Laptops

ASUS ZenBook 15 review: Everything you need in a laptop?

With great power, comes all the caveats in between

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Very few laptops have everything a person would ever need out of it. Whether it’s just for typing Word documents or playing all the latest games, only a handful of laptops fit the bill. ASUS has one laptop to offer, which was announced back in IFA 2018.

The ASUS ZenBook 15 has almost every piece of hardware for everyone. But is a device powered by a powerful Intel processor and a gaming-ready graphics card really worth it? Let’s find out.

Same premium design through the years

ASUS dubs their ZenBook lineup as its top-of-the-line Ultrabook. Through the years, ZenBooks have retained their premium design and feel. So when I got the chance to try the new ZenBook 15 (UX533) out, I expected nothing less — and I was impressed. The build quality of the device is great, with a sturdy metal-plastic chassis that shows little to no flex. It even feels light to bring around, at only 1.59kg.

My unit has the Icicle Silver finish that shows off the elegance of the laptop. There is an option to get it in the bolder Royal Blue color, but it will definitely feel like you own a premium device the moment you set your eyes on it.

The only real change the company implemented was the addition of the ErgoLift. Essentially, it frees up space for the laptop to release hot air instead of blasting them on the table or your lap. It’s also supposed to make the bottom-facing speakers sound better, although this really wasn’t the case when I used it.

It almost has everything for everyone

The ZenBook 15 is one powerful machine, from the inside out. My unit comes with an eighth-generation Intel Core i7-8565U processor and 16GB of RAM. This configuration alone guarantees superb performance, and the ZenBook 15 did not disappoint. Typing Word documents, surfing the web, even photo and video editing felt like a breeze with this machine. You can play games here too, but let’s save that discussion for later.

On the outside, you have a 15-inch Full HD anti-glare NanoEdge display — perfect for outdoor use at full brightness. It comes in a resolution of 1920 by 1080, a full 16:9 display with tiny bezels on the side.

It’s also equipped with a full-size backlit keyboard, with the number pad separated from the trackpad — unlike its 13-inch and 14-inch variants.

The ZenBook 15 does come with three USB Type-A ports and one USB Type-C port that supports external displays; however, it would have been better to make it as Thunderbolt port to fully maximize the potential. The laptop also comes with a dual-band Wi-Fi card, although an additional Ethernet port would have been nice, as well.

It’s got game, but it really destroys your battery life

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the ZenBook 15 is the fact that it comes with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q. With this graphics chip, gaming on this laptop actually feels pretty damn good. It managed to get competitive frame rates for fast-paced games like Fortnite, PUBG, and Rocket League, all with high settings. But, don’t expect the same from AAA titles like Shadow of the Tomb Raider.

Also, there is a significant increase in the laptop’s overall temperature with longer than 30 minutes of play time. The left side of the laptop felt so hot, it’s almost like you could fry an egg on it. Of course, playing for long hours on this device drains the 73Wh battery significantly faster. I got about nine to ten hours on regular use, and only two to three hours on full game mode.

The camera is honestly only good for Windows Hello

The ZenBook 15 comes with an 3D infrared HD camera that supports Windows Hello. The infrared sensors were great at facial recognition, and Windows Hello felt really easy to set up and use. But, the camera was lackluster when taking photos and videos. It only seems passable to use for video calls, but the overall image quality just doesn’t equate to HD.

The bottom-facing speakers could be better

The two Harman/Kardon speakers on the ZenBook 15 are placed on the bottom side, facing the table or your lap. Sound quality is impressive until you turn it to maximum. Apart from that, I was expecting that they would sound better because of what ErgoLift supposedly does for them.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

For PhP 89,995 (US$ 1,720), the ASUS ZenBook 15 jams almost everything you need in a premium device. And for that price you get the highest, most powerful configuration possible. Anyone can do pretty much anything with the hardware that comes with it. Apart from that, its elegant design and lightweight body make it a perfect on-the-go device. 

If you’re low on cash, you can also get the 14-inch ZenBook 14 for PhP 77,995. It only has 8GB of RAM and an NVIDIA GeForce MX150 graphics card that offers similar, but less powerful overall performance. But, you do get the illuminated number pad on the touchpad.

Of course, that is if you don’t mind the otherwise average camera and fryer-like temperatures with heavy gaming. However, if you’re looking for a laptop that can handle anything, the ZenBook 15 is for you!

Laptops

Surface Pro 7 and Laptop 3: Price in Singapore

They’re finally here

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Last October, Microsoft took the wraps off the Surface Pro 7 and Laptop 3. Worldwide release soon followed in November. Now, it’s Singapore’s turn to receive these devices as Microsoft is bringing them in the country.

Surface Pro 7

Here are the prices of the different Surface Pro 7 variants:

  • Core i5, 128GB SSD, 8GB RAM — SG$ 1,388 (Platinum)
  • Core i5, 256GB SSD, 8GB RAM — SG$ 1,788 (Platinum and Matte Black)
  • Core i7, 256GB SSD, 16GB RAM — SG$ 2,188 (Platinum and Matte Black)
  • Core i7, 512GB SSD, 16GB RAM — SG$ 2,688 (Platinum and Matte Black)
  • Core i7, 1TB SSD, 16GB RAM — SG$ 3,288 (Platinum)

Microsoft’s Surface Pro 7 comes with a 12.3-inch IPS display. Powering the device is a 10th-gen Intel Core processors with Iris Plus graphics for performance boost. It looks exactly like the Surface Pro 6, and the only thing differentiating them is an USB-C port which replaced the DisplayPort.

Surface Laptop 3

Along with the Surface Pro 7, Microsoft also launched the Surface Laptop 3. This year, they are releasing a bigger 15-inch variant, which is a first for the Surface Laptop line. This variant will come to Singapore along with the traditional 13.5-inch variant.

The variants and the prices are as follows:

13.5-inch variant

  • Core i5, 128GB SSD, 8GB RAM — SG$ 1,488 (Platinum)
  • Core i5, 256GB SSD, 8GB RAM — SG$ 1,888 (Platinum and Matte Black)
  • Core i7, 256GB SSD, 16GB RAM — SG$ 2,288 (Platinum and Matte Black)
  • Core i7, 512GB SSD, 16GB RAM — SG$ 2,888 (Platinum and Matte Black)

15-inch variant

  • Ryzen 5 3580U, 256GB SSD, 8GB RAM — SG$ 2,188 (Platinum and Matte Black)
  • Ryzen 5 3580U, 256GB SSD, 16GB RAM — SG $2,488 (Platinum and Matte Black)

Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 3 comes with an Intel Core processors with Iris Plus graphics or an AMD Ryzen processors with Vega graphics. Design-wise, it is the only Surface device in a traditional laptop form factor. Like the Surface Pro 7, it also did away with the DisplayPort in favor of USB-C.

Accessories

Buyers of Surface Pro 7 and Laptop 3 may want accessories to go with their newly purchased devices. Microsoft has them covered with the following peripherals:

  • Surface Arc Mouse — SG$ 118
  • Surface Pen — SG$ 148
  • Signature Type Cover for Surface Pro 7 — SG$ 249

They come in a variety of colors including Ice Blue, Poppy Red, Black and Platinum.

Surface devices and accessories are available at Best Denki, Challenger, Courts, EpiCentre @ ION Orchard, Harvey Norman, and Lazada. Business customers can avail the device at AsiaPac, JK Technology, and UIC. Alternatively, consumers can head to Microsoft’s store to buy the device.

SEE ALSO: Microsoft Surface family Hands-On

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Deals

ASUS TUF Gaming joins season of giving

With their Share 2019 Plus promo

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The holiday deals keep coming and ASUS TUF Gaming is joining in with their Share 2019 Plus promo.

Under this holiday deal, purchasing various ASUS TUF Gaming laptops will net you any of the following: Sperry Gift Certificates, JBL Clip 2 Speakers, or even game codes for Borderlands 3 or The Outer World. The promo will run from November 30 to December 31.

Here are the participating ASUS TUF Gaming laptops.

Model Screen LCD Spec CPU RAM Storage GPU SRP Bundle
FX505DD-AL272T 15″ FHD IPS 120HZ R5-3550H 8GB 512G PCIE2 GTX1050 3GD5 PhP 41,995
  • Sperry Gift Certificates worth PHP 3,000
  • Choice between Borderlands 3 or The Outer Worlds worth PHP 1,530 each
FX505DD-AL233T 15″ FHD IPS 120HZ R5-3550H 8GB 1TB GTX1050 3GD5 PhP 40,995
  • Sperry Gift Certificates worth PHP 3,000
  • Choice between Borderlands 3 or The Outer Worlds worth PHP 1,530 each
FX505DD-AL127T 15″ FHD IPS 120HZ R5-3550H 4GB 1TB GTX1050 3GD5 PhP 38,995
  • Sperry Gift Certificates worth PHP 3,000
  • Choice between Borderlands 3 or The Outer Worlds worth PHP 1,530 each
FX505DY-AL117T 15″ FHD IPS 120HZ R5-3550H 4GB 512G PCIE2 RX560X 4GD5 PhP 37,995
  • JBL Clip 2 Speaker worth PHP 3,099

  • Choice between Borderlands 3 or The Outer Worlds worth PHP 1,530 each

FX505DY-AL080T 15″ FHD IPS 120HZ R5-3550H 4GB 1TB RX560X 4GD5 PhP 36,995
  • JBL Clip 2 Speaker worth PHP 3,099

  • Choice between Borderlands 3 or The Outer Worlds worth PHP 1,530 each

FX505DY-AL026T 15″ FHD IPS 120HZ R5-3550H 4GB 1TB RX560X 4GD5 PhP 36,995
  • JBL Clip 2 Speaker worth PHP 3,099

  • Choice between Borderlands 3 or The Outer Worlds worth PHP 1,530 each

FX505DY-BQ121T 15″ FHD IPS 60Hz R5-3550H 4GB 1TB RX560X 4GD5 PhP 35,995
  • JBL Clip 2 Speaker worth PHP 3,099

  • Choice between Borderlands 3 or The Outer Worlds worth PHP 1,530 each

 

Some important details to take note of:

Claiming of hard bundle items (Sperry Gift Certificates or JBL Clip 2 Speakers) will start on December 2, 2019 and will end on February 28, 2020. Claiming can be done at ASUS Philippines, 4/F Hanston Building, F. Ortigas Jr. Ave., Ortigas Center, Pasig City on weekdays, between 10:00AM-4:00PM. The following documents need to be presented:

  • Original collection receipt
  • Photocopy of customer’s twovaid IDs with signature
  • Photocopy of the representative’s two valid IDs

In case the buyer cannot make an appearance at the claiming site, they must send the following information and documents to [email protected]:

  • Name as found on the original collection receipt
  • Complete shipping address and contact details
  • Store of Transaction
  • Clear photo of original collection receipt
  • Photocopy of the customer’s two valid IDs with signature
  • Photocopy of the representative’s two valid IDs

Buyers will receive confirmation two to five working days after sending the e-mail. Only valid claims will be tagged as eligible for the program.

Bundle items will be sent directly to the assigned shipping address within 30 days of validation. Only purchases done within the period stipulated in #1 can be valid. Game bundle can be claimed through the official AMD Philippines claiming website.

Bundle items are not transferrable nor convertible to cash. Any incorrect information submitted to ASUS Philippines will void eligibility. Any re-processing outside operating procedure will be subject to charges and fees will be shouldered by the buyer.

Lastly, existing replacement and repair mechanics will be applicable once the unit has been availed. Standard warranty terms will also apply to all accessories purchased during the same transaction.

See the participating stores here.

 

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Features

5 reasons to invest in a gaming laptop even if you don’t play

They can do more than just game

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If you’re a professional in need of a powerful laptop, you might find it difficult to find something that meets all of your needs and preferences. While you’d rather have something that’s sleek, sometimes what you need are on a gaming laptop that’s bulky and just screams gaming too much.

Fortunately, brands like ASUS and Lenovo have started redesigning gaming laptops with portability in mind. This attempt makes consumers consider gaming laptops once again.

While it’s easy to look for a reason to buy a gaming laptop if you’re a gamer, there are still a few good reasons to invest in a gaming laptop even if you don’t play games.

Work anywhere you want

Brands are redesigning gaming laptops by making them slimmer and more compact. Gaming laptops have started looking like real laptops and not a clunky machine that will be tough to carry around for most people. They’ve trimmed the weight and now a lot of them fit in most backpacks with a dedicated 15-inch laptop sleeve. Think of it as bringing a laptop with the power of a mobile PC wherever you go.

Stay ahead of the game (no pun intended)

A lot of laptops launched this year carry the latest processors and graphics card meant for the future. For instance, the Lenovo Legion Y540 has a 9th-gen Intel i7 processor, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics card, 8GB RAM and 1TB SSD storage.

With that much power, that’s more than enough for your work and daily usage. Imagine running multiple tabs without any hiccups, or even when using power-hungry apps like Netflix, Spotify, and Google Chrome simultaneously.

Show-off a personality

Most gaming laptops nowadays are designed stylishly to reflect different personalities. The ASUS’ ROG line roars like thunder, screaming power, and strength. It’s also unafraid of coming out too loud and daring.

On the other hand, Lenovo’s Legion laptops remain true to their motto of being “stylish on the outside, savage on the inside.” A lot of their laptops look discreet and classy, but are powerful on their own right and oftentimes, they let their work  — and performance — do the talking.

Since I have a hint of narcissism and vanity, I enjoy showing-off from time to time. However, I resonate most with the Legion lineup since I prefer astounding the world with the quality of my output.

Choose when to be untethered

A lot of people prefer being mobile so they can work remotely. Gaming laptops may be humongous but they’re portable and have multiple ports for you to stay connected. It’s difficult to pass on this kind of convenience. Additionally, gaming laptops aren’t limited to USB-C ports, unlike most business laptops. Furthermore, you don’t have to be tied down with cables compared to when you opt for a desktop PC.

Get the extra features to make you more productive

While your needs for a work laptop sometimes are limited to the basics, switching to a gaming laptop lets you enjoy extra features. Case in point: near-borderless display, better visuals, a 144 Hz refresh rate allowing a smooth and seamless, immersive sound experience, antiglare screen, and unique cooling system.

With all these nitty-gritty details, gaming laptops can make your workflow easier since these machines do most of the work for you. It’s just a matter of you taking advantage of all that power.

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