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ASUS designers tell us the new ZENBOOK represents a progression of contemplative design. They speak of working hard to fine-craft a combination of art and engineering in a way that hopefully is very relatable to people around the world. The original inspiration for this ultrabook were supposedly the side views of luxurious wrist watches and the hands of clocks. This reminded designers of the thin profile they were going for, and the way they wanted it to unfold. It was later a matter of dressing up the design, so they opted for spun aluminium on the cover in tribute to water ripples.

Looking thin when closed

And even thinner when open

Thin and light was the idea

Of course practical considerations were just as critical, so the ZENBOOK uses a monoshell/unibody build that’s durable and solid, as well as advanced cooling to enable better technology within. As an added touch, ASUS insisted on adding its SonicMaster sound technology to the ZENBOOK, which uses audio by Bang & Olufsen ICEpower.

The bigger touchpad and sleek keyboard

Creating balance

We talked to chief ZENBOOK designer Loewy Chen, who spoke of several steps in the evolution of this new concept. Loewy has been kind enough to share with us the key visuals that drove ZENBOOK development over a period of several months:

In the above image, Loewy shows us that the design team was trying to get the same light and thin profile of a high quality watch when developing the ZENBOOK.

They were also going for a seamless and smooth look, with an embedded keyboard and an oversized, integrated touchpad that would be roomy despite the overall compact form factor of the machine. Keeping the proportions just right was critical.

Angles were another highlight of the design process. The ZENBOOK had to have a sharp culminating point on one end, and a rounded, smooth curve on the other. They even paid close attention to the underside, which for the first time ever on a notebook gets the same aluminum hairline treatment as the rest of the machine.

Spun aluminium on the cover

“The ZENBOOK is a milestone in our company’s 20-plus year history, with a breakthrough of forging craftsmanship and future tech into one piece of art. The concept came from the fine craft of a wrist watch. The unfolding of the laptop from the side recalls the elegance of minute and hour hand movements. Central spinning textures on the curved LCD cover give a gorgeous visual effect. It is how we pushed through technical limits to achieve this level of craft”, Loewy added.

The ASUS ZENBOOK will soon be available at a retailer near you soon, with two core model groups – the ZENBOOK UX21 (11.6” screen) and ZENBOOK UX31 (13.3” screen). You can check out the official product page for more details.

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