While folding smartphones tread the path to commercial success, foldable laptops seemingly aren’t too far behind. In the latest foldable by ASUS, I gauge whether it has what it takes to be a commercial success at the moment.
Just like the 2-in-1 offers that flood the markets during sale season, the allure of the ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold is also 2-in-1.
Look at it this way. For starters, the form factor can mimic a small 12.5-inch laptop - either with the touchscreen’s virtual keyboard at the base or the physical Bluetooth keyboard packed in the box.
Yank the keyboard away and you have a massive 17.3-inch foldable OLED staring back at you, daring you to think of all the possible ways you can use it. You can use this massive screen space either horizontally to say read books or watch a movie, or vertically to catch up on the news for the day or finish your written work as I did.
Or in this exact same orientation, with the Bluetooth keyboard connected, you have a massive portable workstation.
Speaking of portability, the whole system weighs around 1.5 kg without the keyboard. And while it’s compact in terms of size, I found myself being a little cautious while carrying it around while folded over. It basically mimics the thickest diary you could get your hands on when folded in.
While the keyboard is compact yet comfortable, it doesn’t exactly connect seamlessly every time I power the laptop on. Sometimes, I have to power off and on the keyboard separately, and sometimes just pair it via Bluetooth from scratch. The touchpad, while smooth most of the time, sometimes gets a bit jumpy and ends up selecting a whole lot of text when all I want to do is scroll to the side.
I enjoyed reading books and articles a lot on the 17.3-inch screen when propped against my workstation vertically. Granted it’s a weird orientation and it did draw enough curious on-lookers for me to abandon all hopes of getting any more reading done for the day. Even at home, whenever I wanted to read in this mode, I either had to find a wall to prop it up against or against my knees and read. And, this just becomes very uncomfortable after a while.
Using it fully unfolded in a landscape orientation seemed saner and workplace-appropriate. However, the need to prop it against a backrest remains and given how much the device costs I’d hate for it to slip and fall, even on my desk.
ASUS’ OLED displays have been amazing all of last year and this is no different. The ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold has a powerful set of speakers - usually, the volume was more than sufficient at 25 (out of 100), across YouTube videos or Spotify.
The Zenbook comes with a decent 5MP webcam and IR sensors for face recognition, which works fairly well. During meetings though, I could use it only in the laptop orientation mode, because otherwise the camera would be on the side and would look very weird on-screen.
Powered by Intel’s 12th-gen Core i7-1250U processor, the ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold has 16 GB RAM and 1TB storage. Considering it’s not a top-of-the-line processor, this system is best suited for tons of general multi-tasking, but may not deliver well with gaming or the main system for a ton of media editing. For wireless connectivity, there’s the latest Wi-Fi 6E, as well as Bluetooth 5.0.
With a 75WHrs in-built battery, the hybrid comes with a 65W charging brick via USB-C. In the tablet mode, I got about 5-6 hours of usage with reading, browsing, watching YouTube videos, and getting about an hour or two of writing done. I wish the Bluetooth keyboard retained power for longer. Anytime I didn’t have the USB-C plugged in to charge the laptop, I had to plug it into the keyboard.
What ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold brings to the table is the promise of a truly hybrid future in terms of a computing device. What it fails to do at the moment is provide a seamless experience in switching between modes, packaging the whole deal to be practical enough as a daily driver. And talking of daily driver, you could probably buy a small hatchback for the moolah you’d have to spend on this.
Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.
We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of TheHindu Businessline and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.