ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED first impressions: a foldable delight

A quick look at ASUS' first laptop that features a foldable display

Foldables are no longer just limited to smartphones. Two years back, Lenovo launched the first folding screen laptop and now, ASUS has followed suit. The new ZenBook 17 Fold OLED is an impressive hybrid Windows machine that can be used as a laptop, tablet, or an AiO (all-in-one) style desktop. Designed using the same principles as the ThinkPad X1 Fold, you get a large flexible OLED display that folds in the middle with a slim Bluetooth keyboard that can either be used independently or placed on one half of the folding display.

Of course, there are certain design elements that are unique to the ZenBook 17 Fold OLED. The display is larger (17.3-inch vs 16.3-inch) and the chassis is made out of magnesium-aluminium alloy, faux leather and glass. It is definitely not as sleek as Lenovo’s refreshed X1 Fold, but it feels premium nonetheless. There is also military-grade MIL-STD 810H durability thus it is certified for use against shocks, extreme temperatures, vibration, moisture and more.

In the box, there is a super-slim ErgoSense Bluetooth keyboard, as well as a nice leather folio case to protect the machine when you are on the go. Since it is technically a tablet, the 65W USB-C charging brick is fairly small and easy to dunk in a backpack. There is also a USB-C to USB-A adapter.

The main attraction is obviously the foldable OLED touchscreen display or F-OLED. In a recent product briefing, representatives from ASUS told me that it uses a similar folding panel as Lenovo, which is manufactured by BOE. It measures at 17.3-inches diagonally with a 4:3 aspect ratio and 2,560 x 1,920 resolution. When you fold it and are using it in laptop mode, you get a 12.5-inch, 3:2 screen with 1,920 x 1,280 resolution. It is rated at 100 percent DCI-P3 gamut coverage, offers 500-nits of brightness with VESA-certified DisplayHDR True Black 500, Dolby Vision HDR and Pantone validation. For a display that can fold, these specs are pretty impressive, if not the best. It has a glossy finish, as most foldable displays do, so it isn’t going to be good at avoiding reflections.

Design-wise, I feel ASUS has thought about almost everything. The display has noticeably thick bezels which are necessary for protection and act as a platform to slap the keyboard using magnets. The hinge mechanism is well-implemented and comes with rails running across the back of the device covered by faux leather. I do have some concerns, but I think I’ll leave that for the full review.

Other notable design aspects include a quad-speaker system, two USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports, a 3.5mm audio jack, dedicated power/sleep and volume buttons, and a vent for the fan to push out hot air. There is also a 5MP webcam with IR that supports Windows Hello face recognition.

As for the internals, the machine is powered by the Intel Core i7-1250U processor which features two performance cores, eight efficient cores and the Iris Xe GPU. You also get 16GB of DDR5 RAM running at 5200MHz and 1TB PCIe Gen 4 x4 SSD. Now you cannot swap, or even open the tablet on your own, but technically the SSD is replaceable, while everything else is embedded on the motherboard. There is also Wi-Fi 6E, and Bluetooth 5.0. The hardware is well suited for everyday productivity and light creative tasks. You cannot really game on this, but potentially the Thunderbolt 4 ports do allow you to plug in an external GPU.

Now I have a lot to talk about this unique device, so make sure you catch my full review. As for the pricing and availability, the ZenBook 17 Fold OLED will be officially available on November 10th for Rs 3,29,990. You can pre-book the device until November 9th and avail a variety of benefits. Customers who pre-book can get it for a special price of Rs 2,84,290, plus you can get up to Rs 40,700 off in exchange for your old laptop and up to Rs 5,000 cashback. Additionally, ASUS will be offering a 500GB external SSD worth Rs 19,500, a Warranty Extension Pack of up to 3 years and Accidental Damage Protection worth Rs 7,600.