Asus got started early at Computex 2017, holding their press conference today before the official start of the show. Here’s what they couldn’t wait to tell us — details about their next ZenBooks. The ZenBook Deluxe and Pro have the expected hardware refreshes, along with a few other additions that make them look attractive for their prices.
The ZenBook 3 Deluxe puts a bit more of a premium on lightness. It’s a 14″ laptop that first surfaced during CES this year, and as always, it’s got the aluminum build and concentric circle design on the back that has become Asus’ Zen trademark, even if it is a fingerprint magnet. It also comes in that same deep navy blue with gold trim that Asus has fallen in love with — we’re not complaining. Asus is claiming the Deluxe is the thinnest 14″ laptop at 12.9 mm, but the really amazing news is that it weighs 2.42 pounds — that’s easy on the back for a premium laptop.
Inside, it’s what you’d expect from a premium 2017 laptop. There’s a 7th generation Intel Core i7 CPU, up to 16 GB of RAM, and up to a 1 TB PCIe SSD. The Deluxe has a 14″ 1080p display surrounded by thin bezels matched with a quad-speaker Harman/Kardon sound system, making it a pretty good option for entertainment — although perhaps not as impressive as the Huawei MateBook X with its full-on Dolby Atmos sound system.
The Deluxe has two USB Type-C Thunderbolt 3 ports that can be used to power two external 4K displays or to facilitate really fast file transfers. Asus also talked up using those ports with external GPU rigs, which they just happen to sell under the Republic of Gamers brand. There’s also a fingerprint sensor in the top right of the touchpad, something we’ve been seeing a lot more of lately.
The ZenBook Pro is a 15.6″ variant of the Deluxe. First thing you might notice is the interesting speaker positioning — it’s another quad speaker array, but you’ll find the grilles on the side and under the palmrest. Like with the Deluxe, it’s a stereo system — two of the speakers are woofers, two are drivers for highs and mids.
The hardware changes are a little odd. Asus has added an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti discrete GPU and a 4K display (with bezels about as thin as those of the Deluxe). The 1050Ti is ostensibly for gamers who want a little more power on the go, but it seems strange to couple it with a 4K display when the 1050Ti is really going to struggle to support 4K gaming. But, if you don’t mind stepping down to 1080p gaming, it should fare well enough.
Good news for battery life, though. Despite having to power a 4K display, Asus is saying the Pro model can get up to 14 hours on one charge, with fast charging that can get 60% back in 49 minutes. Looks like Asus is serious about calling it a Pro machine, too. They’ve made sure to add regular-sized USB Type-A ports and an HDMI port, along with a microSD card slot, so you’ll be a lot less likely to need an adapter for your peripherals.
Asus has stayed obsessed with the thinness game over the years, and while it’s probably not as important of a battle as in years past, it does help keep their laptops very backpack friendly. Even the larger Pro model is 18.9 mm thick and a shade under four pounds, which is pretty great news.
Combine that with stellar construction and a distinctive sense of style, and you’ve got some awfully tempting laptops. The prices seem decent for the combination of thinness, lightness, and performance — the ZenBook 3 Deluxe starts at $1,200, while the Pro starts at $1,300. Expect both sometime this summer. Look for the Deluxe in blue or silver and the Pro in blue or black.
Check out more of our Computex 2017 coverage right here!
Disclosure: Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), an organizer of COMPUTEX, covered our travel expenses to attend COMPUTEX 2017. All thoughts and opinions are 100% our own.