Asus ZenBook Pro UX501VW review


WE TEND TO associate the Asus’ ZenBook line with shiny, metallic and dainty ultrabooks, but the ZenBook Pro UX501VW takes that preconception and smashes it to smithereens.

Blink and you’d be forgiven for mistaking the sleek, brushed aluminium chassis for the latest Apple MacBook Pro, and if you think you’ve seen it all before that’s because it borrows heavily from last year’s UX501J. There’s a ripple effect pattern engraved on the surface that offsets the otherwise tough looks and rigid build quality.

The ZenBook Pro measures 383x255x20.6mm and weighs 2.27kg with battery. That’s slightly more than the MacBook Pro, and more than enough to crush Microsoft’s Surface Book.

If size and weight are factors you might want to try before you buy, as it’s slightly too wide and long to stow in anything but a laptop bag. You’d struggle with a rucksack, for instance.

Asus ZenBook Pro review - keyboard

The size of the ZenBook Pro lends to the backlit keyboard’s pleasing expanse, and there was ample space to stretch our fingers and make frequent use of the full-size numeric keypad.

Particular attention must also be paid to the excellent trackpad that offered just enough precision and responsiveness that we never felt like reaching for an external mouse.

Asus ZenBook Pro review

The Asus ZenBook Pro is well represented in terms of connectivity. On the left you’ll find power, 1x USB 3.0, 1x HDMI-out and 1x USB 3.1 Type-C with Thunderbolt 3 support. On the right, 3.5mm audio, SD reader and 2x USB 3.0. On the bottom you’ll find Bang & Olufsen speakers at opposite ends.

One thing to note: there’s no Ethernet port so you’ll need to make use of the supplied USB-to-Ethernet adaptor to make a wired connection.

4K/UHD displays are fast becoming the norm on high-end laptops but that takes nothing away from their awe. The 15.6in touchscreen on the Asus ZenBook Pro offers a 3840×2160 resolution and, at 282ppi, it’s as pin sharp as you’d like.

With Windows 10 the desktop has never looked better, but you’ll need to bump display scaling up somewhat as the UHD resolution makes text very small.

Asus ZenBook Pro review - 4K display

If you compare the screen on the 15in MacBook Pro (a Retina display capable of 2880×1800) there’s a 60 per cent difference in pixels between the two.

Colours are rich and there’s an abundance of detail, but we found it just a little too dim for our liking after extended viewing.

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