Photo: Shubham Agarwal / Gizmodo

I might describe the Asus Zenbook 17 Fold as the best ambassador for the folding laptop computer. It’s removed from good, nor does its Taiwanese PC maker anticipate to promote it in droves, given its astronomical $3500 price ticket. But after a month with it, the Zenbook 17 has satisfied me on what many solely a few years in the past believed was only a gimmickthat the way forward for computing will probably be formed by foldable screens. Sooner than later, we’ll be in a position to carry round what’s virtually an all-in-one PC, that may rework right into a laptop computer, in our backpacks.

On its personal, the Asus Zenbook 17 is a colossal 17.3-inch Windows pill. Prop it up on a desk with the built-in kickstand and pull out the bundled Bluetooth keyboard, nonetheless, and also you’ve bought your self a transportable desktop pc. Fold in one of many far-end edges and the Zenbook 17 turns right into a run-in-the-mill 13-inch clamshell laptop computer. When you’re performed, curl the halves all the way in which in, tuck the keyboard contained in the hole between, and it shrinks into what seems like a thick planner that you may slip contained in the bundled compact leather-based case. And it really works.

Over the previous couple of weeks, I’ve lugged the Zenbook 17 on flights, cafes, and holidays, and every time, I’ve been shocked by its versatility. But it’s nonetheless a first-gen product, and although Asus has nailed the idea of the folding type issue, the remainder of the expertise falls in need of its lofty worth.

Configuration Options

The Asus Zenbook 17 Fold is barely accessible in a single variant. It prices $3,500 and comes geared up with a 2.5K (2560 x 1920) 4:3 OLED display. Inside, it’s powered by Intel’s Twelfth-gen Core i7-1250U chip (two efficiency cores and eight effectivity cores) and an Intel Iris Xe built-in GPU. There’s 16GB of LPDDR5 non-upgradable reminiscence and 1TB of SSD storage (PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2). You can high up the 75 watt hour battery with the bundled 65W Type-C charger. Also included within the field is a full-size Bluetooth keyboard with a touchpad, USB-C to USB-A dongle, and a fake leather-based sleeve. It comes preloaded with a licensed copy of Windows 11 Home.

Design and construct

When you unbox the Zenbook 17, its design can really feel overwhelming. It’s bought a hodgepodge of supplies tailor-made to guard the shape issue’s numerous oddities. Put collectively, Asus has someway made it work. The Zenbook 17 is a glossy machinefuturistic virtually in some facets, partly due to the stealthy “Tech Black” colour. But it nonetheless looks like a prototype relating to others.

Its chassis, for starters, is constructed out of magnesium alloy that feels sturdy whenever you’re continually switching between positions. Adding to its cool issue is the extra layer of frosted glass on the highest part of its again, which is embossed with the corporate’s edgy new emblem and shimmers when reflecting mild. On high of that, you’ll discover a pretend leather-based panel that wraps across the center crease and serves two functions: part of it’s a kickstand, and the additional cowl protects the folding mechanism whenever you batter it round.

Asus ZenBook 17 Fold OLED

Photo: Shubham Agarwal / Gizmodo

The kickstand is useful and durable and I may comfortably snap it out as soon as I used to be aware of its location on the again of the machine. However, it’s a bit of slender and doesn’t run all the width of the machine like on a Microsoft Surface. Though this can be a non-issue when the Zenbook 17 is positioned on a tough floor, it can topple very simply on smooth bases like your mattress. Perhaps a pair of kickstands, one on both facet, would have been higher.

While the Zenbook 17 is lighter (3.97 kilos, together with the keyboard) than different similarly-sized laptops just like the Dell XPS 17 (5.58 kg), when folded with the keyboard infacet it, it has practically the identical thickness (1.18 inches) as two MacBook Pro 16s stacked on high of one another. Combined with its boxy look in laptop computer mode and the tactile keys, it provides off a slightly old-school ThinkPad vibe.

I’ve been impressed with the Zenbook 17’s industrial construct high quality and head-turning design throughout the board. The solely pet peeve I’ve is the presence of plasticky massive bezels across the display, which, Asus claims, are essential for the folding display’s structural integrity. But their velvety texture tends to draw a number of mud and requires frequent cleansing. I additionally fear about its long-term reliability, however I’ve but to face any alarming hints of damage.


Asus ZenBook 17 Fold OLED

Photo: Shubham Agarwal / Gizmodo

The Zenbook 17 Fold’s 17.3-inch display is its standout characteristic, and that’s not simply because it folds. It additionally seems beautiful. With a decision of two.5K, it’s a lot sharp, and due to the OLED panel, it options vivid colours and deep blacks.

OLEDs are infamous for his or her poor brightness, however that wasn’t a problem on the Zenbook 17, both. It can accomplish a peak HDR brightness of 500 nits, which is adequate whenever you’re understanding on in a park on a sunny day. Watching motion pictures and consuming any type of leisure is pleasant on the enormous, OLED display, and I frequently propped it up on my mattress to just about use it as a tv.

Of course, the spotlight right here remains to be the display’s folding capabilities. And regardless of my preliminary issues, it seems seamless, and also you gained’t discover the crease in between folds except you view it from an off-angle. Asus means that you can function it in a bunch of positions, however there are solely two you’ll truly benefit from: one is when it’s fully folded out so to use it as a 17.3-inch all-in-one fashion desktop pc, and one other is the 13-inch laptop computer mode, the place one half is folded in at a proper angle. While you’ll barely discover the bezels within the former, they’ll be exhausting to disregard within the latter. But I did get used to them after a number of days.

Asus even recommends furling each halves inwards a bit of to duplicate a hardcover ebook however at 1.5kgs, however it’s just too heavy to interchange your Kindle or iPad.

The folding mechanism is robust and works properly, but it surely requires a bit of further drive from you. At least initially, you’ll be mainly prying it open. That does imply, although, you can’t raise the lid with one hand. Asus claims it’s rated to final for 30,000 open/shut cycles, which suggests it needs to be good for above eight years in the event you fold it 10 instances a day.

Keyboard, touchpad, webcam, and ports

Asus ZenBook 17 Fold OLED

Photo: Shubham Agarwal / Gizmodo

I’ve had a love-hate relationship with the Zenbook 17’s wi-fi keyboard. The excellent news is that, regardless of its skinny physique, the keys themselves are tactile, spacious, and have sufficient journey (1.4mm) to supply a satisfying sound. I’ve loved typing on it and will hit my traditional 100 phrases per minute… when it labored.

Unfortunately, the Zenbook 17’s keyboard is riddled with bugs. It’s alleged to magnetically latch and align itself onto one half of the machine, so you should utilize laptop computer mode with out counting on a contact display for typing, however that not often occurs completely. And if it doesn’t align, the Zenbook 17 gained’t mechanically swap to the laptop computer mode’s software program and convey up the taskbar on the backside of the primary half of the display, both. I’ve confronted troubles simply connecting the keyboard to it, as properly, and have needed to steadily flip it off and again on once more.

Instead of carrying the keyboard individually, you may as well retailer it between the display’s halves. While that’s intelligent, any slight motion causes the keyboard to get up and search for connections, killing its battery life. I’ve had moments the place upon reaching my vacation spot and pulling out the Zenbook 17, I discover the keyboard is useless, and I’ve needed to cost it with an influence financial institution. Another draw back, which I didn’t anticipate to be complaining about on a $3500 laptop computer, is that there’s no keyboard backlight.

The trackpad, although equally correct and responding to gestures properly, is erratic and in dire want of a software program replace. The cursor frequently disappears, forcing me to reboot, and since the keyboard is so skinny, there’s a number of disagreeable flex whenever you press it to click on.

Asus ZenBook 17 Fold OLED

Photo: Shubham Agarwal / Gizmodo

The 5-megapixel IR webcam has been one of many highlights of my Zenbook 17. In addition to letting me unlock the machine with my face, it produces crisp and well-lit photos and video feeds on calls. It’s top-of-the-line webcams I’ve used on a laptop computer. But in desktop mode, it is going to be on the left edge as a substitute of the highest middle, which suggests not-so-ideal angles on video calls.

The Zenbook 17 Fold has three ports: a pair of Thunderbolt 4 Type-C ports and a normal 3.5mm audio jack. There’s additionally an LED indicator for the battery and a bodily quantity rocker on the highest.


The Zenbook 17 Fold has a complete of 4 highly effective audio system distributed throughout its left and proper sides, they usually can get fairly loud. In the pc’s pill mode, their placement makes for a good stereo impact, however that gained’t be the case whenever you’re utilizing it as a laptop computer, since then two audio system will probably be on the backside and the opposite two on the high.

I discovered them surprisingly wealthy in high quality, and even on the highest volumes, you gained’t hear any distortion. They do lack the depth wanted so that you can really get pleasure from sophisticated items reminiscent of Ludovico Einaudi’s works, which you’ll partly overcome by tweaking the built-in equalizer, however for informal listening, they’re greater than nice, and also you gained’t want headphones to listen to dialogues on a Netflix present or podcasts.


One of the issues I had when Asus launched the Zenbook 17 Fold was if its {hardware} may sustain with its versatility. For on a regular basis duties, I’m glad to report that it does. The Twelfth-Gen i7 chip prevents the Zenbook 17 from skipping a beat whether or not you’re multitasking between dozens of Chrome tabs or hopping from one Zoom name to a different.

On one journey, I had the Zenbook 17 all folded out on an airport’s enterprise middle’s desk with quite a few browser tabs, spreadsheets, and different resource-intensive apps like Slack and Zoom open. When I wrapped it as much as board and opened the pc in laptop computer mode on the flight’s slender tray, the machine immediately complied, resized the busy workspace for the smaller display, and let me decide up the place I left off.

That being mentioned, the Zenbook 17 remains to be no efficiency champ. Push it past the usual work apps for artistic duties and also you’ll start to see indicators of slowing down and listen to the fan whirring. As anticipated, it didn’t carry out the most effective in benchmarks both.

In Geekbench 5’s single-core check, the Zenbook 17 scored 1,612 in single core duties and a disappointing 4301 in multi core ones. On Blender, the CPU took 09:58 minutes to render a check scene, which is lower than the common and longer than what even smaller and far cheaper notebooks just like the Dell XPS 13 takes.

The Zenbook 17 Fold is by no means meant for duties like intensive Photoshop work, and the built-in GPU falls brief in benchmarks too. It took 16:half-hour to transcode a 4K video file right down to 1080p in Handbrake and bought a 14,577 in Geekbench’s OpenCL check. In comparability, the newest M2 MacBook Air takes 4:quarter-hour and the Asus Zenbook S 13, 9:47. In addition, the GPU wanted 9:20 minutes to finish the Blender check.

As a lot as I’d cherished to play video games on that beautiful 17.3-inch OLED display, the GPU efficiency knocks it out of the query. We bought a mean of 20 frames per second on Overwatch performed at 1080p and an Average Turn Time of 9.35 seconds on Sid Meier’s Civilization VI’s benchmark check.

Battery life

Endurance has at all times been laptops with OLED screens’ Achilles heel, however the Asus Zenbook 17 did much better than I anticipated, particularly with its giant show.

On most days, once I spent about equal time within the desktop and laptop computer mode on apps like Chrome and Slack, with a handful of Zoom calls and Netflix episodes thrpersonal in, the Zenbook 17 lasted just a bit beneath seven hours. It’s, certainly not, corresponding to what conventional notebooks just like the MacBook Air provide, however given the distinctive type issue, it’s wonderful. In our video check, the place we run a 480p YouTube video on a loop at 200 nits brightness, the Zenbook 17 lasted 9:30 hours. The bundled 65W charger can high it up from 0% to 100% in a bit of over 90 minutes.

Asus ZenBook 17 Fold OLED

Photo: Shubham Agarwal / Gizmodo

Should I purchase the Asus Zenbook 17 Fold?

The Asus Zenbook 17 Fold is the primary 17-inch folding laptop computer to go on sale, and regardless of its shortcomings, it has exceeded my expectations. The thought of a transportable pc you may bend to modify between a desktop workstation and a laptop computer at your whim has at all times been a distant dream, however the Zenbook 17 Fold proves it’s now attainable with none vital compromises.

The Zenbook 17 Fold not solely accomplishes the idea in spades, but it surely does so whereas providing a splendid display, first rate battery life, and snappy on a regular basis efficiency. At the identical time, there’s loads of room for enchancment, too. Asus’ first crack at it has one too many points for me to, in good conscience, suggest anybody to purchase it. And its jaw-dropping $3,500 value prevents me from overlooking even minor issues just like the webcam placement.

In 2023, a slate of different PC makers will launch comparable 17-inch foldable laptops, and we anticipate the shape issue to undergo a number of generations of iterations earlier than it’s able to problem the standard pocket book. If the Zenbook 17 Fold is any indication, its future is greater than promising. 

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