When the Asus ZenBook Professional 15 was unveiled at Computex, its greatest attraction was the ScreenPad. It was Asus’ daring new course for the standard trackpad, and for essentially the most half it appeared to have paid off. We have been impressed with the performance that Asus had crammed into this 5.5-inch house, and couldn’t wait to see what else it might do.
Asus says the ZenBook Professional is ideal for photographers, video editors, and anybody else who wants a laptop computer able to dealing with a heavy workload, and on paper at the very least the ZenBook Professional looks like the proper candidate for the job.
Right here is the Asus ZenBook Professional 15 configuration despatched to TechSwitch for overview:
CPU: 2.9GHz Intel Core i9-8950HK
Graphics: GeForce GTX 1050Ti 4GB GDDR5
RAM: 16GB DDR4 (2400MHz)
Display screen: 15.6-inch LED-backlit 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) touchscreen
Storage: 1TB NVMe PCIe Gen three x4 SSD
Ports: 2 x USB Sort-C (USB three.1 Gen 2), 2 x USB Sort-A (USB three.1 Gen 2), 1 x Full-sized HDMI 1.four, 1x audio jack, 1x microSD card reader
Connectivity: 802.11ac Gigabit Wi-Fi as much as 1.7Gbps / Bluetooth 5.zero
Digicam: VGA webcam
Weight: four.1 lbs (1.88kg)
Measurement: 14.37 x 9.88 x zero.75 inches (36.5 x 24.1 x 1.89cm; W x D x H)
Value and availability
The ZenBook Professional 15 is accessible now, with fashions configurable with i5, i7, and i9 processors, together with both a Full HD or 4K show.
Our overview unit was the top-end i9 mannequin, which retails for $2,299 (about £1,710, AU$three,000, AED9,999). It’s a price ticket that implies this laptop computer means enterprise, pegging it as an honest desktop alternative for anybody who must take their work on the go.
Pricing in fact will drop significantly in the event you go for the i5 or i7 fashions, or select the Full HD display as an alternative. There’s additionally a smaller 14-inch model must you need one thing slightly extra compact.
The ZenBook Professional’s design stays largely unchanged from that of earlier ZenBooks, with only a few delicate tweaks. For one, the laptop computer now is available in one shade, dubbed Deep Dive Blue, with a gold trim that appears surprisingly tasteful. A brushed end on the within helps cover fingerprints and smudges, though you can find your self wiping it down at the very least a couple of occasions every week.
The bezels on the ZenBook Professional are solely 7.3mm thick, which provides the phantasm of a wider show, apart from the underside bezel which is barely thicker and shows the Asus ZenBook emblem.
Connectivity-wise you get two USB Sort-C ports (one port will get dropped on the 14-inch mannequin), two USB Sort-A ports, a full-sized HDMI port, audio ports, and a microSD card reader.
You could possibly in concept have three exterior displays related to the ZenBook Professional, in addition to utilizing the laptop computer’s personal display to carry the overall as much as 4 (Asus factors out that in the event you embody the ScreenPad it comes to 5 shows in complete, however extra on that shortly). A helpful fingerprint reader sits just below the keyboard to the correct, making it straightforward to rapidly log in to Home windows.
We’re upset that Asus has opted to incorporate a microSD card reader as an alternative of a full-size SD card reader, on condition that this laptop computer is focused at video professionals and photographers who nearly all the time use SD playing cards; there’s no method to rapidly switch information throughout with out utilizing an exterior card reader, which is an actual disgrace.
The opposite noticeable factor concerning the ZenBook Professional is that it’s acquired fairly a little bit of heft to it. Weighing in at 1.88kg (four.14lbs), it definitely feels heavier than it seems to be, which might restrict its portability considerably.
Keyboard and screenPad
The keyboard is a little bit of a sticking level, primarily on account of the format moderately than the precise typing expertise. A row of additional keys on the correct assist you to rapidly navigate round paragraphs of textual content, however the addition of those means the keys total are extra tightly spaced. The arrow keys will be notably fiddly to function as they’re about half the dimensions of the opposite keys, whereas we turned annoyed by how usually we tapped the facility button moderately than the Delete key, just because they’re so shut collectively.
The performance of the F1-F8 keys are additionally reversed by default, so tapping them will management quantity, brightness, ScreenPad and so forth. Do you have to need to activate their normal operate, you now have to carry down the devoted Fn key as an alternative.
Clearly, the brand new ScreenPad is a large speaking level right here – it’s one thing we’ve seen tried by different producers, however none appear to have given it as a lot consideration as Asus has right here. The 5.5-inch trackpad now doubles as a second display, and can be utilized in three completely different modes.
The primary is the default ScreenPad mode, which is the one we used essentially the most. On this mode you’ll be able to function the ScreenPad like a traditional trackpad, however you can even swipe down from the highest edge to carry up a small toolbar. From right here you’ll be able to rapidly launch issues reminiscent of a calculator or music participant, or open a full drawer of purposes to rapidly launch.
Whereas the concept of utilizing the trackpad to launch applications might not sound that radical, the ScreenPad does have a couple of different tips to point out off. Whenever you launch sure suitable apps the ScreenPad will provide program-specific options and shortcuts, making it simpler to entry generally used features.
One of the best instance of that is with MS Workplace: launch Phrase or Excel and ScreenPad will provide shortcuts to rapidly edit the font color and style, or assist you to edit formulation immediately. Open up YouTube in Google Chrome and also you’ll see the video participant controls seem immediately on the ScreenPad, making it simpler to wash by means of movies or transfer by means of a playlist.
It’s definitely a novel approach to make use of the additional display, and Asus has mentioned it should open this performance as much as builders to combine into extra applications to enhance its usefulness. For now, whereas there are only some applications that make the most of the ScreenPad, it definitely seems to be to be greater than only a gimmick.
The second mode the ScreenPad can run in is called the Extender mode. When activated, Home windows treats the ScreenPad as a second show, which implies you’ll be able to drag program home windows proper right down to the ScreenPad. This mode is extra for amusement than for any sensible use, because the ScreenPad isn’t optimized for small textual content show (and sure, you’ll be able to run Skyrim on it).
Lastly you’ll be able to disable the ScreenPad performance fully and use it like a traditional trackpad, must you want to take action. This may also help preserve battery life if you’re away from the charger, or in the event you don’t end up utilizing the entire ScreenPad’s options.
You’ll discover that whereas the ScreenPad is mostly responsive for controlling the mouse pointer, it isn’t as quick if, for instance, you’re utilizing its numeric keypad operate to enter numbers. The common numeric keys are merely quicker. We’re placing this right down to the early software program that’s operating on our overview unit, so we hope that Asus tightens this up as soon as items begin delivery.
It’s value mentioning that the ScreenPad is just nearly seen when used outdoor in vivid gentle, so we’d counsel you retain it disabled when outdoor, except you get pleasure from squinting on the display.