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Asus’ new ProArt laptops are gunning for both Microsoft and Apple

OPINION: After a brief hiatus, Asus’ ProArt range has come back swinging with a 2024 refresh that looks poised to take down competing devices from both Apple and Microsoft – and I think it has a solid case.

Last week I had the chance to play around with the new Asus ProArt range which is comprised of two laptops, the ProArt P16 and ProArt PX13, and a 2-in-1 tablet known as the ProArt PZ13.

Even though it’ll be some time before any of these devices hit the market as a concrete launch date has yet to be set, I came away feeling quite impressed with what Asus has been able to achieve in these devices, so much so that any one of them could become my daily workstation.

The Asus Dial is a stroke of genius

Anyone who’s used or seen the existing Asus ProArt Studiobook 16 will no doubt be familiar with the laptop’s key feature, a physical rotating dial that sits just below the keyboard, recessed into the chassis.

At a time when too many creator-focused laptops are desperately trying to look like the MacBook Air, it was refreshing to see the Studiobook 16 take a step back and think about what creators and digital artists might actually find useful whilst they work.

The one issue was that the StudioBook 16 was anything but lightweight, which offered up a tricky conundrum given that Asus has decided to opt for a more portable range this time around: should it drop the dial or keep it?

Asus Dial on the Asus ProArt P16

Well, serving the best of both worlds, Asus has come up with a compromise in creating a ‘digital dial’ that sits at the top left-hand corner of the trackpad. I was sceptical about this change at first but after trying it out for myself, I think Asus is on to a winner here.

Despite no longer physically rotating, the digital dial was still responsive, and the centre button allows you to swap between multiple functions quickly, so if you want to tweak the screen brightness or move between multiple apps, you can do all that on the dial. Of course, this is before mentioning its uses when it comes to digital art for moving between different drawing tools.

It all works incredibly well, and it’s the type of feature that I found myself missing when I got back to my current laptop, which certainly bodes well for its prospects.

Asus ProArt PZ13

The PZ13 could be a Surface Pro killer

As great as the digital dial is, it unfortunately doesn’t feature on the new ProArt PZ13 2-in-1 tablet as there simply isn’t enough space. However, this is far from being a dealbreaker for the device as Asus has made sure to beef it up in almost every other department.

One thing that the Asus reps were keen to highlight was the durability of these devices and the ability for them to be used outside. While the laptops seemed sturdy enough, the PZ13 genuinely felt like it was ready for the great outdoors, courtesy of its reasonably thick keyboard case.

The PZ13 is also likely to feature a bit more prowess when it comes to AI as it’s going to feature an as-of-yet unspecified AI-friendly Snapdragon processor, unlike the other ProArt devices which have gone down the AMD Ryzen route.

There are still plenty of questions that need answering about the PZ13 but out of all the new ProArt devices, this was the one that impressed me the most for its potential as an on-the-go editing machine, so I’ll be very eager to see how it performs in real-world testing.

Asus ProArt PX13

There’s more than just AI

Even though AI has plenty of potential, it’s now become far too much of a buzzword for almost all manufacturers this year, particularly those launching Copilot+ laptops. While there was no shortage of AI speak during my hands-on with the ProArt range, one piece of information that really made me sit up straight was the mention of several thrown-in freebies.

For certain ProArt models, Asus has included a free six-month membership to the CapCut editing software and a three-month trial to Adobe Creative Suite, which isn’t just a huge boon for anyone looking to make a start in editing and publishing their own content, it also speaks to an understanding of what creators actually need out of these devices.

No professional content creator can get by without a dedicated video editor, so to have Asus alleviate some of those production costs is fantastic, and when paired with the use-case of the digital dial, the new ProArt range could become the go-to pick for creatives.

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