Which makes the best professional laptop – Apple or Asus? That’s probably the question most people will ask but looking closely it is safe to say in many ways, the MacBook Pro 2019 and the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo are very similar devices. —They are both packed with cutting-edge components that make them ideal laptops of creative professionals, which also means they’re both pretty expensive as well.
Price and specs
High prices are expected from a high-end Apple laptop, so is not rather shocking—so the price of the 2019 model is actually pretty good value when you consider it. However, the price remains the same as the 2018 model – essentially getting you an upgrade for no extra money if you waited a year.
The price usually starts from $2000 and above so it gets an idea what to expect. Going for the 15-inch MacBook Pro 2019 will cost $2,399 (£2,399, AU$3,499) for the entry-level model with a 2.6GHz 6-core 9th generation Intel Core i7 processor, Radeon Pro 555X GPU with 4GB of GDDR5 memory, 16GB 2,400MHz DDR4 RAM and 256GB SSD storage.
And also going for a model will higher specification like a 2.3GHz 8-core 9th generation Intel Core i9 processor, Radeon Pro 560X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory, 16GB DDR4 memory, and 512GB SSD storage will cost $2,799 (£2,799, AU$4,099). Or if you want to configure your MacBook Pro 2019 and add more powerful components. Then a higher price won’t surprise you—A fully maxed out version with an 8th generation Intel Core i9 processor with 8 cores and a 2.4GHz clock speed (5.0Ghz boost), 32GB RAM, AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20 with 4GB of HBM2 memory and 4TB of SSD storage costs $5,149 (£4,914, AU$7,859).
Meanwhile, the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo comes in fewer configurations. It has two models each with a different price range as it suits your needs budget —One model comes with a 6-core Intel Core i7-9750H processor, and the price is $2,699 (£2,499, around AU$4,000). And the other comes with an 8-core Intel Core i9-9980HK processor, and that sells for $3,299 (£2,999, around AU$4,900). Both models come with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 GPU, a 15.6-inch OLED 4K touchscreen, a choice of 8GB, 16GB and 32GB of RAM and up to 1TB SSD storage.
This is where both the MacBook Pro 2019 and the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo really start to feel different. If you’ve owned or seen a MacBook Pro in the past few years, then the design of the new model needs no introduction. Apple kept the MacBook Pro’s sleek, industrial aluminum chassis, which comes in Space Gray or Silver, and sports the iconic bitten-apple logo on the lid—So, the 15-inch MacBook Pro 2019’s dimensions are 13.7 x 9.48 x 0.61-inches (34.92 x 24.07 x 1.55 cm), and it weighs 4.02 pounds (1.83kg) – which, again, is exactly the same as last year’s model.
Disappointing but not surprised, the ports are however limited like it previous models– you get just four Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports (two on each side of the laptop) as well as an audio jack port – a rarity on an Apple device these days. So if you depend on older peripherals like an external mouse, keyboards or external hard drives will need to purchase an adapter. This can look messy, and it’s an additional cost – as Apple doesn’t include an adapter.
There’s nothing wrong with the MacBook Pro’s design — it’s sleek, stylish and thin, but after years without change, the laptop’s look is starting to grow stale—Meanwhile, the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo’s design comes with a different feel, it is far more revolutionary compared to previous ZenBooks—and That’s especially true when you compare it with the Asus ZenBook Pro 15. The Asus, with its fashionable Deep Dive Blue chassis and golden trim, looks like it was designed for wealthy celebrities. The lid is embossed with a gold Asus logo, and there are faint concentric circles etched into the dark-blue aluminum.
However, because of the inclusion of the second screen, it gives the device a thicker and is considered as heavy.—it comes with dimensions of 0.94 x 14.13 x 9.68-inches (2.4 x 35.9 x 24.6cm) and a weight of 2.5kg (5.51 pounds), this is a bulky device especially compared to the MacBook Pro feels rather outdated and cumbersome.
Port-wise, the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo is better than the MacBook Pro, but not by much. You get a Thunderbolt 3 USB-C port, audio jack and USB 3.1 port on the right-hand side of the laptop, and a power port, full-size HDMI and another USB 3.1 port.
Which means if you want to plug in an Ethernet cable or microSD card, you’re going to need an adapter, like the MacBook Pro.
Both laptops have similar screens, and they are both excellent. The MacBook Pro (2019) has a 15.4-inch screen with 2,880 x 1,800 Retina resolution. It uses a backlit LED IPS panel and is capable of 500 nits brightness. It also supports wide color P3 gamut – essential for video editors or anyone who needs their screen to be able to show colors accurately.
If you consider the MacBook Pro (2019)’s screen is gorgeous, wait until you have a feel of the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo you will be blown away with its 15.6-inch, OLED Ultra HD (3,840 x 2,160) screen. The higher resolution, combined with the superior OLED technology means the screen of the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo is absolutely stunning – if you’re working with 4K footage, then this is the laptop to get—It also offers 100% DCI-P3 color gamut, as does the MacBook Pro (2019), which is an important consideration for video editors.
Now here’s where things get really interesting. Both the MacBook Pro (2019) and the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo feature second screens above the keyboard, but both laptops approach this in very different ways.
The second screen of the MacBook Pro, known as the Touch Bar, is a lot more simple – and some would say limited – as it is a thin glass touchscreen that stretches along the top of the keyboard, displaying context-sensitive buttons on its 2,170 x 60 resolution screen. The Touch Bar can be helpful in some aspects, offering quick access to tools and shortcuts depending on what app you’re running. However, even if you don’t use it that much, it’s thin design means it will sit unobtrusively at the top of the keyboard, and it doesn’t feel like the design of the MacBook Pro has been drastically affected to accommodate the Touch Bar.
On the other hand, The main reason why the ZenBook Pro Duo is so heavy and bulky is because of the second screen. It also means the keyboard is brought forward, and the trackpad shifted to the side of that. The device the second screen is known as the Screen Pad Plus is a far more ambitious feature. Stretching along the top of the keyboard, and with a resolution of 3,840 x 1,100, the Screenpad Plus is effectively used as a second screen by Windows. This means you can have whole apps and windows open on the lower screen, freeing up the main screen for yet more apps and windows – a great tool if you’re into multitasking.
Asus also provides software for the Screenpad Plus that lets you pin shortcuts and apps to the screen, and use it in a similar way to the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar. However, third-party app support is basically non-existent due to how new (and rare) the Screenpad Plus is. Not to forget the Screen Pad Plus can also be used with the included Asus Pen stylus, which turns the Screen Pad Plus into a drawing tablet – making it a tempting choice for digital artists.
The Asus ZenBook Pro Duo’s battery lasting five hours and 11 minutes. In the PC test which aims to replicate moderate PC use including word processing and video calling, the battery lasted just two hours and 36 minutes. Meanwhile, the MacBook Pro’s battery is hardly affected by the inclusion of the Touch Bar and can be lasted seven hours and 36 minutes—which still remain an unbeatable battery life PC record.
The interesting part is that the MacBook Pro 2019 and the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo are very powerful laptops that are aimed at creative professionals. If you want the one with the best screen – and arguably one of the best screens on a laptop list – then the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo is the one to get. Its 15.6-inch 4K OLED screen looks absolutely phenomenal, and while the MacBook Pro’s Retina screen is very good, it just can’t compare on pure pixel density.
However, that’s the only thing the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo beats the MacBook Pro at – unless you’re going to be using the Screen Pad Plus a lot. The additional 4K screen on Asus’ laptop is a remarkable feat, and definitely has some interesting uses, but it also makes the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo thicker, heavier, more expensive and much shorter-lasting than the MacBook Pro on battery.
The MacBook Pro beats the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo when it comes to performance, design and battery life. If you’re after a powerful pro laptop that’s easy to carry around and can handle modern creative tasks with ease, then the MacBook Pro is the clear winner here—At the end, it still boils down to individual choice and perspective.