With a strong focus on versatility, power and portability, ASUS has unveiled its latest Zen and Transformer laptops for Aussie buyers. All the details -- including price and release date -- for the ZenBook 3 UX390UA, the Transformer 3 Pro T303 and the ASUS ZenBook Flip UX360.
ZenBook 3 UX390
ASUS chairman Jonney Shih calls the ZenBook 3 "the world's most prestigious laptop with unprecedented performance".
The design is in keeping with the rest of the Zenbook range, focusing on thinness (11.9mm) and lightness (910-gram), whilst still being able to pack a punch in the power department. It's got aerospace grade aluminum for 50 per cent greater strength than the standard used in laptops.
ZenBook 3 is available in two colours: Rose Gold and Royal Blue. Both colour options feature a new golden metallic edge around the lid which took a special two-phase anodising process for durability. There's also a unique gold ASUS badge on the lid and a matching gold backlight for the keyboard that ASUS says "adds to its premium feel".
Under the hood is the latest Intel 7th Generation Core i7 processor, 8GB of high speed 2133MHz LPDDR3 memory, a 512GB SSD, and a USB Type-C port.
The ability to fit these high performance components into its slim chassis was made possible by a 3mm thin cooling system. Using a fan with 0.33mm blades made from liquid-crystal-polymer, the cooling system also features heat pipes with walls 0.1mm thick that direct warm air away through hidden vents in the hinge for efficient, quiet cooling -- even under full load, ASUS promises.
The touchpad of ZenBook 3 is larger than that of an average notebook, and features a glass coating. It also supports Windows 10's multi-touch and multi-gesture input with up to four-finger gestures. A useful optional feature of the ZenBook 3's touchpad is a fingerprint scanner in the top right corner that can be used for biometric security.
The ZenBook 3 has a 12.5-inch, Full-HD display that has full edge-to-edge Corning Gorilla Glass 4. It is framed by a 7.6mm wide bezel, you'll get a 82 per cent screen-to-body ratio, a wide 178 degree viewing angle, 1000:1 contrast ratio and 72 per cent NTSC colour reproduction. ASUS Tru2Life Video technology promises to analyse "every pixel in every video frame" to increase contrast, sharpness, and playback smoothness.
ZenBook 3 comes with a quad speaker system -- two above the keyboard, and two at the front -- featuring ASUS SonicMaster Premium technology ASUS says was "tuned by experts from audio specialists Harman Kardon" as part of their first partnership with ASUS.
The ZenBook 3 has two optional docking accessories -- the ASUS Mini Dock and ASUS Universal Dock. These are port expansion devices that attach to the ZenBook 3 models via its USB 3.1 Type-C port. The Mini Dock is smaller and more portable, while the Universal Dock is larger but has a larger number of ports.
Through that single connection, the ZenBook 3 can access one USB 3.1 Type-C port, one USB 3.0 Type-A port and one full-sized HDMI on the Mini Dock and one USB 3.1 Type-C port, two USB 3.0 Type-A ports, one full-sized HDMI, a VGA port, a RJ45 LAN port, a 3.5mm Audio jack, a 3.5mm Microphone jack and an SD card reader on the Universal Dock.
The ASUS ZenBook 3 UX390 will be available in Australia from October from Harvey Norman, Bing Lee, the ASUS Shop and "select Channel partners" from $2,699.
Transformer 3 Pro T303
The Transformer 3 Pro is focused on versatility. The 12.6-inch Windows 10 2-in-1 device comes with the new ASUS Pen with 1024 pressure levels for "intuitive creativity".
Styled in solid magnesium-aluminum alloy, with a 8.35mm thin that weighs 790g, under the hood there is a 6th Generation Intel Core i7 processor, up to 16GB of high-speed RAM, and up to a 512GB SSD. It also features the ThermoMaster Pro cooling system -- a liquid-filled vapor-chamber cooling module that is 0.5mm thin, plus a 3mm-thin cooling fan with ceramic bearings.
Transformer 3 Pro has a USB 3.0 Type-A port, full-size HDMI connector and a micro SD Card reader, and a USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C (USB-C) port with Thunderbolt 3 for 4K UHD display output, power delivery and up to 10Gbps data transfers via USB 3.1 or 40Gbps via Thunderbolt 3.
There's "fast-charge" technology, too. The lithium-polymer battery can be topped up to 60 per cent capacity in 50 minutes.
Transformer 3 Pro is the first model in the Transformer Series to feature the magnetically-attached ASUS Transformer Cover Keyboard, which has a touchpad with support for Windows gestures. There's also a stepless any-position kickstand with 155 degree hinge that securely props the display at any angle up to an almost-horizontal 170 degrees.
The wide-viewing-angle, wide-colour-gamut display has a 3K (2880 by 1920) resolution, pixel density of 275ppi, and is enhanced with ASUS TruVivid direct-bonding technology -- which aims to reduce reflections -- and ASUS Tru2Life Video technology which promises clearer, sharper videos. There's also a SonicMaster Harman Kardon stereo audio system, incorporating a "smart amplifier" that uses algorithms to boost volume levels by 350 per cent, while minimising distortion.
There's full support for new Windows 10 features including Cortana with Voice and Windows Hello face-recognition login, as well as a front facing IR camera.
Included is the ASUS Pen -- a high-precision active stylus with 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity "to detect every nuance of movement". You can point, write or draw accurately and there's a "natural handwriting experience". The ASUS Pen is compatible with a wide range of software, from Microsoft OneNote for serious note-taking, to professional-grade tools like SketchBook for digital artists, illustrators and designers.
There are two colours, Icicle Gold and Titanium Grey with a Charcoal keyboard colour.
The ASUS Transformer 3 Pro T303 will be available in Australia from October 2016 from JB Hi-Fi, the ASUS Shop and "select channel partners" starting at $1,699.
ZenBook Flip UX360UA
The ASUS ZenBook Flip UX360UA inherits all the DNA of the classic ZenBook design, with a unibody chassis crafted from a single block of solid aluminum. The lid features the signature spun-metal ZenBook finish with its Zen-inspired pattern of concentric circles.
The UX360UA measures 13.9mm and weighs 1.3kg.
The robust, 360 degree any-position hinge on the new ZenBook Flip model has been reduced in size by 50 per cent, and has a "jewellery-inspired" design with an anodised finish "that adds a touch of luxury", ASUS says.
It is equipped with a Full-HD (1920 by 1080) resolution 13.3-inch panel featuring wide-view-angle technology, promising noticeably better colour reproduction and contrast when viewed off-centre compared to other LCD technologies. Combined with versatile flip capability and 350cd/m2 brightness, ASUS promises you can experience the full detail of ultra-high-resolution movies or photos.
The displays also feature a wide colour gamut -- 100 per cent sRGB and 72 per cent NTSC -- aiming for vivid and accurate colour rendering. ASUS Tru2Life Video promises to enhance "each pixel in every video frame", and ASUS Splendid assures vivid, accurate colours for anything you're viewing.
The ZenBook Flip UX360UA is powered by a 6th Generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, which ASUS says delivers more than enough computing power for the most demanding tasks. Other components include 8GB of LPDDR3 RAM and up to a 512GB high speed SATA 3 SSD.
You'll get 12 hours of battery life, and a wide range of ports and connectors. In addition to a SD Card reader and combination audio jack, the ZenBook Flip UX360UA has two USB Type-A ports, a USB-C port for any-way-up connections, and a full-size HDMI display port.
The ASUS SonicMaster audio system also features in this release, and a precision noise-reducing array microphone is fitted that not only makes sound recordings clearer, but also allows accurate voice interaction with Windows Cortana, for which it is certified.
All ASUS ZenBook Flip UX360UA models feature an ergonomic, gently backlit keyboard with full-size keys, and the large glass-coated touchpad proimises smooth and accurate navigation, as well as supporting intuitive multi-touch Windows gestures. Intelligent palm-rejection technology automatically recognises and rejects palm presses so you can type freely even if your palms are resting on the touchpad.
The ASUS ZenBook Flip UX360UA will be available in Australia from October 2016 from JB Hi-Fi, Bing Lee, ASUS Shop and "select channel partners" starting from $1,699.