The best back to school laptops from ASUS and ROG for 2019

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Summer is the time of the year when all is wonderful. There you are, basking in the sun’s rays, laying on your towel on warm sand while friends play around you. There’s a nagging little thought at the back of your mind, though. Down in the deep recesses of your conscience, you know those happy days will soon be gone. Classes are on the horizon, and you need help finding the best back to school laptop for your needs and budget.

Sure, binders, pencils, and the all-important backpack are important items, but there’s nothing quite like that new laptop smell. No longer will you have to suffer the old clunker you’ve been carrying around. You’ll be able to work smarter and harder with the latest hardware, and most importantly, you’ll turn heads when you carry a svelte new notebook into the classroom. 

The good thing about laptops these days is that there are a lot of choices, but that creates its own problem. All that variety can be daunting to wade through, so we’re here to help. No two students are alike, so there’s no one-size-fits-all laptop. This guide will help you (or a student family member) pick out the ideal machine for every course load and budget.

Bog-standard coursework consists mostly of word processing, presentations, and the odd spreadsheet, and those activities are well within the capabilities of most machines. It’s a little trickier when you step outside those borders, though. If you’re into gaming and live-streaming, those tasks demand powerful CPUs and dedicated graphics cards for best effect. Creative applications (3D modeling in particular) and software development can chew up every single byte of RAM. Only more powerful laptops need apply there. Grad school requires you to be always on the move, so a compact ultrabook might be worth shelling out for. Whatever your needs, we have a notebook for you. 

Ultrabooks and everyday laptops

The ASUS ZenBook 13 UX333FA puts premium design in students’ reach

The days when you’d have to pick between a powerful laptop and a portable laptop are long gone. The ASUS ZenBook 13 is the entry point into our ZenBook range of ultraportables. These machines combine sleek styling, premium build quality, and high-end components, all at a reasonable price. The ASUS ZenBook 13 UX333FA is svelte at only 0.66″ (16.9 mm) thick, and it weighs but 2.6 lb (1.2 kg) thanks to its light and durable aluminum chassis.

Our clever ErgoLift hinge design raises the keyboard at a 3° angle for improved typing posture. Each individual key has 1.4 mm of travel for a comfortable, accurate feel that won’t tire your fingers or encourage typos. 13″ notebooks don’t usually have numeric keypads, but the ASUS ZenBook 13 UX333FA cleverly embeds a ten-key block into the trackpad to offer greater versatility and data-entry efficiency while staying trim.

While the written word is noble, communication is increasingly visual, and the NanoEdge display in the UX333FA covers 100% of the sRGB color space for accurate pictures and video. The strikingly thin display bezels (only 0.1″ or 2.8 mm wide on the sides) not only look gorgeous but make for a more compact 11.9″ by 7.4″ (30.2 cm by 18.8 cm) footprint, too.

We cap off the display in the UX333FA with a Windows Hello-compatible facial recognition system that doubles as the webcam. This system not only keeps your personal data secure without passwords or fingerprints—it also avoids the unflattering up-the-nose perspective caused by the webcams at the base of the display on other ultra-slim notebooks.

An Intel Core i7-8565U processor beats at the heart of the UX333FA. With four cores, eight processing threads, and a 4.6 GHz maximum Turbo Boost speed, this CPU will make quick work of heavy-duty tasks. You get 16GB of memory (more than what goes into most desktops) and an extra-large and fast 512GB NVMe solid-state drive that loads apps quickly and has room to spare for photos and videos.

To talk to the world, the ZenBook UX333FA comes with a dual-band Wi-Fi 5 radio for a stable connection and Bluetooth 5.0 for wirelessly connecting mice, keyboards, speakers, and more. The port selection includes an HDMI output for using a projector or a TV, or simply extending your desktop to a secondary monitor. A reversible USB-C connector lets you hook up all the latest phones and tablets with ease.

The ZenBook UX333FA-AB77 is surprisingly affordable for an ultrabook with high-end hardware: just $999.99 USD. Plus, you can get $100 off the UX333FA on Amazon with the promo code 100ONZENBOOK through July 12.

Check the full specs and retailer guide in the following table.

 ZenBook 13 UX333FA-AB77
CPUQuad-core Intel Core i7-8565U 1.8GHz (8MB Cache, up to 4.6GHz)
GPUIntel UHD Graphics 620
Display13.3" NanoEdge
ResolutionFull HD 1920 x 1080
Memory16GB LPDDR3
Storage512GB PCIe SSD
NetworkingWi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) 2x2, Bluetooth 5
Connectivity1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C
1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A
1 x USB 2.0
1 x HDMI
1 x Micro SD card reader
1 x Audio combo
Battery50Wh
Weight2.6 lbs
Dimensions11.9" x 7.44" x 0.67"
OSWindows 10 Pro
Price$999.99 USD
Availability (USA)Amazon

Upgrade to a bigger display with the ZenBook 14 UX431FA

Thanks to our NanoEdge bezels, laptops in our ZenBook line are much smaller than you’d think given their screen sizes. Going with a larger machine doesn’t mean you need lumbar support. The ASUS ZenBook 14 UX431FA is an interesting alternative to the ASUS ZenBook 13 above, but with a unique style of its own and a bigger, more immersive display.

Many laptops can claim to be stylish, but not all stand out quite like this one. The ASUS ZenBook 14 UX431FA comes in a Utopia Blue finish. The spun-metal lid lets the golden ASUS logo stand out in a stylish-yet-subdued way. In a sea of plain, grey, boring-looking laptops, the UX431FA is likely to turn heads as you waltz into class. 

Besides looking gorgeous, the ASUS ZenBook 14 sounds incredible. A set of four Harman/Kardon-certified speakers makes for an audio experience that you won’t believe is from a compact laptop. The two upwards-firing speakers that frame the keyboard deal with treble frequencies, while another pair underneath the chassis bring the ever-important bass.

Besides allowing for a more ergonomic typing position, our ErgoLift hinge allows the underside speakers to be clearly heard. A Smart Amplifier ensures that sound remains crisp and clear even as the volume goes up. Watching a movie or keeping an eye on your favorite streamers while doing homework has never been more pleasant.

Compared to the ASUS ZenBook 13 above, the ASUS ZenBook 14 UX431FA-ES74 has the same system specs but comes with 8GB of RAM—a small concession to make in exchange for its dazzling style, bigger display, and upgraded audio. Despite its size, it still weighs in at only 3.2 lb (1.45 kg). You can pick one up for $899.99 USD. Check out the UX431FA-ES74’s full specs below.

 ZenBook 14 UX431FA-ES74ZenBook 14 UX431FN-BS71-CB
CPUQuad-core Intel Core i7-8565U 1.8GHz (8MB Cache, up to 4.6GHz)
GPUIntel UHD Graphics 620NVIDIA GeForce MX150
Display14" NanoEdge
ResolutionFull HD 1920 x 1080
Memory8GB LPDDR316GB LPDDR3
Storage512GB SSD
NetworkingWi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) 2x2, Bluetooth 5
Connectivity1 x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C
1 x USB 3.1 Type-A
1x USB 2.0
1 x HDMI
1 x microSD card reader
1 x Audio combo
Battery47Wh
Weight3.2 lbs
Dimensions12.7" x 8.34" x 0.62"
OSWindows 10
Price$899.99 USD $1,549.99 CAD
Availability (USA)ASUS Store
Best Buy
Newegg
NA
Availability (Canada)NABest Buy

The VivoBook S15 S510UA-DS51 hits all the right notes at a sensible price

A while back, we surveyed 20 million ASUS users to learn what they found of utmost importance in a mainstream, affordable laptop. Then we took that formula and improved on it, and we came up with the ASUS VivoBook S15 S510UA—a machine that’s perfectly balanced (as all things should be) and perfect for students on a budget.

Since performance is at the top of the list for most folks, the S510UA has a quad-core, eight-thread Core i5-8250U processor and 8GB of RAM. That’s just the right amount of raw power for the right price, and the 256GB SSD should have plenty of room to spare after taking in all your applications and documents. The 15.6″, 1920×1080 display has thin NanoEdge bezels on the sides, making for a compact footprint that’s closer to that of a 14″ notebook. The keyboard has full-sized keys with 1.4 mm of travel for added comfort, and the trackpad keeps a fingerprint reader close by for extra security.

Portability is paramount, and while the S510UA isn’t paper-thin like our higher-end ZenBooks, it’s still just 0.7″ (17.9 mm) thin. The body has a footprint of just 14.2″ by 9.6″ (36 cm by 24.4 cm) and tips the scale at 3.5 lb (1.6 kg).

Everyone hates playing “catch the signal,” and the S510UA’s Wi-Fi 5 adapter with a 2×2 antenna setup lets you stick to your corner of the library without losing connectivity. Enterprising students armed with screwdrivers should have little trouble opening the bottom and upgrading the RAM or the SSD. 

The ASUS VivoBook S15 S510UA-DS51 is within everyone’s reach at only $699.99 USD. Check out its full specifications below.

 VivoBook S15 S510UA-DS51VivoBook S15 X510UA-BB51-CB
CPUQuad-core Intel Core i5-8250U 1.6GHz (6MB Cache, up to 3.4GHz)
GPUIntel UHD Graphics 620
Display15.6" NanoEdge
ResolutionFull HD 1920 x 1080
Memory8GB
Storage256GB SSD
NetworkingWi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) 2x2, Bluetooth 4.2
Connectivity1 x USB 3.0 Type-C
1 x USB 3.0 Type-A
1 x USB 2.0
1 x HDMI
1 x SD card reader
1 x Audio combo
Battery52Wh
Weight3.5 lb
Dimensions14.2" x 9.6" x 0.7"
OSWindows 10
Price$699.99 USD$849.99 CAD
Availability (USA)Adorama
Newegg
NA
Availability (Canada)NABest Buy

The ASUS ZenBook 15 UX533FD puts serious power in a compact chassis

Many are the times when serious work calls for a big screen and big muscles. Large, powerful notebooks tend to be bulky or have battery life measured in minutes, though, and sometimes they even suffer from both problems at once. There is at least one machine, however, that can do it all: the ASUS ZenBook 15 UX533FD.

The UX533FD impresses right out of the gate with its brushed aluminum aesthetic. We anodize this machine with a Royal Blue finish and trim it in Rose Gold. Upon first inspection, this machine’s compact 13.9″ by 8.7″ (35.3 cm by 22.1 cm) footprint would lead one to think that it’s a 14″ laptop, but the 1920×1080 NanoEdge display actually measures 15.6″ across. Likewise, you’d assume the battery inside a laptop just 0.7″ (17.9 mm) thick is tiny, yet it’s a massive 73Wh unit. We don’t know what our engineers did to pull this off, but our bet is on magic.

Inside, an Intel Core i7-8565U processor flexes four cores and eight threads at clock speeds up to 4.6GHz. The CPU sits next to an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q graphics card and 16GB of system RAM. Besides breezing through regular school work, this combo can really stretch its legs in video cutting, photo editing, and even 3D modeling. 512GB of NVMe storage can keep up with practically any workload.

Our ErgoLift hinge and premium keyboard with 1.4 mm of key travel once again make an appearance for added comfort, as does a backlit numeric keypad embedded in the touchpad. A facial recognition camera atop the display enables Windows Hello authentication, so you can say goodbye to fiddling with passwords or fingerprint readers.

You may have heard people lamenting laptops that need dongles for something as simple as plugging in a thumb drive. Whatever notebooks those folks were talking about, they sure weren’t talking about the UX533. Besides a speedy USB-C port with USB 3.1 Gen 2 support, you get a pair of Type-A USB 3.0 ports. External displays get a plug of their own in an HDMI output. Dual-band Wi-Fi 5 ensures you can work and game reliably over the air, while Bluetooth 5 talks to phones and peripherals.

The ZenBook 15 UX533FD-DH74 rings in at $1399.99 USD. Check out its full specifications below.

 ZenBook 15 UX533FN-RH54ZenBook 15 UX533FD-DH74
CPUQuad-core Intel Core i5-8265U 1.6GHz (6MB cache, up to 3.9GHz)Quad-core Intel Core i7-8565U 1.8GHz (8MB cache, up to 4.6GHz)
GPUNVIDIA GeForce MX150NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q
Display15.6" NanoEdge
ResolutionFull HD 1920 x 1080
Memory8GB DDR416GB DDR4
Storage512GB PCIe SSD
NetworkingWi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) 2x2, Bluetooth 4.2
Connectivity1 x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C
1 x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A
1 x USB 3.0
1 x HDMI
1 x SD card reader
1 x Audio combo
Battery73Wh
Weight3.5 lb
Dimensions13.9" x 8.7" x 0.7"
OSWindows 10
Price$999.99 USD
$1,199.99 CAD
$1,399.99 USD
Availability (USA)AmazonASUS Store
Abt
Adorama
B&H
Best Buy
Excaliber PC
Mobile Advance
Newegg
Office Depot
Staples
XoticPC
Availability (Canada)Canada Computers
Memory Express
Staples
The Source
Walmart
NA

The ASUS ZenBook S13 UX392 is all dressed up with everywhere to go

You’ve done the red-and-black gamer thing. Perhaps you went through a love affair with neon orange, too. All that’s past you now; your tastes have matured and you’re on the hunt for a piece of gear with a sense of style to match your own cultured eye. There are times when only top-notch aesthetics, design, and portability will do, and the ASUS ZenBook S13 UX392 embraces that trio of concepts.

The design language for the UX392 is angular and oh-so-striking. The CNC-milled aluminum chassis and rippled lid are colored in a subtle metallic shade of Utopia Blue, while square lines evoke solid industrial strength. The 13.9″, 1920×1080 display is extra-bright at 400 nits, and it’s framed by impossibly thin NanoEdge bezels just 0.01″ (2.5 mm) wide on the sides. That works out to an astounding 97% screen-to-body ratio. A single pane of glass seamlessly covers both the display and the camera bump, which doubles as a handy tab for opening the lid.

We took care to ensure the ASUS ZenBook S13 UX392 is more than a pretty face, though. The ErgoLift keyboard is almost as wide as the body, and its large, responsive keys have 1.4 mm of travel and a crisp response. A handy fingerprint reader rests in the top-right corner of the touchpad.

Style and grace are nothing without power, and the UX392 has plenty. You can get processors as powerful as the Intel Core i7-8656U, as much as 16GB of RAM, and discrete NVIDIA GeForce MX150 graphics. All those chips ensure that “waiting” isn’t an activity in the ASUS ZenBook UX392’s curriculum. A loaded machine like this will easily last you through graduation, too.

USB Type-C ports are the wave of the future, and the UX392 stands ready to handle those cables. Two reversible connectors on the left edge of the notebook both support lightning-quick USB 3.1 Gen 2 transfer rates, and they also support fast charging for quick top-ups. A third USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A port on the right side of the laptop maintains compatibility with your existing peripherals, too.

Between running to classes, school clubs, and group essays, it can be a pain to lug around a laptop bag, and every ounce counts. The UX392 has a quasi-immaterial quality to it, measuring a mere 0.51″ (12.9 mm) thick on a 12.4″ x 7.7″ body, and weighing just 2.2 lb (1 kg). Whether you’re constantly on the move or are just oh-so-done with heavy laptops, the ZenBook S13 UX392 should be the top choice. Take a look at the specs list below. Prices start at $1,399.99 USD.

 ZenBook S13 UX392FN
CPUQuad-core Intel Core i7-8565U 1.8GHz (8MB cache, up to 4.6GHz)
GPUNVIDIA GeForce MX150
Display13.9" NanoEdge
ResolutionFull HD 1920 x 1080
Memory8GB LPDDR3
Storage512GB PCIe SSD
NetworkingWi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) 2x2, Bluetooth 5
Connectivity2 x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C
1 x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A
1 x microSD card reader
1 x Audio combo
Battery50Whr
Weight2.4 lb
Dimensions12.4" x 7.7" x 0.5"
OSWindows 10
Price$1,399.99 USD
Availability (USA)ASUS Store
Amazon
Newegg
Walmart

The ASUS ZenBook Pro UX580 and UX550 put high-power silicon in content creators’ hands

Content creation and development are two areas where standard-issue laptop gear might not be enough. 3D artistry and heavy-duty video editing, in particular, are tasks that hoover up every CPU cycle and every byte of RAM. Having to wait hours for a render to finish can mean the difference between delivering an assignment on time or getting a big fat F. The professional (or enthusiast) picks out an appropriate tool for the job, like an ASUS ZenBook Pro 15.

The ZenBook Pro 15 UX580GE-XB74T is the most powerful model in the family, a title easily justified by the silicon residing within. Intel’s Core i9-8950HK processor is a six-core, twelve-thread beast that can hit a 4.8GHz Turbo Boost speed, so it’ll chew through rendering work like it’s going out of style.

Many workloads can take advantage of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics card, and it can double as a gaming GPU in your free time. A 512GB PCI Express SSD and 16GB of system RAM nicely complement the dynamic duo. Powerful components need to dissipate a lot of heat, so the UX580 employs a dual-fan, triple-heat-pipe setup with separate cooling zones for the CPU and GPU.

The gorgeous 4K display on the UX580 comes color-calibrated from the factory, ensuring all your photos and videos look accurate. 100% Adobe RGB coverage and Pantone certification put an exclamation point on this display’s professional chops. 

The touchpad includes our exclusive ScreenPad tech, allowing it to double as a secondary display that can show dashboards, shortcuts, contextual controls, or anything you might want to move over from the main screen. Content creators and developers require high-speed peripherals, and the UX580’s two Thunderbolt 3 ports let you connect fast external drives, additional displays, and external GPU enclosures like the XG Station Pro.

Despite the high-end hardware and 15.6″ display, the ZenBook Pro’s aluminum chassis is only 14.4″ wide. The chamfered diamond-cut edges and Deep Blue Sea finish give it a classy look.

The UX580GE-XB74T is a powerful machine with style and hardware that’ll last you through school and into college. It’s priced at $2,299.99 USD or $2,999.99 CAD. If that’s a tad too much, the UX550GE-XB71T drops down to a Core i7 CPU and a standard touchpad for $1,799.99 USD or $2,299.99 CAD.

 ZenBook Pro 15
UX580GE-XB74T
ZenBook Pro 15
UX550GE-XB71T
CPUSix-core Intel Core i9-8950HK 2.9GHz (12MB cache, up to 4.8GHz)Six-core Intel Core i7-8750H 2.2GHz (8MB cache, up to 4.1GHz)
GPUNVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 TiNVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti
Display15.6" NanoEdge touch display15.6" NanoEdge touch display
ResolutionUHD 4KUHD 4K
Memory16GB DDR416GB DDR4
Storage512GB PCIe SSD512GB PCIe SSD
NetworkingWi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) 2x2, Bluetooth 5Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) 2x2, Bluetooth 5
Connectivity2 x Thunderbolt 3 / USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C
2 x USB 3.0
1 x microSD card reader
1 x Audio combo
2 x Thunderbolt 3 / USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C
2 x USB 3.0
1 x microSD card reader
1 x Audio combo
Battery71Whr71Whr
Weight4.2 lb4.2 lb
Dimensions14.4" x 9.9" x 0.7"14.4" x 9.9" x 0.7"
OSWindows 10Windows 10
Price$2,299.99 USD
$2,999.99 CAD
$1,799.99 USD
$2,299.99 CAD
Availability (USA)ASUS Store
Amazon
Best Buy
HID Evolution
Newegg
ASUS Store
Adorama
B&H
Best Buy
Excaliber PC
HID Evolution
Mobile Advance
NewEgg
Availability (Canada)Amazon
Best Buy
Canada Computers
London Drugs
Memory Express
The Source
Canada Computers

Gaming laptops

The TUF Gaming FX505DT brings high-refresh-rate gaming to the masses

Chances are you already have a gaming PC or console, but you want to play a match or two whenever there’s a little respite from essays and group projects. The problem is that GPUs inside most laptops aren’t usually prescribed for keeping frame rates up when the action gets intense, and high-end gaming laptops cost a bunch. It’s next to impossible to find a balanced machine at an affordable price, but the TUF Gaming FX505DT-EB37 is all that and then some.

It may be hard to believe considering the price, but the display is actually an IPS-type 1920×1080 panel with NanoEdge slim bezels and a fast 120Hz refresh rate. That swiftness provides glorious gaming smoothness and a huge competitive edge. To get pixels onto the display at speed, we tap an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card with 4GB of its own memory. The brain of the entire operation is the mighty AMD Ryzen 7 3750H, a four-core Zen+ chip with eight threads accompanied by 8GB of RAM. Modern games take up a ton of space, and the 512GB NVMe SSD is plenty for school projects and a selection of popular titles.

There’s no shortage of horror stories about powerful laptops overheating, but the FX505DT is one TUF customer. It uses our proprietary anti-dust cooling system and exhausts heat cleanly through unobstructed vents, even when the screen is tilted back. Multiple cooling profiles let you choose between maximum silence, maximum airflow, or a balance of the two. Of course, all the gear is tested according to exacting MIL-STD-810G standards, so you can expect the machine to survive the occasional fall.

The FX505DT may be a gamer, but its Stealth Black look wouldn’t look out of place in a library. The keyboard is backlit and the individual keys have 1.8 mm of travel for comfort. There’s no shortage of connectivity options, thanks to plenty of USB ports, Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5, and even a Gigabit Ethernet port for when you need the lowest possible ping and ultimate network stability. Check out the full specs list below. The TUF Gaming FX505DT-EB73 will set you back $999.99 USD in the U.S. of A. and $1,199.99 CAD in the land of the maple leaf flag.

 TUF Gaming FX505DT-EB73
CPUQuad-core AMD Ryzen 7 3750H 2.3GHz (4MB cache, up to 4.0GHz)
GPUNVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 4GB
Display15.6" NanoEdge 120 Hz
Resolution1920x1080
Memory8GB DDR4
Storage512GB PCIe SSD
NetworkingWi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) 2x2, Bluetooth 5
Connectivity2 x USB 3.0
1 x USB 2.0
1 x HDMI
1 x RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet
1 x Audio combo
Battery48Whr
Weight6 lb
Dimensions15.8" x 11" x 1.1"
OSWindows 10
Price$999.99 USD
$1,199.99 CAD
Availability (USA)Amazon
Newegg
Availability (Canada)Newegg

The ROG Zephyrus G GA502 combines gaming power and subdued styling

Way back when, gaming laptops were inevitably thick, heavy, black-and-red bricks. Modern machines have since improved on all three points, but if you wanted a thin, light, and stylish gaming notebook, you were going to pay through the nose for ituntil now. The Zephyrus G GA502 is an ultra-slim gaming laptop that brings premium performance, design, and style at a sensible price.

Considering the hardware and cooling systems within the GA502, perhaps the most impressive thing about it is its compact form. This machine’s footprint is just 14.2″ by 9.9″ (36.1 cm x 25.2 cm), dimensions made possible by the super-slim NanoEdge bezels wrapping the 120-Hz, 15.6″ display. The entire laptop is only 0.79″ (20 mm) thick, too.

Abandon any stereotypes you may have in mind about the appearance of gaming notebooks before considering the GA502. We employ a tasteful design with hairline brushstrokes on the lid and chiseled corners throughout. The result looks industrial and modern, yet subdued enough for a cafeteria or classroom. The comfortable keyboard uses a desktop-style layout and has high-actuation-point ROG Overstroke technology for faster input.

For raw power, the GA502 has a four-core, eight-thread AMD Ryzen 7 3750H processor with a 4GHz boost clock. 16GB of RAM is capacious enough for any game, while a 512GB PCIe SSD has room aplenty for a large library of titles.

An NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics card takes care of polygons and textures. We used a Max-Q variant in this machine for extra battery life and lower heat output.  Our dust-banishing Intelligent Cooling system uses multiple heatpipes and shared heatsinks to keep all those chips running at peak performance. Our high-density fans are made with a liquid crystal polymer that’s 33% thinner than average, allowing us to mold in 83 blades to move more air than the average spinner.

The word for connectivity for the GA502 is “everything.” You get a USB Type-C connector, three USB Type-A ports, an HDMI output, a headphone jack, Wi-Fi 5, and Bluetooth 5. Gaming laptops often measure battery duration in minutes, but the 73WHr pack inside this machine could last you as long as nine hours in regular usage.

The Zephyrus G GA502DU-BR7N6 has a price tag of just $1,199.99 USD. Dig into its full specs below.

 ROG Zephyrus G GA502DU-BR7N6
CPUQuad-core AMD Ryzen 7 3750H 2.3GHz (4MB cache, up to 4.0GHz)
GPUNVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6GB
Display15.6" NanoEdge 120 Hz
Resolution1920x1080
Memory16GB DDR4
Storage512GB PCIe SSD
NetworkingWi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) 2x2, Bluetooth 5
Connectivity1 x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C
3 x USB 3.0
1 x HDMI 2.0b
1 x RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet
1 x Audio combo
Battery76Whr
Weight4.6 lb
Dimensions14.2" x 9.9" x 0.78"
OSWindows 10
Price$1,199.99 USD
Availability (USA)Best Buy

Full-throttle gaming at 240Hz with the ROG Zephyrus S GX502

There are plenty of students that moonlight as competitive gamers. That particular endeavor requires the finest, highest-grade hardware to keep frame rates high and enemies down. When you need the absolute best, you need the ROG Zephyrus S GX502.

The GX502’s north star is a 240Hz display with a 3ms response time. That blazing-fast refresh rate is almost unheard of in a laptop. For a tear-free view of the action, we’ve added NVIDIA G-SYNC technology. The display is also Pantone-certified and factory-calibrated for photo, video, and 3D work.

To feed a screen so hungry for frames, the GX502 starts with an Intel Core i7-9750H CPU. This ninth-gen Core chip offers six cores and 12 threads running at up to 4.5GHz, so gamers can rest assured that the Zephyrus can keep up with the action. Speaking of graphics cards, the GX502 pushes pixels with a GeForce RTX 2070 with 8GB of VRAM.

The GX502GW-XB76 we’ve chosen comes with 16GB of main memory, plus two NVMe drives in RAID 0 for a total of 1TB of solid-state storage. NVIDIA G-SYNC tech usually means a hit to battery life, but we didn’t let that compromise stand in the GX502. When you need this machine to sip juice, you can disable G-SYNC, enable NVIDIA Optimus, and let the GX502 automatically switch between the RTX card or power-sipping integrated graphics.

The GX502 knows how to keep its cool under intense fire, too. The Intelligent Cooling system uses 83-blade fans and anti-dust tunnels that kick particles out before they get a chance to settle. When you lift the lid, our unique Active Aerodynamic System elevates the laptop and exposes an additional intake that increases airflow by 22%, much like a car’s turbocharger. Classes and projects require silence, and you can pick cooling profiles to fit every situation with the GX502.

High-performance output is nothing without rock-solid input, and the GX502’s desktop-style keyboard has per-key RGB LED lighting and dedicated function keys. A USB Type-C port supports USB Power Delivery for quickly topping up compatible devices or even the GX502 itself. When mobility is paramount, you can forgo the regular 230W adapter and hit the road with a smaller standard Type-C charger. Wireless dead spots should be a thing of the past, thanks to an ROG RangeBoost multi-antenna array powering the Wi-Fi 5 adapter.

You might wonder how heavy such a loaded laptop has to be, and you’ll be surprised to learn the Zephyrus S GX502 weighs only 4.4 lb (2 kg), with a footprint of 14.1″ x 9.9″ (35.8 cm x 25.2 cm) You can pick one up for $2,399.99 USD or $2,499.99 CAD. Dig into the table below for the full specs.

 ROG Zephyrus S GX502GW-XB76
CPUSix-core Intel Core i7-9750H 2.6GHz (12MB cache, up to 4.5GHz)
GPUNVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 8 GB
Display15.6" NanoEdge 240 Hz, Pantone-validated, G-Sync
Resolution1920x1080
Memory16 GB DDR4
Storage1 TB PCIe SSD; RAID-0
NetworkingWi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) 2x2, Bluetooth 5
Connectivity1 x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C
1 x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A
2 x USB 3.0
1 x HDMI 2.0b
1 x RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet
1 x Audio combo
Weight4.4 lb
Dimensions14.2" x 9.9" x 0.74"
OSWindows 10
Price$2,399.99 USD
$2,499.99 CAD
Availability (USA)Amazon
B&H
Excaliber PC
HID Evolution
Michael Electronics
Availability (Canada)Canada Computers

2-in-1 convertibles

Notebooks and ultrabooks are practical for most people, but they still don’t cover every possible job. A 2-in-1 is a superior choice if you need to constantly share your screen with someone, switch between sitting down and walking around, or if you need a pen to jot down notes or create diagrams. Convertibles offer the power of a laptop with the convenience of a tablet. The next few recommendations cover Windows 10 machines, but we also have a few Chromebooks further down.

The ASUS VivoBook Flip TP412FA is a versatile fold-back convertible

The standard laptop format is tried-and-true, but tablets offer their own convenience, especially for reading, media consumption, or just sharing the screen. A hybrid like the ASUS VivoBook Flip TP412FA offers the best of both worlds.

The 360° hinge lets you use the TP412FA in three ways: as a tablet, propped up in tent mode on your desk or kitchen table for watching a movie, or folded flat or backward to let people beside you check out your work. The tablet mode is perfect for taking notes and simply reading books or web pages. The 1920×1080 NanoEdge display makes all of those tasks easier with wide viewing angles that accommodate everybody gathered around.

Classmates eyeing the ASUS VivoBook Flip TP412FA might mistake it for a much more expensive machine, too. The Star Grey finish with an aluminum lid and matching matte finish gives it a sleek look, and the backlit keyboard and touchpad with an integrated fingerprint reader provide additional style and convenience. While the TP412 isn’t super-thin like our higher-end ZenBooks, it’s still quite portable for a convertible, tipping the scales at 3.3 lb (1.5 kg) and measuring 0.7″ (17.8 mm) thick. Nobody likes between-classes outlet hunts, and the TP412FA makes your life easier by juicing up to a 60% charge in only 49 minutes.

The VivoBook Flip TP412FA-DB72T has the power to match its convenience. A four-core, eight-thread Core i7-8656U CPU is a cut above those of most laptops, while 8GB of RAM and a 512GB PCIe solid-state drive complement the package. This handy convertible will set you back $1,099.99 CAD in Canada. We’ll have USA pricing and availability soon. Take a look at the specs table below for all the information.

 VivoBook Flip TP412FA-DB72T
CPUQuad-core Intel Core i7-8565 2.6GHz (8MB cache, up to 4.6GHz)
GPUIntel UHD Graphics 620
Display14" NanoEdge
Resolution1920x1080
Memory8GB DDR4
Storage512GB PCIe SSD
NetworkingWi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) 2x2, Bluetooth 4.2
Connectivity1 x USB 3.0 Type-C
1 x USB 3.0
2 x USB 2.0
1 x HDMI
1 x Audio combo
1 x SD card reader
Battery42Whr
Weight3.3 lb
Dimensions12.9" x 8.9" x 0.74"
OSWindows 10
Price$449.99 USD
$1,099 CAD
Availability (USA)TBA
Availability (Canada)The Source

Draw your own path on the ASUS ZenBook Flip UX461FN

If you’re searching for a convertible that takes the concept and runs with it, look no further than the ASUS ZenBook Flip UX461. This machine is really a high-end ultrabook in convertible clothing, and it comes with all the expected bells and whistles attached.

The included ASUS Pen adds an entirely new dimension to the tablet, tent, and fold-back modes. You can use it to jot down notes, mark up documents, or simply write instead of type. Since the 1920×1080 display on the UX461FN measures 14″ across, you won’t have to scribble tiny letters just to make your notes fit. Drawing and handling visual elements in creative applications is easier than ever, too.

The dedicated NVIDIA GeForce MX150 graphics card ensures those apps run as fast as you can draw on them, while an Intel Core i7-8565 processor and 16GB of RAM ensure they’re happily and quickly fed with data. The  512GB NVMe SSD has enough room for a ton of apps, documents, and video files. No need to play Application Tetris!

Plenty of convertibles have limited usability away from a wall socket, but the UX461FN’s 57WHr battery ensures it can go through an entire day of school and still have juice left when you finally get home.

As part of the ASUS ZenBook family, the UX461FN is dressed to impress. Despite their impressive 360° range, the display hinges sit flush with the body. A handy volume rocker and power button adorn the left edge of the chassis for use in tablet mode. The Metallic Grey finish and spun-metal lid exude class, and the backlit keyboard and touchpad-integrated fingerprint reader add convenience.

The UX461FN is quite sleek and thin for a convertible. It has a 12.9″ x 8.0″ (32.8 cm x 20.3 cm) footprint, it’s only 0.5″ (12.7 mm) thick, and it weighs in at 3.3 lb (1.5 kg). Despite the compact dimensions, there’s no shortage of connectivity, thanks to Type-C and Type-A USB ports, an HDMI output, and a card reader. The ZenBook UX461FN-DH74T is priced at $1,299.99 USD and $2,019.99 CAD, and you can take in its full specs below.

 ZenBook Flip 14 UX461FN-DH74T
CPUQuad-core Intel Core i7-8565 2.6GHz (8MB cache, up to 4.6GHz)
GPUNVIDIA GeForce MX150
Display14" NanoEdge
Resolution1920x1080
Memory16GB LPDDR4
Storage512GB PCIe SSD
NetworkingWi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) 2x2, Bluetooth 4.2
Connectivity1 x USB 3.0 Type-C
2 x USB 3.0
1 x HDMI
1 x Audio combo
1 x microSD card reader
Battery57Whr
Weight3.3 lb
Dimensions12.9" x 8.9" x 0.5"
OSWindows 10
Price$1,299.99 USD
$2,019.99 CAD
Availability (USA)ASUS Store
Availability (Canada)Amazon

Chromebooks

Photo and video editing, gaming, live-streaming, and 3D modeling are all fine pursuits, but not everyone needs a laptop that’s capable of all that. Simplicity is alluring, and for students who live in Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, and Gmail, a Chromebook is a perfect idea. Modern-day Chrome OS is fast, secure, has offline capabilities, and supports most Android apps available through the Google Play Store. Not only that, Chromebooks are far more affordable than most regular laptops, and they come in a variety of fits and styles. Here are our picks.

Chromebook Flip C434

Computer users in general and students don’t always need full-blown operating systems like Windows. Instead, they can use the simple, speedy, and reliable Chrome OS and its thousands of Play Store apps. The problem is that Google’s lightweight operating system often lives on ratty, undesirable laptops with questionable hardware. We much prefer a positively premium Chrome OS experience, and the Chromebook C434 is living proof.

The C434 is quite striking in its silver matte finish, so much so that you’d wonder if common plastic was hiding underneath the paint. Instead, the C434’s chassis and lid are all made out of aluminum for lightness and durability. The metal body also helps channel away heat from the fanless CPU inside.

The premium feel extends to the C434’s backlit keyboard. Its layout and dimensions were chosen for maximum typing comfort, and despite this machine’s convertible cred, we still found a way to include an ErgoLift hinge that raises the back of the machine for added typing fluency. This keyboard is so nice that our high-end ZenBook S took a page from it.

Chromebooks tend to be tiny and cramped, but the C434 has a 14″ NanoEdge 1920×1080 touchscreen attached to gorgeous 360° hinges. You can flip the screen over and use the C434 as a tablet, place it in tent mode on the kitchen table to keep an eye on the recipe, or just rotate the display to show someone a photo. We slimmed the bezels down to 0.2″ (5 mm) to keep the laptop’s footprint small and to improve immersion.

Since Chrome OS doesn’t need a lot of horsepower, we opted for power-sipping Y-series Intel chips. The C434TA-DSM3 we’ve selected features the Core i7-8500Y, coupled with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage. If needed, you can make more room thanks to the C434’s microSD card slot. Two reversible USB-C ports and a Type-A connector cover all the other bases.

The Chromebook Flip C434 measures just 12.6″ x 8″ (32 cm x 20.3 cm) and is a mere 0.6″ (15 mm) thin. At only 3.2 lb (1.45 kg), you won’t have a problem taking it everywhere with you. Pick one up for just $569.99 USD in the US, or $699.99 CAD in Canada. For the full specs, check out the table below.

 Chromebook C434TA-DSM3
CPUDual-core Intel Core i7-8500Y 1.1GHz (4MB cache, up to 3.4GHz)
GPUIntel UHD Graphics 615
Display14" NanoEdge
Resolution1920x1080
Memory4GB 1867MHz LPDDR3
Storage64GB eMMC
NetworkingWi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) 2x2, Bluetooth 4
Connectivity2 x USB 3.0 Type-C
1 x USB 3.0
1 x Audio combo
1 x microSD card reader
Battery48Whr
Weight3.2 lb
Dimensions12.6" x 8" x 0.62"
OSChrome OS
Price$569.99 USD
$699.99 CAD
Availability (USA)ASUS Store
Amazon
B&H
Best Buy
Newegg
Staples
Availability (Canada)Amazon
Best Buy
Canada Computers
The Source

The Chromebook C523 is big, bold, and eminently affordable

While we’ve talked a lot about high-powered applications and the machines for them, it also stands to reason that most coursework can be done just fine with simple software and hardware. Chrome OS and its inherent cloud integration are fine and maybe even preferable for day-to-day coursework. The Chromebook C523 is a full-size laptop for students of any age and wallets of any size.

Right from the get-go, the C523 impresses with its 15.6″ NanoEdge display and its thin 0.23″ (5.8 mm) bezels. The screen is mounted on a 180° hinge for versatility, and it’s protected by an aluminum lid. The metallic-finish chassis feels nice under the fingers, and the responsive, full-size keyboard punches far above its weight class. Overall, the C523’s fit and finish feels like that of a far more expensive laptop, and its price is nothing short of reverse sticker shock.

For powering Chrome OS, the C523NA-DH02 we’ve chosen uses the dual-core Intel Celeron N3350. Skimping out on RAM is always a bad idea, so the C523 comes with 4GB of the stuff to ensure your apps never slow down. The 32GB of built-in eMMC storage can be augmented via the SD card slot if you need extra room for photos and videos. The two USB-C ports are ready for the latest crop of phones and peripherals, and they support external displays for some dual-monitor action. A Type-A USB port, Wi-Fi 5, and Bluetooth 4 round out the connectivity options.

The Chromebook C523 is also easy to tote around, as its external dimensions are just 14″ x 9.8″ (35.6 cm x 24.9 cm) thanks to the slim bezels around the display. It’ll go nicely into any sleeve or bag with room to spare as it’s only 0.63″ (16.1 mm) thick, too. We’ve saved the best for last, as prices for the C523 start at just $269.99 USD or $349.99 CAD

 Chromebook C523NA-DH02
CPUDual-Core Intel Celeron N3350 1.1GHz (2M Cache, up to 2.4 GHz)
GPUIntel HD Graphics 500
Display15.6" NanoEdge
Resolution1399x768
Memory4GB DDR3
Storage32GB eMMC
NetworkingWi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) 2x2, Bluetooth 4
Connectivity2 x USB 3.0 Type-C
2 x USB 3.0
1 x Audio combo
1 x microSD card reader
Weight3.7 lb
Dimensions14.1" x 9.8" x 0.63"
OSChrome OS
Price$269.99 USD
$349.99 CAD
Availability (USA)ASUS Store
B&H
Best Buy
Frys
Micro Center
Newegg
Availability (Canada)Canada Computers
Memory Express
Newegg
The Source

The Chromebook Flip C213 is tough enough to deal with the kids

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: “Daddy, I broke my laptop.” Delicate devices in classrooms and households filled with grade-schoolers don’t have the highest survival rate. Our Chromebook Flip C213 was specifically designed with our youngest customers in mind.

The C213 has rubberized corners for better grip in small hands and a metal 360° reinforced hinge that prevents any unexpected separation of display and body. Since the 11.6″ screen can fold completely back, the C213’s screen can be used like a standard notebook, folded all the way around for tablet mode, and set in tent mode for watching videos or showing the screen to other kids. Since small hands aren’t very grabby, the C213 comes built to shrug off most accidental drops.

The keyboard is spill-resistant, and a second camera above the keys allows filming and photo-taking in tent mode. Drawing is an activity that’s both fun and great for developing hand-eye coordination, and the optional stylus will come in handy for Chrome OS’s many art apps. Although the C213 is designed mainly for kids, it has full access to the Google Play Store, meaning that thousands of apps are only a few screen taps away.

The C213 is powered by an Intel Celeron N3350 dual-core processor and 4GB of RAM. There’s 32GB of eMMC storage for offline work, along with a microSD slot for storing the enormous number of photos kids are likely to take with this machine.

We rate the C213’s battery for 12 hours of usage, enough for a day’s worth of school and a few games in the evening. The machine measures 12.1″ x 7.8″ (30.7 cm x 19.8 cm)  and weighs just 2.8 lb (1.27 kg). Pricing for the Chromebook Flip C213SA-YS02 starts at $349.99 USD in the U.S. and $469.99 CAD a little farther up north.

 Chromebook Flip C213SA
CPUDual-core Intel Celeron N3350 (2MB cache, 2.4GHz turbo)
GPUIntel HD Graphics 500
Display11.6" NanoEdge
Resolution1366x768
Memory4GB
Storage32GB eMMC
NetworkingWi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) 2x2, Bluetooth 4
Connectivity2 x USB 3.0 Type-C
1 x USB 3.0
1 x Audio combo
1 x microSDXC card reader
Battery46Whr
Weight2.7 lb
Dimensions12.1" x 7.8" x 0.8"
OSChrome OS
Price$349.99 USD
$469.99 CAD
Availability (USA)ASUS Store
Abt
Adorama
Best Buy
Newegg
Office Depot
Staples
Availability (Canada)Best Buy
Memory Express
The Source
Walmart

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