Powerful and stylish, the ASUS ZenBook Pro 15 (UX850GE) proudly boasts its good looks and backs it up with solid internals that pack a punch. This ZenBook laptop comes with a plethora of highlight features–slim profile, up to 4K display, a cool screen touch pad, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 10i graphics, and up to 1TB SSD. The ZenBook Pro 15 is also among the first laptops to get Intel’s top-tier Core i9 processor, although only the Core i7 variant is available in the Philippines.
Our review unit is the top variant in the ZenBook Pro 15 series, which comes with a 4K UHD touchscreen, Core i7 processor, 1050 Ti GPU, 16GB RAM, and 1TB PCIe SSD. It’s priced at P134,995.
Design & Construction
The ZenBook Pro 15 stuns with its Deep Dive Blue finish with golden beveled edges. The lid features ASUS’ trademark concentric circle etching, which gives a good textured feel and a beautiful visual effect when hit by light from various angles. Engraved at the center of the cover is the ASUS logo in gold.
The beautiful gold and blue design continues when you open the laptop. The backlit keyboard rests on a slight lowered space; the well-spaced keys features a gold-colored font. Directly below the keyboard is the ScreenPad (we’ll take more about this later) at the center and the fingerprint reader far right. The rest of the space are covered in blue with diagonal strokes.
Made in aluminum, the body looks and feels solid. It’s sleek but you need not to worry that the ZenBook Pro 15 might flex or break even as you stuff it in your everyday bag and move it around. At 1.88kg, the ZenBook Pro 15 has quite a heft. You can feel the additional weight as you carry it around in your bag, but not too heavy that it limits your movement or slows you down.
This computer also offers a wide gamut of connectivity options and ports. On the right side are two USB 3.1 Type A ports, a microSD slot, and a 3.5mm audio port. On the left, there’s the power, HDMI, and two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports. The absence of a full size SD card reader is a setback for multimedia creators, though.
Display & Multimedia
The ZenBook Pro 15 boasts two displays. The main display is a 15.6-inch 4K UHD touchscreen. With 100% Adobe sRGB color gamut and Pantone certification, the screen is perfect for photo- and video-editing, or any tasks that require precise color rendering. The detail and color reproduction on this screen is outstanding. It also boasts 178-degree viewing angles. I can watch movies on this laptop for hours and enjoy every minute of it.
Meanwhile, the second display is a 4.8 x 2.6in LCD touchscreen with 1920 x 1080 resolution. The panel directly sits below the keyboard area. This small screen, called ScreenPad, offers various functions aside from being a traditional touch pad for the laptop. In Traditional TouchPad mode, the panel blacks out and functions as Windows Precision Touchpad. The ScreenPad mode shows a productivity toolbar at the top part of the small screen. It displays icons for Music, Calendar, Calculator, and more. If you’re working on Microsoft Office programs, this mode gives you a quick access to an editing toolbar. The Extension Display mode transforms the screen touchpad into a true second screen. With this mode you can be working on an Office program on you main screen, while simultaneously browsing your Facebook feed on the ScreenPad.
To complement the vivid big screen of this ZenBook Pro, ASUS equipped it with Harman Kardon speakers at the bottom. These down-firing speakers produce loud and clear sound at maximum volume. No distortions even as you increase the volume. I just wish there’s more bass to it, but that’s just nitpicking.
The webcam on this laptop is so-so. It produces decent images in a wall lit room. The images taken in low-lit areas, however, are grainy.
Matching its good looks are the powerful hardware inside. Thanks to its 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-850HQ six-core processor paired with Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti GPU, 16GB RAM, and 1TB PCIe x 4 SSD, the ZenBook Pro 15 performs incredibly well. Multi-tasking is a breeze. I was able to stream on Netflix, edit on Photoshop, open almost 20 tabs on Chrome, and run a couple of Office programs at the same time, and not even a hint of slowing down or lag happened.
This ASUS laptop runs Windows 10 out of the box. ASUS didn’t include much proprietary programs in the mix, so you get an almost pure Windows experience. The ZenBook Pro 15 also comes with a dedicated fingerprint scanner for additional security.
Of all its good points, the ZenBook Pro 15 has an Achilles’ heel: it’s battery performance. Its 4K display, ScreenPad, and discreet GPU demand so much of the battery. With both the display and ScreenPad functioning, this laptop lasted me around 5 hours of run time, with constant Web browsing and video streaming and creating documents, plus photo editing. Turning off the ScreenPad will add an hour or so to its battery life.
This laptop heats up a bit too when you use it for several hours continuously and when charging up. But it’s understandable because of its all-metal body. The dual fan system on this machine works a bit to lessen the heat.
If you’re looking for a powerful laptop, but also prefer carrying a great-looking machine as you daily drive, the ASUS ZenBook Pro 15 is a perfect option. The device brings the performance you need in your demanding work. It also brings an added flair and productivity with its ScreenPad feature. The only caveat in this laptop is its battery, which may be a big consideration for mobile workers.
As for the price? Yes, it’s a bit pricey. Again, however, there are only a few devices in the market that can bring both the power and looks in one device. Plus, the ZenBook Pro 15 offers a lot to power your work and play with its powerhouse features like the 4K display, top-of-the-line processor and graphics, and large memory.