Asus unveiled a solid lineup of laptops across different categories at CES 2020. Select media from the Asia Pacific got an exclusive chance to deep dive into some of its best - and popular - laptops. Asus also took us through its design story for all the products that were revealed.
The product line-up included new VivoBook S and Classic series, ExpertBook, ProArt StudioBook, and new ROG gaming laptops and PCs. Although we're not sure of which models will come to India and when, but we're hoping some of them to make their way by the end of Q1 or beginning of Q2.
Asus displayed multiple products and introduced an all-new ProArt series aimed at professional creators. We got a chance to try these products up close and understand the design philosophy behind them.
While we saw many exciting laptops, the one that really blew our mind is the ExpertBook B9. It is the world lightest 14-inch laptop at merely 870 grams aimed at business users. While it's 14.8mm thin and extremely lightweight, it's durability doesn't get affected by these factors.
Asus claims it's built using Magnesium Lithium alloy, which is said to be as tough as aluminum and still much lighter. To put a label on its toughness, the B9 comes with MIL-STD 810G certification. The company has also worked on the color and texture, as it comes in a damp shade of black with a sandy texture.
The ExpertBook B9 also promises a 24-hour battery backup on a single charge with Intel Core i7-10510U, 16GB RAM, FHD display, 2TB PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD, 66W battery configuration. The battery life will vary with different configurations.
Some other meaningful additions include a one-touch Numpad, physical camera latch for security, support for Alexa and Cortana, SmartAmp for better audio for its Harman Kardon certified speakers and a sleek FHD display with self-refresh technology for longer battery life.
Asus VivoBook series
Next up we saw the very popular budget-friendly VivoBook series. The VivoBook laptops, as always, hit a balance between power and fresh design that attracts the youth. The new models feature improved hardware with 10th-generation Intel processors paired with MX250 Nvidia GPU, 16GB RAM, 1TB PCIe SSD storage and Wi-Fi 6 for connectivity, which offers better performance and range when connected to Wi-Fi networks.
The S333 and S433 also feature the one-touch Numpad that we saw on the ExpertBook B9.
They also come with Nvidia GeForce graphics and new colors: Resolute Red, Gaia Green, Dreamy White, and Indie Black. The updated VivoBook S15 features a 15-inch display, while the VivoBook S13 is a more compact version with a 13-inch screen, 14.9mm thinness and just 1.2kg weight. Meanwhile, the VivoBook S14 sits in the middle, with a 14-inch display and a weight of 1.4kg.
Asus says the keyboards are now improved with 1.4mm key travel, 18.7mm full-size key pitch where the enter key is highlighted with a neon strip. The keyboard also comes in two shades - dark and light - for those who like to have a contrast while typing.
The VivoBook S is built with an all-metal body and comes in silver, black, green and red whereas the VivoBook Classic has two variants - plastic and metal. The metal variants come in silver, gold and black whereas the plastic variants will be available in black, silver and blue colours.
The new VivoBook S laptops come bundled with a set of key and lid stickers for those who ask for an extra appeal from the PC.
ProArt StudioBook One and ProArt StudioBook Pro X
The ProArt series is made for creators and professionals like designers, architects, animators, or programmers. It packs tons of power and is designed, keeping the above-mentioned use cases in mind. It features Nvidia Quadro RTX5000 graphics, paired with 9th Gen Intel Xeon/Intel Core i7 Hexacore CPU.
Because of more CUDA, RT, and Tensor cores, the Quadro RTX GPU essentially allows users to view real-time environmental shading and lighting effects, perform smooth rendering of animations, and do 8K video editing. It is also DisplayPort 1.4 compatible that allows video output to supported 8K displays.
The 17-inch screen is not just wide and immersive, and it packs a wide 97% DCI-P3 color gamut range and Delta-E color accuracy of less than 1.5. From what we could see on the floor, it's a stunning display to have on a laptop, but it depends on how much one has to pay for it.
Asus has also added the latest version of its ScreenPad for a small smartphone-like interface on the trackpad.
To make it more relevant to creators, Asus has given two USB Type-C Thunderbolt 3 ports and WiFi 6 alongside fast storage performance up to 6GB/s. You can add up to three external displays via HDMI 2.0 and two USB Type C. That's not all, it also has three USB 3.1 2nd gen Type-A ports.
We were quite impressed with the Pro X, but then the flagship ProArt StudioBook One takes things to the next level. Asus calls its "world's most graphically powerful laptop." ProArt StudioBook One is the only laptop to feature NVIDIA Quadro RTX 6000 graphics and the Intel Core i9 processor, and it also can be configured with up to 24 GB of VRAM.
It looks quite different from the Pro X; It has a 15-inch 4K UHD display with Delta E color accuracy value of less than 1.0. The screen boasts 120Hz refresh rate is a treat for product designers, 3D animators, and similar.
With this amount of power, one cannot do without powerful thermals. To tackle that, Asus has put all the heat-generating components like CPU and GPU in the lid, which also resides the thermals. The lid is designed in a way that it opens by 4.57 degrees when the lid is raised and closes on shut down.
We are not sure if this will come to India, but we can certainly say it will be among the most expensive laptops from Asus.
ROG Zephyrus G14
Our favorite and coolest product is the ROG Zephyrus G14 gaming laptop. Asus claims it to be the most compact 14-inch gaming PC in the world. The first thing that anyone would notice about the G14 is its refreshed design which comes with a cool customizable LED matrix panel on the lid.
The Asus Zephyrus G14 packs a decent amount of power into a pretty slim chassis which is 17.9mm thick, and the device weighs in at a palatable 1.6kg.
The G14 runs with one of AMD’s new mobile chips, and it’s powered by up to a Ryzen 7 4800HS with 8-cores and 16-threads. That’s paired with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card (boasting 6GB of video RAM).
It packs up to 16GB of 3200MHz DDR4 RAM, and storage comes in the form of an M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD of up to 1TB capacity.
There are a few options for the 14-inch screen, the top one of which has an FHD resolution with a 120Hz refresh rate, plus AMD’s adaptive sync, 100% sRGB coverage, and it’s Pantone-certified just like the ProArt laptops.
Asus claims that the G14 offers 10 hours of battery life, and it offers to charge via one of the USB Type-C ports (although the other Type-C connector isn’t power delivery capable).
The laptop also benefits from Wi-Fi 6 support and a backlit keyboard with an ErgoLift hinge that tilts the keyboard to a more comfortable angle.
Asus also notes that the G14 has an innovative cooling system and an ‘AniMe Matrix’ display on the laptop lid of certain models. The latter uses a matrix of 1,215 mini LEDs which can be used to display graphics such as animated GIFs or messages.
DJs can potentially use the AniMe Matrix to display visualizations that react to the music being played, for example, and eventually, Asus plans to add further practical aspects such as the ability to display the current battery level, or new email notifications.
We’re certainly keen to see how the 8-core Ryzen 7 4800HS drives this apparently nippy 14-inch gaming laptop, and it looks commendably compact for the levels of power on offer, with some neat extras.
TUF Gaming A15, A17
Asus also showcased a bunch of new TUF Gaming laptops, with a pair of 15-inch models, and a couple of 17-inch notebooks.
The TUF Gaming A15 and A17 use AMD Ryzen 4000 chips, and there is no update on the availability of these models. TUF Gaming F15 and F17 notebooks will be released later in 2020 with 10th-generation Intel Core processors.
So for now, with the A15 and A17, you’re getting a choice of Ryzen 4000 APUs (up to 8-cores, 16-threads), which can be paired with up to 32GB of 3200MHz DDR4 RAM.
If you plump for the TUF Gaming A15, you’ll be getting a 15.6-inch Full HD screen with a refresh rate of 144Hz, and AMD’s adaptive sync technology, plus on the GPU front, you can specify up to an RTX 2060. Storage can be up to a 1TB NVMe PCIe SSD.
As for the TUF Gaming A17, that runs with a 17.3-inch Full HD display with a 120Hz refresh rate, again with adaptive sync. For graphics solution, you can have up to a GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, and storage is up to a 1TB PCIe SSD.
As ever, the TUF laptops are designed to be robust and durable, manufactured to meet the meet MIL-STD-810H standard, meaning they should happily survive a few knocks and drops.
These models are also more compact than their predecessors, with the 15-inch variants being 7% smaller, and the 17-inch models shrinking a little further by 8%, according to Asus. Pricing is still to be confirmed.
We'll be doing a brief hands-on for some of these products in the coming weeks. So if you are waiting to know more about any of these products, keep following.