ASUS Zenbook Pro 17 Review : Big Beauty With Lots Of Power | Tech Reviews
The Asus Zenbook Pro 17 scores with a 17 inch display, AMD Ryzen 6800H and 16GB RAM in a stylish and slim case. With the features offered, the price is convincing across the board.
The Zenbook series from Asus is practically their spearhead in notebooks. The devices want to compete with Dell XPS and MacBook. But this also requires more than computing power. In addition, it must not be sloppy in any aspect. This means that all the details are right down to the webcam and speakers. The Zenbook Pro 17 will not have an easy time in the test.
Specifications: ASUS Zenbook Pro 17 UM6702RA-M0029W
|Display||43.9 cm (17.3″) anti-glare IPS-Display|
|Resolution||HQHD (2560 x 1440 Pixel)|
|Processor||AMD Ryzen 7 6800H
8x 3.20GHz, 16 MB Cache
Turboboost upto 4.70 GHz)
|Chart||AMD Radeon™ Graphics|
|RAM||16 GB LPDDR5 (permanently soldered)|
|Hard disk||1000GB PCIe Gen3 x4 M.2 SSD (expandable)|
|Network||WiFi 6 (802.11 ax)
|Connections||1x power connector
1x SD 4.0 card reader
1x headphone/microphone combo jack (3.5 mm)
2x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C (1x support DisplayPort / power supply)
2x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A
1x HDMI 2.1
|Battery pack||76Wh, 4S1P, 4-cell lithium-ion|
backlit chiclet keyboard with DE layout
|Operating system||Windows 11 Home|
|Dimensions||39.50 x 25.86 x 1.89cm|
Design – Aluminum and great attention to detail define the Zenbook
From the very first second, I notice that Asus has made an effort here. The foam in the box is thick and stable. What’s in here is valuable and needs to be protected. In addition to the notebook and the slim power adapter, there is only some information paper in the box. Everything is shrink-wrapped and, in my opinion, Asus could do without that – for the sake of the environment.
If you then have the Zenbook Pro 17 in your hand, you will first feel the cool aluminum on your hands. Asus doesn’t use thin-walled metal here, but really good and stable material. It also feels massive thanks to the size. It’s not lightweight at 2.3kg, but considering the sheer 17″ case, the weight is absolutely fine. In addition, there is a very slim shape, which is rather rare in this size.
But when I take a closer look, I see that there is a small plastic frame on the back under the display. It clearly stands out from the matte color of the display lid. This is a necessary evil for the antennas for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to work properly.
As already mentioned, the display lid has a matte, dark blue color. What really surprised me was that he hardly ever collects fingerprints. It’s one of those details that I wish more manufacturers would pay attention to. Otherwise there is only an Asus logo on the display lid. So far, the Zenbook Pro 17 is very simple and very elegant. I’m excited.
Asus has placed its connections on the left and right side of the Zenbook Pro 17. Interestingly, the ports sit both in front of and behind very large air outlets. We’ll go into more detail about the connections later, but at this point I would like to mention that both USB-C ports can also be used for charging.
Opening the display I thought for a second I had found my first gripe as the whole notebook initially lifts when opened with one hand. After fractions of a second, however, the lower part lowers and the display opens wonderfully with just one finger. The reason for this is the tight hinges of the Zenbook Pro 17.
They keep the display neatly in place and even a little shaking doesn’t change that. When the display is opened, the hinge also lifts the bottom of the notebook slightly. The resulting inclined keyboard is supposed to make typing more comfortable and it also improves the ventilation. Another one of those little details.
Let’s keep the rest a little shorter. The Zenbook Pro 17 uses a keyboard with a number pad. Directly underneath is a gigantic touchpad, which really does a very good job thanks to the glass surface and Microsoft Precision driver. It clicks everywhere and not just in the lower third. Display frames are slim and up to date. There is no IR cam or fingerprint reader for Windows Hello – I would have liked to see at least one of them.
Connections – everything important is there
Asus wasn’t stingy when it came to ports with the Zenbook Pro 17. A total of three fast USB ports are located on the right next to the power connection. Specifically, all three are USB 3.2 Gen2. This allows a maximum transfer rate of 10GBit/s per connection. Two of the three ports are USB-C and one is USB-A. A display signal can also be output via both Type-C.
Meanwhile, on the left is another fast USB-A port (also up to 10GBit/s) and an HDMI 2.1 port. A 3.5mm combo jack and a full-fledged SD card reader complete the package.
It’s also slowly becoming clear who Asus built the Zenbook Pro 17 for. Large display, USB-A and USB-C, SD card reader, HDMI port, large trackpad – you probably want to score points with the creative professionals here and maybe even lure one or the other away from the MacBook. The display will show if this works.
Display – large and color accurate
The 17″ display of the Asus Zenbook Pro 17 has a display resolution of 2560x1440p. This corresponds to almost 170ppi. This means that content is displayed with good sharpness. Personally, I think 1440p is the perfect display resolution for notebooks. It delivers significantly more sharpness than Full HD, but doesn’t waste any computing power calculating nonsensical 4K.
The display reaches a maximum brightness of 330nits. That’s enough for indoor use, but the Zenbook Pro 17 is less suitable for outdoor use. But it works in a shady spot. I would have liked a little more brightness from the display. It doesn’t have to be 1000 nits for the price – 500 nits would be enough. The maximum deviation on the entire display is a maximum of 10% – with one outlier. This is good, but can also be expected in this price range.
When it comes to the colors, the Asus Zenbook Pro 17 seems correct. With 100% of the sRGB and 90% of the extended AdobeRGB color space, the notebook is well suited for color-critical work. The DeltaE is absolutely perfect at 1.15. Finally, even the factory white point is very close to the optimal value. It almost seems that Asus can really land with the creative professionals here.
Performance & Software – Ryzen 6000 and some bloatware
With the Ryzen 6800H and 16GB of RAM, there is theoretically a lot of power for everyday tasks. In practice, the Ryzen 6000 series plows through tasks. The PCIe 4 SSD then takes care of the rest. The Asus Zenbook Pro 17 gets bored with normal office tasks and can only show what it can actually do with applications such as Photoshop and the like.
The performance offered is very good, especially for the price of €1,500. The eight CPU cores (16 threads) make a lot possible. If you also want to tackle video editing with the Zenbook Pro 17, you should keep an eye on the version with a dedicated GPU. It might just be an RTX 3050 Mobile with 4GB VRAM, but it makes a big difference in video production.
The Zenbook Pro is a little less exemplary in terms of software. In addition to MyAsus and the Office Suite, there is still some third-party software. Including TikTok, WhatsApp, Instagram, GlideX, Spotify, Disney and the scourge of mankind – McAfee. Everything can be uninstalled without leaving any residue, but a little less would be desirable. Windows 11 is used as the operating system ex works and it is now running pretty smoothly.
Emissions – very good cooling
Many manufacturers now have marketing names for their cooling solutions. I can assure you that in most cases there is nothing behind it. The fans keep roaring like there’s no tomorrow. That’s why I rolled my eyes a bit when I saw a sticker on the keyboard bezel of the Zenbook Pro 17 that informed me about “Asus IceCool technology with dual fans”. I judged too soon.
I really tormented the Zenbook’s Ryzen CPU, but even with an hour of AIDA stress testing, the fans were little more than a whisper. You hear them, but they’re not annoying. It’s a faint hissing and nothing more. The case doesn’t get overly warm either. Something like that is rare and even rarer in notebooks that are almost 2cm high. Good job Asus, more of this please.
Battery – The Zenbook easily lasts for a working day
Asus installs a 76Wh battery in the Zenbook Pro and promises a battery life of “up to 14 hours”. That’s a bit optimistic then. In practice it was more like 9-10 hours with light office work. So it would be okay to leave the power adapter at home when taking the Zenbook Pro to the office.
If the battery is empty, you can recharge it in no time with the included 90W power supply. As already mentioned, the notebook can also be charged via the two USB-C ports. However, Windows complains if you use a power supply with a lower wattage. You have to make sure that your USB-C power supply charges via PowerDelivery.
Upgrade – partially
Eleven T5 Torx screws are visible on the underside of the Zenbook Pro 17. Two other small Phillips screws are under the rubber feet on the side near the hinge. So in order to loosen the underbody, you have to remove the glued feet – this could have been solved differently.
Once all the screws have been loosened, you can easily remove the plate. If it jams, a sturdy fingernail or an old plastic card will help. Unfortunately, the upgrade potential of the Zenbook Pro 17 is limited. The PCIe Gen 4 SSD is quickly identified, as is a second empty M2 slot. This is useful for adding more memory later. The subsequent memory can also be PCIe Gen 4.
There are pluses for the battery. It is only screwed and not glued. So if it should weaken in a few years, a change is quickly done. Unfortunately, the working memory is firmly soldered. So you can’t decide afterwards to upgrade more RAM. If you have doubts about getting there with 16GB of RAM, you should take a look at the “big” version of the Zenbook Pro 17.
Loudspeakers – whatever is there sounds good
The speakers of the Zenbook Pro 17 are clearly visible to the left and right of the keyboard. in addition, there is a small Harman Kardon logo on the side. Having this logo has lost some of its relevance in recent years as it’s been emblazoned on too many mediocre laptops.
The sound of the Zenbook Pro 17 is good. It has a wide stage but lacks bass. Mids and highs sound very good. That helps with voices, but for multimedia it just lacks some of the “thump”. But it’s easily enough for the obligatory cinema trailer and podcasts also benefit a lot from the sound of the speakers – just not so much music.
Conclusion on the Asus Zenbook Pro 17:
The Asus Zenbook Pro 17 is an impressive machine that, bottom line, gets almost everything right. The workmanship is very good, the input devices are good enough to really use them, all ports are fast and there are enough and the display is large and color accurate. Especially the last two points save on the go an external monitor for color-critical tasks.
On the downside, there’s a lot of unnecessary software in the Zenbook Pro 17. It can be removed without leaving any residue, but that really shouldn’t be necessary in the first place. The soldered main memory really bothered me. With upgradeable RAM, the device would be an absolute no-brainer. Then I would have written: “Buy it today for €1,500 and throw in a second PCIe Gen 4 SSD and new RAM in two years and have fun with it for another two or three years.”
But I can’t write that. With the RAM soldered on, the Zenbook Pro 17 is still highly recommended – especially from a price-performance-screen-size-material-quality standpoint. But you have to think carefully about whether 16GB is enough for your needs and will be in the coming years.
I usually like to use this last paragraph to show you alternatives to the tested product. But that’s not so easy, because such a high-quality notebook like the Zenbook Pro 17 is hard to compare with bangers like a Lenovo ThinkPad T16. Although it’s roughly in the same league, it’s aimed at a different target group – less stylish, more pragmatic. I would also like to mention an alternative from the same company – the VivoBook Pro 16X OLED. While it has less fast connections and is a bit less sexy in general, it’s also aluminum and has an OLED panel – do I really need to say more?