Tuesday, 04 September 2018 21:40

FULL LAUNCH VIDEO: ASUS announces all-new ZenBook 13 and 14 with NumberPad trackpad and 15-inch model


ASUS has unveiled impressive new 13, 14 and 15-inch "thin and light" laptops with its most compact designs ever, featuring enviable four-sided frameless NanoEdge displays for "near-borderless visuals" alongside its NumberPad innovation.

ASUS has delivered its an all-new ZenBook series, with the launch of ZenBook 13 (UX333), ZenBook 14 (UX433) and ZenBook 15 (UX533).

It's a fully redesigned series of "premium thin and light laptops" that introduces an impressive new "frameless NanoEdge display", which features ultraslim bezels on all four sides and what Asus dubs as "an unrivalled up to 95% screen-to-body ratio for a near-borderless viewing experience".

The NanoEdge display also allows a much more compact design, with the result that each of the new ZenBook models has the smallest footprint in its class, as of 17 August.

Given the fact Windows-based notebooks come in a wide range of configurations, ASUS points out that its 13-inch and 14-inch models also "optionally include the exclusive new NumberPad, an innovative productivity enhancement that provides a full-size LED-illuminated numeric keypad built into the touchpad".

However, all models feature a special 3D IR camera that allows fast face login using Windows Hello, even in low-light environments as standard.

ASUS states "the combination of performance and mobility is a defining feature of the ZenBook series, and the new models feature a full complement of high-performance components including the latest 8th Generation Intel​ ​ Core i7 quad-core CPU, up to NVIDIA​​ GeForce​ GTX 1050 Max-Q graphics, 16GB RAM, ultrafast PCIe​ SSDs and gigabit-class Wi-Fi".

There's plenty more about the new models following these two videos, which starts off with a celebration of the Asus design philosophy over the past few years since it first started down the thin and light route, followed by the new Asus ZenBook models.

The second video shows the NumberPad at work, which I was curious about typing on to see how quickly it could be used to type out numbers, while also effortlessly turning into a standard trackpad when gliding your fingertip over its surface – and it worked as advertised.

Here are the two videos, the article continues thereafter, so please read on!

ASUS tells us that "all models are torture-tested to military-grade (MIL-STD-810G) reliability standards, with demanding tests that include environmental extremes of altitude, temperature and humidity, in addition to extensive drop, shock and vibration testing".

Ultraportable, redefined

The company says its new ZenBook series "ushers in a fresh era of ultracompact, ultralight laptops that boast the smallest footprints in their class, a feat made possible by the new frameless NanoEdge design".

"The stunning frameless NanoEdge displays now feature ultraslim bezels on all four sides, creating an unrivalled 92% screen-to-body ratio that maximises the screen area in the minimum physical space.

"The result is simply breathtaking: the near-borderless visuals and up to 4K UHD resolution (on the ZenBook 15 only) deliver a more immersive viewing experience with less visual distraction, making ZenBook the perfect choice for on-the-go creativity or entertainment.

"Complementing the ground-breaking new design, the traditional ZenBook style and elegance is apparent at a glance: all models feature the iconic Zen-inspired spun-metal finish on the lid, and there's a choice of prestigious Royal Blue or sophisticated Icicle Silver anodised finishes, both newly enhanced with a contrasting Rose Gold trim bar above the keyboard for an extra touch of luxury."

No-compromise productivity

For the ultimate on-the-go productivity, Asus is very proud that its "ZenBook 13 and 14 are equipped with the exclusive new ASUS NumberPad".

"NumberPad solves the age-old problem of the lack of a dedicated numeric keypad on compact laptops.

"Tapping the NumberPad icon at the top right corner of the touchpad reveals a full-size LED-illuminated numeric keypad, allowing rapid and intuitive data entry or calculations. ZenBook 15 features a traditional physical numeric keypad.

"All models feature an advanced 3D infrared (IR) camera, with see-in-the-dark capabilities to ensure fast, reliable hands-free face login with Windows Hello – even in dimly-lit environments. Unlike some rivals with awkwardly placed cameras, on ZenBook the camera is located on the slim top bezel of the NanoEdge display – yet another thoughtful design detail.

"Advanced voice-recognition capabilities on the new ZenBook series means users can be entertained, informed, and organised simply by speaking to Alexa or Cortana. Alexa is a cloud-based voice service that helps users with tasks, entertainment, general information, and more. Using Alexa is as simple as asking a question. Just ask to play music, read the news, control a smart home, tell a joke, and more – Alexa will respond instantly.

"When working on the go, it’s vital to be able to connect with anything and everything. The new ZenBook series features the revolutionary USB Type-C port for any-way-up connections and superfast USB 3.1 Gen 2 (up to 10Gbps) data transfers, and there's also a range of other USB ports, including USB Type-A (up to 5Gbps or 10Gbps) and/or USB 2.0. All models also include an HDMI port and a microSD or SD card reader, so it’s easy to connect to all your current and future peripherals.

"With any ZenBook, comfort is one of the top design priorities. The new ZenBook series goes the extra mile with the exclusive ErgoLift hinge, an engineering masterpiece designed to automatically tilt the keyboard to the most comfortable typing position. But that’s not all: the carefully calculated tilt improves cooling and audio performance, too."

Unbounded performance

ASUS advises its new ZenBook series is "built to deliver unbounded on-the-go performance, featuring up to the latest 8th Generation Intel​ Core ​i7 processor and a range of fast graphics options, including up to NVIDIA​ GeForce MX150 discrete graphics on ZenBook 13 and 14. ZenBook 15 is equipped with high-performance NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q GPU.

"All models are equipped with PCIe SSDs and up to 16GB of RAM, making ZenBook ideal for creating complex documents, mining data, retouching photos, editing videos, or simply taking a gaming break. The new ZenBook series lets users do more, and do it quicker.

"Mobile professionals need to stay connected — at the fastest speed possible. All new ZenBook models feature gigabit-class Wi-Fi and ASUS Wi-Fi Master technology, for ultrafast downloads and smooth streaming with greater range and more stable network connections than ever before. Additionally, the latest Bluetooth​ 5.0 lets users access all the benefits of the latest low-power peripherals and accessories.

"Designed for non-stop, on-the-go lifestyles, the new ZenBook series gives users the freedom to work all day on a single battery charge — up to an impressive 14 hours for ZenBook 13 and 147, and an incredible 16 hours for ZenBook 15."

Ultratough: Military-grade durability

As noted previously, the new ZenBook series "meets the ultra-demanding MIL-STD-810G military standard for reliability and durability, undergoing a punishing test regime that includes extended tests for operation in harsh environments including extreme altitudes, temperatures and humidity.

"The series has also passed ASUS internal laptop tests that far exceed the standards set by the industry. ZenBook is the ultra-tough ultraportable, the perfect choice for discerning on-the-go professionals."

Availability and Pricing

ASUS ZenBook 13 (UX333), ZenBook 14 (UX433) and ZenBook 15 (UX533) will be available in Australia from early November. Pricing and configurations will be announced at local launch.

ASUS also launched more models, which we'll be covering shortly, but you can read about the new Asus ROG (Republic of Gamers) models with their own impressive innovations, including the full launch videos in two articles entitled "LAUNCH VIDEO: New Asus ROG 2018 gaming laptop Zephyrus S (GX531) is thinner, faster and bigger yet smaller" and "LAUNCH VIDEO: New Asus ROG 2018 17.3" Strix SCAR II (GL704) arrives in 15.4-inch chassis".

The writer attended the ASUS launch of its new Intel-powered business, consumer and gaming notebooks in Taiwan as a guest of the company.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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