ASUS Zenbook 15 Review
This is the Asus Zenbook 15 and it's one of the most compact 15-inch notebooks that I've ever come across and it's one of the very first notebooks that hit the studios featuring a comet-like processor not only that but it has a few cool features like a built-in secondary display that also acts as a trackpad as well as a discreet graphics card and it's well-priced considering that the specs it features now I was really curious to test out a few things on this notebook the first one being whether or not if comment Lake offers any benefits over ice Lake because Intel is a sampling or selling both those processors in similar notebooks and that definitely causes confusion among customers.
The next thing is that the second screen is it any benefit to my workflow and finally, Asus is claiming some crazy battery life on this notebook so if that checks out then this might be one of the best ultrabooks around so let's take a deep dive on the Zen book 15 right after this the Razer DeathAdder v2 the gaming an icon that just got upgraded with the lighter body next-gen sensor and optical switches from maximum reliability and speed the classic economic shape handles like no other find out why 10 million other users love the DeathAdder down below alright.
so before I get into the details I do want to preface something very important Asus isn't targeting the Zenbook 15 at gamers but rather people who appreciate having a fairly large screen with really good battery life and adequate performance to boost heavy tasks like video editing photo editing or 3d work or in just anything that would benefit from an additional discrete graphics card now if you're wondering about the differences between isolate and comment lick here's a quick breakdown isolate basically features a high-end eye GPU but less x86 performance because it's a new architecture which is 10 nanometers comment Lake on the other hand is a continuation of whiskey Lake which is the 40 nanometer process but it's enhanced x86 performance definitely helps with multi-core tests if you're interested in learning more about these processors make sure to check out our explain video which will be linked down below now taking a look at the specs on the Zenbook 15 it's actually really for a slim thin and light notebook.
basically, this is an updated version of last year's Zen book 15 but with refreshed internals so it features a core i7 1051 0u processor yes until Sammy scheme is ridiculous it's a quad-core chip with eight threads sixteen gigabytes of RAM in dual channel a one terabyte PCIe nvme SSD and a gtx 1650 max q all for about fourteen hundred dollars which is pretty good price to be honest if you compare to the competition now Asus is planning to launch a lower tier version of the Zen book 15 with a core i5 processor and a higher-end model with a 4k display with similar specs that I have over here if you drill down into things, these are pretty much the same specs as the newest razor blades dealt with the GTX 1650 max q graphics the card that I tested a while back and it has more storage space and of course it's a 15-inch notebook now.
let's start with the exterior of the Zen book 15 and I've got it min this is probably one of the most unique designs that I've ever come across on a notebook the royal blue metal finish along with the rose gold accents really make this thing stand out from the competition and that trend continues on the inside as well props to Asus were keeping the color scheme consistent bill quality is superb on the Zenbook 15 the chassis is mostly made out of aluminum so there's barely any flex on the screen and the base the hinge is really strong and it automatically tilts a keyboard at a 3 degree angle to optimize your typing experience plus it also helps a notebook breathe a little better now for the size the comparison here's a shot compared to the Razer Blade stealth 13 and my razor blade 15 advanced model the Zen book 15 offers a good balance of size and portability.
so this shouldn't be a huge deal breaker to carry around or lug around if you're in school or if you're a business professional because it's fairly thin and light you can easily tuck this in a backpack moving on to the interior asu's managed to fit a full size keyboard and the keys themselves are excellent they feature an adequate amount of travel distance and there's less wobbling around the keys which is awesome seriously this is miles better than my razor blade 15 however I'm not a fan of the tiny arrow keys it's an absolute nightmare navigating through spreadsheets and other tasks you need baby fingers to use as efficiently I should mention that the keyboard is backlit but unfortunately it's not very bright also, keep note that since the accent color on the phones are rose gold the the final output is a bit on the warmer side and I also noticed that the lighting wasn't consistent on some keys for those of you wondering this is what the webcam the quality looks like on the Zenbook 15.
the one thing that I do want to pay close attention to is the audio because if you pay close attention there's a weird high-pitched sound it's it's definitely bad I would certainly not use this when I'm in Skype conference calls or anything remotely close to that because it's just it's bad now typically on any other notebook review I'd dive right into the trackpad but it's a bit of a different story on the Zenbook 15 you see issues decided to integrate a 5.7 inch display that also functions as a track man think of it as a secondary display to complement your primary screen.
I remember taking a look at something like this from HP on their omen 2s but I didn't have the best experience and unfortunately I have to say the same thing for this laptop let me quickly walk you through what comes out of the box here you're essentially greeted with what Asus calls screen pad OS I see that they've taken inspirations from Android as you can see you have quick access to the num key which is sort of pointless since you have a decade at num pad in the first place next up is the handwriting tab for natural text input but ironically it took me longer to compose sentences since it doesn't automatically register what you write that's a fail in my the opinion then there's the quick key app that displays hotkeys that's frequently used as copy paste select but these are things that I can quickly perform on a physical keyboard.
so I don't understand the purpose of this feature now you can create quick shortcuts for specific apps that use various key combinations Asus only allows 2 to 4 hotkeys in total and I do see this being useful for applications like AutoCAD but that takes a while to setup and you have to give yourself some time to get used to this because you're introducing something new to your workflow so it could increase or decrease your productivity so either win or lose case scenario I personally didn't find it that useful because I found myself constantly stressing my neck because I was looking down for the most part just trying to figure things out so that was definitely, something that I thought was bringing up because you are looking down instead of it doesn't really come to your peripheral vision so that was definitely a little bit odd but it could be a different story for someone who potentially uses the various complex key combinations maybe you'll find that one the tab so for use the remaining apps are basically extensions from Microsoft Office suite you only get basic formatting controls which may or may not benefit.
you here comes the worst part though a lot of these clean pad optimized apps like calculator online video player that works cohesively with YouTube and other platforms and Adobe's son an app straight up don't work even after installing them manually it just ended up launching me Microsoft Store which was really frustrating it actually turns out that some of these apps are not optimized to run on this version of screen pad so it really goes to show how incomplete this ecosystem is the trackpad can be enabled by simply swiping from the bottom of the display and tapping on this icon but that's also broken because sometimes when I boot into Windows, the trackpad just doesn't work which means I won't be able to navigate through the Windows UI so the only solution that was to disable screen pad and then enable it through the function command.
so that was a little a bit frustrating I'm a little bit skeptical about this whole screen implementation because I'm not sure how durable it's gonna be now you can permanently disable screen pad and just use it as a standalone trackpad because that seems to solve most issues but it also defeats the purpose of getting this laptop because that screen and if that's something that you're looking into the speakers are bottom facing and they sound okay there's no base it definitely lacks body to the sound so yeah not the greatest port solution is decent on the left-hand side you get a USB 3.1 gen 2 do Jack switching over to the right you'll find power in HDMI a type a and type C port both of which support the USB 3.1 gen 2 standard and surprisingly a full-size SD card slot that was very thoughtful Asus keep in mind that it's not us has to certified for faster cards the lack of a Thunderbolt 3 port is definitely disappointing it would have been nice if Asus included that on this notebook.
but that's not the case the Zenbook 15 comes with a 15.6 inch 1080p display Asus doesn't quite mention if they're using an IPS panel but they claim that it covers 100% of the sRGB color space but our tests that weren't the case as our sample only covers 92% so I wouldn't rely on this screen for professional colorwork it also doesn't get that bright so outdoor visibility is completely out of question plus it does come with a glossy finish so there's that but there will be a matte version, later on, I also noticed a little bit of backlit bleed around the top portion of the display but the rest of the screen is just fine and look for casual content consumption and maybe a little bit of gaming this queen will get the job is done if you're looking to upgrade the Zenbook 15.
there's not a lot that can be done so when you open up the notebook you're only greeted with a single M dr. salon that's already populated with the one terabyte nvme SSD the memory is soldered on to the PCB so that is not upgradable and so yes George is the only thing that can be upgraded on this notebook interestingly enough I found that a thermal pad that they added on to the SSD is actually attached to a plastic cover so yeah I'm not sure if that was really a smart move by Asus because there's no thermal dissipation happening because it's basically touching plastic material but yeah I thought that was kind of interesting the Zen book 15 comes with a 71-watt hour unit and it was outstanding guys Acer's claims up to 15 hours.
but I was only able to get a little over 9 hours from our standard light load test and compared to the blades tell 13 and the XPS 13 2 & 1 this is really amazing concerning that, it packs a discrete graphics card under heavy load it's lower than most other thinning lights but that could be due to the fact that it has a 15-inch screen and a discrete graphics card finally let's talk about performance and honestly this is what really got me excited guys because that comet Lake CPU is no slouch it performs really well in our single-core tests and when I compare that to something like the 1065 g7 isolate processor I found only XPS 13 to 1 it gives us an additional 5 to 10% of performance.
I mean looking at this blender results you can clearly tell that that sustain higher clock speeds on the Zenbook really helps shave those render times and the same story applies to our corona benchmark moving on to Premiere Pro the 1650 max-q comes in handy to accelerate exports and it's on par with the blade style GTX featuring that same GPU but if you look at the XPS 13 2 & 1 featuring the ice processor and the integrated GPU I definitely felt apart because like I said Adobe loves cool accelerations so lack of a discreet graphics card can be seen here DaVinci Resolve studio ran flawlessly on this end book, I had no issues falling to the timeline it actually managed to render our a ten-minute project without any hiccups unlike the XPS 13 with that eyesight processor and the integrated iris plus graphics that being said the CPU does run really hot initially it spikes up to 94 C at 3.5 to 3.7 gigahertz under a full multi-core workload but over time it throttles the clock speeds down to 3.2 gigahertz on all four cores with temperatures hovering around a 4 C also.
guys I should mention that the one terabyte SSD is one of the fastest drives that I've ever come across on a feel in like notebook what about gaming well you shouldn't have any issues pushing the 1080p display over 100 frames per second in most titles with settings from low to medium now when compared to the blade still 13 GTX it looks like the isolate the processor does come in clutch for that when you pair it with a d GPU I think that's where the architecture refinements come into play but it's still, very playable fan Lewis is respectable on the Zenbook 15 I'm glad that it doesn't sound like a jet fan under a full multi-core workload idle scenarios it's very quiet so you shouldn't have any issues in terms of acoustics with this laptop so what's the story with the Asus Zenbook 15 first of all I like the fact that Asus went out of the box and designed something that looks unique compared to the competition.
I love the design of this thing with the royal blue finish definitely it's a conversation piece when you have something like this with you the second thing is the CPU performance I was absolutely amazed at how well that the comet-like processor was able to sustain those higher clock speeds and outperform ice Lake and it really goes to show how intel's older supercharged whiskey lake architecture is still superior in terms of CPU performance compared to the 10 nanometer ice Lake processor and just it's it's kind of ironic what really surprised me was the battery life for a 15-inch notebook with a discrete graphics card getting over 9 hours is just absolutely insane and that was certainly not possible at least in the last few years.
and I'm glad that were getting to a point where you can actually, you know carry something like this throughout the day without having to worry about plugging it in that being said the integration of a secondary display within the trackpad it looks like a gimmick to me because I don't see myself using it I also want to touch base on the price of this laptop at $1,400 it's actually his steel because you are getting a really good 15 inch thin enlight notebook with some really good CP performance and good graphics performance compared to the competition like the Blade stealth 13 GTX which can easily go for around 17 $1,800.