Asus Zenbook Fold 17
“The Asus Zenbook Fold 17 is not perfect, but takes us one step closer to folding screen glory.”
- Fun concept
- Sharp, OLED screen
- Larger size is more practical
- Excellent keyboard and touchpad
- Decent performance
- Sturdy kickstand
- Heavy and thick
- Screen is amazingly reflective
- Keyboard needs to be charged individually
- Weird webcam location
Folding screens have promised us the long run of technology for years now, but it surely’s been a slow roll-out. That’s very true for PCs and Windows tablets, of which only the unique ThinkPad X1 Fold was the one official launch of its kind.
However the Asus Zenbook Fold 17 is the beginning of a recent era for the tech – and it’s a form factor which may finally make more sense.
It does lots of things right that I’d all the time hoped foldable PCs could do, even when the use case for owning such a tool feels limited in scope.
|Asus Zenbook Fold 17|
|Dimensions||14.90 x 11.32 x 0.51 inches|
|Weight||3.31 kilos (including keyboard)|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-1250U|
|Graphics||Intel Iris Xe|
|Display||17.3-inch, 2560 x 1920 OLED|
|Storage||1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 4.0|
|Ports||2x Thunderbolt 4 supports display/power delivery
3.5mm Combo Audio Jack
|Wireless||Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5|
|Webcam||5MP with IR|
|Operating system||Windows 11|
The suitable size
The 17-inch foldable PC all the time felt like the correct size for the sort of device. It’s the screen size Intel has been pushing for since CES 2020, and over two years later, we’re finally beginning to see the products come out. A 17-inch tablet might sound awfully large for what’s purported to be a conveyable device. But that’s the great thing about the foldable screen. When it’s folded up and being carried from place to position, it’s around the identical footprint as a 13-inch laptop.
Just like the ThinkPad X1 Fold, it magnetizes up right into a tidy little package with a pretend leather “binding” to cover the quilt, all ensuring that you simply all the time have the wireless keyboard with you on the go. Asus sweetens the deal by offering an identical carrying case when traveling with the device.
But don’t be fooled – this isn’t necessarily a compact overall package. If you include the wireless 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 without the keyboard. It is a problem all folding devices have, however the sheer size of the 17-inch screen accentuates the issue. Nonetheless, in case you’re coming from a big laptop just like the MacBook Pro 16-inch, which weighs 4.3 kilos, it’ll feel like quite light.
The Zenbook Fold 17 is supposed to not only act as a tablet but in addition replace a laptop.
Portability aside, though, the Zenbook Fold 17 does feel like the suitable size to benefit from the folding screen. The 2 halves of the screen measure 12.5 inches diagonally with a 3:2 aspect ratio – not far off from a conventional 13-inch laptop.
That’s necessary, because the Zenbook Fold 17 is supposed to not only act as a tablet but in addition replace a laptop. I’d argue at this size, its primary value is as a novel laptop alternative. Holding this thing in your hands as a tablet isn’t exactly comfortable.
Folded like an open laptop, the Zenbook Fold 17 offers a decent-sized top half of the screen, while the wireless keyboard magnetizes to the underside half to create a reasonably convincing clamshell laptop. Should you’ve got limited desk space, that is probably the most convenient strategy to use the Zenbook Fold 17, and also you’d hardly know you weren’t using a regular laptop.
It’s even comfortable to make use of in your lap, which is something most 2-in-1 laptops struggle with. Most significantly, though, the three:2 screen feels plenty big, which avoids the overly cramped feeling the unique ThinkPad X1 Fold gave.
The one thing I didn’t love about using the Zenbook Fold 17 in laptop mode was how the keyboard sits on the screen. There are magnets within the corners to carry it in place, but the entire thing doesn’t lay flat.
A desktop mode
My favorite strategy to use the Zenbook Fold 17 is in what Asus calls “Desktop mode.” That’s if you truly profit from this massive 4:3 17.3-inch screen. Using the sturdy kickstand on the back, you may prop the unfolded display open in front of you, as if it was an external, portable display. The screen has some rubber feet on the underside that keep it in place. Working on an expansive 4:3 screen feels awesome, especially in case you’re taking your work on the go but don’t want to present up a big screen.
The keyboard and touchpad are other beneficiaries of the additional size of the Zenbook Fold 17. The 1.4mm of key travel is lush, and the trackpad is plenty spacious. Again, due to the scale, you get an entire standard layout, which was one other issue with the unique ThinkPad X1 Fold.
The keyboard is simply too thin to carry its shape without accidental clicks of the touchpad.
I’ll note that this keyboard is basically not meant for use with no table or some type of flat surface. It’s too thin to carry its shape without accidental clicks of the touchpad. This could even sometimes occur on a table for the reason that keyboard doesn’t sit completely flat as a consequence of the best way the rubber feet are situated underneath. Even just resting your hands too heavily on the wrist rests may cause accidental clicks, which ended up being quite frustrating.
I discovered ways to work around it, but it surely’s definitely something you’ll should worry about. In fact, it’s also possible to connect a separate Bluetooth keyboard in case you want, but that type of defeats the aim of the Zenbook Fold 17’s all-in-one package.
My last grievance in regards to the keyboard is that it needs to be charged individually. The ThinkPad X1 Fold had a detachable keyboard that might actually charge when on top of the screen, however the Zenbook keyboard must be charged via its USB-C port.
The keyboard will last for twenty-four hours of use on a single charge, which is enough that you simply won’t should give it some thought often — but it surely could catch you off guard right if you need it.
The Zenbook Fold 17 uses the identical style of screen as the unique ThinkPad X1 Fold, and with it, come quite a few problems. It’s a pointy OLED panel with a highly reflective plastic layer on top. This layer makes for a surface that isn’t ideal for touch. It’s not that it’s unusable — it’s just a special texture than what you’re probably used to.
This layer also produces some heavy reflections, especially on dark backgrounds. Using Spotify in dark mode, for instance, is a disaster. A part of that’s simply because OLED creates those stunning absolute blacks, by having the ability to turn off individual pixels. The OLED panel also means improbable colours (100% sRGB, 98% AdobeRGB), and incomparable contrast.
However the reflections are a tough pill to swallow. Despite shipping in Windows 11’s dark mode, you’ll probably wish to turn it off. And these reflections aren’t pretty. When it comes right down to it, the plastic covering just looks low-cost, and for a tool of this price, that’s not what you wish. Lots of laptops with OLED screens have already got this problem, but it surely’s heightened here by seeing the crease down the middle of the screen create odd reflections. You’ll be able to feel the crease along with your finger too, after all.
Unfortunately, the Zenbook Fold 17 doesn’t have quite enough brightness to overpower these reflections either, topping out at a max of just 261 nits of brightness. I discovered myself using it at max brightness very often, especially when sitting near windows or under brilliant lights. Working outside with the Zenbook Fold 17 might be a challenge.
The fold of the display feels fairly rigid, for what it’s. Asus says the hinge and versatile panel undergo 30,000 open and shut cycles to pass the sturdiness testing. I can’t validate Asus’ claims about durability, but durability is less of a priority than with folding smartphones just like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold. You expect to open and shut those devices dozens and dozens — perhaps even tons of of time per day. The character of the Zenbook Fold 17 as a PC means you’ll probably only open and shut it a number of times and use it for longer sessions.
Enough speed on your needs
Performance was certainly one of the drawbacks of the unique ThinkPad X1 Fold. We expect devices like this to operate every bit as snappily as a laptop, which is something Microsoft has learned through the years with its Surface Pro line. The Zenbook Fold 17 attempts to resolve that through the use of a Core i7-1250U processor, which is only a nine-watt processor. That’s not lots of power, and despite the fact that it has 10 cores, only two of those are performance cores.
Still, while that is among the many slowest products we’ve tested that use Intel’s Twelfth-gen processors, I felt that performance was strong enough for the sort of device. That is, obviously, not the style of device you’d expect to do heavy tasks with. The occasional photo edit or some light design work – sure. Just don’t buy this hoping it could possibly replace your workstation at home.
But in additional general usage, as tested through PCMark 10, the Zenbook Fold 17 can handle the day by day tasks of the trendy employee well enough. Should you’re like me, and your typical workload primarily consists of web apps, Microsoft Office, and videoconferencing, the Zenbook Fold 17 has enough performance. My configuration got here with 16GB of RAM, which helps ensure you may handle multitasking with a lot of Chrome or Edge tabs open without delay.
Although the Zenbook Fold 17 uses a low-power processor, it does include a fan inside, which helps keep the surface temperatures fairly cool. Even during heavy benchmarks like Cinebench, fan noise wasn’t overly noticeable, which is essential on a tool like this.
Battery life wasn’t anything to jot down home about. It only lasted around five hours on a single charge under a lightweight load. That’s enough to make it value taking to a coffee shop to get some work done, as long as you’ve got a full battery if you leave home.
Not an important webcam
The Zenbook Fold 17 contains a solid 5-megapixel camera that does a good job of balancing exposure and keeping face tones brilliant. There’s an issue, though. As a consequence of the location of the camera, you’re faced with two awkward camera positions. In laptop mode, the camera is vertical, making it appear to be you’re calling it from a phone. In desktop mode, the camera is off to the side, which is identical problem iPads have in videoconferencing.
Neither is a great solution, though, and I’d have liked to see Asus find at the least one solution that’s each horizontal and centered. As a substitute, the otherwise solid videoconferencing experience is spoiled by the awkward location.
The Zenbook Fold 17 does include an IR camera for Windows Hello login, which is sweet because it doesn’t have a fingerprint reader.
The speakers suffer from the same problem when it comes to positioning. Depending on the way you’re using or holding the tablet, you’ll get a fairly different audio experience. The four-speaker setup sounds decent in desktop mode, with some nice stereo separation and a large sound stage. In laptop mode, though, you’re higher off using a pair of headphones. The bass remains to be pretty lacking in either position.
A primary-gen foldable
The Asus Zenbook Fold 17 is a first-generation product, and in some ways, it still seems like one. It doesn’t feel refined, nor does every feature make lots of sense. As a first-gen experiment, it’s also undoubtedly way too expensive. That’s common for products like this, but for $3,500, you actually should be buying into this thing for the long haul. For that sum of money, in any case, you possibly can buy a high-powered laptop, a conveyable external monitor, an iPad, and still have loads of money left over.
But it surely’s the primary foldable PC that feels worthy of advice, albeit for the correct person. The 17-inch screen size makes its use in desktop mode an enormous profit, especially for travelers on the go who need a bigger screen to work with. The choice to swing it around right into a smaller clamshell laptop if you’re in a more restrained environment is amazingly handy.
Savvy buyers are right to attend for second or third-generation products to see how corporations like Asus work out the kinks. As of now, foldable devices won’t be the de facto way forward for laptops — but they’re definitely an interesting recent form factor that does something no devices have been capable of do previously. If that’s not the definition of exciting, revolutionary tech, I don’t know what’s.