Published: Wed, June 06, 2018
IT | By Jonathon Greene

Asus Vivobook 2018: Back-to-school just got a lot more interesting

Asus Vivobook 2018: Back-to-school just got a lot more interesting

The new option will feature the company's new ScreenPad input device.

Two years ago, Apple tried to shake up the formula by introducing the "Touch Bar", an OLED strip that replaced the Function keys on its flagship MacBook Pro.

At their press conference at Computex in Taipei, Asus has announced the ZenBook S (UX391), a new clamshell laptop with an ergonomic design and a variety of colors. The 5.9-mm display bezels are also slim, and they surround a 4K display that boasts 100% coverage of the sRGB color space and a 1500:1 contrast ratio. The ScreenPad features adaptive functions that are context sensitive, and it is created to enhance your workflow and productivity.

The idea is that you can use this ScreenPad for additional productivity controls ala TouchBar. These apps are all launched directly onto the ScreenPad and allow you to have quick access to tools such as a calculator, your calendar, music, or mail.

The ErgoLift on the Asus ZenBook S is also featured on the new ZenBook Pro 15 and 14. Now supported apps include Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and YouTube, with support for other popular apps under development, such as ASUS Sync, which lets users control their phone via ScreenPad. The ScreenPad can come in handy for content creators, which includes video makers, photographers and 3D designers.

Comprehensive connectivity includes up to gigabit-class 802.11ac Wi-Fi, USB-C with Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A, and standard HDMI output.

One of my main concerns about the ScreenPad was assuaged after just a few minutes: The pad feels very nice to tap on, as good as any glass touchpad I've used on a Windows laptop.

Clad in green, grey, blue, black and gold and loaded with an 8th generation Intel Core i3, i5 or i7 processor as well as Nvidia GeForce MX150 discrete graphics, the S13, S14 and S15 is seems like the ideal notebook for those who want to do some casual gaming as well. It also comes with a "dual storage design", offering a spinning disk hard drive up to 2TB and an SSD up to 512GB in a single device. For authentication, it comes with Windows Hello-enabled IR Camera.

Beyond its new display, the Zenbook Pro series of laptops will have up to an Intel Core i9 processor, handle up to 16GB of DDR4 memory, be available with Nvidia GeForce 1050Ti GPU, and potentially have a 1TB NVMe SSD for storage.

Other concerns remain unaddressed, especially how much of a battery life hit the ScreenPad will make, and whether or not many third-party developers will make apps that the screen will support. And while it sounds cool, and you may even end up using the ScreenPad on a daily basis, initially, the long-term usability and practicality is something that is to be seen.

This isn't the first time we are seeing this technology this year, as Razer showed off something similar during CES 2018.

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