Shining The Spotlight On The Touchpad With ASUS’ 2018 ZenBook 14, 15 and Pro 14

What does zen mean to you? Something minimalistic? Hassle-free?

Those were the answers the audience shouted out when Jason Loi, Industrial Design Manager of ASUS Singapore, posed us the question at the Collision art exhibition held in conjunction with the new ASUS ZenBooks’ launch. For ASUS, zen refers to “a sense of peace, where your consciousness is as calm as water, allowing you to bring everything into focus, and experience things clearly as they are.” And we presume that’s the sort of user experience they’re trying to deliver with the latest iterations of their sleek and portable product line.

They’re introducing three new notebooks this month and it seems like the product design team has put a lot of thought into making the touchpad a little more attractive — in both form and functionality.

Let’s be honest, most of us don’t often use the touchpads on our notebooks. We don’t. We’d rather subject ourselves to the minor inconvenience of toting a mouse around, because it’s just that much easier to use. But the new ASUS ZenBooks are trying to put the spotlight on the ever innocuous, neglected touchpad, by sprucing it up a little and giving it a little more… oomph, a little more relevance to our daily web-surfing habits.

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In the ZenBook Pro 14, you’ll be getting a ScreenPad — which you may remember from our drawing endeavours on the ZenBook Pro 15 — it allows you to load up apps like calculator, music player, et cetera, and alternatively, serves as an extended screen. The ZenBook 14, on the other hand, will feature a much simpler NumberPad that’ll make up for the lack of a full numeric keypad on the keyboard. We’ve been assured that the touchpad will be able to pick up on the gesture differences between NumberPad clicking and touchpad swiping, so you ought to be able to use the touchpad normally even with its NumberPad feature activated.

If you’re more concerned about the external aesthetics of the ZenBook and you’ve always been fond of that elegantly subtle vibe, then you may be happy to know that, “The new ZenBook series features the same zen-inspired spun-metal finish, just like any other previous ZenBook model. Because on the spun-metal finish is actually ASUS’ iconic concentric circle design pattern. It’s the hallmark of ZenBook. So designers can’t leave that out,” according to Loi.

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ASUS ZenBook 14

The ZenBook Pro 14, 14 and 15 will all sport that nifty ErgoLift that’ll put your keyboard at a nice slant when you lift their screens up, all the better to type on. They’ll also sport NanoEdge displays with ASUS’ 178-degree wide-view technology, and the Pro 14, in particular, has its screen Pantone-validated — so for the artists and content creators out there, you can translate your photoshop canvas to a physical one without worrying too much about the colour scheme.

ASUS’ ZenBook Pro 14 will also come equipped with the latest 8th Generation Intel Core i7 processor, with up to 16GB of high-performance 2400Hz DDR4 RAM and PCIEG3x2 NVME 512G M.2 SSD. Whether you’re editing video footage, rendering 3D-models, or gaming, the ZenBook Pro 14 should breeze through all of that with sufficient ease. Coupled with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q GPU, we imagine working on it will be a smooth, lag-free joy that won’t reduce us to tears every time we’ve to render something in Premiere Pro or Maya.

And if you want to take a closer look at its specs:

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Model ZenBook Pro 14 (UX480FD-E1049T)
Processor Intel Core i7-8565U Processor 1.8 GHz (8M Cache, up to 4.6 GHz)
Display 14” LED-backlit Full HD (1920×1080) 16:9 touchscreen, 100% sRGB colour gamut
5.2mm-thin bezel with 86% screen-to-body ratio
178° wide-view technology
PANTONE Validated
Operating System Windows 10 Home
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q
Video memory: 4GB GDDR5 VRAM
Memory 16GB 2400MHz DDR4
Storage PCIEG3x2 NVME 512G M.2 SSD
Connectivity Dual-band (2×2) 802.11ac Wi-Fi
Bluetooth 5.0
Camera IR webcam
Interfaces 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C (USB-C)
1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A
1 x USB 2.0
1 x Standard HDMI
1 x Combo audio jack
Audio Harman Kardon-certified ASUS SonicMaster stereo audio system with surround-sound; smart amplifier for maximum audio performance
3.5mm headphone jack
Long-travel voice coils for improved low-frequency response
Battery 70Wh 4-cell lithium-polymer battery
AC Adapter 90W power adapter
Output: 19V DC, 7.7A, 90W
Input: 100-240V AC, 50/60Hz universal
Dimensions 225 x 323 x 17.9mm
Weight 1.6kg
ASUS ZenBook 15

Significantly lighter than the Pro 14, the ZenBook 14 clocks in at barely over 1kg, and it’s also compactly sized — with a built that’s smaller than A4, which makes it an easy fit for most backpacks. Nevertheless, having a slim built doesn’t mean it’s fragile — like the ZenBook 15, the ZenBook 14 can stand to take a knock or two, having passed the MIL-STD-810G military standard. And both notebooks are packing the latest 8th Generation Intel Core i7 quad-core processors, with up to NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q graphics, 16GB RAM and ultrafast PCIe SSDs.

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For a better look at their specs:

Model ZenBook 14 (UX433FA-A5130T) ZenBook 14 (UX433FN-A5021T) ZenBook 15 (UX533FD-A8067T)
Processor Intel Core i7-8565U Processor 1.8 GHz (8M Cache, up to 4.6 GHz)
Display 14-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) NanoEdge display
178° wide-view technology
72% NTSC
Four-sided frameless design, up to 92% S/B ratio
15.6-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) NanoEdge display
178° wide-view technology
72% NTSC
Four-sided frameless design, up to 92% S/B ratio
Operating System Windows 10 Home
Graphics Intel UHD Graphics 620 NVIDIA GeForce MX150, 2GB GDDR5 VRAM NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, 2GB GDDR5 VRAM
Memory 8GB 2133MHz LPDDR3 16GB 2133MHz LPDDR3 16GB 2400MHz DDR4
Storage PCIEG3x2 NVME 256G M.2 SSD PCIEG3x2 NVME 512G M.2 SSD
Connectivity Wi-Fi: Dual-band 802.11ac gigabit-class Wi-Fi / Bluetooth 5.0
Webcam 3D IR HD camera – Windows Hello login compatible
Interfaces USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C
USB Type-A (Up to 10Gbps)
USB 2.0
Micro SD
Audio combo jack
USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C (display support)
USB Type-A (up to 10Gbps)
USB Type-A (up to 5Gbps)
SD card
Audio combo jack
Touchpad Exclusive NumberPad design n/a
Audio ASUS SonicMaster stereo audio system, certified by Harman Kardon
Battery 50Wh 3-cell lithium-polymer battery
Up to 14 hours battery life
73Wh 4-cell lithium-polymer battery
Up to 116 hours battery life
AC Adapter 65W power adapter, plug type: ø4 (mm)
(Output: 19V DC, 65W)
(Input: 100-240V AC, 50/60Hz universal)
90W power adapter, plug type: ø4 (mm)
(Output: 19V DC, 65W)
(Input: 100-240V AC, 50/60Hz universal)
Dimension 31.9cm x 19.9cm x 1.59 cm 35.4cm x 22cm x 1.79 cm
Colour Icicle Silver Royal Blue Royal Blue
Weight 1.09kg 1.09kg 1.59kg

If you’re thinking to pick them up, the ZenBook 14 (UX433) and ZenBook Pro 14 (UX480) are both currently available in Singapore at S$1,598 and S$2,998 respectively, at ASUS Brand Shops and authorised retailers. The ZenBook 15 (UX533) will be available at S$2,098 sometime after Christmas.

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