With the advent of folding display technology, there’s been more laptops appearing on the market with foldable displays. ASUS has launched their latest offering, the ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED which is now available to purchase in Australia for $6,999. 

Featuring a massive, foldable 17.3-inch 2.5K resolution, Pantone validated OLED display, the ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold has the potential to really change the game when it comes to working on the go. The display works as a full 17.3-inch display or you can fold it into a clamshell laptop form-factor with a smaller 12.5-inch display for a more compact, ‘lappable’ experience. 

The laptop is powered by a 12th gen Intel Core i7-1250U processor with Intel Iris Xe Graphics and 16GB LPDDR5 memory and 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 4.0 Performance SSD. There’s also a 75WHrs, 4S1P, 4-cell Li-ion battery on-board, charged by the included 65W USB-C charger. 

The price is the key though, at $6,999 it’s a big number, but can a foldable OLED display with multiple form-factors help you be more productive on the go? I used the ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED for three weeks and here’s how it went. 

Hardware and Design

ASUS has always made their Zenbook laptops look fantastic. With their first foldable laptop though, they’ve really gone the extra mile. The ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED is made from a magnesium aluminium alloy with the new ASUS logo design embossed on what feels like a glass panel on the rear. That rear also has a built-in leather cover over the hinge which makes it very comfortable to hold, and adds functionality with half of the cover able to flick out as a kickstand to prop the display up. 

It’s a fairly chunky and hefty unit though at a shade under 2kg (with the keyboard) and around 3.2cm thick but it is a foldable  17.3-inch display, so a little heft, and chunkiness is to be expected and it has a solid feel in the hand when you pick it up. 

There are only two USB Type-C Thunderbolt 4 ports and a combination audio jack on the laptop with the USB C ports either on the right when using the 17.3-inch display, or on the left when it’s in laptop mode. The power and volume buttons sit just around the corner from each other, rotating from the side to top when you switch between PC and Laptop modes. 

While only two USB-C ports can be inconvenient for attaching older peripherals, there is a USB Type-C to USB-A adapter included in the box. 

The laptop includes some decent quad speakers with Dolby Atmos support on-board. The sound isn’t overly loud, but it does provide some quality sound when you’re watching videos or listening to music. You can tune the audio settings to your liking with the Dolby application that includes a custom EQ as well as presets to make your audio experience just that much better. 

Keyboard

The Zenbook 17 Fold OLED includes a Bluetooth keyboard with a responsive trackpad which is surprisingly comfortable to type on despite its compact size. The keys have a generous 1.4mm travel on them which is surprising on such a thin unit.

The only real feedback I have for the keyboard is the lack of backlighting, which makes it hard to use in low-light environments, but the screen does light up fairly well which takes the sting out of this a little.

You can opt to use the on-screen windows keyboard, though trying to type on a flat screen, even when the Zenbook 17 Fold is in laptop mode is fairly hard and I personally don’t recommend it. 

The Bluetooth keyboard was flat when it arrived, so after a little charge with the included USB-C charger it lasted all through the review without a top up. It’d be nice to have a wireless charging option on the keyboard while it’s sandwiched between the folded display, but that will hopefully make it into a sequel.

I had very few issues with the keyboard during the review, beyond having to re-position it a couple of times when switching from PC or Extend Mode to the laptop mode with the Bluetooth keyboard resting on the lower deck. 

That folding Display!

Of course the big drawcard for the Zenbook 17 Fold is the massive 17.3-inch OLED display which is an absolute massive beast and comes with that gorgeous 2k resolution.

The quality of the ASUS OLED display is brilliant. It’s just, well, pretty. The screen offers excellent colour reproduction with some seriously popping colour as well as the deep blacks that only OLED can do which just look fantastic. 

The display has a gloss coating which reflects fairly significantly at lower brightness levels, though with the brightness making use of the full 500nits peak brightness, it overcomes this fairly well in most lighting situations. The gloss covering does show up the slight crease in the display when viewing at an angle, but from straight on it’s barely noticeable and fades away as you start working or playing on the laptop. 

There’s a lot of screen real-estate available to work with when it’s in PC mode but it is 4:3 aspect ratio which is a little different to get used to in a world of 16:10 aspect ratio laptop displays. The 3:2 aspect ratio of the 12.5-inch display when using it in the more compact laptop mode provides a very useful amount of workable screen though.

There are fairly significant bezels around the display, but given you’re folding this display up it makes it feel more secure when you are manipulating the hinge. 

Of course, as well as questions about the crease, the hinge is a big question but I opened and closed the Zenbook 17 Fold OLED a LOT during the review and it just works well. ASUS says it’s passed over 30,000 open/close cycles in tests and I would believe it. It feels smooth every time you open or close it.

The orientation of the display offers some of the big benefits moving between laptop and PC modes but there’s some rough edges to work out. The IR webcam built into the bezel which supports Windows Hello can log you in quickly, but when the display is completely unfurled to 17 inches, it’s on the side so it won’t log you into the system unless you get your head on the side – which is kind of useless. 

In terms of form-factors for the display, there’s a number you can try. There’s the full display PC mode or laptop mode using the on-screen keyboard (which is a slightly awkward experience) or with the Bluetooth keyboard sitting on the lower panel, as well as an extended mode with the keyboard just sitting below. You can try book mode, but at 1.6kg, it’s not exactly a light novel to hold for any period of time in one hand, though using it as a tablet in your lap works quite well.

Windows 11 handles the transition through all these modes quite well, offering different Snap Layout options for the various windows in use.

Performance

ASUS include an Intel Core i7-1250U Processor with 16GB LPDDR5 and a 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 4.0 Performance SSD which handles all the productivity work you can throw at it and I was pleasantly surprised with how fast the system boots from powered off. 

Unfortunately the system only includes an Intel Iris Xe graphics card, so there’s very little gaming you can do on it, though it will handle some basic gaming at slightly reduced settings. 

Of course I ran it through it’s 3D Mark paces and here’s how it handled:

Battery Life

Battery Life isn’t a major issue with the ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED, but it’s not fantastic. If you’re using the display to its fullest in the 17-inch layout, you’ll average around 5-6 hours of battery life, which is fairly decent – but won’t quite get you through a full day of work. If you opt for the smaller clamshell design with the Bluetooth keyboard covering the lower fold which turns off when covered you can extend this out to the full 8-hour business day. 

Charging isn’t fast with the included 65W USB Type-C charger, you can get to just over 40% in half an hour, with the full charge taking around two hours to get to 100%. 

While the numbers for usage on the full screen seem small, I was able to pack in a heap of work in that 5-6 hour window thanks to that really expanded work space. I also found a powerpoint to plug it in while I was out and about, so if you can do this it makes it a much more attractive proposition.

Laptop Sleeve

One thing I have been impressed with is the leather folio case that comes with the Zenbook 17 Fold. The soft, supple leather lets the Zenbook slide easily into it and it may not seem like it, but it offers some luxurious protection to the laptop while it’s in a bag.

Software

The ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED comes with Windows 11 pre-installed on it, and it handles the multiple form factors that are available quite well, though sometimes it takes a second or two to work it out. 

Of course there is a little bloatware pre-installed on the laptop like McAfee LiveSafe which is annoyingly intrusive, but you can remove it after spending a few dedicated minutes doing so. 

The MyAsus app gives you the option to configure some things including battery life, fan speeds and more. It’s an easy to use piece of software which gives you easy access into the specific pieces of hardware that ASUS have incorporated into the laptop in one simple location.

Should you buy this laptop?

The ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED is an excellent first foldable laptop from ASUS with the 17.3-inch display a showcase of great quality folding display with its excellent colour reproduction and deep blacks. 

There are still some rough edges in terms of the battery life and some finnicky bits and pieces like the camera placement/orientation and keyboard which requires charging separately. But that large display and the wide variety of modes which you can use it in make the ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED a real winner in terms of productivity 

Of course the price is going to limit who can afford such a beautiful and functional piece of hardware, but if you find you could use that 17-inch display while you’re on the road but don’t want to lug around a traditional clamshell style 17-inch laptop around, it’s an excellent option to consider.