The Asus ZenBook 17 Fold is probably the coolest and weirdest laptop you’ll see in 2022 — a 17-inch OLED panel with a Bluetooth keyboard, which makes for a fascinatingly versatile portable system.
All based around a flexible display, which is attached to a durable hinge and unique magnet system, you can work and play on the 17 Fold in so many different ways. But it does come with one very expensive catch.
How does it work?
Let’s start with the first thing you laid your eyes on. That is a 17-inch OLED touchscreen with a 3.5k resolution and a 4:3 aspect ratio, which can fold in the middle, thanks to a robust 180-degree hinge.
What this means, alongside the addition of a kickstand on the display part of this package, is a nice variety of use cases: from opening it like a book to consume content or propping it up for binge watching, to attaching the keyboard on the bottom (the display automatically recognizes it and adjusts the viewing area accordingly) or separating the keyboard and using the 17 Fold as a desktop/portable monitor hybrid.
As for performance and ports, you’ll find a 12th Gen Intel Core i7 U-series processor, integrated Iris Xe graphics, up to 16GB RAM, and a 1TB SSD. Connectivity is handled by two Thunderbolt 4 ports, which can handle fast charging of that 75Wh battery.
The future needs some work
While the build quality seems good and the ideas on display here are innovative, to say the least, there are some drawbacks.
First, we’re hearing reports that the keyboard is pretty mushy and lacks that tactility we love from integrated keyboards on the likes of the Asus Zenbook 14X OLED Space Edition. Second, when fully folded with the keyboard, it’s pretty chunky, and third, as you’d expect from any foldable device, there is a very noticeable crease in the middle.
Can these issues be ironed out with future versions? Sure! I’ve seen Samsung pretty much eliminate the crease on the Galaxy Z Flip 4, so anything is possible. However, it just makes the following bit of news a little harder to swallow for anyone keen to buy the 17 Fold.
Let’s be honest, at $3,500 or £3,299, this is a crazy expensive experiment that is not going to be a hit amongst the mainstream.
Outside of the super rich who just want something to show off, the purpose of this is simple: an eye-catching design that draws your attention amongst the IFA 2022 noise and a statement about what the future of laptops could look like.
And that future is foldable. I’ll leave proper impressions for when we go hands-on with this beast, but color me excited!