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The Asus ZenBook 17 Fold is set to change the way we use laptops forever

Jonathan Bray
5 Jan 2022
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Asus shows off the world’s first 17in laptop with a folding screen… plus some normal machines with OLED displays

At CES we expect to see plenty of crazy ideas and new products, but Asus’ latest folding laptop is probably the most out-there idea we’ve seen for a while.

Essentially, it takes the folding phone format popularised by the handsets such as the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold and Z Flip and amps it up to the max, giving you up to 17.3in of screen real estate to play with once the display has been unfolded.

READ NEXT: Our guide to the best laptops you can buy today

It sounds like it might be unwieldy, but the design of the laptop is actually pretty clever. In its standard “clamshell” laptop configuration, it’s a simple 12.5in machine, with a keyboard attaching magnetically to one half of the display, obscuring it, while you work using the other half of the screen.

Then, when you need a bit (well, a lot) of extra screen space, you unfold the display and detach the keyboard, pop out the built-in kickstand and use it as a mini desktop PC. The whole thing weighs 1.99kg (keyboard included) so it isn't as heavy as you might have thought, either.

It’s an impressive-looking machine with a clever design, and the specifications don’t disappoint. In 12.5in laptop mode, the screen operates with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080, and this coverts into 2,560 x 1,920 spread across a full 17.3in when unfurled. Brightness runs to a peak of 500 nits with 100% DCI-P3 coverage and, since it's a Pantone-certified panel, it ought to be reasonably colour accurate as well.

Inside, meanwhile, you’re looking at an Intel 12th gen processor, 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM and up to 1TB of SSD storage.

Asus is planning to release the ZenBook 17 Fold OLED at around the same time as Computex in late May. No prices have yet been suggested but if it doesn’t cost an arm and at least a couple of legs, then I would be very surprised.

Asus ZenBook 14 OLED and 14X OLED Space Edition

Of course, it would be silly of Asus to simply focus on the outrageous 17 Fold and leave it at that, so it's also released a couple of less flamboyant machines.

First up is the Asus ZenBook 14 OLED. This is a laptop that might, in normal years, take the headlines for its lightweight and slim magnesium-alloy chassis, 2.8K 90Hz OLED display and tough MIL-STD-810H design. However, it does look rather humdrum in present company.

Nonetheless, if all you need is a laptop and you don’t fancy living on the very bleeding edge, then it looks very promising indeed. You can specify it with either a 12th gen Intel Core i7 P-series CPU or an AMD 5000 series processor (alas, not the new 6000-series – we’ll have to wait for that).

It also comes with up to Nvidia GeForce MX550 graphics, supports Wi-Fi 6e and features a Harman Kardon Dolby Atmos-certified sound system.

READ NEXT: Our guide to the best laptops you can buy today

That’s not all, though. Asus is also announcing a special “Space Edition” of its ZenBook 14X OLED laptop.

Intended to mark the 25th anniversary of the Asus P6300 laptop spending more than 600 days in space on board the MIR space station, it features an added monochrome display on the lid and extra-tough “space-grade durability”. Instead of the usual military spec standards, this laptop has been tested to the rather futuristic-sounding “US Space Systems Command Standard SMC-S-016A” testing protocols.

It's a perfect laptop for the budding astronaut then, or, indeed, the billionaire with nothing better to spend their money on.

Like the standard ZenBook 14 OLED, the Space Edition 14X comes with a 12th gen Intel CPU (a Core i9, H-series chip) and 32GB of RAM. Its 14in 16:10 OLED display has a 2.8K resolution, with a refresh rate of 90Hz and Pantone colour certification. Sadly, neither of these laptops has UK prices or release dates just yet. 

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