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Asus ZenBook Pro 15 UX580GD review: A dual-screen powerhouse

The Asus ZenBook Professional 15 UX580GD is a top-end 15.6-inch computer with a top rate price ticket to compare. At £2,199 (inc. VAT, or £1,832.50 ex. VAT) for the highest-spec style (reviewed right here), you get a Core i9 processor, a discrete GPU and 16GB of RAM. However that isn’t what makes this computer stick out from the group: that accolade is going to the ScreenPad, a touchpad that acts as a 2d full-colour display screen. Gimmick or useful gizmo? Let’s have a look.

It is price noting on the outset that this can be a hefty piece of apparatus. The 15.6-inch display screen sits in a chassis measuring 365mm vast by means of 241mm deep by means of 18.9mm thick. This bulk, mixed with 1.88kg of weight, method you will not be taking this computer to your travels except you completely must.

Asus says the chassis is ‘deep dive blue’ in shade. It seems to be black till it catches the sunshine, when the very deep blue shade that is used each outdoor and in turns into obvious, as does the Asus branding at the lid and slanted linear etching surrounding the keyboard and at the wrist leisure. A lot more noticeable is the gold rim across the higher edges of the bottom, which would possibly turn out an excessive amount of for some industry customers.

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The ZenBook UX580GD is a formidable 15.6-inch computer whose exceptional function is the ScreenPad — a touchpad that doubles as a secondary display screen.


Symbol: Sandra Vogel/ZDNet

The ScreenPad is the scene-stealer, regardless that. In addition to catering for typical touchpad purposes (cursor motion, button presses and gesture controls), it really works as a 2d touchscreen and viewer. The ScreenPad measures five.five inches around the diagonal, and has a answer of one,920 by means of 1,080 pixels.

When hired as a touchpad, the ScreenPad has vibrant wallpaper moderately than the extra standard mono floor. However the true a laugh comes when it operates in its two different guises.

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The ScreenPad provides a variety of purposes, together with an app launcher.


Symbol: Sandra Vogel/ZDNet
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The ScreenPad’s settings menu contains get entry to to an app retailer.


Symbol: Sandra Vogel/ZDNet

Such a is ScreenPad mode. This items a horizontal menu alongside the highest of the pad providing a variety of options, together with a calculator, a calendar, an app launcher and a track participant. The ScreenPad has its personal regulate panel so you’ll set its brightness and wallpaper, and it could actually accommodate apps. Spotify is promised for obtain, and there is an app retailer available from the ScreenPad’s settings menu so as to add extra, similar to ScreenPad Place of business. This allows you to regulate not unusual Microsoft Place of business purposes, keeping off the want to achieve for the mouse or consider keyboard shortcuts.

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The ScreenPad additionally has an Extender mode. Transfer this on and the primary display screen can also be swept into the ScreenPad, or despatched there by means of a keyboard mixture, in order that it is reflected. Or you’ll use the ScreenPad as a mini 2d show, shifting round Home windows and apps with faucets and sweeps. It is small, nevertheless it does paintings.

Each those modes, Extender and ScreenPad, are accessed by means of urgent F6, which additionally means that you can paintings in conventional touchpad mode and disable the touchpad totally, toggling in the course of the choices with every F6 button press.

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Extender mode means that you can use the ScreenPad as a mini 2d display screen — nice good fortune with making menu alternatives regardless that.


Symbol: Sandra Vogel/ZDNet

The ScreenPad isn’t with out obstacles. In each Extender and ScreenPad modes, cursor and button controls are disabled. The pad itself keeps its touch-responsiveness, so you’ll transfer round in apps and within the prolonged Home windows display screen, however whilst the previous is fairly simple for the reason that apps are designed for the display screen dimension, the latter may be very fiddly. The tiny show calls for actual precision and dexterity. I would not suggest attempting to make use of menus in Extender mode, and whilst it is OK for scrolling via internet pages, clicking hyperlinks is usually a problem.

In sensible phrases, disabling cursor and button controls in those two modes makes operating with the primary display screen fiddly. I resorted to prodding the touchscreen, and whilst the use of a mouse may be an choice, it kind of feels counter-intuitive to must set one up only for instances when the touchpad is in a different way engaged.

All this famous, the speculation at the back of ScreenPad is intriguing — however I will be able to’t lend a hand questioning if it is one thing of an answer in search of an issue.

The principle 15.6-inch touchscreen sits in a fairly slender bezel. My top-end assessment pattern had a three,840-by 2,160-pixel panel that, at 100 %, used to be extraordinarily vivid. Viewing angles are superb, and video streamed fantastically. Then again, the display screen may be very reflective, which makes operating in some stipulations — similar to open air, in rooms with side-windows and on trains — difficult every now and then.

Two speaker grilles sit down at the underside of the chassis, and whilst they output good-quality audio, desktops and clothes can muffle and deform the sound. I might a lot favor the audio system to be peak fastened.

The top display screen answer, plus the want to stay the tough parts and the ScreenPad going, have a certain impact on battery lifestyles. Asus says the ZenBook 15 UX580GD’s 71Wh Eight-cell lithium-polymer will stay it going for as much as nine.five hours, however my enjoy suggests that is constructive. In my first battery take a look at I left the display screen brightness at its default 40 % surroundings for battery-based paintings. I used to be on wireless the entire time, and did some writing right into a internet app and a good bit of streaming and internet surfing. The battery depleted to 25 % in 3 hours.

In a 2d take a look at with brightness at 25 % (which used to be completely usable) and the use of the similar paintings development, the battery depleted to 53 % in 3 hours. Do not be expecting all-day battery lifestyles from this computer except display screen brightness is grew to become proper down and workloads are mild.

The keyboard is relaxed to make use of. With a pleasing bounce-back and numerous area between keys, there used to be not anything to forestall me contact typing at complete velocity.

My top-end assessment pattern ran on an Intel Core i9-8950HK processor with 16GB of RAM and discrete Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics. It is a mixture that makes for a powerhouse of a computer. In case your bedget does not stretch to £2,199 (inc. VAT), you’ll go for a Core i7 with the similar discrete graphics, and both 8GB (£1,699) or 16GB (£1,899) of RAM. All 3 of those fashions have a 512GB SSD and a UHD touchscreen, and run Home windows 10 House. I did understand reasonably a little bit of noise from the fan every now and then, so bear in mind should you paintings in a library-quiet workplace.

There are two USB Three ports at the proper aspect, at the side of a MicroSD card slot and a three.5mm headset jack. The left aspect has an HDMI port and two USB Kind-C connectors with Thunderbolt. If you want stressed Ethernet, must use the supplied dongle, which takes up probably the most USB-Three ports.

The rate connector is a small round-pin unit, because of this that each USB-C ports are unfastened if you find yourself charging the computer. That is most certainly a nice factor for the reason that you might be more likely to want to recharge moderately incessantly. The charging brick itself is without doubt one of the chunkiest I have noticed shortly — one more reason this computer is not likely to be the cellular skilled’s first selection.

Safety is catered for by means of a fingerprint scanner at the wrist leisure and a webcam with Home windows Hi fortify.

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Symbol: Sandra Vogel/ZDNet

Conclusions

The Asus ZenBook Professional UX580GD is huge and heavy, as is its AC adapter, and battery lifestyles is not nice. All of because of this that this 15.6-inch computer will spend maximum of its time deskbound. At the plus aspect, the display screen is excellent, and there is numerous CPU and GPU energy on be offering.

The oddity this is the ScreenPad. With its display screen mirroring and unbiased purposes it generally is a winner, however Asus must consider the way it handles touchpad purposes when the ScreenPad is presenting a mini model of the primary display screen or its personal purposes, and likewise to place extra effort into discovering compelling makes use of for it.

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