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Product Listing

ASUS ZenBook Pro UX550 review: More premium business notebook than gaming machine

By Koh Wanzi - 3 Mar 2018
Launch SRP: S$2898

Performance benchmarks

Test Setup and Performance

We’ll be comparing the ASUS ZenBook Pro UX550 against other notebooks equipped with the same Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor (2.8GHz, 6MB L3 cache) and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB.

To simplify things, we won’t be using all the notebooks we tested in that shootout. Instead, we’ve picked out the Acer and Gigabyte laptops, both of which also come with 16GB of RAM like the ZenBook Pro, for a more accurate comparison. Finally, the HP Omen 15 has been included as well as it was the overall winner of the shootout.

Here’s a list of the notebooks we’re looking at:

  • ASUS ZenBook Pro UX550VE
  • Acer Aspire VX 15
  • Gigabyte Sabre 15
  • HP Omen 15

Test notebooks compared
  ASUS ZenBook Pro UX550VE Acer Aspire VX 15 Gigabyte Sabre 15 HP Omen 15 (2017)
  ASUS ZenBook Pro UX550VE Acer Aspire VX 15 Gigabyte Sabre 15 HP Omen 15 (2017)
Launch SRP
  • From S$2898
  • From S$2298
  • From S$1799
  • From S$1999
Processor and Chipset
  • Intel Core i7-7700HQ (2.80GHz, 6MB L3 cache)
  • Intel Core i7-7700HQ (2.80GHz, 6MB L3 cache)
  • Intel Core i7-7700HQ (2.80GHz, 6MB L3 cache)
  • Intel Core i7-7700HQ (2.80GHz, 6MB L3 cache)
Operating System
  • Windows 10 Home 64-bit
  • Windows 10 Home 64-bit
  • Windows 10 Home 64-bit
  • Windows 10 Home 64-bit
System Memory
  • 16GB DDR4 2,400MHz RAM
  • 16GB DDR4 2,400MHz RAM
  • 16GB DDR4 2,400MHz RAM
  • 8GB DDR4 2,400MHz RAM
Video & Display
  • 15.6-inch 1,920 x 1,080-pixel IPS touchscreen display
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB
  • 15.6-inch 1,920 x 1,080 IPS display
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti
  • 15.6-inch 1,920 x 1,080 IPS display
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti
  • 15.6-inch 1,920 x 1,080 IPS display
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti
Storage
  • Samsung PM961 512GB M.2 PCIe SSD
  • 256GB M.2 PCIe SSD
  • 1TB 5,400RPM HDD
  • 128GB M.2 SATA SSD
  • 1TB 7,200RPM HDD
  • 128GB PCIe NVMe SSD
  • 1TB 7,200RPM HDD
Optical Drive
  • None
  • None
  • None
  • None
Connectivity
  • 2x2 Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
  • Bluetooth 4.2
  • Qualcomm Atheros QCA61x4A Wireless Network Adapter
  • Realtek PCIe GBE Family Controller
  • Bluetooth 4.1
  • 1x1 Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3168
  • Realtek PCIe GBE Family Controller
  • Bluetooth 4.2
  • 2x2 Realtek RTL8822BE
  • Realtek Gaming GBE Family Controller
  • Bluetooth 4.2
Audio
  • Quad two-way speakers tuned by Harman Kardon
  • Acer True Harmony
  • Dolby Audio Premium
  • Creative Sound Blaster Cinema 3
  • Bang & Olufsen dual speakers
I/O Ports
  • 2x Thunderbolt 3
  • 2x USB 3.1 (Gen 1) Type-A
  • 1x HDMI 1.4
  • 1x microSD card slot
  • 1x 3.5mm combo audio jack
  • 2x USB 3.0 Type-A
  • 1x USB 3.1 Type-C
  • 1x USB 2.0
  • 1x RJ-45
  • 1x HDMI 1.4
  • 1x SD card reader
  • 2x USB 3.0 Type-A
  • 1x USB 3.1 Type-C
  • 1x USB 2.0
  • 1x RJ-45
  • 2x Mini DisplayPort
  • 1x HDMI 1.4
  • 1x 6-in-1 SD card reader
  • 3x USB 3.0 Type-A
  • 1x USB 3.1 Type-C
  • 1x RJ-45
  • 1x Mini DisplayPort
  • 1x HDMI 1.4
  • 1x multi-format SD card reader
Battery Type
  • 73Wh
  • 52Wh
  • 47Wh
  • 70Wh
Dimensions
  • 365 x 251 x 18.9mm
  • 389 x 265.5 x 28.9mm
  • 378 x 267 x 26.9mm
  • 388.5 x 275.5 x 24.8mm
Weight
  • 1.8kg
  • 2.5kg
  • 2.5kg
  • 2.568 kg

All the laptops were put through the following benchmarks:

  • PCMark 10
  • 3DMark
  • VRMark
  • Ashes of the Singularity
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
  • Tom Clancy’s The Division

We used the 3DMark Fire Strike Extreme Stress Test for temperature measurements, and the battery life benchmark in PCMark 8 Home to test the battery (PCMark 10 doesn’t yet come with a built-in battery benchmark).

 

PCMark 10 Extended

PCMark 10 Extended assesses the performance of systems in a variety of workloads, including basic computing tasks, productivity applications, digital content creation, and gaming. Compared to PCMark 8, it also adds in new test metrics, such as app startup times, which quantifies how long it takes to launch a variety of real-world apps, and a rendering and visualization workload to simulate professional graphics and engineering applications. In addition, existing workloads have been updated to reflect modern usage.

Unsurprisingly, the ZenBook Pro performed very similarly to the other test notebooks, given their near identical system specifications. Going by the figures here, there’s no significant difference in performance among the systems when it comes to daily computing tasks.

However, a look at the individual workloads shows the ZenBook Pro lagging behind slightly in gaming tasks, which is something that carries over into the more gaming-oriented benchmarks.

 

3DMark

3DMark looks explicitly at gaming performance, and it puts systems through a range of graphics and computational performance tests at different resolutions, starting at 1080p and going all the way up to 4K.

The ZenBook Pro was slightly behind the rest of the pack here, coming in at just over 2 per cent slower than the Gigabyte Sabre 15. That’s a small and barely tangible deficit, but it’s still one that persists across the majority of our gaming benchmarks.


 

VRMark

Futuremark’s VRMark benchmark is designed to assess a PC’s ability to handle high-performance headsets like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. If a PC passes the Orange Room test, it is ready for the latter two systems.

The GeForce GTX 1050 Ti isn’t suited to VR, so it’s no surprises that all the laptops fell short of the target frame rate of 109fps. In other words, the ZenBook Pro isn’t going to net you a pleasant VR experience, so you’ll have to look elsewhere if you’re thinking of frequently stepping into other worlds.

 

Ashes of the Singularity

Ashes of the Singularity is a demanding real-time strategy game that puts thousands of units on screen, and it’s capable of pushing even the most powerful GPUs. However, it’s also rather limited by the CPU at lower resolutions and settings.

The ZenBook Pro continued to trail the other notebooks ever so slightly, and while it isn’t falling behind by a particularly large amount, it’s not a good thing to see either considering that it costs so much more.

Either way, Ashes is beginning to push at the limits of this particular configuration, and you probably won’t want to ramp the settings up to Crazy.

 

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Mankind Divided is one of the most demanding titles to run today, but the good news is that a GeForce GTX 1050 Ti laptop will actually deliver a fairly playable experience, provided you turn the settings down.

Unfortunately, the ZenBook Pro didn’t impress here either, as it continued to fall behind the competition. It’s not like you get a huge performance boost from one of the other laptops, but the fact remains that it isn’t nice to pay more for something and have it perform worse, even if it’s by a marginal amount.

 

Tom Clancy’s The Division

The Division isn’t as demanding to run as Ashes of the Singularity or Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, but its Snowdrop engine can still stress cards with the use of dynamic lighting and the like.

The same scenario repeats itself here, with the ZenBook Pro trailing the Gigabyte Sabre 15 by nearly 10 per cent at High settings.

Overall, it’s safe to say that gaming performance isn’t its strongest characteristic, and the other GeForce GTX 1050 Ti notebooks are more sensible choices if all you’re looking for is an affordable gaming laptop.

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8.0
  • Design 8.5
  • Features 8.5
  • Performance 7.5
  • Value 7.5
  • Mobility 8.5
The Good
Bright display with vibrant colors
Great sound quality from quad-speaker setup
Excellent build quality and sleek design
The Bad
Shallow key travel distance
Cooling system doesn't seem sufficient to sustain strong gaming performance
Glossy display may cause annoyances with reflections
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