Sunday, October 1, 2023

Asus launches huge 17-inch Zenbook with Ryzen 6000

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Shreya Christina
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If you were intrigued by Asus’ Zenbook 17 Fold OLED, but put off by the fact that it was, well, folded, now there’s a more… normie option for you. Asus has announced the Zenbook Pro 17, a giant version of its highly regarded portable Zenbook line (and the first Zenbook with a 17.3-inch screen).

The device starts at $999 and will be available from Asus and Amazon. Shipping dates are not yet known. That pricing places it among many of the best-known 17-inchers in today’s consumer space. The Dell XPS 17 and LG Gram 17, two of the best-known products in this category, are currently launching for $1,849 and $1,199respectively.

Earlier this year, Asus announced a nearly equal-sized Zenbook Pro 16X OLED, starting at $2,599. The Pro 17, while larger, is at least one tier below the premium scale, and lacks many of its fancier features, including the OLED display, palm rest jog dial and per-key RGB lighting. The Pro 17 seems to have the typical “ErgoLift” hinge you’ll see across the Zenbook line, which tilts the entire keyboard deck up when you lift the lid (instead of the nicer mechanism the 16X has, which lifts the keyboard up). tilts but leaves the rest of the deck in place).

The Zenbook Pro 17 seen from behind, half open, in front of an upside-down mountain at night.

The lid is the well-known Zenbook design.
Image: Asus

Inside, the Zenbook is powered by AMD’s new Ryzen 6000 series. The best option is the Ryzen 9 6900HX, which can also be found in powerful but not too crazy gaming laptops like Lenovo’s Legion 5 Pro. AMD’s latest chips don’t have the same raw power as Intel’s 12th-generation CPUs, but they tend to do better for battery life.

The Zenbook Pro 17 also has a 2.5k IPS touchscreen with a 165Hz refresh rate (also unusual on 17-inchers outside the gaming room). The audio is Harman Kardon certified. Ports include HDMI 2.0 and an SD card reader.

A user edits audio on Zenbook Pro 17 in a dark studio next to a set of speakers.

He does it in the dark.
Image: Asus

Asus describes the Zenbook’s target audience as “creators who need the largest possible visual workspace.” But that name and description can be somewhat misleading. This doesn’t look so much like one of Asus’s high-end Pro devices, but rather a bloated version of its smaller Zenbooks – which are generally aimed at a consumer rather than a professional audience. Sure, this Zenbook may come with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 and integrated graphics — so there’s some room for customization — but that’s still far from the most powerful graphics out there, and professionals can get a better option in Dell’s XPS. 17 (or other 17-inch workstations).

This Zenbook seems to live in an in-between space instead. It’s not for those who want the most powerful 17-incher or the thinnest and lightest 17-incher or the prettiest 17-incher or the 17-incher with the best battery life. It will probably be for someone who wants a solid mix of all these things for a relatively low price. That, of course, is the MO of many Zenbook models, and it seems to have worked well for Asus in the past.

In the field of more expensive makers, Asus also has the $1,599.99 Vivobook Pro 15X and $1,699.99 Vivobook Pro 16X. These laptops are powered by Intel 12th Gen H-series processors with graphics up to a GeForce RTX 3060. The 15-incher has a 120Hz OLED display, while the 16-incher has a 165Hz WQUXGA display. The 16-inch Vivobook models, like the 16-inch Zenbook models, have a handy little watch face.

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