Asus ZenBook Pro 15 UX580: better than a MacBook Pro?

Here is how does the MacBook Pro 15-inch compare to the Asus ZenBook Pro 15 UX580. After all, the MacBook Pro is known as the pinnacle of a mobile workstation. This is our comparison.

Dimensions and weight

We start again with a comparison of dimensions, weight, and appearance. In terms of dimensions, the devices are almost identical again. The MacBook Pro is 1.55 cm thick, 24.07 cm deep and 34.93 cm wide; a 15.4-inch screen fits in there. The Asus is a fraction larger: 1.89 cm thick, 24.1 cm deep and 36.5 cm wide. But that extra space is used well because the screen of the ZenBook Pro measures 15.6 inches. The weight hardly makes any difference: 1.83 kg (MacBook Pro) versus 1.88 kg (ZenBook Pro). With the MacBook Pro, you have more choice in terms of colors. You can choose between silver and space gray, the Asus is only available in “Deep Dive Blue.”

The screen

With the ZenBook 14 we had quite a bit of criticism on the screen. The almost borderless design is very beautiful, while the low resolution is no longer of this time. With the ZenBook Pro, Asus corrects this defect in an (optional) upgrade. In addition, you get a 4K screen with 3840 x 2160 pixels instead of a Full HD screen. That’s a lot more pixels than the 2880 x 1800 pixels of the MacBook Pro.

ScreenPad

As you know, the MacBook Pro has the so-called Touch Bar above the keyboard. With this elongated touchscreen you perform quick actions, depending on which program you have currently opened. Handy, but Asus goes one (or even several?) Steps further. On the ZenBook Pro 15 you have a complete screen in the trackpad, the ScreenPad! You can not only use that to display fast functions, in Screen Extender mode you really get a second screen in your trackpad. For example, that is practical to always keep an eye on your Twitter timeline or mailbox, without this taking up any space on your main screen.

Hardware

Now the hard facts! What about the specs of the Asus compared to the MacBook? A basic ZenBook Pro starts with an Intel Core i5 quad-core processor with 2.4 GHz. More interesting are the two better configurations, with a Core i7 2.2 GHz 6-core or a Core i9 2.9 GHz 6-core. Undoubtedly powerful processors, but the MacBook Pro still has slightly faster computing units. You get a Core i7 2.6 GHz 6-core as standard, the best version has a Core i9 2.4 GHz 8-core!

In terms of storage, both devices start with a 256 GB SSD. The MacBook Pro equips you with 4 TB if desired, the Asus ZenBook Pro stops at 1 TB. The MacBook Pro also wins in terms of memory. This has 16 or 32 GB RAM, with the Asus there are 8 or 16 GB.

Graphics

The graphics card is a bit harder to compare. The Asus has a GeForce GTX 1050 Ti as standard. According to the benchmarks of the usually reliable Notebookcheck, this card is faster than all possible GPU options of the MacBook Pro (AMD Radeon RX 555X, 560X, Vega 16), except for the Radeon Vega 20. For that you do pay the main prize. As far as we are concerned, the ZenBook Pro wins the graphics category.

Connections

The MacBook Pro has four Thunderbolt 3 connections. These are super fast and support a lot of accessories, but it remains a shame that you are still dependent on adapters for many (older) equipment. Asus handles this in a slightly smarter way. You have two Thunderbolt 3 connections, but also two regular USB 3 ports, one time HDMI and a microSD card reader. Yet again a bit more versatile than the MacBook Pro.

Conclusion

The Asus ZenBook Pro may be one of the most powerful Windows laptops, but it cannot fully absorb the raw power of the MacBook Pro. Only in terms of graphics and connections does he beat Apple’s Pro brother. The ZenBook Pro 15 is a bit cheaper than the MacBook Pro, in some configurations it is even cheaper. If you are not attached to macOS and Apple, the Asus is, therefore, worth considering.

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