Last year’s ZenBook Pro wasn’t a very good laptop, but it pleasantly surprised us with its key selling point. The ScreenPad, a smartphone-like display that replaced the traditional trackpad, turned out to be one less gimmick than one might have expected, which is why Asus is betting on the idea for its 2019 lineup of mainstream laptops.
Basically the ScreenPad 2.0 works much more like a smartphone. Asus has revamped the interface with Android-style menu buttons and icons, and it’s easier to switch in and out of regular trackpad mode than before.
I spent some time using the ScreenPad 2.0 and found it quite nice. I doubt I will use it most of the time, but there are certain use cases where I would be glad it was there, and it was always touch sensitive. Most importantly, though, it’s a much better traditional trackpad than what you see on most Windows laptops. If turning Windows Trackpads to smartphones is what it takes for Windows to get great Trackpads, I’m here to do it.
The 2019 ZenBook lineup comes in 13-, 14-, and 15-inch sizes. They all feature Intel Core i7 processors, but the 15-inch model may have an Nvidia GTX 1650 Max-Q GPU while the smaller versions only go up to an MX250.
One of the biggest complaints we had with the ZenBook Pro was its terrible battery life. Asus says the ScreenPad 2.0 has been redesigned in conjunction with the laptop software to improve this – the original implementation required the discrete GPU to be turned on much more often. Asus claims 2.5 times better battery life than the ZenBook S with 9 hours of endurance when the ScreenPad is turned on, which we’ll believe when we see for ourselves.
The ScreenPad 2.0 is also making its way into the VivoBook range, Asus’ lower-cost line of laptops (pictured above). The 2019 models have 13-inch and 15-inch options, both compatible with Core i7 processors and MX250 graphics.
Here’s what one of them looks like playing Windows 10 bloatware classic candy Crush Saga on the ScreenPad:
If that’s what you like.
There are no pricing or availability details yet for any of these Asus laptops, as is typical in the company’s Computex announcements.