ZenBook 17 Fold OLED – folding in the ASUS way

By autumn, ASUS’s notebook with a bendable display will also be available here, of which we received an early copy.

Introduction, external

ASUS is not shy when it comes to experimentation, and especially in the field of notebook computers, they are willing to come up with quite strange solutions. These include, for example, the water-cooled GX700 or the Mothership, which blurs the line between notebooks and desktop computers. Both are real specialties, designed to meet very specific needs, and actually disappeared without a successor (for now). However, this does not deter the company from constantly pushing the boundaries of how a notebook should be viewed, and they are also very concerned with how to make portable computers as comfortable as possible despite the limited dimensions.

In this area, most of the attention was paid to the transformation of the screen: the Taichi with a double-sided display, the various versions of the ScreenPad, and then the Duo series are each a stop on this journey. It is therefore natural that with the appearance of bendable displays, such a foldable tablet-notebook had to be added to the palette. This is the ZenBook 17 Fold OLED, which was presented at CES this January, promising that it will be available in stores by the second quarter. As you can see, this schedule was not completely kept, because the fourth quarter will be when customers with a thick enough wallet will be able to get their hands on this computer.

Design

The ZenBook 17 Fold is essentially a 17.3-inch OLED touchscreen folded in half (which, of course, includes the hardware), with a separate keyboard located in the fold. Its design is similar to the ThinkPad X1 Fold, which can also be considered the closest competitor, at least at first glance, because the Zennbook 17 Fold plays in a completely different league. On the one hand, it is much larger, which fundamentally affects the possibilities of use, and on the other hand, the hardware is also much stronger, because instead of the lightning-fast Lakefield, it relies on the full-fledged Alder Lake U platform.


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In its default state, i.e. when folded, the machine resembles a thick book – it is precisely this thickness that makes it stand out from today’s 13-14-inch ultrabooks with a thickness of 14-15 mm. By the way, its base area is 285 x 198 mm, which is quite small, together with the legs and the external keyboard that can be locked between the display, it has a thickness of 25-32 mm and a weight of 1.83 kg. Looking at the tablet alone, we can expect 1.52 kg, and the machine with a 17.3″ display when opened is 9 mm thick – except in the middle, where there is a part covered with artificial leather that covers the hinge and includes the fold-out support, which has 16 we measured mm. Looking at the numbers, we can see that it is not some filigree structure, and this is also true in person, the Fold 17 is a massive device, which feels completely different to holding in your hand than a traditional ultrabook.


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Fortunately, solidity is matched by quality assembly, as the design of the Fold is first-class in line with the ZenBook name. Of course, it is protected by a metal housing and metal cover almost everywhere, and the hinges are designed for at least 30,000 cycles. Compared to this, the support that can be folded out from the back is surprisingly filigree – fortunately, it keeps the display stable and can not only be adjusted to one angle, but we would have been happier if its range of motion was slightly larger.

The frame of the display is relatively thick, but that’s not a problem, as it allows you to comfortably hold it without constantly detecting your finger, and the HD IR web camera, which performs biometric identification with Windows Hello, is conveniently located in the upper part, and with the included ASUS software, a also offers a number of other functions (e.g. darkens the display if no one is sitting in front of it, locks the machine when you stand up, etc.).


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The included keyboard is based on the company’s ErgoSense solution, so it offers full-size buttons with a displacement of 1.4 mm. It uses Bluetooth for data transfer and can be connected to two devices at the same time, and it can be charged via the Type-C port.




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In terms of ports, the Fold does not do well, especially compared to its size: in addition to the combined 3.5 mm jack socket, there are only two Thunderbolt 4 (Type-C) sockets. Of course, these can replace a lot of other things, and both can be used for charging, but it is still a fact that two ports are simply not enough, and it is almost certainly worth buying a dock with a TB4 (or at least USB 3.2 Gen2) interface for the Fold. If only because these connectors do not face the same direction, no matter how you use the notebook, it will be on one side and the other up. We cannot report on expansion options for the ASUS notebook, the machine housing cannot be opened anywhere.

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Source: Hírek és cikkek – PROHARDVER! by prohardver.hu.

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