Technology

Oct 1, 2018

Asus ZenBook Pro ScreenPad

"Released at Computex 2018, the Asus ZenBook Pro is the new top of the range of premium laptops from Asus and comes with a new and appealing functionality: a touch screen about the size of a smartphone instead of the usual touchpad."

After the first contact with the two models of the ZenBook Pro with ScreenPads, the reviews are good, especially with its implementation and potential use. And, the Asus ScreenPad won't give up anything useful, as physical keys.

The ScreenPad is implemented where the laptop's touchpad usually works and works like a normal touchpad. But, the ScreenPad is "the world's first touchpad", according to Asus because it can also serve as an all-in-one touch-enabled display, a type of simplified integrated smartphone on PC, but with Windows.

With an area of 5.5 inches and a resolution of 1920x1080 pixel, the ScreenPad can be transformed into an executable application, calculator, calendar, or numeric keypad. It can also play YouTube videos via a Google Chrome extension, or simply increase the main screen of the ZenBook Pro. With fast adaptation relative to switch between modes – what is done by pressing the F6 key, without the need to look for settings and menus.

And is intuitive; when something is not obvious, just a little trial and error and you'll find out. Perhaps the greatest confusion arising in the extender mode, when you can drag a browser window outside the main display into the ScreenPad. Asus seems to have a promising future with this product, which features a matte finish pleasant to the touch, reducing the overall brightness.

Asus worked with Microsoft to develop Office integrations in ScreenPad, for which the user has access to shortcuts for Word, Excel and PowerPoint. The pad can also function as a controller of music and video playback, and Asus says that it will support the controls on Spotify. The creator of ZenBook Pro provides for the release of an evolutionary kit for ScreenPad and will maintain a website where all compatible applications will be listed, most of which will be found in the Windows Store.

Knowing the weak history of Asus with software development and the extreme lack of popularity of the Windows Store, it does not seem 100% sure that this initiative can flourish, but we must give Asus credit for trying. In addition to having a touchpad that seems to be the next step in adaptive computing, Asus has many other good things to brag about with the ZenBook Pro. This 15.6-Inch laptop offers a 4k touch screen with high color quality and sizes sufficiently thin to make it the size of a more conventional 14-inch laptop. The 14-inch version, in turn, has about the same size as the 13-inch MacBook Pro.

These are also well-built laptops, with aluminium at the top, bottom and the wrist rest. It would be possible to live without the unique concentric circle design of Asus, which the company calls "classic", but gives idea that evoke some of the least successful models of their mobile PCs line.

When testing the Screenpad as a music controller, the prints are positive, with the quality of the columns (Harman/Kardon) of the largest ZenBook Pro. Asus has built an audio system that produces a loud and rich sound without the typical resonance and fragility of portable speakers. The company says they designed ZenBook Pro with the users in mind. This was, by the way, the large demographic group that PC manufacturers pursued in this year's Computex: photographers, video producers, designers, etc.

The common point to all classes of digital creators is that they work with visual resources, so Asus tried to maximize the color accuracy of the screen, even receiving Pantone certification. The smallest 14-inch Pro ZenBook features Asus's ErgoLift hinges, whose goal is to just elevate the keyboard to a more natural typing posture. It is not yet possible to gauge your benefit, but it is not expected that Asus would sacrifice any other design element for this.

Given the preference of users on ever-smaller laptops, the 14-inch ZenBook Pro may be the most viable option, being the most attractive of the two. In terms of specifications, it features a lower "ceiling" than its larger brother, with a Core i7 CPU, a GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, USB-C ports without Thunderbolt 3 and a camera go to Windows Hello instead of the fingerprint, and with a battery capacity up to 13 hours.  Asus put the ZenBoo0k Pro 15 on sale in mid-July for an initial price of 2.299 dollars.

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