There8217;s the latest ZenBook models – like the snazzy 13-inch model, as unveiled at IFA 2019 – and then there8217;s the step-up ZenBook Pro models, with the new 14-inch device being a serious slab of laptop for the more creatively demanding user.
- 14-inch LED-backlit Full HD (1920 x 1080) 16:9 touchscreen, 86% screen-to-body ratio
- 2x USB (3.1 and 2.0), 1x USB 3.1, 1x HDMI, 1x microSD card, 1x 3.5mm audio jack
- 225 x 323 x 17.9mm; 1.6kgs
- Harman Kardon speakers
There8217;s something about a 14-inch form factor that just feels right, especially if you8217;re often on the go. That8217;s why we think the latest Pro will be even more popular than the larger 15-inch form.
Just because it8217;s a bit smaller doesn8217;t mean it fails to embody much of the great stuff seen elsewhere in the ZenBook range though. There8217;s a bevvy of connections – all listed above, for the spotters – in a slender and attractive form.
The key take-away from the late 2018 ZenBook models is the screen bezel. Or the lack of it. The ZenBook Pro 14 has an 86 per cent screen-to-body ratio thanks to slender strips of the black stuff to its edges, which ensures a small overall footprint and attractive aesthetic.
The screen itself is an LED-backlit panel with a Full HD resolution. Given the Pro designation we8217;re surprised there8217;s no Ultra-HD option, but with fewer pixels to cater for the battery life ought to hold out better.
But the biggest headline the ZenBook Pro 14 brings is its trackpad. Yup, this is no normal pad: named 8216;ScreenPad8217;, a quick press of the F6 key allows for toggling between the pad8217;s designation. It can function as a standard trackpad, you can use it as a second screen, or as a touch controller complete with apps.
At present there8217;s only so many apps that fully function with ScreenPad8217;s potential, such as the Microsoft Office Suite, which brings a full digital numberpad into Excel on the trackpad, for example. Other apps are available, such as Spotify integration via a swipe down to control your music.
ScreenPad is certainly fun to play around with, but whether it8217;ll break down barriers is another question. Much like the MacBook8217;s controversial TouchBar – many write-off Apple8217;s permanent strip screen for app access and shortcuts – the Asus implementation won8217;t add enough features for all users. That said, if you8217;re just using it for all-day Premier Pro editing and find it useful to speed up your workflow then it could become the must-have feature for you.
The other thing about the trackpad is that it gets warm. This isn8217;t a surprise, really, as it8217;s a secondary screen with touch sensitivity. But there8217;s just something strange about handling a trackpad that8217;s hot to the touch. It8217;s not as warm when just used as a standard trackpad though.
- 8th Gen Intel Core i processors (i7-8565U and i5-8265U options), 8GB or 16GB RAM
- Nvidia GeForce MX150, 2GB GDDR5 VRAM discrete graphics
- 70Wh battery with up to 12.5 hours life per charge claimed
- 1TB/512GB/256GB PCIe SSD storage options
When it comes to power, the ZenBook Pro 14 isn8217;t actually any more 8216;pro8217; than its standard Zenbook cousins. That means the latest 8th Gen Intel Core i processors – available in Core i5 and Core i7 flavours with either 8GB or 16GB RAM – alongside Nvidia GeForce MX150 discrete graphics (with 2GB RAM).
We suspect the goal here is to balance ample power with on-the-go efficiency that8217;ll ensure acceptable longevity. Asus claims the ZenBook 14 Pro will run for up to 12.5 hours, which is pretty good going, but less than the ZenBook 13 standard (which has a smaller battery capacity). Whether this will ring true we won8217;t know until using a full release machine for a full period of time.