7 processor and 16GB RAM would have been better to offer more power and also justify the premium cost. My usage included using apps like MS Office (for Word, PowerPoint, and Excel), the Chromium Edge browser for surfing, watching movies and TV shows on OTT platforms, occasional YouTube videos, and so on. I also used apps like Instagram, Twitter, and Flipboard to scroll through the timeline, flip through the news, and more, and the experience was smooth.

counterpoint lenovo thinkpad x1 fold review gaming

I did try to play games like Asphalt 9: Legends (downloaded from Microsoft Store), which works well but touch is still not properly optimized for Windows 11. I did load Steam to run older Flight Simulator X, but the experience was just about okay, that too on low frame-rate settings. Similarly, apps like Adobe Rush CC worked fairly well in editing videos, but it is not easy to edit with a touchscreen or the tiny bundled keyboard. Also, the rendering was not that fast. It could be good to edit occasional videos shot on phones, but this is not a PC for content creators and YouTubers who would like to edit on the go.

counterpoint lenovo thinkpad x1 fold review apps

That being said, for someone like me, who is usually writing content (be it features or product reviews), the ThinkPad X1 Fold was convenient to use. In terms of battery life, a full charge lasted me for a little over six hours, continuously, this included taking calls on Zoom and Teams, surfing, and writing. Fast charging is quick enough to top up the battery from empty to half in about 40 minutes, and a full charge in about 90 minutes.

Key Takeaways: With Right Hardware, Software Tuning, Foldable PCs Sound Promising

  • The foldable PC form factor is convenient and promising. The flexible OLED display offers good touch response and content viewing experience while also being durable.
  • Neat additions like the magnetic keyboard and stylus support from Lenovo show the full capabilities that foldable PC form factor can offer.
  • Better and more powerful hardware could have been better to offer an even smoother, hassle-free experience.
  • The ThinkPad X1 Fold works better with Windows 11 beta, but it will be interesting to see how the experience improves further with more software refinements.

Also Read: Strategic Reviews and Insights on Latest PCs and Smartphones

ZTE Launches a Dual-Display Flagship: How Will it Perform?

After recent launches of bezel-less, AI-capable phones, ZTE is turning our attention to dual displays. ZTE unveiled its first foldable, dual-display smartphone – the Axon M – in New York on 10/17/17.

In a carrier dominated market like the US, ZTE has been able to achieve something few other Chinese players have – a solid market position. In 2Q alone ZTE sold close to 4.1M smartphones and contributed to 11.5% of the US smartphone shipments. But like compatriot, Alcatel, ZTE’s volume primarily comes from prepaid channels.

Though ZTE was expected to up its game in the mid-priced smartphone segment in the US, the Axon M is a straight swing at the premium segment, and this time with carrier backing. While the smartphone market is saturated with devices that have similar form factors and features, ZTE’s Axon M couldn’t have better timing to enter the premium price segment.

A smart-flip phone with dual displays that supports multiple screen modes.

As opposed to the idea of a foldable/flexible display, the Axon M is an advanced flip phone. The phone design has two individual Full-HD 5.2” LCD 2.5D displays. A hinge connecting the two displays allows the phone to flip, lay flat or stand half folded in tent-style. The two displays when side-by-side measure 6.75” and allows three different viewing modes with very specific use cases for both business and consumer applications. Toggling between the various screen modes is straightforward using a soft “M” button next to the conventional Android navigation buttons:

  • Extended mode – Essentially a full screen mode that gives a user both displays combining for a 6.75-inch HD display ideal for general browsing, streaming videos, and gaming etc.
  • Dual mode – Enables viewing two different applications on each display. Everyday use case such as viewing email and calendar at the same time or watching a game and reading score stats on the other screen are a few of the classic use cases.
  • Mirror mode – Mirrors the app of both displays. Perfect for any 2-player games like chess, or can be used by two people sitting across from each other to view the same presentation / document.

Apart from the three modes the second display can be folded back allowing the Axon M to be used like a conventional smartphone.


The Axon M sports a single 20MP, F/1.8 aperture camera which doubles as both the front and rear camera. The device packs high performance dual speakers and sound can be toggled between screens when in dual mode.  The device itself doesn’t feel as bulky as the thickness and weight numbers suggest and is the right size when unfolded.

Dual screens a bold move and mighty R&D feat

Clearly the USP of the Axon M is in the additional display and multitasking that it offers. Software to bring the dual displays seamlessly together with a vast number of apps is no small R&D feat.  With that said, compromises have been made in terms of the specs in an attempt to keep the second display.

The device is powered by a 3180mAH battery and 2.1GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor. The Snapdragon 821 processor was a flagship-level processor in 2016 and is now commonly found in phones priced in the $350-$450 range. Taking a more stable, aged engine probably reduced some of the risks of the ample software testing which was needed for a dual screen device.  In addition, it was probably also a financial decision to keep costs under control–again, because of the two costly HD displays.  Finally, ZTE had to do a lot of work to sufficiently power and cool two displays while targeting a full day’s use.  We only had a quick viewing and few minutes with the device.  It is still TBD how well the company did to balance performance vs. power consumption.

As CEO Lixin Cheng rightly put it during his presentation, recently launched smartphones do not have stark differences in design/form factor. ZTE’s Axon M does stand out in the crowd. It also nicely fits into AT&T’s mobile strategy of bundling DirecTV service with mobile wireless service.  With TV consumption in mind, it is not surprising that AT&T made the Axon M an AT&T exclusive device.

At the $700 price point, the Axon M will need some eye-catching marketing or reach through some of the branding gains it has made with its NBA and MLS ties.  Competing in this price tier means it will likely be pulling a subscriber off of another flagship—no easy feat.

How relevant is the innovation at this point?

The Axon M would likely work well in certain Asian markets where consumers spend a lot of time watching video and playing games during lengthy public transport commutes. In the US, these use cases are less prevalent. Nevertheless, as an AT&T exclusive, the Axon M can be viewed as consistent with the carrier’s entertainment content offering.

Dual displays could potentially be the new “Phablet” that offers innovation in form factor and design of next generation smartphones. The Axon M is a step in that direction. However, we expect truly foldable displays to come to market within the next 12 to 18 months, superseding ZTE’s folder approach.

What ZTE does have though, is a history of strategic partnerships with telecom operators that will likely help it hang on to market share in carrier-driven markets. The Axon M will not challenge the high volume flagships within AT&T.  However, it is a necessary and beneficial move for ZTE.  Breaking through and winning its first ranged smartphone in the upper price tiers may pave the way for the Axon series phone within other carrier channels if the device is a solid performer.



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