Asus got the crown of ‘world’s first’ at the Computex 2018 when it launched the ROG Phone sporting an AMOLED screen with 90Hz refresh rate. But on the second day it once again got the same title in the laptop segment. This time, the company launched what can be arguably the world’s first laptops that have a full-fledged touch screen display instead of the touchpad – ZenBook Pro 15 (UX580) and Pro 14 (UX480).
Asus seems to have managed to fit in a smartphone at the place of the touchpad. Some users may call it a Apple MacBook Pro’s Windows 10 counterpart given the concept of a supplementary screen. But Asus has a different take on the same formula and has made it its own.
The ScreenPad, as Asus likes to call it, is not just something that will mirror the main screen. It is more than that. The feature aims to give creators and developers the required precision while editing photos, videos or while working on softwares like Autodesk or CAD. The unit we tried out for a limited time period, however, was not the final version and had limited features.
Multi-tasking is also one of the areas where this feature comes in to play. For instance, you could be working on an Excel sheet and need a side calculator, which can be opened up on the ScreenPad and be worked upon.
The firm says it is already working to bring more app support for this feature. So by the time the ZenBook Pro 15 and Pro 14 models hit the shelves, you may find some third-party apps supporting this as well. Screen mirroring, using it as a second screen, using it as a regular touchpad and other such modes can be accessed by pressing the F6 key.
Besides the ScreenPad, the rest of the laptop stays essentially the same, nothing that you haven’t seen before. They are premium-looking, falling in line with the rest of the ZenBook laptop line up. They will be coming in Firmament Green, Star Grey, Silver Blue, Gun Metal and Icicle Gold colour variants. You get the same brushed metal design with NanoEdge bezels on three sides of the screen, delivering 84% screen-to-body ratio. This is something we have seen before but is new for Asus.
One of the downsides with the ZenBook Pro S15 and ZenBook Pro S14 is that these laptops are not sleek, which is understandable as the ScreenPad could be taking some of the space.
It is too early to comment anything on the performance or the battery of the two laptops as we haven’t reviewed them yet. But we expect one of the best results coming from them as they have 8th-gen Intel Core i7 processor onboard along with Nvidia GeForce MX150 GPU, 512GB SSD and 2TB HDD storage.
Being a first attempt, this could be a make-or-break situation for Asus. The firm will also have to initially struggle to get a market for such devices, which we sure see becoming mainstream in the distant future but will stay niche for some time.
For now, there is no confirmation if the laptops are coming to India. But if they do, it would be interesting to see how Asus pitches the product and if it will run through in a price sensitive market like India.