If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Apple seems to be the perpetual Prom Queen. From iPhones to iPods to iPads, rival tech firms have been emulating Apple’s clean lines and sleek style for as long as they have been known for them. When it comes to the Pro lineup of laptops we’ve seen released over the last few years, it’s easy to see where they too derive their inspiration from – clean, stark metal exteriors and stunning graphics are staples of the MacBook Pro, arguably one of the best and most popular creative business laptops on the market. Asus made their own foray into the Pro market last year with their NX500, and this year’s UX501 improves upon that model by leaps and bounds.
To start with, the ZenBook Pro UX501 now offers a 15.6-inch 4K touchscreen display. While this may not make it an ideal system for gaming, it does offer stunning graphics through its whopping 3,840 x 2,160 resolution with edge-to-edge glass, In-Plane Switching and 10-finger touch capability. As you would imagine, the CPU and graphics received major upgrades to be able to handle all those sweet visuals. Keeping everything running smoothly is a quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, 512GB of solid-state storage, and Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M graphics. Even with all the new hardware, ZenBook Pro remains a relatively portable machine at only 0.8 inches thick and weighing in at 4.5 pounds. And speaking of toting it around, the addition of a radial, brushed aluminum pattern across the lid adds a bit of style to your computing while on-the-go.
Aside from the power boost and the addition of the Ultra-High-Definition display, the ZenBook Pro maintains most of the same features that made it such a great deal when it was first introduced last year. The keyboard design features chiclet-style keys and automatic backlighting that adjusts according to the ambient lighting in the room, while the 16:9 aspect ratio of the touchpad conveniently matches that of the display. To make sure your high-end desktop-replacement system offers you all the creature comforts of home, it comes with ports galore including three USB 3.0 ports, an SD card slot, an HDMI port, combination headphone/microphone audio jack, and even a mini DisplayPort that doubles as a Thunderbolt connector, offering fast data-transfer capabilities for high-speed storage and docking accessories. As you probably guessed, 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 are included internal features. And just for further peace of mind, the ZenBook Pro comes equipped with LoJack so that if your laptop goes AWOL while you’re away from your nomadic workstation, you should have no trouble tracking it down again.
All in all, this machine is a winner. Not only does it offer the same high level of performance as its competitors, but it does so with a better display, more sufficient battery power and a far lower cost. At only $1,499.00, the ZenBook Pro UX501 is going to be a hard laptop to beat, even for Apple.
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