The Consumer Electronics Show may be best known for super-sized TVs, but computer manufacturers use the event to launch many of their latest models as well. ASUS is there for CES 2019 and announced a wide range of new laptops, including a follow-up to one of my favourites of 2018, the ZenBook S.
All-New ZenBook S
The laptop that immediately caught my attention among the ASUS CES debuts was the all-new version of the ZenBook S, a laptop that I reviewed in the fall. The new version keeps the stuff I loved, like the ErgoLift Hinge and CNC machined aluminum body with elegant rose gold trim. The display this time is Full HD, instead of the 4K on my review unit, but on a display that size it will still be crisp.
This time around ASUS has all but eliminated the screen bezels. This means a larger display (13.9-inches) in the same space, with an impressive 97% screen to body ratio (up from 85%). With a raised lip—or reverse notch, depending on how you look at it—there’s even a web cam at eye level.
New Whiskey Lake CPUs provide the power and despite the ultra-thin design, it also features a discrete Nvidia graphics card. And ASUS addressed my only real complaint about the 2018 version, supplementing a pair of USB-C ports with an old-school USB-A port so older accessories can be used without dongles.
Some of the ZenBook S features have made it to this year’s ZenBook 14UX, a model that ASUS told me will be a Best Buy exclusive. Despite an affordable price tag, the ZenBook 14UX (snapped at CES by Ted Kritsonis) features a 14-inch Full HD NanoEdge display, 8th generation Intel Core processors, ErgoLift Hinge, SSD storage, a mix of ports (including both USB-C and USB-A) and an illuminated number pad integrated with the trackpad.
StudioBook S W7000
An all-new model aimed at design professionals, the ASUS StudioBook S W7000 should give traditional premium laptops a run for their money. Considered an ultra-portable mobile workstation, it features a 17-inch display with 16:10 aspect ratio and 97% DCI-P3 gamut coverage, discrete NVIDIA Quadro graphics, a Xeon CPU and the ability to drive an 8K external display.
That is a lot of power in a package the size of a thin, 15-inch laptop.
On the other end of the price and performance spectrum, ASUS also announced new Chromebooks. Each is designed to be rugged enough to take being slung around to school and back. Leading the charge is the 11.6-inch Chromebook Flip C214, the follow-up to last year’s popular C213. This is a 2-in-1 convertible Chromebook, with a touchscreen and stylus support. The new C403 offers the Chromebook experience with a larger 14-inch display, for students who need a little more screen space to do their work.
There were other ASUS laptops shown off, but these were the highlights from my perspective. Look for them soon at Best Buy, and I would expect at least some of them will be reviewed in coming months on Plug-in.
What About ROG Gaming Laptops?
ASUS showed off some pretty stunning ROG gaming computers, including the Mothership, but there was enough on that front to deserve a standalone post (check out the coverage by Ted Kritsonis, who’s on the floor in Las Vegas). CES 2019 isn’t over yet, so remember to keep watching Best Buy’s Plug-in blog for all the latest.