IFA 2019, Europe’s largest annual tech conference, is nearly upon us, and Asus has wasted no time in taking the wraps off its coming laptops, displays, and desktops. This morning, the company showcased screens with 300Hz refresh rates in select Zephyrus S and Strix models and announced the availability of a new colorway for its Zephyrus M and S laptops. If that weren’t enough, it debuted a new ProArt workstation and professional monitor, in addition to a pair of StudioBooks designed for content creation.
The 300Hz panel
Asus claims the 300Hz panel on its laptops is the first of its kind to market, but given that other companies are offering the same thing on laptops at IFA, the “first to market” distinction may be academic — depending on when products actually launch. The panel signals a significant leap, however, given that 60Hz displays are common on conventional laptops. Asus said it can display frames in just 3 milliseconds, matching the 3.3-millisecond draw of the PC’s graphics card. And there are few additional details worth notingg.
At IFA, the 300Hz machines Asus demoed included 15-inch and 17-inch flavors of the Strix Scar III packing Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 graphics cards. Alongside them, it showcased a 15-inch Zephyrus S GX502 and 17-inch Zephyrus S GX701. The 15-inch GX502 has a GeForce RTX 2070 GPU with the same boost clocks and wattage as the Strix, while the 17-inch GX701 has a GeForce RTX 2080.
Zephyrus S GX701 models with 300Hz panels will ship in October of this year, followed by “multiple” laptops in 2020.
Asus is no stranger to high-refresh-rate panels. Its first launched in 2016 with the G752VS, which featured a 120Hz IPS screen. Then the company conducted a project with chemical giant Merck, which catalyzed the development of a new liquid-crystal structure capable of pushing even higher speeds and laying the groundwork for the company’s first 144Hz gaming laptops.
More recently, at CES 2019, Asus demoed a 15.6-inch 240Hz panel on the Strix Scar II, which it rolled out to Zephyrus S GX502, Zephyrus M, Strix Scar III, and Strix Hero III models later in the year. A 17.3-inch 240Hz screen in the Strix Scar III followed hot on its heels at Computex 2019.
ProArt StudioBook Pro X and StudioBook One
New 300Hz display technology isn’t all Asus announced today. It also took the wraps off multiple devices in its ProArt line, including the StudioBook One and StudioBook Pro X, two flagship laptops featuring high-end Nvidia graphics cards and thin displays.
The StudioBook One — which Asus claims is the world’s most “graphically powerful” laptop — boasts Nvidia’s Quadro RTX 6000, which features CUDA, RT, and Tensor cores tailor-made to accelerate rendering, 8K video editing, and data processing. Its cooling system boasts an “aerospace-grade” titanium alloy thermal module designed to optimize inlet and exhaust flow, and somewhat novelly, its heat-generating elements (including the processor and graphics chip) are placed behind the display.
Those components drive the StudioBook One’s 4K UHD and nearly edge-to-edge screen, which gives the laptop an 84% screen-to-body ratio. It has a 120Hz refresh rate and 100% Adobe RGB gamut coverage, as well as a Delta-E rating (the number that represents the distance between two colors) of less than 1.
The StudioBook Pro X is the first Nvidia Quadro RTX 5000-powered laptop in Asus’ lineup to feature the ScreenPad 2.0, a 5.65-inch touchpad that doubles as a display. Its 17-inch 16:10 aspect ratio display (which gives it a 92% screen-to-body ratio) supports a wide color gamut covering 97% of the DCI-P3 color space. Under the hood, there’s an Intel Xeon or six-core 9th Generation Core i7 processor (depending on the configuration) paired with CPU-attached Raid 0 drives with speeds of up to 6Gbps.
Both the StudioBook Pro X and StudioBook One ship with Asus’ new ProArt Creator Center app, which assists with things like color calibration and optimizing performance and lets you monitor the rendering process from your phone.
ProArt Station D940MX and ProArt Display PA32UCG
On the desktop side of things, Asus announced the ProArt Station D940MX, the latest in its line of workstation-grade machines targeting creators and media professionals. It boasts a “hybrid thermal system” designed to cope with heat buildup within the chassis and a 2D vapor chamber and heat pipes, plus quad fans situated in different areas of the chassis to help dissipate heat quickly. Asus claims that together they can lower overall internal chassis temperatures while increasing airflow by up to 9% and generating less than 19dB at idle (and up to 37dB at full load).
The ProArt Station’s case is military-grade MIL STD 810G, tested to withstand bumps and scrapes, and it features an LED indicator at the bottom of the chassis that communicates the machine’s current status. Inside, an Intel 9th Gen Intel Core i9 processor with up to 64GB DDR4 2666MHz memory handles the heavy computational lifting, while a Nvidia Quadro RTX 4000 or Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti chip tackles a range of graphics workloads.
On the storage front, a 512GB PCIe SSD is paired with a 1TB HDD. And there’s a wealth of ports, including dual Thunderbolt 3 ports on the front panel.
So what about the ProArt Display PA32UCG? Well, Asus claims it’s the world’s first HDR 1600 and 120Hz variable-refresh rate professional display. To this end, it has a 4K UHD resolution and mini LED backlighting that delivers “industry-leading” brightness and color performance — meeting the requirements for DisplayHDR 1400, the latest and highest standard.
The ProArt Display features 1,152 individual LED backlights with local dimming that enable 1,000 nits of full-screen sustained brightness, 1,600 nits of peak brightness, and a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio. It supports all major HDR standards, including Dolby Vision, Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) and HDR10, and it boasts quantum-dot technology, allowing it to display a wide color gamut with DCI-P3, Adobe RGB, sRGB, Rec. 709 and Rec. 2020 color space support.
The ProArt Display has 10-bit color depth and a three-level factory color precalibration process, and it benefits from Asus’ built-in ProArt Hardware Calibration technology that continuously recalibrates it for accuracy. Meanwhile, support for Adaptive-Sync enables a 48-120Hz variable refresh rate (VRR). And it has plenty of connectivity, with two Thunderbolt 3 ports, one DisplayPort, and three HDMI ports, as well as a built-in USB hub.
AsusPro B9 B9450
For customers looking for an enterprise-leaning laptop, there’s the AsusPro B9 B9450, which Asus claims is the world’s lightest in its class at just 880 grams.
The AsusPro B9 boasts up to 10th Gen Core processors and two 1TB PCIe 3.0 4x SSDs, and high-performance connectivity courtesy of Intel Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+ 802ax) and Thunderbolt 3. Additionally, it packs a Trusted Platform Module 2.0 (TPM) and a built-in camera for biometric authentication.
The AsusPro B9 is as compact as it is light: 14.9 millimeters thin, with a nearly bezel-less display, giving it a 94% screen-to-body ratio. Asus says it satisfies MIL-STD 810G military standards of durability.
As if all those new laptops weren’t enough, the 14-inch ZenBook Duo has been updated with up to Intel 10th Gen i7 processors and GeForce MX250 graphics. Plus, it now features Intel Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+).
Glacier Blue Zephyrus and Strix
Lastly, Asus unveiled new Zephyrus and Strix models in glacier blue, a tint with a “new visual style.” This will be available on the Zephyrus S GX502, Zephyrus M GU502, and Strix G G531 and G731, starting in Q3 2019 globally.
The Strix G, Zephyrus M, and Zephyrus S are available with up to a six-core Intel 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H and with up to 32GB of DDR4-2666 memory. The Zephyrus S GX502 taps Nvidia’s Optimus technology to extend battery life by turning off the GPU when it isn’t needed, stretching it to up to four hours of web browsing and nearly five hours of video playback. And all Zephyrus models have USB Type-C ports with USB Power Delivery up to 65W.
The Zephyrus M packs a Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060, while the Strix G and Zephyrus S have GeForce RTX 2070 graphics. Their 15.6-inch displays with 6.2mm bezels are factory-calibrated to cover the full sRGB color space over wide viewing angles and to hit refresh rates of up to 240Hz while minimizing latency to 3 milliseconds.
Asus ROG Phone II Ultimate Edition
Asus announced the ROG Phone II earlier this year, and at IFA the company unveiled an updated model featuring a new color and upgraded specifications.
The ROG Phone II Ultimate Edition comes in matte black with a distinctive patterning emblazoned on the back cover. It packs 1TB UFS 3.0 storage with a modem capable of hitting Cat. 20 4G LTE download speeds of up to 2Gbps, and sports a Snapdragon 855 Plus clocked at 2.96GHz and paired with a whopping 12GB of RAM. Other highlights include a 6.59-inch120Hz/1ms AMOLED display with less than 1 Delta-E color accuracy and 49 millisecond touch latency, and a 6,000mAh battery with Asus’ HyperCharge fast-charging tech. That’s all in addition to a landscape-oriented design incorporating upgraded AirTrigger II technology and dual surrounding vibration technology, plus front-facing stereo speakers.
The ROG Phone II will be priced in Europe starting at €899 (with 512GB of storage and a Cat. 18 LTE modem) from September 20, with the Ultimate retailing for €1,199 when it goes on sale in Q4. It’ll head to the U.S. in the coming months, with pricing and availability information forthcoming.
Asus VivoWatch SP
Wearables haven’t gone the way of the dodo yet, contrary to popular belief. A case in point is Asus’ new VivoWatch SP, a fitness tracker with ECG and PPG sensors that can track real-time health data, including heart rate, pulse O2 level, autonomic nerve activity index (ANS age), stress level, and blood pressure.
The VivoWatch SP has a built-in GPS sensor that lets you track workouts and review them later in the Asus’ HealthConnect app, complete with stats such as speed, distance, duration, and pace coaching. You can specify a pace in the HealthConnect app, which VivoWatch SP will monitor during your run, providing real-time vibration alerts if you exceed or fall behind the set pace. The app also provides recommended pace targets for different types of workouts, and it taps the built-in altimeter and pulse O2 monitor to report things like elevation gain and oxygen saturation.
The VivoWatch SP has a quoted 14-day battery life and comes with 22-millimeter watch straps, Asus says, and it offers notifications for calls and messages over Bluetooth. Pricing has yet to be announced.