ASUS is on a 2019 roll, with the release of their very first dual-screen laptop, the Asus ZenBook Duo, and their second gaming phone, the ROG Phone II. And as we move into the end of the year, the Taiwanese tech giant has launched the ASUS ZenBook 15, a slim and lightweight laptop that comes with the ScreenPad 2.0 instead of a trackpad.
This is not the first laptop to introduce the ScreenPad, but while the ASUS ZenBook Duo featured the ScreenPad Plus, the ASUS ZenBook 15 carries the much smaller ScreenPad 2.0, which acts as a secondary screen for its users to improve productivity.
Users will be able to drag and drop windows down to the ScreenPad 2.0, and open various apps such as Spotify. The ScreenPad also lets you to quickly switch between apps, turn on a virtual number pad, and even offers a handwriting app that lets you write your notes down instead of having to type. If anything, it helps the device stand out a little more amongst the saturated sea of laptops constantly released by companies every year.
With a little tap on the ScreenPad 2.0, you can switch between using the ScreenPad as a second screen or a trackpad. While convenient, it is a hassle to constantly have to turn the second screen off every time we turn the ZenBook 15 on. We would have appreciated it if there was a setting on the laptop to keep the ScreenPad as either a second screen or a trackpad whenever we turn it on.
Design-wise, the ZenBook 15 is reminiscent of the ZenBook Duo with its spun-metal finish which, while highly aesthetic, is a huge fingerprint magnet. It also comes with the ErgoLift Hinge which elevates the base from the table it is placed on, which helps to keep the laptop ventilated while it is in use. But despite this, as well as the new dual-fan added to the ZenBook 15, the laptop still runs a little warmer than we were comfortable with.
The ErgoLift Hinge does not only help to lift the laptop to the comfortable typing position, but also helps to hide most of the screen’s bottom chin, giving the appearance of the ZenBook’s 15 screen having almost no bezels around it.
The rose-gold trim panel above the keyboard also provides a nice, elegant touch to the already sleek looking ZenBook 15. Speaking of keyboard, the one on the ZenBook 15 comes with large chiclet keys with a 1.4mm travel distance between each key, making for an incredibly comfortable typing experience. The keys are also backlit to help you when working in the dark.
The laptop is powered by a 1.8Ghz Intel Core i7-8565U processor, transforming the ZenBook 15 into a more than competent work computer for a number of different tasks, from photo and video editing, to simply watching 4K videos. It also uses an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Max-Q GPU with a 4GB GDDR5 VRAM and while it is no means on the same level as a dedicated gaming laptop, it is still able to provide a decent gaming experience for casual gamers.
While gaming on Overwatch, our FPS hovered around 20 to 30 FPS when our graphics setting was set to the highest, and only increased to 60 FPS once we shifted the graphics settings down a little to Medium. That said, we find the ZenBook 15 more suitable as a work computer and not really one for gaming. If you do wish to play games on the ZenBook 15, we’ll recommend games that are not graphics-intensive which will not be too taxing on the laptop.
The ZenBook 15 has a 15.6-inch screen display with a resolution of 3820 x 2160, which means it is able to support 4K UHD videos and one will be able to properly appreciate the display quality of the unit when a graphics-intensive game isn’t running in the background. The graphics on the laptop are bright and vivid with great contrast – the blacks are inky black and the colours look incredibly rich, which is great for not only casual Netflix binge sessions, but also content creators who need the colour accuracy for photo and video editing. Coupled with an ultra-slim bezel, which gives the laptop a screen to body ratio of 92%, this baby has the looks, and then some.
The ZenBook 15 also comes with a number of ports: USB 3.1 Type A (Gen 1), USB 3.1 Type A (Gen 2), USB 3.1 Type C (Gen 2), HDMI, SD card reader, an audio combo jack for both the headphone and microphone, along with the charging port. These are all positioned at either side of the ZenBook.
The speakers come with Harmon Kardon certification, which means that it has been specially tuned by the experts in ASUS and certified by folks in Harmon Kardon, to ensure that users get the very best in sound quality. Audio is definitely good with clear bass, mid, and high tones and while the speakers are not top-of-the-line, it gets the job done.
Touted as a portable laptop, it makes sense that the ZenBook 15 is incredibly compact. Measuring 35.4cm x 22cm x 1.89cm, this laptop will be able to fit into most backpacks with relative ease, especially since it clocks in at a mere 1.67kg, making it one of the most lightweight full-sized laptops currently out in the market today.
A full charge on the ZenBook 15’s 71Whr, 8-cell lithium battery will be able to last you around 16 hours which is more than enough for a day’s work, and can last you more than a few days if you only use the laptop sparingly. With its large battery life and incredibly portability, the ZenBook 15 is most suited for students or working professionals who are constantly on the go.
But if for some reason you find its unit too big or bulky, do take a look at the ASUSZenBook 14. In many ways, it looks extremely similar to the ZenBook 15, right down to the blue spun-metal finish on the laptop’s aluminium cover. It also uses the ScreenPad 2.0 for increased productivity and where it differs is with the keyboard. Unlike the ZenBook 15, the ZenBook 14 does not come with a number pad by the side and this helps to reduce the weight of the ZenBook 14, to only 1.35kg, supported by an even smaller and more compact form factor of 31.9cm x 19.9cm x 1.75cm.
Surprisingly, the ZenBook 14 is powered by the same 1.8Ghz Intel Core i7-8565U processor, though it uses the NVIDIA GeForce MX250 GPU with 2GB GDDR5 VRAM, and comes with only a 14-inch FHD touchscreen display at 1920 x 1080 resolution.
All in all, the ASUS ZenBook 15 is a great laptop for compact laptop for travelling and is the ideal laptop for students and working professionals as it is highly functional, not only with its great display but also thanks to the ScreenPad 2.0 which provides a small second screen for increased productivity.
GEEK REVIEW SCORE
ASUS is back at it again with the ASUS ZenBook 15. With its compact size and ScreenPad 2.0, the ZenBook 15 is the perfect laptop for students and working professionals alike.
Aesthetics - 9/10
Build Quality - 9/10
Performance - 8/10
Value - 8/10
Geek Satisfaction - 8/10