Asus Zenbook Fold 17

MSRP $3,500.00

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

Professionals

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

Cons

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

Folding screens have promised us the way forward for expertise for years now, but it surely’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 type.

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 plenty of issues proper that I’d all the time hoped foldable PCs may 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 proper measurement

The 17-inch foldable PC all the time felt like the appropriate measurement for such a gadget. It’s the display screen measurement 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 conveyable gadget. However that’s the great 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 bundle with a fake leather-based “binding” to cover the quilt, all making certain 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 gadget.

However don’t be fooled – this isn’t essentially a compact total bundle. Once you embrace 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 gadgets have, however the sheer measurement of the 17-inch display screen accentuates the issue. Then once more, if you happen to’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 exchange a laptop computer.

Portability apart, although, the Zenbook Fold 17 does really feel like the suitable measurement to benefit from 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 vital, because the Zenbook Fold 17 is supposed to not solely act as a pill but in addition exchange a laptop computer. I might argue at this measurement, its major worth is as a novel laptop computer alternative. Holding this factor in your arms as a pill isn’t precisely comfy.

Folded like an open laptop computer, the Zenbook Fold 17 gives 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. Should you’ve bought restricted desk house, that is probably the most handy method to make use of the Zenbook Fold 17, and also you’d hardly know you weren’t utilizing a typical laptop computer.

It’s even comfy to make use of in your lap, which is one thing most 2-in-1 laptops wrestle 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

My favourite method to make use of the Zenbook Fold 17 is in what Asus calls “Desktop mode.” That’s once you actually 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 if you happen to’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 measurement of the Zenbook Fold 17. The 1.4mm of key journey is opulent, and the trackpad is a lot spacious. Once more, due to the scale, you get an entire commonplace structure, which was one other problem with the unique ThinkPad X1 Fold.

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

I’ll observe that this keyboard is de facto not meant for use and not using a desk or some type of flat floor. It’s too skinny to carry its form with out unintended clicks of the touchpad. This will even typically occur on a desk because the keyboard doesn’t sit utterly flat because of the method the rubber toes are located beneath. Even simply resting your arms too closely on the wrist rests could cause unintended clicks, which ended up being fairly irritating.

I discovered methods to work round it, but it surely’s definitely one thing you’ll have to fret about. After all, it’s also possible to join a separate Bluetooth keyboard if you’d like, however that type of defeats the aim of the Zenbook Fold 17’s all-in-one bundle.

My final grievance concerning the keyboard is that it needs to be charged individually. The ThinkPad X1 Fold had a removable keyboard that might truly cost when on prime of the display screen, however the Zenbook keyboard must be charged by way of its USB-C port.

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

Folding issues

The Zenbook Fold 17 makes use of the identical sort of display screen as the unique ThinkPad X1 Fold, and with it, come numerous issues. It’s a pointy OLED panel with a extremely reflective plastic layer on prime. This layer makes for a floor that isn’t superb 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 implausible colours (100% sRGB, 98% AdobeRGB), and incomparable distinction.

However the reflections are a tough capsule 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 overlaying simply seems to be low-cost, and for a tool of this value, that’s not what you need. Loads of laptops with OLED screens have already got this drawback, but it surely’s heightened right here by seeing the crease down the middle of the display screen create odd reflections. You’ll be able to really feel the crease along with your finger too, after all.

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 shiny lights. Working outdoors with the Zenbook Fold 17 may very well be a problem.

The fold of the show feels pretty inflexible, for what it’s. Asus says the hinge and versatile panel bear 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 gadgets dozens and dozens — possibly even tons of of time per day. The character of the Zenbook Fold 17 as a PC means you’ll most likely solely open and shut it a couple of occasions and use it for longer periods.

Sufficient velocity to your wants

Efficiency was one of many drawbacks of the unique ThinkPad X1 Fold. We anticipate gadgets like this to function each bit as snappily as a laptop computer, which is one thing Microsoft has discovered 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 plenty of energy, and regardless that 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 sturdy sufficient for such a gadget. That is, clearly, not the kind of gadget you’d anticipate to do heavy duties with. The occasional photograph edit or some mild design work – certain. Simply don’t purchase this hoping it may possibly exchange your workstation at residence.

However in additional common utilization, as examined by way of PCMark 10, the Zenbook Fold 17 can deal with the day by day duties of the trendy employee nicely sufficient. Should you’re like me, and your typical workload primarily consists of internet 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 plenty of Chrome or Edge tabs open directly.

Though the Zenbook Fold 17 makes use of a low-power processor, it does embrace 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 vital on a tool like this.

Battery life wasn’t something to write down residence about. It solely lasted round 5 hours on a single cost beneath a light-weight load. That’s sufficient to make it value taking to a espresso store to get some work executed, as long as you will have a full battery once you go away residence.

Not a terrific webcam

The Zenbook Fold 17 encompasses a strong 5-megapixel digital camera that does an honest job of balancing publicity and holding face tones shiny. There’s an issue, although. Because of the placement of the digital camera, you’re 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 telephone. In desktop mode, the digital camera is off to the facet, which is similar drawback iPads have in videoconferencing.

Neither is a perfect answer, although, and I might have favored to see Asus discover a minimum of one answer that’s each horizontal and centered. As a substitute, the in any other case strong videoconferencing expertise is spoiled by the awkward location.

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

The audio system undergo from an analogous drawback when it comes to 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 first rate 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 remains to be fairly missing in both place.

A primary-gen foldable

The Asus Zenbook Fold 17 is a first-generation product, and in some ways, it nonetheless looks like one. It doesn’t really feel refined, nor does each characteristic make plenty of sense. As a first-gen experiment, it’s additionally undoubtedly method too costly. That’s widespread for merchandise like this, however for $3,500, you actually need to be shopping for into this factor for the lengthy haul. For that sum of money, in spite of everything, you may purchase a high-powered laptop computer, a conveyable 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 appropriate particular person. The 17-inch display screen measurement 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 once you’re in a extra restrained setting is extraordinarily helpful.

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 gadgets won’t be the de facto way forward for laptops — however they’re definitely an fascinating new type issue that does one thing no gadgets have been capable of do previously. If that’s not the definition of thrilling, revolutionary tech, I don’t know what’s.

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