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Ultrabook reviews, guides and comparisons
Asus Zenbook Pro UX550VE Andrei Girbea Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Asus Zenbook UX550VE review (i7-7700HQ, GTX 1050 Ti) and how it compares to the Zenbook UX550VD

37 Comments

  1. Jonah

    September 24, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    Nice! Btw let's not forget the cheaper Gigabyte Aero 14 with the GTX 1050Ti/1060!

    • Andrei Girbea

      September 25, 2017 at 3:46 am

      Yep, that's an option as well, but I only considered 15 inchers in the conclusion.

  2. Serhio

    September 25, 2017 at 5:31 am

    Hi Andrei! Thanks for the review, now I am convinced to take Yoga 720. I'll think only in cases of confirmation of the presence of the port x4 TB3.

    I can tell you that the entire UX550 line is available in Ukraine. The configuration price from the review is $ 2358 or € 1,980. Absolutely all the customers I contacted could complain about having a coil whine (a squeak or a crack). They also talk about overheating, due to the absence of banal holes for the cooling system.

    P.S. Strange, but in Ukraine, as in all Europe, versions of Yoga 720 with 4 GB of video memory are available, which is an excellent alternative for the UX550VD or XPS15 (UX550VE I would not take because the 1050Ti does not reveal potential), and "transformer" + touch screen is a nice bonus for this money.

    Sorry for my english :)

    • Andrei Girbea

      September 25, 2017 at 7:12 am

      How much does the Yoga 720 cost over there, compared to the Zenbook UX550VD?

      • Serhio

        September 25, 2017 at 7:58 am

        I compare the same configuration:
        ASUS UX550VD (BN071T) i7/FHD(no touch)/16gb/512gb/1050 4gb/24m warranty – $1,787 or €1,503.

        Lenovo Yoga720-15 (80X70071PB) i7/FHD(touch)/8gb/512gb/1050 4gb/24m warranty + Lenovo Active Pen 2 and transformer function – $1,635 or €1,375. The price of the RAM bracket 8 GB DDR4 2400 is 75 dollars. Universal adapter for HDMI+VGA+RJ-45+Type-C+2xUSB3.0 (AliEx) is another $60.

        Total: $1,787 vs. $1,770. But it is worth considering that I can take Lenovo with 8gb RAM and 256gb SSD for 1500 dollars, whereas an ASUS with a processor of i7 is sold exclusively in the top complete sets with 16gb+512gb.

        In cases with Yoga 720 we get a touch screen (+ professional pen in configuration for $1,635), a function of the transformer and holes for the cooling system, and with the UX550VD we have a lack of holes (ASUS engineers are you serious?), electronic noise, but the same time, possibly a full port TB3.

        Most of all, I'm angry with the Coil Whine and lack of a grid for the cooling system of a powerful video card. ASUS is a failure! :(

  3. Echinops

    September 25, 2017 at 11:53 am

    That's right. In Europe we can buy a Yoga 720-15 with 4gb 1050. Funny enough, the maxed out Yoga (i7, 16 ram, 512 ssd, 4gb GPU) cost only €150 more than the most basic UX550VD (i5, 8 ram, 512 ssd). I'm a bit torn because Asus easily wins in terms of design and weight but Yoga has so much better specs for so little more money. Plus better cooling solutions, no reports of excessive coil whine, better build quality and the "transformer" option (although I couldn't care less about it but well, it's there). Guess I'll go with Yoga.

    • Andrei Girbea

      September 25, 2017 at 12:31 pm

      You should also consider the fact the the Zenbook is brand new, while the Yoga has been available for a while. I know it doesn't make much sense, but OEMs tend to have higher prices at launch and offer discounts later on. So while what you're saying is true right now, I'd expect the price gap to change in a few months. Doesn't make any difference for someone who plans to buy one of them right now, but it could for someone who's able to wait a bit.

      As for the build quality, I wouldn't go as far as to say it's better. The Lenovo is perhaps a little sturdier, but the materials don't feel as nice imo. So it's not nicer built than the Zenbook, it's just different. Can't argue with the other aspects you mentioned though.

      • Echinops

        September 25, 2017 at 12:47 pm

        I’m planning to buy one of these two (probably, as XPS is far out of my budget) in a 3-4 months time. I’ll keep an eye on how the prices develop but honestly I don’t expect any significant drops in such a short period. I’d like to be wrong though :)

        • Andrei Girbea

          September 25, 2017 at 1:29 pm

          If you don't mind, please come back after you buy it and let us know whether the priced dropped or not. I'd expect the UX550s to drop by at least 100 EUR by December.

          • Echinops

            September 25, 2017 at 2:59 pm

            Sure, I'll try to keep that in mind.

        • Faewing

          October 15, 2017 at 2:41 pm

          I recently saw that in Germany the Zenbook 3 was 13% off, and that one has not been released long ago either, so maybe we can expect something alike with the Zenbook Pro.

  4. Chris

    September 27, 2017 at 11:34 am

    What would be your best pick + config for a new laptop?
    What I am after:
    – A PC for work (heavy software running)
    – 15" and lightweight
    – Good battery life
    – Price is not a factor

    Many thanks

    • Andrei Girbea

      September 28, 2017 at 3:37 am

      Depends on what "heavy software" means. I'd look at something like the DEll XPS 9560 or the Gigabyte Aero 15, they're both compact, lightweight and powerful.

      • Chris

        September 28, 2017 at 3:51 am

        Thanks for the tip Andrei.
        So you wouldn't recommend the Zenbook Pro?
        I have been waiting for its release thinking it would beat the XPS, but it is apparently not the case :-)
        I really like the slick design of the Zenbook, but it feel a bit fragile.

        • Andrei Girbea

          September 28, 2017 at 3:57 am

          If budget is not a concern, no, I'd rather get the XPS 15. I've explained why in the Conclusion of this post. In few words, the reasons are: bigger battery, brighter FHD screen, nicer build, in this order, and of course that fact that the 1050 Ti in the Zenbook doesn't seem to work that well. I'd wait for more reviews, but based on this sample it's very close to a 1050.

          I'd buy the XPS from a physical store where you could check out for defects, you'll find plenty on the issues online. I'd also be prepared to undervolt and perform the tweaks explained in this article: https://www.ultrabookreview.com/14875-fix-throttling-xps-15/ , but at the end of the day, that's what I'd get, again, if budget would not be a concern.

          • Chris

            September 28, 2017 at 4:14 am

            Very much appreciated.
            The camera looking up your nose has been of concern to me, which is why I did not buy the XPS months ago, but I suppose I will have to live with it.
            Is the XPS your prime choice or would you rather suggest another bulkier 15" laptop? I'd rather get a lightweight laptop, but if you say there is something much better out there, I would consider it. Battery life if still very important though.

          • Andrei Girbea

            September 28, 2017 at 4:26 am

            There are a lot of good full-size laptops out there, I can't really make a recommendation, as each have their own particularities, pros, cons etc. That Aero 15 is a solid option though, but not the only one. If you can narrow down your options to a few, I could comment on them. Full-size laptops aren't necessarily better than the XPS, but some work cooler and offer more consistent performance (as a result). They're also cheaper for the same specs and might get features that the XPS lacks, like a RGB keyboard, higher refresh rate screens, etc.

  5. Chris

    September 28, 2017 at 4:42 am

    Ok, I guess I will have to choose between the Aero and the XPS then :-)
    Thank you very much for your precious advice.
    You mentioned the brighter FHD screen that comes with the XPS. Is it not a battery killer though? Not sure it makes sense to have such a screen on a laptop.I guess I can get a lower spec to save some battery time.

    • Andrei Girbea

      September 28, 2017 at 5:38 am

      You can adjust the brightness to what you need, don't have to keep it at max. But with the higher brightness you get improved visibility in bright places or outside.

  6. Chris

    September 28, 2017 at 6:13 am

    Ah ok, still worth having then, thanks!
    Thought it would chew more power in all cases.

  7. Serhio

    September 29, 2017 at 10:41 am

    Hi Andrei! I wrote in the comments under the reviews Yoga720 and UX550, if you remember… Now I have already decidedly decided to take Yoga 720, but there are doubts when choosing video memory 2GB or 4GB. The price of the matter is 200 dollars (I will also get a more capacious SSD, but I do not need it), but how much is it justified? I looked at the reviews and tests for the GTX1050 with 4GB and 2GB, but did not find much difference. Even if you compare specifically Yoga 720 and UX550VD in the games The Witcher 3 (2015) and Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) (the reviews from notebookcheck.net), you can find that Lenovo demonstrates 1-3 frames more than Asus. I'm not a very gamer and I'm not chasing the maximum graphics settings, but I plan to use this laptop for several years to come. Tell me, please, how critical will the difference in frames between VRAM 4GB and 2GB? For me it would be acceptable to 10% subsidence in FPS.

    P.S. In this review, you mentioned the moment with 2GB of video memory, maybe you can convince me to overpay $ 200 for the version with 4GB. Thank you.

    • Andrei Girbea

      September 29, 2017 at 11:11 am

      I probably wouldn't pay that if you don't need the extra storage space. You might have issues with certain games that would require more than 2 GB of VRAM in the future, but other than that, performance wise differences are minimal between the 2 and 4 GB versions.

  8. Louise

    October 2, 2017 at 12:25 am

    This is a really in depth and mindfully critical review… So I'm curious and in need of an easier to digest conclusion.

    I'm a graphic design student that likes to play some video games as a hobby. I have to take my laptop to school with me everyday so I want something portable, but with a healthy dose of power. I'm being drawn to these zenbooks especially because of the pressure sensitive pen/screen they come with and their portability. Sometimes I need to be able to draw digitally, and I really like this feature because I don't have to use a tablet or bring my tablet with me!

    So far I am looking at either this laptop or the higher end Zenbook Flip S (Asus website says Flip S has intel HD card, but I think I saw somewhere that it can have an Nvidia 940?).

    My uses for it would include:
    Adobe illustrator, photoshop, indesign, camera raw, and lightroom. I often run 2 or 3 Adobe programs at one time.

    As for games, the most hardware intensive game that I want to be able to play on it would be the Witcher 3 (My minimum is Overwatch as I may just get Witcher 3 for PS4).

    So basically would the UX550VE, UX550VD, higher end Flip S, or some other comparable model be best for me? I'm a fan of Asus and have been using a old ROG for the past 5+ years, so I don't really know anything about Dell or Lenovo anymore.

    And just because someone here may be able to answer my question too:
    Would there be any advantage to buying a ROG over one of these Zenbooks? After checking out these Zenbooks I can't figure out why anyone would ever want to buy a ROG anymore other than having a num pad and better cooling.

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 3, 2017 at 3:30 am

      Hi. A few things.

      1. I don't think you'll get a very good experience using a pen on a regular clamshell laptop with a non-convertible screen. The pen makes sense on a laptop that can somehow convert into a tablet form factor, but not that much otherwise imo.
      2. The Zenbook Flip is a different kind of laptop, much more portable, but also far less powerful. WE have a review here, but I wouldn't get it for Ilustrator, Lightroom and the other software you mentioned.
      3. Witcher 3 is demanding, it would require at least a mid-range graphics chip to run well with higher details.

      Those being said, the UX550VE makes most sense for your needs, but you should be aware it might not always run at the best of its abilities, as documented in the article.

      An ROG laptop (and even the Vivobook Pro N580) or other full-size laptops should be more affordable for a given set of hardware features, and they should also be able to run better in demanding tasks, because they're thicker and there's more room inside for proper cooling. With this Zenbook UX550 line you're somewhat sacrificing performance for portability.

      At the end of the day, I'd probably go for a full-size laptop for your needs. The Asus ViVobook Pro N580 or Gigabyte Aero 15 make sense, but also the cheaper Dell Inspiron Gaming with the FHD IPS screen and 1050 ti graphics.

  9. Alex

    October 16, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    Hey. Andrei, did you find out the details of the Thunderbolt3 work? Is it full or only x2? Maybe you can share some more information on UX550, which was received after the review?

  10. Kyamil

    November 2, 2017 at 10:06 am

    Asus states it's a Thunderbolt 2 port, not 3. Any ideas if it's a typo or?

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 2, 2017 at 1:57 pm

      Where? There's TB3 on this laptop.

      • Alex

        November 2, 2017 at 2:23 pm

        Andrei, can you answer the message above?

        • Andrei Girbea

          November 2, 2017 at 4:33 pm

          Sry, I somehow missed that comment. I've covered the topic in this article. It's a TB3 x4 port while you hook one peripheral, and the connection is split between the two ports when you have peripheral hooked to both of them at the same time.

          • Alex

            November 5, 2017 at 7:09 pm

            Thanks for the answer! Just for clarity: is it checked on eGPU or some other device? Unfortunately I can not find sources of reliable information, except for your blog.

          • Andrei Girbea

            November 6, 2017 at 4:08 am

            No, only with Hwinfo. I don't have an eGPU to test it with at the time of the review.

  11. Alex

    November 6, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    Oh, okay. I may look obtrusive, but let me ask you a few more questions :)
    1) Why does this model come with x2 on your list of laptops with TB3 (https://www.ultrabookreview.com/10579-laptops-thunderbolt-3/), this can be misleading if there really is a x4?
    2) I first time choose a laptop in the ultrabook class, so I'm wondering how bad the UX550VD (1050 not Ti) copes with the loads. I understand that it can be used for games ~1 hour, but I'm curious how it will show itself in the mode "weekend for video games". If I play 5 hours in a row, will I get even more throttling than shown in your tests? Can I damage this "gentle" device using it in this mode?

    P.S. Thank you very much Andrei, you are helping me a lot. Sorry for my English :)

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 7, 2017 at 5:10 am

      1. There's an error there, I fixed it now. Sry for the confusion.
      2. You should read the article about the ux550vd, there's some throttling with very demanding loads, but not that much and the issues I ran into should be improved with undervolting and even repasting the CPU/GPU. I don't think you should worry about problems caused by heat on the long term, but there's always the possibility something might happen

  12. Dave

    November 13, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    Which of these laptops do you think would be best for video editing (4k, etc). XPS 15, ux550, or gigabyte aero 15? I'm not a gamer, and need to replace my old mbp 17 inch

  13. Dave

    November 14, 2017 at 7:43 pm

    For editing HD and 4K, which laptop would you recommend, between XPS 15 HD, the ASUS, and Gigabyte Aero 15. I'm coming from a 2011 MBP, which I have loved, for the most part.

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 15, 2017 at 4:27 am

      All of them should do fine for video editing if you undervolt them, despite the fact that both the Zenbook and the XPS throttle to some extent under heavy CPU+GPU loads. I'd get the Aero 15 if you also want to play games and value that 1060, otherwise look at the 1050 models of both the XPS and the Zenbook.

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