ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED redefines the phrase 'convertible laptop'

We're used to seeing convertible laptops and even folding smartphones at big tech shows like CES, but ASUS showed up this year with a folding device that is particularly eye-catching. Today, ASUS announced the Zenbook 17 Fold OLED, and while the name alone makes our ears perk up, it doesn't truly express just how ridiculous this laptop is.

To start things off, the Zenbook 17 Fold OLED comes with a 4:3 17.3-inch OLED display, just as the name suggests it does. ASUS says that the display was developed as part of a partnership between it, Intel, and BOE Technology Group. This is no mere 17-inch laptop, though, as that display can be folded in half to produce two 3:2 1920 x 1280 displays that each clock in at 12.5 inches.

With the display folded, users can slide one-half of it under the accompanying keyboard to transform the Zenbook 17 Fold OLED into a tiny 12.5-inch laptop. In addition, the display can be folded around the keyboard for transport, turning it into a machine "that's smaller than a sheet of photocopier paper," according to ASUS (though quite a bit thicker than said sheet of paper, obviously).

In all, ASUS says that the Zenbook 17 Fold OLED has six different usage modes: PC, laptop, tablet, on-screen keyboard, book, and extend. It seems some of these usage modes drop the keyboard entirely, and we expect some to be more popular than others. Still, the Zenbook 17 Fold OLED will offer more options than a traditional 2-in-1 laptop, and the fact that you can remove the keyboard from the equation entirely means that users will have to contend with less bulk when using the Zenbook in tablet mode.

The display on the Zenbook 17 Fold sounds particularly impressive, as ASUS says that it's PANTONE validated and supports Dolby Vision HDR while covering 100% of the DCI-P3 color gamut. The machine features a quad-speaker array that supports Dolby Atmos, and the HD IR camera can use AI to tell when users are nearby.

It probably won't come as a shock to learn that the Zenbook 17 Fold will use Intel's 12th-gen processors, but instead of the H-series, we'll be getting Core i7 U-series processors here. In any case, the fact that this laptop uses a 12th-gen U-series processor means that it'll also support WiFi 6E. It sounds like the Zenbook 17 Fold will be available in several configuration options, as ASUS says the machine will come with "up to" 16GB of RAM and a 1TB PCIe 4.0 SSD.

The Zenbook 17 Fold will also be Intel Evo certified, so if you're looking for a speedy machine, you'll probably find it here. That Intel Evo certification also suggests that the Zenbook 17 Fold will offer good battery life that lasts in excess of 9 hours despite its large OLED display. Finally, ASUS also says that the Zenbook 17 Fold will have two USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports that support fast charging and a 5 MP webcam that uses ASUS's 3D Noise Reduction AI tech.

The Zenbook 17 Fold OLED will launch sometime toward the middle of this year, but importantly, the company didn't reveal any pricing details today. While today's announcement seems to suggest that there will be at least a couple of configuration options, we're expecting them to all be expensive. The Zenbook 17 Fold OLED is a cool laptop for sure, but that kind of functionality will almost certainly come at a steep cost.