Computex 2017: Asus reveals a ton of new ZenBooks and Vivobooks

Happy Memorial Day, gerbils. While you're presumably kicking back with a hot dog and beer, we're in balmy Taipei, Taiwan for the kickoff of Computex 2017. The first event of substance was a combined press conference by Asus and Intel. Asus chairman Jonney Shih took to the stage to unveil the company's latest and greatest laptops. Steel yourself for a lot of superlatives.

Zenbook Flip S

Asus opened with the most interesting product of the bunch, the ZenBook Flip S. Introduced as "the world's thinnest convertible laptop," the Flip S measures 0.4" (10.9 mm) thick and weighs 2.4 lbs (or 1.1 kg). The company was quick to point out that Flip S is about 20% thinner than the MacBook and 55% thinner than the Macbook Air.

Zenbook Flip S

The convertible's 360° rotating hinge was touted as "mesmerizing as a ballet dancer." Setting aside the odd simile, the hinge felt robust and rotated smoothly during our brief hands-on with the device. The Flip S transforms easily between a traditional laptop, a tent format, and tablet form. Regardless of the form, the Flip S proved to be quite fingerprint-prone, so Asus staff regularly swooped in for a microfiber wipe-down.

The Flip S sports a 13.3" 4K display with a mere 0.24" (6.1 mm) bezel. Taking a leaf out of Dell's "InfinityEdge" book, Asus has slapped a "NanoEdge" branding on its new lineup of narrow-bezeled notebook displays. The machine also supports Windows Ink and Windows Hello. To take advantage of Ink, users must avail themselves of the Asus Pen with 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity. Asus didn't say whether a Pen would be bundled with the Flip S, but we'd bet it'll have to be purchased separately. On the Hello front, there's fingerprint sensor integrated into the right edge of the display's bezel. So well-integrated, in fact, that it wasn't readily discernible when I had the device in hand.

Zenbook Flip S

Now for what's under the hood. In what is presumably its highest configuration, the Flip S is powered by an unspecified Core i7 ultrabook processor with a turbo clock of 3.5 GHz. Intel's Gregory Bryant later made passing mention of Asus' use of seventh-generation Intel processors in its new lineup, so we wager the CPU inside the Flip S is the Core i7-7500U. 16GB of LPDDR3 memory and a 1TB PCIe x4 SSD are along for the ride.

The specs are rounded out by a 39 WHr battery that's allegedly good for 11.5 hours of computing. Asus says its fast-charging technology will take that battery from 0% to 60% in 49 minutes. When it's available later this year, the ZenBook Flip S will start at $1099. Rest assured that the configuration outlined above will cost substantially more.

Zenbook 3 Deluxe

Next up was the ZenBook 3 Deluxe, the 'world's thinnest 14" laptop.' In the same way that Dell calls the XPS 13 a 13" laptop in an 11" body, Asus is styling the ZenBook 3 Deluxe as a 14" laptop in a 13" chassis. The 0.5" (13 mm) thick all-metal body and 2.4 lbs (1.1 kg) weight make for a svelte package. Alas, whatever "aerospace-grade" metal the Zenbook 3 Deluxe is made out of doesn't appear to be any better at repelling fingerprints than the material used for the Flip S. Unlike that model, the Zenbook 3 Deluxe has a glass-covered touchpad and a fully-backlit keyboard.

Zenbook 3 Deluxe

Asus didn't make the 14" NanoEdge display's resolution known, so it's a fair bet that it's not 4K. However, the company was proud to announce that the ZenBook 3 Deluxe is the first laptop display armed with Corning's Gorilla Glass 5. Users at the bleeding edge of peripheral connectivity will be glad to hear that there are two USB Type-C ports with Thunderbolt 3 support. Asus asserts that there's enough bandwidth on tap for the machine to drive two external 4K displays simultaneously.

In its most powerful configuration, the Zenbook 3 Deluxe is powered by an again-unspecified Core i7 CPU, a 1TB PCIe SSD, and 16GB of RAM. The starting price for this machine is $1199.

Zenbook Pro

To make for a smudgy metal trifecta, Asus trotted out a new ZenBook Pro. This time around, the guts of the machine were the main focus. The ZenBook Pro has a discrete graphics card—a GeForce GTX 1050 Ti—and a quad-core H-series Core i7 CPU. The flagship configuration again sports a 1TB PCIe SSD and 16GB of RAM. This time around, though, the RAM is 2400 MT/s DDR4. All that grunt drives a 15.6" NanoEdge 4K display, which the company says covers 100% of the sRGB color space. If that display isn't to your liking, the Pro's pair of Thunderbolt 3 ports will let you easily connect an external monitor.

At 0.75" thick (or 19 mm) and 4 lbs (1.8 kg), the updated machine is considerably heftier than its non-Pro siblings, but it's nonetheless the thinnest and lightest ZenBook Pro yet. Some of that heft comes from a 73 WHr battery rated for 14 hours of use. Despite the larger capacity, Asus says its fast-charging technology will again take the battery from 0% to 60% in 49 minutes. The Pro again ratchets the price up a notch, starting at $1299.

Vivobook S

Lastly, Asus debuted a pair of VivoBooks. The company considers its VivoBooks "mainstream notebooks," as opposed to the more enthusiast-oriented ZenBook line. The VivoBook S is surprisingly trim for a non-ultrabook: only 0.71" (18 mm) thick and weighing in at 3.3 lbs (or 1.5 kg). Inside, you'll find a Core i7 U-series processor, a GeForce 940MX graphics card, up to 2TB of spinning rust or 512GB of solid-state goodness, and up to 16GB of 2133 MT/s DDR4 memory.

The big hook for the VivoBook S is the price. Even at $499, you still get a 15.6" 1080p NanoEdge display and Asus' fast-charging tech. Yet again, Asus delivers an absurdly consistent estimate that the battery will go from 0% to 60% in 49 minutes.

Vivobook Pro

The VivoBook Pro, as you might expect, is a bit more of an upmarket machine. Its aluminum body rings in at 0.76" (19.2 mm) thick and 5 lbs (or 2.3 kg), but with great size comes, er, great hardware. You can ratchet the VivoBook Pro all the way up to a quad-core Core i7-7700HQ accompanied by 16GB of DDR4 and a GeForce GTX 1050. In addition to the 2TB HDD and 512GB SSD options, you can apparently provision the VivoBook Pro with Optane Memory, though Jonney Shih didn't delve into more detail here.

On the outside, the VivoBook Pro packs a 4K display covering 100% of the sRGB space and a fully backlit keyboard. Starting price is set at $799.

Comments closed
    • JustAnEngineer
    • 2 years ago

    At 2.4 lbs each, there are over 800 of them per ton.

    • xpentor
    • 2 years ago

    Get a Zen without a Zen.

    • Chrispy_
    • 2 years ago

    Woooo! The 940MX is a new meme and all the manufacturers are in on it.

    I quite like that Zenbook Pro, though I’d rather it didn’t have a 4K screen thanks. Even running a 4K screen at 1080p isn’t as nice as an actual 1080p screen, and the 4K panel just drives up cost and power consumption for no real benefit. It’s not as if the 141ppi of a 1080p screen is lacking, and at least its usable without dpi scaling in your OS messing up the vast majority of applications and interfaces.

      • Blytz
      • 2 years ago

      I’m with you, I’d frisbee the 4k display and turn out the intel process in favour of some Ryzen goodies in the r5 variant.

      Are you listening Asus, Zen books should have ryZen processors.

        • Airmantharp
        • 2 years ago

        Thankfully Asus isn’t listening to you.

        While AMD has stepped up competition in the mid-range desktop CPU market, they’ve yet to release a single Zen-based mobile product, let alone one that can positively compete in the ultrabook space.

        Now, if ASUS *had* listened to you and attempted to shove a 65w r5 into an ultrabook, you’d have an endlessly throttling hot plate with a sub thirty minute runtime!

          • Waco
          • 2 years ago

          The mobile variants will be out soon and should be far more efficient per clock (Ryzen’s efficiency curve is definitely not doing it any favors up at 4 GHz). You can undervolt / underclock and save massive amounts of power on the desktop chips.

            • Airmantharp
            • 2 years ago

            Oh no doubt- I look forward to them.

            In the end, they may very well strike a better balance for game-oriented mobile, but the challenge will be productivity-oriented, in my case photography.

            I just picked up an XPS13 with the same CPUs these are supposed to come with because the ‘i7’ included is simply as good as it gets for the package size for what I want.

            But I do hope AMD strikes a positive point on the battery life/performance/size curve, perhaps not necessarily one that is superior to Intel’s (which would be hard), but one that is different and opens up new options for mobile computing, just as their desktop CPUs have.

      • Shobai
      • 2 years ago

      It still strikes me as amusing/sad that the mainstream models seem to have been stuck at 1366×768 or so for (what feels like) the better part of two decades, and only now that there’s a new buzzword bandwagon to jump on are we seeing positive change…

        • Chrispy_
        • 2 years ago

        Yeah, but they missed out the sensible option.

        Rather than 1080p 6-bit eIPS becoming the commodity option at the bottom of the range, dire 1366×768 options are rife, and they’re all so nasty that they’re bad even by TN standards.

        If you get a 1080p screen in a laptop these days, it’s still usually rubbish, so your options are basically “the awful screen with loads of problems” or “the expensive, power-hungry 4K screen with DPI-scaling issues”

        A rock and a hard place.

          • JustAnEngineer
          • 2 years ago

          I’ve been quite satisfied with the 1080p IPS display in my Zenbook UX32VD-DB71.

            • Chrispy_
            • 2 years ago

            Likewise with the 1080p IPS display of my Dell 7559 but these are the exceptions rather than the rule. I had to sift through dozens of laptops ruling out TN panels, 1366×768 panels, and 4K options to find the 1080p IPS.

      • chuckula
      • 2 years ago

      What I can’t fathom is why Polaris 11 parts aren’t popping up in all of these notebooks instead. It’s not rocket science to beat a heavily cut-down Maxwell part using a new node, but while these 940MX parts are popping up like cockroaches it’s much rarer to get a Polaris 11 notebook SKU.

      • Kretschmer
      • 2 years ago

      Preach, brother.

    • Star Brood
    • 2 years ago

    Too bad ultra low power Zen isn’t available for these Zens.

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