Last year's ZenBook Pro was not a very good laptop, but we noticed that we were pleasantly surprised by its most important selling point. The ScreenPad, a smartphone-like screen that replaced the traditional trackpad, turned out to be less of a gimmick than you'd expect, and so Asus fully addresses the idea for its 2019 series of regular laptops.
In short, the ScreenPad 2.0 works much more like a smartphone. Asus has redesigned the interface with Android-style menu buttons and icons and it is easier to switch on and off the normal trackpad mode than before.
I used the ScreenPad 2.0 for a while and I thought it was pretty cool. I doubt that I would use it most of the time, but there are certain cases of use that would make me happy that it was there, and it was always receptive to the touch. But above all it's just a much better traditional trackpad than what you see on most Windows laptops. If changing trackpads into smartphones is what Windows needs to get great trackpads, I'm in favor.
The 2019 ZenBook line-up is available in sizes 13, 14 and 15 inch. All equipped with Intel Core i7 processors, but the 15-inch model can have an Nvidia GTX 1650 Max-Q GPU, while the smaller versions only go to an MX250.
One of the biggest complaints we had with the ZenBook Pro was the terrible battery life. Asus says the ScreenPad 2.0 has been redesigned together with the laptop software to improve this – the original implementation required the individual GPU to be fired much more frequently. Asus claims 2.5 times better battery life with the ZenBook S with 9 hours of endurance when the ScreenPad is on, which we believe when we see it for ourselves.
The ScreenPad 2.0 is also on its way to the VivoBook range, the affordable laptop line from Asus (pictured above). The 2019 models have 13 and 15-inch options, both of which support Core i7 processors and MX250 graphics.
This is what one of them looks like playing Windows 10 bloatware classic Candy Crush Saga on the ScreenPad:
If that's what you want.
No pricing or availability information for any of these Asus laptops, as is typical of the company's Computex announcements.