Call it what you will but there’s a distinct pecking order for mobile workers who deign to work at Starbucks or other WiFi-enabled coffee shops based on how visually imposing and how pricey their laptops are.
In the case of the newly unveiled ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED that we had a chance to do an exclusive hands-on and preview ahead of its slated arrival in Malaysia, it handily wins both notions hands down in the manner of Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson sitting down at a kopi tiam. Not only is it huge, it’s also so intimidatingly expensive that it also needed a chaperone to ensure no one attempted to wander off with it.
Fresh off its debut at CES 2022, we have just had the opportunity to get up close with an early engineering sample. Here’s our ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED hands-on where we share our first impressions over the course of several hours for what is arguably the world’s most portable all-in-one PC and easily the most intimidating laptop you can plonk for work at Starbucks.
What is the ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED?
ASUS has developed a reputation as the most innovative laptop manufacturer out there with a host of novel features or designs that come out every year from their skunk works.
Not all of it sticks, but those that emerge from the crucible that is CES every year have become iconic designs like their Zenbook Duo 14 UX482 that has a secondary display for serious multitasking on the go and their quaint ASUS Vivobook 13 Slate OLED that’s a display with a smattering of computing power as an afterthought.
The ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED is a unique laptop design that takes the concept of a folding OLED touchscreen to its natural limits as it packs an absolutely massive 17.3-inch folding OLED touchscreen that can fold down into a somewhat chunky form factor that’s barely larger than a late 20th century magazine.
While it sounds passe, the magic here is that they’ve managed to compact that humongous display into something man-portable enough to tote in a backpack. Try doing that with a conventional all-in-one PC without needing a forklift.
This foldable behemoth also comes with a wireless ErgoSense keyboard with a touchpad that can work separately on its own, allowing you to deploy the full display itself like an all-in-one PC in tandem with a rear kickstand or you can, alternatively, use it like a laptop or, on its own, as the largest darned Windows 11 tablet that you can imagine on demand. Try doing that with anything from Cupertino.
When I held the engineering sample, it certainly felt hefty at 1.6kg which is a good deal chunkier than any ultraportable but it has to be weighed with the fact that it’s actually a full-fledged all-in-one PC, laptop and tablet design that can transform to any of form factor at will.
Need a huge display to intimidate the competition when you slurp that frappuccino at Starbucks while gazing at Picard season 2 in all its glory? No problem. Need to double down and get some work done on your lap on the commute? Slap on that keyboard, fold it halfway up and you’re ready to go.
ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED Hands-On – Display and Design
Our ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED Hands-On was an early engineering sample fresh from their foundries and it looked ready for mass production. The finish itself was a deep metallic blue with their reverse Zenbook logo which resembles a Starfleet chevron emblazoned on one side.
Where the hinge would be and where you’d expect the spine of a book was a thick, flexible plate of polycarbonate with a faux leather texture. While it’s likely intended to reinforce the centre of the design, it also has a secondary function with a built-in kickstand that lets the display prop itself up on its own.
Our quick look at trailers of the new Batman movie and 4K HDR footage showed that it was certainly an impressive affair indeed with deep blacks and great colour rendition. As an afterthought, it also has a 5MP HD AI camera and an Infrared camera riding shotgun for Windows Hello biometrics.
The bezels of the display are finished off in a natural rubber compound which, on paper, are designed to be resistant to standard wear and tear while the hinge mechanism itself is rated for up to 30,000 plus folds. Spaced around the corners of the display were four speakers tuned by Harman Kardon.
By folding the ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED halfway up like a normal clamshell and slapping the keyboard down at the base, the laptop automatically reorients itself and deactivates the bottom half of the display, turning it into a somewhat chunky ultraportable with a 12.5-inch 1080p touchscreen with a 3:2 aspect ratio.
The display could also be folded halfway up and sideways in the manner of an ebook though this form factor didn’t seem particularly practical and having this fall on your face while reading in bed would be catastrophic, to say the least.
In tandem with the keyboard, the ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED pushes the limits of portability with a 1.9kg carry weight. While there’s a noticeable gap when the Zenbook 17 Fold OLED is folded down, ASUS says that there’s a reason for it as the gap itself was engineered to accommodate the keyboard, allowing you to tote both around neatly without having to carry both separately.
ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED hands-on – Specifications
According to ASUS, the 17.3-inch folding OLED display itself is sourced from Samsung which behoves well for its pedigree, has a crisp 2,560 x 1,920 pixels resolution and a squarish 4:3 aspect ratio with an 87% screen-to-body ratio.
The panel itself is rated for exceptional colour accuracy with 100% DCI-P3, is Pantone validated, has VESA displayHDR True Black 500 and a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio with 500 nits peak brightness. It’s also rated for a fast 0.2ms response time though ASUS says that it doesn’t have a stylus or compatibility with one at present.
Under the hood, our ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED hands-on sample came with a 12th Gen Intel Core i7 1250U processor, Iris Xe graphics, 16GB DDR5 RAM soldered in and a 1TB SSD. Connectivity options include fast WiFi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, two Thunderbolt 4 ports with charging and display output support and an audio combo jack.
Charging it is via the aforementioned Thunderbolt 4 ports and a bundled 65W USB-C charging adaptor. The 75Whr battery is rated for up to 8 hours of battery life though we certainly weren’t able to test that in the short time that we had.
ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED hands-on – Price, launch date and availability in Malaysia
According to ASUS, the Zenbook 17 Fold OLED is coming to Malaysia but not in the near future and they haven’t quite nailed down the dates and price yet.
What is certain is that it’ll likely arrive sometime in Q3 or Q4 with a selling price around the circa US$3,000 mark though nothing is certain until we get official confirmation. In the meantime, you can check out their official site which lists its official specs on https://www.asus.com/Laptops/For-Home/Zenbook/Zenbook-17-Fold-OLED-UX9702/
@hitechcentury We get a first look at the new Asus Zenbook 17 Fold OLED fresh from CES 2022 in Malaysia! #asus #fyp #tech #viral #malaysia #singapore #ces2022 ♬ Ainsi bas la vida – Indila