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Ultrabook reviews, guides and comparisons
Asus Zenbook Pro UX550 Andrei Girbea Rating: 4 out of 5

Asus Zenbook Pro UX550 (UX550VD) impressions and review – what to expect from the new top-tier Zenbook

48 Comments

  1. Conrad

    July 27, 2017 at 7:09 am

    Thorough review, thanks!

    I can't help but think ASUS isn't what it should be in terms of quality.

    I read a review of the new Vivobook Pro N580 and it appears to have exactly the same issues as most of their laptops these days: considerable keyboard flex, audible fans that are always active, and a screen that doesn't live up to expectations. It's a real pity because these laptops don't come cheap.

    I see you mention the Zenbook UX530 as an ultraportable alternative, the 15 inch version of the UX430. Is it available yet? Though I imagine the 530 to have the exact same issues as the 430.

    • Andrei Girbea

      July 27, 2017 at 7:13 am

      The ux530 is available in some parts of Europe, not the US though. It's the same as the UX430, just a little bigger. The fans can be tweaked with FanStop and as for the other issues, I could live with them.

  2. Ernesto Santiago Guerrero

    July 27, 2017 at 8:47 am

    Very nice review!
    I've been waiting to hear about this laptop for almost a month now and, as always, nothing lives up to the hype, sadly.
    I guess I could live with most of the little nitpicking problems, but I don't know how much would the keyboard flex could bother me, as I have always had a laptop with full unibody design, and threrefore very rigid chasis.

    I would like to ask you, If, and when, the reviews for the i7 models come out and they come up with the same issues, would you advise waiting for the refresh for the xps 15 model? My main issue with the 9560 is the half-bandwidth thunderbolt 3 the models have, and also the throttling. The first issue I was planning to fix with a eGPU, but the speeds of the TB3 are not promising, and I think the throttling would have an impact there.

    • Andrei Girbea

      July 27, 2017 at 8:56 am

      I don't think a refresh of the XPS is due before the new generation of HQ chips is available (early 2018, as far as i know). I would wait for laptops with those new quad-core ULVs that are scheduled for release is September. There might be something interesting there, because otherwise all the thin and lights with Kaby Lake HQ hardware throttle in demanding loads. Perhaps Dell with have those in the XPS 15.

      • Ernesto Santiago Guerrero

        July 27, 2017 at 9:13 am

        Yes, I'm aware that wainting for a refresh of the XPS 15 would mean to also wait for intel to release the Coffee Lake chips, but I was planning on waiting until December-early 2018 to make a decision on a laptop, that would allow for some Ryzen models to come out and weight out the balance of the market. Thank you for the answer.

  3. mystiq

    July 27, 2017 at 9:23 am

    magnificent review, did you planing to review the unit with core i7 and GTX 1050Ti later andrei ? and why they're claiming 3 heatpipes cooling for zenbook pro ? or maybe 3 heatpipes cooling only for the corei7 and GTX1050Ti model ?

    • Andrei Girbea

      July 27, 2017 at 10:30 am

      i don't think there's a different design for the ux550ve. Can't tell why they claim to have three, the internals shows just two

      • mystiq

        July 29, 2017 at 10:32 am

        did you planning to review the GTX 1050Ti and core i7 version ?

  4. alex

    July 27, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    Rather annoying to see asus forcing you to buy the more expensive i7 to have 16gb of ram. Thanks for the review.

  5. sudo_user_si

    July 28, 2017 at 6:09 am

    Have you tried usb-c charging?

  6. Charry

    July 28, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    Hey Andrei
    What about the new vivobook pro 15? Where i live the cheapest ux550 cost 1900 Dollars and with touchscreen (no version without, yet), and so I was wondering ix the vivobook pro could do for as a replacement. Have u reviewed it yet? And when it's gonna be released?

    • Andrei Girbea

      July 28, 2017 at 11:53 pm

      Working on it right now, should be up in about a week or so

  7. Andreas

    July 28, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    Very nice review. Kindda disapointed about the keyboard though. But I might still get this one.

    The Dell XPS 15 has a very high screen response time and suffers from some ghosting while gaming.

    How does this compare? Do you have any numbers on screen refresh times?

    • Andrei Girbea

      July 28, 2017 at 11:56 pm

      unfortunately I don't have the tools or methodology to test for refresh rate. The screen is identical to the one on the Lenovo Yoga 720 15, so you can check for refresh rate and other details in notebookcheck's review of that product.

  8. AZ

    July 29, 2017 at 12:01 am

    Asus drop the ball hard nowadays

    I remember a time from 2008-2012 when their laptops were the solid pick out of all brands for reliability, quality and function.

    They seem to think they are Dell now but have never earned the title. Charging premium but with honestly pathetic chassis flex, light bleed and forcing matte only (wax effect) on all their very low contrast ratio display leaves a bad taste.

    I mean even HP and lenovo are overtaking asus now.

  9. Anders

    July 29, 2017 at 10:26 am

    good review. so the typing experience on the previously tested ux430 is actually better than on this high-end ux550??

  10. Kyle

    July 30, 2017 at 3:18 am

    Can you review the Gigabyte Aero 15 and P56XT? Currently they blow everything else out of the water as far as performance, portability and battery life are concerned.

    • Andrei Girbea

      July 31, 2017 at 10:00 am

      Not available over here unfortunately, so I don't think I can get my hands on them for now

      • Kyle

        August 7, 2017 at 4:37 am

        Ahhh that's a shame. P56XT seems like the only lightweight 1070 laptop with a decent 7 hour battery life atm. There're only 2 English reviews and it's not even mentioned on web forums.

  11. BT

    July 30, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    well im honestly pissed .. i mean i saw the flex in youtube videos at computex but i expected a fix for that at this price point.
    They keyboard and camera are a serious oversight i was really hoping to get this but im now thinking of the cheaper lenovo flex 5 15" as t has more ports than the yoga 720 15" and well cheaper im not paying top dollar for a clear cost cut system.

    if asus went with sharp izgo panels fixed the flex then maybe but limiting ram is a bad choice for any one …

  12. Sean

    August 2, 2017 at 2:38 am

    Why do you say usb-c charging won't work?

    • Andrei Girbea

      August 2, 2017 at 2:47 am

      I'm just saying it might not, I don't know if Asus implemented the electronics to hook up the battery via USB-C.

  13. Ciro

    August 4, 2017 at 8:13 am

    Where and when can we buy asus 550ux?

  14. Max

    August 6, 2017 at 7:15 am

    Hey Andrei, very good review. Thank you very much!
    I have a question: Is it possible to turn off the battery during gaming sessions or rendering tasks and power the Zenbook only by the charger? The battery isn't replaceable, am I right? My idea is to unplug the battery at home to keep it powerful for some years.

    • Andrei Girbea

      August 6, 2017 at 11:31 am

      Not in an easy way, you'd have to open the device and disconnect it physically, and I'm not even sure it would boot with it disconnected

  15. dieter

    August 9, 2017 at 4:42 am

    It's not even out yet in my country and the price on the VD 16GB is already down to €1650. By the time everyone is stocked up it will be sub-1500. Putting this back on the radar for me. An undervolt&repaste will take care of the performance issues, nbfc or bios update (there's one out for the ux410 now) will take care of the fans. Improve battery life too. And already cheaper than xps15 in similar config. A lot better looking too. A little worried about the keyboard though. I'll probably wait until I can test it at a shop.

  16. kevin

    September 5, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    Can it be charged over the USB C port?

  17. Tao

    September 5, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    Thanks for your review Andrei,

    Can you confirm how the TB3 ports work for eGPU?

    I read that the 2 ports are a combined 4x PCIe, does this mean they are still 2x PCIe for each port or will one work at full 4x PCIe when only one port is being used?

    Thank you for your help on this.

    • Andrei Girbea

      September 6, 2017 at 12:39 pm

      Hmmm, I don't know to be frank. As far as I can tell from HWinfo, they're hooked up to only 2x PCIe lines and I don't think using a single port would give it access to 4x lines. You should look for other onions as well though.

    • Kyle

      September 9, 2017 at 2:58 am

      Basically there're 3 types of TB3 controllers: 1) 1 port, 4x 2) 1 port, 2x 3) 2 ports, 4x. The Zenbook Pro falls in the last where 4 PCIe lanes are conjoined to Mobo via both ports. Meaning when the first port uses 2x, the other one is left with 2x, and when it uses 4x (like in an uncapped eGPU scenario), the other is left with no PCIe lanes for use, only USB capabilities should work fine in theory.
      They came up with options 2) and 3) because 1) takes a bit more room on a small laptop and its hardware is (marginally) more expensive.

      • Andrei Girbea

        September 14, 2017 at 5:02 am

        Hi Kyle, thanks for adding this, but do you have a source for this info? Are you sure it works at 4x speeds when hooking just one external device to a single port?

        • Kyle

          September 15, 2017 at 3:34 pm

          I only read about this online when the first batch of Skylake laptops with TB3 got released. But yes, with conjoined 4x PCIe lanes on the dual configuration, either port should be able to achieve full 40 Gbps, given that the other isn't using any thunderbolt connections. There are reports of users having successfully tested this with eGPUs on several of their laptops using this cheaper "2 ports, 4 lanes" config, including mainly the Lenovo Thinkpad X1C5/X1Y2, P71, HP Zbooks, some Dell Latitudes (though most of those are 2x), and a few MSI rigs.
          Previous iterations of also had several controllers, confusing lots of people who got them for things like music production and eGPU setup.
          ark.intel.com/products/family/79641/Thunderbolt-Products

          • Andrei Girbea

            September 19, 2017 at 6:24 am

            Hmmm, I have the UX550VE update on the desk right now, but other than looking through HWinfo I don't have an eGPU or other methods to actually test if a single port works at 4x speeds or not. I'll look into this matter today, but suggestions for what I could do to test this out in this situation would be appreciated.

          • Kyle

            September 20, 2017 at 3:21 am

            Hope you succeed and confirm this for sure. This subreddit post may be useful.
            reddit.com/r/thinkpad/comments/5ykwge/to_all_owners_of_thinkpads_with_thunderbolt_3/
            By the looks of it, the controller only shows up in HWinfo when you're using all the TB3 with the correct drivers installed.

          • Andrei Girbea

            September 20, 2017 at 6:23 am

            Thanks. HWInfo shows that the TB3 is 4x. However, it only shows one instance, not two for the two ports. So that means the two share a 4x line from what I can understand and should work like you said they would.

  18. Serhio

    September 19, 2017 at 9:25 am

    At the moment no one can provide affirmative information on TB3. And it's sad. Andrew, maybe you can get hold of the EGU and experience TB3?

    • Andrei Girbea

      September 19, 2017 at 12:00 pm

      Unfortunately I don't have an eGPU and can't get one over here…

      • Serhio

        September 19, 2017 at 12:17 pm

        Do you get laptops for review officially from the ASUS? Perhaps they could provide some reasonable information on this matter?
        I'm confused about choosing between Yoga720 and UX550. The ASUS decision to implement a full-fledged TB3 in the form of x2 + x2 looks reasonable, but I have doubts whether this really works, for the first time I hear it.
        I hope that you will be able to find a way to verify this information, or at least add something specific to this review, when an exact answer will be found.

        • Andrei Girbea

          September 19, 2017 at 12:54 pm

          I do, but they can't tell me much about tit. My contacts are PR people, not tech engineers.

  19. Gojan

    September 19, 2017 at 5:44 pm

    hey, great review. just when will the zenbook vs yoga vs xps review be up?

    • Andrei Girbea

      September 27, 2017 at 4:29 am

      IDK, I planned to publish it but got caught with other things, but there's a comparison section in this article

  20. Tuzsok

    September 21, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    Ubuntu (at least ootb) does not work on it.

  21. Javaria

    October 9, 2017 at 11:44 pm

    what is the difference between 550VE and 550VD?

  22. Claudiu

    October 10, 2017 at 10:52 am

    Hi, there is a uhd display version for ux550ve? tx

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