ASUS ZenBook Pro 15: Is the first laptop with a secondary display worth it?

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Computex 2018 is going in its full bloom providing the PC enthusiasts the Tech that will define the next year of PC hardware. We have had a lot of rumors and speculations about the presentations, some of them were debunked while some of them came out to be true.

The news that came out of the blue was when ASUS revealed another device in their ZenBook lineup; they had already revealed the successor of their flagship device a few weeks back, no one expected they would reveal another device in the lineup that will serve as a device for the content creators.

ASUS is the computer hardware company based in Taiwan; it is particularly popular due to the early shipment of Intel’s processor, that is why the ZenBook pro-UX 550G they announced earlier was the first device to get the Intel Core i9 processor. The device they announced a day back is marketed as the ZenBook pro 15 UX 580, they are not claiming it to be the flagship ZenBook device, but there is a feature in the device that makes the device prominent in the league of flagships. Let’s have a closer look at it.

Image: The Verge
Image: The Verge

Design

The design of the device is kept the same as the previous device, there are some improvements here and there, but the overall design is the same. The ASUS ZenBook pro 15 UX580 is built on the same chassis as the last year ZenBook devices. If the device looks familiar, that should not be a surprise. The chassis is made up of tough Aluminum that looks and feels premium at the same time. The back of the device is the traditional ASUS brushed Aluminum; it has a slightly lustrous finish to it that shines whenever it is exposed to light at a specific angle. The back of the laptop is clean there is only an ASUS logo that does not light up.

Image: The Verge
Image: The Verge

Coming to the front of the device we see a magnificent display with minimum bezels, and ASUS logo on the chin side of the screen. The laptop is built catering to mind productivity, creativity, and portability. It is one of the thin devices out there that have the desktop grade graphics card. It is only 9.49 inches wide, 14.37 inches and 0.74 inches thick, and it weighs only 4.14 pounds making it suitable to carry around in the bag or if it is in your hand that radiant finish will catch some eyes.

Display

As the device is marketed towards the content creators, ASUS had to work hard to make the screen as accurate as possible. The display is a 15.6 inches LED-backlit display that comes in two configurations depending upon price one is a touch-enabled UHD panel with 4k resolution the while the other one is also touch-enabled screen, but it is an FHD panel with 1080p resolution. Both screens are factory Pantone certified that means both screens have a wide color gamut that will provide true to life colors.

The screen covers 100% Adobe RGB and 132% sRGB. The contrast ratio is 1200:1 that is not as accurate as the MacBook Pro 16 that has 1500:1, but it is good as it provides dense blacks and true whites. The only concern the display has is its brightness that maxes out at 450nits; it is bright but not as bright as the other devices that start at the same price.

Specifications

You can expect this device to have all the necessary specifications that are required for a device to stand out in 2018. It supports processors from Intel’s 8th generation Core i5 up to Intel’s 8th generation Core i9, which means it will be in the top ranks of the multicore performance charts. It supports 8/16GB of DDR4 memory clocked at 2400Mhz the memory is sorted on the board which means you cannot upgrade the RAM manually.

Image: ASUS
Image: ASUS

Other than that, it comes with two storage options 1TB/512GB PCIe SSD and 512Gb/256GB SATA3 SSD; both will ensure faster load speeds and bootup times. As the device is catered towards the needs of the content creators, they have included a full Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti with 4GB GDDR5 memory that will suffice the requirements to run the Illustrator or Photoshop, and it will also provide lightweight gaming too.

Peripherals

The I/O in this device is replete with the ports that are necessary for a device to function nowadays, and that includes a two-way audio jack. There are two Thunderbolt 3 ports that can support two 4k displays and charge the device too, two standards USB 3.1 gen two ports that will further aid the connectivity, other than that there is microSD card slot that is the only grain in the salt here. ASUS is marketing this laptop towards the content creators; they usually work with a Full-size SD card opting for a microSD was a strange decision.

Image: ASUS
Image: ASUS

The internet connectivity includes Intel’s dual-band WIFI and a Gigabit Ethernet port, and there is also Bluetooth 5.0 that supports dual link that means you can play music in two devices simultaneously. The speakers on every high-end ASUS devices have Harman Kardon branding, they have always been comparable to the speakers found in MacBook Pro. This time they claim that the speakers are better than the speakers on any other device and with our early testing they do sound very good.

Keyboard and trackpad

                The keyboards in ZenBook devices have always been great the keystrokes are rigid, with ample key spacing upholding the standard of 1.5mm space. There is also a zone-based RGB lighting to provide support during dark.

The highlight of this laptop and probably the reason why you opted for this article is its trackpad/secondary screen hybrid. We have not seen something like this in the past at least with this kind of functionality, we had a touch strip on the MacBook Pro that was the just a flashy piece of hardware for me because it had very less functionality, and we had project Linda too for Razor laptop.

However, ASUS has put a real FHD 5.5-inch IPS screen on the trackpad that has a matt finish to it, with a huge amount of functionality, it serves as a trackpad, it also serves as a secondary screen. You can open certain apps on it like calculator and calendar, or you can move one of your windows on the trackpad and work there. I liked watching the gameplay on YouTube or twitch on the secondary screen while editing a video on primary one. All of it was very easy; it does not require you to go deep down in the settings to use the different modes of the trackpad only F6 key does the trick.

ASUS has worked with Microsoft to launch apps that are compatible with this kind of display; they also announced that they would shortly release the SKU that can be utilized by the developers to make apps that can use that secondary display. With ASUS’s history in the software department and not so much popular windows store, we fear that some of it might get away, but the technology is there it is the role of developers to use it efficiently.

Image: ASUS
Image: ASUS

There is also a fingerprint reader besides the trackpad secondary screen hybrid, and there is also an IR sensor that is compatible with Windows Hello.

Battery

The battery in this device is a 71Wh high capacity battery, and ASUS is claiming that it will easily deliver 9.5 hours of battery life that is enough to carry you through the day, they also have fast charge implemented which according to them will charge 60% in just 49 minutes. ASUS’s claims are looking a little too much because it has a Core i9 processor and a full GTX 1050Ti, but we’ll see if the claims are true soon.

Verdict

                The device is very well built, with the top of the line specifications and innovation in the form of the screen in the touchpad, it can potentially be the device you require for your next project, the price and availability is not announced yet, but we expect that the device will start around $2000. So, if you are looking for the device in this range, the ASUS ZenBook pro 15 should be a device on top of your list.

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