Samsung broke the ground, Lenovo brought it to the laptop form
factor. So Asus can't claim to be first in making a laptop that's
essentially one giant, folding OLED panel. But it can stand out in
another way: making it absolutely massive. The company announced
its Zenbook 17 Fold at CES 2022, offering a folding Windows
computer that's either a massive tablet or conventional with a
screen for a keyboard — take your pick.
The Zenbook 17 Fold uses one enormous 17.3-inch OLED for its
sole onboard display and input. Unfolded and flat, it's a 2560×1920
4:3 screen, evoking a massive iPad. When folded in laptop style,
each screen is 12.5 inches and 1920×1280, making it feel more like
a conventional ultraportable (albeit one without a keyboard).
Naturally the tablet works however you hold it, with middle-hinge
book mode being encouraged.
Like the ThinkPad X1 Fold, it comes with
a thin wireless keyboard and trackpad that sits over the bottom
half of the screen for a more conventional laptop layout. Or you
can hold it in the same way, simply using the bottom half of the
screen as a keyboard when needed, smartphone-style. An integrated
kickstand in the magnesium alloy body allows the user to prop the
fully-unfolded, 17-inch display on a table, then use the keyboard
and trackpad separately via Bluetooth.
Inside the Zenbook 17 Fold is a surprisingly standard set of
configurable specs, up to a 12th-gen Core i7 U processor, 16GB of
RAM, an impressive 75 watt-hour battery (more than many smaller
laptops), and Wi-Fi 6E. That huge frame holds two USB-C/Thunderbolt
4 ports, a headphone/microphone jack, and dedicated tablet-style
volume buttons. Along one bezel is a QHD webcam, IR camera for
Windows Hello, and a mobile-style light sensor for automatically
adjusting the screen's brightness.
Asus says that the hinge of the Zenbook 17 Fold can handle at
least 30,000 fold cycles, though the promotional material is mum on
the durability of the screen itself. If it's using a layered
polymer cover instead of glass, as the Galaxy Z Fold and ThinkPad
X1 Fold do, it may be somewhat less than tough. Though the Zenbook
17 Fold is a retail product scheduled for release in the mid-year
of 2022, Asus isn't saying how much it will cost.
For those looking for a more conventional laptop, the Zenbook 14
OLED might be more appealing. Offered in a variety of both exterior
colors and internal configurations, this slick-looking refresh of
the Zenbook line turns some heads with its Star Trek-style embossed
logo on the metal lid. The laptop is offered in aqua celadon
(blue-silver) and ponder blue (dark navy) for Intel 12th-gen
versions and a jade black color (all black, no jade) for the AMD
Ryzen 5000 version.
A few notable design choices make it stick out from the pack.
The combined touchpad and 10-key area seen on other Asus laptops
makes a return, along with a 180-degree hinge that's not often seen
on today's laptop designs. The 14-inch 2880×1800 OLED is nice
enough to get a mention in the title, but this laptop is no
primping princess. It has a generous selection of ports: Two
USB-C/Thunderbolt 4, one USB-A, a full-sized HDMI port, and even a
MicroSD card slot. It's also packing a generous 75 watt-hour
battery. The keyboard includes a fingerprint reader.
You can choose your Zenbook 14 OLED with either Intel or AMD
processors, up to a Core i7 or Ryzen 7, respectively. Both get the
same choices of RAM and storage (16GB and 1TB at max), but only the
Intel 12th-gen version can use faster DDR5 memory and a PCIe 4.0
SSD. So expect the Intel version to be considerably more expensive
when it releases.
Not flashy enough for you? Asus is celebrating that one time it
sent a laptop into space on the MIR with a commemorative Zenbook
14X Space Edition. It's largely similar to the Zenbook 14, but
includes a tiny 3.5-inch black-and-white ZenVision OLED screen on
the outer lid, along with some custom engraved graphics. This
screen can display the time, a personalized badge for ID, or just
some fun graphics or text. The display is customizable via
The Zenbook 14X Space Edition offers the same ports as the less
bombasting Zenbook 14, albeit rearranged and with a more
conventional hinge design. The box it comes in doubles as a nifty
laptop stand, though the 23-degree angle might not be everyone's
cup of tea. The upgraded laptop also gets a unique dual-fan cooling
system and a 45-watt power mode for its more powerful Core i9
processor, though its battery is notably smaller at 63
Both the Zenbook 14 OLED and the Zenbook 14X OLED Space Edition
are scheduled to release in Q2 2022, for undisclosed prices.