Laptop Price

Can your laptop do that? The ASUS ZenBook FOLED (UX9702) in review

While foldable smartphones are becoming mainstream in some markets, there aren’t many foldable computers out there. However, Asus, which is known for experimenting with new laptop designs, has released the Zenbook 17 Fold OLED (ZenBook FOLED).

We had the opportunity to use the computer for a few weeks in Q3 2022 and were impressed with its offerings. {HERE’S OUR UNBOXING CLIP}

The Asus 17 Fold is an expensive piece of hardware priced at $3500 due to the many cool technologies that have been built into it. These qualities, including the ability to bend, make the device so expensive.

Whenever it gets to Kenya (it’s probably here already), it’ll likely sell for around KES 400,000, making it one of the most expensive laptops out there. Pricing details aside, let’s take a look at how good this machine is and decide for ourselves if it’s worth the investment.

IN THE BOX

  • Zenbook 17 fold OLED laptop
  • charger
  • Bluetooth keyboard
  • sleeve

SPECIFICATIONS

Asus Zenbook 17-speed specifications
software Windows11
processor Core i7-1250U
R.A.M. 16 gigabytes
graphic Intel Iris Xe
storage 1TB
Screen 17.3″, foldable and touch, OLED, plastic, HDR, 500 nits with HDR enabled
ports Audio jack, two Thunderbolt 4
speaker 4, with Dolby Atmos
Windows hello Yes, with IR camera
Weight 1.5kg without keyboard

DISPLAY

As the name suggests, the laptop has an OLED display. If you’ve used an OLED screen before, you know it’s excellent and it’s difficult to go back to an LCD panel. When fully opened, the plastic display measures 17.3 inches and thus offers plenty of space for creative work.

If that size is too big for you, you can use the “Ultra Compact” mode, which allows you to fold the display in half to use it like a regular laptop. This mode shrinks the display to 12.5 inches, and the other part of the display goes dark as soon as you place the included keyboard on it.

Both sizes are respectable and great for any workflow.

At 2.5K, the OLED screen is stunning and touch-sensitive, which comes in handy when using it as a tablet. The maximum brightness is 350 nits, which is bright enough for outdoor use.

The bezels around the screen aren’t the thinnest compared to other Asus laptops, but that doesn’t matter since they help with handling the computer, especially in tablet mode.

The only issue with the screen is that it’s a fingerprint magnet. So make sure you have a cleaning cloth on hand if you want to keep it spotless. The crease in the center of the screen isn’t a deal-breaker and you won’t notice it after a short time. It also feels like a book when closed.

In general, Asus has shown that it can build a beautiful folding display that also has a kickstand built into its back. We’re impressed.

MODES

What good is a folding device if you can’t use it the way you want? Asus has you covered with the 17 Fold, which can be used in six different modes.

  1. Laptop mode works as described above: just fold it up and work with the virtual keyboard.
  2. The second laptop mode uses the included keyboard, which has an internal battery, a USB-C port for charging, and a power button. The keyboard can be placed in the lower part of the screen, shrinking it to 12.5 inches and also saving battery.
  3. Desktop mode uses the entire screen with the keyboard alongside it, much like a regular desktop computer. The display is supported by a stand.
  4. It can be used as a giant tablet.
  5. Reading mode can be achieved by folding it in half like a book.
  6. Finally, Asus allows you to use the extended mode, which splits the screen into two 12.5-inch displays, useful for multitasking.

KEYBOARD

Asus has managed to create a laptop that is essentially a large screen that hides all the necessary internal parts and folds down in the middle. Since most of the space is reserved for a keyboard and touchpad, the laptop comes with a separate wireless keyboard that attaches magnetically to the bottom half of the screen. This design choice allows for the different modes of use described above.

The keyboard itself is very thin, but travel is more than adequate and typing is fast once you get used to it.

It doesn’t have a backlight, though, which might be a disappointment for some people, but it’s not a huge issue for us. Also, no fingerprint scanner is included. Login can be done via password or Windows Hello using the IR camera, which sits next to a 5MP webcam.

On the plus side, the keyboard holds its charge for more than five days, so you don’t have to charge it that often.

PERFORMANCE HARDWARE

The laptop features a 12th generation Intel chip, specifically the Core i7-1250U. This is a mobile chip, but it can support essential vPro functions like hardware shielding and device management. The 17 Fold also has a fan, but it’s mostly silent and there’s a high chance you won’t hear it. This is good for people like me as a loud fan can be distracting.

The Zenbook Foldable also packs 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. It also features integrated Xe graphics. The GPU is decent enough for light gaming, but we didn’t test that as this isn’t a gaming PC. The CPU is also strong enough with 2 performance cores and 8 efficient cores and can reach a maximum speed of 4.7 GHz.

BATTERY POWER

The battery life of the Zenbook 17 Fold is excellent. Asus advertises that you can wait up to 14 hours before the battery dies, but I managed to get around 10 hours, which is double the life I get on my main computer.

You can also extend battery life by using laptop mode with the keyboard attached, as the screen then shrinks to 12.5 inches, which saves power by having fewer pixels to power. This kind of battery performance is rarely seen on Windows devices as most of them don’t have the efficiency seen on MacBooks with their M1/M2 chips.

The 75Wh battery also supports fast charging, although a full charge takes around two hours.

SPEAKER

The Fold 17 has four speakers arranged around the display. They also feature Dolby Atmos, which is a rarity in laptops. Although the quality can’t match the sound performance of larger computers, I was very happy with the output. There is no need to use headphones or headsets with this device as the speakers are very loud and have nice bass. Can all laptops be like this please?

Note: The 14-inch ROG laptop has better speakers and is probably the best among Windows laptops.

SUMMARY OF FOLDABLES

Folding laptop technology is still very new and will take some time to fully mature. For example, Windows 11 doesn’t currently work well with folding displays, but that may change in the future. The Fold 17 has few competitors aside from the Lenovo X1 Fold, which is also cheaper, but it’s difficult to get hold of in Kenya as Lenovo doesn’t bring all of its devices to the country (more foldable laptops from Lenovo and Samsung are coming this year ). after their showcase at CES 2023).

This laptop should appeal to professionals who move a lot and want to enjoy a large screen. It’s not ready for everyone to have as it’s expensive, but I’ve enjoyed using it so much that I think it will become commonplace one day as clamshell phones become more popular.

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