Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2 vs Asus Zenbook 17 Fold: Which folding laptop is the best?

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2 vs Asus Zenbook 17 Fold: Which folding laptop is the best?

You might be familiar with folding phones, but foldable laptops are also a thing, too. There are two flagship folding laptops that are shaking up the computing world right now, and it’s the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2 and the Asus Zenbook 17 Fold.

These new devices are seeking to make it to the list as the best Lenovo laptops, as well as the best Asus laptops in new and cool ways, but how do they compare?

Both the ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2 and the Asus Zenbook 17 Fold share some design heritage like a large, foldable screen, as well as a keyboard accessory. Thanks to Intel’s latest specifications, they also have similar computing power with Intel’s 12th generation U-series chips under the hood. Only one can be the best buy for your money though, so read on to find out.

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Specs

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2 Asus Zenbook 17 Fold
Operating System
  • Windows 11 Pro
  • Windows 11 Home
  • Windows 10
  • Windows 11 Pro
  • Windows 11 Pro for business
  • Windows 11 Home
CPU
  • 12th generation Intel Core i5 or Intel Core i7 U9 Series processors (VPro)
  • 12th Generation Intel Core i7-1250U Processor
Graphics
  • Intel Iris X Graphics
  • Intel Iris Xe graphics
Display
  • Main: 16.3 inch 2020 x 2560 resolution foldable OLED. 600 nits HDR or 400 nits SDR.
  • When closed: 12-inches each screen.
  • Main: 17.3 inch 2560 x 1920 resolution foldable OLED. 500 nits HDR. 1
  • When closed: 12.5 inches each screen 3:2 aspect ratio and 1920 x 1280 each screen.
Storage
  • Up to 1TB PCIe Gen 4 SSD
  • 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe Gen 4 SSD
RAM
  • Up to 32GB LPDDR5
  • Up to 16GB LPDDR5
Battery
  • 48Whr (optional additional 16 Whr based on configuration)
  • 75WHrs, 4S1P, 4-cell Li-ion
Ports
  • 2 Thunderbolt 4 Ports
  • 1 USB-C 3.2 Gen 2
  • Nano-SIM card tray
  • 2 Thunderbolt 4 Ports
  • 1 3.5 mm combo headphone and microphone jack
Audio & mics
  • Smart Amp Technology
  • Built-in speaker
  • Built-in array microphone
    harman/kardon (Premium)
    with Cortana and Alexa voice-recognition support
  • Dolby Atmos 3-speaker system (2 speakers work at any one time)
  • Dolby Voice enabled – 4x microphones (2x mics work at any one
    time)
Webcam
  • 5MP Windows Hello IR with Intel VSC option
  • 5 MP Windows Hello IR
Biometrics
  • Windows Hello webcam
  • Fingerprint reader on the keyboard
  • Windows Hello webcam
Connectivity
  • Wi-Fi 6E 802.11 AX (2×2)
  • Optional 5G Sub 6 (LTE supported)
  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • Wi-Fi 6E(802.11ax) (Dual band) 2*2 +
  • Bluetooth 5
Color & material
  • Classic ThinkPad color with PET Woven Performance fabric cover
  • Black
Size
  • Unfolded: 10.87in x 13.6in x 0.34in
  • Folded: 6.9in x 10.87 x 0.68in
  • Unfolded: 4.90 x 11.32 x 0.34- 0.51 in
Pen Support
  • Yes, optional
  • No, not included
Price & availability
  • November 2022 starting at $2,499.
  • Q4 2022 starts at $3,499
Weight
  • 2.82 pounds without the stand
  • 4.19 pounds with stand
  • 3.31 pounds

Performance: It’s an even match

Looking at the performance of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2 and the Asus Zenbook 17 Fold it should be an even match between these two devices. We say that because both have options for 12th Generation Intel U-series processors. In both cases though, these are low-powered 9-watt chips for thin and compact devices with smaller chassis — though these technically aren’t exactly small devices, as we’ll get into later.

As low-powered Intel 9-watt chips, we have a note to make. These devices aren’t for video editing or gaming. Yes, you’ll still get the performance and efficiency cores from other higher-up Intel chips, but these devices are productivity and web browsing. Much heavier tasks might slow down the ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2 and the Asus Zenbook 17 Fold. You’ll have to stick to the basics here.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2 in laptop mode displaying the XDA homepage

Either way, in Lenovo’s case, the new 12th generation chips are a big improvement over the Intel Lakefield processors on the original ThinkPad X1 Fold. The newer CPUs have much more power, and are efficient, without overheating or throttling.

In terms of general specs, though, we’re leaning toward Lenovo for more choice. You can pick either an Intel Core i5 or Intel Core i7 option. We’re always for more choice, and the Asus Zenbook Fold 17 only comes in one CPU option, an Intel Core i7 processor. On the Lenovo, the processors can also be VPro, which is important for system management.

Display: Equal, but the Asus is bigger and the Lenovo inks better.

As foldable PCs, the displays on these devices are all important. There are two notes up front, though. The Asus Zenbook Fold 17 has a bigger display than the ThinkPad X1 Fold, and the ThinkPad X1 Fold supports inking with an optional pen. Other than that, the displays share a lot of technology, like bright and vibrant color-accurate OLED and HDR displays. The hinge under both displays are also tested quite significantly in open and close cycles to ensure they’re durable.

If you’re all about screen resolution and brightness, then the ThinkPad X1 Fold is for you. The display is smaller, but it can hit 600 nits when viewing HDR content and 400 nits with regular content. It’s also a higher resolution and packs more pixels at 2020 x 2560 when opened out. As for the Asus, it’s pretty bright, too. When folded out, you can hit 500 nits when viewing HDR content and the resolution is still pretty high at 2560 x 1920. You also get more room for your content, as the screens are half an inch bigger than on Lenovo’s (12.5 inches vs 12 inches.)

Asus Zenbook 17 Fold OLED in Extended mode

 

If you’re like me and love to draw on the screen of your PC, then that’s one area where the ThinkPad X1 Fold is better. It supports an optional stylus that’s powered by Wacom technology, which attaches to the top of the screen. You won’t find that on the Asus, and much like with the Galaxy Z Fold series, I personally think it makes a lot of sense for a foldable PC to have pen support, where you might want to annotate documents or web pages.

To be fair, Asus packs a lot of cool display technology. It has an ambient color sensor that can adjust color temperature and brightness. The display is also certified by TÜV Rheinland for low blue light levels.

Design: Even, but one stands better

Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Fold and the Asus Zenbook Fold 17 have some design differences. These PCs both fold, but it mainly comes down to the way you end up using the devices in the various modes with or without a stand or keyboard.

Both systems support using the device in various modes. Asus markets the Zenbook Fold 17 as being used in a laptop, desktop, tablet, reader, or extended mode. Lenovo markets that you can use the ThinkPad X1 fold in laptop, landscape, portrait, book, or tablet mode.

Did that confuse you? Well, on both systems, laptop mode lets you place the keyboard on the lower half of the screen to use the device as a traditional laptop. Landscape mode (desktop mode on the Asus) lets you unfold the device and use the keyboard detached to multitask. Portrait mode lets you rotate the device vertically for social media. Book mode (or reader mode on the Asus) is for reading books. Tablet mode lets you hold the device as a traditional tablet.

ThinkPad X1 Fold in vertical orientation

In the case of using the device in these modes, with Lenovo, you’ll have to use an optional stand to prop up the device. The Asus has a stand built into the back, which makes things a lot easier.

Physically speaking, though, these aren’t super thin and light as you’d expect. They’re quite hefty when unfolded. Of the two, the Asus is a lot lighter, coming in at 3.31 pounds, but it’s also thicker at 0.51 inches. Accounting for the stand and keyboard, though, the ThinkPad is heavier at 4.19 pounds. Without the stand, it’s lighter at 2.82 pounds. In all cases, it’s Asus for the lightest and most comfortable, despite the large screen.

Keyboard, trackpad: Lenovo wins

When not using these foldable PCs as tablets, you can enjoy them as a traditional laptop computer. For this, Lenovo and Asus include an optional Bluetooth keyboard accessory. Both are great and can be used separately or attach to the lower half screen magnetically when needed, but we’ll be giving the win to Lenovo. Here’s why.

Top down view of ThinkPad keyboard

The Asus trackpad and keyboard are great. Asus is calling it their best keyboard ever. It has a 19.05 mm key pitch and 1.4mm of key travel. That’s great for long-term typing. Lenovo, though, takes its signature ThinkPad TrackPoint keyboard and ports it over to add a haptic trackpad. This adds a level of immersion when scrolling, as the entire Touchpad surface is clickable. It’s why we choose the Lenovo over Asus. In the case of the generational improvement over the original ThinkPad X1 fold, it’s much bigger, too.

Webcam, ports, and connectivity: Lenovo wins for 5G

In looking at webcams and connectivity, it’s an even match between these two foldables, except for one thing: 5G. Both the Asus and Lenovo feature 5mp webcams. However, Lenovo adds in better connectivity options to support 5G. This is something you won’t find on the Asus model, and it’s a huge loss if you’re a professional who might always be about and not on the road, as you’ll need to be connected to Wi-Fi to keep in touch with emails and such.

Ports are evenly matched though, except if a headphone jack is important. Both devices have Thunderbolt 4, but Lenovo omitted a headphone jack from their ThinkPad X1 Foldable. You’ll find one on the Asus Zenbook 17 Fold.

Final thoughts

Overall, both of these foldable PCs are a good buy if you truly want them. They’re quite expensive, but there’s a lot to like. The differences are mainly small ones coming down to either the stand, screen size, connectivity, or keyboards. Generally speaking, though, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold is cheaper, so you might want to check that out if you can.

About author

Arif Bacchus
Arif Bacchus

I have over six years of experience covering Microsoft, Surface, Windows, macOS, and Chrome OS news and rumors for sites like Digital Trends and OnMSFT. I also write laptop reviews and how-to guides. I am a Microsoft fan and I have a drawer full of PCs and other devices. You can follow and interact with me on Twitter if you want to chat!

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