Flexible displays in notebooks are heavy. Not in kilograms, but in the complexity of the design and in the ergonomics of use. Intel developed its own prototype folding notebook a few years ago, and two years ago it introduced it at Lenovo’s CES as the Thinkpad X1 Fold.
A year later, it started selling in the Czech Republic and we introduced it to you in a review:
Although a few manufacturers boasted prototypes, no one went to market with the product. But that will change this year. At CES Asus he pointed Zenbook 17 Fold, which will have its official premiere in the summer at Computex. So far, it is only a demonstration of a prototype. In many ways, it is similar to the X1 Fold, but above all, it offers a larger display and higher performance.
While the ThinkPad X1 Fold had only 13.3 “when unfolded, the new Zenbook will offer 17.3” (4: 3). As a result, the difference will be much more pronounced and useful after opening. In the folded state, with only half of the screen active, the Zenbook Fold still offers 12.5 “in a 3: 2 ratio, a usable screen size that is standard on Microsoft Surface computers.
That’s why the external Bluetooth keyboard, which, like the Thinkpad X1 Fold, you can attach magnets to create the appearance of a normal notebook, offers the standard key size and standard layout as with classic Zenbooks.
In our testing, we blamed the ThinkPad X1 Fold mainly for its performance, too small a keyboard, and only Windows 10, because at that time Microsoft promised support for folding computers in Windows 11. Zenbook Fold would solve all these complaints.
Because it will be officially introduced in half a year, information about the performance of the used Core i7-1250U processor is still missing, but it will run from the 12th generation of Intel with Iris Xe and the basic processor will be faster than what Lenovo used two years ago. Of course, the computer gets Windows 11, which still lacks native support for similar displays, but Asus promises some superstructure that will solve the biggest problems.
The main question remains the price. That is, its specific value. We know for sure that it will not be a cheap laptop. The number of such laptops on the market is counted on the fingers of one hand and the not very skilful operation of the circular saw, and you simply pay for the uniqueness.
At the same time, however, the high price means few units being sold and little incentive for application developers to adapt them to this unconventional computer concept.
We know from our testing that the concept of a folding computer will significantly expand the traditional perception of a notebook as a fixed product with clearly defined fixed parameters. So far, it seems that Asus has been following Lenov’s commercial failure very closely and is trying to introduce a more mature product that addresses the main allegations. He understood that the success of a laptop cannot be built on a folding screen alone, and most importantly it must simply be a good laptop that gets a folding display as a bonus. So in the summer we will see how he managed with the final version.