The ZenBook Pro last year was not a very good laptop, but we were pleasantly surprised with its key selling point. The ScreenPad, a screen similar to a smartphone that replaced the traditional trackpad, turned out to be a trick less than one might have expected, so Asus is betting on the idea of its 2019 line of conventional laptops.
Basically, the ScreenPad 2.0 works much more like a smartphone. Asus has renewed the interface with buttons and Android-style menu icons, and it's easier to switch in and out of regular trackpad mode than before.
I spent some time using the ScreenPad 2.0 and I thought it was pretty good. I doubt that I will use it most of the time, but there are certain use cases in which I would be glad that it was there, and it was always sensitive to the touch. However, the most important thing is that it is a traditional trackpad much better than what you see on most Windows laptops. If converting Windows Trackpads to smartphones is what it takes for Windows to get excellent Trackpads, I'm here for it.
The ZenBook 2019 line comes in 13, 14 and 15 inch sizes. All have Intel Core i7 processors, but the 15-inch model can have an Nvidia GTX 1650 Max-Q GPU while the smaller versions only upload to an MX250.
One of the biggest complaints we had with the ZenBook Pro was its terrible battery life. Asus says the ScreenPad 2.0 has been redesigned along with the laptop software to improve this: the original implementation required that the discrete GPU be turned on much more often. Asus claims a battery life 2.5 times better with the ZenBook S with 9 hours of resistance when the ScreenPad is turned on, which we will believe when we see it for ourselves.
The ScreenPad 2.0 is also making its way to the VivoBook range, Asus' line of lowest-cost notebooks (pictured above). The 2019 models have 13-inch and 15-inch options, both compatible with Core i7 processors and MX250 graphics.
This is what one of them seems to play the classic Windows 10 Bloatware Candy Crush Saga on the ScreenPad:
If that's what you like.
No pricing or availability details yet for any of these Asus laptops, typical of the company's Computex ads.