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Asus ZenBook Pro UX550VD

What is the Asus ZenBook Pro UX550VD?

The ZenBook Pro is one of the more expensive ZenBook models out there, boasting premium specs to match that high asking price.

As well as a nippy Core i7 Kaby Lake chipset, you get dedicated Nvidia GeForce graphics for blasting through some of the latest games. Combined with Asus’ finger-friendly keyboard and a realistic 15.6-inch display, this is a beefy laptop to match even quite demanding requirements.

So is this top-end ZenBook worth a punt, or should you look to other similarly priced laptops such as the Dell XPS 15, which boasts very similar specs?

Asus ZenBook Pro UX550VD – Design and build

The ZenBook Pro’s marketing blurb may throw around such terms as ‘elegant’ and ‘sophisticated’, but my first impressions were very different. ‘Rugged’, ‘resilient’ and ‘beast’ are a bit more to the point.

That’s not to say the UX550VD has been whacked senseless with every branch of the ugly tree. You’ll find a few stylish little touches here and there, including the circular lid pattern and those funky power indicators housed on the laptop’s lip. All the same, this feels more like a machine built to withstand plenty of daily punishment, rather than an elegant device to turn heads in Starbucks.

If you want more of a looker, check out the Dell XPS 15, the Huawei MateBook X Pro or Apple’s MacBook Pro instead.

Asus ZenBook Pro review

At 1.8kg, the ZenBook Pro isn’t light, either. Yes, it’s perfectly possible to carry it around all day in a backpack, but this is a laptop best moved room-to-room in a household and only occasionally lugged outside. Again, Huawei’s super-light MateBook is a better option in this regard. That said, Asus’ beast is surprisingly slender given the other dimensions. Even at its thickest point, the device doesn’t quite hit 2cm.

From the shiny silver lid to the matte chassis, every inch of this laptop feels solidly constructed. Poke and prod as much as you like, you’ll struggle to find a weak spot. Definitely a bonus if you plan on letting young children loose on it.

Connectivity is quite good, too – as you’d expect from a machine this size. You get plenty of USB ports, including two Type-A and two of the faster and reversible Type-C connections. In addition, there’s an HDMI port and microSD card reader – although, sadly, there’s no Ethernet port for wired web access.

Asus ZenBook Pro review

Asus ZenBook Pro UX550VD – Keyboard and touchpad

I’m a big fan of Asus keyboards, which pretty much guarantee a comfortable and intuitive touch-typing experience. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the UX550VD lives up to expectations and provides some solid usability.

The keyboard stretches across a good portion of the ZenBook Pro’s chassis, with a chiclet finish to space out those keys. Nothing feels cramped, although the cursor keys are once again squished into a single row. That aside, I rarely made mistakes while touch-typing at my maximum speed. My only real complaint was the right-most row of buttons (home, pgup, pgdn and so on), which pushed the enter, backspace and shift keys inwards. This unusual setup took a bit of adjustment, although proved fine after a while.

Only a hint of sponginess is found towards the centre of the board and this certainly doesn’t affect the experience. Decent travel provides plenty of feedback, too.

Asus ZenBook Pro review

If you’re going to be working well into the wee hours, the ZenBook’s keyboard backlighting will be an essential feature. You can cycle through three levels of brightness to match your conditions and turn the effect off entirely to save battery life.

I also didn’t mind using the ZenBook Pro’s relatively spacious touchpad. Although this doesn’t quite stretch to the limits of the laptop’s palm rest, it proved a decent size for editing photos and other fiddly tasks. Even the built-in mouse buttons aren’t terrible.

Asus ZenBook Pro review

Asus ZenBook Pro UX550VD – Screen

Another highlight of Asus’ laptop is the 15.6-inch LED backlit display. With its Full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution and generous size, I found it a great way to take in a movie or a few TV episodes on the move. Visuals are pleasingly crisp, with plenty of detail reproduced when browsing photos or enjoying video.

Visibility certainly isn’t a problem, either. The wide viewing angles and anti-glare coating mean that you can share the screen with others, even when you’re sat outside on a sunny day.

Good news for creative users, too, as an impressive 96% of the sRGB gamut is comfortably covered. Our display tests also found that 74% of the Adobe RGB range is also represented. In other words, you can expect realistic image reproduction, similar to the Dell XPS 15 and Apple MacBook Pro panels.

Asus ZenBook Pro UX550VD – Audio

Harman Kardon has stamped its approval on the ZenBook Pro as far as audio quality goes, although big-name backing doesn’t often mean too much in this realm.

Many laptops we review have just two speakers, infuriatingly housed on the bottom of the device. That means any audio that blasts out is muffled by your crotch or the desk. Thankfully, the UX550VD boasts two additional speakers, this time positioned either side of the keyboard (à la MacBook Pro).

Pump up your music and the sound quality is understandably flat and muddy, as you’d expect from laptop speakers. However, at top volume they’ll also easily fill a room with sound, and they proved perfect for watching Netflix in a noisy kitchen or outdoor location.

Asus ZenBook Pro review

Asus ZenBook Pro UX550VD – Performance

An Intel Kaby Lake Core i7-7700HQ running at a clock speed of 2.8GHz is packed into the ZenBook Pro, with 8GB of RAM to help keep things running smoothly. You also have dedicated graphics in the form of Nvidia’s GTX 1050, with 4GB of its own GDDR5 memory for rendering visuals.

Performance is just as strong as rivals such as the Dell XPS 15 – which isn’t too surprising considering the specs are near-identical. No matter how many apps you’re trying to flip between at one time, the ZenBook Pro happily keeps up. Great news if you’re a multi-tasker.

In the standard benchmark tests, this laptop threw out the following scores.

PCMark 8: 3349

Geekbench single core: 4512

Geekbench multi-core: 14070

That GeForce 1050 GPU means that you can play some of the latest games with a decent frame rate during breaks. We tested some recent online titles such as Hunt: Showdown, as well as popular games such as Rise of the Tomb Raider, all of which were perfectly playable at high detail levels. As a frame of reference, the Rise of the Tomb Raider benchmark threw out an average score of 36fps.

Asus ZenBook Pro review

Of course, the ZenBook Pro can’t match recent gaming laptops when it comes to graphical performance. This is more an option for people who’d like to occasionally relax by blowing up terrorists and alien mutants, rather than dedicated gamers. Basically, as long as you aren’t hoping to hook up the ZenBook to a 4K monitor and get some Ultra HD gaming on the go, or play the latest titles on maximum settings, this laptop should appease.

3DMark spat out the following scores for the ZenBook Pro.

Even when punishing the ZenBook with some graphically intensive titles, the laptop didn’t warm up too much. The ventilation system uses a dual fan setup to push out that hot air, and thankfully the fans aren’t too noisy either. Certainly nothing compared with the aircraft-taking-off-style ruckus you get from many gaming machines.

The SSD boasts half a gigabyte of storage space and pretty standard read/write speeds. Data is read at a rate of 512MB/sec, and written at 439MB/sec.

Asus ZenBook Pro review

Asus ZenBook Pro UX550VD – Battery life

One of the benefits of that larger chassis is the size of battery fitted inside. The ZenBook Pro boasts solid battery life, offering a full working day of use between charges. Even if you absolutely hammer it by downloading massive files while streaming video, you’ll still get around four to five hours of life. Only resource-guzzling games seriously impact longevity, taking battery life down to a couple of hours.

In the standard Trusted Reviews battery test, the ZenBook Pro really impressed. A constant loop of video playback and web browsing gave a return of ten hours on a full charge. That’s better than almost every other laptop we’ve tested so far in 2018.

Why buy the Asus ZenBook Pro UX550VD?

There’s no denying the ZenBook Pro’s prowess when it comes to performance. The Kaby Lake Core i7 chipset and Nvidia GPU combine to blaze through games and other intensive tasks, while the 15.6-inch screen provides a perfect portal to your media.

Of course, this beast isn’t quite as attractive or portable as some of its rivals such as the XPS 15 or MateBook Pro X. If that doesn’t bother you, we say jump right in.

Verdict

The ZenBook Pro boasts premium performance, strong usability and a well-designed display – all for a typically steep asking price.

The post Asus ZenBook Pro UX550VD appeared first on Trusted Reviews.

Asus Zenbook Pro 15 First Look

Asus Zenbook Pro 15: An early look at Asus’ dual-screen flagship laptop

The Zenbook Pro has a track record for being a solid, albeit slight dull, top-end Ultrabook that for the last few years has fallen behind Dell’s XPS line.

Which is probably why Asus decided to come out all guns blazing at Computex 2018, launching its most interesting Zenbook Pro to date: a flagship Ultrabook with two screens. The laptop features leading edge specs, plus a secondary FHD “Screenpad” built into its touchpad.

Though this may sound like a gimmick, having had an opening play with both the 14-inch and 15-inch variants you can colour me impressed. From what I’ve seen, the Dell XPS 13 and XPS 15 2-in-1 may have some serious competition for best laptop at this year’s hallowed Trusted Reviews Awards.

 

Asus Zenbook Pro 15 – Price

There’s no official word on either version of the Zenbook Pro’s price, though an Asus representative said: “I am expecting the 15-inch with an [Intel Core] i7, 16GB RAM and 512GB PCIe to come in under £1900 and the 15-inch with the i9 to be about £2200.”

Asus Zenbook Pro 15 – Release date

There’s also no word on either version’s release date, though the representative indicated the 15-inch will arrive around August or September. The 14-inch will arrive at an unspecified later date.

Asus Zenbook Pro 15 – Screenpad and design

The most interesting part of both laptops’ design is the new touchscreen Asus has embedded into the touchpad. The FHD, colour screen is an identical size on both laptops and works kind of like the Nintendo DS’ secondary display.

Core functionality includes a drag down, customisable shortcut menu for things like your calendar, photo gallery and music player, but you can also configured it to have application specific functions. In Powerpoint, for example, you can get it to show the next slide in your presentation or notes for your speech. It also has a drag down function that’ll let you manually move content, like YouTube videos, from the main screen to the secondary touchpad display.

This may sound a little gimmicky but I can definitely see it being of useful to people like creatives. How cool would it be to have seperate brush, layer or filter controls on a second screen when using Photoshop or Illustrator?

My only concern about the Screenpad setup is that the secondary display didn’t always feel that reactive. During my demo, it worked fine as a touchpad – which is no surprise as Asus has miraculously managed to make it Microsoft Precision Certified, despite the wealth of custom tech in it.

However, when I tried to use the on-screen controls for things like the music player, it could occasionally feel a little sluggish and there was definitely some lag when I scrolled between photos on it. An Asus rep told me this is because the touchpad screen’s software wasn’t finalised, so hopefully these bugs will be ironed out ahead of its release.

Outside of this, the laptop has the same premium feel of past Zenbooks. Both the 14-inch and 15-inch models have the same metallic finish, which feels every bit as high quality as past models. The only big difference visually is that the 14-incher has a slightly different hinge mechanism, which is highlighted with gold trimming.

The Nanoedge display has the same 83% screen-to-body ration as last year’s model, which in layman’s terms means the bezel is noticeably bigger than the Infinity Edge seen on Dell’s XPS line – though still smaller than that of the average laptop.

My main concern about the Zenbook Pro is the duo’s slightly old-school feeling keyboard. Both have basic backlit chiclet keyboards with membrane switches. A year or two this wouldn’t have bothered me, but having just finished testing the XPS 15 2-in-1’s Maglev keyboard, the Zenbook’s switches felt slightly less reactive than I’d have liked.

Related: Best Ultrabooks

Zenbook Pro 15 – Specs

The laptop’s internals have had a significant update. The Zenbook Pro 15 is by far the more interesting of the two, and looks set to be the best choice for creatives.

The main highlight is its upgraded 15.6-inch screen, which has some pretty amazing specs. For starters, it’ll have a super sharp 4K display, just like the XPS 15 2-in-1. What’s more impressive is that Asus is quoting it as having an insane 2.0 Delta E and covering 132% of the sRGB colour gamut – and 100% of the Adobe RGB favoured by artists.

I didn’t have a colorimeter to hand to verify these stats, but if the reality comes even close to what Asus is putting down on paper, this would be a great selling point for creatives working in physical media, where colour accuracy is key. To date, the only laptops I’ve tested to come close to matching these stats are the Macbook Pro and XPS 15 2-in-1.

Other highlights include the use of Intel’s shiny new 8th Gen Core i9 CPU. Past laptops we’ve tested with the chip have offered fantastic CPU performance and been excellent for intensive tasks like video editing. The use of an Nvidia GeFore 1050 Ti is another welcome addition that means it should be able to easily play games like Overwatch at 60fps. My only slight quibble is that Asus is offering it with a maximum of 16GB DDR4 RAM. Most competing 15-inch Ultrabooks, like the XPS 15 2-in-1 offer up to 32GB of RAM.

A final cherry on top differentiating the two is that the Zenbook Pro 15 features a built-in fingerprint scanner. The Zenbook 14 doesn’t and has slightly more modest specs all-around, maxing out at a Core i7 CPU, slimmed down GTX 1050 Max-Q GPU, and the same 16GB RAM. These specs aren’t as impressive as the 15’s, but should be more than good enough for most people. Unless something goes seriously wrong, the 14 should be more than powerful enough for photo editing and casual gaming.

You can seen the Zenbook Pro 15 and Zenbook Pro 14’s full specs list in the table below.

Zenbook Pro 15 (UX580) Zenbook Pro 14 (UX480
Colour Deep dive blue and rose gold Deep dive blue with rose gold
Display 15.6-inch 4K, touchscreen, 100% Adobe RGB, Delta E 2.0  14-inch FHD touch screen
CPU 8th Gen Core i9, hexa-core 8th Gen Core i7, quad-core
Graphics Nvidia GeForce 1050 Ti Nvidia GeForce 1050 Max-Q
Memory Up to 16GB 2400MHz DDR4 Up to 16GB 2400MHz DDR4
Storage Up to 1TB PCIe x4 SSD Up to 1TB PCIe x4 SSD
Connectivity USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type C with Thunderbolt 3 support USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type C with Thunderbolt 3 support
Windows Hello Fingerprint sensor IR camera
Dimensions 365 x 251 x 18.9mm 322 x 255 x 17.9
Weight 1.8kg 1.6kg

 

Opening Impressions

The Zenbook Pro’s dual-screen design may sound a little gimmicky, but from what I’ve seen it has a lot of potential, especially for power users and creatives. The second display not only looks great but is highly customisable, so if Asus can iron out the few performance niggles I experienced, I can see the second screen being a key selling point for both Zenbook Pro models.

Add to this to the Zenbook Pro 15’s top specced screen and powerful Core i9 CPU option and I can see it becoming a key rival to the XPS 15 2-in-1 and Macbook Pro when it launches later this year. The 14-inch model, while less potent than its big sibling in some areas, is still likely to be a compelling product for most laptop users.

The post Zenbook Pro 15 first look: Asus’ ‘Screenpad’ has serious potential appeared first on Trusted Reviews.

Asus Zenbook S First Look Macbook Rival

Zenbook S: An ultraportable ‘military grade’ Macbook rival

The Zenbook S is Asus’ latest attempt to create the ultimate high-power portable laptop. It aims to entice buyers away from the ever-popular 12-inch Macbook by offering users a premium ‘military grade’ metal design, super-sharp ‘NanoEdge’ 4K screen and a wealth of top-end hardware options.

It may not have a wow factor feature like the Zenbook Pro’s Screenpad, but from what I’ve seen it has the chops to be a great choice for students with cash to burn and office workers on the market for a top-specced, ultra-portable laptop.

 

Zenbook S price

Asus hasn’t confirmed a price for the Zenbook S. The exact cost will vary depending on what exact configuration you pick.

Zenbook S release date

Asus hasn’t given the laptop a firm release date. But a representative told me, “it should be relatively soon.”

 

Zenbook S design

At first glance the Zenbook S has a minimalist design that focuses on durability and portability over visual flair. The ‘Deep Dive Blue’ unit I saw had a unibody, ‘spin-metal’ design that was free of any design flourishes. This plus the familiar diamond-cut edges you’ll find on most Asus laptops give the Zenbook S a fairly familiar, by-numbers feel – the only notable design feature is that it’s the first Asus Zenbook to be available in ‘burgundy’ red.

But up close I found plenty of things to like about it. The uber-thin 12.9mm and 1kg weight mean it felt wonderfully light and suitably satchel-friendly. The specs come close to matching the 12-inch Macbook, which weighs 970g and is 13mm thick, which remains one of Trusted‘s favourite portable laptops.

An Asus representative on hand stopped me doing any flex tests during my hands-on, but build quality felt solid and Asus claims the laptop meets military-grade MIL-STD-810G durability standards – which is useful if you’re planning on dropping into a warzone with it, I guess.

The basic backlit chiclet keyboard wasn’t anything to write home about and offered the same typing experience I’ve had on most Asus Zenbooks, outside of a slightly raised typing angle. This is a result of the laptop’s custom ‘ErgoLift’ hinge, which tilts the keyboard to sit at a 5.5-degree angle.

Asus claims the tilt also improves airflow and enhances audio performance, but testing the laptop in a packed, very warm showroom floor, I didn’t get a chance to check either of these claims.

Zenbook S specs

The best parts of the Zenbook Pro are found on the inside. The Zenbook S features a fairly impressive top specification for a laptop its size. If you go all out, you’ll be able to load the laptop with a core i7-8550U CPU, 16GB of 2133MHz LPDDR3 RAM and 1TB of PCIe SSD storage.

The screen also looks fairly impressive, on paper. If money’s no object you can load the Zenbook S with a 4K, 13.3-inch touchscreen that Asus claims will offer users 100% sRGB colour gamut coverage. I naked eye-tested the laptop in less-than-ideal, very dark lighting so can’t sensibly comment on overall screen quality. But max brightness levels seemed decent and blacks, while a little grey, weren’t the worst I’ve seen on an LED. The NanoEdge tech also means the screen bezel is noticeably smaller than the Macbook’s, albeit not on a par with the Dell XPS 13’s Infinity Edge display.

Connectivity is also reasonably good for such a thin laptop, with every model coming with three USB C ports, two of which support Thunderbolt 3.

My only quibble with the specs of the Zenbook S are the complete lack of graphics options. Whichever configuration you get, you’ll be stuck with Intel HD graphics, which mean it won’t be able to run intensive tasks like video editing and will struggle to run modern games.

You can see all the Zenbook S configuration options in the table below.

CPU Intel Core™ i7-8550U processor

Intel Core™ i5-8250U processor

Display 13.3-inch LED-backlit 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) 16:9 glossy touchscreen (Deep Dive Blue only)

13.3-inch LED-backlit Full HD (1920 x 1080) 16:9 glossy non-touch display

13.3-inch LED-backlit Full HD (1920 x 1080) 16:9 anti-glare non-touch display (Deep Dive Blue only)

5.9mm-thin bezel with 85% screen-to-body ratio

Wide 100% sRGB color gamut

178° wide-view technology

ASUS Eye Care technology for up to 30% blue-light reduction

Operating system Windows 10 Home

Windows 10 Pro

Graphics Intel UHD 620
Main memory 8GB / 16GB 2133MHz LPDDR3 onboard
Storage 1TB / 512GB PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD

256GB SATA3 SSD

Connectivity Bluetooth 4.2
Camera HD webcam
I/O ports 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C™ (Thunderbolt™ 3)

1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C™

All three USB ports support fast charging, data transfers and display connectivity.

1 x Audio combo jack

Audio High-quality stereo speakers (with smart amplifier)

Harman Kardon-certified ASUS SonicMaster Premium audio system

Battery 50Wh lithium-polymer
AC adapter Output: 20V, 65W input: 100V-240V AC, 50Hz/60Hz
Dimensions 311 x 213 x 12.9mm
Weight With anti-glare display: approx 1kg

With glossy display: approx 1.05kg

Opening Impressions

The Zenbook S doesn’t have the wow factor of Asus’ other Computex releases, but from what I’ve seen it looks like a solid, ultraportable Macbook rival.

If Asus prices it correctly it could be a great option for students and office workers looking for a satchel-friendly jack-of-all-trades laptop.

The post Asus Zenbook S first look – A ‘military grade’ Macbook rival appeared first on Trusted Reviews.

Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 Review Close to Perfection

What is the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1?

The XPS 15 2-in-1 is one of the most interesting laptops to arrive this year for a number of reasons, chief of which is its Intel G Series CPU.

The G Series CPU is the result an unholy union between Intel and AMD. It pairs Intel’s Kaby Lake CPU architecture with AMD Vega graphics and means the XPS 15 2-in-1 is surprisingly capable at gaming, despite the lack of a dGPU.

This, plus the addition of a new magnetic keyboard that rivals the Macbook Pro’s butterfly switches for comfort, and one of the best laptop screens I’ve tested in recent memory, make the XPS 15 one of the best Ultrabooks around.

Slightly buggy Radeon graphics software and below-average battery life stop it from achieving Trusted Reviews’ hallowed 5/5 score, however.

Related: Best laptops

Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 – Design

The XPS 15 2-in-1 doesn’t reinvent the wheel and at first glance has a near identical ‘InfinityEdge’ design to Dell’s last 15-inch Ultrabook, which in my mind is no bad thing. The silver brushed metal chassis and the woven glass-fibre finish surrounding the keyboard and trackpad are identical to the 2018 XPS 13’s and give it the same classy feel. Build quality also remains excellent as a result.

The only minor design issues remain the oddly placed front camera and slightly limited connectivity. Like the XPS 13, the 15 2-in-1’s 720p rear camera sits below the screen and gives any video callers a lovely view of your nostrils. The lack of any full-sized USB, display or HDMI ports will also be a problem for people still using old peripherals. For everyone else, the two Thunderbolt 3 and two USB-C 3.1 connections will be more than adequate, however.

Up close, though, you’ll spot a number of subtle but useful design changes. First off, Dell have added a Lenovo Yoga 920-style 360 hinge that lets you turn the laptop into a tablet by folding the screen all the way round.

This sounds small, but coupled with Dell’s optional active stylus, it makes the XPS 15 2-in-1 an enticing option for digital artists or creatives on the market for a mobile work or sketch station.

The redesigned cooling system, which uses a custom Gore thermal insulator to direct heat towards the fans, also means the laptop is surprisingly light for a 15-inch Ultrabook, weighing in at just 2kg.

Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 – Keyboard and trackpad

The keyboard has also been completely redesigned. According to Dell, the new keyboard uses custom Maglev tech found in high-speed trains. Specifically it replaces the domed membraned switches found on most laptops with a system of ‘rare Earth-magnets’. This reduces the number of physical parts moving in the keyboard, meaning it should, in theory, last longer.

I’ve only had the XPS 15 2-in-1 for a fortnight, so I can’t sensibly comment on its longevity. I can, however, confirm it offers one of the best typing experiences I’ve seen on a laptop in quite some time.

The keyboard has a tiny 0.7mm travel, but despite this, each key offers a wonderfully tactile click action when pressed. This plus a rapid reset make the keyboard feel significantly more reactive and pleasant to type on than 99% of the laptops I test. I’d go so far as to say I prefer them to the butterfly switches seen on the Macbook Pro, which were previously my favourite.

As with all the recent XPS laptops I’ve tested, the 15 2-in-1’s glass-coated, Microsoft Precision touchpad is also excellent. The pad’s suitably sizeable and one of the most reactive and accurate you’ll find on a Windows laptop.

Related: Best Ultrabooks

Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 – Display

Display tech is another key area where the XPS 15 2-in-1 excels. The 15-inch touchscreen comes in 4K and 1080p resolution options. The 4K model I reviewed performed excellently during my synthetic screen tests.

The 0.2865nits black level, coupled with its 450.89 maximum brightness, adds up to a super impressive 1574:1 contrast ratio. This makes the screen wonderfully vibrant and excellent for movie binges. The 6735K colour temperature is a little cooler than the 6500k ideal, but not to the point where the screen looks unrealistic or dull.

For creatives, colour range is also excellent. My tests showed the screen covered 99.9% of the bog standard sRGB gamut. But what’s seriously impressive is its 94.2% Adobe RGB and 85.2% DCI-P3 coverage. The two gamuts are generally favoured by artists and filmmakers where accurate colour representation is key.

These stats are among the best I’ve seen on a Windows laptop. The only other device I’ve tested to match them is the Macbook Pro, which was previously our top choice for creatives.

Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 – Performance

Performance will vary depending on which model of the XPS 15 2-in-1 you get. You can see the various configuration options in the table below.

Processor Options 8th Gen Intel® Quad CoreTM i5-8305G processor with RadeonTM RX Vega M GL graphics (6MB cache, up to 3.8GHz) / 8th Gen Intel® Quad CoreTM i7-8705G processor with RadeonTM RX Vega M GL graphics (8MB cache, up to 4.1GHz)
Memory 8GB-16GB Dual Channel DDR4 at 2400MHz (On Board); 32GB post RTS
Graphics RadeonTM RX Vega M GL graphics with 4GB HBM2 RAM
Display Options 15.6-inch UltraSharp 4K Ultra HD (3200 x 1800) InfinityEdge touch display; 100% Adobe RGB (min) / 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) InfinityEdge touch display; 100% sRGB
Storage Options 128GB, 256GB PCIe, 512GB PCIe, 1TB PCIe SSD
Speakers Stereo speakers professionally tuned with Waves MaxxAudio® Pro; 1W x 2 = 2W total Headset jack
Webcam Widescreen HD (720p) webcam with four array digital microphones; Windows Hello compliant infrared camera
Battery 75WHr battery (built-in)

The top specced version I tested, which comes with an Intel Core i7, 16GB DDR4 RAM and a 1TB PCIe SSD, performed very well during my tests.

Its PCMark 8 and Geekbench 4 scores put it on a par with competing top-end Ultrabooks and gaming notebooks such as the Macbook Pro when it comes to CPU performance.

The 3DMark score is also surprisingly good and easily beats one of its closest rivals, the Surface Book 2, on graphics performance.

Its Crystal Mark 2976.7MB/s read and 520.2MB/s write scores are also top notch for a Windows machine, though they don’t quite match the Macbook Pro or Surface Book 2’s.

Related: Best gaming laptops

Device Geekbench single-core Geekbench multi-core PCMark 8 3DMark Fire Strike Crystaldiskmark read Crystaldiskmark write
XPS 15-2-in-1 4770 16055 3404 6276 2976.7MB/s 520.2MB/s
Surface Book 2 4488 13724 2878 5124 2946MB/s 1252MB/sec

With real world use it matched its synthetic benchmark scores. The laptop easily dealt with large, multi-layer digital painting and photography projects with few issues. 3D modelling in Blender was also a blast and I never experienced any serious slowdown on regular sized projects. The same was true when video editing.

Gaming performance was also surprisingly good. During my time with the XPS 15 2-in-1 I was able to get triple-A titles, including Rise of the Tomb Raider, Destiny 2 and Overwatch, running on the machine at playable, 45fps-plus frame rates at 1080p – though some graphics settings had to be toned down.

However, be warned that intensive tasks put a serious drain on the XPS 15 2-in-1’s custom Gore cooling system.

The system is excellent on paper and uses a custom Gore thermal insulator to direct heat towards the fans at its back. Yet when playing a few rounds of Destiny 2 with the XPS connected to the mains, the laptop’s fans whirred into overdrive and were creating an outright cacophony that rivalled some gaming laptops’ volume.

Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 – Battery life

Battery life is also a little shorter than I’d like. The 75WHr battery generally lasts a full work day with moderate use.

Moderate use entailed using the XPS 15 2-in-1 as my main work and personal laptop. On an average day this included word processing and web browsing throughout the day, plus the odd smidgen of photo editing and video playback.

But running our synthetic battery test, which involved looping five minutes’ video playback and 10 minutes’ web browsing with the screen set to 150nits, it never lasted more than six hours. Most other Ultrabooks in the same size bracket manage at least an hour longer running the same test.

Video playback and gaming also severely impact the convertible’s battery life. Travelling on a long train journey, the laptop died less than four hours in, after a solid session of Netflix binging and gaming.

Why buy the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1?

If you’re after an all round excellent, big-screen Windows 10 laptop, you’ll struggle to do better.

Dell hasn’t tweaked the outer design that much, but the improvements it has made to the XPS 15 2-in-1’s keyboard and screen are subtle but important upgrades. Add to this the new G Series CPU and graphics options and the laptop easily earns its place as one of 2018’s best Ultrabooks.

Were it not for its slightly lacklustre battery life and noisy performance during intensive tasks, this would be the perfect Windows 10 laptop.

Verdict

One of the best 15-inch Windows 10 laptops money can buy.

The post Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 review: Close to perfection appeared first on Trusted Reviews.

Asus ROG Strix Scar 2 First Look – A 0.5 Upgrade

Asus ROG Strix 2: An opening look at Asus answer to the Gigabyte Aero 15

The Asus Strix line of laptops has a track record of being solid, workhorse, mid-range gaming laptops. Which is why when Asus unveiled its next-generation Strix Scar 2 and Hero 2 laptops at Computex I expected a functional, but ultimately un-inspiring refresh.

Asus ROG Strix 2 price

Asus hasn’t confirmed the price for either laptop.

Asus ROG Strix 2 release date

We’re also still waiting on a release date for both.

Related: Best laptops

Therefore, it was such a nice surprise to find the Scar 2 and Hero 2 have been completely reworked to have a pleasingly modern, XPS-inspired, design and not just another modest hardware refresh. The only issue is, other players have already beaten them to the punch, like Gigabyte with its new Aero 15 and Aero 15 X.

Asus ROG Strix 2 new design

The Strix 2 is being sold in two variants: the Scar 2 and Hero 2. The Scar 2 is aimed at semi-serious gamers who regularly play FPS shooters. The Hero, by comparison, is designed for less intensive MOBA games.

From the outside, the Scar 2 looks fairly similar to its predecessor: it has the same two-tone brushed metal finish and RGB ROG Strix logo on its back.

Up close you’ll spot a few differences. For starters, Asus has added an RGB strip along the laptop’s bottom. Personally, I always want laptops to have less, not more RGB lighting, but some people in the room outright swooned at the addition. Each to their own on RGB I guess.

What’s more interesting is the new near bezel-free screen, updated fan cooling system and slightly improved keyboard.

The Strix Scar 2’s screen has a 2.33cm smaller bezel than its predecessor. This, coupled with the soft touch, slightly rubbery material surrounding the keyboard and trackpad make it look and feel like a slightly gamified Dell XPS, which is no bad thing.

The backlit RGB keyboard uses the same membrane switches as before but has an improved 1.8mm travel. Though minor, this made it feel slightly more responsive while gaming.

The improved cooling system is the final noteworthy change. On the outside, the system is shown off with a nifty new trapezoid cut lid on its back. The cutaway is a minor touch Asus claims will improve the laptop’s thermal performance by up to 27%. It apparently does this by stopping the lid accidentally blocking airflow from the cooling fans, which have also had a spruce.

Asus claims the new 12V fans have even more blades, offer 20% better speeds and 43.5% more airflow than the original ROG Strix. On top of this, the heat pipes have extra cladding to help keep the GPU and CPU below 90 degrees during intensive gaming sessions.

I only had a couple of hours with the laptop in a very noisy press room and until I get a chance to benchmark and properly game on it I can’t attest to performance or how quiet it is. But if there’s any truth to Asus’ claims this could be a key selling point for the laptop. Competing laptops, like the Aorus X5, are notoriously led and have a tendency to run fairly hot during prolonged gaming sessions.

For those that want a little more control over the fans, Asus has also loaded three different modes: silent, balanced, fan over boost. The self-descriptive modes are easily cycled through using a Fn+FS shortcut.

Related: Best gaming laptops

Asus ROG Strix 2 specs

Outside of this, the specs remain largely unchanged. The new Strix 2 laptops have the same GPU, CPU, memory and storage options as their predecessors. This means the higher end Scar tops out with an 8th gen i7 CPU, GTX 1070 GPU and 32GB of DDR4 memory. Some people may bemoan the lack of a 1080 GPU option, but the lack of 1440p or 4K screen options mean its absence is more than forgivable, especially when you consider how good the FHD screen is. The 15.6-inch panel retains the 144Hz refresh rate of its predecessor, making it a solid choice for competitive online gamers.

You can see a full spec sheet for the new ROG Strix Scar 2 and Hero 2 in the table below.

 

ROG Strix SCAR II (GL504GM / GL504GS) ROG Strix Hero II (GL504GM)
Processor 8th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-8750H

8th Gen Intel® Core™ i5-8300H

8th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-8750H

8th Gen Intel® Core™ i5-8300H

Operating system Windows 10 Home

Windows 10 Pro

Windows 10 Home

Windows 10 Pro

Display 15.6″ IPS-level FHD (1920 x 1080) panel with 144Hz refresh rate, 3ms GTG response time, 100% sRGB color gamut, and non-glare coating 15.6″ IPS-level FHD (1920 x 1080) panel with 144Hz refresh rate, 3ms GTG response time, 100% sRGB color gamut, and non-glare coating

15.6″ IPS-level FHD (1920 x 1080) panel with 60Hz refresh rate, 100% sRGB color gamut, and non-glare coating

Graphics For GL504GM:

NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1060 with 6GB GDDR5 VRAM

For GL504GS:

NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1070 with 8GB GDDR5 VRAM

NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1060 with 6GB GDDR5 VRAM
Memory Up to 32GB DDR4 2666MHz SDRAM (dual-channel) Up to 32GB DDR4 2666MHz SDRAM (dual-channel)
Storage M.2 NVMe PCIe® 128GB / 256GB / 512GB SSD

2.5” 5400rpm 1TB SSHD

2.5” 5400rpm / 7200rpm 1TB HDD

M.2 NVMe PCIe® 128GB / 256GB / 512GB SSD

2.5” 5400rpm 1TB SSHD

2.5” 5400rpm / 7200rpm 1TB HDD

Wireless 802.11ac 2×2 Wave 2 Wi-Fi

Bluetooth® 5.0

802.11ac 2×2 Wave 2 W-Fi

Bluetooth® 5.0

Connectivity 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C™ (USB-C™)

2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1

1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2

1 x mini DisplayPort 1.2

1 x HDMI 2.0

1 x RJ-45 jack

1 x SD card reader

1 x 3.5mm headphone and microphone combo jack

1 x Kensington lock

1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C™ (USB-C™)

2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1

1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2

1 x mini DisplayPort 1.2

1 x HDMI 2.0

1 x RJ-45 jack

1 x SD card reader

1 x 3.5mm headphone and microphone combo jack

1 x Kensington lock

Keyboard Backlit chiclet keyboard

RGB across four zones, with Aura Sync support

Marked WASD keys

Hot keys: Volume up / Volume down / Mute /  ROG Gaming Center

1.8mm travel distance

0.25mm keycap curve

Backlit chiclet keyboard

RGB across four zones, with Aura Sync support

Marked QWER keys

Hot keys: Volume up / Volume down / Mute /  ROG Gaming Center

1.8mm travel distance

0.25mm keycap curve

Audio 2x 3.5W speakers with smart-amplifier technology

Array microphone

2 x 3.5W speakers with smart-amplifier technology

Array microphone

Software ROG Gaming Center 2.5

ROG GameFirst V

ASUS Splendid

ASUS Sonic Studio & Sonic Radar III

ASUS Aura Core 2.5

XSplit Gamecaster (free)

Android™ / iOS app

ROG Gaming Center 2.5

ROG GameFirst V

ASUS Splendid

ASUS Sonic Studio & Sonic Radar III

ASUS Aura Core 2.5

XSplit Gamecaster (free)

Android™ / iOS app

VR Ready Yes Yes
Windows Mixed Reality Basic (minimum 8GB RAM required) Basic (minimum 8GB RAM required)
Power For GL504GM:

180W power adapter

For GL504GS:

230W power adapter

180W power adapter
Size 36.1 x 26.2 x 2.61cm 36.1 x 26.2 x 2.61cm
Weight 2.4kg 2.4kg

 

Opening impressions

The new ROG Strix Scar 2 and Hero 2 aren’t huge updates on their predecessors, featuring near identical internal specifications.

But the few changes Asus have made look like definitive positives. The new screen is a decent upgrade that puts it on a par with key competitors, like the Gigabyte Aero 15. Personally, I could have done without the extra RGB lighting, but the improved cooling is another very welcome addition.

Hopefully, the new Strix 2 laptops will make good on their opening promise when the launch in the UK.

The post Asus ROG Strix Scar 2 first look – A 0.5 upgrade to last year’s model appeared first on Trusted Reviews.

Gigabyte Sabre First Look

Gigabyte Sabre: An opening look at the world’s first Intel Core i7+ laptop

Gigabyte’s new Sabre 15 and Sabre 17 are two of the latest affordable big-screen laptops to come out of Computex 2018. At first glance there’s not much differentiating them from rivals such as the MSI GF63, which has a fairly similar design and feature set.

However, under the hood these two laptops have one unique feature: their use of Intel’s new Core i7+ CPU.

The CPU adds support for Intel’s Optane storage technology, which claims to let HDDs offer gamers SSD-level speeds. If it works like Intel claims, this could make the Sabres two of the best value big-screen gaming laptops to arrive this year.

Related: Best gaming laptop

Gigabyte Sabre – Design

Visually, the Sabres look fairly similar to past Gigabyte laptops. The two have a black plastic chassis that, outside of a contoured line and Gigabyte logo on their back, are pleasingly free of any design flourishes. Some flashy gamers may bemoan the lack of any RGB lighting on the laptops’ main body, but I remain a big fan of Gigabyte’s understated approach. Seriously, I don’t need a flashing dragon logo advertising to the world the fact I’m carrying an expensive bit of kit.

My only quibble with the design is that, like other Gigabyte laptops I’ve tested, the plastic doesn’t feel terribly robust. Build quality generally feels fine, but the hinge and main body both offer a minor flex when met with moderate pressure. I would trust either Sabre to survive a semi-serious fall or crash unscathed.

Fortunately, outside of this the laptops tick nearly all the right connectivity and design boxes expected of a gaming laptop. The USB 3.1, HDMI and mDP ports lining their sides will meet most gamers’ needs, and mean its quick and easy to connect them to a gaming keyboard, mouse and display without investing in a USB hub.

Both laptops’ keyboards are also pretty impressive when compared to competing mid-range gaming notebooks. The switches feel pretty similar to the ones found on Gigabyte’s more premium Aorus X5, which is no bad thing. Though they aren’t mechanical and don’t have the amazing Maglev tech seen on Dell’s XPS line, the keys have a solid 2mm travel and pleasing click action. The keys are also nicely spaced out and in general feel more than good enough to game on.

Like the X5, the keyboard also features customisable RGB lighting, which will be useful for players that like to map games’ control schemes. The only downside is that, unlike more expensive gaming notebooks, neither laptop has programmable macro keys.

Related: Best gaming keyboard

Gigabyte Sabre – Specs

Under the hood, things get a little more interesting. The Sabre 15 and Sabre 17 will both come with Intel i7+ CPUs. These CPUs don’t offer superior clock speeds to their non-plus rivals; instead they add support for Intel’s Optane storage technology.

Optane was unveiled by Intel at CES. It aims to boost HDD data speeds and according to Intel will let them offer SSD-like responsiveness. Specifically, Intel claims the tech will offer 3.9 times faster data transfer speeds on desktop and 4.7 times faster speeds on notebooks.

If true, this will let users get the speed of SSDs and affordable storage capacity of HDDs in one neat package.

It’s because of this that Gigabyte has loaded every version of the Sabre with a 1TB HDD and capped the SSD size to 256GB – though there are apparently spare M.2 and SSD slots under the hood if you want to manually add more SSD storage.

I didn’t get a chance to run any benchmarks or check how games ran booting from the HDD, but if the tech works as well as Intel claims, this could make the Sabre line fantastic value for money.

The two laptops screens are also pretty darned impressive. Both the 17.3-inch and 15.6-inch versions run using FHD, IPS panels that run at 120Hz. The increased refresh rate is a key feature missing from many other equivalently specced laptops and mean both should be noticeably more responsive while gaming.

The only downside is that in the UK, buyers will only be able to pick between GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti GPUs. This will limit how effectively they can play demanding triple-A games with their graphics maxed, even in 1080p. This will be especially true if you opt for the lower 8GB RAM option.

Related: Best gaming mouse

 

Spec Gigabyte Sabre 17 Gigabyte Sabre 15
Screen 17.3-inch, FHD, IPS,120Hz/3m 15.6-inch, FHD, IPS, 120Hz/3m
CPU Intel 8th Gen i7-87590H, i7+ confirmed for later release Intel 8th Gen i7-87590H, i7+ confirmed for later release
Graphics Nvidia GTX 1050

Nvidia GTX 1050Ti

Nvidia GTX 1060

Nvidia GTX 1050

Nvidia GTX 1050Ti

Nvidia GTX 1060

Memory 8-16GB RAM DDR4 2400MHz (capacity for 32GB) 8-16GB RAM DDR4 2400MHz (capacity for 32GB)
Storage 128/256GB PCIe SSD, 1TB HDD 128/256GB PCIe SSD, 1TB HDD
Connectivity USB 3.1, HDMI, mini DP USB 3.1, HDMI, mini DP

Gigabyte Sabre price

Despite having a wealth of customisation options internationally, Gigabyte only plans to sell four versions of the Sabre in the UK. You can see the exact configuration and price for each below.

  • Sabre 15G v8-CF1: 15.6-inch FHD IPS/ i7-8750H/ GTX 1050 4GB/ DDR4 8GB/ 128GB M.2 SATA SSD + 1TB HDD 7200rpm/ Win10/ 2yrs. £1049
  • Sabre 15K v8-CF1: 15.6-inch FHD IPS/ i7-8750H/ GTX 1050 Ti 4GB/ DDR4 8GB/ 256GB PCIe M.2 SSD + 1TB HDD 7200rpm/ Win10/ 2yrs. £1199
  • Sabre 17G v8-CF2: 17.3-inch FHD IPS/ i7-8750H/ GTX 1050 4GB/ DDR4 8GB/ 1TB HDD 7200rpm/ Win10/ 2yrs. £1099
  • Sabre 17G v8-CF1: 17.3-inch FHD IPS/ i7-8750H/ GTX 1050 4GB/ DDR4 16GB/ 128GB M.2 SATA SSD + 1TB HDD 7200rpm/ Win10/ 2yrs TBC

Gigabyte Sabre release date

Neither Sabre laptop has a UK release date, though a spokesperson said they expect the 15 and 17 to go on sale “in the near future”.

Opening impressions

The Sabre 15 and Sabre 17 don’t have the killer specs of competing, more expensive gaming notebooks, but they have a lot of potential. If Intel’s Optane storage tech works as hoped, they could be fantastic value for money.

The post Gigabyte Sabre first look appeared first on Trusted Reviews.

AOC Agon AG352UCG Gaming Monitor

In many ways, the best gaming PCs are only as good as the monitor attached to them. You can spend heaps of cash on a top-end graphics card, but if it’s hooked up to a decrepit monitor that can only handle lower resolutions, all that power (and money) will go to waste.

That’s unlikely to happen with the AOC Agon AG352UCG, a feature-rich gaming monitor that promises to give you an immersive and silky-smooth gaming experience.

A recent entrant in AOC’s gaming-orientated Agon line of monitors, the AG352UCG is a mighty 35-inch monitor with a 21:9 ultra-wide aspect ratio. And, it’s one of the best gaming monitors you can buy in 2018.

Pricing and availability

You shouldn’t be too surprised to learn that such a large – and feature-packed – gaming monitor comes with a high price tag.

It’s priced at £799 ($899), with Australian price and availability yet to be confirmed. It’s certainly not a cheap monitor, but when you compare it to some of its fellow ultra-wide competitors, such as the Acer Predator X34, which offers very similar features for $999 (£899, AU$1,899), it’s not too bad of a deal.

The more business-orientated Philips Brilliance BDM3490UC comes in lower at £670 (around $960, AU$1,350), but you’re sacrificing size (it’s 27-inch rather than 35-inch) as well as some of the gaming-focused features like G-Sync.

If you’re planning on buying any ultra-wide monitor, you’re going to paying quite a bit of cash, and the AOC Agon AG352UCG gaming monitor sits around the upper middle range of what you’d expect to pay. If you were already looking at the Acer Predator X34, then the AG352UCG is a very compelling alternative, for less money.

Design

An ultra-wide 35-inch monitor is inevitably going to be a large beast that will dominate any desk it’s placed on – this is a monitor that’s going to take up a lot of space, with dimensions of 847 x 587 x 266.45mm. However, as soon as you plug it in and start playing games, any concerns over size fade away.

With the stand attached (you need to screw it in yourself), you can tilt, swivel and adjust the height to make the screen comfortable to use. You can also wall-mount it using a Vesa 100×100 attachment. AOC isn’t going for a slim and modest look for this monitor, and the bezel that surrounds the screen is quite thick, especially at the bottom, which further increases the footprint; it does house built-in speakers, though, which justify some of the size of the bezel.

As you’d expect from a gaming monitor the design is certainly striking, and although it’s not as aggressive as the design of the Acer Predator X34, it helps the monitor stand out (as if this huge monitor needed any more help with that). The front of the AOC Agon AG352UCG is finished in black, with the ‘Agon’ logo front and center.

There are also two long LED strips along the bottom that can display green, red or blue depending on your preference. The brightness of these LEDs can be changed using the on-screen menu, and they can be turned off as well. The effect is quite nice, although it’s a shame it’s limited to the three colors, which limits customization.

The LEDs also reach around to the back of the monitor, which has a plastic black and silver design. The overall design is pretty nice, and won’t look out of place next to many people’s rigs. It’s also not as in-your-face as some gaming peripheral designs, so it won’t stick out like a sore thumb if you’re using it in more straight-laced environments.

Around the back of the monitor is an HDMI port, a DisplayPort and four USB 3.0 ports, along with audio out. This isn’t the widest selection of inputs, but when you’re playing games at 3440 x 1440, a DisplayPort is all you really need.

Features

We’ve mentioned just how large the AOC Agon AG352UCG gaming monitor is. If you’re sitting close enough it can fill most of your field of vision, and with the help of the curved design it creates in a pretty immersive experience.

If you’re worried that the short and wide aspect ratio of the AOC Agon AG352UCG will lead to a cramped workspace, fear not, as the 3440 x 1440 resolution is high enough to leave you plenty of desktop real estate. It’s also high enough to provide stunning graphics, while not being quite as taxing on your hardware as a 4K (3840 x 2160) monitor. If you’re moving from a 16:9 (the more common aspect ratio) 1080p screen, you’re going to be blown away.

And that’s before we’ve mentioned that this monitor is G-Sync compatible. This is an adaptive sync technology created by Nvidia that eliminates screen tearing (an annoying visual glitch) and allows higher refresh rates of up to 240Hz for smooth-feeling gameplay.

  • Nvidia G-Sync vs AMD FreeSync

G-Sync

By supporting G-Sync, the AOC Agon AG352UCG joins the likes of the Asus MG248Q, Asus ROG Swift PG248Q and AOC Agon AG271QG. For many gamers, the inclusion of G-Sync makes any monitor a very tempting purchase.

Combine this with the large size, high resolution and ultra-wide aspect ratio, and the AOC Agon AG352UCG ticks many of the boxes required of a formidable gaming monitor.

It’s worth noting, however, that the maximum refresh rate of the AOC Agon AG352UCG is 100hz – so not quite as high as G-Sync allows, although it’s the same as its closest rival, the Acer Predator X34.

Other features include built-in stereo speakers, 2000:1 contrast ratio, 100% sRGB color gamut support and a 4ms response time. A large range of settings can be accessed via an on-screen menu, which is controlled by a toggle located on the underside of the bezel.

The on-screen menus of monitors are usually pretty fiddly to navigate, but this one works quite well, and you can easily cycle through the various options.

Performance

The AOC Agon AG352UCG is certainly feature-packed on paper, so we were excited to test it out. However, first we needed to give the monitor a slight calibration, as the default settings were a little too bright for our liking. It only took a few minutes, however, thanks to the on-screen controls.

We then gave the monitor a spin with the excellent Battlefield 1. This is a hectic multiplayer game that really benefits from a good monitor, and the AOC Agon AG352UCG delivers in spades. The game’s graphics are amazing, and really shine on the AOC Agon AG352UCG’s large and high-resolution screen, while the wide aspect ratio gives you an immersive view of the battle field and the carnage that surrounds you. The wide aspect ratio also gives you an advantage while playing, as you’re able to spot enemies that you might not otherwise.

Battlefield 1, like many modern games, correctly identified the unusual aspect ratio, and configured the interface and game’s graphics accordingly. Pre-rendered cut-scenes remain the same aspect ratio, however, so you will get black bars down either side of the screen while these play – this also happens if you watch movies full-screen.

It’s a small price to pay for such an immersive playing experience, and thanks to the G-Sync features, along with the wide aspect ratio, this monitor can really give you a competitive edge when playing games.

The AOC Agon AG352UCG also has fantastic viewing angles, so if you use it to watch films with friends, or have people crowd around it while you play, then pretty much everyone will get a great view. An anti-glare coating on the screen does a brilliant job of preventing reflections from appearing without compromising image quality.

There’s also a low blue light setting, which is designed to help you work at night without straining your eyes or impacting your ability to get to sleep.

Returning to Battlefield 1, it’s an excellent game to show off the AOC Agon AG352UCG’s color handling. A wide range of different environments and colors are featured, and each one – from deep green forests to the brown, hellish landscape of no-man’s land and the poppy-strewn fields of the new They Shall Not Pass expansion – is displayed brilliantly.

There was no noticeable input lag during our games, with the AOC Agon AG352UCG’s G-Sync working with a GTX 1080 GPU to offer an incredibly immersive and responsive experience.

The high resolution and ultra-wide design also worked brilliantly in Windows 10, with the extra screen space giving you plenty of room to have multiple windows and programs open at once, making this a great monitor for productivity as well as for games.

Final verdict

If you’ve got the desk space, a powerful graphics card and the requisite bank balance, the AOC Agon AG352UCG is an excellent investment for gamers. It’s a huge monitor that will fill your field of vision, and if you love being fully immersed in your games then it’s well worth considering.

It’s also a damn good monitor when you’re not gaming, with the high 3440 x 1440 resolution giving you plenty of space when using your PC for work.

However, it’s when playing games that the AOC Agon AG352UCG truly shines, with great color reproduction, fast response times and smooth frame-rates curtesy of G-Sync.

Of course, to make use of G-Sync you need a compatible Nvidia graphics card; however, even if you can’t access that feature there’s still a lot to like about this excellent gaming monitor.

Asus Zenbook Pro 15 First Look

Hands-on: Will Dell be looking over its shoulder?

Asus Zenbook Pro 15: An early look at Asus’ dual-screen flagship laptop

The Zenbook Pro has a track record for being a solid, albeit slight dull, top-end Ultrabook that for the last few years has fallen behind Dell’s XPS line.

Which is probably why Asus decided to come out all guns blazing at Computex 2018, launching its most interesting Zenbook Pro to date: a flagship Ultrabook with two screens. The laptop features leading edge specs, plus a secondary FHD “Screenpad” built into its touchpad.

Though this may sound like a gimmick, having had an opening play with both the 14-inch and 15-inch variants you can colour me impressed. From what I’ve seen, the Dell XPS 13 and XPS 15 2-in-1 may have some serious competition for best laptop at this year’s hallowed Trusted Reviews Awards.

Related: Best laptops

Asus Zenbook Pro 15 – Price

There’s no official word on either version of the Zenbook Pro’s price, though an Asus representative said: “I am expecting the 15-inch with an [Intel Core] i7, 16GB RAM and 512GB PCIe to come in under £1900 and the 15-inch with the i9 to be about £2200.”

Asus Zenbook Pro 15 – Release date

There’s also no word on either version’s release date, though the representative indicated the 15-inch will arrive around August or September. The 14-inch will arrive at an unspecified later date.

Asus Zenbook Pro 15 – Screenpad and design

The most interesting part of both laptops’ design is the new touchscreen Asus has embedded into the touchpad. The FHD, colour screen is an identical size on both laptops and works kind of like the Nintendo DS’ secondary display.

Core functionality includes a drag down, customisable shortcut menu for things like your calendar, photo gallery and music player, but you can also configured it to have application specific functions. In Powerpoint, for example, you can get it to show the next slide in your presentation or notes for your speech. It also has a drag down function that’ll let you manually move content, like YouTube videos, from the main screen to the secondary touchpad display.

This may sound a little gimmicky but I can definitely see it being of useful to people like creatives. How cool would it be to have seperate brush, layer or filter controls on a second screen when using Photoshop or Illustrator?

My only concern about the Screenpad setup is that the secondary display didn’t always feel that reactive. During my demo, it worked fine as a touchpad – which is no surprise as Asus has miraculously managed to make it Microsoft Precision Certified, despite the wealth of custom tech in it.

However, when I tried to use the on-screen controls for things like the music player, it could occasionally feel a little sluggish and there was definitely some lag when I scrolled between photos on it. An Asus rep told me this is because the touchpad screen’s software wasn’t finalised, so hopefully these bugs will be ironed out ahead of its release.

Outside of this, the laptop has the same premium feel of past Zenbooks. Both the 14-inch and 15-inch models have the same metallic finish, which feels every bit as high quality as past models. The only big difference visually is that the 14-incher has a slightly different hinge mechanism, which is highlighted with gold trimming.

The Nanoedge display has the same 83% screen-to-body ration as last year’s model, which in layman’s terms means the bezel is noticeably bigger than the Infinity Edge seen on Dell’s XPS line – though still smaller than that of the average laptop.

My main concern about the Zenbook Pro is the duo’s slightly old-school feeling keyboard. Both have basic backlit chiclet keyboards with membrane switches. A year or two this wouldn’t have bothered me, but having just finished testing the XPS 15 2-in-1’s Maglev keyboard, the Zenbook’s switches felt slightly less reactive than I’d have liked.

Related: Best Ultrabooks

Zenbook Pro 15 – Specs

The laptop’s internals have had a significant update. The Zenbook Pro 15 is by far the more interesting of the two, and looks set to be the best choice for creatives.

The main highlight is its upgraded 15.6-inch screen, which has some pretty amazing specs. For starters, it’ll have a super sharp 4K display, just like the XPS 15 2-in-1. What’s more impressive is that Asus is quoting it as having an insane 2.0 Delta E and covering 132% of the sRGB colour gamut – and 100% of the Adobe RGB favoured by artists.

I didn’t have a colorimeter to hand to verify these stats, but if the reality comes even close to what Asus is putting down on paper, this would be a great selling point for creatives working in physical media, where colour accuracy is key. To date, the only laptops I’ve tested to come close to matching these stats are the Macbook Pro and XPS 15 2-in-1.

Other highlights include the use of Intel’s shiny new 8th Gen Core i9 CPU. Past laptops we’ve tested with the chip have offered fantastic CPU performance and been excellent for intensive tasks like video editing. The use of an Nvidia GeFore 1050 Ti is another welcome addition that means it should be able to easily play games like Overwatch at 60fps. My only slight quibble is that Asus is offering it with a maximum of 16GB DDR4 RAM. Most competing 15-inch Ultrabooks, like the XPS 15 2-in-1 offer up to 32GB of RAM.

A final cherry on top differentiating the two is that the Zenbook Pro 15 features a built-in fingerprint scanner. The Zenbook 14 doesn’t and has slightly more modest specs all-around, maxing out at a Core i7 CPU, slimmed down GTX 1050 Max-Q GPU, and the same 16GB RAM. These specs aren’t as impressive as the 15’s, but should be more than good enough for most people. Unless something goes seriously wrong, the 14 should be more than powerful enough for photo editing and casual gaming.

You can seen the Zenbook Pro 15 and Zenbook Pro 14’s full specs list in the table below.

Zenbook Pro 15 (UX580) Zenbook Pro 14 (UX480
Colour Deep dive blue and rose gold Deep dive blue with rose gold
Display 15.6-inch 4K, touchscreen, 100% Adobe RGB, Delta E 2.0  14-inch FHD touch screen
CPU 8th Gen Core i9, hexa-core 8th Gen Core i7, quad-core
Graphics Nvidia GeForce 1050 Ti Nvidia GeForce 1050 Max-Q
Memory Up to 16GB 2400MHz DDR4 Up to 16GB 2400MHz DDR4
Storage Up to 1TB PCIe x4 SSD Up to 1TB PCIe x4 SSD
Connectivity USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type C with Thunderbolt 3 support USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type C with Thunderbolt 3 support
Windows Hello Fingerprint sensor IR camera
Dimensions 365 x 251 x 18.9mm 322 x 255 x 17.9
Weight 1.8kg 1.6kg

Opening Impressions

The Zenbook Pro’s dual-screen design may sound a little gimmicky, but from what I’ve seen it has a lot of potential, especially for power users and creatives. The second display not only looks great but is highly customisable, so if Asus can iron out the few performance niggles I experienced, I can see the second screen being a key selling point for both Zenbook Pro models.

Add to this to the Zenbook Pro 15’s top specced screen and powerful Core i9 CPU option and I can see it becoming a key rival to the XPS 15 2-in-1 and Macbook Pro when it launches later this year. The 14-inch model, while less potent than its big sibling in some areas, is still likely to be a compelling product for most laptop users.

The post Zenbook Pro 15 first look: Asus’ ‘Screenpad’ has serious potential appeared first on Trusted Reviews.

Asus ZenBook Pro UX550VD

What is the Asus ZenBook Pro UX550VD?

The ZenBook Pro is one of the more expensive ZenBook models out there, boasting premium specs to match that high asking price.

As well as a nippy Core i7 Kaby Lake chipset, you get dedicated Nvidia GeForce graphics for blasting through some of the latest games. Combined with Asus’ finger-friendly keyboard and a realistic 15.6-inch display, this is a beefy laptop to match even quite demanding requirements.

So is this top-end ZenBook worth a punt, or should you look to other similarly priced laptops such as the Dell XPS 15, which boasts very similar specs?

Asus ZenBook Pro UX550VD – Design and build

The ZenBook Pro’s marketing blurb may throw around such terms as ‘elegant’ and ‘sophisticated’, but my first impressions were very different. ‘Rugged’, ‘resilient’ and ‘beast’ are a bit more to the point.

That’s not to say the UX550VD has been whacked senseless with every branch of the ugly tree. You’ll find a few stylish little touches here and there, including the circular lid pattern and those funky power indicators housed on the laptop’s lip. All the same, this feels more like a machine built to withstand plenty of daily punishment, rather than an elegant device to turn heads in Starbucks.

If you want more of a looker, check out the Dell XPS 15, the Huawei MateBook X Pro or Apple’s MacBook Pro instead.

Asus ZenBook Pro review

At 1.8kg, the ZenBook Pro isn’t light, either. Yes, it’s perfectly possible to carry it around all day in a backpack, but this is a laptop best moved room-to-room in a household and only occasionally lugged outside. Again, Huawei’s super-light MateBook is a better option in this regard. That said, Asus’ beast is surprisingly slender given the other dimensions. Even at its thickest point, the device doesn’t quite hit 2cm.

From the shiny silver lid to the matte chassis, every inch of this laptop feels solidly constructed. Poke and prod as much as you like, you’ll struggle to find a weak spot. Definitely a bonus if you plan on letting young children loose on it.

Connectivity is quite good, too – as you’d expect from a machine this size. You get plenty of USB ports, including two Type-A and two of the faster and reversible Type-C connections. In addition, there’s an HDMI port and microSD card reader – although, sadly, there’s no Ethernet port for wired web access.

Asus ZenBook Pro review

Asus ZenBook Pro UX550VD – Keyboard and touchpad

I’m a big fan of Asus keyboards, which pretty much guarantee a comfortable and intuitive touch-typing experience. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the UX550VD lives up to expectations and provides some solid usability.

The keyboard stretches across a good portion of the ZenBook Pro’s chassis, with a chiclet finish to space out those keys. Nothing feels cramped, although the cursor keys are once again squished into a single row. That aside, I rarely made mistakes while touch-typing at my maximum speed. My only real complaint was the right-most row of buttons (home, pgup, pgdn and so on), which pushed the enter, backspace and shift keys inwards. This unusual setup took a bit of adjustment, although proved fine after a while.

Only a hint of sponginess is found towards the centre of the board and this certainly doesn’t affect the experience. Decent travel provides plenty of feedback, too.

Asus ZenBook Pro review

If you’re going to be working well into the wee hours, the ZenBook’s keyboard backlighting will be an essential feature. You can cycle through three levels of brightness to match your conditions and turn the effect off entirely to save battery life.

I also didn’t mind using the ZenBook Pro’s relatively spacious touchpad. Although this doesn’t quite stretch to the limits of the laptop’s palm rest, it proved a decent size for editing photos and other fiddly tasks. Even the built-in mouse buttons aren’t terrible.

Asus ZenBook Pro review

Asus ZenBook Pro UX550VD – Screen

Another highlight of Asus’ laptop is the 15.6-inch LED backlit display. With its Full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution and generous size, I found it a great way to take in a movie or a few TV episodes on the move. Visuals are pleasingly crisp, with plenty of detail reproduced when browsing photos or enjoying video.

Visibility certainly isn’t a problem, either. The wide viewing angles and anti-glare coating mean that you can share the screen with others, even when you’re sat outside on a sunny day.

Good news for creative users, too, as an impressive 96% of the sRGB gamut is comfortably covered. Our display tests also found that 74% of the Adobe RGB range is also represented. In other words, you can expect realistic image reproduction, similar to the Dell XPS 15 and Apple MacBook Pro panels.

Asus ZenBook Pro UX550VD – Audio

Harman Kardon has stamped its approval on the ZenBook Pro as far as audio quality goes, although big-name backing doesn’t often mean too much in this realm.

Many laptops we review have just two speakers, infuriatingly housed on the bottom of the device. That means any audio that blasts out is muffled by your crotch or the desk. Thankfully, the UX550VD boasts two additional speakers, this time positioned either side of the keyboard (à la MacBook Pro).

Pump up your music and the sound quality is understandably flat and muddy, as you’d expect from laptop speakers. However, at top volume they’ll also easily fill a room with sound, and they proved perfect for watching Netflix in a noisy kitchen or outdoor location.

Asus ZenBook Pro review

Asus ZenBook Pro UX550VD – Performance

An Intel Kaby Lake Core i7-7700HQ running at a clock speed of 2.8GHz is packed into the ZenBook Pro, with 8GB of RAM to help keep things running smoothly. You also have dedicated graphics in the form of Nvidia’s GTX 1050, with 4GB of its own GDDR5 memory for rendering visuals.

Performance is just as strong as rivals such as the Dell XPS 15 – which isn’t too surprising considering the specs are near-identical. No matter how many apps you’re trying to flip between at one time, the ZenBook Pro happily keeps up. Great news if you’re a multi-tasker.

In the standard benchmark tests, this laptop threw out the following scores.

PCMark 8: 3349

Geekbench single core: 4512

Geekbench multi-core: 14070

That GeForce 1050 GPU means that you can play some of the latest games with a decent frame rate during breaks. We tested some recent online titles such as Hunt: Showdown, as well as popular games such as Rise of the Tomb Raider, all of which were perfectly playable at high detail levels. As a frame of reference, the Rise of the Tomb Raider benchmark threw out an average score of 36fps.

Asus ZenBook Pro review

Of course, the ZenBook Pro can’t match recent gaming laptops when it comes to graphical performance. This is more an option for people who’d like to occasionally relax by blowing up terrorists and alien mutants, rather than dedicated gamers. Basically, as long as you aren’t hoping to hook up the ZenBook to a 4K monitor and get some Ultra HD gaming on the go, or play the latest titles on maximum settings, this laptop should appease.

3DMark spat out the following scores for the ZenBook Pro.

Firestrike 1.1: 4946

Sky Diver 1.0: 10644

Cloud Gate 1.1: 9881

Ice Storm 1.2: 11843

Even when punishing the ZenBook with some graphically intensive titles, the laptop didn’t warm up too much. The ventilation system uses a dual fan setup to push out that hot air, and thankfully the fans aren’t too noisy either. Certainly nothing compared with the aircraft-taking-off-style ruckus you get from many gaming machines.

The SSD boasts half a gigabyte of storage space and pretty standard read/write speeds. Data is read at a rate of 512MB/sec, and written at 439MB/sec.

Asus ZenBook Pro review

Asus ZenBook Pro UX550VD – Battery life

One of the benefits of that larger chassis is the size of battery fitted inside. The ZenBook Pro boasts solid battery life, offering a full working day of use between charges. Even if you absolutely hammer it by downloading massive files while streaming video, you’ll still get around four to five hours of life. Only resource-guzzling games seriously impact longevity, taking battery life down to a couple of hours.

In the standard Trusted Reviews battery test, the ZenBook Pro really impressed. A constant loop of video playback and web browsing gave a return of ten hours on a full charge. That’s better than almost every other laptop we’ve tested so far in 2018.

Read next: Top ten tips when buying a laptop

Why buy the Asus ZenBook Pro UX550VD?

There’s no denying the ZenBook Pro’s prowess when it comes to performance. The Kaby Lake Core i7 chipset and Nvidia GPU combine to blaze through games and other intensive tasks, while the 15.6-inch screen provides a perfect portal to your media.

Of course, this beast isn’t quite as attractive or portable as some of its rivals such as the XPS 15 or MateBook Pro X. If that doesn’t bother you, we say jump right in.

Verdict

The ZenBook Pro boasts premium performance, strong usability and a well-designed display – all for a typically steep asking price.

The post Asus ZenBook Pro UX550VD appeared first on Trusted Reviews.

Asus ROG Strix Scar 2 First Look

Asus ROG Strix 2: An opening look at Asus answer to the Gigabyte Aero 15

The Asus Strix line of laptops has a track record of being solid, workhorse, mid-range gaming laptops. Which is why when Asus unveiled its next-generation Strix Scar 2 and Hero 2 laptops at Computex I expected a functional, but ultimately un-inspiring refresh.

Asus ROG Strix 2 price

Asus hasn’t confirmed the price for either laptop.

Asus ROG Strix 2 release date

We’re also still waiting on a release date for both.

 

Therefore, it was such a nice surprise to find the Scar 2 and Hero 2 have been completely reworked to have a pleasingly modern, XPS-inspired, design and not just another modest hardware refresh. The only issue is, other players have already beaten them to the punch, like Gigabyte with its new Aero 15 and Aero 15 X.

Asus ROG Strix 2 new design

The Strix 2 is being sold in two variants: the Scar 2 and Hero 2. The Scar 2 is aimed at semi-serious gamers who regularly play FPS shooters. The Hero, by comparison, is designed for less intensive MOBA games.

From the outside, the Scar 2 looks fairly similar to its predecessor: it has the same two-tone brushed metal finish and RGB ROG Strix logo on its back.

Up close you’ll spot a few differences. For starters, Asus has added an RGB strip along the laptop’s bottom. Personally, I always want laptops to have less, not more RGB lighting, but some people in the room outright swooned at the addition. Each to their own on RGB I guess.

What’s more interesting is the new near bezel-free screen, updated fan cooling system and slightly improved keyboard.

The Strix Scar 2’s screen has a 2.33cm smaller bezel than its predecessor. This, coupled with the soft touch, slightly rubbery material surrounding the keyboard and trackpad make it look and feel like a slightly gamified Dell XPS, which is no bad thing.

The backlit RGB keyboard uses the same membrane switches as before but has an improved 1.8mm travel. Though minor, this made it feel slightly more responsive while gaming.

The improved cooling system is the final noteworthy change. On the outside, the system is shown off with a nifty new trapezoid cut lid on its back. The cutaway is a minor touch Asus claims will improve the laptop’s thermal performance by up to 27%. It apparently does this by stopping the lid accidentally blocking airflow from the cooling fans, which have also had a spruce.

Asus claims the new 12V fans have even more blades, offer 20% better speeds and 43.5% more airflow than the original ROG Strix. On top of this, the heat pipes have extra cladding to help keep the GPU and CPU below 90 degrees during intensive gaming sessions.

I only had a couple of hours with the laptop in a very noisy press room and until I get a chance to benchmark and properly game on it I can’t attest to performance or how quiet it is. But if there’s any truth to Asus’ claims this could be a key selling point for the laptop. Competing laptops, like the Aorus X5, are notoriously led and have a tendency to run fairly hot during prolonged gaming sessions.

For those that want a little more control over the fans, Asus has also loaded three different modes: silent, balanced, fan over boost. The self-descriptive modes are easily cycled through using a Fn+FS shortcut.

Related: Best gaming laptops

Asus ROG Strix 2 specs

Outside of this, the specs remain largely unchanged. The new Strix 2 laptops have the same GPU, CPU, memory and storage options as their predecessors. This means the higher end Scar tops out with an 8th gen i7 CPU, GTX 1070 GPU and 32GB of DDR4 memory. Some people may bemoan the lack of a 1080 GPU option, but the lack of 1440p or 4K screen options mean its absence is more than forgivable, especially when you consider how good the FHD screen is. The 15.6-inch panel retains the 144Hz refresh rate of its predecessor, making it a solid choice for competitive online gamers.

You can see a full spec sheet for the new ROG Strix Scar 2 and Hero 2 in the table below.

ROG Strix SCAR II (GL504GM / GL504GS) ROG Strix Hero II (GL504GM)
Processor 8th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-8750H8th Gen Intel® Core™ i5-8300H 8th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-8750H8th Gen Intel® Core™ i5-8300H
Operating system Windows 10 HomeWindows 10 Pro Windows 10 HomeWindows 10 Pro
Display 15.6″ IPS-level FHD (1920 x 1080) panel with 144Hz refresh rate, 3ms GTG response time, 100% sRGB color gamut, and non-glare coating 15.6″ IPS-level FHD (1920 x 1080) panel with 144Hz refresh rate, 3ms GTG response time, 100% sRGB color gamut, and non-glare coating15.6″ IPS-level FHD (1920 x 1080) panel with 60Hz refresh rate, 100% sRGB color gamut, and non-glare coating
Graphics For GL504GM:NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1060 with 6GB GDDR5 VRAM

For GL504GS:

NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1070 with 8GB GDDR5 VRAM

NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1060 with 6GB GDDR5 VRAM
Memory Up to 32GB DDR4 2666MHz SDRAM (dual-channel) Up to 32GB DDR4 2666MHz SDRAM (dual-channel)
Storage M.2 NVMe PCIe® 128GB / 256GB / 512GB SSD2.5” 5400rpm 1TB SSHD

2.5” 5400rpm / 7200rpm 1TB HDD

M.2 NVMe PCIe® 128GB / 256GB / 512GB SSD2.5” 5400rpm 1TB SSHD

2.5” 5400rpm / 7200rpm 1TB HDD

Wireless 802.11ac 2×2 Wave 2 Wi-FiBluetooth® 5.0 802.11ac 2×2 Wave 2 W-FiBluetooth® 5.0
Connectivity 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C™ (USB-C™)2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1

1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2

1 x mini DisplayPort 1.2

1 x HDMI 2.0

1 x RJ-45 jack

1 x SD card reader

1 x 3.5mm headphone and microphone combo jack

1 x Kensington lock

1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C™ (USB-C™)2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1

1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2

1 x mini DisplayPort 1.2

1 x HDMI 2.0

1 x RJ-45 jack

1 x SD card reader

1 x 3.5mm headphone and microphone combo jack

1 x Kensington lock

Keyboard Backlit chiclet keyboardRGB across four zones, with Aura Sync support

Marked WASD keys

Hot keys: Volume up / Volume down / Mute /  ROG Gaming Center

1.8mm travel distance

0.25mm keycap curve

Backlit chiclet keyboardRGB across four zones, with Aura Sync support

Marked QWER keys

Hot keys: Volume up / Volume down / Mute /  ROG Gaming Center

1.8mm travel distance

0.25mm keycap curve

Audio 2x 3.5W speakers with smart-amplifier technologyArray microphone 2 x 3.5W speakers with smart-amplifier technologyArray microphone
Software ROG Gaming Center 2.5ROG GameFirst V

ASUS Splendid

ASUS Sonic Studio & Sonic Radar III

ASUS Aura Core 2.5

XSplit Gamecaster (free)

Android™ / iOS app

ROG Gaming Center 2.5ROG GameFirst V

ASUS Splendid

ASUS Sonic Studio & Sonic Radar III

ASUS Aura Core 2.5

XSplit Gamecaster (free)

Android™ / iOS app

VR Ready Yes Yes
Windows Mixed Reality Basic (minimum 8GB RAM required) Basic (minimum 8GB RAM required)
Power For GL504GM:180W power adapter

For GL504GS:

230W power adapter

180W power adapter
Size 36.1 x 26.2 x 2.61cm 36.1 x 26.2 x 2.61cm
Weight 2.4kg 2.4kg

Opening impressions

The new ROG Strix Scar 2 and Hero 2 aren’t huge updates on their predecessors, featuring near identical internal specifications.

But the few changes Asus have made look like definitive positives. The new screen is a decent upgrade that puts it on a par with key competitors, like the Gigabyte Aero 15. Personally, I could have done without the extra RGB lighting, but the improved cooling is another very welcome addition.

Hopefully, the new Strix 2 laptops will make good on their opening promise when the launch in the UK.

The post Asus ROG Strix Scar 2 first look – A 0.5 upgrade to last year’s model appeared first on Trusted Reviews.