Mobile device manufacturers, which often leverage similar underlying platform technologies, are in a near-constant state of dismay in an attempt to differentiate their products from the competition. Different materials and intelligent industrial design can help set a machine apart, and thinner form factors have been a go-to for many ODM (Original Design Manufacturers) too, as machines have gotten more portable over the years. However, with its latest premium ultrabook release – the Zenbook Pro 15 – Asus takes all of those differentiating factors and ups the ante with an innovative feature its calling the ScreenPad.
The new Asus Zenbook Pro 15 is built around Intel’s latest, most-powerful notebook platform to date. The machines feature 8th Gen Intel Core processors – including a Core i9 option, up to 16GB of RAM, discrete NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (or 1050 Ti) graphics, and up to 512GB PCIe 3.0 x4 solid state storage. As its name implies, the Zenbook Pro 15 is outfitted with a 15.6” display, and like the other members of Asus’ premium ultrabook line-up, the machine features solid-aluminum unibody construction with a spun-metal finish on the lid. A brand-new “Deep Dive Blue” color scheme with Rose Gold diamond-cut edges sets the exterior apart, though at first glance it doesn’t look all that much different than some of Asus’ other dark-blue Zenbooks. The overall dimensions of the Zenbook Pro 15 are 365mm x 251mm x 18.9mm and it weighs in at only 4.2lbs – that’s quite portable for an ultrabook with a Core i9 option and discrete graphics.
Though its relatively high-end hardware and thin-and-light form factor are attractive, the new ScreenPad is what makes the Zenbook Pro 15 unique. Other manufacturers have tried multi-screen mobile setups before, but they have typically had limited functionality. Asus seems that have hit all of the right notes with the ScreenPad, however. The ScreenPad sits a standard Touchpad normally would. The ScreenPad is a small, FullHD display though, with touch, and gesture and handwriting recognition. At the moment, Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Spotify, YouTube, and Adobe Sign are the apps that have “official” support for the ScreenPad, but Asus incorporated a few additional tricks. For example, the ScreenPad can be used to mirror the display if you Smartphone or it can be used to extend the main display as if a second monitor was attached. Users can also quickly swap what’s on the main display and ScreenPad at the touch of a button.
I should also mention the main display because Asus has gone all out with it as well. The Zenbook Pro 15 features a 4K UHD NanoEdge display (282ppi), with wide 178 degree viewing angles, 100% Adobe RGB and 132% sRGB color gamut support, and a Delta-E color difference of less than 2.0. The display is also PANTONE validated. The screen also features relatively small 7.3mm bezels that result in an 83% screen-to-body ratio. All of that adds up to a great looking display, that’s crisp and accurate for everything from shopping online to professional content creation.
Asus also does a good job with connectivity. There’s high-speed 802.11ac Wi-Fi on board, of course, but the Zenbook Pro 15 is also equipped with 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C ports with Thunderbolt 3 support, 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 full-sized Type-A ports, an audio jack, full-sized HDMI 1.4 port, a microSD card reader, and a fingerprint sensor. It’s nice to see all of those ports on the machine when some other companies simply offer a USB-C port or two and make users rely on dongles for additional connectivity.
There are a few Zenbook Pro 15 models coming down the pipeline at different price points. The top-end Core i9-based machine is available directly from Asus for $2,299. A Core i7-based option with SATA-based storage a standard GeForce GTX 1050 is being offered exclusively from BestBuy for $1,699.
By Forbes.com/ This article was originally published on