We managed to get a look at an early production model of the ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED several months ago and ASUS is finally deploying the retail versions in Malaysia. We’ve got our hands on a sample and have put it through its paces.
Priced at a wallet-busting RM15,000, it’s easily the largest and only example of its kind in Malaysia and arguably in the global market. Our ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED review finds out if it lives up to the hype and if it’s really worth your money!
ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED Review (UX9702AA) – Unboxing and Design
When it comes to laptop designs, ASUS is on the bleeding edge of technological innovation with a host of form factors and features that have now become mainstream designs such as, their ZenBook Duo that had a secondary touchscreen just beneath the primary display.
The new ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED aka model UX9702AA is the culmination of their aspiration of maximising screen real estate in a laptop and sports an absolutely massive 17.3-inch foldable OLED touch display.
The display folds neatly in the middle to offer a number of different form factors in tandem with the bundled ErgoSense wireless keyboard that is spaced just wide enough to cover half of the display and which latches on securely via a series of magnets to the bezels.
Fortunately they haven’t skimped on the design and the keys have a generous 1.4mm of key travel to make typing a comfortable experience. Along with the keyboard, you get an appropriately sized slipcase that can fit the laptop folded down, the usual quick start paperwork, a fold-flat stand made of cardboard, a 65W USB-C charger and cable to go with it as well as a USB-C to A dongle.
Either way you’re looking at it, the ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED is a humongous concept design in every sense of the word. Even when fully folded down, you’re looking at a 34.4mm thick form factor that approaches the thickness of a paperback or about two ultraportables stacked together on the side and the dimensions of a 12.5-inch laptop; its immense girth makes it barely able to slide into a conventional laptop sleeve while its ponderous 1.5kg weight also means that it’s approaching gaming laptop payloads.
Basically, you can use it fully unfolded with the integrated kickstand out as a portable if massive, touch-capable all-in-one PC with the ErgoSense keyboard.
Alternatively, you can fold it up halfway in the manner of a laptop and slap on the keyboard to turn it into an 12.5-inch ultraportable of sorts or even eschew it entirely and project a virtual keyboard on the bottom half of the display.
Assuming you have the space to deploy it, you can also alternatively use it as a huge Windows tablet or fold it slightly halfway up in the fashion of an open book as an e-reader. In effect, you get a hybrid of a laptop, an all-in-one PC and a tablet all shoehorned into one man-portable form factor.
We’ve covered the design of the ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED in broad strokes in our first look feature but in general, what you get is a massive 17.3-inch 2.5K resolution OLED touchscreen that has a 60Hz refresh rate and 100% DCI-P3 colour gamut that folds down in half into a carry format that’s about the thickness of a latter day school textbook.
It also has a faux leather covering on the side for friction that also contains an integrated kickstand. Compared to its predecessor, the retail version sports a slimmer, more refined hinge and also has a larger, sturdier kickstand.
The bezels of the display as well as the hinge mechanism are sheathed in a matte rubber sheath which protects from dust ingress. and they do the job but seeing Malaysia’s humid climate, odds are that this may eventually end up feeling sticky over time but we’re unable to test that seeing as we only have the laptop for testing for a couple of weeks and primarily tested it in temperature controlled locations like the office and a coffee shop.
The left side of our ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED review sample, assuming you hold it landscape style, hosts a USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports along with a volume button while the top portion features a power button, an audio jack and an additional USB-C Thunderbolt 4 port.
Despite its immense size, the laptop lacks any USB-A ports which is a quaint omission though the bundled USB-C-to-A dongle makes up for it somewhat. In theory, you’re able to use one Thunderbolt 4 port for charging it and the other one to pipe a feed out to a 4K display which lends it some utility in multi-screen work scenarios.
ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED Review (UX9702AA) – Specifications and Benchmarks
Our ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED review sample does not differ much in terms of hardware from the engineering sample that we had a glimpse of a few months ago and for Malaysia, ASUS is only shipping one variant. Here’s how it stacks up on paper…
|Display||17.3-inch 2.5K Foldable OLED (2,560 x 1,920 pixels) touchscreen, 4:3 aspect ratio, 87% screen-to-body ratio, 100% DCI-P3 | 2 x 12.5-inch (1,920 x 1,280 pixels), 3:2 aspect ratio (folded)|
|OS||Windows 11 Home|
|Processor||12th Gen Intel Core i7-1250U|
|Memory||16GB LPDDR5 5,200MHz RAM / 1TB PCIe 4.0 x 4 NVMe M.2 SSD|
|Battery||75WH lithium polymer battery w/ 65W Type-C charge|
|Size/Weight||378.5 x 287.6 x 8.7mm (unfolded), 287.6 x 189.3 x 17.4mm (folded) / 1.5kg + 300g ErgoSense Bluetooth keyboard|
In terms of mission profile, the 12th Gen Intel Core i7-1250U CPU is intended for less demanding tasks and is paired with 16GB LPDDR5 RAM that has been soldered in, a 1TB SSD without any additional SSD slots available and Iris Xe graphics.
This set of specifications allows it to comfortably handle general computing tasks like web browsing, general paperwork and some light photo editing. The lack of a dedicated graphics card and the inability to upgrade the RAM means that it can’t handle much beyond this modest role which is a bit of wasted potential seeing the sheer innovation of its display. This was borne out in synthetic benchmarks:
|3D Mark Time Spy||1,285|
|3D Mark Time Spy Extreme||610|
|3D Mark Fire Strike||3,017|
|3D Mark Fire Strike Extreme||1,560|
|3D Mark Fire Strike Ultra||940|
|3D Mark Night Raid||11,506|
|GeekBench 5 Single core||1,561|
|GeekBench 5 Multi core||6,281|
|GeekBench 5 OpenCL||14,840|
|GeekBench 5 Vulkan||14,743|
|Cinebench R23 Multi Core||3,644|
|Cinebench R23 Single Core||855 x4.26 MP ratio|
|PCMark 10 Extended||4,398|
|PCMark 8 Battery Life (Creative)||5 hours 21 minutes|
In most scenarios, you’ll likely be using it half folded with the keyboard as a 12.5-inch ultraportable but if you’re able to find a sufficiently large and stable desk, you can unfurl it to its full size, extend the kickstand and bask in the glow of a 17.3-inch display.
While it has a 100% DCI-P3 colour gamut, the display isn’t particularly bright. It’s perfectly adequate for use indoors or in indirect sunlight, but it’s not bright enough for outdoors use which is exacerbated by the glossy finish of the display that complicates clarity as well.
On the bright side, pun notwithstanding there’s minimal creasing on the display and the provided quartet of speakers placed across our ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED review sample is loud enough to fill a small room with sound and in tandem with the massive display, you ultimately have one of the world’s most impressive means of watching Netflix on the go.
Unfortunately, seeing its massive dimensions, the ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED lacks endurance and even with a normal work profile of web browsing, some paperwork and a few videos, it barely lasted more than 4 hours and 30 minutes before it needed a charge.
Should you buy the ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED (UX9702AA)?
The ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED is a first generation device with all the foibles it entails along with a similarly princely price tag. There’s no dismissing the fact that it is an innovative form factor that allows you to tote a 17.3-inch laptop around but its middling battery life, modest performance that’s optimised for general computing and daunting price make it an offering for a very niche audience.
Still, if you’re looking for bragging rights and the means to Netflix binge and get some paperwork done on the go on the most portable 17.3-inch laptop available in the market, this is it.
ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED review (UX9702AA) sample courtesy of ASUS Malaysia. For more details and to purchase, please visit the official ASUS Malaysia site at https://shop.asus.com/my/zenbook-17-fold-ux9702aa.html
ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED
ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED
The ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED is a masterpiece of innovative engineering that is effectively a massive 17-inch all-in-one that can fold down into the size of a 12-inch laptop. You can’t put a price on innovation and while it’s staggeringly expensive, you are also guaranteed to have the largest, most powerful foldable laptop wherever you go for the immediate future.
Breathtakingly crisp and massive OLED touch display
The only 17-inch foldable laptop currently available in the market for bragging rights
Rubbery coating on bezels is a dust magnet
Limited customisation options for RAM and SSD
Underwhelming battery life