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Computex 2018: ASUS try to reinvent the trackpad with new Zenbook Pro 15

ASUS have revealed their latest flagship notebook, the ZenBook Pro 15.

The new portable PC is available in both 14-inch and 15.6-inch sizings and the aesthetics here embody that classic ZenBook look. It’s got a neatly-textured swirl on the back cover and a stylish blue-and-copper color scheme working its favor. If you haven’t been a fan of this design in the past, this probably won’t win you over.

However, if you’re already one of the converted, you’ll probably dig it.

The 15.6-inch version of the device features a 4K UHD touchscreen (with 100% Adobe RGB), an 8th-Gen i9 Intel Core processor, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, up to 16GB of RAM, up to 1TB SSD storage and a fingerprint sensor.

The 14-inch version of the device features a FHD touchscreen, an 8th-Gen i7 Intel Core processor, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 (Max Q), up to 16GB of RAM, up to 1TB SSD storage and an IR camera. It also features an ergolift hinge similar to that found in the ROG Zephyrus gaming notebooks.

Of course, the headline feature here is the new screenpad. Both variants of the Zenbook Pro 15 swap out a traditional touchpad for a 5.5-inch FHD IPS touchscreen called the SmartPad.

As a baseline, the SmartPad can act as a secondary screen that can be used extends the display space. Beyond that, it also supports several apps via a launcher. You can use it to control media playback or access your calendar. In some ways, it’s an echo of what Apple have done with the Touch Bar on their recent Macbooks.

Read more: Computex 2018: ASUS go for broke with gamer-focused ROG Phone + new Strix II notebooks

In other ways, it’s more of an evolution that takes things a few steps further. ASUS also say that they’ve worked with Microsoft to add ScreenPad-specific functions to Office 365 and an SDK for developers looking to create new SmartPad integrations will be available in Q3 in 2018.

Additionally, if you happen to own a smartphone with the ASUS Sync app on it, there’s also a Sync feature that allows you to remotely view and manage your notifications and answer phone calls. Alternatively, if you don’t want to use the SmartPad at all, you can always turn it off and use it as a regular trackpad.

Locally, the ZenBook Pro 15 starts at $2999 for the i7-8750H/16GB/512SATA/GTX1050 configuration. No word yet on exact availability but the 14-inch model is also expected to arrive later in the year.

Read more: Computex 2018: ROG cover all the bases with new Delta gaming headset

Disclosure - Our coverage of Computex 2018 was sponsored by ASUS, who covered the cost of our flights and accommodation.

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