A major highlight at Computex in Taipei this year was Taiwanese tech major ASUS' ZenBook Pro 15 UX580 -- the main attraction of which is a ScreenPad that is essentially a touchpad composed of an LCD touchscreen placed beneath its trackpad.
The concept is inspired by the Touch Bar that we saw on Apple MacBook Pro back in 2016 and can also be used as a mini secondary monitor for multi-tasking.
The notebook comes with powerful internals such as 8th-generation Intel Core i9-8950HK hexa-core processor, NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti graphics, 16GB DDR4 RAM and 1TB storage and the company is touting it as a professional-grade laptop that promises superior performance.
The device is available in India at a starting price of Rs 1,79,990. Here is what we think of it.
Carrying forward the legacy of ASUS ZenBook series, the ZenBook Pro 15 UX580's design is not much of a change from the previous iterations.
That being said, the device does have a few tweaks such as the colour variant. The ZenBook Pro has been introduced in a "Deep Dive Blue" with rose gold trimmings that looked tasteful.
The inside of the device has a beautiful brushed metal finish, which handled smudges and fingerprints well.
The back of the lid has ASUS's trademark concentric circle design, while the body has a spun-metal finish with two-phase anodised edges which makes it solid and sturdy.
Touchpads were originally introduced in 1992 and, since then, laptop manufacturers have added handy software-based gesture supports and trying to make them more accurate.
When we swiped down from the top of the screen, the 5.5-inch ScreenPad in the ZenBook Pro let us access a host of mini apps such as the calculator, number key, music player and calendar.
One can also access the launcher from the display, which can quickly open Windows programmes that makes the ScreenPad nifty.
The ZenBook Pro's ScreenPad is easier to work with than Apple's Touch Bar as the former offers much more room.
The bezels of the laptop are just 7.3-mm; the bottom bezel, which is slightly thicker, houses the ASUS ZenBook logo.
The tiny bezels lend a 83 per cent screen-to-body ratio to the device and give the illusion of a wider screen.
The overall design was subtle with gold edges being the only blingy detail on the device.
According to the company, the screen is Pantone-certified and supports a wide colour gamut with 100 per cent Adobe RGB.
The 15.6-inch 4K touchscreen display was gorgeous to look at. The details looked sharp and colours looked rich. The 400nits brightness made it good for outdoor tasks.
The laptop seamlessly handled shuffling between dozens of browsing windows, playing games and surfing videos. The graphic capabilities of the device are good enough too.
Weighing 1.88kg and measuring 18.9-mm in thickness, the ASUS ZenBook Pro is the closest to the 15-inch Apple MacBook Pro.
It is safe to say that it is perhaps the only notebook that is as thin and light with such powerful internals.
What does not work?
The laptop fell slightly short in delivering on battery life. We managed to get around seven hours of juice with the ScreenPad on. Users who wish to squeeze out more battery life, may turn the ScreenPad off.
Conclusion: ASUS' ZenBook series has been largely successful and the ZenBook Pro 15 UX580 is no exception. This is a powerful laptop that promises performance with a unique ScreenPad experience.
(Krishna SinhaChaudhury can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)