Last Updated: February 22, 2023, 09:00 IST
Asus ZenBook foldable laptop runs on Windows 11 and does a lot of things
Asus launched its Foldable laptop in India recently and we tell you if it is worth that mouth-watering price tag.
Foldables are definitely a bigger thing in 2023 than what we saw last year. You have different unique form factors catching the eye, be it smartphones or laptops. Samsung is the undisputed leader in the foldable mobile segment but the PC market is wide open for contenders to show their worth and the value of innovation.
Lenovo was one of the brands to enter this space and then we had Asus with its ZenBook Fold 17 OLED laptop that looks to show the virtue of a foldable PC in the future and how it could make the cut. This laptop came out in 2022 but with the advent of foldables about to increase this year, we decided to give the ZenBook Fold 17 a proper chance to see if the hype is warranted.
Asus ZenBook Fold 17 OLED Review: What’s Cool?
The moment you take out the ZenBook Fold 17 OLED out of the box, you realise this device is going to be a handful. Asus has given instructions to use the foldable laptop, how to hold the panel and avoid grabbing it on the screen.
The sturdy build quality has become a hallmark of most Asus products we have tested in recent times, and this one is no different. But as you explore the ZenBook 17 Fold OLED, you realise this is a versatile machine. You have the laptop mode (with and without keyboard), desktop mode, tablet mode, reader mode and Extended mode that probably gives you the best use of the foldable screen.
It is also fairly lightweight at 1.5 kg (1.8 kg with the keyboard) for its dimensions and the military standard grade makes it further reliable.
You can use it in a traditional laptop mode with the keyboard dock attached to the screen. You can also use the virtual keyboard to make the best use of the foldable OLED panel. And if that wasn’t enough, you can wirelessly connect the keyboard and spread the display to get the best viewing quality thanks to the stand at the back that keeps the screen standing. The keyboard is offered in the box and you need to charge it via a USB C port but the backup is decent.
Most of our time we used the ZenBook Fold 17 OLED in the former mode, but even in the regular laptop format the device was easy to use. The 2.5K OLED display spoiled us during our time with the laptop, so much that every other panel we used after that looked washed out and lacking colours.
Performance is another strong point about the ZenBook Fold 17 OLED powered by Intel Core i7 processor with 16GB RAM and storage of 1TB SSD which helps you with fast system bootup and quick apps startup. We used it as our primary machine for over a week and during our time we barely noticed the system heating up abnormally or the system freezing at any instance. Having all this power was always going to make that happen and we are glad to report a glitch-free experience.
Asus has mastered displays on its laptops recently but the other point about the company has been its focus on audio. The built-in Harman Kardon speakers live up to their name and most of our testing was done watching movies and shows from the default speaker. Granted, it is not bass heavy but better than most Windows laptops in the market.
The most surprising aspect about the ZenBook Fold 17 OLED was its battery life. With all this power and display quality, we were hopeful of 3-4 hours of backup at max. But it seems the display tuning with the hardware has been done in such a way that the battery life is not affected. During our tests we got over 8 hours of runtime which is quite good for a foldable form factor. The bundled 65W charger also delivers a quick return to full power.
Asus ZenBook Fold 17 OLED Review: What’s Not Cool?
The sturdy built quality aside, Asus ZenBook Fold 17 OLED is a foldable laptop and in that mode you have a big piece of machine that looks like a giant in front of the MacBook Air or even Pro. It becomes unwieldy in that mode and strangely even with those dimensions the laptop only features a single USB C port that is used for charging and other purposes. You do have the headphone jack but connecting an external drive (without an adapter) won’t be possible, which for a PC is rather limiting.
The ZenBook Fold 17 OLED is a powerful machine but not suited for gaming. After all, it has a 12th gen Intel Core i7 processor with an integrated Intel graphics card that can handle casual games but nothing fancy like Call of Duty.
Windows 11 is powering the machine which in most cases works fine but we noticed that switching between different modes of the laptop is delayed. This suggests Windows has still some way to go before it becomes a viable platform for foldables. The bundled keyboard definitely needs some work and most importantly backlight support. And like we said before, the USB C charging and the power button on the keyboard is hard to remember. At this price, we would have liked to see the keyboard charge wirelessly when attached to the laptop. Asus has priced the ZenBook Fold 17 OLED at a whopping Rs 3,29,999 which might sound like a crazy price but this form factor suggests the company can command a premium.
Asus ZenBook Fold 17 OLED Review: What We Think
Asus has done a commendable job with the first-gen ZenBook Fold 17 OLED that has the biggest 17.3-inch OLED display in the market. The tech is definitely in its infancy but the potential is there and we can see this being a popular option for creators and heavy users who travel a lot.
The dimensions have been well managed but nowhere close to making it portable and the lack of ports was annoying. The display is gorgeous, the speaker stands out on its own and the performance is limited to heavy users, just not for gaming. The keyboard feels like an accessory rather than part of the full package and not having backlight support makes no sense. For a price of Rs 3,29,999 this foldable laptop is making the right noises and shows us that PCs in the future can be exciting and not just a piece of hardware.
Read all the Latest Tech News here