Where the pad becomes a screen

lifestyle December 01, 2018 01:00

By Paisal Chuenpraseang
The Nation Weekend

3,592 Viewed

ASUS brings an all new ball game to its latest notebook computer

A SLEEK notebook computer equipped with an innovative touchpad, the ASUS ZenBook Pro 15 UX580 is powered by Intel Core i9-8950HK six-core processor that runs at 2.90 GHz. It’s fully equipped with a range of premium components, including16 gigabytes DDR4 2,400 MHz working memory, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics adapter with 4GB DDR5 VRAM and fast 512GB SSD storage.

In a move new to the notebook market, ASUS has renamed the traditional touchpad a ScreenPad, designing it as the second screen for the laptop.

The ScreenPad is responsive and adaptable, and is able to provide task-specific functionalities to make interaction with applications more convenient.

It’s a 5.5-inch Full HD Super IPS+ panel with 1920x1080 pixels resolution and while it can be used as a normal touchpad, you need to install ScreenPad apps to make the best use of it.

Those apps are ScreenPad Toolbar, Launcher, Online Video Player, Office, Music Player, NumKey, Calculator, Calendar, ASUS Sync, ASUS SpeechTyper, ScreenPad Adobe reader sign, and Screen Extender mode.

The ScreenPad Toolbar is the control centre for all your ScreenPad apps. To open it, drag it down from the top edge. To close it, just start using the ScreenPad as a normal touchpad on any part of the screen. The launcher is the fastest way to start up your favourite apps. Simply tap an app icon to launch the app.

The Online Video Player supports Google Chrome and YouTube and you can use it to control video playback, including ad skipping, switching to full-screen mode, and adjusting volume.

ScreenPad Office provides instant fingertip control of common functions when you’re editing Excel, Word or PowerPoint documents. Using ScreenPad for edit functions means you can enjoy a bigger workspace on the main screen.

ScreenPad Music Player allows you to instantly change tracks, browse tracks and playlists, and adjust the volume.

ScreenPad NumKey turns the ScreenPad into a number keyboard for easy data entry.

ScreenPad Calculator allows you to crunch numbers when your screen is already full of other websites, spreadsheets and documents.

ScreenPad Calendar app allows you to sync your Windows Calendar account so you can check your schedule at a glance.

ASUS Sync lets you pair your phone wirelessly with your laptop to access all its functions via ScreenPad, even when your phone’s in your bag or another room. 

ASUS SpeechTyper turns ScreenPad into a multilingual speech-to-text tool for creating documents, emails, blog posts, social media posts and more with just your voice.

I found the ScreenPad Adobe reader very useful for signing PDF documents, signing my name on the ScreenPad then saving it with the document.

Screen Extender mode turns the ScreenPad into an extended screen, seen as a dual-display by Microsoft Windows. You can use it to keep an eye on your social media account, email and most other things, so the ScreenPad becomes a powerful multitasking partner.

Of course, you can also use the ScreenPad as a touchpad that supports Windows 10’s precision touchpad and multi-gesture input with up to 4-finger gestures, making it easy to switch applications or screens. 

The UX580 retains the elegant ZenBook design, embracing the iconic accents of this series first introduced with the ZenBook UX21 six years ago. These include the signature tapering edges, concentric spun-metal finish concentric circles on its lid and diamond cut chamfered edges around its keyboard. The all-metal unibody build comes in elegant Deep Dive Blue with Rose Gold diamond cut edges.

Although the ZenBook Pro 15 has a 15.6-inch monitor, its slim display bezel and lithe chassis give the laptop the rough physical dimensions of a 14-inch ultrabook laptop. It has a thickness of 18.9mm and weighs about 1.88kg.

The UX580 can be used by professional graphic designers thanks to a Pantone-validated 4K multi-touch display with guaranteed colour accuracy and a NanoEdge bezel-free design that provides a completely immersive experience. The 15.6-inch LED-backlit 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) touchscreen is great for viewing photos and watching videos. The display has high contrast ratio of 1200:1 and high brightness of 400 nits.

During the test, I enjoyed watching iflix movies and 4K YouTube clips, playing around with the four modes – eye care, normal, vivid and manual – to find the one best suited to me.

The laptop has a good sound system with two speakers tuned and certified by Harman Kardon so the UX580 is good for watching movies and listening to music as well.

I found the UX580 was really powerful thanks to the use of fast elite components, including the 8th Generation Intel Core i9 processor with six cores and a huge 16 GB of working memory or RAM. Its graphic horsepower come from NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti with 4GB DDR5 memory.

The UX580 ran business applications like Microsoft Office very fast and photo-editing application Adobe Photoshop was quick and smooth. Video clips too played fast and smoothly.

Heating isn’t a problem despite the fast Intel Core i9 and NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti because the notebook uses a dual fan cooling system with three heat pipes (one of them located on the back of the motherboard) to keep both processors cool.

The UX580 also has fast Internet connection using dual-band 802.11 ac Wi-Fi and comes with comprehensive connectivity with 2 USB 3.1 Gen 2 (Type-A) ports, one ultra-fast Thunderbolt 3 in USB Type-C port and one USB 3.1 Gen 2 (Type-C) port. There is also one HDMI 1.4 port plus a microSD card reader.

The 8-cell battery is designed for long battery life as it has to power the ScreenPad, the processors, cooling solution, and array of ports.

ASUS ZenBook Pro 15 UX580 has a suggested retail price of Bt89,990.

Key Specs

OS: Windows 10 Home

CPU: 8th Gen Intel Core i9-8950HK processor 2.90 GHz

Memory: 16GB DDR4 2400MHz

Storage: 512GB NVMe PCIe Gen 3 x4 SSD

Display: 15.6-inch LED-backlit 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) 16:9 touchscreen, 100% Adobe RGB colour gamut PANTONE Certified

ScreenPad: 5.5-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) Super IPS+ display

Graphics: GeForce GTX 1050Ti 4GB GDDR5

Connectivity: 802.11ac Gigabit Wi-Fi up to 1.7Gbps / Bluetooth 5.0

Camera: VGA Webcam

Interface: 2 x USB Type-C (USB 3.1 Gen 2 + Thunderbolt 3 - supports dual 4K UHD displays), 2 x USB Type-A (USB 3.1 Gen 2), 1 x Full-sized HDMI 1.4, 1x 3.5mm combo audio jack, 1 x MicroSD card reader

Security: Fingerprint reader

Battery: 71Whrs 8-cell Lithium-polymer

Dimensions: 365 x 241 x 18.9 mm

Weight: 1.88kg