ASUS unveils new ZenBook and VivoBook laptops at Computex 2017

At a special event ahead of the Computex 2017 trade show in Taipei, ASUS has announced a quintet of new laptops in its ZenBook and VivoBook series.

The lineup is led by the ZenBook Pro, the new star of the company's premium notebook family, which boasts seventh-gen Intel Core i7 (H-series) processors, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti GPU and configurations with up to 16GB of RAM and 1TB of PCIe 3.0 (4x) SSD storage — all in a sleek metal unibody with ASUS's trademark two-tone color design. Along with those leading internals, the ZenBook Pro packs a 15.6-inch 4K display with an 83% screen-to-body ratio and a Harman Kardon audio system. Powering that whole assembly is a 74WHr battery promising 14-hour longevity, and quick charging that'll refill to 60 percent in just 49 minutes, along with Thunderbolt 3 connectivity.

Pricing for the ZenBook Pro starts at $1,299 — likely with at a configuration somewhere below the maxed-out 16GB/1TB option.

ZenBook Pro

ASUS' ZenBook Flip S claims the title of world's thinnest convertible.

At the other end of the spectrum, the new ASUS ZenBook Flip S claims the title of world's thinnest convertible laptop, with a thickness of just 10.9mm and a 360-degree steel hinge, allowing it to be contorted into a wide range of positions. It's powered by Intel's latest U-series Core i5 and i7 processors, and available with up to 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage, and ships with a 13.3-inch 4K touchscreen boasting an 80% screen-to-body ratio. It uses the same quick charging tech as ASUS's other premium ZenBooks, with 11.5 hours of use quoted. For $1,099 you're getting quite an impressive piece of kit, however the maxed-out RAM-plus-storage config will likely set you back a good bit more.

For buyers who don't need a discrete GPU and gaming-class performance but still want an attractive, capable 14-inch machine, there's the ZenBook 3 Deluxe. If this sounds familiar, it's because we already got a first look at it at CES in January. Internal specs are largely the same as that of the ZenBook Flip S, with a few important differences. There's a larger 14-inch Full HD display, with a large 84% screen-to-body ratio. It's constructed out of aerospace-grade aluminum, and is the first notebook to feature Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection, matching the toughness of leading smartphone displays. Like the ZenBook Pro, Thunderbolt 3 connectivity is supported, allowing you to connect external 4K monitors or hook up an external GPU. Pricing for the base model starts at $1,199.

ASUS is also doubling down on affordable laptops with premium specs, through its VivoBook series. The VivoBook S starts at $499 with a 15-inch Full HD panel (80% screen-to-body ratio), and U-series Core i5/i7 processors. It's available with "up to" a GeForce 940MX GPU — suggesting the base model will come with integrated graphics — and configurable with up to a 512GB SSD + 2TB HDD, and up to 16GB of RAM. (Again, don't expect to get all those extras for anywhere near the $499 baseline price.)

You'll also miss out on the ZenBook line's gorgeous two-tone metal aesthetic, nevertheless, the VivoBook line's slightly chunkier chassis are attractive enough, especially considering the starting price.

The VivoBook S and VivoBook Pro target price-conscious buyers who still want premium performance.

For price-conscious buyers wanting more power, the ASUS VivoBook Pro steps up to a 4K display, H-series Core i5 and i7 chips, and up to a GTX 1050 GPU and Harman Kardon audio.

On the software side, ASUS's new laptops support the latest Windows 10 features like one-touch login through Windows Hello (optional on the VivoBook models), Windows Ink (with the ASUS Pen bundled with the ZenBook Flip S) and Modern Standby.

So between a bewildering array of SKUs, configurable options and price points, ASUS' latest professional-grade laptops should have something to suit most buyers' tastes.

No word on release dates for ASUS's new notebooks yet, but we'd expect them to land later this year. Stay tuned for hands-on coverage from Taipei!

Alex Dobie