In 2017, Asus surprised us with an ultra-thin gaming laptop that thicker when you opened the lid, opening a giant hidden hatch to keep the unusually large GPU cool† But the original Zephyrus also committed the mortal sin of joining the keyboard-in-the-front club — and the new $2,599 Asus ZenBook Pro 16X OLED, announced today, could right that wrong.
Instead of lifting the entire laptop like the Zephyrus or, say, lifting a large swath of touchscreen like the ZenBook Pro Duothe new 16-inch laptop tilt be whole keyboard tray when you lift the lid.
Asus says this fancy hinge gives the laptop’s Core i9 CPU and RTX 3060 GPU a combined 140W of thermal headroom – though the chassis is only 16.9mm (0.67in) thick.
And that is just the beginning from what sounds like one of the most premium ultra-thin laptops we’ve ever seen. I’ll spend some time going into detail, but here’s a TL;DR diagram:
Yes, not an Nvidia RTX 3060 the most game-compatible graphics chip out there – this machine is clearly aimed at makers with its focus on putting a 12th Gen Intel Core i9-12900H CPU in place of a more powerful GPU, two speakers and four woofers, and stylus support for an “ASUS Pen”.
But as a gadget geek, I’m instantly jealous of those who get a 16-inch 4K OLED display for a quite long 16:10 aspect ratio with 100 percent DCI-P3 color and 0.2 ms response time, not to mention two all-in-one Thunderbolt 4 ports, a 985 MB/s SD Express 7.0 card reader and a massive touchpad with both pressure sensitivity and a linear actuator for haptic feedback (not that I expect many software developers to actually use that).
Oh, and do you have the dial for palm rest and per key white RGB lighting?
I’m sure I could think of a reason to end up using that one! And for all the fancy features, Asus still makes room for a full-size HDMI 2.1 port, a full-size USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A port (yes, that’s the fast one) and a 3.5mm headphone jack. You also get good-but-not-table-stakes-at-this-laptop features like up to 32GB of RAM, up to 2TB of PCIe 4.0 NVMe storage, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, and one of the biggest laptop batteries you can go with. 96Wh into the plane. It does weigh 5.3 pounds, so it’s not exactly light.
My big question here is whether that keyboard is really ergonomic when raised to 7 degrees like this, because that goes against the conventional wisdom that the tilt of the keyboard probably needs to be flat or even negative to optimally control your wrists. It’s not like you can adjust the tilt here, as it’s attached directly to the laptop’s lid. But it’s clear that some people are buying these tilted keyboards since the “ErgoLift” is a feature Asus has been selling for years†
And it certainly isn’t as slanted as Asus’ dual-screen machines, which use a similar hinge to prop them up to 12 degrees for a better view. And I am also very curious whether Asus can get more out of its RTX 3060 with 140 W TDP than the competition, because the speed of the laptop chip more and more about how much thermal headroom you can give them† Asus says the ventilation provides 30 percent more airflow and lowers the temperature by 7 degrees.
Speaking of dual-screen machines, the ZenBook Pro 16X OLED isn’t the only new laptop the company is announcing today, by no means! There’s a new dual-screen Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED if you’re still OK with being part of the keyboard-in-the-front club, a backflipping Zenbook Pro 15 Flip OLED with Intel’s new Arc discrete graphics — both with 120Hz OLED screens! — a Zenbook Pro 17 with an AMD Ryzen 6900HX chip and a few smaller OLED laptops too. Asus has been all-in on OLED latelyand you love to see it.
Here are Asus’ bento box infographics for each of those other machines:
You may also want to take a look Asus’s New Pop Art-Inspired Slates† And you can watch Asus’ revealing presentation for all these machines, starting with the laptop that can lift the keyboard, from 41 minutes, 8 seconds here†