The Asus Zenbook NX500 is a high-end notebook designed to replace a desktop PC with an impressive 4K screen, a sound of very good quality and superior performance, but at the cost a salt addition. With 4K revolution is underway and screens with higher resolution than full HD are invading the market for high-end laptops. Now it's Asus to enter the dance with its Zenbook NX500, a top model dedicated to desktop office which is positioned in front of the Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch Retina (2014) and Toshiba Satellite P50T -BST2N01. If the HD Ultra is the heart of your concerns, the selection of corresponding portable only grow. The Zenbook NX500 impresses with its elegant design, sound quality, its fantastic screen and its high level of performance, but in exchange for a price just as high.
It's pretty obvious to find similarities with the MacBook Pro, but the fact is that the one-piece aluminum design Apple has been imitated by all the mobile manufacturers in the market. The minimalist all-metal appearance has become the standard for high-end laptops for some time, so we do not play the game of seven errors. It is worth dwelling on the choices that Asus has chosen for its design. The hood is covered with the same pattern of circles in brushed aluminum that we have already seen on the Zenbook range. We find these concentric circles, opening the laptop, especially at the arranged speakers on each side of the keyboard. The angles of the wrist rest and lid are beveled to enhance comfort, and the use of a glass covering the edge to edge screen is convenient, to exploit all the touch screen surface.
The design is attractive, but the lighting of laptop is mainly attracted to the screen. The 15.6-inch IPS panel offers a staggering resolution of 3840 by 2160 pixels (4K), with bright colors and bright, and offers support multitouch 10 points. This places before the Retina display of the Apple MacBook Pro (2800 x 1800) and the MSI GS60 Ghost Pro 3K (2880 x 1620), on par with the Toshiba P50T-BST2N01 (3840 x 2160 ). This is ultimately a screen that will be treasured by lovers of 4K and professional photography and video.
When placed side by side with the MacBook Pro, the 4K screen easily surpasses Apple's Retina display, Asus and drives the nail with a richer color palette. The difference is especially noticeable when viewing images or videos in high resolution - the Zenbook allows display natively definition 4K instead of the MacBook - but I must admit that the differences are negligible for most content, like videos YouTube and Netflix, the documents and the majority of web pages. Note, however, that the anti-reflective coating of the Apple screen appears slightly more effective.
The keyboard takes up the entire width of the chassis is equipped with square keys chiclet type and has a backlight that automatically adjusts to the ambient brightness. This keyboard offers no keypad as proposed by the MSI GS60 and Toshiba P50T-BST2N01, but it is also the case of the Dell XPS 15 (9530) and Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch. Under the keyboard is a clickable touchpad the same size 16: 9 screen, a detail that theoretically allows to make the most intuitive cursor control. In practice, we have not felt a significant advantage, but we have nothing against either.
The keyboard is flanked by two speakers ICEpower developed by Asus in partnership with Bang & Olufsen, we had already met and praised for their sound quality. The Zenbook NX500 is no exception with a clean, accurate sound, delivering clear and rich bass voice, although the volume of overall output is a little small to cover an entire room. But it has done its job for a single user.
The Zenbook NX500 is equipped with three USB 3.0 ports, mini DisplayPort, HDMI output and a standard size SD card reader. In terms of wireless connectivity, it supports dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.
Inside, this laptop offers end SSD 512 GB connected to a PCI Express port provides a faster interface than traditional SATA. Pre-installed software are relatively traditional, including Netflix, Flipboard and iHeart Radio, as a 30-day trial of Microsoft Office 365 and a 30-day trial subscription to Norton Studio for basic protection. Rarer, Asus offers 16GB of cloud storage through Asus WebStorage (free for 12 months) and LoJack to locate a lost or stolen laptop. The warranty of the manufacturer Zenbook NX500 is one year, but Asus generously extends its coverage to accidental damage, as well as a zero dead pixel (bright) to the screen for 30 days and telephone support 24/24.
The Zenbook NX500 is equipped with a quad-processor Intel Core heart i7-4712HQ 2.3 GHz and 16 GB of RAM. This couple, combined with very fast SSD PCIe, enables excellent performance as reflected in the 2563 points reached on PCMark 8 Conventional, just 30 points behind Toshiba P50T-BST2N01. On Cinebench R15 score of 474 points somewhere between the Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch (297 points) and Toshiba P50T-BST2N01 (611 points), while the test result on Photoshop a little disappointing with 4 minutes and 5 seconds.
Graphics performance, however, are first rate with the discrete Nvidia GeForce GTX 850M with 2GB of dedicated RAM. 3DMark, it reached 12,869 points on the benchmark Cloudgate (Our test) and 1 537 points on Fire Strike (our extreme test) and actually exceeds all competitors, with the exception of MSI GS60 designed for the game that is it features a more powerful GTX 870M and has a lower resolution instead of 3K 4K. We found similar results in the Valley and Heaven tests on which the Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch Dell XPS 15 (9530) and Toshiba P50T-BST2N01 to admit defeat. Again, only the MSI GS60 achieved better scores, and also the only laptop of this selection to allow the video game in good conditions.
To end on a positive note, the Zenbook NX500 offers a respectable battery life of 5 hours and 24 minutes with its 6-cell battery with 96Wh. This positions the middle of the pack, ahead of Toshiba P50T-BST2N01 (2:45) and the MSI GS60 (3:17), but behind the Dell XPS 15 (6:49) and the Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch (8:55).
The Asus Zenbook NX500 is a laptop that will effectively replace a desktop computer thanks to its excellent performance, but this is the minimum expected for this high-end segment. While it is not the only portable 15-inch reach 4K resolution, it is one that offers the best graphics performance, combined with a powerful processor and many welcome touches like an attractive design and excellent audio portion tactile capabilities. But despite its excellent results in terms of power and impressive screen, the amount charged is too high. The Toshiba Satellite P50T-BST2N01 offers the same 4K resolution and excellent design for a more affordable price, while the MacBook Pro Retina Apple is considerably cheaper. Even the laptop MSI GS60 Ghost Pro 3K game is more accessible. In conclusion, we congratulate Asus for all the qualities of its Zenbook NX500, but the Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch Retina, more affordable, keep our preference on the notebook segment to replace desktop computers.
PLUS: Superb touchscreen 4K. Sound quality with ICEpower speakers. Excellent design. Very good performance.
Asus Zenbook NX500 PRICE: € 2699