Traveling with ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED: can it be done?

Traveling with ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED: can it be done?

ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED it is not a notebook like the others. Indeed, we are not even certain that “notebook” can actually define a product that attempts to revolutionize a sector that has seemed almost immobile for years now.
Don’t get us wrong: the world of portable PCs continues to give us joys, including touchpads that become numeric keypads, dual screens, 360° rotating displays, compatibility with super reactive pens and much more.
The form factor, however, is always similar.

With Zenbook 17 Fold, ASUS has tried to go further by giving life to what, at first glance, looks like a large foldable phone. Basically the principle is the same: a folding screen.
In fact, the 17.3-inch OLED display can be used in its entirety, open, combined with the supplied Bluetooth keyboard, or it can be folded in half, giving you two further options: use it exactly with a large touch panel or position the keyboard on the bottom half to get a classic notebook, the equivalent of a 12.5 inch.

However, we asked ourselves a question, the only one that, in our opinion, really matters: how usable is it in real life?

The ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED review

To answer this question, not without some concern, we decided to bring ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED to Las Vegas with us for CES and to transform this review into a travel diary, only discovering together, in the end, if this device is was it a winning choice or not.

Day 0 – 30 December 2022

It’s 8.30pm. Tomorrow we leave and we are finalizing the configuration of this foldable laptop.
“Configuration” not because it took an entire day but because we made sure we had everything necessary for the trip on board: the Adobe suite, our faithful Notion, the equally indispensable Visual Studio Code (for notes it can be very useful even without being a developer), Dropbox with the sync of all the necessary files, emails on Outlook, Cisco Webex and the good old Firefox. Ah, we forgot: Telegram and WhatsApp for messaging.

While we were doing these operations, working a little with ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED, we have already started to notice something:

  • The keyboard, resting against the display, flexes slightly and no, it’s not the fault of our indelicate way of approaching writing. It’s not annoying when typing but we wonder if this will ruin the screen in the long run.
  • Connectivity is limited: We have two Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) ports that you can also use for power and a 3.5 mm jack. For the rest we have to rely on a USB-C hub but it’s not a big problem always having one in your backpack.
    We point out that ASUS has included a small USB-C / USB-A adapter in the package that will not come with us to Las Vegas, preferring a hub with all the inputs.
  • It’s not very light. With its approximately 1.8 kg, keyboard included, its presence in the backpack is felt. It is still lighter than a gaming laptop but it is also true that the hardware equipment is not as important: no integrated graphics card but we still have a 12th generation Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM and 1TB of internal storage. On paper it should defend well.
  • ASUS has included in the box an elegant leather-like carrying case. We don’t know how much it can protect it but we are facing a Premium product: it could not be missing.
  • And with these preliminary notes, the day ends. Tomorrow we fly to the United States.

    ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED review: Day 1 – December 31, 2022

    It is 14.29, Italian time. Predictably, we’re still airborne. 8 hours to go.
    We mined ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED from the backpack and tried to understand how it moves in tight spaces.
    Folded in half, it can rest perfectly on the Air France economy class table.
    And yes, what you see in the photo is its power cable but we are not using it for the PC, but for the keyboard that has already left us.
    Or rather, let’s define the “already” to help you understand the battery situation.
    On December 29th we disconnected the keyboard from the power supply, we used it to set up the PC (just email and some downloads) and then used it for half a day’s work around December 30th, for emails and little else. We’ll try to do some additional tests these days to understand how many actual hours of work it can give us but, broadly speaking, it doesn’t seem like it can last the working day.

    And the PC? We put it on charge yesterday morning, unplugged it at 1pm, and then only used it last night to finish setting up the laptop itself. We are still left with a very interesting 86% with an estimated 5.5 hours of activity with maximum brightness and currently no Wi-Fi connection activity.

    Let’s add a little note on the keyboard: no backlight. Not a problem during the day, but now that the plane lights are off and the windows are closed, we miss him a little, even if the display is bright enough to allow you to recognize the keys without difficulty.

    Day 2 – January 1, 2023

    January 1 was a day of rest for us. We therefore left the Zenbook 17 Fold at home to then pick it up again just before going to sleep, doing a quick check of emails before going to sleep. “Rapid” also thanks to the very fast startup of this unusual laptop: in seconds it turns on and is ready for any activity.
    The operating system? Windows 11 Home.

    Day 3 – January 2, 2023

    A good 8 hours of travel by car to go from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. And no, that didn’t stop us from using the ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED. Folded in half and with the matching keyboardanswered a few emails with Outlook and worked on a few projects with Visual Studio Code.
    Convenience is out of the question and autonomy is confirmed as good: we had to recharge it for the first time in the evening, basically after two intense days of travel.

    On the other hand, the keyboard battery is less exciting, which seems to be much less long-lived than expected. On the other hand, however, you can combine it with a second device.

    ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED review: Day 4 – January 3, 2023

    We survived the first day of the fair.
    After carrying it all day in an already quite full backpack, we have two considerations to share with you:

  • in the end 1.8 kg is not a lot. Weighs more than other laptops but average. It hasn’t broken our backs and that’s more than good.
  • the thickness instead gave us some more headaches. It slips neatly into the backpack slot reserved for laptops but takes up almost twice the space compared to ultrabooks, enough to make it less easy to insert a tablet in the same compartment. Nothing dramatic but worth considering.
    If, on the other hand, you go around with a semi-empty backpack, then the problem doesn’t even arise for you.
  • Finally, there is a third element that we want to add in the story of this fourth day: the open screen, resting on the table, arouses the envy of those around you.
    At your disposal you have a large surface to work on, which allows you to easily place two windows side by side or to indulge in activities that require more space, such as video editing, for example.

    Il 17.3-inch display also boasts 100% DCI-P3 color coverage, VESA Display HDR True Black 500 certification and is PANTONE validated. With its 1.07 billion colors, it’s also a godsend for color correction and photo editing.
    Brightness isn’t bad either, peaking at 500 nits for HDR, plus the screen is matte so we don’t have any reflection issues.
    Of course, the display is touchscreen but be careful of fingerprints that tend to remain easily on the panel. When turned on you will notice them little, thanks to the vividness of the colors and the already mentioned brightness, but as soon as you turn it off you will have the impulse to clean it up a bit.

    And with these last notes our day ends. Let’s go and enjoy some TV series on the ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED display, taking advantage of the excellent – we hadn’t said it yet – Dolby Atmos four-speaker audio system certified by Harman Kardon.

    Day 5 – January 4, 2023

    We’ve been in the press room for 4 very long hours. Soon we will leave the post to run to a conference but in the meantime we have tried to catch up with the backlog, between articles and videos.
    The ASUS folding doesn’t seem to give in: the battery is performing well, the keyboard is comfortable even if it tends to flex a bit and the performance has never dropped.

    However, we were confronted with an element that until now we had not yet focused: the location of the USB-C ports.
    When folded 90 degrees we have one on top and one on the side that acts as a screen. This means that the USB-C hub connected above hangs, while on the side it does not cause discomfort, it is an unusual position but not uncomfortable.
    When you open the screen and use all 17.3 inches, the situation is reversed: the Type-C that was at the top goes to the side and the one on the side goes to the top. Maybe not the most comfortable solution possible.
    Open the jack becomes a bit uncomfortable, which remains on the upper part so you risk having the headphone cable dangling in front of your face.

    Small side note: an American journalist approached us to tell us that he had already tried the product and had particularly appreciated it. He ended his speech with an “Enjoy” – “Enjoy it”.

    ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED review: Days 6 & 7 – January 5 & 6, 2023

    Let’s combine two days because we spent 5 and 6 January entirely at the fair,…