Asus Zenbook Fold 17

MSRP $3,500.00

“The Asus Zenbook Fold 17 is not good, however takes us one step nearer to folding display screen glory.”

Execs

  • Enjoyable idea
  • Sharp, OLED display screen
  • Bigger dimension is extra sensible
  • Wonderful keyboard and touchpad
  • First rate efficiency
  • Sturdy kickstand

Cons

  • Heavy and thick
  • Display screen is extraordinarily reflective
  • Keyboard must be charged individually
  • Bizarre webcam location

Folding screens have promised us the way forward for expertise for years now, nevertheless it’s been a sluggish roll-out. That’s very true for PCs and Home windows tablets, of which solely the unique ThinkPad X1 Fold was the one official launch of its variety.

However the Asus Zenbook Fold 17 is the beginning of a brand new period for the tech – and it’s a type issue that may lastly make extra sense.

It does loads of issues proper that I’d all the time hoped foldable PCs might do, even when the use case for proudly owning such a tool feels restricted in scope.

Specs

  Asus Zenbook Fold 17
Dimensions 14.90 x 11.32 x 0.51 inches
Weight 3.31 kilos (together with keyboard)
Processor Intel Core i7-1250U
Graphics Intel Iris Xe
RAM 16GB LPDDR5
Show 17.3-inch, 2560 x 1920 OLED
Storage 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 4.0
Contact Sure
Ports 2x Thunderbolt 4 helps show/energy supply
3.5mm Combo Audio Jack
Wi-fi Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5
Webcam 5MP with IR
Working system Home windows 11
Battery 75 watt-hours
Worth $3,500

The appropriate dimension

The Zenbook Fold 17 open on a table.

The 17-inch foldable PC all the time felt like the suitable dimension for this kind of system. It’s the display screen dimension Intel has been pushing for since CES 2020, and over two years later, we’re lastly beginning to see the merchandise come out. A 17-inch pill would possibly sound awfully giant for what is meant to be a transportable system. However that’s the fantastic thing about the foldable display screen. When it’s folded up and being carried from place to position, it’s across the similar footprint as a 13-inch laptop computer.

Just like the ThinkPad X1 Fold, it magnetizes up right into a tidy little package deal with a pretend leather-based “binding” to cover the duvet, all guaranteeing that you simply all the time have the wi-fi keyboard with you on the go. Asus sweetens the deal by providing an identical carrying case when touring with the system.

The Zenbook Fold 17 folded up with the keyboard inside.

However don’t be fooled – this isn’t essentially a compact general package deal. If you embody the wi-fi keyboard folded in between the 2 screens, it’s the thickness of two laptops stacked on one another.

It’s heavy too. It weighs 3.3 kilos, even with out the keyboard. It is a drawback all folding units have, however the sheer dimension of the 17-inch display screen accentuates the issue. Then once more, when you’re coming from a big laptop computer just like the MacBook Professional 16-inch, which weighs 4.3 kilos, it’ll really feel like fairly mild.

The Zenbook Fold 17 is supposed to not solely act as a pill but in addition change a laptop computer.

Portability apart, although, the Zenbook Fold 17 does really feel like the suitable dimension to reap the benefits of the folding display screen. The 2 halves of the display screen measure 12.5 inches diagonally with a 3:2 facet ratio – not far off from a conventional 13-inch laptop computer.

That’s necessary, because the Zenbook Fold 17 is supposed to not solely act as a pill but in addition change a laptop computer. I’d argue at this dimension, its major worth is as a singular laptop computer substitute. Holding this factor in your palms as a pill isn’t precisely snug.

The Zenbook Fold 17 in laptop mode.

Folded like an open laptop computer, the Zenbook Fold 17 presents a decent-sized prime half of the display screen, whereas the wi-fi keyboard magnetizes to the underside half to create a reasonably convincing clamshell laptop computer. In case you’ve acquired restricted desk area, that is essentially the most handy means to make use of the Zenbook Fold 17, and also you’d hardly know you weren’t utilizing an ordinary laptop computer.

It’s even snug to make use of in your lap, which is one thing most 2-in-1 laptops battle with. Most significantly, although, the three:2 display screen feels a lot massive, which avoids the overly cramped feeling the unique ThinkPad X1 Fold gave.

The one factor I didn’t love about utilizing the Zenbook Fold 17 in laptop computer mode was how the keyboard sits on the display screen. There are magnets within the corners to carry it in place, however the entire thing doesn’t lay flat.

A desktop mode

The Zenbook Fold 17 open in desktop mode.

My favourite means to make use of the Zenbook Fold 17 is in what Asus calls “Desktop mode.” That’s while you really profit from this large 4:3 17.3-inch display screen. Utilizing the sturdy kickstand on the again, you may prop the unfolded show open in entrance of you, as if it was an exterior, transportable show. The display screen has some rubber toes on the underside that maintain it in place. Engaged on an expansive 4:3 display screen feels superior, particularly when you’re taking your work on the go however don’t need to hand over a big display screen.

The keyboard and touchpad are different beneficiaries of the additional dimension of the Zenbook Fold 17. The 1.4mm of key journey is lush, and the trackpad is a lot spacious. Once more, due to the scale, you get a whole normal structure, which was one other challenge with the unique ThinkPad X1 Fold.

The keyboard is just too skinny to carry its form with out unintended clicks of the touchpad.

I’ll be aware that this keyboard is basically not meant for use with out a desk or some type of flat floor. It’s too skinny to carry its form with out unintended clicks of the touchpad. This could even generally occur on a desk for the reason that keyboard doesn’t sit utterly flat because of the means the rubber toes are located beneath. Even simply resting your palms too closely on the wrist rests may cause unintended clicks, which ended up being fairly irritating.

I discovered methods to work round it, nevertheless it’s actually one thing you’ll have to fret about. After all, you may also join a separate Bluetooth keyboard in order for you, however that type of defeats the aim of the Zenbook Fold 17’s all-in-one package deal.

The keys on the Zenbook Fold's keyboard.

My final grievance in regards to the keyboard is that it must be charged individually. The ThinkPad X1 Fold had a removable keyboard that may really cost when on prime of the display screen, however the Zenbook keyboard must be charged through its USB-C port.

The keyboard will final for twenty-four hours of use on a single cost, which is sufficient that you simply gained’t have to consider it typically — nevertheless it might catch you off guard proper while you want it.

Folding issues

The Zenbook Fold 17 makes use of the identical kind of display screen as the unique ThinkPad X1 Fold, and with it, come various issues. It’s a pointy OLED panel with a extremely reflective plastic layer on prime. This layer makes for a floor that isn’t perfect for contact. It’s not that it’s unusable — it’s only a totally different texture than what you’re most likely used to.

This layer additionally produces some heavy reflections, particularly on darkish backgrounds. Utilizing Spotify in darkish mode, for instance, is a catastrophe. A part of that’s simply because OLED creates these gorgeous absolute blacks, by having the ability to flip off particular person pixels. The OLED panel additionally means incredible colours (100% sRGB, 98% AdobeRGB), and incomparable distinction.

The Zenbook Fold 17 laid flat on a table.

The hinge of the Zenbook Fold 17.

However the reflections are a tough tablet to swallow. Regardless of transport in Home windows 11’s darkish mode, you’ll most likely need to flip it off. And these reflections aren’t fairly. When it comes all the way down to it, the plastic masking simply appears to be like low-cost, and for a tool of this value, that’s not what you need. A number of laptops with OLED screens have already got this drawback, nevertheless it’s heightened right here by seeing the crease down the middle of the display screen create odd reflections. You may really feel the crease together with your finger too, in fact.

Sadly, the Zenbook Fold 17 doesn’t have fairly sufficient brightness to overpower these reflections both, topping out at a max of simply 261 nits of brightness. I discovered myself utilizing it at max brightness very often, particularly when sitting close to home windows or beneath vibrant lights. Working exterior with the Zenbook Fold 17 might be a problem.

The fold of the show feels pretty inflexible, for what it’s. Asus says the hinge and versatile panel endure 30,000 open and shut cycles to cross the sturdiness testing. I can’t validate Asus’ claims about sturdiness, however sturdiness is much less of a priority than with folding smartphones just like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold. You anticipate to open and shut these units dozens and dozens — perhaps even a whole lot of time per day. The character of the Zenbook Fold 17 as a PC means you’ll most likely solely open and shut it just a few instances and use it for longer periods.

Sufficient pace on your wants

Efficiency was one of many drawbacks of the unique ThinkPad X1 Fold. We anticipate units like this to function each bit as snappily as a laptop computer, which is one thing Microsoft has realized through the years with its Floor Professional line. The Zenbook Fold 17 makes an attempt to resolve that through the use of a Core i7-1250U processor, which is only a nine-watt processor. That’s not loads of energy, and although it has 10 cores, solely two of these are efficiency cores.

Nonetheless, whereas that is among the many slowest merchandise we’ve examined that use Intel’s Twelfth-gen processors, I felt that efficiency was robust sufficient for this kind of system. That is, clearly, not the kind of system you’d anticipate to do heavy duties with. The occasional picture edit or some mild design work – positive. Simply don’t purchase this hoping it will probably change your workstation at dwelling.

The back of the Zenbook Fold 17.

However in additional normal utilization, as examined by way of PCMark 10, the Zenbook Fold 17 can deal with the each day duties of the trendy employee nicely sufficient. In case you’re like me, and your typical workload primarily consists of net apps, Microsoft Workplace, and videoconferencing, the Zenbook Fold 17 has sufficient efficiency. My configuration got here with 16GB of RAM, which helps guarantee you may deal with multitasking with a number of Chrome or Edge tabs open directly.

Though the Zenbook Fold 17 makes use of a low-power processor, it does embody a fan inside, which helps maintain the floor temperatures pretty cool. Even throughout heavy benchmarks like Cinebench, fan noise wasn’t overly noticeable, which is necessary on a tool like this.

Battery life wasn’t something to put in writing dwelling about. It solely lasted round 5 hours on a single cost beneath a lightweight load. That’s sufficient to make it value taking to a espresso store to get some work executed, as long as you’ve got a full battery while you go away dwelling.

Not an ideal webcam

The Zenbook Fold 17 includes a stable 5-megapixel digital camera that does a good job of balancing publicity and protecting face tones vibrant. There’s an issue, although. As a result of placement of the digital camera, you might be confronted with two awkward digital camera positions. In laptop computer mode, the digital camera is vertical, making it appear like you’re calling it from a phone. In desktop mode, the digital camera is off to the aspect, which is identical drawback iPads have in videoconferencing.

Neither is a perfect answer, although, and I’d have favored to see Asus discover no less than one answer that’s each horizontal and centered. As an alternative, the in any other case stable videoconferencing expertise is spoiled by the awkward location.

The webcam of the Zenbook Fold 17.

The Zenbook Fold 17 does embody an IR digital camera for Home windows Good day login, which is sweet because it doesn’t have a fingerprint reader.

The audio system undergo from the same drawback by way of positioning. Relying on the way you’re utilizing or holding the pill, you’ll get a reasonably totally different audio expertise. The four-speaker setup sounds respectable in desktop mode, with some good stereo separation and a large sound stage. In laptop computer mode, although, you’re higher off utilizing a pair of headphones. The bass continues to be fairly missing in both place.

A primary-gen foldable

The Zenbook Fold 17 open on a table.

The Asus Zenbook Fold 17 is a first-generation product, and in some ways, it nonetheless seems like one. It doesn’t really feel refined, nor does each function make loads of sense. As a first-gen experiment, it’s additionally undoubtedly means too costly. That’s widespread for merchandise like this, however for $3,500, you actually should be shopping for into this factor for the lengthy haul. For that sum of money, in any case, you could possibly purchase a high-powered laptop computer, a transportable exterior monitor, an iPad, and nonetheless have loads of cash left over.

But it surely’s the primary foldable PC that feels worthy of advice, albeit for the suitable particular person. The 17-inch display screen dimension makes its use in desktop mode an enormous profit, particularly for vacationers on the go who want a bigger display screen to work with. The choice to swing it round right into a smaller clamshell laptop computer while you’re in a extra restrained surroundings is extraordinarily useful.

Savvy consumers are proper to attend for second or third-generation merchandise to see how firms like Asus work out the kinks. As of now, foldable units won’t be the de facto way forward for laptops — however they’re actually an attention-grabbing new type issue that does one thing no units have been in a position to do up to now. If that’s not the definition of thrilling, revolutionary tech, I don’t know what’s.

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