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Tech & Science ASUS stuffed a screen into the ZenBook Pro 15's touchpad

09:51  05 june  2018
09:51  05 june  2018 Source:   engadget.com

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The ZenBook Pro 15 with ScreenPad (UX580) is the first device to get ASUS ' new touchscreen/ touchpad hybrid. It comes with a 4K UHD, Pantone-validated display that, the company claims, will offer true and accurate color reproduction. The screen itself is surrounded by a bezel

ASUS ’ new ZenBook S is thin, light and rugged. The company claims it is built to conform to military specifications against heat and cold. It' s got a 5.5-inch FHD IPS screen beneath the touchpad .

a laptop computer sitting on top of a table© Provided by Engadget

Remember Razer's Switchblade UI? Remember Windows SideShow? If you ever dreamt of a computer with its own secondary display, then ASUS' New ZenBook Pro is the device for you. In place of a traditional touchpad, the company is adding the ScreenPad, a 5.5-inch touchscreen that can even run its own apps. That's the headline feature, at least, of the company's latest flagship laptop aimed at creative professionals.

The ZenBook Pro 15 with ScreenPad (UX580) is the first device to get ASUS' new touchscreen/touchpad hybrid. It comes with a 4K UHD, Pantone-validated display that, the company claims, will offer true and accurate color reproduction. The screen itself is surrounded by a bezel that's just 7.3mm thick, and has a maximum brightness of 400 nits with a 1200:1 contrast ratio.

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ASUS ’ new ZenBook S is thin, light and rugged. The company claims it is built to conform to military specifications against heat and cold. It' s got a 5.5-inch FHD IPS screen beneath the touchpad .

To equip ZenBook Pro 15 with unsurpassed audio performance, the ASUS Golden Ear team joined forces with audiophile specialists Harman Kardon Accessing your ZenBook Pro 15 couldn’t be easier or more secure, thanks to Windows Hello technology and the fingerprint sensor built into the touchpad .

Buyers have a choice of either a Core i5, i7 or even the latest six-core eighth-generation Core i9, all of which will be paired with up to 16GB RAM. Graphics-wise, you can run up to a GeForce GTX 1050 Ti with 4GB RAM, which was available as an option last year — but it puts the laptop in the same rough league as a gaming machine. And if that isn't enough for you, the ZenBook Pro can also be hooked up to external graphics cards, like ASUS' XG Station Pro.

At some point in the near future, a 14-inch version of the ZenBook Pro with Screenpad (UX480) will also become available. The smaller machine will take advantage of ASUS' Ergo Lift hinge, where the display can push the keyboard up to 5.5-inches off the ground for a better typing angle. The build-to-order options for the 14-incher run up to a Core i7 CPU, 16GB RAM and NVIDIA's Max-Q-enabled GTX 1050. In addition, whereas the 15-incher has a fingerprint sensor, the UX480 packs an infrared camera for Windows Hello's facial recognition.

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Asus Zenbook NX500 vs Macbook Pro 15 -inch. The XPS 15 does offer the superior typing experience, but it’ s touchpad is scarred by poor drivers – via. Screens .

Accessing your ZenBook Pro couldn’t be easier or more secure, thanks to Windows Hello technology and the fingerprint sensor built into the touchpad . This item has. ASUS ZenBook Pro UX550VE-DB71T 15 .6-inch NanoEdge FHD Touchscreen, Intel i7 7700HQ, 16GB DDR4, PCIE NVMe 512GB

The ZenBook Pro isn't a gaming laptop, however, and is instead intended to be used by creative professionals: video editors, programmers and designers. Combined with the ASUS Pen, the company hopes that illustrators and other imaginative-types will think about its tech over some of its rivals. Not to mention that both laptops in this range (the 15.6-inch edition, and its smaller, 14-inch sibling) support Amazon Alexa for voice control.

ASUS hasn't been stingy with connectivity on the larger model, cramming in a pair of USB-C / Thunderbolt 3 ports into the chassis. Via those ports, the system will be able to support both power delivery as well as output two 4K UHD displays at the same time. A third external display can be driven with the HDMI-out port, too. Other options on the 15-incher include two skinny USB 3.1 Type-A ports and a microSD card reader, as well as the power jack and a 3.5mm headphone socket. Ports on the smaller model are a little more modest, with 2 x USB 3 Type A, a single USB C port, HDMI-out, microSD card reader and the usual power and 3.5mm jack.

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The headliner was the premium ZenBook Pro 14 and 15 (pictured above), the latest versions of ASUS ’ premium notebook that feature a touchscreen where the touchpad would usually be. Meant to increase the laptops’ multitasking possibilities, the 5.5-inch ScreenPad functions as a second screen for things

The headliner was the premium ZenBook Pro 14 and 15 (pictured above), the latest versions of ASUS ’ premium notebook that feature a touchscreen where the touchpad would usually be. Meant to increase the laptops’ multitasking possibilities, the 5.5-inch ScreenPad functions as a second screen for things

The new ZenBook Pro doesn't just look the same as its predecessor: it's also the same thickness (18.9mm tall) and weight (1.88kg). And holding it in the hand, you can certainly feel that they're designed to take a beating, with excellently solid build quality and heft. As for the keyboard, the company has opted not to fix what isn't broken, sticking with chiclet-style keys with 1.5mm of travel. Although, personally, the keys feel a little spongy for a machine of this caliber.

a man with an open laptop computer sitting on top of a table© Devindra Hardawar

Of course, you're all interested in the ScreenPad, and the company explains that it is a Windows Precision Touchpad that's overlaid on a 5.5-inch FHD IPS display. When the user wants to switch from touchpad mode to ScreenPad, they just have to hit F6 to toggle between the options. In ScreenPad mode, you can use a number of customized apps for the smaller display, including a calculator, music player and digital numeric keypad. You can also, for instance, view items on your Windows Calendar, letting you check your schedule at a glance. Using ASUS Sync, too, it's possible to use the secondary display as a way to use your smartphone from the desktop.

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Asus ZenBook Pro UX501VW – Keyboard and Touchpad . To put this into context, the Asus screen has 60% more pixels than the 15 in MacBook Pro , with its 2,880 x 1,800 Retina display.

ASUS ' s new ZenBook Pro offers a bunch of great stuff , like an Intel Core i9 processor and GTX 1050 Ti graphics card, or a super-color-accurate 4K display. It' s Beauty and the Beast, all rolled into one. Available in a 15 .6-inch or 14-inch design, the ZenBook Pro offers a powerful set of specs.

The ScreenPad also offers desktop support for some apps, echoing the contextual touch menus available on the new MacBook Pro. Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint all offer adaptive editing controls for the machine, which change depending on what you're doing. YouTube's player for Chrome, meanwhile, moves the transport controls onto the pad to avoid cluttering up the screen while you're watching. And ASUS promises that support for more apps is coming in the future, thanks to an SDK that it is making available at some point in Q3 of this year.

Hit F6 again, however, and you can switch into Secondary Display mode, where you can pull a window from your primary display down to the second. With a 5.5-inch screen, there's not a lot of real estate, and if you don't want to be typing and mousing over the screen, you'll probably need to use external peripherals. But if you're looking to cheekily watch a YouTube video at work, or discreetly have an IM conversation, you can. Theoretically.

The company believes that, at this point, the Pro 15 will squeeze 9.5 hours of life from its 71Wh battery if you only use the primary display. Constant use of the ScreenPad, meanwhile, will drag that figure closer to 5 hours, although ASUS says that the machine isn't really meant to be used on the go. Figures for the 14-inch version are, as yet, unavailable.

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[MUSIC] The ZenBook Flip S from ASUS is a slim convertible 13 inch laptop that also folds over into a tablet. More important than that however, Asus throws a bunch of useless stuff in the box that most other LG Gram 15 delivers a big screen and battery without the weight. Xiaomi' s Mi Gaming Laptop

Many of Asus ' premium notebooks are a nice navy blue, but the ZenBook Pro casts a striking profile in black. The ZenBook Pro ' s screen covers 122 percent of the sRGB color gamut, making Keyboard and Touchpad . The ZenBook ' s keyboard is better than its 1.2 millimeters of travel might suggest.

When using the ScreenPad, it's easy to see why ASUS thinks it's on to a winner here, and it's clear that it can be quite useful at times. The one gripe that I have is that the demo models were a little slow to respond, and you can very much tell that there is a gap between the touchpad surface and the display. This is really noticeable when you single or double tap the trackpad, and you can feel the air in the gap being pushed around.

Of course, this isn't the first time that companies have experimented with adding a touchscreen in place of a touchpad. In 2010, Acer's Ethos laptops demonstrated the concept, while in 2013, MSI showed off a prototype of its GS70 Stealth that did the same thing, although it didn't get past the test stages. This year, Razer's Project Linda was a smartphone dock that held the company's phone in the same place, although the emphasis there was on the phone itself.

The ZenBook Pro 15 (UX580) will become available at some point in the near future, but the company has yet to say when, or how much it'll cost. Then, in the murky depths of the future, the 14-inch (UX-480) version of the machine will go on sale, also packing a ScreenPad. And your guess is as good as anyone's for how many dollars you'll be expected to hand over in the service of owning one. Both machines are only available in Deep Dive Blue with Rose Gold edging, a color scheme the company says is "stylish without being brash," and, in the flesh, it's hard to disagree with that.

Photography by Nicole Lee and Devindra Hardawar.


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