A Windows laptop that is as good asMacBook Pro that was launched in 2015 is sometimes hard to find. Striking that perfect balance which Apple manages to does cannot be expected from just any manufacturer, especially ASUS which is not as big as the other two (HP and Dell) in terms of their laptop market share though they’ve been in the industry for quite some time now. Yet it looks like that their latest 15-incher ZenBook Pro UX501JW is strikingly similar to Apple’s MacBook Pro in terms of performance and hardware.
This high-end laptop is built by ASUS for those enthusiasts who want extreme performance along with durability and portability. The price is expectedly high and this might limit its buyer base but it’s definitely not the costliest out there. Let’s check out why we are drooling all over this laptop that has shaken our very belief in the majestic MacBook Pro.
Sturdy Built and Witty Design
ASUS was very clear with their goal while they were working on this ZenBook Pro. They wanted to launch something that could rival the MacBook Pro. This becomes quite evident when you just take a good glance of the laptop for the first time. ASUS has made use of unique silver aluminum alloy chassis that is exceptionally smooth to touch. Your fingers will literally slide over the smooth surface of the laptop’s lid unless you reach the round edges. Built wise the laptop feels extremely solid and while MacBook Pro weighs 4.4 lbs, the ZenBook Pro isn’t heavy either though it weighs 5 lbs.
The aluminum alloy chassis is takes the entire feel good factor to a whole new level because of the firmness it has provided to the laptop. You can make every effort to listen a single flex or creaking sound while you hold it or press it but you simply won’t hear it. Hinges are pretty solid as well and hold the laptop’s touchscreen firmly. Though ASUS has made DIY hardware upgrades extremely difficult with their new intact design and lack of access panels, however, even then you are better off than a MacBook Pro as the ZenBook Pro offers DIMM RAM modules, a replaceable battery and a normal Intel WLAN module.
High Quality Display
The display of ZenBook Pro is the most gorgeous part. It has 15.6-inch 4K display that has a resolution of 3840 x 2160. The glossy IPS display offers a great pixel density of 282 PPI which is way more than MacBook Pro’s 220 PPI on a 15.4-inch Retina Display. Colour accuracy is beyond words as it manages to produce rich colours which are eyes are used to. Viewing angles too are exceptionally wide. ASUS also claims that the screen covers 74% Adobe RGB colour space while covering even a better percentage of standard sRGB color space.
The touchscreen model of the ZenBook Pro can recognize 10 touch points simultaneously. If you are using Windows 8.1, then it’s better to raise the DPI settings to 200% so as to make the interaction with on-screen objects a bit easier. Installing Windows 10 won’t bring a noticeable impact for the touchscreen either, but you’ll definitely find a change in yourself as you’ll prefer suing the touch options more once you upgrade to Windows 10.
A Well Laid Keyboard with a Premium Touchpad
The laptop’s Chiclet styled keyboard looks extremely well centred and comfy to use. Keys are extremely well spaced and provide and decent amount of travel time. Typos, therefore, with the keyboard of ZenBook Pro are a rarity. Most 15-inch laptops come with a dedicated number pad and it has fast become a standard feature for them and so is the case with this one. So, for those who have to numeric data every now and then, this might prove to be a useful feature.
Another interesting quality of the keyboard of the ZenBook Pro is that it is backlit. But it is not a normal backlit keyboard. It features LED backlighting and comes with three brightness settings for it along with an ‘off’ setting to switch of the backlight in daylight which we found unique and pretty useful. Backlit keys offer an excellent amount of contrast amongst the keys as well.
The laptop’s touchpad is a buttonless one as seen on MacBooks. Though cursor’s precision and speed aren’t up to the mark but its soft surface definitely makes movement of fingers over the touchpad smooth and fluid. The touchpad’s integrated mouse buttons are extremely capable of getting the job done, however, can appear to be less ideal than those dedicated left-right buttons.
Blazing Fast Performance
The ZenBook Pro comes with an Intel Core i7-4720HQ quad-core processor. One, therefore, just can’t doubt the performance of this laptop. Though the CPU is based on the older Haswell architecture of Intel, still it is fast that most of the laptops in this price category out there. Base clock speed is 2.6GHz which can go up to 3.6GHz if Intel’s Turbo Boost is switched on. As compared to most high performance notebooks, the 47-watt TDP of this laptop’s processor can provide a whole lot of computational muscle to your laptop but it will make the battery drain fast as well.
Coupled with this fast processor is a 512 GB PCIe x4 SSD which though isn’t the fastest one out there but is still more than decent for casual users. Apart from that you also get a Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M GPU with a dedicated 4GB GDDR5 VRAM which handles the capabilities of the ZenBook Pro’s 4K display responsibly. This laptop therefore has enough power to handle almost anything that most users tend to throw at laptops. Even hardcore gamers will see themselves enjoying the taste of the brilliant screen and performance of this laptop until and unless they push the game’s settings way high for the ZenBook Pro to handle.
Summin’ it Up
Currently, almost every laptop manufacturer has its own product which they claim to pit against Apple’s MacBook Pro. However, it looks like ASUS is the only one which has got it all right with its ZenBook Pro UX501JW. Brilliantly designed and built hardware coupled with an impressive screen and world-class processor makes this netbook the perfect alternative to the MacBook Pro and probably the best Windows laptop out there in the market right now.