The Asus Zenbook Pro is a collection of thin-and-light 15-inch laptops with premium builds and aesthetics, but in addition highly effective hardware and good display choices.
We’ve coated the UX550 strains in depth right here on the location in earlier articles (UX550VD, UX550VE and the up to date UX550GD/GE), however Asus additionally introduced one other replace on this collection for 2018, the Zenbook Pro UX580.
This shares just about all options and quirks with the opposite 2018 Zenbook Execs, specifically the UX550GD and GE, however with one fascinating addition: an LCD built-in inside the touchpad, with a couple of specific functionalities that we’ll talk about about within the article under.
We’ve spent a while with an early pattern of the Zenbook UX580, the upper finish configuration with the Core i9-8950HK processor, 16 GB of DDR4 RAM, GTX 1050 Ti graphics and the 100% Adobe RGB 4K IPS touchscreen, and gathered all our impressions on this preview article.
Learn on to seek out out the place this laptop computer shines and the place it falls brief, how the i9 processor performs inside a compact physique and the way this 2018 Zenbook Pro compares to the competitors nowadays.
Specs as reviewed
Design and appears
The 2018 replace of the Zenbook Pro inherits most design strains and construct traits from the 2017 fashions, which we’ve coated in depth on this article, so we’re not going to focus a lot on this facet in right here.
Nevertheless, there are a number of modifications which are value mentioning. To begin with the UX580 is simply out there in a Deep Dive Blue shade scheme, with some delicate golden accents on the lid-cover and across the inside. The golden elements is perhaps a bit of too bling for some, however I’ve to confess that general, this combo seems beautiful.
What’s modified from the earlier line is the truth that the inside will get a brushed texture that appears good, hides smudges somewhat higher and will age higher than the graceful ending of the earlier Execs. On prime of that, whereas there’s nonetheless some flex within the keyboard deck, particularly in the direction of its higher half, I really feel this UX580 is a bit sturdier constructed that the older UX550s, however I don’t have the 2 aspect by aspect for a direct comparability, so this could possibly be only a skewed impression.
In principle the construct shouldn’t have modified, however my UX580 can also be somewhat heavier than the older UX550s, weighing Four.Four lbs on my scales (though Asus claims it weighs Four.15 lbs, and my scales are nicely calibrated). So I’d reckon some issues have modified on the inside and this might have affected the construct. The inside chassis continues to be made out of plastic, with only a shell of aluminum on the surface.
There are additionally a number of different slight exterior modifications. The Zenbook UX580 not will get up-firing audio system, which have been as an alternative moved on the underbelly, like on most different Zenbooks. And talking of the underbelly, you’ll discover there’s nonetheless no intake-grill on prime of the CPU/GPU, and even these aspect grills from the UX550VD/VE have been eliminated to be able to accommodate the audio system. That’s worrisome given the sort of hardware Asus crammed inside and the thermal problems with the 2017 fashions, however we’ll get to that in a bit.
One last slight change regards the fingerprint reader, which is not built-in inside the trackpad, however was moved beneath the arrow keys, once more one thing attribute to all the 2018 Zenbook line.
Just about else stayed the identical, together with the IO, the keyboard format and the display’s hinge, which continues to be pretty stiff and would require each palms to raise up the display, however a minimum of retains it as set-up even when poking your fingers at it. There’s nonetheless no full-size SD card reader, which could not appear to be a lot, nevertheless it’s truly an necessary flaw for a pc meant for content material creators and professionals.
Keyboard and trackpad
I wasn’t very proud of the typing expertise on the 2017 Zenbook Execs, and whereas the keyboard itself appears similar on this 2018 Zenbook Pro UX580, for some cause I acquired alongside a bit higher with it. I really feel that is because of the improved rigidity, which interprets in much less flex within the keyboard deck.
The format nonetheless wants a while to get used to, with that additional row of keys on the best and the Energy Button built-in as the highest proper key, and the suggestions continues to be moderately mushy and mushy, however give it a while and I’d reckon you’ll get alongside nicely with this keyboard.
The keys are in fact backlit, and the writing can also be golden, which maintains an general design unity. They’re additionally pretty quiet, so typing in quiet locations gained’t hassle these round you.
The trackpad one the opposite hand is new and very nice. It’s a big Microsoft Precision clickpad with a glass floor that feels wonderful to the contact and performs properly with on a regular basis use, together with gestures and faucets. The bodily clicks are a bit of gentle, however they nonetheless work nice.
The large promoting level of this complete Zenbook UX580 line is the 5.5-inch LCD display positioned beneath the trackpad, which Asus dubs as a ScreenPad. It can show numerous widgets and features. For example, you need to use it as a NumPad, as a option to management the music operating on the laptop computer, as a calculator or Youtube participant. It may also be used to shortly launch numerous apps on the pc, like a browser or Phrase, and in sure apps (Premiere, Photoshop, Workplace) it will possibly double up as a side-screen with fast motion shortcuts. It may also be used as a secondary show in Home windows, so can prolong your desktop, run a recreation or a film, like on any commonplace dual-display setups.
Given this text is predicated on a pre-production pattern of the UX580, the performance of our pattern was fairly restricted. Besides, I do assume this ScreenPad isn’t just yet one more gimmick, particularly for professionals who use complicated purposes, with a mouse related and the touchpad appearing as a secondary display for fast controls and changes. You’ll discover extra examples of how this works and what it could actually do within the two movies under.
You ought to be conscious nevertheless that having the ScreenPad activated will take a small toll on the battery lifetime of about 1 to 1.5 W per hour at 50% brightness, however you’ll be able to regulate its brightness from the settings, disable its background picture and even flip it off utterly by hitting Fn+F6.
The Zenbook Execs can be found with both a matte FHD or a contact UHD 15.6-inch display, and we obtained to check the latter, which comes with a reliable AU Optronics B156ZAN03.1 panel, the one Asus additionally makes use of on the 15-inch Zenbook Flip UX561.
It’s shiny, will get good distinction and wide-gamut colour copy. It’s additionally nicely calibrated out of the field, however you may give our calibrated profile a attempt as nicely. Extra particulars under.
- Panel HardwareID: AU Optronics AUO31EB (B156ZAN03.1);
- Protection: 100% sRGB, 98% NTSC, 100% AdobeRGB;
- Measured gamma: 2.2;
- Max brightness in the midst of the display: 307 cd/m2 on energy;
- Distinction at max brightness: 900:1;
- White level: 6900 Okay;
- Black on max brightness: zero.34 cd/m2.
These apart, you also needs to know that this panel doesn’t use PWM for brightness modulation, and the contact helps Asus’s Pen, which isn’t included and doubtless doesn’t make a lot sense to make use of on a clamshell laptop computer anyway.
There’s nevertheless one facet the place I discovered this panel to be a bit poor: uniformity, with the decrease left nook about 20% dimmer than the top-right nook, based on our instruments. There’s in fact additionally the matter of visibility in brilliant life, as a result of whereas the panel is reasonably brilliant at just a little over 300 nits in its center, you’ll nonetheless wrestle to make use of it outdoors or in different brightly lit environments, with all of the glare from the glass on prime.
Hardware, efficiency and improve choices
We acquired to check the very best finish configuration Asus presents for the 2018 Zenbook Pro, with the Core i9-8950HK processor, 16 GB of DDR4 RAM, Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti graphics and a 1 TB PCIe SSD. Nevertheless, out pattern is an engineering pattern, so you need to take our findings with a lump of salt and ensure to learn different evaluations as soon as the retail fashions are available in shops, as a few of the features we’ve found may enhance by then.
There are a couple of elements to remember in terms of the hardware configuration. To start with, the RAM is soldered on the motherboard, so there’s no solution to get greater than 16 GB on this pocket book. The SSD then again may be swapped, in case you go for a decrease finish mannequin and plan to improve it your self. Accessing the internals is pretty straightforward, you’ll simply need to get previous the again panel, which is maintain in place by the ten Torx screws seen across the sides. There are not any screws hidden behind the rear rubber ft, like on different Zenbooks. Inside you’ll additionally discover the wi-fi chip, however except for the Wi-Fi and SSD, every little thing else is soldered in place.
With these out of the best way, let’s bounce to the elephant within the room: the i9-8950HK processor. This can be a 45 W processor with larger Base Clock Speeds and Turbo Speeds than the extra commonplace i7-8750H, but in addition a hefty worth premium or round $200. Usually, this type of processor is made for workstations and high-performance full-size notebooks, however some OEMs determined to implement them in thinner builds, like this Zenbook Pro.
Once more, I need to stress that the unit we obtained to check it pre-production and you must take our findings with a grain of salt. Nevertheless, I discover the outcomes on par with what I used to be anticipating, given our expertise with the UX550VE (i7-7700HQ and GTX 1050 Ti) prior to now and the truth that Asus hasn’t up to date the cooling on the Zenbook UX580: the i9 processor can’t keep its probably excessive Turbo Speeds in demanding masses. It by no means throttles per-se and goes beneath the usual clock speeds of two.9 GHz, however the Turbo speeds drop low sufficient so the carried out i9 doesn’t carry out in addition to on thicker computer systems, which was completely to be anticipated.
For as soon as, the CPU energy drain was restricted to 45W on this pattern, whereas different implementations permit greater drains for brief durations of time, which permits the processor to run at excessive Turbo Increase speeds for at the very least a couple of seconds. This interprets in decrease benchmark scores and out of the field, our pattern solely returned Cinebench R15 Multi-Core scores of round 1050 factors, which is even somewhat underneath a mean i7-8750H implementation. That’s resulting from the truth that the CPU heats up shortly to 95-97 levels Celsius and the frequency is shortly thermally restricted to stop the die from reaching excessive temperatures.
Undervolting helps to a good extent, and this information explains what undervolting is and the way it may be carried out. Our pattern ran completely secure at -120 mV and this translated in an general improve of seven to 15% in benchmarks, on account of the truth that the CPU takes longer to heat-up and runs at higher-clocks in steady masses. Whereas out of the field the cores stabilize at round Three.zero tot Three.2 GHz with a number of Cinebench runs in a loop, with undervolting they run at Three.Four-Three.6 GHz in the identical exams, therefore the efficiency increase. That’s nonetheless a good method from the Four.5 GHz most Turbo Increase the i9-8950HK can theoretically keep with 6-core masses, and thus the benchmark outcomes we’ve obtained on the UX580 are removed from what different full-size implementations of the i9 processor ship. However once more, that ought to come to completely no shock, in case you have been anticipating the i9 to run the identical inside this laptop computer as contained in the MSI GT75 Titan, properly, come one, get critical.
Since undervolting is protected and one thing I like to recommend on a thin-and-light pc with this type of hardware, I’ve ran a set of benchmarks on the undervolted profile, and right here’s what I acquired:
- 3DMark 13: Hearth Strike – 5225 (Graphics – 5617, Physics – 10488);
- PCMark 08: House Typical – 3289;
- PCMark 10: 4175;
- GeekBench Four 64-bit: Single-Core: 5489, Multi-core: 20541;
- CineBench R15: OpenGL – fps, CPU 686 cb, CPU Single Core 162 cb;
- x264 HD Benchmark Four.zero 32-bit: Move 1 – 204.00 fps, Move 2 – 69.73 fps.
We also needs to point out that the i9-8950HK is an unlocked processor and may be overclocked by boosting its Turbo Frequencies or upping the multiplier. Nevertheless, that has no influence on efficiency, because of the thermal limitations.
So once we draw the road on this brief preview, the i9-8950HK makes little sense imo on such a pc and I’d advise you to save lots of your cash and go for the i7-8750H fashions as an alternative. Nevertheless, you need to learn different critiques of retail i9 implementations, to get a greater image of what to anticipate, and never draw a conclusion based mostly on our findings alone, that are based mostly on a pre-production pattern.
In comparison with final yr’s i7-7700HQ carried out within the Zenbook Pro UX550VD/VE, the i9-8950HK on this Zenbook Pro UX580 is in fact considerably quicker, however that was by no means a debate, because it will get 50% additional cores and threads, plus runs at greater clock speeds.
|CPU Benchmarks||i9-8950HK Undervolted -120 mV||i7-7700HQ Undervolted -110 mV|
|3DMark – FireStrike Physics||10488||9461|
|Cinebench R15 CPU||1148 cb||737 cb|
|Geekbench Four.zero – Multi Core||20541||14063|
|x264 HD Benchmark Four.zero – Move 2||69.73||42.89 fps|
The talk is which of the Espresso Lake processors makes probably the most sense on such a construct, and whereas I’ve but to check the i7-8750H on this 2018 Zenbook Pro, I’m fairly positive it’s going to carry out inside hairlines of the i9, for a fraction of the fee.
CPU apart, there’s additionally the matter of GPU efficiency. Asus caught with the full-power model of the Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti for the Zenbook Pro UX580GE, and it involves no shock it heats up and drops in efficiency with lengthy gaming periods. We’re not going to get into particulars right here, since this check unit is pre-production and we’d draw some hasty conclusions, however our unit carried out just about just like the Zenbook UX550VE we’ve examined prior to now in video games, with barely greater framerates within the first jiffy or launching a recreation, which dropped because the GPU’s Clock Velocity was thermally restricted.
Noise, Warmth, Connectivity, audio system and others
I discover it odd that Asus didn’t handle the cooling on the 2018 Zenbook Execs in any vital approach, given the suggestions on the thermally restricted efficiency of the 2017 fashions and other people’s complains on Reddit and the boards. In reality, the 2018 updates get much more obstructed air-flow, as these two consumption meshes on the stomach at the moment are smaller and have been moved decrease, on prime of the now rear-facing audio system.
The cooling continues to be very primary imo for a skinny laptop computer with this type of hardware, with two followers, one joined heatpipe for each the CPU and GPU, an additional smaller heatpipe for the GPU and a 3rd heatpipe hidden on prime of the motherboard. The followers are supposedly upgraded and use higher supplies for the fins, which ought to translate in an improved CFM. In actual life, these followers are pretty quiet, just about inaudible with day by day use (which is sweet), but in addition not that loud with demanding masses, averaging about 45-46 dB at head-level. I’m undoubtedly not complaining about them being quiet, however the whole cooling simply can’t correctly cool the hardware Asus put inside this pc.
That’s why the Zenbook Pro UX580 runs pretty heat with day by day use and will get pretty scorching with gaming, particularly on the again. Nonetheless, at excessive 40s, these temperatures aren’t that prime and this undoubtedly doesn’t get as scorching as one thing just like the MSI GS65 and different skinny laptops with highly effective hardware, however let’s not overlook this solely bundles a mid-range GTX 1050 Ti operating at sub-par frequencies because of thermal limitations. If the ultimate retail models are going to carry out higher, I’d additionally anticipate the shell to get hotter with masses.
*Day by day Use – 1080p Youtube clip in EDGE for 30 minutes
*Load – enjoying Far Cry Four for 30 minutes
Connectivity sensible the 2018 Zenbook Pro will get an up to date Wave 2 Wi-fi AC chip with Bluetooth 5.zero. This enables quicker wi-fi efficiency when paired with matching routers. The speeds do drop a good bit at 30 ft with 1 wall in between, however I by no means struggled with reception or encountered another points with the connection throughout my brief time with the UX580, so I don’t have something to complain about its wi-fi capabilities.
The audio system then again have been moved on the underbelly and whereas the 2017 fashions received quad-speakers, the 2018 updates solely get a set of two. They’re nonetheless pretty loud and the sound high quality is above common, so with out having the 2 generations aspect by aspect for a direct comparability, I can’t say these may be perceived as a downgrade in precise use.
So far as the webcam goes, it’s nonetheless the identical crap VGA one Asus insists on plastering on all their Zenbooks, and when you truly use the webcam in your pc, you’ll have a tough time accepting such a poor one on a premium system.
The Zenbook Pro UX580 will get a 71 Wh battery, which isn’t dangerous for a thin-and-light, however not nice both by 2018’s requirements, and with the display set at about 120 nits (30% brightness), right here’s what it is best to anticipate:
- 14.1 W (~5 h of use) – textual content modifying in Google Drive, Balanced Mode, display at 30%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 16.zero W (~Four h 30 min of use) – 1080p fullscreen video on Youtube in Web Explorer, Balanced Mode, display at 30%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 11.Three W (~6 h 15 min of use) – 1080p fullscreen .mkv video within the Film app, Balanced Mode, display at 30%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 15.zero W (~Four h 45 min of use) – 4K fullscreen .mkv video within the Film app, Balanced Mode, display at 30%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 21.5 W (~Three h 15 min of use) – searching in Edge, Balanced Mode, display at 30%, Wi-Fi ON.
Understand that we had the ScreenPad lively with all our exams, with its brightness set at 50%, and this takes an additional toll of roughly 1 to 1.5 W. The UHD display takes its toll as properly, and when you can mitigate the loss by disabling the ScreenPad, you’ll simply have to simply accept that a larger res panel is extra energy hungry when shopping for this laptop computer.
The UX590GE comes with a pretty chunky and heavy 150 W energy brick that weighs .54 kg with the included cables (European model). It’s not greater than the 120 W bricks on the older UX550s although.
Worth and availability
As of early June 2018 we don’t know when Asus could have the Zenbook UX580 in shops or how a lot it can value, so keep tuned for updates within the weeks and months to return.
On paper the Zenbook Pro UX580 is a shocking pc for content material creators and graphics professionals: it appears nice, it’s constructed properly, it features a wide-gamut 4K touchscreen and a superb hardware configuration with the cellular Espresso Lake Core i9 processor, GTX 1050 Ti graphics and quick storage. In actual life this 2018 replace inherits all of the quirks of the 2017 fashions, with the one replace being an fascinating LCD display positioned beneath the trackpad, which I’d reckon many will truly discover helpful, however it’s not sufficient to compensate for the issues.
Once we draw the road, there’s not a lot to complain about this laptop computer’s design and construct, keyboard, display high quality, IO and even battery life, though I do have nits with most of those as properly: there’s no SD card-reader, there’s nonetheless some flex within the keyboard deck, the keys are a bit mushy and the display is just averagely shiny. On prime of that, there are alternatives on the market with debatable higher screens, sturdier builds and bigger batteries. The Zenbooks often compensate with a extra reasonably priced price ticket, however I’m unsure that’s going to be sufficient this time round.
The cooling implementation continues to be the most important offender for the 2018 Zenbook Pro, particularly on this high-end configuration with the i9 processor and GTX 1050 Ti graphics. So far as I can inform proper now, you’re principally anticipated to pay additional for the extra highly effective hardware, however with out getting the matching improve in efficiency. That’s why final yr I principally beneficial the i5 + GTX 1050 configurations of the Zenbook Execs, and this yr I’d stick to these as properly, particularly with the up to date Espresso Lake i5-8300H being a lot quicker than the Kaby Lake i5. The i7 + GTX 1050 Ti fashions could possibly be an choice for a few of you that wish to profit from the additional oomph of the six-core builds and quicker graphics, however be ready to undervolt and repaste them (cautious although, repasting voids guarantee), and even in any case these tweaks nonetheless settle for that you simply’re not going to get the efficiency thicker implementations can ship from the identical hardware. As for the i9 configurations, properly, I don’t assume they’re value paying additional for, and never simply on this Zenbook, however on different comparable designs as properly.
On the finish of the day the Zenbook Pro UX580 continues to be a superb pc, and for the fitting worth it may be an choice to think about. However I can’t cover my slight disappointment, as little or no has been improved over the earlier era, apart from the bump in hardware, and sadly for Asus, the competitors didn’t relaxation on this final yr. The up to date Dell XPS 9570 continues to be a greater pc with a nicer display, sturdier construct, greater battery and extra environment friendly Max-Q graphics this time, which might be well worth the premium Dell asks for it, whereas the HP EliteBook 1050 is a model new various to think about. On prime of those, these considering gaming also needs to think about the extra highly effective GTX 1060 ultraportables just like the MSI GS65, Razer Blade 15 or Gigabyte Aero 15x.
Anyway, that just about attracts the road on this 2018 Asus Zenbook Pro UX580. We’ll replace our impressions as the ultimate retail variations are launched, and within the meantime let me know what you consider it and get in contact within the feedback part under in case you have any questions or something so as to add.