Foldable laptops — ones with foldable shows — have arrived, but it surely’s exhausting to know in the event that they’re right here to remain. As futuristic because it feels to fold an enormous display in half and toss it in your bag, excessive costs and technical points threaten to undermine the way forward for foldable laptops earlier than they develop into mainstream.
I’ve been excited in regards to the potential of those units ever since CES 2022 gave us a peek at our foldable laptop future. Whereas they’ve been round since not less than the 2020 debut of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold, it wasn’t till CES this 12 months that I felt actual enthusiasm in regards to the potential of a folding laptop computer. That’s after I and lots of others bought a primary have a look at the Asus Zenbook 17 Fold OLED, a foldable laptop computer dominated by a placing OLED show.
I’m a sucker for a pleasant OLED panel, and the promotional materials for the Zenbook 17 Fold made a degree of showcasing the various distinctive methods you may set it up due to the hinged 17.3-inch show. With good OLED panels nonetheless a relative rarity on this planet of laptops (although that’s altering quickly due to show tech advances), I couldn’t assist however be enthusiastic about the opportunity of having one on a tool that may be held like a ebook, unfolded and propped up on a desk like an easel or used on a desk like a conventional laptop computer.
It felt like a future I’d by no means dreamed of was all of a sudden right here, and all that remained was for me to let go of my previous, rigid preconceptions about what a laptop computer ought to be.
However now that I’ve spent just a few weeks utilizing this method for my Zenbook 17 Fold review, I’m afraid the longer term isn’t fairly prepared for us. This foldable laptop computer works higher than I anticipated, but it surely nonetheless has various flaws that maintain me from recommending it alongside the best laptops available on the market.
A few of these points, just like the connectivity issues I’ve seen with the included ErgoSense Bluetooth keyboard, Asus has promised to deal with by the point the laptop computer hits the market later this 12 months. However a few of its different issues can’t be addressed so simply, and I believe it’s going to be some time earlier than we see a foldable laptop computer that may actually compete with much less versatile laptops by way of value and efficiency.
However in the event you’re prepared to pay the worth of being a foldable laptop computer early adopter ($3,499 for the Asus Zenbook 17 Fold OLED, $2,499 for the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold 2022) you’ll get pleasure from some distinctive advantages that few different laptop computer house owners (but) have entry to.
After utilizing the Zenbook 17 Fold for each work and play, I’ve realized that whereas a few of its configurations aren’t very sensible, there’s not less than a technique wherein it beats each different laptop computer I’ve ever examined. And in the event you’re somebody who loves an excellent multi-monitor setup, I believe you’re going to understand this trick.
Foldable laptops ship comfortable multi-monitor productiveness on the go
Asus makes a degree of promoting the Zenbook 17 Fold OLED with promotional materials showcasing how one can set it up in 5+ totally different configurations. When folded, the 17.3-inch show can successfully develop into two smaller 12.5-inch shows, so you may plop the Bluetooth keyboard atop the decrease half to make use of it like a 12-inch laptop computer, maintain the show unfurled in your palms like an enormous Home windows pill, or stand it up on a desk with the keyboard out entrance and use it like a conventional PC.
The Fold is pretty usable in all these configurations, although like even the best 2-in-1 laptops its weight is a little bit too heavy to make utilizing it as a pill snug for lengthy durations.
However in contrast to every other laptops I’ve used, the Zenbook Fold is excellent as a dual-screen PC. At dwelling I desire to work with not less than two screens always, because it helps me keep on high of the totally different initiatives I work on and usually really feel extra productive. However after I’m working from a laptop computer, I’m out of luck until I wish to plug into an exterior show (hope I’ve bought an HDMI out or an adapter helpful!) or lug round a conveyable monitor.
Not so after I’m utilizing the Fold. What I like about Asus’ foldable is the way in which that I can unfold it and use it like a dual-screen laptop computer, one display sat atop the opposite with the keyboard in my lap. Whereas Home windows 11 is not all the time good about the way it mechanically strikes and positions issues on a folding show like this, Asus’ included ScreenXpert software program makes positioning home windows throughout each shows a easy drag-and-drop course of.
Positioning the keyboard in my lap feels extra snug and ergonomic than having it connected to the laptop computer, too, that means I can work longer and in additional consolation than on every other laptop computer I’ve examined. And with the display folded to function two shows, I can get extra performed than I can on extra conventional laptops.
Whereas this can be a little much less luxurious than unfolding it huge and utilizing the complete 17.3-inch show, the lack of display actual property is greater than made up for by what really feel like important positive factors in productiveness. It’s additionally a much better dual-screen laptop computer than one thing just like the Asus Zenbook Duo 14, which tries to squeeze a smaller show subsequent to the keyboard of the laptop computer.
In my Asus Zenbook 17 Fold OLED evaluation I touched on this a bit, however I needed to go a little bit extra in-depth right here as a result of I believe this can be a actually understated however helpful manner wherein you should utilize a foldable laptop computer. In actual fact, I’ve discovered it’s really rather more helpful than a few of the methods Asus advertises you utilize their OLED foldable. Don’t, for instance, significantly think about holding this 3.3-pound steel pc up like a ebook for lengthy durations until you’ve got wrists of metal.
I additionally don’t suggest utilizing it as a pill for greater than gentle studying, as a result of the load of the Fold and the cumbersome manner Home windows 11 handles contact enter make something extra complicated than looking web sites a painful problem with no keyboard.
However in the event you love the concept of getting a dual-screen laptop computer that may be unfurled into a phenomenal show or folded up and tossed in your bag, take note of what’s occurring with foldables this 12 months. The Asus Zenbook 17 Fold OLED is a exceptional system with respectable efficiency and a few surprisingly helpful configurations.
Even in the event you’re postpone by the excessive value and technical points that also plague this cutting-edge foldable, the truth that it’s already so good suggests we should always anticipate even higher issues from foldable laptops within the years to come back.