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ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED Review: A Promising Start!

ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED review-min

As flexible screen technology advances, the ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED enters the market with a bold design and an impressively large, 17.3-inch OLED display. This laptop has a detachable magnetic keyboard and a built-in kickstand, providing users with the versatility of a laptop and the portability of a desktop. I did used the Zenbook 17 Fold OLED for about a week and it was an interesting experience. This is my first laptop of its kind that I have used and I was excited to see what it has to offer. It is an eye grabber considering that this formfactor is still new and anyone who sees it is curious about how it works.

NCBA twende mbele june banner

The ZenBook 17 Fold has two USB-C ports located on the upper left corner and right side that support Thunderbolt 4, and either port can be used to connect the AC adapter. Unfortunately, there is no HDMI monitor connector or USB Type-A port available. On the bright side, the Fold features Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 for wireless connectivity, and a 720p webcam that delivers decent video quality.

The Design

The ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED features a flexible OLED display that folds in half. However, ASUS has added its own touches to the design, such as leather panels and a frosted glass finish that lend the laptop a sleek appearance. The Zenbook 17 Fold OLED measures 1.25 inches thick when in clamshell mode and weighs almost 2 Kgs, including the keyboard. It is not very heavy as it actually looks and this is one of the things that surprised me about this laptop. This is important as the laptop is still able to maintain its portability aspect.

ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED keyboard-min

The Zenbook 17 Fold OLED’s 17.3-inch display is the laptop’s standout feature, and its size distinguishes it from other foldable laptops on the market. The display is flexible and does not have a visible crease, which adds to the laptop’s appeal. In laptop mode, the Zenbook 17 Fold OLED folds to a size similar to that of a 12.5-inch notebook, making it perfect for working in small spaces on the go. The detachable keyboard sits on the bottom half of the screen, providing a familiar typing experience. In desktop mode, the Zenbook 17 Fold OLED’s full 17.3-inch screen provides ample space for productivity or gaming. With the built-in kickstand, the laptop can be positioned for optimal viewing while the Bluetooth keyboard is placed wherever it suits the user best. Using the laptop in desktop mode in public is a bit weird so most times I just used in it laptop mode.

The Zenbook 17 Fold features a keyboard that is reminiscent of other Zenbooks, making it easy to adjust for those familiar with ASUS notebooks. The keyboard has a 5-inch touchpad located at the bottom and a power button on the side next to the USB-C port. With just 1.4mm key travel, typing on the keyboard is comfortable and effortless.

Without the keyboard, the Zenbook 17 Fold becomes an enormous Windows 11-powered tablet with an impressive OLED panel that works well in both portrait and landscape modes. When folded open and propped up with the flip stand, the device turns into a versatile workstation or entertainment center. The keyboard can be used in front of the device, while a mouse can be connected for a complete all-in-one experience. This flexibility allows users to work or play from anywhere.

ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED speakers

Tuned by harman/kardon, the speaker system of the Zenbook 17 Fold provides decent audio quality. The speakers are located on the top and sides of the device, producing loud mids and highs, but weaker lows which is typical for such a slim device. Overall, the speakers are more than sufficient for general use, particularly with HDR content.

Display and Cameras

The ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED’s display is impressive, featuring a flexible OLED panel that provides clear, vivid colors. The 17.3-inch screen’s size is well-suited for multitasking and work that requires ample screen space. The Zenbook 17 Fold OLED also includes a webcam, and a secondary webcam with IR technology. The IR camera is a nice feature for users concerned with privacy, as it allows for facial recognition login without the need for a password.

ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED display

This display offers a resolution of 2560 x 1920 px, 10-bit colors, and complete coverage of the DCI-P3 gamut. The contrast and viewing angles are top-notch as expected from OLED panels. However, the maximum brightness of slightly over 400 nits may not be sufficient for bright environments, especially with the ultra-glossy finish on the screen. Out of the box, this screen is well calibrated and certified by Pantone.  Though the screen is designed to fold in half, there is a barely noticeable crease in the middle.

The main downside of the display is its 4:3 aspect ratio and 1920-wide resolution, which restricts the user to a 1080p experience when the keyboard is docked and the device is in laptop mode. While this may be limiting for some, the on-screen content still looks stunning.

Performance

The Asus ZenBook 17 Fold is equipped with an Intel Core i7-1250U processor and Intel Iris Xe graphics, 16 GB of LPDDR5-5200 memory, and up to 1 TB gen4 SSD. The processor is a hybrid design with 2 Performance and 8 Efficiency Cores, and the graphics are handled by the integrated Iris Xe chip with 96 EUs and frequencies of up to .95 GHz.

ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED

The device comes with the standard MyAsus app which allows control over the power profiles, battery and screen settings, updates, etc. It offers three performance/thermal profiles to choose from – Performance, Balanced/Standard, and Whisper mode.

In terms of daily multitasking and light use, the device performs well in Performance mode. However, the fan occasionally ramps up, which may cause some noise. The device is also equipped with a fast PCIe gen4 Samsung PM9A1 drive, which performed well in the tests.

The U-Series processor from Intel is intended for ultra-portable PCs and is not suitable for gaming or resource-intensive tasks. Despite the Zenbook 17 Fold not being as portable as some Ultrabooks, it still manages to pack a significant amount of technology into a compact chassis. Using a chip with a wattage higher than 9W would require a thicker chassis or more advanced cooling to avoid issues.

Battery Lite 

Let’s talk about battery life on the ZenBook 17 Fold. The device comes with a decently sized 75 Wh battery, which is impressive for its portable design. I managed to get between 7 to 8 hours of use on a single charge depending on what I was doing. This is impressive considering the size and resolution of the display. There was no massive difference in battery life between tablet mode, with the entire screen active, or the laptop mode, where only half of the screen displays active content. However, this might change with future software updates.

ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED verdict

The laptop comes with a compact 65W USB-C charger with a standard one-piece Asus design and a strong, long cable. The battery fully charges in about 2 hours, with quick charging for the first hour.

Verdict

ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED in kenya-min

The ZenBook Fold exceeded my expectations and proved to be a great daily computer that can be used as a mini-laptop or an all-in-one PC with a large screen. The OLED display, speakers, and build quality made for a pleasant user experience.

However, the Intel Core U hardware has limitations and occasional hiccups may occur due to the high pixel count of the 2560 x 1920 px panel. Additionally, as a first-generation design, the device’s reliability and durability over time are yet to be tested.

The ZenBook 17 Fold OLED UX9702 sets the stage for the future of foldable laptops. While it may not be suitable for everyone, those who invest in it should set their expectations accordingly and consider purchasing extended warranty for added peace of mind.

Read: Asus Vivobook Pro 14X OLED Review: Powerful Laptop for creators!

About author

Editor at TechArena. I cover all things technology and review new gadgets as I get them. You can reach me on email: kaluka@techarena.co.ke
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