Everyone is talking about the new Screenpad of the ASUS Zenbook Pro, and if it is a useless feature or not. But hey what is it? Well, the Screenpad is ASUS answer to the Apple MacBook touch bar feature, but in a different approach. Basically, it is a screen behind the touchpad, with 2 different type of features.
One it allows you to run specific programs, to give specific control functions for the user, like music player, calendar, or calculator. On the other hand, you can use it as an external display, and this is what can be a great option for graphic designers or video editors. It gives you the option to drag different applications, or menu bars from your programs, and you have 2 displays in one single notebook. Pretty nice feature.
Port selection of the ASUS Zenbook Pro also nice, 2 USB 3.1 Type C with Thunderbolt support, 2 USB 3.1 Type-A, one HDMI, one combo audio jack, and 1 micro SD card slot. Sadly no full-sized SD card, but oh well, at least we got a lot more ports than other notebooks nowadays.
The display is simply awesome. This ASUS Zenbook Pro review model is a 4K variant, with a touchscreen. The display is also Pantone validated, so as I mentioned earlier, for a graphic designer or anyone who need a colour accurate display this machine is perfect!
ASUS Zenbook Pro can be configured with 3 different type of 8th gen Intel CPUs, from i5 up to i9 which sounds overkill, and well… It is… The dedicated GPU is a full-sized NVidia Geforce GTX1050TI with 4 GB of VRAM. Plenty enough for 3D work or for light gaming. Doom and Fry Cry 5 ran buttery smooth, both graphics set to ULTRA. Far Cry5 was solidly running at the 40-60 FPS range, where DOOM was handled like a champ.
Of course, this is not a gaming machine, and not necessarily built for these type of tasks, but you can see what option if can offers.
Battery life is OK, not an ultrabook like 10 hours option. At max, we can achieve around 5 hours of battery life, which is good enough, at this performance. Opening up the notebook, we can see the huge battery and other components. Sadly the memory is soldered on to the motherboard, and you can only upgrade the storage and the WiFi card later if you want, so before you order one keep in mind to get one with plenty enough memory.
Alternative without Screenbar
If you don’t want the Screenbar, ASUS provides a similar option with the UX550 series, same internals, except the Pantone validated display.