Asus ZenBook Pro UX501 Review

Asus ZenBook Pro UX501VW offers an Intel Core i7 CPU, 16 GB of RAM, 512 GB SSD and Nvidia 960M discrete graphics, all for just $1499, that is $500 less than an equivalent MacBook Pro or Dell XPS 15. It also features a high-res UHD touch screen, which makes this an ideal machine for editing photos or videos. The ZenBook Pro is a complete and featured notebook that comes in aluminum uni-body frame, but aside from a few minor nitpicks, Asus’ 15-inch multimedia machine is almost flawless.

Asus ZenBook Pro UX501

Image Source: Tech.Firstpost

Image Source: Tech.Firstpost

Design

The 15-inch ZenBook Pro comes in a simple and solid design. The machine features an all-aluminum chassis topped by the company’s signature concentric ring finish on the metallic gray lid, with subtle, polished edges on the sides. When you open the lid, there are more concentric rings set near the rear of the keyboard, and an ample, brushed metal deck where you can rest your palms.

Image Source: PcMag

Image Source: PcMag

The ZenBook Pro features three regular USB 3.0 ports along with a superfast USB-C connection with support for Thunderbolt 3. That means the port can be used to hook up an external display, or for making blazing-fast data transfers at up to 40 Gbps. You also get a combo microphone/headphone jack, HDMI 2.0 and an SD card reader.

Image Source: PcMag

Image Source: PcMag

Weighing 5 pounds, Asus ZenBook Pro (15.1 * 10 * 0.8 inches) is about half a pound heavier and slightly larger and thicker than other 15-inch multimedia machines. That includes the 2015 MacBook Pro (14.0 * 9.7 * 0.71 inches and 4.49 pounds), the Samsung Ativ Book 9 Pro (14.0 * 9.8 * 0.70 and 4.45 pounds) especially Dell’s sleek XPS 15 (14.01 * 9.23 * 0.45-0.66-inches and 4.4 pounds).

Keyboard and Touch-Pad

The ZenBook Pro features a keyboard with long stroke, which, when combined with the keyboard’s 62 grams of required actuation force, makes it a comfortable platform for typing experience. The travel distance of the keys are 2.1 mm. However, it would surely take you time to adjust with this keyboard if you are used to the keyboards with short key travel.

asus-zenbook-pro-ux501-keyboard

 

The ZenBook Pro features a  4.0 * 2.75-inch smooth, silver-matte finished touch-pad. As expected, the touch-pad responded quickly and accurately to both clicking and multi-touch gestures, such as two-finger scrolling and pinch-to-zoom.

Display

The ZenBook Pro features a 15.6-inch (3840 x 2160 resolution) Ultra-HD touch screen. This makes the ZenBook’s display ideal for photo and video editors who aren’t wedded to Apple. The quality of both pictures and videos are equally sharper and brighter. However, because of the shiny coating, the screen appears to be a mirror sometimes.

Image Source: Pc Advisor

Image Source: Pc Advisor

ZenBook Pro’s screen produces 289 nits of brightness which is about as bright as the display on Dell’s XPS 15 (285 nits), slightly dimmer than the one on Apple’s 2015 MacBook Pro (303 nits) and a far behind the screen on Samsung’s Ativ Book 9 Pro (405 nits).

The ZenBook Pro’s screen can reproduce 110 percent of the sRGB color gamut. Anything above 100 percent is great, and the Asus bested the MacBook Pro by quite a bit (86 percent). However, this notebook’s panel lost out to the super-rich displays on the XPS 15 (191 percent) and the Ativ Book 9 Pro (130 percent).

The ZenBook pro also lagged a little behind in Color Accuracy for similar systems, as it earned a Delta-E rating of 4.37. (Numbers closer to zero are better.) Dell’s XPS 15 (0.7) and Apple’s MacBook Pro (2.1) both scored better, while Samsung’s Ativ Book 9 Pro was a fair bit away, at 9.5.

Graphics and Audio

The ZenBook Pro features an Nvidia 960M GPU with 2 GB vRAM that helps it to keep pace with the graphics power of the Dell XPS 15 (which features the same Nvidia 960M GPU) and outclass the Samsung Ativ Book 9 Pro (which features an older and less potent Nvidia 950M GPU).

Image Source: LaptopGamingJunky

Image Source: LaptopGamingJunky

On 3DMark’s Fire Strike graphics test, the ZenBook Pro scored 4,308, versus 3,949 for the XPS 15 and 3,236 for the Ativ Book 9 Pro. The ZenBook Pro also held a slight edge in gaming, as it pushed 38 fps in Rainbow Six Siege at 1920 * 1080 and high settings. The XPS 15 trailed slightly behind, at 32 fps, and the Ativ Book 9 Pro brought up the rear, at an unplayable 8 fps under the same settings.

The ZenBook pro comes with Bang & Olufsen’s audio system located on opposite sides of the laptop’s bottom.

Performance

The ZenBook Pro is powered by an Intel Core i7-6700HQ CPU that comes with 16 GB RAM and a 512 GB SSD storage. That’s a good thing, because right now, this is the only config you can buy. The ZenBook Pro does all tasks such as sorting through spreadsheets or simply running a bunch of browser tabs with an ease. Even with 15 tabs open in Edge, the notebook experienced no trouble streaming multiple 1080p videos from YouTube.

On The Geekbench 3, used to measure overall system performance, the ZenBook Pro scored 11,472 which is slightly behind numbers from the $2,130 Dell XPS 15 (13,502), $1,599 Samsung Ativ Book 9 Pro (12,334) and $2,500 Apple MacBook Pro (14,423).

The 512 GB SSD storage on ZenBook pro is quite speedy as it registered a transfer rate of 462.66 Mbps, which was significantly faster than the Ativ Book 9 Pro’s 256 GB SSD (133.9 Mbps) and the Dell XPS 15’s 512 GB SSD (254 Mbps), however, slower than the MacBook Pro’s 512 solid state drive (636 Mbps).

Despite having much higher graphics as compared to other notebooks under the same category, the ZenBook Pro didn’t suffer Heating Problems. As per the heat test performed by Laptop Mag, after streaming a video for 15 minutes, the notebook measured just 91 degrees Fahrenheit which is below the 95-degree comfort threshold.

Battery Life

As per the Battery test performed by Laptop Mag (that includes continuous Web surfing over Wi-Fi)), the ZenBook Pro lasted for 8 hours. That’s more than 2 hours longer than the typical mainstream laptop (5:37) and it beats Dell’s XPS 15 (6:36) and Samsung ATIV Book 9 Pro (5:31). Only the MacBook Pro (9:08) lasted longer in this class of notebook.

Image Source: LaptopGamingJunk

Image Source: LaptopGamingJunk

Verdict

The Asus ZenBook Pro is priced for $1500 that is approx Rs 1,00,000.

A similarly equipped XPS 15 runs $2,130 and has battery life that’s an hour and a half shorter, while the closest MacBook Pro config costs a whopping $2,500 and features a lower-res display and no touch screen or Thunderbolt 3. And despite those other systems sky-high price tags, neither offers much of an advantage, if any, in performance.

Apart from ZenBook’s super shiny display and a little stiffer keyboard, there are no such major reasons that will make you to compromise with ZenBook Pro as it gives you solid 8-hour battery life, colorful UHD touch screen and beautiful aluminum uni-body chassis and also saves your money.

Asus ZenBook Pro UX501

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