Here's what's in Asus' $2,699 Zenbook NX500 laptop

The Zenbook NX500 will ship in October, and be the first laptop with a 4K quantum dots screen

Side view of the Asus Zenbook NX500.

Side view of the Asus Zenbook NX500.

Asus' US$2,699 Zenbook NX500, which will ship in November, has an eye-popping price, but packs some interesting features.

The Zenbook is perhaps the most expensive laptop sold by Asus, which at one time made its reputation on low-cost netbooks. The laptop was announced in June, but its shipment date and price were revealed for the first time in a holiday gift guide sent by the company last week.

Asus in recent years has come up with stylish PC designs, and says that the Zenbook NX500 has the sharpest display one can find in laptops. The laptop's highlight is a 15.6-inch 4K touchscreen based on quantum dots, a technology that enables vivid, brighter colors on displays.

But only enthusiasts who want the latest technologies will likely pony up the cash to buy the NX500. Toshiba and Lenovo sell 4K laptops that are much less expensive, and Razer sells a gaming laptop for $2,799.99, but with a larger, 17.3-inch screen.

The NX500 laptop is 19-millimeters thick and weighs 2.2 kilograms. The 4K screen can display images at a 3840 x 2160 pixel resolution, which is four times sharper than traditional high-definition displays. Asus is the first one to introduce a 4K laptop screen with quantum dots.

Quantum dots are nanocrystals that have light-emitting properties to sharpen up color emitted from a traditional LCD backlight. Quantum dots technology is emerging fast and has also been used in Amazon's Kindle Fire HDX 7 and some Sony Bravia TV models, according to display expert Raymond Soneira of DisplayMate.

The NX500 has Intel's Core i7 CPU and Nvidia's GeForce GTX 850M graphics processor, which can add up to good gaming performance.

The laptop can support multiple solid-state drives in PCI-Express 3.0 and SATA slots. Other features include 802.11ac, USB 3.0 ports and SonicMaster Premium speakers.

Asus next month will also ship a bevy of other tablets and hybrids. The $199 VivoTab 8, for example, has an 8-inch screen and an Intel Atom processor code-named Bay Trail, and marks the company's expansion in the low-cost Windows tablet market.

The upcoming $499 Transformer Book T200 hybrid will have a detachable 11.6-inch screen that can function as a tablet. It will offer a battery life of 8.5 hours. The $399 Transformer Book T100, meanwhile, will sport a similar design to the T200, but have a 10.1-inch screen and offer 11 hours of battery life. The hybrids will ship with keyboard docks, Bay Trail processors and Windows 8.1.

But more exciting laptops from Asus are also coming. The company has not yet given a shipping date for the Transformer Book T300 Chi, which has Intel's Core M processor and a 12.5-inch detachable screen. Asus in June also announced the Transformer Book V, which can function as a laptop, tablet and phone, but no shipment date has been announced yet.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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Agam Shah

IDG News Service
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