The Asus Zenbook Pro 15 UX580: A Better Alternative to MacBooks

As a company, Apple has been catering to the creative market for most of its history. This is one of the reasons you'll find so many photographers and video editors using Apple products including the MacBook. More recently it seems Apple has been moving away from creator-specific products and many in the industry are starting to notice.

In my latest video, I take a look at the Asus Zenbook Pro UX580. As someone who's been using a MacBook Pro for much of my career, I have to say I'm very impressed with the Zenbook. In terms of sheer performance, the laptop does a fantastic job, especially when it comes to editing 4K video and high-resolution images. As with most laptops, there is an upper limit as it's not meant to serve as a powerhouse device. Instead, this laptop offers some incredible features at a much cheaper price point when compared to a similar spec MacBook Pro. Personally, I think the most incredible feature of this laptop is not the screen/touchpad but the main screen instead. The reason I say this is because the main screen is a 4K touchscreen with 100 percent Adobe RGB coverage. This makes this laptop one of the best options currently available for photographers that edit on the move. 

Check out the full video and let me know what you think.

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Spy Black's picture

"A Better Alternative to MacBooks"

Detonation in 3, 2, ...

I also took a pass on the new Macbook Pro this past summer for the first time in almost 10 years. Considered this ASUS, but wound up going with the HP ZBook Studio G5. Everything you didn't like about the Zenbook is everything HP does right on this machine. 4k Dream Color matte screen, Quadro, full size SD slot, better build quality and a 3/3 warranty. I added 3 years of next day/on-site hardware replacement and came in at the same price as a similarly spec'ed MBP (i7 6-core/512/16gb). And after all that I easily dropped in a 1TB NVMe SSD (WD 750) for just $200. Could not be happier.

Rui Bandeira's picture

i wonder how it comprares with the latest DELL XPS15...

Chad D's picture

the monitor on the dell is much nicer than the asus from reading and seeing reviews
and might be the best monitor for a laptop on the windows side :)

400 nits on the Dell and 600 nits on the HP Dream Color. You get used to what you have naturally, but those are the specs.

Chad D's picture

dream colors are awesome :) I might say that is better but the other hardware and build and such are tough since they seem to be based more on cad stuff and have odd options selections build etc.. :) but they are awesome I have not looked much at them in the last year though

Rui Bandeira's picture

I have the DELL XPS15 (9570) with the i7, 4K touch screen, 32Gb of Ram and 1Tb SSD and i love it.
About the touchpad, i dont use it that much, not for editing images or video, so the one on my DELL is great for me.

Chad D's picture

now if windows could actually have OS based color management
better tablet support
better touchpads the screen one on this still is not as good as mac and the screen funcion about as stupids as apples top one ! but the touchpads on the macs are unequaled

monitor ? from some testing I have read a %22 variance/uniformity in brightness across the screen !!! that sucks big time and is a no go right there
glossy touch ? again sucks ?
still cooling issues some say worse then previous year ?

is it a good win 10 alternative to a mac sure it is as much as the dell XP and in some ways the surface 6 could be cool for its unique features

no win machine has yet to match apple ?

but apple is slipping and sadly has some issues itself but in general they take care of you and they are still the better device

but this is far from better !!!! its a option if you are a windows person
maybe say here is something that has some nice features but wont have as good a screen or touch pad which are the two main points we interact with our laptops ? the shiny touch screens on PC are cool to use but again shiny and horrid uniformity are a bummer and the panel manufacturers need to address this

my two main workstations are a intel 7820x with a 1080 GPU mostly dedicated to tether shooting and a mac pro dedicated to retouching and daily
so yeah I use both know both and know the ins and outs of both before you think I am a apple fan boy I am just a tech head and tend to be real about things

but comparing OS X and windows is silly since its personal but windows again has some major negatives they need to get fixed one is lack or proper color management and the tablet issues that arise and security

Usman Dawood's picture

OS colour management is something I highly recommend against. You should really be purchasing and using a proper external colour management tool.

Glossy screens are on all macs too, but I agree they suck. In all fairness, this is a 4k touchscreen with 100% Adobe RGB coverage. I've tested this too and it's definitely correct. No Apple device has a screen that capable. Calibration was required but once completed it was excellent.

I didn't think you were being an Apple fanboy at all, honestly, that thought never crossed my mind. I just thought you were making points about a product you seem to enjoy which is completely fair. You haven't said anything that I completely disagree with because most of what you said comes down to preference. Once again, very fair.

In regards to Windows and major negatives, I'd say the same about Apple especially now that they don't support Nvidia.

Ted Mercede's picture

You definitely hit a soar spot with Mac and the lack of Nvidia support, this is a crazy mistake! I lost a whole week in trying to get my Mac Pro 2012 running again which uses two Nvidia cards. The latest update shut my monitors down, and I eventually had to put the original card back in to be able to figure out what was wrong.

The MacBook Pro's now use the"P3" colour space which dose not cover some of the capabilities of most printers. This could be very problematic if you cant see colours that could be printed and would be remapped in the colour engine and not printed...

Chad D's picture

Usman the OS based thing :)
it means that when you profile its the WHOLE OS that is color managed as it should be NOT per application IF it decides to use it like windows does

has nothing to do with hardware :)
agree a good tool from i1 to profile is a must :)
unless you were just throwing that in :) hahahahahaha

this is about a laptop not a iMac ! agree the iMac screen sucks because of its gloss compared to a proper monitor but its not to bad on its own for color but shiny is false contrast etc... ?

%22 difference in luminance on this laptop is not so good ? but its a laptop so IMHO they should be used to get you through a day on location to a proper monitor or work that might not matter ?

and every photographer owes it to themselves to have a proper color monitor :) BenQSW or NEC PA or Eizo CG :)

I do say we are entering a age where even laptops are better then we had
and we do have to be real about what we do ? weddings are more about feel then accuracy and advertising is more about accuracy then feel (as far as color accuracy goes)

sadly i am one that says apple died with Steve and they are not what they were so quite a few of us are in a tough spot hardware wise and some great photographers have switched to windows :)

Usman Dawood's picture

Correct me if I'm wrong here when I calibrate my monitor the calibration is installed into the graphics card, therefore, everything and all applications including the desktop have that calibration applied. I've never had a hardware calibrator that only worked in specific applications.

Chad D's picture

sorry just saw this :)
calibrating and profiling are two things but they work hand in hand :)
some info here since I write poorly :) hahahaha

Digital Dog has some good info the guy knows his color stuff
this is a old article but most all still applies today

he has links to some of his info

good info laid out here with graphics etc.. easy to read

the issue with windows and it's easy to check is when some adobe RGB images in various programs win explorer etc..
see if any change ?

the profile in windows itself that is where the issue arises so even if your monitor is calibrated the info that windows sends/needs to tell it what to do with colors is where win falls apart because it says each app can use it or ignore it ?
macs basically force the whole OS to use it

hope that makes sense :) the links should help :) but feel free to ask more etc..

for fun as I said things are looking up for us
Eizo has some killer built in hardware calibration etc...

NEC are calibrated at the factory using a device that cost more than a nice BMW
they then put that in the firmware in the monitor then the program multiprofiler pro reads that and then creates a profile from what I understand from NEC it takes into account the hours and age of the monitor I used this and compared it to what I would do with a puck and the SV software NEC uses and it was dead accurate the whole time :)

Doug Stringham's picture

I totally agree that the OS should be color-managed from the top down like under MacOS. I use calibration hardware plus DisplayCal and get very solid color management results on the Mac.

If a 1050 in a laptop is beating your 1080 equipped desktop as it relates to editing 4K footage either you have a horrible problem with your desktop, maybe a HDD instead of SSD on the desktop, or your software isn't using the GPU. There's no way that should be happening in a properly configured setup.

That statement basically throws everything in this review into suspect land.

Edit: I got to the part where you explain this. It still doesn't make sense you can't preview at good frame rates. Sounds like something you should figure out why it's happening on your desktop.

Are the fans really that loud relative to other laptops? I should say good review despite my nitpick. :)

Usman Dawood's picture

The fans don't get louder than any mac book I've ever used but they obviously will be audible.

The reason the laptop beats my desktop when it comes to playback in. Prem is my desktop processor is a little old. I know I have a bottleneck and that's why I'm building a new pc.

Essentially the processor in the laptop is great and even 4k editing is super easy with it.

Wes Jones's picture

Looks very nice.

Does it natively run and support MacOS? No? Then it’s not an alternative for MacBooks lmao.

FYI I don’t own a MacBook.

Usman Dawood's picture

That is a very silly point to make.

Windows is literally the main alternative to MacOS.

Motti Bembaron's picture

So you can't compare Nikon to Canon or Honda to Toyota etc....?

I wonder how many times I hear that, now, FINALLY, here is the MacBook killer for still and video editing. If I switched to WIN in my work environment (SF Bay Area freelance), I would give myself more headaches than I can count. I know people who have tried. Color, fonts, software options, general transportability of files with no surprises...the list goes on.

Usman Dawood's picture

I didn’t call it a MacBook killer I don’t even think this is a MacBook killer because apple will continue to do very well in this market.

I called it an alternative. Very different language here.

Fair enough, and no worries. My simple point is that I work in an ecosystem, and it's Apple as far as the eye can see. I hope your Asus laptop serves you well.

You did say that MacBooks have become "absolute crap," and that they "suck." That disqualifies the rest of your commentary. Please try to attain an acceptable level of professionalism if you are going to post on FStoppers. It's a reputable site.

Spy Black's picture

"...and it's Apple as far as the eye can see."
That's of complete indifference when you work professionally. As a professional you work on whatever platform the environment has and roll with it. I work with Macs abroad and Windows at home. Work-wise there's little difference in working with production software that runs on both platforms. You're a pro. Make it happen.

Johnny Rico's picture

As somebody that runs a windows 10 workstation for the heavy lifting video/photo, and owns 2 MBP's for tethering/location, what are you talking about? If anything the software solutions are better in the windows environment due to legacy support. Every time Apple tries to force an OS update down your throat you have to worry about it breaking software, tethering, or other random BS. It's the constant balance of oh, my Quickbooks only works up to 10.10 (even though the software works fine, that's another $300 to bring current and have only had 3 years use out of the software) but C1 Pro 11 needs Mac OS 10.11. Solution, buy the new version of Quickbooks for windows and expect to get a decade use out of it. It's a constant balance of old software breaking and needing to keep the OS current. I honestly think the only reason I've stuck with the MBP's this long is for the image when dealing with creative directors/agencies and not wanting to have to buy/try/adapt new DigiPlate clamps.

What am I talking about? I am talking about Apple pretty much being the standard in the production community in the Bay Area. I read your post and it made no sense to me. I am not interested in getting into an argument anyway. I said my piece, that's all.

One last thing: to compare the relative pain between Windows and Mac OS updates and upgrades and come out in favor of Windows, ESPECIALLY in relation to the smooth collaboration in a local production community, does not sound like serious analysis to me.

Motti Bembaron's picture

The bay area is not the world... Just about everywhere, Windows machine do all the heavy lifting. Including, I hear, animation movie studios.

That's right. Look at any render farm, and it's likely to be Windows machines all the way. But for an all-round photo/video/design machine, not so much.

Motti Bembaron's picture

Actually, yes, it is. I know that Apple users see Windows as general machines, or 'render farm' machines as you calls it, but the average PC surpasses in performance much more expensive Apple machines. Not to mention high end PC's.

As I said, including pro animation studios.

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