Asus goes big on slim laptops at Computex – CNET

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The ZenBook Flip S claims to be the world’s smallest convertible, and it certainly looks impressive.

Aloysius Low/CNET

There wasn’t a new ZenFone to be seen at Computex and it feels deliberate.

Instead of launching a new phone like last year at one of the biggest PC-focused events in the region, the Taiwanese manufacturer is going back to its roots with a launch of four new notebooks.

The new ZenBook Pro takes center stage, featuring powerful hardware in a slim form factor — an Intel Core i7-7700HQ as well as a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, while the world’s thinnest convertible ZenBook Flip S lets you play around with its 4K display.

But it’s not all just flagship products, Asus also announced new VivoBooks meant for the mainstream market. The new VivoBook Pro packs Intel’s seventh-generation processors and comes loaded with discrete graphics in the form of Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1050. The VivoBook S15 features more modest specs but still packs Nvidia GeForce GTX 940 discrete graphics.

The move to focus on laptops is a surprising one, given that the PC market is shrinking. But perhaps the company’s new ZenFone isn’t ready to dazzle the market just yet and spotlighting PCs again makes sense what with Computex’s PC and electronics focus.

Surprisingly, Asus didn’t pull out any rabbits from its hat this year. Chairman Jonney Shih didn’t reveal any updates to its Zenbo robot, something which captured the hearts of Computex attendees last year.

“It’s slightly disappointing that there was no information or a follow up this year,” said IDC’s Vice President of Client Devices Bryan Ma. “I was hoping for Asus’ sake that they would bring in a successor.

“If there’s no announcement it feels like Zenbo’s just a side project for them.”

Ma also added that when Zenbo was announced last year, he thought it would have trouble being a runaway hit due to a lack of applications and use. The concept of a cutesy humanoid robot is dependent on culture, likely acceptable in north Asia, but it would have trouble taking off elsewhere.

CNET has contacted Asus for comment and we will update this story when we hear back.

Check out the rest of CNET’s Computex 2016 coverage here.

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