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Hands on with the new Asus ZenBook Pro UX501 laptop with a 4K display

So, what do you get for that kind of money? One 4.6 pound (2.08 kg) laptop that will likely put others to shame.

We got some hands on with the new beast, which you can watch below. You can also find more information including extended details about the specifications directly from Asus.

Asus ZenBook Pro UX501

  • Display – 15.6-inch 4K/UHD 3860 x 2160 resolution IPS display (100% sRGB, 74% Adobe RGB)
  • Processor – Intel Core i7-4720HQ
  • GPU - NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX™ 960M
  • Storage – 512 GB PCIe x4 (1400 MB/s)
  • RAM – 16 GB
  • Weight – 4.6-pounds (2.08 kg)
  • Ports - Three USB 3.0 ports plus HDMI, mini DisplayPort and optional Thunderbolt
  • Battery – 96 Whr rated for 6+ hours video playback

Needless to say, the ZenBook Pro UX501 is a beast of a laptop. The weight was not too bad considering the nearly all metal 'spun-metal finish'. Perhaps more importantly, the ZenBook Pro suspiciously comes in $1000 cheaper than Dell's similarly spec'd 2015 XPS 15. We say 'suspiciously' because you don't just chop off $1000 from a laptop and not expect to sacrifice something.

But sure enough, you can now buy the new 4K ZenBook Pro UX501 for $1499 (saving of $300) right from the Asus Store, so there you go. It sure felt like a quality device to us, but only time will tell if that holds true.

What do you think of the updated UX501? Let us know in comments!

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

126 Comments
  • Is Asus better than Acer? Quality and functionality wise?
  • I'd say they're about equal on build quality, but ASUS probably have a little more style.
  • Brand quality:
    1) Lenovo
    2) ASUS
    3) Sony
    4) Samsung
    5) Dell
    6) Dogshit
    7) Acer
  • As someone who owns the new XPS 13, I can say the quality of Dell computers has risen significantly.
  • Agreed. I loved the Zenbook UX305, but it doesn't come close to the XPS 13 for me. Dell did good.
  • Dell lost me with the crappy touch screen sensitivity issue on the Dell Venue Pro 8. The Asus VivoTab Note 8 is way ahead in quality.
  • I have them both. Dell messed up going with a Synaptic digitizer while Asus went with Wacom. Dell had a lot of issues with that Synaptics for awhile but appears to have gotten it resolved. Other than that, the Dell trashes that Asus in quality. Better display, solid feel, better grip, better speakers, just better all around.
  • That's pretty subjective. I own both the Venue 8 Pro and the Asus Note 8. I find the Asus much better in all respects, and the wacom pen seals that i two ways. I have one in a silo in the tablet so it is always there, and I can be numerous third party pens that work (including the Surface 2 pens, and the Samsung note pens in fat pen holders. The Venue was so under used I relegated it to Win 10 TP testing.
  • They could hardly get worse. I had one of the latest XPS 15, and nothing but trouble. Worst quality laptop I've ever owned. Oddly I had the prior model XPS too, and that was fine. But it'd take a miracle for me to buy another Dell. Their customer service matched the build quality.
  • Plus Lenovo comes with built in spyware/malware, so you don't have to go install extra browser toolbars when you set it up...
  • If you are going to buy Lenovo ( I wouldn't) get the Microsoft edition from the MS store. No third party bloat ware and optimized.
  • The problem I have with that strategy is that Lenovo inherited the IBM BIOS which they have continued to modify.  They are the only PC maker with a completely unique BIOS implementation not shared with anyone else.  I used to work on ACPI years ago, after the sale to Lenovo I ceased to trust their control of such a low level bit of software.  Any alware or tracking at that level would be undetectable via the operating system.  My personal opinion is that the recent malware scandals are just the tip of the iceberg.
  • Shahahahahahah hellyeah x{D
  • My Acer S7-392 says otherwise.
  • My acer Aspire M5 says otherwise
  • Ditto....my Acer Aspire m5 will say otherwise.
  • Ditto ditto my Acer Aspire m5 says otherwise .
  • Summed up Acer perfectly.
  • Do the Dogshit tablets come with a year of Office??? :)
  • LOL
  • With Dell, it's all about how much you spend. My M3800 is as good as anything out there and much betterr built than most. For my money it is a better built machine than any Macbook Pro, that's for sure. It feels moree premium with beautifually tactile surfaces and a real solidity to it. All my Dell experiences have been with "M" class models and they have all been absolutely top-notch. My list would go: 1) Dell Precision 2) Asus 3) Toshiba 4) Lenovo 5) Samsung 6) Sony Vaio I've not owned any other brands so I wouldn't rate them, although the Acer machines I've seen in stores have not impressed me overly.
  • I agree completely regarding the M3800, it's a stunning machine. But this Xenbook Pro UX501 looks interesting...
  • 8) Apple Honestly though those specs. In an apple shell. $3,000.00 USD
  • Hahaha for sure.
  • Lenovo has the shitty series and the top of the line ones, just like HP which you forgot. Lenovo X series and HP's Elitebook's are the best ones.
  • LOL @ your list. In no concievable way are Sony laptops better than Samsung. Sony had no model that could compete with Acer S7 at all. -_- Dream on.
  • Sony has no laptop period since they spun of Vaio. 
  • The Most Powerful Notebook are: 1: MSI 2:Alienware 3:Dell 4:Asus
  • Lol
  • Sony is good on the high end, those mid-tier laptops they used to launch were pretty bad and overpriced. The list is solid though.
  • Say what you want about Acer, at least it's better than HP.
    I have 2 Acer laptops more than 4 years old that still work. Yet all my HP friends complain about screen issues after 1-2 years (I should note that I think they all had the same model of HP laptops).
  • Lenovo's build quality is horriable! only buy them for the cheap hardward owned y480p, y500, y50(for few months),   I own a Msi gs60 now, pretty happy about it, at least havent have a screw falling out on me yet.
  • No, ASUS is of higher quality then Acer. Acer is as Chinese you can get. ASUS provides one year or up (depending on model) accidental warranty for their products.
  • Both Acer and Asus are from Tawain. So while they're technically from the Republic of China, they're not from THAT China you're thinking about (the People's Republic of China ie. Communist China). Lenovo is the one from THAT China.
  • In my opinion, far better both quality and design-wise. Enough that when I build my PCs I try to opt for Asus components and if I were to buy a laptop, I would go straight to ASUS for one.
  • As someone who works with Lenovo in the enterprise, I can say that brand quality is not up to par. My company has had so many physical issues with new machines that we are switching back to Dell. Pretty much every part of Lenovo, ranging from service to parts, has presented unexpected or unnecessary roadblocks. And lets not forget superfish. Lenovo is as shady as they come.
  • Well, good luck with Dell. I have owned and used recent models of Precision mobile workstations M4600, M4700 and XPS 15 laptops, I'm back to Thinkpad again, with a TP Yoga that is leaps and bounds above even Precision in sturdiness and quality.
  • FYI, ASUS has been making Motherboards for 20+ years and been around for a LONG TIME. They have made the BEST motherboards on the planet for years, for many companies. Their prods are really awesome and extremely well made. The specs on this laptop is only matched to few other out there, like Dell, Razer, Alienware(made by Dell), Lenovo,....... I own a Dell XPS 15 Touch with 4K screen(3820x2160 res). However, this ASUS has 960M graphics card, and mine has 760M.....also, this Asus is cheaper and better than my Dell, in some specs. You will NOT go wrong with ASUS. IMO, ASUS is one of the BEST out there. Once you use a 4K screen and watch some videos, you will see how awesome it really is and will NEVER look at anything less res than that, WITH TOUCSCREEN.  Also FYI, no CrApple MacCrap even comes close to ASUS, DELL, ACER, SURFACE/MS, Razer, MSI, SAMSUNG, LENOVO............. i mean NOT EVEN CLOSE WHATSOEVER. you get an absolute crap, in a shiny package, its called MacCrap or iJUNK. Just look at the specs of any MacCrap and iJUNK to other brands, including this AWESOME ASUS beast PC, for less or same price as their Overrated MacCrap book, with NO touchscreen, and NO to manythings its missing. All you pay is for that Devilish, forbidden fruit Logo. That is it. 
  • I've had a few ASUS products, a couple routers an Android tablet and Windows tablet.  They were all shit. The routers constantly crapped out and the android tablet was flimsy as hell. The windows tablet was ok but even it still creaked and the screen was subpar shit. The most expensive component in it was probably the Wacom chip.
  • Dude, your over doing it..honestly
  • He's actually quite tame today.  Small surprise.  I guess Apple stock went down. 
  • Lol love trolls. Do go on Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • It's difficult to say. Nearly all brands, except maybe only Apple, have both top and bottom of the line quality PCs. There are sh*ty Acers and Asus. When looking a PC you should look for reviews of the specific ones that you might buy.
  • I think Asus better than Acer. Quanlity and functionality also. Just i fell that.
  • Asus is much better than Acer. Overall in my book considering, quality, specs, price, service, openness (vendor locked drivers suck): Lenovo Dell Samsung-Asus Toshiba - Sony HP Acer is crap. Stay away.
    Then again each machine is different, and competition in price points is not exactly in the same order. But for higher priced systems and in general above mid-range i feel the above is just.
  • I'm wondering what's been cut, to achieve this amazing price? What's the cooling and throttling like. This must generate some heat, and being metal it's effectively a radiator... Need more info!
  • ASUS custom designs the heat sinks and have started using there own custom fan (CoolTech) http://www.tomshardware.com/news/CoolTech-670-DirectCU-asus-cooltech,218...
  • Oh sure, I use their stuff in my custom pic builds all the time. Swear by them. The link you provided... That's a pc part. I'm sure they built their heart sink for this laptop but they're constrained by size...
  • My previous device was an Asus. Very happy with it for its price point and its CoolTech is indeed cool!
  • Touch, usb c, processor generation old, still powerful, just not actual
  • Touch? It has a touch screen.  
  • Sorry, not cited in the article
  • In my experience with Asus laptops (my current and previous laptops), they do a pretty good job with cooling. I've got an N550JV, and it does a great job of keeping the heat away from the palm rests. It does get hot above the keyboard when gaming or doing other intensive tasks, but otherwise it's pretty impressive. Obviously this new one may be different, but I have pretty good faith in Asus' ability to make a good cooling system.
  • Am liking my asus
  • +500
  • First i read: Im licking my anus >_
  • I did too...
  • The specs on this are so pretty!! I'd like to see this for myself.
  • These are new devices using last years processors? ​
  • Thnere are no quad-core Broadwell processors (5th gen Core i) out right now for this to use.  It's either dual-core Broadwell or quad-core Haswell.   Nothing Asus can do about it.
  • WOW... That's impressive. If it'll cost like surface pro 4 I'll choose it over surface
  • Price per weight is probably a quarter of that of the SP3 for a comparable config. that's not necessarily a good thing. :)
  • I am thinking we might nowadays be showing symptoms of Applerisis. It is a disease with known origin, but not yet classified as either a bacteria or virus which will lend hand to treatment (Anti bacteria or better have stron immune system). Those infected have tendency to believe very high quality product can actually come at lauch for a very good price. sumptoms include web search for extra more reviews, visiting forums to find out statements like "I knew it" "It just can't be true" hospitalization might be needed when one starts using words like Apple will never do that etc
  • What? If you're going to make long-winded joke like that, at least try to make it somewhat coherent.
  • And spell check, Mother Fucker... epic fail...
  • I'm not a laptop user but damn, every time ASUS releases one I get really tempted.
  • Me too (having a U500 beside me)! Other manufactures don't get the design right, but the UX501 is a step back since they ditched the brushed aluminum look and the dark keyboard.
  • The video intro is very dim. You SHOULD start using lumia's low light capabilities!
  • Except this video was likely shot using Mark's Canon 5D. So he needed something more physical, like better lighting in the venue!
  • I had to watch the intro 3 times for the video to load. Anyway its good to see Daniel back!
  • I don't need a 4k screen, man this laptop's battery life could have been way better if it just had a FHD screen. Why 4k?
  • Because 4k is the new Y2K
  • We're all going to die.
  • I have been using a Lenovo Y50 with a 4K screen and I can't imagine using anything with a lower resolution. Every other laptop I use looks fuzzy and terrible in comparison.
  • USB type-C absent, pass, moving on to the future...
  • NO Touch? Way back to the wazzup era...
  • It shows him using touch in the video. It has a touch screen.  
  • Sorry, used the app, touch is not in the text of the article
  • this is not MacCrap, of course its a touchscreen, did you watched the video?????????? pay attention. 
  • USB-C is for Tablets and phns for Charging purposes, so you can plug it in in any direction. A FULL power House Laptops with REAL hardware do NOT need Type C, as it uses a power supply to charge/power-up. it has USB 3.0 that is the same speed as USB 3.1 Type-C If you are talking about the Overrated MacCrap Book, the reason it has Type C, it has a CHEAP 8 inch tablet Motherboard inside a laptop with NO Touchscreen, so it has to use that to charge its battery. However, since there are not that many things using type-C right now, you must use an adapter to use other type of USB devices/cables. The speed of USB 3.0 is the same as USB 3.1 Type C as i mentioned. So this AWESOME ASUS laptop has 3 USB 3.0 that you can get Type C adaptor when more items will be made with USB Type C connectors. if you have to. I can see more phns will come out with USB 3.1 typ-C so peole can plug in their charging cable to it in any direction quickly, and if you connected it to you PC using its USB 3.0 port, you can download stuff at high speed offers on BOTH 3.0 and 3.1 USB(wich is 10X faster than USB 2.0) 
  • Hello ardent Multi colored turd man, I do appreciate the joke of your avatar, and I did apologize for not watching the video and in that outet my constructive critisism for including such relevant feature in the text as well. By the way, I did not get the agressiveness relating type-C. I am quite the avid apple avoider, but type-C is a great jump in capabilities for all to use, and I wish to leave the type A and B behind as quickly as possible for all devices, leaving a few type-A's in desktops (stuffed with type C adapters) for the occasional thumbdrive someone brings in. I will give you that one can remain in -larger- laptops for a while. Let me end my contribution in providing you a hint for relaxation, in relevance to your avatar: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor turd Dreamcoat. Bing it!
  • Lol honestly with that name and picture. No one can take you serious and everything you say is discounted. Trolls these days Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • 15" is too big for me,unless It's a Dell XPS15 ;)
  • Let's hope that the display output is capable of serving 2560 x 1440 at 60 Hz, which isn't the case with my Zenbook U500 ...
  • 1400 MB/s drool...
  • Is it really pronounced A-suse.. I always pronounced it As-uh-s
  • A-suse!
  • It comes from the word Pegasus. Just drop the peg and you get Asus. Look it up. They did it to move up alphabetically and be one of the first brands on a list
  • Better be aaaaaasus than:B
  • Ah-su-seh?
  • That's definitely a good price, but there's no way I could carry a 4.6 pound laptop in this day and age. I realize it's a 15 inch model, but it seems they could have made this almost a full pound lighter than this.
  • Wow, people have become so lazy. No wonder the developed world has an obesity problem...
  • I'm not even close to being obese or lazy, but I have no interest in lugging around an almost 5 pound laptop in an age where laptops are close to 2 pounds. I realize this is supposed to be a powerhouse, but sheesh. Almost 5 friggin' pounds? Work smarter, not harder.
  • For this sort of powerhouse laptop, that's also metal, it isn't bad. I weight train 5 days at the gym and 5lbs is nuthin'...
  • If the speakers on this are designed similar to the previous versions
    although they seem to be where you showed it they really aren't there... It's just clever printing. they are on the bottom front reflecting on the desk right into your face when you sit just in front of it.
  • Dang it, I was really excited but then I notice the keypad on the side. I have no need for that, I will never buy a laptop that has the number pad. I like to have everything centered. Oh well, I guess I will keep waiting for my next laptop 
  • I love number pads. I hate it when there is room for one and they don't put one there.
  • The lack of a number pad is why I didn't buy the previous version of this model (the Asus Zenbook NX500). I use the number pad for coding way too much to not have it on my laptop.
  • If you deal with anything with numbers, i.e., engineering, finance, science, medicine, etc., a number pad is a necessity...
  • On paper, this looks good, as does every Zenbook Asus releases, but their recent history should make you cautious.  Color issues on their displays, cracking hinges, dead pixels on displays, trackpad issues, recent Zenbooks have had problems.
  • Can you game good?
  • Haswell processor and 960m say yes if you drop the res in game. 960m's run much cooler than the 70 and 80 counterparts, but you lose a bit in performance. Actually, I'd say you lose quite a lot but that's only in term of benchmarks. Framewise is seems to hold up rather well until you start shoving hella settings down its throat. For a reference The Alienware 13 runs a 960m, and so does the Gigabyte p3*K(change * for a 4,5,7 relative to screen size) Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Acer, Gateway, and Emachine are all the same now. Those are the budget brands.
  • Another CrApple MacCrap killer. I wonder what iSHEEP now have to say, or what excuses they are going to give us? MacCrap does NOT even come close to  ASUS, DELL & Alienware, LENOVO, SURFACE/MS, SAMSUNG, ACER, Razer, MSI,........ Please do NOT even compare their Overrated, Hyped-Up, 4 years behind others,..............CrApple's garbage prod to these awesome brands. MacCrap is a "Gold painted Poop" wana be PC. PC/Windows ROCK. CrApple SUCKS  
  • only $1499 for this includable 4K ""touchscreen"", 16gig RAM, i7 CPU with 960M geforce Graphics Card, 500SSD highend drive........power house windows mach/PC??????? WOW. Just think, the Overrated MacCrap, with 8gig Ram,  M cpu, only 2000+ res, only 1 PORT, NO Touchscreen, NO dedicated graphics card,......... starts from $1500 and goes up. All you get is an 8 inch tablet Motherboard inside a laptop with NO touchscreen. Talk about a rip off. Why noone EVER sees that? What is wrong with iSHEEP? The sad part is , CrApple will sell tons of these 8 inch tablets in a laptop body, without a touchscreen, using their Brainwash technique again. When these people could get this AWESOME ASUS, or My DELL XPS 15 4K touchscreen or even the XPS 13, ASUS, Lenovo, Surface,..............for less or the same price, and get ""A LOT"" more, i mean A LOT MORE.  Crapple prod= Gold Painted POOP, Shiny on the outside, Crappie on the inside, and iSHEEP pays for that. Another WOW      
  • Did you make your account today just to rant on Apple?  Pretty tasteless, especially since apple makes some great windows laptops :P Seriously though, tasteless.
  • He's been at it for quite a while. 
  • 1. No I did not. 2. i will NEVER EVER stop ranting and spreading the TRUTH and FACTS about EVIL CrApple BS comp, that makes NOTHING, since they have -0- factories. So tell me how in the hell CrApple makes Windows laptop??????? Huuummm (FYI, CrApple is ONLY a brand, they buy parts from Samsung, LG, Sony,............... and many others and Foxconn in China puts it all together along with others) 3. I much ratter have a this AWESOME Asus, or Dell XPS (or their Alienware laptops), Lenovo, HP, Surface, Razor, MS Surface, Samsung,...........that are FAR more superior than the Extremely Overpriced, Overrated, WAY BEHIND current technology used by others,..........CrApple MacJUNK. You have to be a moron or blind not to see how superior this Asus, and/or Dell XPS,............(along with others)in hardware, compare to MacJUNK. 4. NOTHING CrApple sells, worth the money they are asking for. You are ONLY paying for that Devilish Logo, NOTHING more and NOTHING less. There are far more better prods are out there for less money and way advanced technology. Even if CrApple was the last comp n earth, i would NEVER EVER support this EVIL, GREEDY, Misleading, LYING, Backstabbing, COPYING EVERYTHING from others,.....................garbage comp. NEVER. 5. the ONLY thing CrApple has ever invented was, iSHEEP, so they can buy their overrated crap, BLINDLY, and think they got something so much better or special, not knowing they just got ripped off by CrApple AGAIN, and got a Gold Painted Poop. Shiny on the outside, Crap on the inside.   
  • You call people who buy apple products iSheep? perhaps you should think about what your are..... I suggest maybe a micro-sheep.  Sounds fitting... FYI I have bought and happily used an iPod touch, iPod nano, and while they may be overpriced, apple's products are good. So stop, you look like an a**
  • That's some godly specs there. Am really really tempted to get my hands on this laptop
  • Sooooooo, does this mean HP is lower than Dogshit and Acer?
  • I think I would prefer the ROG G501 by ASUS instead. Same laptop but gaming red/black. I always go toward red stuff as it is my favorite color.
  • Yes, but the ROG is like 3 times thicker and twice as heavy. It might as well not even be a laptop at that size. And it doesn't have a 4K display option
  • The G501 is the same thin laptop as the UX501, but with gamer aesthetics, no touchscreen, and a 4gb 960m. And it does have the 4k screen. It's not like other ROG laptops.
  • Alright,that's awesome! I didn't realize they had a thin ROG. I definitely like the red
  • I got an i7 Surface Pro about 6 months ago, but this looks Sweeeeet!
  • Me robino why Microsoft don't listen to us and build free fault design,they keep doing same mistake over and over on hardware design,also for one time we need the soft ware of Windows to take the lead and more, when ever I receive PDF I will never be able to locate it's location on the phone over 3 years no fix just example
  • Good price for the specs, too big screen, 4 pounds? Is not for what I need it.
  • It is quite GOOD, I like it
  • 4K screens are fine but there are a few applications that still don't scale up. Not a problem unless you're running some old legacy stuff I guess. I'll stick with my Thinkpad.
  • I hated how dell and hp, my top OEMs are making one of each notebooks available with Ubuntu. Sickens me
  • I know right? Screw Linux!!!!
  • With the price drop from $1799.99 to $1499.99, now it's a tremendous laptop for the price. I was considering the updated HP Omen which has similar specs and the MSI Ghost Pro 064, but right now the Asus is less than those two. I'm curious if there will be any Memorial Day sales on the other two.
  • Frist Look?
  • Has anyone actually seen this device in person with Thunderbolt.  I ordered one that arriv3ed today, but it didn't have the port.  Still trying to figure out what model and where to get one with the port.
  • Wow! This laptop seems very nice. Great features, especially! Thanks for sharing. Check out this link: http://www.techstudiogadgets.com/