Asus' new laptop has a touchpad that's also a touchscreen

midian182

TechSpot Editor
Staff member

Also called the UX580, Asus says the laptop features “the world’s first smart touchpad.” It’s actually a Windows Precision Touchpad overlaid onto a 5.5-inch 1080p IPS display—hitting F6 switches between the two functions.

While in ScreenPad mode, users can access an app launcher, music and video playback controller, calculator, digital numeric keypad, calendar, and more. Asus says it will also work with some apps, including Microsoft Office, Spotify, and YouTube out of the box, with more coming in the future—an SDK will be made available sometime in Q3. There’s also an extender mode that allows users to move any open windows from the main display onto the smaller screen.

The secondary display does bring to mind the Touch Bar on the MacBook Pro, though Apple’s implementation is much more limited. There’s also Project Linda, a concept shown off a CES that involved a heavily modified Razer Blade laptop with a phone dock in place of a touchpad, but in that case it’s the Razer Phone that powers the whole system when inserted.

The ZenBook Pro 15, on the other hand, is a powerful machine. It comes with a 15.6-inch 4K UHD display that the company claims offers excellent color reproduction—132 percent coverage of the sRGB color space and 100 percent of Adobe RGB. It also boasts bezels that are just 7.3mm thick, a maximum brightness of 400 nits, and a 1200:1 contrast ratio.

When it comes to CPUs, the laptop offers the choice of a Core i5, i7, and even a six-core 8th-gen Core i9. Buyers also get 16GB of RAM. Additionally, it can be fitted out with a GPU up to a GeForce GTX 1050 Ti with 4GB of RAM.

The UX580 also has a fingerprint sensor, two USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports, HDMI, two USB 3.1 Type-A ports, a microSD card slot, and a headphone jack. A 14-inch version of the ZenBook Pro with a ScreenPad is set to arrive later this year, featuring an improved 13-hour battery life.

As you might have guessed from the top GPU option, the ZenBook Pro isn’t really designed for gamers. The company says it’s been built mainly for creators such as photographers and video makers. It goes on sale in the middle of July starting at $2,299.

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Fearghast

TS Addict
Well ... it actually can be useful for stuff like media controls, messaging apps, notifications ... but who am I kidding, it won't work as a second screen. It will be limited just like Touch Bar to a small number of apps and actions.
SDK thingy and not a secondary screen ... useless.
 

Badvok

TS Maniac
Asus have obviously noticed all those people who place their phone down in front of their keyboard/laptop so they can interact with both at the same time, especially in coffee shops.
 

MonsterZero

TS Evangelist
This is such a reaching gimmick, it actually looks like a decrease in touchpad performance based on the video, there was some terrible screen lag when scrolling.
 
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Fearghast

TS Addict
This is such a reaching gimmick, it actually looks like a decrease in touchpad performance based on the video, there was some terrible screen lag when scrolling.
That is actually really sad when even the PR showcase video stutters ;)
What would be even more sad, if the screen animations would be added in post (which is actually really common).
 
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Capaill

TS Evangelist
Having a number pad there is clever, assuming games, etc detect the key presses correctly, for users who have their own mouse and don't need the touchpad. I'd like to see a screen that lets you copy/paste special characters, like foreign letters, as it could be useful for people who type in multiple languages. Or even a full clipboard manager where you could copy multiple items and then choose which one to paste. Heck, even a second screen for monitoring hardware CPU, temps, etc could be useful, or for checking emails and IMs while running something full-screen.
It's a useful concept - I hope to see more of this.
 

Kytetiger

TS Enthusiast
It could be useful for mathematics and formula, or for non-roman alphabet country. Writing in chinese, japanese, korean or arabic could be easier.