Asus Zenbook 17 Fold OLED review: The best flexible screen laptop to date

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Asus Zenbook 17 Fold OLED Review Summary:

Editor’s rating: 4/5

Design

Display

Performance

Battery

Software

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Pros

  • Excellent build quality
  • Fantastic OLED display
  • Excellent speakers
  • Good day-to-day performance
  • Multiple usage modes

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Flimsy keyboard built
  • Keyboard is not backlit
  • Reflective protection film

Asus has been one of the rare brands in the world of Windows focusing on innovation. Thanks to this innovation-centric approach, Asus has been launching dual-screen laptops since 2018. Now, they have taken the next big leap and developed a laptop with a foldable screen.

Zenbook Fold is Asus’ attempt to do what Samsung has done with its foldable phones. Of course, the challenge for Asus was a much more daunting due to the mere size of the laptop screen. Thus Zenbook 17 Fold OLED is a revolutionary machine in that regard.

However, should one take this machine seriously as their daily driver? That was the question we had in our mind when we decided to pick it up for review. Based on our user experience, here’s our take on Asus Zenbook Fold 17 OLED.

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Asus Zenbook Fold 17 OLED unboxing

Before we talk about the machine in detail let’s talk about this unusual box in which Asus ships this laptop. The box opens vertically, and once you do, you will find the laptop standing in an unfolded position. The box also includes a carrying case, an ErgoSense Bluetooth keypad, a charger, and a USB-C to USB-A adapter.

Asus Zenfone Fold 17 OLED Spec

Dimensions14.90 x 11.32 x 0.51 inches
Weight3.31 pounds (including keyboard)
ProcessorIntel Core i7-1250U
GraphicsIntel Iris Xe
RAM16GB LPDDR5
Display17.3-inch, 2560 x 1920 OLED
Storage1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 4.0
TouchYes
Ports2x Thunderbolt 4 supports display/power delivery
3.5mm Combo Audio Jack
WirelessWi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5
Webcam5MP with IR
Operating systemWindows 11
Battery75 watt-hours

Asus Zenbook Fold 17 OLED Review: Design

Asus Zenbook Fold has a one of its kind design mainly due to the complexities involved in making a foldable all-screen laptop. A combination of  Metal, faux leather, and fostered glass ensures classy looks with a sturdy in-hand feel.

When unfolded, the laptop chassis is just 8.7mm thin which is equivalent to my phone’s thickness. However, when folded it appears heavier than it really is. It weighs 1.5kg (with keyboard) which is not far from most of the premium ultrabooks available in the market.

Asus smartly build-in a kickstand that allows you to use this portable laptop like an all-in-one desktop PC. Else, you can use it like a laptop by folding it in half and placing the wireless keyboard on top of the bottom half of the screen. You will have a 12.5-inch screen space with a physical at the bottom.

The keyboard is magnetically locked and firmly remains in place when you type or move around. The system smartly turns off the bottom half of the screen to conserve power.

We loved it! The ease with which you can use it like a traditional PC with a detachable keyboard is astonishing.

There is a 17.3-inch foldable OLED panel from BOE and Asus developed a proprietary hinge to ensure the screen remains crease-free. The 180-degree hinge exuded a solid reassuring feel during my short testing phase.

To ensure a better flow of air, the motherboard and all the circuitry has been housed in the top half of the laptop while the battery sits in the bottom deck. The laptop includes two speakers fitted at the top to fire upward while two of them sit in the bottom half. It packs webcam and an IR sensor for Windows Hello face recognition at the top.

Compared to other contemporary laptops, the half-inch bezels surrounding the display appear a little chunky. Asus has given a reasonable justification for these thick bezels. The company says that these bezels will prevent any screen damage during the opening or closing of the laptop. 

Overall, we think Asus has done well. It has managed to come up with a distinct eye-catching design that is also functional.

Asus Zenbook Fold 17 Review: Display and Sound

The BOE OLED panel used in the Zenbook Fold has a 2.5K or 2560 x 1920p pixel resolution. The screen has a 4:3 aspect ratio but that changes to 3:2 if you decide to fold it into half and use it as a traditional laptop. The display itself delivers excellent colors and contrast as expected from a premium OLED panel. The Pantone-validated panel promises accurate colors with 100% coverage of sRGB, 98% AdobeRGB, and 100% of DCI-P3.

The panel can achieve 500nits of peak brightness while playing HDR or Dolby Vision content.

While all that is great, one thing you will notice with this OLED screen is that it has a plastic screen protector on top. It tends to create reflections when you sit in bright conditions. Also, you will notice smudges and fingerprints on the screen. A machine with a premium price tag shouldn’t have such trivial issues.

In order to avoid any unwanted burn-in when a static image is displayed for an extended period of time, Asus has built-in features like Pixel Refresh and Pixel Shift that are enabled by default. Pixel Refresh triggers a specific screen saver if there is no activity for 30 minutes.

Coming to audio, Asus has opted for a quad-speaker setup with Dolby Atmos support. The audio is tuned by Harman Kardon and that reflects in the output. The speakers produce clear and crisp sounds irrespective of how you hold the laptop. We didn’t notice any crackling even when playing music at full tilt.

Asus Zenbook 17 Fold OLED review: Keybaord, I/O and Webcam 

For the Zenbook 17 Fold, Asus developed a detectable Bluetooth Keyboard called ErgoSense. It is the lightest Bluetooth Keyboard I have seen to date. It has a full layout including function keys and a trackpad so that you can place it on top of the screen to use it as a regular laptop.

The keyboard offers 1.4mm key travel offering a satisfying typing experience. I hardly faced errors while typing on this keyboard. Where it lets you down is the trackpad. The trackpad is not as smooth and we noticed accidental clicks even when your hands are resting on either side.

By the way, you will also have to recharge the keyboard separately. It comes with a Type-C port and should last a couple of days at least on a single charge.

On the I/O side of things, the Zenbook 17 Fold gets two Thunderbolt 4 ports, a headphone socket and that’s it. Out of the two USB Type-C ports, one is taken up for charging which leaves you with one port free for connecting accessories. That’s not ideal so you might have to buy a USB hub if you need to connect several devices frequently.

Asus has placed a 5-megapixel camera on top of the screen. We were impressed by the webcam because the video quality was nice even when viewed in full-screen mode on the enormous unfurled display. Although it’s not in the same league as a selfie camera in modern phones, it is fit for Zoom calls. Additionally, it works with Windows Hello, allowing you to sign in using your face, which is something we always appreciate.

Asus Zenbook 17 Fold OLED Review: Performance and battery

Asus offers the Zenbook 17 Fold in only one configuration. It is powered by a 12th Gen Intel Core i7-1250U processor (clocked up to 4.7GHz boost frequency) coupled with Intel Iris Xe graphics, 16GB of RAM, and 1 TB of PCIe (Gen 4) SSD. Thanks to a typical TDP of 9W it gets the Intel Evo certification.

In my day-to-day user experience, I found the Zenbook 17 Fold could meet most of my requirements. Out of the box, it comes running on Windows 11 and after the initial setup, it boots within seconds. Multitasking was snappy. I was able to run multiple browsers at once while parallaly streaming video or music via Netflix or Spotify app. 

You may switch between several usage modes, such as a full desktop, laptop, tablet, and reader, without any lag time by using Asus’ ScreenXpert 3 and Mode Switcher apps.

We also used Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop and the experience was smooth. However, if you are someone looking to edit videos or do a high-end task, this low-power machine will fall short. You can play a bit of casual games smoothly but can’t really play heavy games without braving frame drops and stutters.

For a better perspective, I ran several benchmark tests on the device. On the CineBench R20, it scored 581 and 2289 points on single and multi-core tests. We also ran PCMark 10 test where it manage to score 4972 points. 

A huge 75Wh battery powers the device, and the included adapter supports 65W rapid charging. Depending on the use case, battery life might range from excellent to middling. On a moderate-use basis, we have been averaging about 6-7 hours.

Asus Zenbook 17 Fold OLED review verdict: Should you buy it?

Critic rating: 4/5

Asus has done a commendable job with the first-generation foldable which doesn’t feel like a half-baked product. I enjoyed using this machine in both the laptop as well as desktop mode. It offers an outstanding display, great speakers, a long battery life, passable performance, and a really distinctive design.

Even though it’s a niche product, still, its Rs 3,29,990 price tag is a bit too much for the Indian market. Asus is aware that the Zenbook 17 Fold OLED will only have a few takers in India. Still, one thing is certain: those select buyers will enjoy their time with this machine.

Pros

  • Excellent build quality
  • Fantastic OLED display
  • Excellent speakers
  • Good day-to-day performance
  • Multiple usage mode

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Flimsy built-for keyboard
  • Reflective protection film
Deepak RajawatDeepak Rajawat
Experienced technology journalist with over 7-years of experience. Before embracing online journalism, he has worked with several legacy publications including print editions at Hindustan Times and The Statesman. He also has a keen interest in Sports, which he used to cover with equal enthusiasm in his early career.

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