There’s rather a lot occurring within the new 15-inch ZenBook Professional from Asus. It is one of many first laptops to get a top-tier Intel Core i9 processor. Then there’s the 15-inch 4K touchscreen. It even has a halfway-decent graphics card for gaming (the Nvidia GeForce 1050Ti). However there’s bought to be one thing else in addition to all that to justify a hefty $2,299, proper?

The factor you actually wish to hear about is the second display constructed into the contact pad. Asus calls it the ScreenPad, and it is a full-color 1,920 by 1,080 touchscreen constructed into the wrist remainder of the laptop computer. A number of completely different modes assist you to use it as a secondary show, a management panel for media or workplace apps, or simply as an everyday previous touchpad.

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This touchpad is a touchscreen.

Sarah Tew/Proinertech

Seeing double

In follow it whips between straight up gimmick and infrequently useful gizmo, however is simply as usually irritating in its seemingly arbitrary limitations. The ScreenPad is at its finest when displaying off the handful of built-in instruments it ships with. Swipe down from the highest of the pad and a small line of launch icons seem. There is a music participant and calendar, each of which require exterior Home windows software program to run, a quantity pad and a calculator, which could really be fairly useful, and a well-designed Spotify helper app. Different apps may be added from Asus’ app retailer, and the core icons may be rearranged and adjusted within the settings menu.

That Spotify hook is the closest I’ve discovered to a killer app for the ScreenPad. To make use of it, you might want to have the Spotify app put in and be signed into it. After that is all arrange, the touchpad will show the title and canopy artwork of no matter observe is enjoying and supply fundamental transport controls. There’s additionally a solution to navigate to another elements of Spotify, however I discovered that to be awkward at finest. 

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You may management Spotify’s music proper from the display.

Sarah Tew/Proinertech

Asus ZenBook Professional 15

Value as reviewed

$2,299

Show measurement/decision

15.6-inch three,840×2,160 contact show

CPU

2.9GHz Intel Core i9-8950HK

Reminiscence

16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz

Graphics

4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti

Storage

512GB SSD

Networking

802.11ac wi-fi, Bluetooth 5.zero

Working system

Window 10 Professional (64-bit)

A handful of different apps can be found, together with controls for YouTube playback by way of the Chrome browser and for menu shortcuts in Microsoft Workplace. Each of these find yourself being extra irritating than anything, however for various causes.

The YouTube helper presents solely fundamental playback controls on the touchpad display, and does not show the video itself. If you happen to’re genuinely flummoxed about tips on how to play, pause or mute a YouTube video from throughout the browser, effectively, then this can be the app for you. For everybody else, the added worth is minimal, particularly contemplating it takes the touchpad out of motion for precise on-screen navigation whereas in use.

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Sarah Tew/Proinertech

There really is a solution to play a video from YouTube or elsewhere on the ScreenPad, however it’s a trouble. You must swap the pad’s perform from ScreenPad mode to prolonged show mode, then you’ll be able to manually transfer a YouTube or different video window down onto the second display. Like a lot of the ScreenPad features, this works higher when you’ve got a mouse attached.

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