- The ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold is the largest foldable gadget in the market with a screen size of 17 inches.
- It comes with the 12th Gen Intel core i7-1250U paired with 16GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD storage.
- The Zenbook 17 Fold is only the second folding PC that is available commercially, after the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold.
- Here’s a detailed review of the ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold.
The ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold marks ASUS’ entry into the foldable market, which is still relatively new and young in the PC segment. We have already seen a decent number of foldable phones from Samsung, Xiaomi, and Huawei, but this technology has yet to make its way into the consumer PC. The ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold is only the second foldable available in stores after the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold PC.
The Zenbook 17 Fold from ASUS features a 17-inch OLED screen, the largest foldable display currently found in a device. It’s a full-fledged computer that runs Windows 11 and is powered by a 12th-generation Intel Core i7-1250U. We have been testing the device for two weeks, and here’s our full review of the ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold. We also shared our findings on how the Zenbook 17 Fold compares to the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold, which is currently its only competitor.
Table of Contents
ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold: Build and Design
The reason we do not see as many foldable computers is that designing a device with movable internal parts is a major engineering challenge. The problem is not with the display because in theory, any OLED panel is inherently flexible. But designing a hinge that fits into a form factor of only 10 mm is every engineer’s nightmare. But ASUS did a great job with the hinge on the very first try with the Zenbook 17 Fold.
The chassis of the Zenbook 17 Fold is made of metal and divided into three parts. The hinge feels sturdy and smooth at the same time and has a smooth-running mechanism. You can open the hinge at any angle, and the Zenbook 17 Fold will stay in that position without wobbling. When you open the device with both hands, the 17-inch panel feels like you are opening a newspaper with a screen.
The design of the Zenbook Fold 17 is very similar to that of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold. The exterior has a leather cover that protects the hinge. The Zenbook logo has a blue gradient, which looks really cool. The OLED screen has a rubber ring that extends over the edges, which appear to be bezels. The Zenbook 17 Fold has narrower edges compared to the ThinkPad X1 Fold, which makes the Zenbook more visually appealing.
The Zenbook 17 Fold has a retractable stand on the back. It allows the device to be held upright at a 120-degree angle so that it can be used as a desktop with the Bluetooth keyboard.
Although the Zenbook 17 Fold weighs 1.8 kilograms, it feels good in the hand, thanks to the even weight distribution. In our experience, both sides of the foldable screen weigh the same, and we never felt that the weight tilted to one side.
ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold Review: That Massive Folding Screen
The Zenbook 17 Fold’s 17-inch OLED screen makes this the largest foldable device currently available. It has a resolution of 2560 x 1920px, with a refresh rate of 60 Hz. The display has a 4:3 aspect ratio when unfolded, which feels massive. The colors are vibrant, and the display can get very bright. We never felt the need to use the device with more than 60% brightness, even outdoors. It also supports the touchscreen, but with a small caveat.
Since it is a foldable device, the display is made of plastic, which attracts fingerprints. The Zenbook 17 Fold does not come with a stylus, and ASUS does not offer a stylus as an accessory. This means that the only way to access the touchscreen is to use your fingers. When using the device, we had to clean the screen for smudges at least twice a day. Since the screen is made of plastic, prolonged use of the Zenbook 17 Fold can result in scratches on the panel.
Apart from that, the Zenbook 17 Fold’s screen is a real feast for the eyes. When consuming multimedia content on YouTube, the colors feel vibrant, and the 4:3 ratio makes the screen feel much larger than 17 inches. Even when used in laptop mode with the keyboard attached, the available screen size is about 11 inches, which is enough to get the job done as a laptop. It’s definitely a step up from the ThinkPad X1 Fold, which had a smaller 9-inch screen in laptop mode.
Let us get to the biggest question of all foldable devices – what about the kink? Yes, there is a small crease that is noticeable even when the notebook is fully open. But after a while, you will not notice the crease as much because the colors are more vibrant on this panel. However, if you look closely, the crease will be visible to the naked eye. Our experience with foldable screens shows that the crease develops gradually with prolonged use, and the Zenbook 17 Fold will be no exception.
ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold: Performance
The Zenbook 17 Fold is powered by a 12th generation Intel Core i7-1250U, a ten-core processor CPU, which clocks at up to 4.7 GHz. It is paired with 16 GB RAM and a 1 TB SSD. Our experience with the Zenbook 17 Fold was pleasant, and we had no issues with the performance of the device.
The i7-1250U in the Zenbook 17 Fold is an excellent Alder Lake on paper CPU. However, due to the form factor of the device, the CPU is not utilized 100% to keep the system thermally stable. The CPU seems to be well-tuned by ASUS, as we did not notice any overheating or thermal throttling in the Zenbook 17 Fold.
Keep in mind that this foldable device is meant for a variety of use cases and is focused more on productivity than pure performance. We used the Zenbook 17 Fold for writing articles, browsing the web, watching some videos on YouTube, editing thumbnails, and normal emailing. In our typical usage, performance was fluid, and we were able to keep up to 15 Chrome tabs open without issue.
We also used the device to live stream a cricket match between India and Australia, which the Zenbook 17 Fold handled with ease. Even after 3 hours of continuous streaming, the device did not overheat at all. The back felt slightly warm, but the thermals remained under control.
When we tried to push the laptop with tasks like video editing, the i7-1250U started to show signs of trouble even with 1080p videos on the timeline. Even editing videos in Clipchamp felt a bit laggy after a while. The Zenbook 17 Fold is by no means a device for hardcore video editing. But occasional video editing, like trimming, can be done with a few lags and some patience.
ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold: Keyboard and Typing Experience
The Zenbook 17 Fold comes with a keyboard that is magnetically attached to one of the two sides of the Fold. It connects to the device via Bluetooth 5.2 and uses a USB Type-C port for charging. The edges of the Zenbook 17 Fold are flush with each other when it is folded with the keyboard in between.
The keyboard itself is lightweight and comes with a leather finish. It has a full row of function keys and a decent-sized trackpad. However, there is no backlight. The typing experience on this keyboard is good, as the keys provide light tactile feedback. The size of the keyboard is on par with any 14-inch notebook. The trackpad has good accuracy, and we did not experience any latency issues when using the keyboard with the Zenbook 17 Fold.
We also tried using the Zenbook 17 Fold as a standalone tablet by using the on-screen keyboard. We were able to type a few emails with ease, but the plastic feel of the screen did not encourage long hours of typing with the touchscreen. The on-screen keyboard certainly works well, but typing long paragraphs will eventually bring you back to the keyboard.
Windows Experience on the ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold
The Zenbook 17 Fold ships with Windows 11, along with a few software tweaks from ASUS. The Windows experience here was smooth, and we did not find any jerks on the UI.
One of our main complaints with the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold was that the software was not polished enough. We had issues with the layout and auto-rotation, after which we realized that these were issues on the Windows side since it was not yet optimized for foldable devices.
2 years later, our experience with Windows on foldable devices has completely changed. Whether it’s thanks to ASUS or Microsoft, the software experience on the Zenbook 17 Fold was really good, as the device was able to switch modes and orientation correctly. We had no major issues with the UI, and the Zenbook 17 Fold felt like a normal laptop with its fluidity.
ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold: I/O Ports and Connectivity
The Zenbook 17 Fold has a limited number of connectivity ports, but they are sufficient to get the job done.
- Volume Up and Down Buttons
- USB-C 4.0 with Thunderbolt 4
- Speaker Grill
- Airflow Exhaust
- Speaker Grill Only
- (No connectivity ports here)
- USB-C 4.0 with Thunderbolt 4
- 3.5mm combined headphone jack
- Power button
- Speaker Grill Only
- (No connectivity ports here)
The Zenbook 17 Fold features an IR camera for Windows Hello as well as a 5 MP camera that supports 1080p videos. Wireless connectivity on the device includes Bluetooth 5.2 and WiFi with 6E support. There are no LTE or 5G connectivity options for the Zenbook 17 Fold. The speakers on the Zenbook 17 Fold are Dolby Atmos-certified and provide a great sound experience when using multimedia. Even at full volume, the sound is not muffled and remains clear and audible.
ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold: Battery Life
The ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold runs on a 75 Wh battery. With our typical usage of surfing the web, typing emails, streaming a few videos, and typing a lot on the keyboard, the device easily lasted 7 hours. That was pretty surprising for a device with this form factor, and we were really happy with the battery life.
The battery life in standby mode was also impressive. When we left the device overnight, we noticed a discharge of only 10%. We also used the Zenbook Fold to stream cricket matches for about 3 hours, during which we noticed a battery drain of 40%.
The Zenbook 17 Fold comes with a 65 W charger with a USB-C port. It charges the device from 0-50% in about 70 minutes, and a full charge from 0-100% takes about 2 hours.
Practicality of the ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold
In the two weeks we spent with the Zenbook 17 Fold, we kept trying to find use cases for its unique folding potential. As a regular notebook or even a tablet, the Zenbook 17 Fold scored in every department with its display, performance, thermal stability, and battery life. However, the folding factor did not seem to add any value to our lives.
We gave the device more space and spent even more time with it when we eventually became unaware of its foldability. The only added benefit had an extra-large screen that folded in half and fit easily into our backpack. Even though we are technology fanatics and a team that strives to test the ins and outs of gadgets, we just could not find a practical use for foldability. In this case, the only benefit of a foldable computer is the “wow factor” it brings.
But technology is rapidly evolving, and so is our lifestyle. Maybe in a few years, we’ll need a foldable computer for certain tasks. But today, foldable computers are a solution to a problem that does not even exist yet.
ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold Review: Verdict
The ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold is an excellent device that meets all criteria. It has a display with rich colors and brightness, offers good performance with thermal stability, great battery life of up to 7 hours, and brings the X-factor of being foldable. However, with a price tag of Rs. 3,29,000/USD 3499, it enters a unique market segment for enthusiasts that do not specifically target a particular need.
Price is not an issue here as ASUS has its ProArt Studiobook series that costs over Rs. 2,50,000/USD 2,500, but they have a specific market of users who demand extreme performance like Core i9 processors and RTX 4070 graphics. It is a matter of supply and demand. We think the demand for a foldable device is not from a user who desperately needs a foldable device for their specific application. Rather, it is still a futuristic product where people have not yet figured out what problem a foldable computer is trying to solve.
The Zenbook 17 Fold is definitely a technological marvel. Considering that this was ASUS’ very first attempt at a foldable computer, they got the hardware section down perfectly. The device offers great performance and battery life and is superior to its only competitor – the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold – in several aspects. The only question that remains is, who is it made for?
Right now, it’s really hard to justify the practicality of a foldable computer. And at this price, the best way to describe the Zenbook 17 Fold is that we have an amazing product on the market. We just do not know who to ship this device to.
- Vibrant display with a massive size
- Good performance
- Thermally stable
- Great battery life of 7 hours
- Well designed hinge
- Slow Charging at 65W takes 2 hours
- Stylus is not included
- The screen is a fingerprint magnet, better oleophobic coating is needed.
- Very High Price
Build & Design
The ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold is a well-built device that offers good performance and battery life, and a color-rich foldable display. However, it is still a solution to a problem that does not exist yet.