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New Asus ZenBooks get an awesome trackpad that works as a second screen

Asus is really going all out to put more screens onto their current range of laptops. Apart from the VivoBook S14 and S15, the Taiwanese brand has announced an updated ZenBook 13, 14 and 15 that comes with ScreenPad 2.0. If that’s not enough, there’s also another nifty external display which you can easily carry around with you.

At first glance, the new ZenBooks look similar to the current version which was announced in Q3 2018. Instead of having a rather small touchpad that can turn into an illuminated numpad, Asus has replaced it with a working touch-screen display that looks like a typical smartphone. It offers a much larger 5.65″ Super IPS display which you can use as a normal trackpad.

The ScreenPad pushes a Full HD+ resolution of 2160×1080 pixels and you can use it as a numeric keypad, handwriting input or to launch widgets that run on the ScreenPad. It is also usable as a second screen as you can run your existing Windows application onto the ScreenPad.

Similar to the current version, the new ZenBook 13 (UX334FL) and 14 (UX434FL) feature 13.3″ and 14″ displays respectively that pushes a Full HD resolution. For the larger ZenFone 15 (UX534FT), you have a choice of a 15.6″ display that comes in either Full HD or Ultra HD resolution. With its slim NanoEdge bezel design, the ZenBook 13 boasts a screen-to-body ratio of 95%, while the bigger two models have a ratio of 92%.

All three ZenBooks can be configured with 8th gen Intel Core i5 or i7 processors, with RAM up to 16GB and storage options of up to 1TB PCIe x4 SSD. The ZenBook 13 and 14 comes with Nvidia GeForce MX250 graphics while the ZenBook 15 gets a more capable Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Max-Q GPU.

The Zenbooks have sufficient ports for most road warriors as it comes with 1x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port, 1x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A port, 1x USB 2.0, 1x standard HDMI port and a headphone jack. For the ZenBook 13 and 14, it comes with a microSD card slot while the ZenFone 15 gets a full-sized SD card reader.

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In terms of wireless connectivity, all three support Bluetooth 5.0 as well as dual-band gigabit WiFi 5. The ZenBook 13 and 14 weigh less than 1.3kg while the larger ZenBook 15 weighs 1.65kg with a standard display.

We still don’t know the Malaysian pricing and availability yet. Looking at the current ZenBook models, you can expect it to be priced rather competitively against other ultra-portables.

ASUS ZenScreen Touch

If you really need a second screen to boost your productivity, Asus has also introduced the ZenScreen Touch. This is a portable 15.6″ external display that pushes a Full HD resolution and it weighs just 900g. It is also a 10-point touchscreen panel with thin bezels around the sides and top frame.

In terms of connectivity, the ZenScreen Touch supports either micro-HDMI and USB-C input. There’s also the option to connect via USB-A (USB 3.0) using a DisplayLink driver. On a full charge, the 7,800mAh battery is said to last up to 4 hours.

Apart from connecting with your laptop, the ZenScreen Touch also works with your Android smartphone that runs on Android 6.0 or higher. Since the display is touch-enabled, you can type on the ZenScreen using the on-screen keyboard as if you’re using a tablet. There’s an Asus ZenScreen Touch app that helps to scale your content for the ZenScreen’s aspect ratio.

Also included is a specially designed smart cover. Apart from providing additional protection, the cover also works a stand for both portrait and landscape mode. The ZenScreen Touch also comes with built-in speakers that fires from both sides.

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Alexander Wong