Asus one-upped the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar with a 5.5-inch touchscreen

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The touchscreen display is set to be customizable according to what application you are using on the laptop, kind of like the touch bar on the new MacBook Pro, but better because it's adding functionality rather than replacing a perfectly functional mode of interaction. The company will announce its pricing closer to launch. ASUS kept a larger bezel on the bottom, in part to house the display electronics, but also to give you something to hold onto that's not the screen when used in tablet mode. It's 17.9mm thick and weighs 1.6kg. A laptop would need to come with a smartphone-sized touchscreen in the place of the regular touchpad to support ScreenPad. This is an ASUS innovation that revolutionizes the way users work and interact with their notebook.

The company said the product, which may appear sometime next year, has features enhanced by AI, such as a virtual keyboard that appears where the user has their hands. Open one and the app will launch on the main screen, with the ScreenPad version launching simultaneously. Enjoy immersive multimedia on its 15.6-inch 4K UHD NanoEdge PANTONE validated display with 100 percent Adobe RGB color gamut, ∆E (Delta-E) 2.0 color accuracy and powerful Harmon Kardon certified audio system.

Meanwhile, the 14-inch ZenBook Pro can be configured to pack up to an Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of 2400MHz DDR4 memory, and a 1TB PCIe x4 SSD.

Microsoft and Asus both worked together to improve the ScreenPad feature, and you can also access the Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, thanks to the Office integrations.

The ZenBook S has up to an eighth-gen Intel Core i7-8550U processor, up to 16GB of RAM up to 1TB of SSD storage and an integrated UHD 620 graphics card.

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Both ZenBooks are extremely attractive, with Asus's bold "deep blue" color scheme consistently applied throughout their chassis.

The ZenBook Pro 15 UX580 will retail in Australia from AU$3,000, with its 14-inch model yet to have its availability confirmed.

Despite weighing just 2.3lbs and measuring just 12.9mm in height, the ZenBook S doesn't make any compromises, featuring up to an 8th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, up to a 4K resolution touchscreen with ultra-thin 5.9mm NanoEdge bezels, ultra-fast PCIe-based storage, up to 13.5 hours of battery life, and Thunderbolt™ ports that support fast-charging, external monitors and GPUs, and other peripherals. Further it features a 50Wh lithium-polymer battery. There's 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0 wireless connectivity, while port options include Thunderbolt 3-equipped USB-C ports and USB 3.0 Type A ports.

Touchpads have always been a staple of laptops since their introduction in 1992 but since then, besides better accuracy and accompanying gesture-based software support, there just hasn't been much innovation. A ScreenPad software development kit (SDK) will be available in the 3rd quarter of 2018, and interested parties may visit www.asus.com/screenpad-developer for more info.

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