Year 2018 would largely be remembered as the Year of the Smartphone. The biggest launches and the most attention-grabbing innovations were courtesy of top smartphone phones. But that doesn’t mean there was any lack of activity in other corners of the tech space. In the last few months, laptop-makers, from Lenovo to Dell to Microsoft, have made some impactful launches at every price point. To round up the year’s proceedings in this department, Asus unveiled not one but two new laptops at an event in Delhi.
One of these is a gaming laptop, the F570, and the other is the latest in Asus’ VivoBook series, the VivoBook 15 (X505). Talking about the key features of these products, Leila Lin, country product manager, Asus India, said, “Asus is not a new name in the India market but we want to redefine the name by bringing some value-added products. With VivoBook 15 (X505), we have come up with thinner and metallic body design. In the market, our competitors are offering a basic 2.2kg weight in laptops. But in our case, we are offering 1.6kg of body weight and better looks, and making it more user-friendly. Another is the gaming laptop, F570, which is again lightweight—1.9 kg, a more handy experience for users.”
The newly-launched VivoBook has a 5.6-inch HD display with 81% screen-to-body ratio. It is powered by the latest AMD Ryzen 5 processor, 8GB DDR4 memory and an AMD Radeon Vega8 graphic unit. The laptop is merely 18.9mm thin and weighs only 1.6kg. Along with being sleekly designed, the laptop also includes the latest hardware. It supports fast charging and provides a decent battery backup.
Now we come to Asus’ new gaming laptop, the F570. Its metallic body with blue edges gets full points for looks. In addition to this, the machine has also been fitted with backlit keyboard, so that users can operate it in the dark. Owing to their heavy specifications, gaming laptops are often bulky and unwieldy. The F570, however, is very different in this regard. It has a 21.9mm profile and weighs only 1.9kg.
In conversation with Guardian 20, Arnold Su, Republic of Gamers (ROG) and PC head, Asus India, spoke of the importance of the Indian market for Asus. He said, “India is a very important market for our brand. In terms of the size, India is the seventh largest market in the world. However, within the next two years, India will be in the top five biggest markets in the world. It is growing tremendously year after year.
Distribution is always a problem in a fast-evolving market such as India’s. Asus is building its business strategy for these shores accordingly. Su told us, “The market is very complicated because it has 29 states. People here still prefer to go to an offline store to buy a product. What we need is to strengthen our offline presence. Though we do have many stores all over the country, we have still partnered with Reliance and Croma for the same. Online shopping is being chosen by many, but we cannot deny the fact that people here still want to experience the product first and then buy it. I think offline stores are not going anywhere in the near future.”
India’s growing community of gamers is also a good sign for brands like Asus, which are known for their gaming laptops. “Gaming is still not that popular in India. In 2014, only 40,000 units of gaming laptops were sold in India but in 2017, the numbers grew to 80,000. This year, it was over 150,000. We see the trend is growing and it is a potential market for us in future,” Su said.
About Asus’ plans for the coming year, Leila Lin said, “Every quarter we are launching a few products in international market as well as in India. In 2019, we are going to refresh our gaming lineup. As for our mainstream and high-end products, we are going to introduce something thinner and lighter. For next year, this is the concept and everything will come under this umbrella. We are trying to bring products that are premium, user-friendly and affordable at the same time.”
The VivoBook 15 (X505) and the gaming laptop, F570, are priced at Rs 30,990 and Rs 52,990 respectively