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Asus ScreenPad 2.0 is so much better than before, but it could still use some work

Asus ScreenPad 2.0 is so much better than before, but it could still use some work (Image source: Asus)
Asus ScreenPad 2.0 is so much better than before, but it could still use some work (Image source: Asus)
Asus' integrated clickpad/touchscreen hybrid works well at smaller resolutions or for dragging windows back and forth between the main display. If you don't have an external mouse, however, it might be more trouble than its worth.

Back in 2018 when we first checked out ScreenPad 1.0, we noted its inherent practicality and potential for all kinds of workloads ranging from multimedia to productivity. Unfortunately, it was ultimately dragged down by the thick and grainy overlay and poor viewability that obscured the screen more than we would have liked. Fast-forward two years and ScreenPad 2.0 has addressed many of these concerns.

During our time with the Asus ZenBook 14 UX434, we immediately noticed that the second generation ScreenPad looked significantly better than what came before it. It's larger, brighter, more colorful, smoother to use, and definitely not as grainy as the first time around. It's best when used with an external mouse for snapping windows and more precise controls much like on a dual monitor desktop PC.

When compared to the touchscreens on smartphones, however, the ScreenPad still has a long ways to. It remains relatively grainy to the point where we wouldn't recommend any resolutions greater than 500p or 720p or else texts will become almost illegible. Colors aren't that great either due to the same grainy overlay meaning the wide >90 percent sRGB color coverage is moot. It's also very difficult to use in outdoor conditions because of the inevitable glare as the user will almost always be looking at the screen from an unfavorable angle. And finally, the clickpad mouse inputs are spongy for unsatisfying feedback when pressed.

The paper specifications for ScreenPad 2.0 may read like a smartphone, but users should definitely not expect a smartphone-like visual experience despite the extra dollars that ScreenPad adds to the overall price. Maybe third time's a charm should Asus decide to develop a ScreenPad 3.0 for 2021 or beyond.

Microscope image of the main glossy display of the ZenBook 14 UX434. Note the crisp subpixels because of the glossy overlay
Microscope image of the main glossy display of the ZenBook 14 UX434. Note the crisp subpixels because of the glossy overlay
Microscope image of the ScreenPad touchscreen on the same ZenBook 14. The thick matte overlay obscures the pixels underneath for a much grainier image quality
Microscope image of the ScreenPad touchscreen on the same ZenBook 14. The thick matte overlay obscures the pixels underneath for a much grainier image quality

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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 09 > Asus ScreenPad 2.0 is so much better than before, but it could still use some work
Allen Ngo, 2020-09-25 (Update: 2020-09-25)