Asus unveils the Zenbook 17 Fold OLED foldable laptop at IFA Berlin

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We walked through the wide streets of central Berlin, and then entered one old factory that seemed stolen from time. Metal plates, bolts, exposed bricks. And in the midst of all this, a bright technological novelty. And foldable. In fact this is precisely the place that Asus chose to present to I.FA 2022 Berlin the new Zenbook 17 Fold OLED, foldable laptop with a sumptuous screen and top technical features. The tech avant-garde in the heart of the German city.

Asus Zenbook 17 Fold OLED, the characteristics of the folding laptop presented at IFA 2022

The Incredible Unfolds“: This is the slogan with which the presentation of the features and design of Asus Zenbook 17 Fold OLED begins. Asus immediately points out that in recent years the Zenbook line has shown alternative form factors. But this time it really wants to overdo it, providing a foldable 17.3-inch OLED screen, which during the hands-on after the conference really won us over.

Rex LeeVP of Asus and head of the business unit for Personal Computers, explains that: “At Asus, we aspire to deliver the amazing in everything we build ”and this new laptop wants to prove it once again. Let’s say that if you pull it out in the office, the new Zenbook does not risk going unnoticed. As early as 2018, Asus introduced the first laptop with a secondary display, theo ScreePad (UX580), to then continue to innovate in the following years. In search of a new winning form factor, to take the laptop to another level.

A large folding panel, with the magic of OLED

The new laptop presented in Berlin is the first foldable 17.3 inch OLED screen, demonstration of Asus’ work in this technology. But it is not just a question of “surprising” us journalists with a big screen: technology must prove useful in order to be successful.

In fact, Asus explains to us that it thought this laptop with the professionals in mind and the technical statistics prove it. The large touchscreen 17.3-inch 2.5K 4: 3 folds in the center to create two 12.5-inch 1920 x 1280 3: 2 displays. This makes multitasking easy, making full use of the screen thanks to the increased screen space.

All on a opaque glass with the Asus monogram and an alloy body of magnesium e aluminum, which allows the device to weigh only 1.5 kilograms. But on the back you will also find a sliding fine faux lining that covers the hinge and will give the impression that you are stroking the spine of an old (but super high-tech) book. And with enough space for powerful speakers signed by Harman/Kardon.

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The technical characteristics of Asus Zenbook 17 Fold OLED

Josh NewmanVP of Intel (which partnered with Asus on this laptop), explains that “we learn what customers want from continuous and in-depth research,” which showed that “for some customers the need is to have a large screen, while keeping the laptop light and handy “.

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So Intel created “guide” models and a reference system (presented at CES 2020) for foldable laptops. Something that served to collaborate directly with Asus for the new Zenbook 17 Fold OLED.

To ensure that it can deliver the ultimate in performance. To do this, Intel calibrated the specifications for the platform Intel Evo Foldable. A laptop like new Zenbook uses a 12th generation Intel chip, with access to the WiFi 6E, to an FHD camera or better. However, the new Asus Zenbook 17 Fold OLED offers much more than just these features.

It offers processors 12th Generation Intel Core i7 U-Seriesgraphics Intel Iris Xe, Intel WiFi 6E, as far as 16GB of RAM and a 1TB PCIe 4.0 SSD. Then find two Thunderbolt 4 ports, which support fast charging of the 75 Wh battery and connections to external displays.

And if you prefer to type on a physical keyboard, you can use the ASUS ErgoSense Bluetooth, keyboard that connects quickly and allows you to take full advantage of the large foldable screen. Which gives really interesting tactile feedback and fits perfectly when you close the Zenbook. Without forgetting the possibility of using mice and other wireless accessories.

Foldable screen, flexible use

Asus then called the design director on stage Bastian Albinus and the head of technical marketing Sasha Krohn (with whom we then chatted on the sidelines of the event), the investor, author and podcaster Steven Bartlett e Josh Newman from Intel to talk about the device. The focus of the discussion was the possibility of using only one device in a flexible way: the methods of use are really many.

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The design team explains that you can use it as Desktopcome Laptop using the Bluetooth keyboard or virtual keyboard. The mode Desktop allows you to have a large 17-inch screen with you without sacrificing portability, while both laptop modes offer the ability to work and multitask on the go. And then as a majestic Tabletas the largest Reader for books and comics you can imagine and finally as a screen Extended when you are at your work station in the office or at home.

But the possibilities are many more. On the sidelines of the meeting Krohn tells us that he used it to “listen to music with the family: at the beginning I was hesitant about the four speakers, because they take up space. But now I understand that we have built a very good quality portable OLED TV“.

In addition to flexibility, the advantage lies in the greater space on the screen. We are talking about a 17.3 inch device for those who want to do graphics or need a lot of space, but even when folded in half it remains an l12.5 inch aptop: suitable for those who want to write or browse.

The keyboard, which incorporates the same leatherette seen on the back of the laptop to protect the hinge “like a book”, fits perfectly in the middle of the folded laptop. So yes: when folded the smartphone does not adhere completely, if you remove the keyboard there is a gap. But Albino e Krohn they explain to us that this “conservative” choice serves to guarantee “maximum durability and compactness. But let’s not hide that it is a first generation device and we didn’t want to risk it: we put it first durability and lightness “.

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Durability, the most important of the features for Asus Zenbook 17 Fold OLED

The panel also touched on the durability of the device. Bartlett explained that, at first, his brain kept repeating to him “don’t bend that screen ”! But after trying it he was able to test that the folding is consistent and fluid, without any uncertainty. In addition, the outer cover slides to cover the screen all the time, so there is no risk of it getting damaged.

And after the conference we got to see the machinery that folds the laptop for laboratory tests, so it can withstand five years of bending. Unfortunately we don’t have five years to write this article, but the impression of solidity is there in the short time spent with the deviceor. And we loved how you don’t see any creases at all when the laptop is opened in Desktop mode.

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Albinus and Krohn reveal that this display developed with BOE and the hinge mechanism are the two features that affect the price of the device the most. But Krohn explains: “This is our Formula 1, where we experiment and try innovative things. This laptop will appeal to tech enthusiasts who are willing to spend on their passion (which, however, is not as expensive as that of those who love cars or motorcycles). But they see a future, in 10 or even 15 years, where this type of product will become the standard. But we will only know thanks to the feedback from our early adopters if it works “.

Albinus goes on to say that “when developing a new product the difficulty is making choices: where to invest, where to prioritize. In the future we will continue to develop products with new form factors, but we believe this foldable laptop has the potential to thrill more than one user ”.

Price and availability

At the end of the conference, William Huang, General Manager of Asus for the EMEA area, took the stage last to talk about one of the features of Asus Zenbook 17 Fold OLED (and all the tech devices): the international price is 3,999 euros. But the big surprise for Italian users is that it will cost much less here.

You can test the features of Asus Zenbook 17 Fold OLED in the fourth quarter of 2022, when you can buy it for a price starting from 3,299 euros (for now there is only the international price, we will update you for the Italian one).

Or if you find yourself in Berlin from 2 to 6 September, you can rehearse from 10.00 to 18.00 (CEST) every day at the Messe Venue, Hall 11.2 (Berlin ExpoCenter City, Messedamm 22, 14055 Berlin, Germany). Where you will find all the Asus news for smart working, gaming and in addition to the computer world you will also find Asus and ROG smartphones, gaming peripherals, motherboards and much more.